Thursday, April 30, 2009

Linky Dinks

Here's the second edition of Linky Dinks: where I let you know what I've been reading in the blogosphere. (I've been reading a lot more than this list, but these are some favorites.) Again, my thoughts are in italics.

Prayer Journaling
~ Homespun Heart (Wednesday, 4/22/09)
I received the Legacy Prayer Journal from my MIL for Christmas but haven't gotten organized enough to gather pictures and get it printed out. After reading this article, I have the pictures gathered and am hoping to pick up a book today so our family can get started.

Chicken Empenadas. Ole.
~ Short Stop
This looks like a pretty simple recipe and as compared to the caloric value of the original at On the Border (1090 calories!!) I think it's a winner!!

Ruffles and Rick-Rack
~ Keeping Up With the Joneses
Makes me wish I had some girls. I doubt my boys would appreciate how cute these jeans turned out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Favorite Uses for White Distilled Vinegar

When I was a little girl, I remember my mom mopping with vinegar. It just smelled so clean. But as we got older my mom stopped using it and used a "real" cleaning product to mop the floors.

Now, that our budget has changed I've stopped buying "real" cleaning products and started to make my own. And white distilled vinegar is in almost all of them. I've had to start buying the larger size because we use it often.

Here are some of my favorite uses for vinegar:
  • Mopping the linoleum floor: 1 cup vinegar to every 1 gallon of water and 3 tbsp baking soda
  • Removing the "ant" scent after an infestation: spray undiluted vinegar to the "ant trail" and the source (will not kill the ants, but will remove their scent and deter them from coming again)
  • Cleaning my counters and spot cleaning the floor: spray equal parts vinegar and water over areas and wipe **DO NOT USE ON MARBLE**
  • Remove mineral deposits in the coffeemaker: fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle; run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean (make sure to check the owner's manual first)
  • Remove body odor or pit stains (and ring around the collar) from shirts: spray undiluted vinegar onto affected areas before washing
  • Laundry rinse (removes build-up which can lighten your darks, acts as a fabric softener, removes musty smells from clothes): add 1/4 cup vinegar to rinse cycle
  • Wash fresh veggies: add 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 1/2 quarts water
  • Preserve flowers or liven up droopy ones: add 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp vinegar to 1 quart water
Here are some ideas that I'd like to try:
  • Rinse your hair for increased shine: mix equal parts water and vinegar to a bottle and keep in the shower, rinse with mixture after washing (courtesy of Pioneer Woman)
  • Clean deposits off your teapot: add 1/2 cup vinegar to water and let sit overnight, rinse well
  • Clean dishwasher: pour 1 cup vinegar in empty dishwasher and run through a cycle, do monthly
  • Clean the wheel of a can opener: using vinegar clean with a toothbrush
  • And Many More!!

White distilled vinegar is an amazing product!! Most of these ideas come from Vinegar Tips.

Do you use white distilled vinegar in any exciting ways?

For more Works-For-Me Wednesday tips head over to We Are THAT Family.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Homeschooling Lesson 7

Again, it took us about 2 weeks to complete this lesson. I don't know if we can get them done any sooner, but I'd like to start something different in the fall and at the pace we're going, I hope we get through all the letters.

Anyway, here's what we've been learning:

I had a hard time finding children's books on lighthouses. So we just talked about them a lot and looked at them online. Papa and Nana had recently taken a trip to the NW so we had a picture of them by a lighthouse. That encouraged some great questions.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Farmhouse BBQ Muffins

This is a recipe I got from my husband's cousin. They're really easy and tasty! You can make the meat filling ahead of time and store in the freezer. Then when you need a quick meal you can thaw out the meat and bake it with the biscuits.

