Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Easy Substitutes for Buttermilk, Whipping Cream, and Cream of Tartar







Join us for Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.


One of my more popular posts is this one from September 13, 2009 No Buttermilk?  No Problem!  Easy Buttermilk Substitutes.  Because of it's popularity I thought I would update that post and include additional substitutes for whipping cream, as well as cream of tartar.


Buttermilk

  • Lemon Juice - Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of milk. Stir and let sit for five minutes before using.
  • Vinegar - Vinegar works in the same way as the lemon juice, add one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of milk. Stir and let sit for five minutes before using.
  • Cream of Tartar - To use cream of tartar as a substitute for buttermilk just add 1 3/4 teaspoons Cream of Tartar to one cup of milk.
  • Plain Yogurt - Use one cup of plain yogurt in place of every one cup of buttermilk called for.
Whipping Cream

One note to keep in mind when it comes to using substitutes for whipping cream is that the substitute may change the consistency or taste of the recipe. Be sure to choose the most appropriate substitute for your recipe.

  • Butter and Milk - For one cup of whipping cream, mix together 1/3 cup of softened butter with ¾ cup of milk using an electric mixer. You can use the electric mixer to beat the mixture until the desired consistency is reached. This substitute works best in baking or cooking recipes.
  • Chilled Evaporated Milk - Chill a thirteen ounce can of evaporated milk in the refrigerator for at least twelve hours and add in one teaspoon of lemon juice. Then beat with an electric mixer until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Milk, Flour, and Cornstarch - Whisk together one cup of milk with two tablespoons of cornstarch. When they are combined, continue whisking and add in one tablespoon of flour. This substitute works best when the whipping cream is being used as a thickening agent.
  • Frozen Non-Dairy Topping - You can thaw out Cool-Whip or another frozen non-dairy topping and use it in place of whipping cream.
  • Half and Half - Half and Half can also be used in place of whipping cream.
Cream of Tartar

As with the whipping cream in recipes you need to determine the use of cream of tartar in recipes before choosing which substitute to use. Please choose your substitute depending on your use.

  • When Beating Egg Whites - When the recipe calls for cream of tartar to help with the beating of egg whites you can either omit the cream of tartar completely, or use an equal amount of either vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Frosting - When cream of tartar is called for in frosting you can skip the cream of tartar completely as no substitution is necessary.
  • Leavening Agent - When cream of tartar is called for in a recipe generally baking soda will be called for as well. When substituting cream of tartar in these recipes leave both the cream of tartar and baking soda out of the recipe and use baking powder in place of both. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/3 teaspoon of baking soda and 2/3 teaspoon of cream of tartar use one teaspoon of baking powder.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Valentine's Day Date Ideas For Couples on a Budget

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that is all about love, but spending time with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day can be expensive. If you are celebrating the Valentine’s Day holiday on a budget and are looking for some inexpensive Valentine’s Day date ideas here are a few ideas.


Do Lunch Instead of Dinner

Almost all of your most popular restaurants offer lunch specials during the week, even on Valentine’s Day. Not only will you receive a discount on your meal by eating earlier in the day you will also avoid the crowds that night. If you decide to do a lunch date why not top it off with a Matinee movie, which will also be cheaper than evening prices?

Eat In Before Going Out

Not every date night has to include eating out. If you have plans to go to a concert, see a movie, or have some other sort of entertainment planned for the evening you can enjoy a meal at home before heading out for the evening instead of dining out at a restaurant. By saving money on food, you can spend more money on the entertainment portion of the date.

Choose a Date from The Dating Divas

The Dating Divas is a blog that is written by a group of friends who offer some great inexpensive (and sometimes FREE) date ideas each week. These are complete step-by-step ideas where you pretty much just have to show up at the chosen location and follow the date’s instructions. Almost all of these ideas would work great as a Valentine’s Day date. My favorite one is “The Bookstore Date” but there are a ton of ideas here. You can check them all out by visiting The Dating Divas blog.

Amazing Race Valentines Edition (Group Date)

Not all dates have to be just the two of you. Some of my favorite dates have been group dates, and this Amazing Race Valentines Edition group date would be an amazing time in my opinion. The ladies made up amazing matching tee-shirts, and created a fun scavenger hunt for the guy’s to complete while the ladies were cooking dinner for the men. If you do choose to do a group date, and need a babysitter hiring a babysitter to babysit for two or three of the families at the same time can save on childcare costs. You can find all the details for the Amazing Race Valentines Edition date by visiting the blog, My Insanity.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Celebrating Valentine's Day with Kids



Valentine's Day is still a few weeks away but it's never too early to get started planning for it. Here at the Modern Day Mom Valentine's Day is all about the kids around here.  My husband and I are not very lovey, dovey, mushy people so a holiday about love just isn't us.  However a holiday about love that we can celebrate with our kids, that is a holiday we can get behind.  Each year we try to do little things that make the holiday special for our kids, and we have several traditions that our kids look forward to each year. 

