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Greetings!

Back To School
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

   I can hardly believe that in some parts of the country school is starting up again. I'm so not ready for summer vacation to be over! No matter where or how your kids are educated, it's back-to-school time in the retail world, and you can find really great sales on school supplies. I just purchased thirty notebooks from Walmart at 15 apiece, as well as markers, gluesticks and glue, and a few other odds and ends. We don't need them for going back to school, but we will need them eventually, and I won't be able to find prices like these in January!

Call me a meanie, but I don't take the kids shopping for supplies. If they don't see those fancy folders with horses or butterflies or puppies, they'll never realize just how much they "need" to have them. We do plain folders, notebooks, and binders. My kids have become very creative at decorating them with scrapbook paper, stickers, contact paper, etc. if they wish. Those hard-backed composition books make beautiful sturdy journals when they're covered in scrapbook paper . . . and last year I found them on sale at 5 for $1.00. So . . . leave the kids home if you can.

It will be interesting to see just how well retailers do this back-to-school season. Even though families have cut back over all, I wonder just how much back-to-school sales will be affected. It's hard for moms, especially, to feel like their kids have to "do without" all the bells and whistles that our culture has come to associate with the annual back-to-school phenomenon.

Since my family homeschools, we don't "need" new backpacks, shoes, clothes, and a full list of supplies every August. It definitely takes the pressure off! We do still eat lunches though . . . and pack lunches to take to our co-op classes. Here are a few tips that have worked for us.
I don't buy a lot of cold cuts as I find they are expensive and not that healthy. But my husband does like sandwiches. When I buy cold cuts on sale, I freeze them on a cookie sheet in individual stacks--like a couple of slices of ham with salami, cheese . . . whatever combination he'll be using in a sandwich. Once they're frozen they all go in a bag or container with a piece of waxed paper between each stack. When it's time to make a sandwich he can just pull out a single stack, and put it right between the buttered bread with some lettuce and whatever condiments he wants. It saves time and prevents any expensive cold cuts from spoiling before they are used up.

Frequently I'll take a small crockpot along to our homeschool co-op for a hot lunch. When I make sloppy joes, chili, soups, etc., I always make big batches and freeze any leftovers. I use small containers to package up yogurt, canned or fresh fruit, or other snacks into single servings for each child. A couple of years ago I invested in a couple of Fit & Fresh Lunch on the Go container sets, and we've used them over and over again.

Even when we're going to be home all day, I try to plan ahead for lunch. It's so much easier than scrambling around trying to figure out what to eat when everyone is hungry! Sometimes we boil some eggs ahead for egg salad, or leave out something from the freezer, or make up a batch of muffins. It's part of our school day--learning and planning to eat properly.
Special Announcements
Important 
Congratulations to Shawnna, our winner of the complete set of Molly's Money-Saving Digest and Molly Makes $5 Dinners and $3 Desserts.
 
 
Jaimee had a really cool tip that I hope you will try for your own preschoolers:
 "My favorite free homeschool/preschool resource is the free wallpaper books I can get at Sherwin Williams (probably most paint stores) once a month when they change their stock. I just call to see when it's good and bring home as many as I can carry. My kids love that they can have freedom to cut whatever they like out of it, because I'm not worried about the cost! "
On The Blog Last Week

 I have so much to share from my blog this past week. If you missed any of the posts, here is a recap for you:

  • My friend decorated her bathroom in a Weekend Wonder style. You have to check this post out! 
  • If you read last week's newsletter, I mentioned those little gold wrappers. I got so many responses for uses for them, I put them in post to share with everyone.
  • I posted a freebie from RecipeLion. They have a great Chicken Casserole E-Book that they are giving away for free.
  • My August Digest is selling like hotcakes right now! The topic of organization is something of importance to every family!
  • What Works For Me this week is something that will come in handy since school is gearing up!
  • Thrifty Thursday is all about menu planning. I have some great ideas that I share with you in this post.
  • Lots of great freebies in Friday's post so make sure to check these out.
Featured Website
Skip To My Lou 
 
 Have you ever heard of Skip To My Lou? I decided to share this site with you this week because they have some really adorable back-to-school links on their website. There were so many, I just decided to link to the site and let you do all the digging!
Recipe of the Week
 
apron closeup 
Photo courtesy of Google Images

Fruit with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip
 
Ingredients: 
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese (yes, you can use reduced-fat versions, just don't use the fat-free. It changes the flavor and texture in unpleasant ways)
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream (can use a favorite yogurt flavor instead to reduce fat)
 
Directions: 
 Blend ingredients in your mixer until smooth and fluffy.

