Sunday, October 31, 2010

Backroom remodeling con't (lots of pictures)

All this wood planking has come off and is the pile you see a few pictures down.
New stud walls are going up.
After the old walls came out, you could see the underside of the roof. You are looking at the ceiling and roof joyce, and yes some of the wiring. You can see some of the ceramic spindles to the old wires if you look close.

The mass of old wires we pulled from the ceiling and walls. Some that went to no where.

Resetting the driveway door. It was crooked from the house shifting. Marky was helping.

The last pieces of drywall is going UP!!
Abigail wanted to help SO bad. So Papa gave her a screwdriver to hold. She held it for a while waiting lol. Note, she got herself dressed lol,

Drywall is up and mudding has begun.
Through the week I helped get the ceiling ready for the cedar planking.

The beginning of the ceiling going up! And in case you wondered, this is the peel and stick kind. It's the glue each piece and nail kind.. It took us 5 hours, including breaking for supper and breaks to get it done. It was like a puzzle!

Recessed lights and attic access!
So this week, we are working on finishing the plaster on the walls, so maybe we can paint this weekend!! How exciting.. It will hopefully have paint and floors before family comes for Thanksgiving! Lots of work, but worth every bit of it.

The backroom has a REAL dryer vent!

Yes, you read that right.. We've been working on the backroom for the past few weeks, well a few months is more like it I guess. My hubby works too hard, I help when I can, but my expertise is not in home construction. I can help clean though.. So here's what we've gotten done. First we had to gut the whole room, just like the rest of the house, we gut as we go and start over. One of the exciting things about old homes is the stuff you find when you start remodeling. When we first moved in, we dug out the old cistern and found tons of dishes and bottles. Well gutting the backroom has uncovered some cool stuff too.. In the walls we found the old coal shoot.
Inside the coal shoot we found some parts to the old stove.. We had to ask around, but we've figured out that this large piece in the picture is from the top of the stove. There was another one just like it that clamped together, much like a mouth to crush the large pieces of coal.. It's really heavy and from end to end is 17" long.

We also found some other stuff too, here are a few of the really cool ones. A shoe... Note the patches tacked on with tacks, not glue. It appears to be a women's shoe, i'm guessing about a size 6.

This paper is one of my favorites.. The rolled up one was in the wall where the chimney used to be. It is a bit chard but it's dated and readable. Since it's rolled up and crumbly it's hard to take a good picture of it.

November 14, 1926

"ROWAN, 7063, between Green and Beard--Five rooms and bath, newly decorated, with garage; west side"

under the section for "SALE- BUNGALOWS
"Alter Road
Step to Jefferson, 6-room semi, oak finish,
decorated throughout, 3 large bedrooms,
garage; only $1,000 down."

We have found other papers, in the dining room and kitchen, but they are packed in a tote for now. They were used as lining under the tiles and were from when GM was first opening and hiring!

So back the the dryer vent.. This house has never had one. If you don't believe me, here's a picture of the laundry area when we moved in..

yes, that is lint all over the wall and coating the gas line. Safe eh?? We have been using a bucket of water contraption UNTIL today!!

I will post updated pictures on another post. It's hard getting pictures to the bottom of the page on here..

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My freezer challenge! Day 3 and 4

Well I had some boneless western style ribs in the fridge. I LOVE those things and they were on sale, sooooo I picked some up... So we had BBQ ribs. I like to season them with salt, pepper, garlic and onion and layer them in my crock pot or pan for the oven. I add some BBQ sauce in there too. Not a ton, but enough to cover it all. Than I cook them for several hours. YUM!!! We are having leftovers today.

