Uses for An Old Cookie Sheet: Tiny Tip on a Thursday

Do you have an old cookie sheet you rarely use for baking anymore and it really needs to be thrown away but still lives in your cabinet?   I’m not going to give you the standard, get rid of it, clear the clutter advice.  Instead, I’m going to give you some uses for your old cookie sheet.

Note:  If you have 5 old cookie sheets that fit the description above, please do throw all but one away!  Treat yourself to some new cookie sheets.

I keep one old, worn out cookie sheet under my sink because I find it useful.

old cookie sheet

3 ways I use an old cookie sheet:

  1. As an oven drip pan when baking something that may spill over.  I won’t cook the dish directly on the cookie sheet since it is a bit warped but I will put it on the bottom rack of my oven as insurance to catch any spills that may happen.
  2. Frozen pizza landing pad and slicing area.
    old cookie sheet

    I use this cookie sheet to get the pizza off the oven rack.

    We cook our frozen pizzas directly on the oven rack and so need a pan to slide them onto once they are finished cooking.

    old cookie sheet

    We then slice our pizza right on the cookie sheet

    Since my husband slices the frozen pizzas while they are directly on the cookie sheet, using an old, worn out one saves my newer ones from the knife damage.  This is the main reason I hang on to my old cookie sheet.

    old cookie sheet

    My make-shift pan lid.

  3.  Use an old cookie sheet as a lid on skillet that doesn’t have one.  Sometimes I need to cover my largest skillet while something is simmering.  I don’t have a lid that fits well so I simply use my old cookie sheet.

Sometimes I’ll also use it to freeze cookie dough balls or extra french toast slices after I’ve lined it with parchment paper.

Any arts and crafts that require the oven would also see me using my old cookie sheet.  I’m not super crafty (what ever the word for the opposite of super crafty might be, that’s me) so I don’t use it this way very often.

Do you keep an old cookie sheet around for any reasons not listed above?

With this post, I’m introducing a new blog segment titled Tiny Tip on a Thursday.   I’ve been a little frustrated lately as I find myself neglecting the blog after saying I’m going to post more often.  Putting together blog posts takes a fair amount of time  (and I probably spend less time than I should on most).

After full days working at a preschool, I do not usually possess the brain power to write in complete sentences let alone edit 300+ words (Side note:  If you ever see a glaring grammar error in one of my posts, please let me know!).  I came up with Tiny Tip on a Thursday as a solution to not being able to post as often because of the time and daunting task of writing a full-length post.          tinytip

Tiny Tip on a Thursday will be just what the title says.  My posts will be short and simply contain a tiny tip that I’ve found to be useful and hope you will also.  They will be about a variety of topics.

Sometimes I’m the very last person in the world to figure something out but I’ll still share my tiny tips in case I’m the second to the last person to be aware of the tip.  I hope you’ll find some of my tiny tips useful or at the very least enjoy reading a brief post from me each Thursday.

Happy Homemaker Monday And Menu Plan

It seems like it has been awhile since I was able to write one of these posts on an actual Monday morning!  I’m glad to have a few minutes to just relax and work on my blog today.  It’s been much too long it seems.

I’m also doing laundry but let’s not talk about that!

As usual, I’m linking up with Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom, the gracious host for Happy Homemaker Mondays.  I am also linking to Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie, her menu planning posts always keep me inspired even on weeks when I simply have my menu scribbled on a sticky note.

The Weather

It’s winter.  Cold (well, technically not that cold as it’s really 31 degrees out there but after a weekend in the 50s it feels cold), howling wind, and bursts of snow this morning.  Supposed to be colder than normal all week but not much else is predicted.

Right Now I Am

Sitting at the still messy and unorganized desk typing up this post while listening to the wind blow outside.  Enjoying being alone (finally!) in a quiet house.  Wondering how long until our little gray cat demands to check the weather outside again.

Thinking

I am probably going to pay the price for not running errands today because even though it looks like I have the next 2 days off work, something will likely come up and I’ll be called in.  I’m hoping I get a couple of days though.  I am also (already) wondering how much to plan for this weekend.  It’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday, President’s Day (observed) on Monday, and my boys have both next Monday and Tuesday off school.