Serve with whatever fruits your family enjoys (and graham crackers if desired... this almost makes it taste like cheesecake, yum!).
 
Variation: Blend in a little cinnamon, cocoa powder, vanilla, lemon, or almond extract (no more than 1/4 teaspoon). This also delicious when using nuts to dip into the cream cheese dip. Simply chop nuts into small pieces and after dipping the fruit, roll the dipped fruit in the nuts.
Weekly Tutorial


Reusable Lunch Bag
Photo Courtesy of Dabbled 
 
Reusable Vinyl Sandwich Bag
 
 Be sure and stop by Dabbled and check out this tutorial on how to make your very own reusable vinyl sandwich bag.
Idea Center
  • The Teaching Heart has tons of back to stuff on their site that can be used for homeschool or for kids that are in a public or private school setting.
  • Host a Back To School party to celebrate the beginning of a new year.
  • Donna Young has many printables to help with organizing and scheduling.
  • Present your children with an award for always trying their best.
  • Need something to help the kids get their chores under control during the school year? Check out this really neat site about chore charts.
  • The Hillbilly Housewife has an awesome list of frugal ideas for lunch box meals!
  • Get some great tips here on how to pack a healthy and frugal lunchbox.
  • Family Fun Corner has an article that will help you organize your homeschool day.
Molly's Money-Saving Digest
August--Organization for  Busy Families

 

August means organization for many households . . .
 
Is your home looking dignified and grand?
 
How impressive are your organization skills?
The special feature for August is:
Organization for Busy Families
 
Get your busy family happily organized--buzzing like bees as you start to organizzzzze! 
 
Month after money-saving month, Molly presents ideas to help families economize as she shares practical tips, delicious recipes, and  helpful interviews with experts. Guest author Martha Greene (Marmee), provides pages of tips and recipes for make-ahead mixes that will save you time and money.
Gain control of "the dirty dozen" working step-by-step through problem areas in an average home. Here are the 12:
  • Closets--How to Clean Out a Closet
  • Garage--Clearing the Clutter From a Garage can become a reality!
  • Recipes--Kudos to the Cook. Benefit from and follow a clear description of just how to categorize it all.
  • Kitchen--Come Into My Kitchen! And discover welcoming ways to store and better utilize all your kitchen gadgets and necessities!
  • Mail--The Mail Monster. Tame it with easy to implement changes in your home.
  • Photos--Organizing Photos. Digital or physical--it is time to do something!
  • Toys--The Trouble with Toys. Give yourself a little R&R by learning the acronym ROR.
  • Clothing--Organizing Clothing. Take into account your lifestyle, do a little planning, and follow through with some purging!
  • Finances--Organizing Finances.  A few practical tips for you to stick to!
  • School papers--Papers, Papers Everywhere! Get them under control and keep them that way.
  • Bathrooms--Bathroom Organization. Tricks to quickly organize your bathroom and make daily tasks easier.
  • E-Books--E-Books Everywhere! Learn of the options for E-Book storage.

Still not convinced this E-Book is for you?
Click to View a Sample of this Item HERE.

We Want To Hear From You!
 We have some great topics in the works for Molly's Money-Saving Digests, and would love to include your stories and ideas. September's Digest has just gone to layout.  You're in for a treat with this special issue on frugal decorating. October's featured topic will be our Great Depression issue, and November we will be talking about photography. Show us your stuff! We'd love to showcase your decorating talent and frugal ingenuity, and give you a free Digest, but we need to hear from you soon! We're always looking for "goal-getter" stories, examples of up-cycled or re-purposed objects, and frugal decorating ideas. Send me your story--Remember, if we include your contribution in a Digest, you'll receive that issue FREE.

Minute with Molly Header
 
Until next week!

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In This Issue
Special Announcements
Blog Highlights
Featured Website
Recipe of the Week
Weekly Tutorial
Idea Center
Molly's Money-Saving Digest March 2009--Make Money From Home

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Molly's Money-Saving Digest June 2009--Frugal Family Vacations

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Molly's Money-Saving Digest: July 2009--Frugal Fashion
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My newest E-Book is now available! Click the photo for more details.

Molly's Dinner Book
Molly's Money-Saving Digest February 2009--Gardening Basics and Natural Cleaners


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Meet Me at The Corner


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Living On a Dime

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Molly's Money-Saving Digest January 2009--Let's Get Organized for Fiscal Fitness

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Molly's Money-Saving Digest April 2009--Making a Frugal Fresh Start

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Molly Freebie
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Homemaker's Mentor
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Molly's Money-Saving Digest May 2009--Learning for Life-Your Child's Education

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