So we used up some more frozen vegi's from the freezer. I had some sugar snap peas in there. I LOVE sugar snap peas.. I just steam cook them on the stove in my cast iron pan. I cook all my frozen vegi's that way. In my large cast iron a little water, some salt and olive oil. After they are cooked we can add butter on our plates (since Abigail can't have the same kind of butter) or sometimes I will separate some out for her into a smaller pan and add butter than.. Did you know that frozen corn taste JUST like corn on the cob when you cook it this way??? yup!! A little salt and butter and it's crunchy and everything... That's the favorite around here!

Today, we will have leftover BBQ pork and i'm not sure what else. But I am making homemade donuts for breakfast!!! It's a perfect morning for it (what morning isn't lol) and we have cider to go with it.. I'll post a recipe later. Of course I have a allergy friendly recipe just for my baby girl too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dairy free, Soy free cheese!

The non-dairy, soy free cheese I found for Abigail. I found it at the health food store in Lansing. It was about $5 for a 8 oz bag.. It was the ONLY soy free/dairy free cheese they had.. I was SO excited to find it, but wished it tasted better..

My freezer challenge!

I'm giving myself a challenge. To cook something from our freezer every day. It's FULL, which I am very thankful for, but it also needs defrosted, it's almost deer season AND we are getting a half a cow from a local farmer soon. I have so much stuff in there, that I don't even know what it all is lol. Some I may just have to toss..

So Yesterday was Day 1: I made baked mac and cheese and pulled out pork chops. Ended up I didn't make them though lol, we put some canned chicken in the mac and cheese instead. BUT I did use some frozen corn with dinner, does that count?? I guess since I made the rules, I'll say YUP! lol.

For those wondering, I made Abigail some of her own mac and cheese, after I cooked the noodles, I pulled some out and used her butter and cheese instead.. She ate it, so it must have been good!

Day 2 is those pork chops lol! Oven baked on my broiler pan, since my grill is buried right now.. Leftover re-baked mac and cheese will go with it! Here's my recipe!

Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese:

1 lb of elbow noodles, cooked till almost done, not all the way. drain
1 stick of marg or butter
a mixture of cheese, I like to use a variety, adds more flavor. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Colby even some Parmesan is good. I use about 2 pounds I think.. i don't measure, just cut up what ever I have in chunks and put some shredded in.

Add some milk to make it moist and remember, the noodles will suck it up to finish cooking..
Salt and pepper

Bake at 350 for oh an hour, till it's all melted and the sides are getting crunchy.

You can mix ham, chicken, or even tuna or beef in it before you bake it if you want. Bacon is good too.. I suppose you could throw in some frozen vegi's too lol. I love versatile meals, makes life more interesting!

Off I go to get those chops in the oven!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Timeline in my closet???

My daughter says my closet looks like a timeline. You know, current fashions in the most worn section, and the older ones as you get farther in, ending with my wedding dress lol. So I figured it was a good time to sort my closet. I'm not a fashionista, but I do try to stay current and modest. She got quite a kick out of trying on all my clothes. She also got quite a few to keep herself, I had some skirts that were just a bit shorter than comfortable, or tighter than I liked. So I never wore them and figured it was time to get them out of there. It's sad really, my daughter, who is 10 fits my too small clothes, not the ones that only fit my leg either, but ones I could squeeze into still, UGH!! Where has the time gone.

She had WAYYYY to much fun trying them on lol. A pant suit that was in there, was the biggest hit. I've never wore it, not sure why I have it, but it's been there for.. well lots of years. She had more fun with that suit. She put it on, aside from the length it fit her lol, she danced in it, squatted, made herself look like a puppet, and begged to keep it, just to be able to be a goof in lol..

What really made me laugh was when she asked, "why do all your clothes of shoulder pads" lol, ummmmm... well?????

Needless to say, I know have one overflowing baskets worth of clothes not in my closet anymore. I'm sure someone can use them!

