A blog about family, food and fun!

Tag: family

Uber Frugal Month January 2018 Wrap Up!

Uber Frugal Month January 2018 Wrap Up!

We have come to the end of our Uber Frugal Month Challenge and we were pretty successful! We kept to our super low grocery budget, were mindful about our purchases and had some great discussions about where we want our life to head and what […]

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 4

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 4

We are entering our final days of the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month Challenge and it has been a great refresher for us to get back into our frugal habits. I am finally caught up on all of the emails and they really made us think […]

Where Did the Name Oscoey Come From Anyway?

Where Did the Name Oscoey Come From Anyway?

I have been asked quite a bit lately where the name Oscoey came from. For some reason it always catches me by surprise and I have to wing a response that is short and somehow makes sense and doesn’t turn into an awkward conversation so I thought I would write a little bit about it today. There is a story behind it and I came up with the name many years ago when I first started thinking about blogging but life and children became my priority and I did not get around to actually starting a blog until March of last year.

 

So where did the name Oscoey come from? When my husband and I first started dating many, many years ago we were dogless and that was a sad state of being since we both love dogs. Then one day my dad called me up and told me about this black and tan dachshund that was his coworker’s. She had divorced and moved across the country with her two dogs and since she was now single she was working 14 hour days her dogs were all alone for that entire time. Needless to say they were not happy being stuck in an apartment for 14 hours a day by themselves and since she loved them and was a responsible owner she was trying to find someone else to take them in.  One of the dogs was a lab mix that was too big for us but the other was a black and tan dachshund and if you know me I have a huge soft spot in my heart for dachshunds, especially black and tan ones. His name was Oscar and my daughter and I took one look at him and brought him home with us.

 

Oscar.

 

We kept the name Oscar but also gave him the names Mr. Oscarpants and Mr. Stinkerpants and he was the sweetest dog. He loved to cuddle and would sit patiently while my then 8 year old petted him and snuck him treats. His favorite thing to do was to headbutt you until you gave him a good pet. We fell in love with him immediately and my husband would come over and we would all go out to the park to run around.

 

Oscar loved sitting in the car on a sunny day (safely with the door open while I gardened right next to him).

 

Let me tell you though, he was a trouble maker! He was completely obsessed with food and everything had to be kept up and off the tables or he would eat himself sick.  He had developed anxiety after being left alone for so long in the apartment and any time we left the house he would howl until we got back. My husband was in his first apartment with a “real” job and he caught dog fever and started looking for a dog of his own. He came across this red haired dachshund that was a wild puppy at nine months. She was from a family with little kids that really could not handle her wild puppy ways so he took one look at her and she became part of our family. My husband named her Zoey and Oscar took to her immediately.

 

Oscoey in action.

 

We started leaving them alone together and Oscar’s anxiety majorly calmed down. Fast forward a few years (ok many) and my husband and I moved in together and got married. I came up with the name Oscoey during this time. I combined Oscar and Zoey to make Oscoey and told myself if I ever wrote a blog that is what I would name it. The other option was Zoscar but it just doesn’t quite have a good ring to it does it?  Zoey and Oscar were very happy together. We called them secret best friends because even though they loved each other so much, they rarely snuggled when we were present. We caught them on camera many times snuggling when we were gone and they were constantly checking in on each other to make sure the other was ok but when we were home they really just wanted to play and get lots of love from us.

 

Zoey and our then one year old at the beach digging in the sand together.

 

We had to let Oscar go shortly before our middle daughter’s first birthday. As is typical with dachshunds, the older he got the worse his back problems became and at some point we had to make a difficult decision. He was refusing medication and even though we were doing everything we could to make him comfortable he was just ready to go. I still think about him almost every day. We all do. He was a wonderful dog and we all miss him. Zoey was kind of lost for a while when her sidekick was gone. Now she is the older dog and starting to have some health problems of her own but luckily her back is strong and we haven’t had any issues with it so far.

 

George coming home.

 

It took us almost two years to even consider getting a new dog but we added George to our life in November of 2016 and even though his puppy antics are legendary we absolutely love having him in our family! Zoey usually does not like other dogs but she immediately welcomed George into her flock and George has learned to be careful with her and not squish her with his giant puppy feet.

 

So there you have it! Oscoey came from the combination of our original dogs’ names Oscar and Zoey.  How do you come up with creative names?

