Thursday, October 25, 2012

One woman's trash is another woman's treasure

It's starting to get chilly y'all!!! I really enjoy fall and the first part of winter. One of my favorite things about this time of year is when we get to have a fire in the fireplace. The problem is that I can't start a freaking fire to save my life. Seriously, it has got to be pretty hard to light a house on fire because I can't even get one started in my fireplace. I usually end up shelling out money for those little fire starters at kroger and they are so expensive! Last year we actually started using a combo of dryer lint (at the suggestion of a fireman friend I have) and papers that we needed to shred (because we don't have a shredder.) 



It was still a long process though, I would have to sit there and keep stuffing papers around the wood until it finally caught fire. Well, this year I have discovered how to make my own firestarters and the credit should go to Jillee (again)!!! Really! I can't tell you how excited I am, because the best part is that they were totally 100% free to make. FREEEEEE! Now I can smirk when I walk past the pile of "kindling wood" at kroger that is on sale for only $8....hahaha. The best part, I can have a roaring fire in 5 minutes flat, yep, that fast! So here is a tutorial, full of pictures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I may be a mom, but I am still a woman


I love being a mom and I mostly love being a wife. I am so happy that my husband is able to provide enough for our family so that I can stay home and take care of the kids and the house. Don't get me wrong, we have to make sacrifices for that luxury, for instance we don't pay for cable or satellite and we are a one car household for the moment as well. But that's fine, because I get to meet my kids at the bus stop in the afternoons and give them a snack while we talk about their day at school. I am here to help with homework and make sure my teenage son isn't getting into trouble on the internet. The problem is that it's so easy to slip into the mindset of practicality over appearance. Since I'm not going to a "job" in the corporate world or even to anyplace more fashionable than the grocery store I can get away with wearing my yoga pants and a lucky charms t shirt all day with my hair pulled into a ponytail. I think we all, as moms, think of that as one of the perks of our job or even think we don't have time, energy or money to do so. But I want to convince you to change that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boo! It's time to decorate

I love halloween! Let me clarify further, I am a Jesus loving Christian and I love halloween. I have some parameters set for my kids about halloween, for example I have explained the origins and I don't allow them to dress up as evil things. No blood and gore here, but I LOVE cute pumpkins and spiders (plastic ones anyway) and black cats and getting a little bit frightened. So, it is time to decorate and I don't have a ton of moolah to spend on halloween decor. So I have come up with some of my own decorations and I wanted to share. My adventures in halloween decorating began with my house o' lantern. I got this idea from an article in family fun magazine a few years ago, but they did it backward. They had the whole window covered in one large piece of cardboard with holes cut out for the eyes nose and mouth with plastic covering the holes. That seemed like a lot of work to me. I was also afraid that it wouldn't let in enough light during the day. So, I switched it up and made it my own. I like it better my way.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

So simple it'll curl your hair!

I am so excited about today's post! I have always had the hardest time with curling my hair. I have really thick hair and If I use rollers to curl my hair, it goes wild and gets big and poofy. Poofy was fine in the 80's, great even, but nowadays nobody wants poofy hair. I have been seeing a lot on pinterest and youtube lately about using curling wands and certain flat irons to get that loose curl/wave, but I don't have a curling wand and my flat iron (which I love, by the way) doesn't get hot on the outside, so I was out of luck. Until the other day, when I stumbled on a new tutorial on Pinterest. Unfortunately, it was a set of pictures and didn't lead back to a blog or tutorial, the pictures were enough for me to figure it out and I thought I would create a tutorial for anyone else who was interested. 

Here is how to go from:

                         

It is pretty simple once you get the hang of it and depending on how much hair you have should only take about 20 minutes. I washed my hair the night before and let it air dry. I already have somewhat wavy hair so I didn't have to curl my bangs, they just kinda do that if I don't flat iron them or dry them with my round brush. So, I started by sectioning my hair into 6 sections and pinning the top 4 sections up with a bobby pin. BTW, let me just apologize for the awkward pictures since I had to do my hair and take pictures with no help. 