And there is my wardrobe thinning, I should be good for another 10 years LOL!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Greenhouse picture

FINALLY... a picture of my greenhouse lol. It's from a few weeks ago, but you can see it's all doing pretty good. It's a small variety but it has been tons of fun to do. We have had a few salads from it, yesterday we had our first cucumber and tomato on a salad YUM!! We have some lettuce ready to cut too. I have a variety of kinds planted and plan on planting some more seeds to enjoy some through the year as well.

The very front is filled with collard greens. We planted them for our bearded dragon, he LOVES them. So he's been eating healthy as well this year. We've not had to buy any greens either which is great. We have a few stalks of corn, lol, that was after the kids begged to plant some.. We have one large tomato plant and one smaller size one. It's the patio kind and they are about the size of a golf ball I guess. Not cherry tomatoes, but not the huge ones. Lots of green ones, getting ready to ripen.

The Sugar snap peas are the BEST.. We only planted one plant, but next year we will be doing more. They were SO good. Even if it was just one pea at a time.

Oh yea and we have a Potato plant. I know my garden is small, so we just tried a few things (usually ONE) of several different plants. We have some strawberries in tin buckets that are overflowing and will fill out the back side of the greenhouse.

Time to go water them for the day, so we can cut some nice crisp greens for supper!! Wilted greens are not good :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My garden, of sorts!

I do have a garden this year. Last year it was a sad affair. This year it's doing much better. It's small and a combination of pots and a small area of dirt. Everything is starting to blossom and grown. Amberlin and I got to share our very first Sugar Snap Peas yesterday. SO YUMMY!! I know we won't get many, but the juicy and plump kind are my favorite for just eating raw. No cooking them please!! We have lots of green tomatoes and even more flowers too. I only have two tomato plants, but we sure can't wait to eat them. I seen a flower on the cucumbers too, they plants are still pretty small though, so i'm not sure how well they will do. We planted a few corn plants, just because the kids were really excited to. I have a bunch of seed packets that I got for Science class and they insisted on planting them ALL lol. I have more seeds to plant again and have some stuff, like lettuce and such later in the year too. I think it's about time to get planting them.

This is the first time I've ever tried the lettuce and greens, so i'm not sure when to harvest them. They are looking good though and I'm thinking it's soon!!! I'll get some pics to show you all my garden.

On another note, my sewing has been keeping me pretty busy. no complaints, i'm LOVING it. Sewing for me, is my way of relaxing, so I don't get stressed about it, now money, I get stressed, but sewing, I look forward too. I've been busy with custom made stuff lately. Had to make a few patterns and everything. It all seems to have turned out well and for that we are thankful. I even got to sew with my MIL for a few days. Something we don't get to do often enough!! Love her, and she's always a great help!

I'm off to get dressed and get some pictures.

Below: custom shirt I made. Had to make a pattern and a few samples to get it right, but it was a perfect fit in the end.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This is my new favorite LOL. I've had several people ask me for it, so here it is. I found the recipe on the side of some Whole Wheat flour I bought. I tried it like they said the first time, and LOVED it, the next time i made a few variations. So I'll add the link to the online version and my version as well.

The only change I made, is I did the water/yeast/honey mix different.

2 3/4c. hot to touch water
2 T yeast

let sit

than add to this mix
1/2 c. honey (warmed)
1/4 c. butter (melted with honey) OR oil (for allergy reasons)
3t. salt

I than added the whole wheat flour, than white flour in the same way I would for white bread.

4 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 to 3 c. white flour
(add first 3 cups at once, than in 1/2 c. to 1 c. increments after that)

You can find my pictorial on making white bread here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Our two oldest kids are in soccer this spring. This is our first experience with organized sports. Neither of us played any as kids ourselves. So far it's been a very positive experience.

I'm really happy with their coach. He's very good about rotating the kids to different positions. By the end of the season, they will have played all the positions at least once. Last week Amberlin got to play goalie. She did pretty good. They did get one goal in, but only because she was still down from blocking a goal. They came back quick and got it in on the other side.