Here are a few of the ways we make Valentine's Day special for our kids:

Heart Shaped Pancakes
These are a favorite tradition on Valentine’s Day around here. I have a silicone heart shape that I use to shape my pancakes but if you can't find one, just simply make your pancakes the regular way and use a large heart shaped cookie cutter to cut them into heart shapes. While our pancakes are always heart shaped we do add in variations from year to year. Sometimes we add red and pink sugar sprinkles to the batter to have pancakes with sprinkles in them, or we add red or pink food coloring to the batter to have red or pink colored pancakes.

Salt Dough Hearts
Last year we had a party for the kid’s friends for Valentine’s Day and had the kids paint Salt Dough Hearts as one of the crafts at the party. The day before the party I made a big batch of salt dough, rolled it out, and cut it into large hearts using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Before I baked them I took an ice pick and made a hole in the top of each heart to put a ribbon through. The next day at the party we painted them, added glitter and other goodies to decorate them, then ran red or pink ribbon through the hole so that they could be hung up.

Pink and Red Dinner
I know several families who do this each year as well. We set the dining room table with our fancy china, napkins, and decorate with plenty of hearts. Our dinner consists of items that are red and pink. Be creative when planning your meal, and don't forget you can use red or pink food coloring. Pastas are an easy main dish that incorporates red.

You're Special Hearts
Using red construction paper cut out a large red heart. You will need one heart for each member of your family. Decorate the middle of each heart with the name of a family member. What you are going to do is each family member will write why they think that person is special on their heart. Then at supper time everyone will read what the other family members have written about them.

Valentine’s Day Movie
Every year after our Pink and Red Dinner we all enjoy a family friendly Valentine’s Day movie. Be My Valentine Charlie Brown is one of our favorites.

What are the ways that you make Valentine's Day special for your kids?


Join us for Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Spaghetti and Pizza Sauce with Canning Instructions




Join us for Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed with Grace.

This is an updated recipe from a post I made in July of 2009, the original post can be found here.  I have updated the canning instructions for this recipe.

I discovered this lovely pizza sauce recipe when I was trying to perfect my homemade pizzas. All of the sauces I had tried had just fallen short of what I wanted. Once I found this basic recipe, and of course made a few adjustments, I knew it was a keeper. After taste testing it, my husband and I agreed not only was it the perfect pizza sauce but it made an awesome spaghetti sauce. When I make it I usually make extras and can them so that I continuously have it on hand for those days when I need a meal in a hurry. I can them in different size jars, with larger jars for spaghetti sauce and smaller jelly size jars for pizza sauce.


Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (8 Ounce) Cans Tomato Sauce

2 (6 Ounce) Cans Tomato Paste

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons fennel seed

Directions

  1. In a large pan add the butter and olive oil. When the butter has melted and the oil is warm, add in the onion and garlic, sautéing until they are soft.
  2. Add in tomato sauce and tomato paste, stirring until smooth.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a slow simmer. Continue to simmer for forty-five minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and you are ready to serve.
Canning Instructions

You can add meat to the spaghetti sauce before canning it if you wish, (I do not do this) if you do be sure to drain all fat from the hamburger before mixing it into the sauce. Since you are putting hot sauce into the canning jars, you will want to heat the jars. You can do this in one of two ways, by warming the jars in a water bath canner, or you can heat them in my dishwasher on the sanitize cycle. I prefer to heat them in my dishwasher.

When your jars are hot you can use your wide mouth funnel to help put the sauce into the jars. Be sure to leave about an inch and a half of headspace in each jar.

Now it is time to put your lids on your jars. You will want to wipe down the outside rims of the jar, and place a clean lid on each jar, using the ring to secure it.

After the lids are on the jars you are ready to put the sauce into the pressure cooker. You will want to add about two to three inches of water to the bottom of your pressure cooker before putting your jars in. After you have the water in your pressure cooker it is time to add the jars. Once you have added the jars, tighten the lid on your pressure cooker and you are ready to go.

To process the jars you will want to eleven pounds of pressure in the pressure cooker. Once you have reached this point, you will want to continue to process the jars for an additional fifteen minutes.

Once the jars have been processed in the pressure cooker, it is time to carefully remove them to the counter to cool. I do this by using a jar lift, and placing them on a heavy towel so that they do not damage my cabinet. Once the jars have cooled you will want to check to make sure that all of the lids sealed tightly, if any jars did not seal either use immediately or reprocess.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Even More Ways to Organize Recipes Online




Almost three years ago, back in March of 2010, I wrote the post Organizing Recipes That You Find Online that contained ideas for saving recipes that you find online like printing them out to go in a recipe binder, saving them as a word document, and organizing them in your Favorites Menu. This has been a popular post and with new technology (think Pinterest) the way that I have organized my recipes online has changed a little. Here are a few more ideas that you can use to save the recipes that you find online.