 You want to take a relatively small section of hair, maybe an inch(?) and curl it around your fingers like your going to make a pin curl.


Carefully, without burning your fingers, put at least half of the curl (or more if you can) into the flat iron. Hold for 5 - 10 seconds and voila, a perfect curl. Keep going until all of your hair is curled.


Spray it with hairspray and then finger comb.



That's it, you can leave it down or pin some of it up. Heck, if you want to go all out, check out this youtube video on a cute curly updo. I've been getting lots of compliments on my hair like this. Let me know if you have any questions. Also, if this doesn't make sense I have included a quick video below showing you how to do the pin curl.

video




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I made my own face cleansing cloths!


Okay, once again I am bringing you another idea compliments of Jillee. I saw her post about making facial cleansing cloths/baby wipes and I was so intrigued. It's no secret that I am broke frugal. I am also somewhat lazy, not in the "I'm not going to clean my house" kinda way, but more in the "I'm too tired to wash my face, I'm just going to bed" kinda way. Plus, I just really hate the way that water drips down my neck and into my cleavage when I try to wash my face at the sink. It never works the same for me as it does for the cute model in the face wash commercial. You know, that really cute girl with perfect skin who just splashes water on her face and then opens her eyes with a smile on her face? Yeah, when I try that water drips into my bra and then some errant soap suds drip into my eye and I start shouting because it burns and while blindly walking towards the towel hanging on the back of the door I trip over the cat and end up with a concussion. I also have to say that I was compelled to do something to get my eye makeup off every night since my Mary Kay lady told me that I would get eyelash mites if I didn't (eeeeewwww!). So once again, when I saw this I was INTRIGUED! I made some and I love, LOVE, LOVE them!!! They get all of my makeup off and remove dirt AND my face feels so soft afterwards. Not to mention, I can tell you (from personal experience) that these are very soothing to and help heal chub rub (If you don't know what that is then you are skinny and so it doesn't apply to you anyway). So here is my tutorial, with Pictures to follow.  

Face Wipes/ Baby Wipes

You will need:

Large container (I found that a large leftover coffee canister was perfect for this)
Roll of paper towels (I like the select a size, because the small size makes the perfect face wipe)
4 cups warm water (some use distilled to inhibit mold, but I just boil the water and haven't had problems)
2 tbs Extra Virgin unrefined coconut oil (so good for you inside and out)
2-3 squirts of Your fave face wash or baby wash

Cut the roll of towels in half and then cut the cardboard roll and pull it out of the middle. I used a bread knife to cut it, but I am sure an electric knife would be even better. With that done, you will be able to pull the wipes from the inside kinda like a dispenser. Put the roll in the canister, save the other half for later, or use it to make some wipes for a friend. If you are not using distilled water you will want to boil it to keep away any mold. While it is still hot or warm you want to add the coconut oil so it will liquify. The water needs to be more than 76 degrees for it to liquify. Stir it until completely dissolved and then add 2 -3 squirts of your favorite face wash or baby wash and stir again. Pour the mixture over the towels being sure to soak the whole roll. That's it, you probably want to wait for the water to cool before you try them though. I have also found that they are extra oily if you use them right after you make them. It's best to let it sit for a couple hours before you try them out. Check out the results, it removed all of my black and purple makeup! Cool huh? 


The coconut oil is what takes the makeup off and moisturizes your skin. I have to say that my complexion is so much better since I started using these. I used to get acne really bad, especially at THAT time of the month, but I am proud to say that this picture was taken when the acne should be the worst and I only have one blemish that is actually in the healing process, not the pus filled process. So, I am all for this, plus you really should check out this article about coconut oil. It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-hatred. Okay, maybe I made that last one up, but it's awesome stuff! It's also been proven to help with Thyroid function for those of us with hypothyroid disease. Did I mention how much I love the stuff!? In case you are wondering where you can find it, I bought mine at the International farmer's market, but I think whole foods would carry it and I am pretty sure that my local Kroger carries it in their organic section. The main thing is you really want to make sure that it is unrefined to get all of the benefits. Anyhow, I hope you will give this a go and let me know what you think in the comments section. If you try it out, let me know what benefits you notice.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who loves Cheese Dip??

