Category Archives: Household Items

Tractor Cake

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My sick little baby trying to have a good birthday! :(

My son had his birthday a couple weeks ago and as you all know, we headed to the beach to have our trip be quickly interrupted with an ER visit. Although, the first couple days were great, the last two were horrible. I state that very matter-of-fact as they were legitimately horrible.

For my sons first birthday, I didn’t get the pleasure of making his cake as we had moved 1 week prior and we were hosting dinner at our house. I also had planned a friend birthday party the following day at the zoo with lunch and cake. I had very little time to do much more than that. So, this year I was adamant that I would make my son a cake he would love; tractors!!!

I used two bread pans and baked the cake and manipulated the cake in more ways than one to turn it into a tractor. It was pretty challenging to say the least, but it worked out. I will also state that this is the first time I’ve ever made a cake into something other than a circular pretty cake. Practice makes perfection– so I hope!

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IMG_4811 IMG_4812I used Kit-Kats for the wheels and smoke stack. 
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Moment of Truth: Manipulating a cake isn’t the easiest thing, especially for the first time. You make a mistake and you must keep going. Though there are many imperfections, I was thrilled to have it resemble a tractor that my son would be utterly happy about. :) The older he gets, the better I will become! :)

DIY Wooden Banners

My sisters came up with a great craft day last summer around the 4th of July when we came up to visit. They had already been working on them and wanted to invite me into the fun craft zone. While scrounging around in my dads wood pile one afternoon, my sister decided these random boards needed decorating and a place to call home. After finding many different shapes, sizes and types of wood, we brushed paint lightly on top of them and created our own touch to each piece for our home.

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How to DIY:

You can use any scrap wood you find or go to home depot or a local lumber store and ask for some scraps they have laying around.

Once you have the boards you like, lightly brush craft paint across the board to create a weathered look to the wood.

Once dried, place stencils along the board aligning them how you prefer and tape slightly to hold the stencils in place.

Set aside and let dry!

Use a “twisty screw” as I prefer to call them, but better known as an eye-hook to hang with ribbon or to hold a nail.

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Straight from my Mama’s house

Here are a few of our creations….

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“Splash’in” in the hot tub room.

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For the bedroom

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Our guest room is green and purple

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My sisters Laundry room

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Our Office

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Our laundry room is currently being remolded so I took the liberty to enjoy the sign outside today!

These are cheap and easy to make and can be used all throughout your house. You could purchase these at the store for $25-40 OR Do-It-Yourself for less than $5.

Homemade “Pam” Nonstick Spray

Homemade “Pam” Nonstick Spray. This is an important facet to your cooking that must be addressed. How often do you use nonstick spray? Almost everyday in our household. Do you know what chemicals lay within this simple spray? Do you know what you are blindly putting into your body as well as your families?

I will give you a simple transition to kick the nonstick spray to the trash and make your own. Don’t resort to butter or coconut oil as you will be adding hundreds of calories without even realizing it; directly into your prepared dish.

Instead of using butter or coconut oil you will save time and money by making your own nonstick spray. Don’t buy Pam Spray as you will be purchasing preservatives and chemicals when you can easily make your own at home!

Speaking of chemicals, after reading a couple different articles on the ingredients in Pam cooking spray, come to find out they use an ingredient called Propellant which also resembles propane and nitrous oxide. Neither of these are chemicals I prefer to eat with my eggs and bacon in the morning. Yikes. This actually defeats the purpose of homemade meals when you still have the chemicals floating around in forms such as this.

I reluctantly admit that I used to purchase the store bought product without thinking twice. When I ran out, I started to think about it and if it really was worth purchasing. To be honest nonstick spray works really well. I never had problems with anything sticking so I was a little doubtful about transitioning over. I thought I would start by using butter or coconut oil and wiping down the pan, but when I realized how much I bake and cook, I was using a lot of butter (and calories) just to create a nonstick surface. I began making my own nonstick spray and love it and am happy to see my butter stay put in the fridge rather than adding hundreds of calories to simply keep the food from sticking. :)

Please, any of you out there who have any form of Pam Nonstick Spray, toss that sucker in your trash and make your own today! All you do is take equal parts lemon juice and olive oil (or vegetable oil), whichever you prefer and combine in a mini spray bottle. Label and place in refrigerator. Lemon juice needs to be refrigerated once opened otherwise it will spoil almost immediately.

When you go to use it, shake well. This works like a gem and you can rest easy knowing you are avoiding any propellant in your homemade meals.

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Those 30 seconds it takes to create this product is something worth doing!