Pinterest

Probably one of the most popular ways, and one of my favorite ways, to save online recipes is by pinning them to Pinterest. I have created Pinterest boards to organize my recipes into categories; I have them organized by Chicken Recipes, Beef Recipes, Hamburger Recipes, Seafood Recipes, Bread Recipes, Cookie Recipes, Pie Recipes, etc. I also have recipes organized by holidays and seasons like Summer Menu for light summery foods, Winter Soups, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and even set up boards for events like Birthdays or special parties. There are endless possibilities for organizing recipes on Pinterest and everyone on Pinterest seems to have their own way of doing it. You can sign up for Pinterest and visit my Pinterest page here.

Google Docs

Saving a recipe on Google Docs is an easy way to organize and save recipes that you want to keep. Not only can you organize them easily and can easily make notes or changes to the recipe but you can also have access to your recipes no matter where you are or if something happens to your hard drive.
File Folders

Recipes can be easily accessed when saved in File Folders, the real ones, not the virtual ones. If you like to have a real recipe in your hand to hold and don’t want to have to rely on a computer, a tablet, or your phone to read your recipe this is a great way to organize your recipes. Print out any recipes that you want to keep, and place them in file folders in your kitchen. You can organize recipes by categories, and have a folder for recipes that you want to try.

All Recipes Recipe Box

Al l Recipes has a feature called Recipe Box that allows you to save all of your recipes that can be found online in one place. It is free to register for All Recipes Recipe Box feature and by using it you can have access to all of your recipes from any Internet connection. Sign up for All Recipes Recipe Box here.

Apple My Recipe Book App

Apple offers the My Recipe Book App for Apple users. The App costs $1.99 and allows users to organize recipes easily. Recipes can be imported directly from the website, sorted by keywords or categories, allows users to adjust serving sizes, and create a grocery list. The best part there is no Internet Connection needed to view recipes that you have saved using this App. You can find out more about Apple’s My Recipe Book App by visiting the ITunes store.


How do you organize the recipes that you find online?




Monday, January 14, 2013

Hearty Turkey Chili






My husband found out in April that he had some heart problems and we have had to change the way that we eat.  So I have been using ground turkey in place of ground beef in every recipe that I can.  Many of the ground turkey recipes for chili that I found were nowhere near as hearty as the ground beef version.  So this chili is the result of the mixture of several recipes to create a hearty chili recipe that uses ground turkey and will make everyone happy.



I served the chili over spaghetti noodles and with cheddar cheese for the majority of our family, but my husband chose to eat his without the noodles or cheese and the chili was perfect as a stand alone as well.

Ingredients:
  • One Pound Ground Turkey
  • Two Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • One Small Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Diced Green Peppers
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 28 Ounce Can Whole Tomatoes (I like whole tomatoes but you can use diced instead)
  • 16 Ounce Can Dark Kidney Beans
  • (2) 16 Ounce Cans Chili Beans
  • (2) 6 Ounce Cans Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder (Divided)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Oregano Leaves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (I used Sea Salt but regular salt is fine)
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Place the ground turkey, onions, and green peppers in the pot.  Sprinkle ground turkey with 1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder.  Cook until ground turkey is evenly browned, and the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add in water, tomatoes, beans, and tomato paste.
  3. Stir in remaining spices.
  4. Cook over medium high heat until mixture reaches a boil.  Reduce to low heat, and simmer for an additional two hours, stirring frequently.






Sunday, January 13, 2013

Menu Plan, January 14th to 20th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

It is going to be one busy week for us this week.  We are back to school and co-op, our weekly bible studies start back up, and we have our monthly Keepers at Home meeting this week.  Which means simple meals are absolutely necessary this week!  It is probably going to take us a week or two to get back into the groove of things.

Here is what I have planned for this week:
links to recipes are in red

Monday

Breakfast:  Allergy Free Granola Bars (will add in some raisins and chocolate chips)

Lunch:  Ham Roll Ups, Pretzels, Grapes, Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Dinner:  Spaghetti with Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce (missed last week), Garlic Bread

Snack:  Fruit Cocktail

Tuesday


Lunch:  Leftover Spaghetti

Dinner:  Brown Sugar Ham Steaks, Crashed Potatoes (recipe coming soon), Corn, Bread Machine Bread


Wednesday

Breakfast:  Easy Homemade Biscuits, Sausage Gravy

Lunch:  Pasta and Peas

Dinner:  Sandwiches before church

Snack:  Pudding

Thursday


Dinner:  Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Corn


Friday

Breakfast:  Cereal

Lunch:  Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Dinner:  Pork Loin Roast with Vegetables and Gravy (missed two weeks ago - recipe coming soon), Bread Machine Bread 


Saturday


Eating Out Before Church

Sunday

Breakfast:  Cereal

Lunch:  Leftover Pork Loin and Vegetables



Saturday, January 12, 2013

Questions To Ask When Considering The Purchase of a New House





Buying a new house can be scary. There are so many things to consider when looking at a potential new house, and one missed step or one question that goes unasked can turn out to be a major disaster.
When we purchased our current  home we asked everything we could think of, we looked at it three times before making an offer, and visited it at different times of the day making sure to check out the area each time.  Here are some of the questions that you should ask the seller before considering making an offer on any house.