Update: Wow! if you are here visiting from Pinterest, I appreciate you! I had no idea this post would be so popular, but I am honored. After you read this post please feel free to stick around or come back and check out some of my other blog posts. I blog about several things including recipes, crafts hairstyles and neat tricks that have helped me out or saved me money. I would be happy to have you as a subscriber or commenter as well. If you have any questions please contact me using the button to the right and I will respond as soon as possible. Thanks again!

 Hello again!  For the last few days I have been dreaming about Cheese dip, not the Velveeta kind, I'm talking about the creamy, gooey, white kind you get at the Mexican restaurant. They sell a poor facsimile of it at my local grocery store, but it's not the same and I was thinking that I really ought to share something that I already knew before Pinterest. Guess what!?!?! I know how to make that liquid gold that is Mexican restaurant cheese dip. This is the real deal, I got it from the manager of one of the many Mexican restaurants that we have in town. We used to go there a lot before money got tight and the manager, who I am pretty sure is a gay male, REALLY liked my husband. So, he was always giving us free stuff, including this recipe and the recipe for authentic flan (I'll have to save that for another day.) But, wait! There's more! Today's post is a twofer, I am also going to give you my best friend making, party invitation garnering Guacamole recipe....yep, you just heard those angels singing again. So without further ado, let's get to it!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Laundry-Blogger Therapy

I have to start this post off by thanking Jillee over at One Good Thing by Jillee. My family recently suffered the loss of a loved one and I have just been in a funk over it. I am still emotional and sad at times. Around the time that all of that happened I discovered Pinterest and from there Jillee's website. It was there that I learned you can make your own laundry detergent....wait, what? You can make detergent? Yes, and a whole lot of other stuff too. So, since I was bored and depressed and we are really strapped for cash right now, I decided to try out some of her recipes. I will be posting some of them in articles to come, along with my results and experiences. But today, I am going to post about my all new laundry lineup. I also have to say that Jillee inspired me to start blogging again, which is why I have actually been posting pretty regularly the last few weeks. I feel like I did when I discovered Jesus all over again and I just want everyone to know how awesome this is!!!! I have a dream that everyone will learn the benefits of homemade laundry detergent, cleaning goods, etc. and stick it to the big corporations selling us expensive crap! Okay, I'll get down off of my recycled soap box now. Seriously, I did the math, my favorite recipe for laundry detergent comes out to about 25 cents a gallon and one gallon washes 16 large loads at the least. That's just over a penny a load!!!! Not only am I saving money, but the eczema that both my son and daughter have been experiencing is starting to clear up and our laundry is brighter and smells better than it did with my really expensive name brand detergent. I can't say enough how excited I am about this. So my new homemade laundry regimen consists of Detergent, fabric softener (yeah, that's right) and stain remover.


 You will notice the downy unstopables (yes, it's spelled with one P. you grammar nazi!) pictured as well. I go ahead and splurge on the scent booster since I am saving SO MUCH on the other stuff. You really only need a Tablespoon to get a fantastic scent, as a matter of fact the whole house smells like it on laundry day. It makes me smile. So, the purple bottle is my fabric softener, I also have some in a gallon jug. The milk jug is detergent (I know it looks like water, but it's powerful).  The green spray bottle and mason jar are my homemade stain remover. It's works really well, I have 3 kids who don't stain their clothes as much as I stain my own and it is fantastic for mine. It has even removed a few old stains that I thought would never come out! So without further ado, here we go (with pictures!)



For Laundry Detergent you will need:

3 TBS Borax
3 TBS Washing Soda (not to be confused with baking soda)
2 TBS Dawn dish detergent

You will find the borax and washing soda in the laundry aisle at you're local grocery store. It was on the bottom shelf at my local Kroger and I really had to look for it.  Put all of your ingredients in whatever gallon jug is appropriate. I make it up in this milk jug and then transfer it to the name brand detergent container that I already have that is equipped with a handy dandy dispenser.


Run about a cup or so of hot tap water and pour that into your jug and swirl it around to dissolve everything. Don't shake it because you will get a lot of foam.  