On My TV

I’ve been watching The Flash and The 100, both of which were intense last week.  I can’t wait to see what happens on the shows this week.  I’ve also started watching You, Me, and Apocalypse on Thursday nights.  It’s a fun show.  My new Netflix addiction is Better Call Saul.  My husband said it was too slow for him but I am loving seeing early glimpses of all the seedy Breaking Bad characters.

Oh, and of course, we watched the Superbowl (YAWN) last night.  Did you think it was rather dull?  My husband said it was because it was a defensive game.  I was a bit disappointed in the commercials (outside of Jason Bourne!  CAN NOT wait) and the half-time show as well.   Not a huge Lady GaGa fan but I  was impressed with her rendition of our national anthem.  Best part of the whole night, I think.

On The Menu for This Week

Today is my husband’s birthday so we’ve tentative plans to go out to dinner with his parents.  We actually celebrated yesterday morning by going out to breakfast and I made the traditional chocolate cake with white frosting.  I just updated my photos in that post so go check it out, the pictures have gone from terrible to okay.

MONDAY:  OUT, possibly for Chinese food as it is the Chinese New Year (Happy Year of the Fire Monkey!)

TUESDAY:  Chicken and Noodles

WEDNESDAY:  Vegetarian Chili (probably hot dogs for the boys)

THURSDAY:  I work all day so probably something simple like fish sticks and baked potatoes

FRIDAY:  Another work day for me so either leftovers or maybe breakfast for dinner

On My To-Do List (Top 5)

  1. Laundry
  2. Go to the Grocery Store and Sam’s Club
  3. Make sure I mail out February birthday and Valentine cards this week
  4. Finalize a Bunco Menu for next week (new post coming soon!) as well as get RSVP info
  5. Get J some Valentines to hand out at his class party and find some I can give out to the preschoolers (This should probably be Number 1).

In The Craft Basket

Um, nothing.  I don’t have a craft basket.  J and I did try out some adult coloring and both agreed we found the busy patterns more stressful than relaxing.  I may try to make some calm down bottles depending on time.  Otherwise, I’ll spend my time reading :)

Looking Forward to This Week

Some time at home to both relax and get things done!

Looking Around the House

I cleaned some over the weekend (not enough) so it’s not awful outside of the laundry and the kitchen which spiraled out of control last night.  I see things I’d like to organize and hope I might get to them this week.

From the Camera

My coloring page

My coloring page

Gift from a preschool student, made it at home and brought in for me!

Gift from a preschool student, made it at home and brought in for me!  I hung it up beside my computer back here.

Chelsey's new friend. I've been calling him Mr. Mistoffelees. Friendly little cat.

Chelsey’s new friend. I’ve been calling him Mr. Mistoffelees. Friendly little cat.

My husband's cake waiting to go into the oven

My husband’s cake waiting to go into the oven

Thoughts for the Week

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  (James 1:19)

 

Happy Homemaker Monday: Welcome to February!

It’s time for another Happy Homemaker Monday planning post and also, the first day of February.

This week is set up to be a busy one over here. I work at the preschool every single day this week and with the exception of Tuesday, every one of my days there is a full one. G has two days of Pep band. We need to prepare for my husband’s birthday party on Sunday and possibly a winter storm. I’m sure more will come up during the week as it always does.

I’m happy to have a way to get my week organized and both Sandra from Diary of A Stay at Home Mom and Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie inspire me to do just that with their weekly link-ups.

The Weather This Week

Nobody knows.  It’s been such a beautiful weekend with highs in the 50s and 60s.  It’s supposed to stay in the 50s through tomorrow.  Then, on Tuesday, some sort of winter storm which hasn’t even formed yet is supposed to come through.  They started off saying lots o’ snow and now have backed off saying the snow will stay north and we’ll get less.  The lows do go back to the 20s after Wednesday with more normal highs for us in the upper 30s and low 40s.  I guess we’ll just see what the groundhog says about it all on Tuesday.

Menu Plan

Busy week with a chance for a snow storm (I’ll believe it when I see it) so I’m keeping things pretty simple this week. As opposed to the gourmet meals I usually serve-ha!

Monday:  Homemade Chik-Fil-A sandwiches and waffle fries  (We had 3 opened jars of pickles in the fridge so I’m condensing a bit.  This recipe is perfect since the chicken has to marinate in pickle juice).

