$5 Family Fun – National Teddy Bear Picnic Day (July 10th)

July 10th is National Teddy Bear Picnic Day.  Pack a teddy-bear themed lunch and head outside for a whimsical afternoon of fun and frolic.
Open-Faced Teddy Bear Sandwichv with text

Directions can be found in the e-Book $5 Family Fun.  Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books & Things (soon available on iBooks too).

Teddy Bears with text

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$5 Family Fun – UFO Day (July 2nd)

Keep your eyes to the skies on July 2nd because it’s World UFO Day. Believers and skeptics alike will have blast with these  out-of-this-world $5 Family Fun balloon and food craft projects.

Directions to these and other frugal fabulous projects can be found in the $5 Family Fun e-Book.  To purchase, click the “BUY THE EBOOK $5 FAMILY FUN” page tab.  Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books & Things (soon available on iBooks too).

If you try these or any $5 Family Fun projects, post your pictures using #my$5FamilyFun

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UFO Cookies

Glowing Alien Balloons

Glowing Alien Balloons

New Year’s Day Dinner

Many people have Thanksgiving & Christmas recipe traditions. Sure, my family has some reoccurring dishes on the menu but I’m unusual in that I like to try new recipes on these holidays – things that seem too “fancy” for a regular Monday night meal.  One holiday where I like to prepare the same thing every year is New Year’s Day and I wanted to share these favorites of ours with you: Champagne Chicken & Marinated Black-Eyed Peas. You can also easily adjust the quantity of ingredients to feed more if you have company coming over on New Year’s Day.

Prepare the peas first as it needs to marinate a minimum of 2 hours but marinating overnight is preferred.

Champagne Chicken & Marinated Black-Eyed Pea Salad - Social Media

Marinated Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are a traditional New Year’s staple because they are supposed to bring good luck. Honestly, I was never been a fan of black-eyed peas before I tried this Marinated Black-Eyed Pea recipe but now this is one of my favorites.  It’s a cold salad so I also like it as a side with fried chicken during the summer months.  You can also customize this recipe to your specific tastes by adding or replacing vegetables, such as cauliflower.


  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, cored & chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded & chopped (can use red or yellow too)
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 slices of extra crispy fried bacon


  1. In large bowl, combine peas and chopped vegetables.
  2. In either a mason jar with lid or small food storage container with lid, add balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. Shake vigorously until well combined.
  3. Pour vinegar/oil mixture over vegetables and gently stir until all of the vegetables are well coated.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
  5. Just before serving, drain vegetables from vinegar/oil mixture. Plate and sprinkle with black pepper and crumbled bacon.
  6. Serve immediately.


Champagne Chicken

If you have leftover champagne, Champagne Chicken is a great way to utilize it.  My husband and I usually just have a glass each so we have plenty extra on hand.  If you don’t usually have leftover champagne, you can always buy 2 bottles (wink, wink).


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 ½ cups champagne (or substitute for dry white wine)
  • 1 cup whipping cream


  • In a zip top baggie, combine flour, salt & pepper. Add chicken, reseal baggie & shake until chicken is well coated.
  • Get out two pans – one for the chicken & one for the mushrooms. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in each pan.  Turn heat on low for both pans until butter is melted.
  • To the chicken pan, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute about 5-7 minutes on each side.
  • Meanwhile, to mushroom pan, add fresh mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook over medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally until mushrooms are golden brown.
  • To the chicken, add champagne and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until done. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Add mushrooms and whipping cream to the chicken skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
  • Add chicken back to skillet for 2-5 minutes to heat.


Happy New Year!!!  



Easy Pie Crust Recipe

Easy Pie Crust (yield single crust)


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
6 to 8 Tablespoons ice cold water

Pie Crust Steps Pic

Rolling Out Pie Crust



1. Sift flour & salt together.
2. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender (see below image) until shortening pieces are the half size of peas.  If you don’t have a pastry blender, you cans use a fork or blend with food processor.
3. Sprinkle dry mixture with two tablespoons of cold water.
4. Mix with clean hands.
5. Repeat until all is moistened.
6. Form dough into a 2 ball.
7. Chill for 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Place a ball onto a floured surface & slightly flatten with hands.
9. With rolling pin, roll from the center to the edges from all angles until dough is 1/8 of an inch thick.
10. Turn pie plate upside down & cut dough an inch wider than the pie plate all the way around.
11. Gently fold dough in half.
12. Fold in half again so it’s a quarter of the size of the full circle.
13. Lay into the pie plate.  Unfold the two folds until fully opened & push into the edges of the pie pan.
14. Use unbaked or blind baked (pre-baked) per the directions of your favorite pie recipe.
15. Save a slice for me!!!


Pastry Blender



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Halloween Candy & Wine Pairings

Did you raid your kid’s trick or treat bag? Well if you survived Halloween, you probably deserve an adult beverage so combine these two treats with wine and candy pairing options.

Check out my latest YouTube video where I share some of the pairings I tried and my favorites. Not a vino drinker?  I share a web site where you can find not only wine/candy pairings but for beer and booze too.  YouTube Video Link:  https://youtu.be/loh1dexiuS4


Halloween Candy & Wine Pairings

There are several wine categories but I chose 4 to sample pairings. Below are each category & some of the recommended pairings I found for each:

Bold Red (I used Malbec)

  • M&Ms
  • Twix
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Medium Red (I used Merlot)

  • Snickers
  • Kit Kat

Dry White (I used Pinot Grigio)

  • Skittles

Sweet White (I used Moscato)

  • Sweet Tarts
  • Starburst
  • Candy Corn

Personally, I really Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Malbec combo. The rich favors really complemented each other.  The other surprising favorite of mine (surprising because I’m not a sweet wine fan) was the Moscato and Sweet Tarts.  It was a really nice pairing.

There are many pairing sites and articles online. Just Google the subject.  Two I used were www.vivino.com and www.vinepair.com (which also provides beer & booze pairings in addition to wine).  At your next adult gathering, wine club meeting or…do you really need a reason?

Happy November!