Marky got his turn today. Now he's not as coordinated as Amber. He looses his focus pretty easy. At least he's not having conversations with the other players during the game now lol. We don't really focus on being competitive, but rather on just having fun. They have a nice area where Abigail and David can kick some balls around while the game is going on. They enjoy going to the games too!

So Marky was goalie for the last part of the game. He blocked one ball, that kinda got close lol, but he let 3 balls go into the goal. On the way home he asked me if he did a good job as goalie. Hmm I don't want to tell him he did bad, but he didn't do to great. So what do I say??????

Well I asked him first, "did you do your best?" "YES" he says.

"Did you have fun?" "Well kind of" he says "I had fun watching when they were kicking the ball on the other end and to me"

hmm so does that mean he stopped having fun when it got to the goal? What can I say, he's still learning. But all in all, he did have fun and that really is whole point of it!

They have 2 more games to go for this season. I'm not sure if we'll be able swing it next year. We will see!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yummy Calzone!

I've been looking thru my cookbooks on my shelf and have come across some YUMMY recipes to add to our collection!. Here is the latest one, Calzones!

I overstuffed them a bit (OOPS!! lol), or like someone suggested, I could just make them bigger with the same amount of filling next time! I would like to try them on the grill. One of them did stay all together and I think may have worked on the grill. But I'm not sure I want to risk that mess..

I LOVE versatile recipes and this is one you can really change up pretty easy!

The dough is easy, it's bread dough.. You can use [gasp] frozen, store bought or just make some fresh!!!! Either way, all you need is bread dough.

Separate the dough into how ever many servings you need. My recipe calls for 8 per loaf of bread, but I only got 4 LOL..

The filling can be a variety of things. We made them pizza this time.
Pizza sauce
Pepperoni or chicken
Mozz cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Parm cheese
olive... or whatever you like on your pizza


Sausage filling
cooked sausage
chopped onion
minced garlic
tomato sauce
mozz cheese
parm cheese

Mix all but the cheese into the cooked sausage.

How to make the Calzones
Take your dough and roll one at a time into a circle. Be sure to get it thin, but not so thin it makes holes.
Take your filling and put it on half of the dough. Adding cheese last.
Moisten the edges of the dough with water.
Fold the dough over the filling half and press the edges to seal them.
Use a fork to crimp the edges.

I used melted butter to coat the outside, than places them on a pan.

Bake 425 for about 25 min.

Remember, the inside food is all cooked, its the dough you need to cook, and the cheese needs to be melted. Don't over cook them!

To make this dairy free, egg free, soy free and oat free for Abigail, I used goat cheese instead of regular cheese in hers. I also used her soy free pizza sauce (Dei Fratelli) and in my bread recipe I always use Canola oil instead of Vegetable oil.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Butterfly Pretzels

On Monday April 12 we went to the Fredrick Meijer Gardens to see their Butterfly Exhibit. It was AWESOME!!! We had a great day. We went with a huge group of area homeschoolers. Final count was 24 families, 120 people total with 90 of them being kids. We had a great time. If you are in the area you should check them out. They have some great outdoor activities as well as the indoor butterfly exhibit. You can see more about the Butterfly exhibit by visiting their website here!

I'm disappointed to say, I didn't get very many good pictures. I guess keeping track of 5 kids kept me busy lol.. Some of the other friends that went did get some great pictures.

As a follow up to the butterfly field trip, we did a review of sorts at our local group meeting today (Wed.) Some of the kids told us their favorite part of the trip and than we learned about the life cycle of butterflies. We made a butterfly puppet and of course we had to have a butterfly snack. I found this idea online. I LOVE having the Internet to surf lol, I get so many great ideas from it..

My pretzels didn't turn out as nice as the picture, but I didn't hear any complaints so I guess it didn't really matter.. Here is where I got the idea.