Tuesday:  Beef and Broccoli with rice (I have sauce packet in my cabinet plus a huge bag of white rice I’m trying to use, normally I don’t buy white rice but I bought this on accident and we may as well use it).   If the giant storm hits and I have to drive home white-knuckled in snow and ice, we’ll likely have frozen pizza instead.

Wednesday:  Roast Chicken in oven (trying a new recipe)

Thursday:   Taco Salads (using left over taco meat from the freezer)

Friday:  Frozen pizza if we don’t have it on Tuesday.  Maybe OUT.  Last week we ended up all fending for ourselves and that worked out just fine as well.

On the Breakfast Plate

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Bacon!  Plus two kinds of biscuits (from a can) and blueberries and strawberries.  The blueberry biscuits are not ones I’d ever buy again.  I made a crucial “forgot to read the label” error and upon reading it at home, the blueberry biscuits don’t even contain any actual blueberries!  They contain blueberry flavored cranberry bits.  Wait, what?  Plus, I thought they were kind of nasty.

What We Ate Over the Weekend

For dinner Friday night, we all had our own things.  I finished up some summer sausage and crackers plus had a salad, my husband had some Trader Joe’s burritos (of course, he was not a huge fan), G had a hot dog, and J never really ate anything but snacks (cereal, Chex mix, etc.)

Saturday, I attempted to make my own Ikea cinnamon rolls using Trader Joe’s pizza dough.  They weren’t bad but next time I’ll find time to simply go to Ikea.  We had both lunch and dinner out.

My attempt at copycat Ikea cinnamon rolls

My attempt at copycat Ikea cinnamon rolls

I took the boys to Burger King for lunch (J wanted “double lunch” since he wasn’t planning to eat any dinner) and then, we went to Olive Garden to celebrate my mother in law’s birthday with family.  Interesting fact about the four of us:  we all dislike eating at Olive Garden.  Too expensive and no flavor.  J had a Sprite followed by some plain spaghetti noodles simply because his “double lunch” wasn’t holding him.

Currently

It’s the early afternoon or late morning (depending on who you ask) on Sunday and I’m working on this post.  My husband is working for a bit this morning and not home.  The boys and their cousin, who spent the night last night, are having breakfast while playing a video game in the living room.

Top 5 on My To-Do List

  1. Get birthday cards for the February birthdays addressed and ready to be mailed
  2. Finalize plans for my husband’s birthday (his birthday is next Monday but we’ll be celebrating with family on Sunday)
  3. Clean the bathrooms especially the one in our bedroom
  4. Organize one of my cleaning supply areas (hopefully, a blog post will follow)
  5. Find a local reputable place to transfer our VHS tapes to DVD

Books, Movies, and Television

I bought a new book, Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days by Chris and Heidi Powell, last week but haven’t had a chance to read much of it yet.  I skimmed through the free e-book, Home Organization For Stress Free Living by Karen Peffine but wasn’t really very impressed.  I was excited for a minute when she talked about organizing styles but found none of her descriptions really fit me and the rest of what I read had a “I’ve heard it before” feel to it.  At the insistence of my teenager, I’ve also started reading Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans.  He went with me to library to help me find it.  He’s currently reading the most recent book in the series.

We watched Terminator: Genesis over the weekend.  I really enjoyed it and although he wouldn’t admit it, J was watching it as well and seemed to like it.  Funny thing is when I was trying to describe the movie, he exclaimed, “I can’t stand that Dr. Who robot stuff!”  and then, who should I spot in the movie (in a very brief scene) but Matt Smith, the eleventh doctor.  I also let G & J watch the original Terminator movie with me.  Terminator: Genesis is rated PG-13 but the original Terminator was rated R (other than some language, definitely a PG-13 by today’s standards).  I’ll be ordering Terminator: Judgement Day for us all to watch together next.

I managed to watch The Flash and The 100 last week, both episodes were much better than the previous week.  I also re-watched the season 2 Finale of The 100 which helped me make a bit more sense of the first episode of The 100 from this season.  (Not really related to what I watched but I was super excited when a Trader Joe employee recognized my S.T.A.R. labs sweatshirt from The Flash on Tuesday)

From The Camera

The moon setting was as pretty as the sun rise on Wednesday

The moon setting was as pretty as the sun rise on Wednesday

I bought Valentine-themed tissue boxes!