The Roof
You will want to ask how old the roof currently is, along with how many layers of shingles there are currently on the roof, and if there is any leaks. Not only will this let you know if you are going to be needing to repair or replace the roof in the near future but your insurance company will ask these questions when you try to get insurance on the home. If the roof is too old or has too many layers of shingles on the roof it can cause the insurance company to not offer you insurance coverage on the home or may cause them to not fully cover the roof if a disaster strikes.

Pests
Are there any current pest issues or is there any evidence of past pest issues? This includes insects, termites, and rodents. If there is currently a pest issue how long has it been going on, and what steps have been taken to rid it. If there was a past issue be sure to find out what it was, and when it occurred.

Water and Sewer
You will want to find out if the home is on city water or on a well system. If the home is on a well you may have a hard time finding financing for the home, as FHA will not allow you to purchase a home on a well. You will also want to know if the home is hooked up to the city sewer system or is on a septic tank. If it is on the sewer system you will want to find out how the sewer bill is figured, and how much it typically costs the home owner each month. If the home is on a septic tank you will want to find out if there have been any issues with the septic tank and how often it has been serviced. You will also want to make sure that you find the location of the septic tank.

Neighbors
Great neighbors can make a house a great place to be, while horrible neighbors will make you dread coming home each day. Make sure that you ask the current homeowners about the neighbors. Are there loud parties in the area, does the next door neighbor have teenagers running in and out of their house all day? Also be sure to ask what type of pets they have. Do they have a rooster that crows in the morning, a large Saint Bernard that barks at everything that it sees and the neighbors are scared of? You will also want to check your local sex offender registry and crime reports of the area, both of these can generally be found online or you can get them at your local sheriff’s office.

Does everything stay?
Having the conversation about what stays before making an offer on the house can prevent a lot of misunderstanding later. Make sure that you put into the contract everything that will stay. This includes everything from the hot tub and/or pool to the dog kennel and stove.

Heating and Air System
Be sure to ask about the heating and air system. You will want to know how old it is, whether or not it is gas or electric, along with how much it typically costs to heat and cool the house each year. You will also want to ask how often it has been serviced, when the last repairs were made and what they were, along with who repaired it.

Repairs
While we are on the subject of repairs, you will want to inquire about recent repairs that were made to the house, and who did them. Was a licensed repairman used, or was it a do it yourself project? If the repairs were done by the homeowners themselves you will want to have them checked out, as someone who is not licensed may not have done them correctly, which could cost you more to have them repaired correctly.

Hot Water Heater
As with the heating and air system you will want to inquire about the age of the hot water heater, along with whether or not it is gas or electric. You will also want to know what the size of it is, and compare that to the size of the house. You will want to make sure that the hot water heater is an appropriate size in comparison to the size of the house.

Why are they moving?
Believe it or not this might just be the most important question that you ask. Are they moving because the commute to their work is brutal, and you work in the same area? Is the upkeep on the house just too much? There answer here could be a key to whether or not the house will work for you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tips For Saving Money During Baby's First Year




Raising a new born baby can be expensive. It is reported that raising a baby can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $14,000 in the first year alone, and that by the time a child reaches age seventeen they will have cost the parents about $250,000 . That doesn’t even include the cost of college! With figures that high, saving money can be a high priority for parents. Here are some great ways to help you save money during your baby’s first year.


Buy a Convertible Car Seat

An infant car seat can be convenient, as it can be removed from the car while baby is in it and can often be attached to a stroller. However, an infant car seat can only be used until the baby reaches twenty to thirty pounds, at which point a bigger car seat must be purchased. A convertible car seat is a car seat that can be either rear or forward facing, and will accommodate an infant that weighs anywhere between five to forty or more pounds. This will allow you to get a much longer use out of just one car seat.

Breastfeeding

While breastfeeding is not only healthier for your baby, it can also save you a ton of cash. Formula can cost $1,000 or more for that first year, and breastfeeding is significantly lower. There will be costs associated with breastfeeding, which include breastfeeding bras, nursing wear, ointments, and possibly a breast pump, but those costs will be nowhere near what the cost of formula would be.

Buy Store Brand Formula

This is one place where buying the store brand is honestly the same as buying name brand. The FDA requires that all store brand formulas meet the same nutritional requirements as the brand name. This can save as much as fifty percent on formula costs.

Get Those Coupons

Almost all of your major baby goods manufacturers will offer mailing lists that you can sign up for to receive coupons on everything from diapers, to formula, to wipes, and toys. It has also been reported that checking “Planning to Breastfeed” instead of “Planning to Use Formula” will get you better coupons and more samples from formula manufacturers.