 

 

 

 

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 2

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 2

Well dear readers, week 2 of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge went off the rails a little bit. We had a busy week with sick kids and another family member was ill so I have not done the last 4 or 5 daily tasks from […]

Gardening Goals for 2018

Gardening Goals for 2018

Last week I posted a sort of list for our financial goals for 2018. Today I wanted to lay out some goals we have for our garden.  We learned a lot last year about where the best light is for our small vegetable patch and […]

How we Avoid Birthday Present Overgiftingitus

How we Avoid Birthday Present Overgiftingitus

When my oldest daughter turned one many years ago she was inundated with so many gifts they filled a small kiddie pool. She was the first grand kid on my side and her dad has a large family plus being the first child of our friends she was quite the center of attention. It was quite a shock for me just how many presents one child could receive and how insistent people would be that they buy her something every time she sneezed. Things got worse once we started having a “family” party separate from the “kid” party and we suddenly had twice the presents, many of which were small plastic pieces that soon got lost. Once we had a second, and then third child the gifting got completely out of control. Suddenly everyone needed a present at everyone else’s birthday even though my kids are not upset by others getting presents and everyone started getting gifts randomly even though there was no actual reason. It was a waterfall of gifts people. Many more than my kids ever needed and these same people that were giving all of these gifts, sometimes one a month, were very critical of how many things we had for the kids.  My constant pointing out of the excess that others had bought them fell on deaf ears and I began to get really frustrated. A solution had to be found!

 

Cake from our daughter’s third birthday.

 

I have spent many years trying to reign people in and insisting that we did not need more clothes, toys or whatever random things were suggested and I was largely ignored. Family members “needed” to buy the kids many things and parents of friends would tell me their kid really wanted to buy something.  We tried small wish lists on Amazon. That resulted in gifts cards of various degrees of usefulness. We tried explaining about how we were cutting back and didn’t need any more stuff. This sort of worked but mostly resulted in a smaller number of gifts at holidays and then random giving all year round. We also tried doing a white elephant party at one of our daughter’s birthdays but the kids had such a diverse set of interests it didn’t really work.

 

This year I decided we have had enough. We are trying to cut back on our “stuff” and reduce our waste and all of this random gift giving was not helping. We started the seeds of change early, at our youngest’s first birthday with a very firm we prefer no gifts but if you insist on buying something stick to the wishlist (which mostly contained diapers and a couple of toys both kids could share). It worked out pretty well. He still got a lot of gifts, but nowhere near the amount the first two kids did and we had more people at the party since we invited a bunch of friends too. I also took every opportunity I could to point out cute clothing items the kids were wearing that we had received from our Buy Nothing group and to firmly state that the children did not need clothes. Thankfully people started asking me if the kids needed anything and actually listening and the number of random gifts started to slowly decline.

 

The best part of my son’s first birthday party was the car wash we created in the hallway out of leftover streamers from previous parties.

 

The true test of our reduced gift receiving strategy was the middle child’s 4th birthday. She has a lot of friends and started at a new school this year so I wanted to invite everybody in her class.  We ended up doing separate family and kid parties since there would be so many kids invited. For the family party I set up a small wish list on Amazon with things she actually wanted (mostly Legos) and a couple of clothing items to satisfy those that always buy clothes for her.  I made sure to tell everybody that we really wanted to see everyone but to keep the gift giving to a minimum since our kids have way too much stuff and you know what? It actually worked this time! Our daughter got presents, but this was the first year that she didn’t seem to get way too many. People only bought her one or two items instead of four or five and about half of the items were Lego sets which took us a whole month to put together so she didn’t experience present burnout after a few days. I am really glad we stuck to our guns!

 

Lately our kids have been into making hybrid lego/block trains.

 

The kid party was a little trickier since we didn’t know a lot of the families as well.  We invited about 25 kids plus their siblings and had it at a local gymnastics place where the kids got to run around for an hour then have cake.  Since I haven’t had luck telling friends not to buy gifts I decided to see if people were willing to donate a gift to a local charity called Holly House for Kids instead. We asked our daughter’s friends to make her a card or draw her a picture since she loves receiving art from her friends and to donate a gift to a charity in our area that buys Christmas gifts for kids instead of buying her a present. It worked out really well! A few parents didn’t read the part on the invitation about gifts but almost everyone else brought her a piece of artwork and many people donated gifts to our charity. Holly House for Kids has an Amazon wishlist where all gifts can be sent directly to the charity so I didn’t even have to drop donations off afterwards! It was an amazing experience to have most of the families donate to kids that may go without.  We also took the opportunity to talk with our 4yo about how some kids don’t get presents at Christmas time and that she had gotten lots of gifts at her family party and didn’t need anything else.  Honestly though, she was so busy having fun with her friends that she didn’t really notice that she didn’t have a bunch of presents until we got home. She really enjoyed reading her cards and looking over her art work over the next few days.  It was really cool to see what the other kids had made and our daughter loves art. She was very excited that the kids had made something for her which was really sweet to see.