Moment of Truth: When preparing homemade meals, stick as close to it’s original form to help avoid preservatives. These days it takes a lot more work to avoid added ingredients but your body and family will thank you!

Little Dirty Secrets

There are many little hidden traps throughout your house that easily get neglected. As I chase three kids around the house and see a dust bunny here, crumbs there, laundry over yonder, I begin to realize some things simply need to be cleaned that are forgotten about for quite some time. Trying to keep the basics cleaned, you realize the deep cleaning is always sitting on the back burner.

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Thanks to: 4littlefergusons.wordpress.com

Here is a list of those little traps that we overlook on a too regular basis:

  • Dishwasher
  • Washing Machine
  • Bathtub
  • Humidifier
  • Coffee Pot
  • Door handles/light switches
  • TV remotes
  • Computer mouse and keyboard

These all get used on a regular basis but how often do we take the time to clean them. Just as a dishwasher and washing machine clean our clothes or dishes, they need to be cleaned themselves. A load here and there doesn’t do the trick. Make sure you wipe around the edges of the dishwasher to remove any mold or mildew that builds up. On the inside place an Affresh cleaner to make your dishwasher sparkling clean again. Same goes for your washing machine, you need to clean it once a month as well to keep clothes smelling clean and not that sweaty, mildew smell as if you left your laundry sitting wet for too long. It can often be from lack of cleaning your washing machine.

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Many of us have little kiddos running around needing a bath on a daily basis. Do you ever see the pink residue begin to form in your tub? That’s disgusting mildew that needs to be removed. Soap and water tend to reside in the bottom of the tub once you drain your bath. It sits there and builds up leaving a film all across the bottom, side and waistline of your tub.

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Humidifiers are often overlooked on a too frequent basis. I try and clean my humidifier once a month and still find mold. I will be purchasing a new humidifier as our current one isn’t easily accessible leaving certain spots with a mold residue that cannot be reached with a scrub brush. Making sure you clean them regularly and use a mold-be-gone for them as well. They have these in the isle where you by Vicks Vapor Steam.

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Coffee pots- Though you may clean the actual pot where your coffee sits, don’t forget the back of the pot when you first fill it with water to brew your delicious coffee. Some coffee pots are clear in the back where you fill it up with water and others are not. I have had both and the clear ones help you spot mildew as it first starts to grow. Dark backs keep you blind to what is growing back there. Almost all coffee pots have a self clean button that alerts you when your pot needs to be cleaned, but my experience with the clear back is the self clean alert isn’t soon enough. Every couple of weeks you should run a pot of water and vinegar (equal parts) through your pot to help give a deep natural clean. Than simply wipe it down.

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How often do you touch a door handle or light switch? Probably a hundred times a day give or take. How often do you clean your light switch or door handles? In our household I try and keep up on it, but it’s something that gets over looked too often. Germs get spread, dirty paws from my little man, sticky food, so on and so forth always get touched. Take a wash cloth with vinegar and water and wipe down really well. Or, if some of you don’t prefer the natural way, take Lysol or a preferred cleaner and walk around and clean every door handle and light switch.

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Most of us probably have a TV remote, keyboard or mouse from the computer that gets touched on an ever so frequent basis. I know we do! This is a trap that gets no attention and breeds germs and dust. Take a moment to clean your household hidden treasures and wipe them clean.

tv remoteTake a minute to not only clean these hidden germs, but to take pride in your own and keep it clean!

 

Vegetable Wash

Do you ever stand in the produce isle trying to pick the perfect apple or tomato and “uh-oh” there it goes rolling down the hill onto the floor. You quickly gather it and put it back for the next person to grab.

That being said, we’ve all been there and we’ve all done it! It’s important to wash your produce really well when you get it home from the store. There are many traps of germs along the way. Double bagging produce is a great trick. Even if there is a peel around the item you are purchasing,  you still want to bag it. Cutting into it can drag the germs to in the inside of the item if not washed. IE onions, oranges, avocado, lemons, limes and tomatoes.

Another disgusting trap of germs are the conveyor belts at the checkout line. These belts hold many germs from feces to bacteria from raw meat and much more. Carts are a great area for bacteria to continue to grow and fester. All of these little things we don’t think of add many germs that our bodies now have to fight if we don’t protect ourselves from them.

Making a point to simply wash your produce when you return home is a great tool to better protect yourself and your little munchkins who travel to the store with you and touch everything.