Skip the Baby Detergent

When manufacturers of laundry detergent offered lines of detergent that were solely filled with fragrances and/or dyes buying laundry detergent specifically for babies was important. However, now that you can purchase regular laundry detergent that is dye and fragrance free you can skip the baby detergent and buy the regular laundry detergent that is just as safe for baby’s delicate skin.

Make Your Own Baby Food

Once your baby is eating solids, making your own baby food can be a great way to save on baby food. Not only is it less expensive but it is much fresher. With just a food processor you can use bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and more to make healthy baby food for your baby.

Buy Unisex Colors

Sure those pink onesies, crib sheets, and socks are adorable for your little girl but believe me she won’t wear them out before she outgrows them which means they can be used again when her little brother or sister comes along. By buying unisex colors like mint green, yellow, or brown you can use those cute little items a second time around regardless of whether your second child is a boy or girl.

Skip the Personalization

Just like the colors having everything personalized with baby’s name makes it harder to use that second time around. Instead of personalizing blankets, diaper bags, and burp cloths with baby’s name opt for the first letter of your last name or skip the personalization all the way around.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How to Paint Stripes on Walls



The Chicken Chick
 
Join us for the Clever Chicks Blog Hop at The Chicken Chick.
 
 

I have been getting a lot of questions about my striped walls in my Christmas pictures and I thought I would share how it was done.  Luckily as we were doing them I took a lot of pictures because I am trying to document the remodeling of our house. 

My husband is on disability from injuries he sustained in a car wreck in 2008.  Since that time our income has drastically changed.  When he first had his wreck we had bought a lovely five bedroom home on ten acres with plenty of land and woods.  Quess what?  With a husband who doesn't always feel up to work it was too much for us.  Luckily we were able to sell and moved into a rental house until we could find the "right" place for us.  We stayed at the rental house for a year and nine months. 

In September we found the house that we are currently in.  The house was a great price (as in we will have it paid off in SIX years - that's right six years) but needed some work.  Nothing was wrong with the house structurally but it had been empty for three years.  The hallway was an ugly olive green with textured paint, the carpets were stained, the back deck was gone off the house, but when we walked through it we knew we could fix everything that was wrong with it.  It is amazing what some paint will do to a room!   

The house is somewhat in the country, we still have neighbors close by but we can enjoy country living here.  The house is open, and airy feeling.  I tried to keep this in mind when picking paint colors and really wanted to pick colors that were bright, cheery, and would make you feel welcome.  I have never had a yellow room and wanted to paint my living room yellow.  We looked at several yellows and finally decided on one.  It didn't turn out quite like I expected.....


It was suppose to be much lighter, and I was sick as soon as I started painting it.  I was ready to scrap it all, and go get a new paint color.  However, my husband and I started trying to come up with ways we could save it.  My daughters had been wanting wall stripes in their room, and I thought "You know, that just might work in here."  And if it didn't work, no big deal because we are going to have to repaint anyways! 

So I started researching how to paint stripes on walls.  All of the tutorials I found suggested painting the entire room with a flat base coat before striping.  Well, I had used semi-gloss instead of flat but I decided to do it anyhow.  I went to Lowes and choose a lighter color yellow off of the same color swatch that the current yellow was from.  I bought it in flat so that the two shades would have the different texture.

When I stripe the girls room I will paint the entire room in flat first, and then stripe with a semi-gloss but since I had the semi-gloss on the wall first this time I did it backwards.

To make the striping easier I decided to make my stripes the same width as my paint roller.  I believe it was nine inches. 

We started taping off the wall with masking tape to stripe the walls.  Here is a secret...we had some of the expensive blue painters tape and some of the cheaper masking tape becausse we didn't have enough of the blue to do the whole room.  The cheaper masking tape actually worked better! 


As I looked at the tape stripes I was overwhelmed, and worried that I would forget which tape lines I was suppose to paint between.


So I decided to label them.


It is hard to tell in this photo but I took a pencil and marked the stripes I was to paint by putting a "P" and an arrow pointing to the side of the tape I was to paint on each piece of tape.

Then I started painting. 

It is important to take the tape off while the paint is still wet.  If you let it dry it will allow the paint to soak through the tape and run.


And here is the finished product!



It really didn't take too much time to paint the stripes.  From the time we started putting up tape until the time we finished painting the stripes it was about three hours.  Our base coat on the wall had been drying for about a day when we applied the stripes.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about striping the walls.  I highly encourage you to give it a try, it really is not as hard as it looks and gives the room a great look.  Everyone who sees it loves it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Getting Your Kids To Eat More Veggies

Join us for Works-for-Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

Getting my kids to eat their vegetables is a never ending battle around my house. I know there are several cookbooks on the market that advocate hiding vegetables in everyday foods that your kids will eat regularly but for me that is not the point of getting my kids to eat their vegetables. I don’t want to be sneaky about it because I want my kids to know they are eating vegetables, and start a lifelong habit of eating healthy. A lot of the ideas below will only help get your kid to eat only one or two new vegetables at a time but the key is to get them use to eating vegetables, once your child has begun eating vegetables it is easier to get them to try new ones. The key to getting them to eat more vegetables is baby steps; you can’t expect a complete change overnight. So if you are like me and would like to get your kids to eat their vegetables here are some creative ways to get that to happen.