Farmhouse BBQ Muffins

1 can buttermilk biscuits
1 lb hamburger
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 cup shredded cheese

Flatten biscuits and press into muffin tin. Brown beef and drain. Mix remaining ingredients (except cheese) and add to beef. Divide mixture evenly into muffin cups and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

I plan on serving this with tater-tots and raw veggie sticks. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Works-for-Me Wednesday: DIY Recipe Card Holder

I have many cookbooks, cooking magazines, printed out recipes from blogs, and recipes in my recipe box neatly printed on recipe cards. I have a nice cookbook holder from Williams-Sonoma, but my recipe cards fall through the holder because they're too small.

I think I first saw this idea on Martha Stewart's website and I thought it was great...and I think it looks kind of cute.

You take a fork and place it tines-up in a glass or a jar. You then slide the recipe card between the tines and you have a recipe card holder. It's really slick, really easy, and doesn't cost a cent. And that works for me!!

For more Works-For-Me Wednesday tips head over to We Are THAT Family! Have a great day!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Linky Dinks

Ok. I decided that I'm going to start keeping track of great articles that I've been reading and pass them along to you. My comments are in italics. Enjoy!

An Open Letter To the People In the Fashion Industry Who Design Clothes for Grown Women
~ Rocks In My Dryer (Friday, 4/17/09)
SO. TRUE. I completely agree with her on this topic. The cami. I don't know if I'll ever get used to it. You can check out more what I have to say about this in her comment section.

Sing Over Me
~ Vintage Mommy (Monday, 4/20/09)
I'd like to see if the library has this cd to check it out. Oh, and I love the verse from Zephaniah that she quotes. Would be beautiful for a nursery.

Baked Shredded Beef Taquitos
~ For the Love of Cooking (Wednesday, 4/15/09)
Mmmmm! This looks so yummy. I have some shredded beef in the freezer and thought I'd make BBQ beef sandwiches, but I'm changing my menu so we can have these. Yumm-O!

Menu Plan 4/26-5/23

May is the month of graduation parties around here. So I plan meals for Friday and Saturday night and see if there's any parties that will take the place of my having to cook. (Yay!!) It's also getting warm enough to start grilling. I plan on grilling most Mondays. If the weather isn't great, I'll move that meal to another day of the week when it's nicer out.

Week 1 - April 26-May 2
Sunday - homemade pizza
Monday - spaghetti, breadsticks
Tuesday - chicken salad sandwiches, chips, fresh veggies
Wednesday - breakfast
Thursday (Date Night) - chicken and rice, lettuce salad
Friday - leftovers (mom gone)
Saturday - graduation parties

Week 2 - May 3-9
Sunday - homemade pizza
Monday - grilled burgers, fried potatoes and veggies
Tuesday - meal at Growth Group
Wednesday - breakfast
Thursday (Date Night) - leftovers
Friday - graduation party
Saturday - graduation party

Week 3 - May 10-16
Sunday - MOTHER'S DAY - husband cooks? ;)
Monday - grilled brats, corn casserole
Tuesday - crock pot chicken & stuffing, mint peas
Wednesday - breakfast
Thursday (Date Night) - leftovers
Friday - crispy-baked chicken legs, egg noddles, salad
Saturday - Korean beef short ribs, rice, Chinese veggies

Week 4 - May 17-23
Sunday - homemade pizza
Monday - tacos, potato "oles"
Tuesday - meal at Growth Group
Wednesday - breakfast
Thursday (Date Night) - leftovers
Friday - wedding
Saturday - marinated pork chops, salad, corn

I will post the recipes as I make them.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Loads and Loads

I've been doing laundry all day. And this is not your catch-up laundry day...I've been caught up. Everyone's closets and dressers are full of clean clothes. But we're potty training. It's been going really well, until today.

We take our 3-year-old to the potty several times a day and hopefully he'll catch on and go by himself. He's been doing really well and only has an accident when I forget to remind him to use the potty.

