Greetings!    

(photo courtesy of Garden Gate Note Cards - check their site for all things "bunny!")
 
My mom was not a frugal person, but I've taken some of my childhood traditions and created my own "cheep" version of each. First, my children do not receive stuffed bunnies--my mom bought us new Easter bunnies every year. Instead, my children may (or may not!) receive a small toy they've been wanting (or maybe a book, favorite movie, etc.). I remember getting a new basket each year and way too much candy--I buy a few bags of candy to donate to my church for the Easter Egg Hunt that is held after the church service each year, and my children use the same basket over and over again. My children may get a new (to them!) spring outfit for Easter Sunday, but the clothes will either be bought on sale or purchased from a thrift store--my mom's choice was to purchase brand new dresses and shoes for me and my sister each year.
 
Do you have similar traditions in your home? If not, here is some help to get you started!
 
Learn about the history of many Easter traditions. This site includes poetry, recipes, and some ideas for starting your own traditions in your family. It's candy for the eye, too--a gorgeous site!

Be sure to take advantage of this free Easter Giveaway, an incredible offer being given by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It includes an in-depth study of Easter which includes lots of activity pages, copywork pages, and a template for making place cards for your dining table.
 
Finally, how about reading some interesting information on Easter symbols and food or traditional Easter food history
 
What I Shared This Week
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- Are you looking to provide the best food for your family? Check out my long list of "superfoods" to incorporate into your meals each week.
 
- It's the fourth week of the Organized Homeschool Carnival, and I shared my tips on keeping important records organized.
 
- Read more tips on growing your own vegetables (and don't forget to check the comments!)
 
- Enjoy some spring cleaning tips and a recipe for homemade glass cleaner.
 
- What about this new use for an empty cereal box?
 
- I also share some of my favorite gluten-free books.
 
- And, finally, some links to help you save money on groceries.
 
More wonderful tips and ideas are coming next week too!
An Easter Menu with Recipes!
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Our traditional Easter dinner consists of a baked ham, green beans, sweet potatoes, fresh bread or rolls, and maybe macaroni and cheese. I like to buy the spiral-sliced glazed hams that only require a few hours in the oven to warm up for eating. Hams are usually on sale this time of year, and so I'll often buy two, one to eat and one to freeze. This will give us some inexpensive meat until the hams go on sale again during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.
 
Of course, the best value is to buy a plain ham and make your own glaze or sauce, using one of these recipes.
 
Basic Ham Glaze (enough for a large ham)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
cup vinegar
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup water

Mix together and pour over ham before baking. Baste while baking.
 
Easy Ham Sauce
cup ketchup
1 cup raisins
1 cup orange juice
cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Mix in a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer 2 minutes.  Serve with slices of ham.
 
We also enjoy sweet potatoes baked in the oven, then topped with butter and cinnamon sugar. Here's a delicious sweet potato recipe. It may not be the most frugal recipe, but boy is it good!
 
Sweet Potato Casserole
(bake in a 9-inch pie dish)
 
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 eggs
cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Mix all of these ingredients together and spread in a pie dish.
 
Topping:
cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
cup chopped pecans
 
Combine butter, sugar, and flour, and spread over sweet potato. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Recipe may be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 pan, but allow an additional 15 minutes for it to bake completely.)
 
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
(makes a 9 x 13 pan)
 
If you've never made homemade macaroni and cheese because you thought it too difficult, then you must try this easy recipe. This is a family recipe that every woman on my mom's side of the family bakes . . . no box mix for us! One idea is to bake the recipe below adding in leftover ham to the cheese layer for an easy Ham and Cheese Casserole!
 
16 ounces elbow macaroni (I use gluten-free elbows)
16-24 ounces shredded cheese
6 teaspoons butter, room temperature
milk
salt and pepper
 
Boil the macaroni according to box directions. Grate cheese while macaroni is cooking (or use shredded cheese). The amount of cheese you will use depends upon how cheesy your family likes their mac & cheese!
 
Drain the macaroni, and place half of the cooked pasta into the 9 x 13 pan. Cover with half of the shredded cheese. Top with the rest of cooked pasta and then the second layer of shredded cheese. Place six teaspoon-size dollops of butter on top of the cheese. Pour milk into the middle of the pan and watch for it to appear on the bottom of the pan. You only need about 1/4 inch of milk in the bottom of the pan.
 
Sprinkle the top with the salt and pepper. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then check the top to see how the cheese is melting. We like our cheese to turn slightly brown and crispy on top, so we will cook our dish another 10-15 minutes.
 
Let the dish cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 
This Week's Tutorials
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There are so many wonderful projects for the Easter season, and I have found a bunch to share with you this week! Many of these come from posts that I've seen on TipJunkie--she has a great blog with lots of wonderful tutorials!
 
Spring + Easter Wreath--"My spring wreath received a little "Happy Easter" embellishment . . . "
 
"Jesus!" Easter Eggs--"Celebrate Easter with this 'Jesus!' display." These beautiful eggs are quite unusual and are colored with natural, homemade dyes.
 
Isn't this Triangle Bunny gift box adorable? This would be an easy project for your children to make. Names could be added along the bottom, and the bunnies used as place cards at the dinner table.

I love to make homemade cards; although I'm not as good with the ones that require a lot of coloring. However, look at this Stamped Bunny Card--it's unbelievable.
 
Easter Favor Cups--Recycle a snack-size fruit cup into a beautiful Tulip Favor for Easter.
 
Sew a sock bunny or make a bunny toss game.

Are you hosting an Easter meal? Then you must check out these Bunny-Shaped Place Cards that your kids can help make.
 
Make Tiny Fuzzy Bunnies using pom poms and hot glue.
 
Check out this DIY Pier 1 egg wreath tutorial. I saw this wreath at my local Pier 1 store just a few weeks ago and never would have thought I could create it myself!

 
Easter Activities--Easter traditions on a budget!

Make Confetti Easter Egg Poppers--Be sure to "pop" these eggs outside to make cleanup a bit easier.

Easter Crafts--inexpensive ideas from MommySavers.com

Easter Crafts, Coloring Pages, Stories, Recipes and more for Kids--a ton of links to help you and your children celebrate this "holy day" together.
 
If you have a project that you would like to share, we'd love to see it! Email me at MollyGreen@Econobusters.com.

Molly's Money-Saving Digest
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In addition to all of our regular features, the third edition of Molly's Money-Saving Digest focuses on ways to make money from home, a real help to the budget as prices keep going up, up, up.

Jill Hart, founder of Christian Work at Home Moms (CWAHM.com) answers the question, "Working from Home: Is It Really Possible?"

Michelle Medlock Adams, a successful freelance writer with dozens of published books under her belt, shares her wisdom in So You Wanna Be a Freelance Writer?

And Donna Rees shares an informative article about a homesteading family and their successful business selling natural All-Soy Wax Candles.

You'll also find lots of resources and ideas for starting your work-from-home business. And if you haven't already read our first two digests, you'll want to be sure and pick them up as well.
We Want to Hear from You
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Molly needs your help! What would you like to see featured in this newsletter and on my blog each week? Email Editor@Econobusters.com and share your opinion with me! I want to provide you with the information you want. I can't promise that I can

 
Until next week! 
 
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