When everything is dissolved put the jug in your sink and fill it with tap water. I pour it rather than let the faucet fill it to avoid foam. Some bubbles will spill over, but that's okay, you're soap will still be AWESOME!


That's it, you're done!!!! You will need to use about a cup of detergent for a large load. 


For Fabric Softener you will need:

15 - 16 oz bottle of cheap hair conditioner, whatever scent you like is fine.
6 cups water
3 cups white vinegar


Dump the conditioner in a really big bowl.


I am SUPER cheap, so I poured my water into the empty bottle and shook it to make sure I got every stinking last drop all of the conditioner out of the bottle.


Add Vinegar and whisk together. You will want to stir this instead of pouring it all in the jug and shaking so it will not foam up.


Then pour it into your containers. I know, it's unbelievably easy! I like to do a double whammy with my fabric softener. I use the jug just like I would use downy. I pour the same amount as I would with commercial softener into my downy ball and drop it into the washer. Then, when I put the clothes into the dryer I add a few squirts from the spray bottle and start it. The laundry comes out so soft and it smells like whatever scent conditioner you chose. Mine is the V05 Shea butter and vanilla.


Lastly, I didn't take pictures when I made my stain remover, but I will give you the recipe to try out.

You will need:

2/3 cup dawn dish soap (It's great stuff!)
2/3 cup ammonia
6 TBS baking soda
2 cups warm water

Mix all the ingredients and pour it into a spray bottle. Just spritz it on the stains, rub it in and toss the garment in the washer. Easy as pie! Hope this helps someone out and let me know what you think! I welcome comments below.





Monday, October 8, 2012

Potato chips...in the microwave?!?!?!


Okay, I have to start by saying that while I am not a HUGE fan of potato chips, I really do enjoy some salt and vinegar chips once in awhile. My mom buys snack packs of chips for my kids to take to school for snack time because I am a slacker don't buy all that crappy, snacky type of stuff for them. Also, I usually forget to buy anything at all for them to take for snack, but they accept me with all my faults and love me....most of the time. Today, my middle child (we will call her ray bear) came home eating her snack. I'm not sure why she didn't eat it at school, but when I saw that bag of salt and vinegar chips I started wanting some.

Coincidentally, I read a post today (at my new favorite blog here) about how you can make chips in your microwave. I wondered if I could make salt and vinegar chips though. After spending a bit of time with my boyfriend, Señor Google, I discovered that yes, you CAN! I decided to try it right then and there. After reading a few recipes and deciding what I thought would work best, here are the results! You should note that you can eat them a whole lot faster than you can make them and I dare you to wait until you are finished making them to actually eat them. Go on, I dare you!



You will need vinegar, salt, a couple of potatoes and some spray oil. I am sure you can use Pam or something like that, but I have a reusable oil spritzer with olive oil in it. First you will want to slice the potatoes very thin , like maybe 1/8th of an inch. I used a mandolin which made it quick and the slices were all very uniform. If you don't have one, just use a very sharp knife and get them as thin as you can. BTW, I should also let you know that I did not peel the potatoes, but you can if you want. Next you need to soak them in vinegar, I started with 15 minutes, but couldn't really taste it. I would recommend an hour or longer if you can wait that long.


After they have soaked for awhile, get a regular dinner plate and spray it with oil then sprinkle a bit of salt on top. You really don't need much at all, seriously, trust me, and then lay the slices out on the plate in a single layer. Make sure they are not touching because they will stick together. Don't put any salt on top, I sprinkled a bit on top of the first batch and they were WAY salty.



Stick them in the microwave for five minutes. Dance a little jig in front of the microwave while you wait. Who knew five minutes was soooo looong!



Then take them out and flip them. Be careful, the plate will be hot. I also rearranged them because the middle ones didn't seem to be as done as the outside ones.


Last, stick them in the microwave for about 1 -3 minutes longer. Be sure to keep an eye on them because they will go from done to burnt very quickly.



When you take them out, let them cool for a minute or two so you don't burn your mouth. They will also get crispier as they cool. We had a really hard time waiting long enough to get a bowl full so I could take a picture. They were THAT GOOD! 