Peas in a Pop

When I first heard of Peas in a Pop I was a bit appalled, but after the initial shock wore off I realized that this really wasn’t a bad idea. If you don’t know what Peas in a Pop is it is peas in a popsicle form. Kids love it, and it is a fun way to get kids to eat their peas. You simply take frozen peas and place them in popsicle molds. Fill the molds to the top with peas, and then cover with cold water. Place the popsicle molds in the freezer, and let sit for three hours. Once they have frozen completely they are ready to be served.

Let Them Grow It

Letting your kids grow vegetables will help encourage them to eat their vegetables. After all what kid can resist eating the fruits (or vegetables in this case) of their labor? If you don’t have room for a conventional garden you can try a small container garden or participating in a community garden.

Visit a Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Markets are becoming more popular and it is easier than ever before to find one near you. Take your child to visit the farmer’s market and let them pick out vegetables that they want to try. So what if they want to try eggplant and you have no idea how to cook it. Buy the eggplant, find a new recipe, and cook it together.

Get the Copy-Kids Eat Fruits and Vegetables Movie

For younger kids (think two to five year olds) there is the Copy-Kids Eat Fruits and Vegetables Movie. The movie features twelve minute segments that show kids eating fruits and vegetables that include bell pepper, bananas, oranges, carrots, strawberries, avocado, raspberries, tomatoes, apples, broccoli, and blueberries. Just simply fill up a plate with the vegetables featured in the movie, turn the movie on, and watch your kids copy the kids in the movie by eating the vegetables on their own plate.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cinnamon Vanilla Pancakes - Freezer Meal




Join us for Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace.

Cinnamon Vanilla Pancakes these little disks of flavor are a crowd favorite at our house and they freeze perfectly for use later. 

Ingredients:

3 Cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
4 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
6 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Cups Milk
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Instructions:

Mix together all ingredients.  Batter will be a little runny.


When making these I use my griddle because there are so many.  My kids love pancakes made in the skillet but this is just easier for me.

Pour about 1/4 cup of pancake mixture per pancake onto lightly greased griddle on medium-high heat.


Cook one to two minutes per side or until golden brown.


Let pancakes cool completely.  Once they have cooled completely it is time to flash freeze them.  This is done by placing cooled pancakes on cookie sheets (or pizza pans) and placing them in the freezer for fifteen minutes.  Flash freezing the pancakes individually allows them to be easily pulled out of the freezer for warming up later on.


Once you have flash frozen your pancakes put them in a freezer bag and place them in the freezer. 


To heat them up just pull out the amount you need and heat them in the microwave for two to three minutes.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Menu Plan, January 7th to 13th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

It's that time again, time for a new menu plan!  One of the things that I need to work on is more of a variety when it comes to lunches.  Soups and sandwiches or leftovers from the night before are our go to but I want to make an effort to make something a little different for lunches.  However, this may not be the week to do it because we are back to school this week after a looong break. 

Here's what I have on the menu for this week:
links to recipes are in red

Monday

Breakfast:  Cereal

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Dinner: Best Ever Beef Stew, Basic White Bread (make two loaves use one for Tuesday breakfast)

Snack:  Fake Betty Crocker Brownie Mix (Make up Extras for Future Use)

Tuesday


Lunch: Ham and Egg Sandwiches


Snack:  Pineapple Chunks 

Wednesday

Breakfast:  Omelette Muffins

Lunch:  Leftover Turkey Chili


Snack:  Jello

Thursday

Breakfast:  Pancakes

Lunch:  Leftover Spaghetti and Rolls

Dinner:  Ham Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus

Snack:  Pudding

Friday

Breakfast:  Cereal

Lunch:  Soup and Sandwiches


Snack: Oatmeal Cake

Saturday


Shopping and church eating out.

Sunday

Breakfast: Biscuits and Gravy
Lunch:  Soups and Sandwiches

Dinner:  Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Yummy Dinner Rolls

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Decorating on a Budget


Decorating your home is important; after all it is what makes your home feel inviting and more like a home instead of just a house. If you are on a budget decorating your home can be a challenge but it is possible to decorate your home and stay within your budget. When trying to decorate your home on a budget it is important to focus on high traffic rooms, as those will be the ones most visited. Good rooms to focus on are the living room, kitchen, and main bathroom.


Paint

Painting is the cheapest and easiest way to change the entire look of a room. A new paint job makes everything look fresh and clean, while changing a room from a boring contractor white to a bright yellow can add a whole new look to a room.