 

My daughter drew this for a family member as a gift.

 

We will definitely do the donation instead of a present idea at the next birthday party.  I am really glad our kids are young enough that they won’t remember getting tons of presents at every birthday party and hopefully they will grow up with the expectation that spending time with friends is more important than receiving a large number of presents.

 

What have you done to reduce the amount of presents given to your household?

 

 

 

 

 

Using AARP’s New Tool to Plan Your Retirement

I was given the opportunity this week to check out a new retirement planning tool by AceYourRetirement.org and although I was not paid for this article it does contain promotional material. I would never post about something I have not tried myself and I always […]

Dried Banana Chips

Dried Banana Chips

One of the easiest, cheapest and healthiest snacks I make my kids is dried banana chips. My son absolutely loves them! We buy a couple of bunches of bananas at Costco for $1.39, slice them up and put them into the dehydrator and at the […]

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking chocolate chip cookies with the kids is one of my favorite family activities. When we had to go dairy and gluten free I was a little upset but I found a way to make chocolate chip cookies with some easy substitutions. Back when we had only one kid we made our own gluten free flour mixtures tailored to whatever we were making but now that we have three kids and our time is in very short supply I have been buying an all-purpose gluten-free flour. We found it at Costco for a decent price. It works pretty well for generic recipes and I use it in my Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Banana Bread and it tastes very similar to regular flour.

 

 

Gather your ingredients. We buy most of our items from Costco as you can see!

 

 

Cream your coconut oil and sugar in a bowl.

 

 

Add your eggs and vanilla and mix until blended.

 

 

Now add your baking soda, salt and flour. I like to split the flour in two to cut down on the mess. Purists will mix their dry ingredients in a separate bowl before mixing in with the wet ingredients but I like to avoid washing more dishes if at all possible so I have always done it this way.

 

 

 

Next add your chocolate chips.  The recipe calls for 2 cups but honestly I just dump what I think is a good amount in and call it good. I like the dough to be full of chocolate chips so I probably add more like 2.5 cups but it really is a personal preference.

 

 

Once you are done mixing place the dough in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

 

 

I usually freeze at least half of it by double wrapping it in plastic wrap.  It is really convenient to have a little bit of cookie dough in the fridge for those days that you need to whip some dessert up in a hurry. Sometimes we will portion it out ahead of time and freeze on cookie trays so we can bake individual cookies which is great for when the grownups want an after bedtime treat!

 

 

Once chilled, set the dough out on the counter for 20-30 min and then used a 1 Tbsp measuring spoon to divide up the dough. Place it on a cookie sheet with a Silpat, ball it up a bit and then squash the tops so that they are a little flat.

 

 

Bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees or until done. Leave on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer them too a cooling rack and let cool.

 

And that my friends is how we make our easy Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies! They are great with milk (both soy and regular). At some point I might get ambitious and try making dairy-free ice cream sandwiches with them.

 

What is your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

 

Mini Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 27, 2017
: 45
: 2 hr 50 min
: 6 min
: 26 min
: Easy

These easy to make dairy-free, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies are delicious! They are perfect for parties, events and for making with the kids.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3/4 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free flour
  • 2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips
Directions
  • Step 1 Cream your coconut oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a bowl.
  • Step 2 Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on low.
  • Step 3 Add your baking soda, salt and 1/2 of the flour and mix. Once mixed add the remaining flour and mix until smooth.
  • Step 4 Add your chocolate chips and stir until combined.
  • Step 5 Chill your dough for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Step 6 Remove dough from the fridge and let sit out at room temperature for 30 min.
  • Step 7 Set oven to 350 degrees while you measure out your dough with a 1 Tbsp measuring spoon. When you measure pack the dough into the 1 Tbsp measuring spoon and flip onto the cookie sheet. Mold into balls and flatten slightly.
  • Step 8 Bake for 5-7 min on the middle rack or until done.
  • Step 9 Remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.
  • Step 10 Enjoy!
  • Step 11 If you decide not to bake all it at once you can double wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 weeks. Let thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before removing it to bake.

 

A New Beginning in Budgeting Part 2: Adjusting our Grocery Spending

A New Beginning in Budgeting Part 2: Adjusting our Grocery Spending

A little while ago I wrote about how we have been working on our budget and how I use Quicken to track our finances.  I love the Savings Goals category and it has helped us tremendously the last few months to keep track of how […]