About 5 seconds after this picture the bowl was empty. I did two potatoes and it took me about 5 plates to get them all done. By the last round my microwave must have gotten so hot that they got burned before the first 5 minutes was up and the hood fan turned on automatically. That's probably not a good thing. We still ate the last batch though. I am so excited about this that I just HAD to share. I love that this is a much healthier way to enjoy potato chips. Now, go and make potato chips, you know you want to!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How do ya like them apples?

Happy OCTOBER!!! It's apple time and as you may have seen in a previous post, I recently went to Jaemor Farms and bought a lot of apples. I have a recipe for peach cobbler that is so delicious and I make it when peaches are in season, but today, I decided I should try it with apples and here are the results.


It looks so yummy and trust me, it was fantastic!


Ingredients

Filling
4 cups sliced and peeled apples (any fruit would probably work)
1 1/2 cups sugar
cinnamon to taste (optional)

Batter
1 cup butter
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk

You want to start my peeling, coring and thinly slicing your apples. I have one of those combo units from pampered chef that I decided to use. It doesn't always work the way it should, check it out:

video

The cinematography is thanks to my youngest child, Stinkerboo, and yes, I always speak to my ingredients in funny voices. That's what they mean when they tell you it's made with love. When you are done loving cutting your apples you will then want to mix them with the 1 1/2 cups sugar and cinnamon and just let that sit for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally, this is what it will look like at the end of that time.


Meanwhile preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your butter in a 2.5 qt baking dish or larger and place it in the oven to melt. This was my first time baking this cobbler in stoneware and It turned out really well. This is my deep covered baker from pampered chef and I highly recommend it. If you get one be sure to ask your consultant to email you the free cookbook that comes with it.


Keep an eye on the butter to make sure it doesn't burn in the oven and take it out as soon as it is melted, but in the meantime you can go ahead and mix up your batter. Sift together the flour, sugar and baking powder and then whisk in the milk, lumps will remain. (BTW, do you like my frankenstein nail polish?)


Pour the batter into the dish on top of the butter. I know this seems backwards, but trust me, the batter cooks up around the fruit and the butter rises to the top to create a nice crust. It's magic! 


Once the fruit has been in the sugar for 20 minutes you can go ahead and pour it on top. Don't STIR!!!! Just spread it out on top and let it be.


You'll need to bake it around 45 minutes to an hour depending on your stove and what type of baking dish you use. It's done when you can insert a cake tester or knife in the center and it comes out clean. This is a great dish to take to a covered dish or just to have at home. I hope you'll give it a go and let me know how you like it in the comments below!



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Marriage is not a romance novel; Love is a verb.



Hello readers! Today's post is going to be a bit different than my usual fare. I have been reading a new blog lately and it has really changed my outlook on my marriage and I want to share! So, thanks to Pinterest I stumbled upon this blog series called 29 days to great sex over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum. Trust me, had I realized the series was about Sex I would not have clicked....really, I'm a prude and I'm pretty sure christians NEVER talk about the "S" word. Plus, I guess I'm a bit vain, but I thought everything was fine in that area for Señor Caliente and myself.

Before I really begin, I guess I should give a bit of background. Señor Caliente and I have had a very passionate relationship from the beginning, it has either been passionately good or passionately bad. We love and fight with passion. You see, without going into too much detail today I will tell you that I didn't understand Christ's love for me as a young woman and I was desperately searching for love. I had intended to save myself for marriage, but I really let myself get swept away by my romance novel idea of love for Señor Caliente. Long story short, I ended up pregnant with our oldest son and after he was born we eventually got married and had 2 more children. We did not live happily ever after. As a matter of fact we have lost count of the number of times that we have been separated. The last time we separated was almost exactly 3 years ago. He begged me to come back and I told him that counseling was a must and that if I had to leave again I would never come back.