I bought Valentine-themed tissue boxes!

Thoughts for the Week


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Happy Homemaker Monday (The It’s Tuesday Edition)

Whoa, what happened to Monday?  I feel like today is Monday still (I’m very glad it IS Tuesday) because yesterday went by in a busy blur.   I worked all day yesterday, then enjoyed a night out with friends.  Today was sort of busy with errands as well so this post should technically be call the Tuesday Night Edition).

I suppose since I’m late with my post, I should get right into things:

The Weather This Week

It was warmer yesterday, then quite cold (30s) in the afternoon.  Today was in the mid-thirties but warm enough I wore only my sweatshirt (and pants plus boots, ha!) while running errands.  We are supposed to hit the 60s this weekend.  I’m super excited!!

On the Breakfast Plate

I had 2 chocolate chip cookies and coffee.  I usually do better but today was a cookie kind of day.

Currently

We just finished dinner, the dishwasher is running, and I’m listening to that as I type this post.  Everyone else is doing their own thing which means basically playing video games.

As I Look Around the House

It looks surface clean but could stand a real cleaning…sometime.  Don’t bring your white gloves (or even your tan ones) if you come to visit.

Menu Plan

Always easier to do a meal plan with 2 days of the week already finished!  As usual, I’m linking up to Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie.  I have a bit of hitch in my menu planning this week as our microwave is acting like perhaps it is ready to leave for the big kitchen in the sky.  Remembering to thaw things is not one of my talents.

Monday:  My husband made pork chops and hash browns for the boys.  I ate out although I think my husband’s dinner would have been better.

Tuesday:  Pancakes and Bacon.  I was feeling lazy about dinner tonight.

Wednesday:  Mini meatloaves… perhaps the 3rd time is the charm??  This meal keeps getting shoved to the following weeks.

Thursday:  Chicken Legs, probably broiled in the oven… and French Fries

Friday:  I have no idea…I may thaw out a pork roast and throw it in the crock pot

What We Ate Over The Weekend

Krispy Kreme for breakfast on Saturday!

Krispy Kreme for breakfast on Saturday!

I did a big fridge clean out over the weekend.  We had shrimp for dinner Saturday night.  The boys had popcorn shrimp while I used a mix to make Shrimp Scampi using frozen shrimp for my husband and myself.

Unfortunately, the microwave quit while I was making our potatoes so we had to find other options for our sides.   Garlic toast with Shrimp Scampi was a bit over the top for me.

Sunday’s lunch was a pasta bar which worked out nicely.

Some of our pasta bar topping choices

Some of our pasta bar topping choices

We each had a salad as well.  It almost made up for our lackluster dinner of ham and canned biscuits later that night.  At least the broccoli and fresh orange slices looked pretty as our sides.

I love oranges this time of year!

I love oranges this time of year!

Top 5 on my To-Do List

  1. Go to Sam’s Club for paper towels and bottled water (for lunches) (DONE)
  2. Go to Trader Joe’s (DONE)  Not really a huge priority but I decided to make it one today
  3. Go to Hy-Vee for weekly shopping trip (Planning to go later tonight)
  4. Pay Bills
  5. Get Birthday card and present for mother-in-law’s birthday party on Saturday

Books, Movies, and Television

I read a series of e-books starting on Sunday and am now waiting for the next one.  I was a bit skeptical when I started reading Tainted (The Arc Book 1) by Alexandra Moody as the story felt vaguely familiar to The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.  However, I loved that particular series so I kept reading.  The characters in Tainted drew me in and while it was reminiscent of DuPrau’s book, then reminded me of the more recent Divergent series, it was also it’s own original story.  Enough so that although the first book was free, I broke down and bought the next two books in the series because I needed to know what happened.  So, I also read Talented and finished reading Fractured last night. If you enjoy the young adult genre, these would be worth your time.

And the winner for the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life goes to….Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.  It is not worth my time to tell you how bad this movie really was.  None of like it.  Just don’t watch it.