Giant Photo

Create a focal point in any room with a giant photo. Office supply stores like Office Depot, Office Max, and staples will print what they call an Engineer’s Print of one of your photos very cheaply, in most cases it is less than $10. These prints can only be done in black and white but they measure about four feet by three feet. Sugar Bee Crafts has an excellent tutorial on how to mount one of these prints to plywood for hanging, which you can find here.

Tablecloths as Curtains

Draperies can be very expensive but can add a lot of drama to a room. Tablecloths can easily be turned into curtains by adding a hem for hanging. Not only are tablecloths much less expensive you have many more patterns to choose from (which can help to make a bold statement), come in long sizes like 60x84 inches or 60x104 inches, and are meant to be laundered frequently.

Create Your Own Wall Art

You don’t have to be a world renowned artist to create your own wall art; all you have to do is take a look around Pinterest to find some excellent ideas on how to do this. There are tons of Do It Yourself blogs that offer some great tutorials for this as well. Here are some of my favorites, Spunky Junky’s Chevron Shoebox Wall Art, Curbly’s Making Wall Art Out of Styrofoam, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Tree from Duitang.com, and the 3-D Cardboard Stars from Grey Luster Girl.

Repurpose Items

Do you have an old dresser that you aren’t using anymore? What about an old door? Or even an old desk? They don’t have to be used for their original purposes; they can be repurposed into something new that you will love using. You could turn the dresser into a traditional console like Southern Revivals did here, you can turn the desk into night tables like Sugar Bee Crafts did here, and the door can be a bookshelf like the one that was done here on My Repurposed Life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Detailed House Cleaning Schedule

Join us for Works-for-Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.

The eternal debate is this one true?


Or is this one true?


I can see the truth in both of them, that's my problem.  I don't have time for detailed cleaning.  Let's face it, I hate cleaning.  The problem however is that we have five people living in our house that homeschool, work from home, and are pretty much at home twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.  Our house gets dirty pretty quickly.  We keep our house pretty clean, and everyone in the house participates in keeping it clean.  However there are times when I sit back, look at all that has to be done, and feel overwhelmed.  I have tried the Fly Lady Technique, and it just doesn't work for me.  Our house is too active to focus on just one room a week.  Therefore Fly Lady doesn't work for us. 

Instead I have come up with a detailed cleaning list for every room in our house.  We focus on one room a day.  In the morning after breakfast, and before we start our studies we head to the days room (unless it is a bathroom or kitchen those are done after school).  We take the detailed cleaning list with us and work down the list.  Everyone takes a job off the list and gets to work.  There are a total of nine rooms in our house that get cleaned so we don't get to all nine rooms each week, however the kitchen and bathroom get done every week.  We generally don't clean on Sundays and Mondays, so we start out on Tuesdays with a room.  If we didn't get to the Master Bedroom the week before we will start there, and then start the rooms over again with the living room on Wednesday.

We also have a Morning and Bedtime Checklist the kids use to make sure that their bedrooms stay clean in between deep cleanings. 

This system works best for us, as it allows us to make sure that no area of our house gets left out. 

Here are our lists:

Morning Checklist


o Made Bed

o Turn Off Night Light

o Put away Night Clothes

o Get Dressed


Bedtime Checklist

o Pick Up Bedroom - Put away loose toys and pick up trash or clothes

o Lay Out Clothes For Morning

o Check Living Room and Kitchen For my things that don’t belong there

o   Sweep Floor

Living Room


1. Declutter – go through newspapers, magazines, etc. and throw out any old ones

2. Put away anything that belongs in another room – jackets, shoes, blankets, etc.

3. Pick up trash – be sure to lift up couch cushions and clean out from under them

4. Sweep and mop (with a damp rag) living room floor

5. With Lysol and a rag wipe down door knobs, remotes, light switches

6. Dust bookshelves and straighten

7. Wipe down picture frames on walls

8. Windex front door and windows

9. Wipe out front window sills

10. Wipe down baseboards with wet rag

11. Clean off top of TV and Windex TV screen

12. Clean ceiling fan blades

13. Replace blown light bulbs

14. Clean cobwebs

15. Wipe fingerprints from walls

16. Straighten hall closet by living room

17. Polish Furniture (Couch feet, end tables, rocking chair)

18. Take down and wash curtains second week of month.

19. Wipe down mini-blinds


Front Porch/Entry Way

1. Clean Entry Doors

2. Wipe Out Door Sills

3. Clean Porch Lights and Replace Light bulbs if needed

4. Sweep porch, sidewalk, car port

5. Hose off carport

6. Refill bird feeders

7. Wipe off tables and outdoor furniture

8. Change out wreath, door mats, etc if needed

9. Clean cobwebs


Kitchen

1. Declutter – go through any magazines, newspapers, etc

2. Put away anything that doesn’t belong in room.

3. Rinse out trash can.

4. Empty fridge of everything, and throw out old leftovers. Thoroughly clean all shelves and drawers. Put back food.

5. Wipe off top of refrigerator.

6. Clean microwave inside and out

7. Clean stove and oven

8. Clean oven hood

9. Clean Dishwasher. Wipe down front, sides, and around door lip. Remove utensil tray and clean with soapy water. Check to make sure there is no food or objects around bottom of dishwasher. Place a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf of dishwasher and run through on hot cycle. Then sprinkle a cup of baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher, run the dishwasher through a short cycle on it’s hottest setting.