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My simple vegetable washing tool is filling the kitchen sink (clean, of course) with water and adding about 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 1/2 tsp baking soda. Drop vegetables and fruit into the water and toss multiple times. Let rest for five minutes to allow the vinegar to coat the outer layers killing any and all bacteria. It’s simple, cheap and will leave your sink dirty from all the junk you were blind to prior to washing them.

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The sink was this dirty just from strawberries and blueberries. Makes you think twice about not washing now doesn’t it? :)

Here is an snippet from the  Dr Oz show. I saw this and thought it was good to share. His wash is a little different and that is great too. I simply prefer to wash in bulk in the sink for convenience reasons.

This is a great video to watch. Video-Here

My Garden

I’ve talked about wanting to grow my very own garden but I’ve never had the proper area to do so. Once we moved in to our new house, I was very excited as this was now a possibility. Now that summer is quickly approaching I’ve become quite nervous to begin the process as longing to grow a garden and actually doing so have entirely different outcomes. The beautiful thoughts inside my head of what my garden will look like and the luscious vegetables we will receive is unending. But there is a sudden realness to the cold reality that my mind can dream big and my ‘living garden’ may not be as big and full of unending vegetables.

Thanks to planetden.com

Thanks to planetden.com

A couple days ago I bought some vegetables to begin the process.  Now, the little I know about growing a garden comes from my dad. He always had amazing gardens full of massive zucchinis, cucumbers, never ending cherry tomatoes and extra large, juicy tomatoes. He also had grapes, green beans, pumpkins, peaches and apples. The task it took to bear this garden was never explored. I simply reaped the benefits and thoroughly enjoyed it. But now…..that is a different story. The years of reaping the benefits of my dads luscious garden was all a waste when it comes to beginning mine. I learned nothing from him as I was never interested because I knew weeding would follow my interest. Learning about the process would require me to be outside which would lead to those nasty “weeds that overtake a garden if not tended to.” I can just hear my dad trying to throw excitement into our list of outside chores. :)

Now, I fear the work put into my garden, the thought behind which vegetables to purchase and where to burry them all clouded my mind as I know I have the tendency to kill plants by over watering or under watering. I can’t seem to find the proper amount of every plant; maybe because every plant is ENTIRELY different and I know nothing about them.

 

Thanks to mikeonafarm.blogspot.com

Thanks to mikeonafarm.blogspot.com

So tonight I took my fear head on and tossed my little plants into the recently weeded “garden area” and hoped for the best. I planted and watered just as instructions had advised. Now, with great hopes I long to reap some benefit as I tugged away the many weeds the seemed to appear before my eyes.

Now what happens….I wait and wait.

I will water and I will wait. I will water and I will weed. I will water, weed and hope for the best! But most of all, I will update you on my adventure ahead.

Buttermilk

Making your own buttermilk is entirely too easy to not share. I honestly don’t see a point in purchasing buttermilk when you can easily make your own.

Here’s how:

Buttermilk is something I never have on hand. An easy trick to make your own buttermilk is to place the milk in the proper measuring cup leaving a tiny bit of room at the top. Add 1 tbsp. of white vinegar and let sit for 2-3 minutes. (If making more than 2 cups add 1 tbsp. per cup of vinegar) A layer will separate on the top of the milk beginning the process of turning the milk into buttermilk.

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wpid-20140301_090559.jpgSo easy!

 

Coffee Creamer

I love coffee! I am a HUGE coffee fanatic. Many of you probably already know this about me, but I LOVE coffee!

I do like a lot of the fancy flavor coffee creamers but when I try and read the ingredients it simply isn’t in my vocabulary. When you have a number next to an ingredient than I get kind of scared. Red 50. Yellow 102. Blue 24. You get the picture? It’s not good.

I’ve made my own creamer for quite some time but I must humbly admit when Fall and Christmas approached I get very excited for the holiday creamers; pumpkin spice, eggnog, peppermint mocha, and York peppermint paddy. I had succumb to the yellow color 60 for three months and my body is probably filling itself with cancer as we speak. HA okay probably not but my homemade creamer is by far better than these coffee creamers.

I have made peppermint mocha, brown sugar cream, and French vanilla. These are just a couple of the ones I enjoy. But the basis of the creamer is pretty standard and can be used with any flavor you like.

Ingredients:

Brown Sugar Sweet Cream

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups milk

In a saucepan over medium heat, add condensed milk and brown sugar. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring constantly.

Add vanilla and milk and heat until it begins to steam, do not boil.

Store in a glass container in the fridge!