Yesterday, we had one accident so those clothes were soaking in our bathroom. This morning he had another accident so I put those clothes along with the ones soaking in the washer with any other kiddie darks. Just as that load was being put into the dryer, he had another accident. So, I got another bucket ready to soak because I didn't want to do another load of laundry today (usually I do just a load a day and that's been working really well). But then he peed through his third set of clothes. So, I took the clothes out of the bucket added the new "dirties" and added all of the adult darks.

So, I'm folding the first load of darks and our 16-month-old wakes up. I go into his room to rescue him and the scent was awful!! Truly the worst smelling dirty in a VERY long time. It was all over his pants, his socks and his bedding - including his beloved blankie. So another load of laundry...all before 9am.

PLEASE, if you have any potty-training tips, I'd love to hear them. I am getting quite desperate at this time. He just doesn't seem to care, but I sure do and I'm really tired at the amount of laundry this morning. At least they were small loads.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grown-up Peas and Carrots

...or Carrots and Peas

I never minded eating vegetables when I was growing up. But those flavors need a little updating. So today I give you "Grown-up Peas and Carrots".

Grown-Up Peas and Carrots
(I'm totally guessing on the measurements here)
serves 2

1/2 to 1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, cut into sticks
1/4 onion cut into slices
1/2 to 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat olive oil in a small skillet until shimmering. Add carrots, onion and Balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Saute until carrots are tender and onions are caramelized. Add peas and heat through.

It's pretty easy. I didn't know what to make for a side dish to go with my Baked Cod so I just started putting stuff in a pan. Hope you enjoy!!

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Make Your Own Cake Stand for Only $2

I've been wanting a nice cake stand for a while now but it's not on my "need" list so I've been living without..or borrowing from friends (thanks!!). Until now.

My husband and I recently MC'd our good friends' wedding reception. I talked to her ahead of time and asked her how planning was going and what she planned for the reception. She said that the centerpiece on the table was going to be cheese cake on cake stands of different heights and that's when she told me her secret: a $1 dessert dish, a $1 plate from Dollar General and a little hot glue (you can use glue that's made especially for glass if you want it more permanent).

So, her mom gave me one to take home after the reception and here's all you need to do for your very pretty $2 cake stand:

Buy a glass plate and dessert dish and make sure you have a glue gun or some glass glue.

Tip the dessert dish upside down and apply hot glue to the rim.

Press the plate into the glue while centering it on the dessert dish. And there you have it!! A $2 cake stand. That totally works for me!

Here's how my friend's looked at her reception (notice the one closest in the picture; it's made with a sundae dish to give it more height):

For more Works-For-Me Wednesday tips head on over to We're THAT Family.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Works-for-Me Wednesday: Preventing Bikini Bumps

When I was a kid I loved watching the Miss America Pageant. My favorite was the Evening Gown Competition. They just looked so elegant. Several years ago they interviewed some of the Beauties and asked what their favorite beauty tip was and there's one that I've been following ever since:

using powder deoderant on your bikini area after you shave: it will prevent those nasty red bikini bumps

It really works. I use powder deo anyways so this was an easy addition to my morning routine. Just add a little deo to the bikini area. I have sesitive skin so I continue to apply deo for a few days after shaving. Really, this works!!

For more Works-For-Me Wednesday tips head over to We Are THAT Family!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spanish Rice

I've been looking for a yummy Spanish Rice recipe for a while. I know that it's healthier to make fresh than to make it from a box, so I started digging around the internet. This was our favorite Spanish Rice recipe. It's a little spicy (our 3-year-old refused to eat it and our 15-month-old loved it...go figure) so you can adjust the spices to your liking. Enjoy!

Spanish Rice

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup uncooked rice
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with chili's
1 cup frozen corn (can used canned corn)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Heat the vegetable oil over med-high heat in a large skillet. Saute onions and peppers until soft; add garlic and rice, browning the rice well. Pour in chicken broth, tomatoes with chili's, corn, and spices. Simmer on low for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

You can omit the corn if you like, but it added much needed sweetness to the spice. Yumm-O!!