We went to healing grace ministries which I had learned about from my pastor and I expected them to fix The hubster so that we could be happy (are you laughing yet?). First off, I had to sign a contract that I wouldn't talk to anyone outside of my marriage about my marriage besides the counselors. That was when I figured out my first big mistake, by talking to my friends and hearing them tell me how badly he treated me I began to feel justified and even more negative. I wasn't venting, I was making myself more angry. I had been talking to everyone but God about how horrible my marriage was! So, I made a change in myself by praying about my hubby instead of "venting" to my friends and things began to change for us. As the last 3 years have passed, I think I have changed more than he has and as I have allowed God to fix me, I have seen our marriage improve. It's still not a romance novel by any means, but God has taught me that Love is a verb. It's a choice, something you do rather than something you feel. By making that choice, we have managed to hold it together while many of our friends' marriages disintegrated  Please don't think I am judging anyone, I'm not. I don't know your circumstances, so I can't. What I CAN do is tell you what things worked for me.

Anyhow, that brings me to the present and stumbling upon this series. I know that we are far from average in the bedroom. Señor Caliente is good at his job in that respect, however we still had a huge bone of contention here. He felt that I didn't love him and wasn't affectionate enough and I couldn't understand why he always wanted sex and just wouldn't leave me alone. He was always grabbing and touching and it made me mad. Really mad! So then, I would stop talking to him and he would stop talking to me and we would spend days angry at each other. That changed when I read this series of articles and began to understand a few things. First off, sex is what makes my husband feel loved and God wants us to enjoy sex and use it to become closer and more intimate. Secondly, If I am close minded and just decide I am too tired or whatever then I am not going to enjoy it and in turn he will not enjoy it and will feel unloved. Lastly, when I go in wholehearted and enjoy myself, he enjoys himself, we feel more connected and then he is able to show me love in the way I need it. I am really not able to go into detail about how it all works. But, I would encourage each of you to take an adventure with your hubby and explore the 29 days to great sex series. It's not just about sex, it's about how God intended for married christian couples to enjoy each other and how to make your marriage even better. The best part is, that my hubby is starting to resemble my romantic hero more every day. If there's hope for us, there's hope for everyone! Let me know if I can pray for you & your husband or your marriage and please, before you go talk to people about your marriage, talk to God. Trust me, He's a great listener and He will give you peace about whatever trials you face with your spouse.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Adventures in canning!

Hello Blogosphere! Well at the end of my last post I promised to post about my Adventures in Canning. Last week was such a busy week! I spent almost every day at my Mom's helping my Mom and Grandma to put up veggies to get us through the next year. The main things we can and freeze are Grandpa's pepper relish, green beans, tomatoes and various forms of pickles. Last week we made Grandpa's relish.

 Doesn't it look so colorful and yummy?


 This is the finished product! Sadly, my Mom said I can't blog the recipe for the "Best Relish EVAH!!!" because it's a secret family recipe. Sorry to tantalize you with a glimpse of this wonderful stuff that is so good on beans, hot dogs, and of course Grandpa's famous relish ham. Since I couldn't give you the recipe I thought I would do a short tutorial on how to freeze green beans. We used to can them until mom got a ginormous chest freezer and we figured out how much easier it is to freeze them. 

First of all you have to wash the beans. They are very dirty and if you get them from a large farm rather than growing them yourself there is no telling what chemicals could be on them. Usually we move them from sink to sink until the water is clear. I suppose you could also soak them in a vinegar bath to kill any bacteria.


Next you will need to string and break them,


My Mom was kind enough to do a video on how to string and snap beans just in case you are a dummy city girl, like me.

video

After you get the beans cleaned, strung and broken you will want to blanch them. Don't worry, it's easy! Just bring them to a boil and let them boil until the color changes just slightly. Then, take them out of the boiling water and put them in cold water so they stop cooking. Let them dry on a towel and then you can bag them. We usually bag them in quart size freezer bags and stick them in the freezer. That's it, you're done! We bagged around 52 quarts of green beans and that should take us into next year when we plant our gardens again. 


Do you prefer canning or freezing? Tell me about it in the comments, also let me know if you would like a tutorial on canning tomatoes! Don't forget to follow my blog. I will be blogging about all kinds of housewifey stuff and my futile attempts to become the next Martha.

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