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You can simply use sweetened condensed milk and regular milk as a staple base for any other flavor you desire. Here are a couple more options:

Peppermint Mocha

  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract

Peppermint Patty

  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract

Raspberry Almond

  • 2 tsp raspberry
  • 2 tsp almond

Clean Microwaves

To all of you “old” folk who don’t go out anymore on New Years Eve let alone stay up till midnight, we have now become dear friends. I am on the same page as you and enjoy my sleep and a happy baby in the morning for going to bed on time. :) So happy new years eve and I hope you all have a safe holiday!

Now with that said:

We were welcomed home last night to our clean, cold house after being gone for 10 days. There is always a sweet comfort returning home even when you have had the best of times away. Your own bed, pillow, shower, and kitchen can be a place of sweet release.

Upon entering home, our house was a chilly 62 degrees. While the heat was rapidly rising to a balmy 71 degrees we began to settle in and find some snacks within our empty fridge. Cooper raced around the house in glorious bliss as he found all of his little toys scattered around yet left in the same spot he had placed them prior to leaving.

It was a bitter sweet moment coming home while we had enjoyed our 10 days at my parents house in Central Washington. It is always an escape from reality yet a busy time as well. I must say this Christmas was by far the best Christmas I believe we’ve had. Something about coming back to the meaning of what Christmas is all about, serving the homeless and poverty stricken Christmas dinner and spending time with family was exactly what made our Christmas in 2013 the best yet. This was the first year we took time our of our Christmas day to serve dinner at my parents church to those in need. It was the most humbling experience. The 135 plus families we served dinner to and donated gift, clothing and blankets to was exactly what created the best Christmas to date.

Anyway, after returning home last night, I think I forgot to mention that my husband had been sick all day with a nasty stomach bug. The unfortunate thing was we exposed the entire family to this nasty bug, had a 5 hour drive ahead of us with a sick man and a busy little baby with things to do and toys to play with. The rambunctious little man along with the sleepy giant in the passenger seat made the drive quiet long. Luckily we didn’t have to return by a particular time frame; we took our time and stopped now and again along the way.

This morning was our day of relaxation and hoping to gain as much sleep as possible to prevent any more sickies in the house. (IE my son and myself) I believe we helped accomplish this task when all three of us didn’t awake until 9:15 this morning…..New Years Eve. It was glorious. No alarm clock or baby waking us up. It was sweet bliss.

I headed to the kitchen feeling completely refreshed, coffee brewed and baby diaper changed. My husband allowed for my morning to be literally AMAZING! These little things blessed my day immensely; I was grateful. I scoured the fridge tossing out plenty of containers filled with food growing something unappetizing on it. There was quite the stench filling my kitchen sink disposal with this wretched aroma. I began deep cleaning my kitchen and fridge and was feeling so accomplished by this one room. I knew the remainder of the house needed a good wash down as well but it had to wait; one room at a time. I cleaned the cupboard faces, oven, stovetop and scrapped the edges to get any grim and grit away. I proceeded to clean cupboards and countertops until I felt completely satisfied. I ended my kitchen duties with cleaning the microwave. The microwave can be a daunting task as food debris cakes on allowing for deep finger scrubbing which no one enjoys. While I am always amazed at the task at hand, I always seem to put it off as long as possible. This one little tip I will share with you will change microwave cleaning for decades to come….. :)

Tip of the day: Spotless Microwave

In a shallow glass container add 1/2 cups water and 3-4 tablespoons of white vinegar. Heat in the microwave for 1:30 allowing the container to completely cool before removing.

Wipe away the grim and gunk with a washcloth.

The vinegar loosens up the food entirely allowing for a swift wipe away. It is incredible how well it works and how immaculate this appliance becomes.

No more scrubbing and ruined nails and finger tips. :)

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New years eve drink of choice: Lemon Ginger Yogi tea

Happy New Years Eve!!!

Cooking Spray

Homemade Pam or cooking spray is easier than snapping your fingers. Although snapping for some people is impossible so with great hope, this is really easy and quick. :)

Honestly I haven’t bought Pam in almost two years. I actually began getting a napkin wet with canola oil, coconut oil, EVOO and so forth. But due to the inconvenience of having to take the extra minute to get the napkin wet, I decided I would purchase my own “cooking” spray bottle and label it as “cooking spray.” How unique is that?

All you do is take 1 part lemon juice to 1 part EVOO. It will separate just as oil and water separate, simply shake before using. :) Easy huh? Even though it’s so simple I still want to share with you as it has no chemicals and your fingers will not get all oily.

One more thing to check off your list that is chemical free.