Thank goodness for the return of good television shows!  I’m keeping an eye on the clock as I type this so I don’t miss the 2nd episode in the new season of The Flash.  I was also happily surprised to find they moved my guilty pleasure show, The 100, to Thursdays.  It made up for the season finale of Heroes Reborn being a bit lackluster although I admit to getting a little teary-eyed here and there during the show.  Still working through The Blacklist on Netflix but my husband is off watching Hell on Wheels (not my cup of tea) so I’m trying to be patient and not watch it with out him.

From the Camera

I found the real camera this week!  And I figured out it had settings.  I still didn’t take many pictures.

I gave my Jade plant a new pot for a birthday present.

I gave my Jade plant a new pot for a birthday present.

 

My sad attempt at a full moon photo

My sad attempt at a full moon photo

Thoughts for the Week

What is done in love is done well.  (Vincent Van Gogh)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  (Philippians 4:6)

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A little (lot) late this week but still planning on linking up over at Happy Homemaker Monday hosted by Sandra from Diary of A Stay At Home Mom.

 

Frugal Celebrations: How to Have Money Left After the Party

Celebrations of any kind are fun but can be costly.  Ever have to host a celebration when your bank account is not in a partying mood?    I have some ideas for frugal celebrations that may help.

frugal celebrations

 

  • Let them eat (real) cake!

It’s cheaper to make your own cake.  Of course, making a cake from scratch is the most frugal and least costly.  My family insists on this chocolate cake recipe for most birthdays.  The boys are also partial to cookie cake (I just use the chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and spread it in a big pan).

Cake mixes go on sale often and are handy to have in the pantry for all kinds of celebrations.  I used a yellow cake mix earlier this month to make a Three Kings Cake.   Canned frosting is nice and keeps for a long time (unopened) but homemade frosting is also fairly quick and inexpensive to make.

  • Get real (with the plates and cups)

I know it is tempting to buy the cute designed paper plates especially if you are having a children’s birthday party with a theme.  One thing, however, I’ve never heard said by a child at a birthday party, “Look at these cool plates!”   They are a lot more interested in the treats going on those plates.

I know paper plates and cups make clean up easier but if you are trying to host a frugal celebration, it is also just as easy to simple wash the plates and cups you already own.  It’s also better for the environment.

  • Recycle

The “birthday box” and I have parted ways now that my boys are older.  However, when they were younger, all our leftover party supplies went into a tub in the basement aka the birthday box.  Invitations, favor bag extras (Am I the only one who would need 9 things for favor bags and yet they were only sold in sets of 8?), decorations, crepe paper, basically anything leftover from parties went into the birthday box.

When the next celebration rolled around, I would first check out what was in the birthday box especially for party favors.  I also like to recycle the birthday box contents at Halloween by sticking the favor bag extras in the Halloween Candy Bowl as non-candy treats.

  • Find free decor

Decorations, of course, make a celebration feel extra special.  However, when hosting a frugal celebration, it’s important to know your audience.  Most adults aren’t going to care and most kids will give the decorations a passing glance.

Still, who doesn’t love to make celebrations feel special with decorations?  I start, by of course, raiding my birthday box.  Crepe paper is a cheap and easy way to decorate.  Free printable pages are also an easy way to decorate.

I’ve also used Microsoft word to create signs and decorations (actually, this and coloring pages are good ways to put the kids to work!) for our parties and celebrations.  PicMonkey would be another great option for creating party decorations.  Borrowing a special centerpiece from a friend is another frugal option.

  • Timing matters

If you are trying to host a frugal celebration, try to time it so you aren’t worrying about feeding a crowd a full meal.   Host the event between traditional meal times.

A fantastic frugal option is to have everyone bring something to a celebration.  I confess I struggle with this because I prefer not to do it when I host things (it’s a control issue).

A completely and totally unscientific observation is that I’ve noticed people seem to eat more at parties where dinner is provided than lunch timed ones especially if the dinner provided party happens on a weeknight (or Friday).

I’ve used all of the above ideas to host frugal celebrations.  However, I’ve also bought cakes in the store bakery, used paper plates and store bought decorations.  When hosting frugal (or any) celebrations, I do think it is also important to place proper value on your own time.

What ideas do you have for hosting frugal celebrations?

**Linking this post up to

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
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