10. Straighten cupboards

11. Straighten drawers. Run silverware tray through dishwasher.

12. Clean out under sink

13. Scrub down cabinet fronts

14. Clean light fixtures and replace bulbs if needed

15. Clean pet bowls.

16. Clean cobwebs.

17. Wipe down baseboards with a wet soapy rag.

18. Clean out window sills

19. Windex windows

20. Clean chairs, being sure to get the bottoms of the chairs.

21. Polish china cabinet and table.

22. Straighten pantry

23. Sweep and mop floor, being sure to get around baseboards.

24. Change tablecloth, redo tablescape, etc.

25. Clean light switches

26. Clean counters, and wipe down walls above counter.

27. Dust and straighten bookshelf

28. Wipe down fan blades

29. Use alcohol to wipe down phone, remotes, etc

30. Dust photos

Bathrooms

1. Wash area rugs and toilet covers.

2. Straighten drawers and cabinets

3. Throw away empty bottles

4. Empty trash can, and rinse it out.

5. Windex mirror.

6. Clean counters

7. Clean light switches

8. Clean tub and shower stall

9. Replace hand towels.

10. Replace blown light bulbs.

11. Straighten bathroom closet.

12. Clean out under bathroom sink.

13. Wipe down baseboards with soapy rag

14. Clean toilet

15. Sweep and mop floor

Office and Laundry Room

1. Clear off the surface of desk and wipe it down

2. Throw away pens that don’t work

3. Throw out trash

4. Straighten one desk drawer at a time

5. Clean computer monitor/screen

6. Fill printer with paper

7. Wipe down the washer and dryer

8. Straighten shelf above washer

9. Clean out the gunk from under washer lid

10. Wipe down caddy that holds detergent in washer

11. Throw out empty bottles and boxes

12. Look around appliances for dropped socks, rags, etc

13. Put away any clean clothes

14. Check for supplies of laundry detergent, fabric softener, and spot remover

15. Remove cob webs

16. Sweep

Children’s Bedrooms

1. Change and wash kids bed sheets.

2. Take down and wash curtains first week of the month.

3. Wipe down mini-blinds

4. Remove and put away any items that belong in other rooms

5. Polish furniture - beds, dressers, etc

6. Clean cobwebs

7. Flip mattress

8. Windex window

9. Clean window sill

10. Straighten toy shelves and bins – throw away broken toys, take out toys for donation, etc.

11. Sort out-grown clothes

12. Use soapy rag to clean baseboards

13. Wipe down door

14. Straighten books, video games

15. Wipe down radio, and TV

16. Clean light switch plate

17. Wipe down fan blades

18. Sweep Floor

Master Bedroom

1. Remove any items that do not belong in room

2. Pick up clothes that are laying around. Hang up or put in dirty clothes.

3. Clean off top of nightstands, and clean out nightstand drawers.

4. Clean off dresser tops

5. Polish furniture

6. Clean cobwebs

7. Windex windows

8. Wipe out window sills

9. Dust mini-blinds

10. Take down and wash curtains third week of every month

11. Change and wash sheets

12. Flip mattress

13. Clean out from under the bed

14. Wipe down door and closet doors

15. Straighten drawers

16. Straighten top shelf of closet

17. Straighten shoe rack

18. Sweep floor

19. Use alcohol to wipe down phones, remotes, clocks, etc

20. Dust photos

Menu Plan January 1st through January 6th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Happy New Year!  What more appropriate way is there to start a new year than with a new menu plan?  This year I am determined to get back to fixing more meals from scratch and to eliminate as many processed foods from our diet as possible. 

Here is what I have planned for us this week:
links to recipes are in red

Tuesday - Soups and Sandwiches (still recovering from New Year's Eve)

Wednesday

Breakfast:  Homemade Cinnamon Pancakes using a version of Dad's Homemade Pancakes and Cinnamon Pancakes - will be making extras and freezing for future use

Lunch: Soup and Sandwiches


Thursday

Breakfast:  Biscuits and Gravy (using biscuits from Wednesday night)

Lunch:  Soup and Sandwiches

Dinner:  Pork Loin Roast with Vegetables and Gravy (recipe coming next week), Basic White Bread (make two loaves - one will be used for Friday Breakfast)


Friday


Lunch:  Leftover Pork Loin


Saturday

Breakfast:  Pancakes (Out of the ones made on Wednesday)

Church and Shopping eating out.

Sunday


Lunch:  Soup and Sandwiches

Dinner:  Red Beans and Rice, Smoked Sausage Links

Snack:  Chocolate Pudding