Of course, I didn't do things exactly like the recipe, what fun is that?? lol. I used the Candiquik blocks of chocolate and vanilla instead of chips. I tried adding oil to it the first time, but it was TOOOOO thin, so the second batch I left it out and it worked better. The first batch I did I also used the bag like they said, and it melted in the microwave, so after that I melted it in a glass measure cup. I decided after a few times that the bag was pointless as well. SO what worked the best for me, was melting them in a glass dish, and using a spoon to drip it onto the pretzels. It didn't harden up too fast, so I was able to go back and push the pretzels together and fix the antennae. I than went back with a different batch and put a glob on the wings and added the M&M spots.

Of course I couldn't leave Abigail out and since she can't have chocolate or M&M's, I made some a little different for her. I used her chocolate chips (Enjoy life brand), which are dairy and soy free. I just melted it the same way as the Candiquik stuff and spooned it onto her pretzels. Instead of M&M's I used some jelly beans cut in half. It worked well, except that I didn't put them on wax paper and they stuck HARD on the pan. Eventually we got them off, but it was pretty tough lol.

So yes, it was a cute, easy and very YUMMY treat!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is Spring really almost here??

I can't believe it's March already. We've had such a busy last few months, I'm so glad it's over!

It all began around Thanksgiving when I found out I was going to be having surgery on Dec 23. So the preparations began. I stuffed my freezer and pantry with everything I might need during recovery, because I WASN'T going out to get it lol. We made it thru all of that, with flying colors, on to the next thing... birthdays. We have 3 kids with birthdays right at the beginning of the year. Jan 30, Feb 7 and Mar 1. Phew!! So we had all of that to be prepared for, plus throw in a few sewing jobs, helping paint (her new appt) and move my SIL, my sister having surgery, WOW, I really can't believe we made it!!

So now we are into March and SO ready for warm weather. I'm ready to go sit on my patio with my coffee and relax. First of course I have to wait for the warmer weather, it's not to bad out today, thou and they are saying rain most of the week. I think I'm going to try to get the patio cleared of snow, the uncovered part is all snow and the covered part is all, well storage and trash. Time for some spring cleaning. Maybe, just maybe i can get that spot on our side porch covered so we won't have birds living there this year. They make a horrible, disgusting mess on my wall, right where people come in. I'm going to hunt down some wood or wire, or something!!!!

I've used my grill twice already this year. I know, I know many people use theirs year round, but not me. I'm NOT a fan of standing in the cold lol. Now that it's warmer though we will soon be back to using it daily YAY!!! Can't wait, I LOVE using my grill.

I'll post some pics on here, I have some of birthday parties. Amberlin LOVED her cookbook I got her. She's already busy filling it up with all the recipes she uses. I can't believe my baby is 2. :( So sad that they have to grow up, but happy I have healthy kids!

So TTFN, I will be back later..

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Making Chicken Burrito's tonight

I've had a can of chicken simmering with seasonings in the crock pot all day. I'm making chicken burritos again tonight. I made them a while back, and had some in the freezer for a while, well they are gone and i'm hungry for some more.. Here's my link to when I made them last. This time i'm doing things bit different..

First off I'm using a can of chicken. Not the tasty kind either lol, the just chicken and water kind, no salt, not seasoning, nothing... it came from my MIL, who got it from her MIL, who got it from her food commoditity thing she used to get for the elderly and on SS or something like that.. anyhow it's NOT a good chicken lol. So I simmer it all day in the crock with seasoning, garlic, onion, celery, parsley, rosemary stuff like that.

So now it's time to go get the shells ready. I want to try to make some. I've only found ones Abigail can have ONCE, at Sam's club. What I plan to do is find a recipe and make a dough, roll them out and bake them with the filling in them. So the shells cook while warming the chicken. So here goes. I'll try to take some pictures and let you know what recipe I use for the shells..

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana

Well I made something new last night for dinner and it was a keeper!

I was watching the "Guy's Big Bite" on the food network a few weeks ago and seen him make this. It looked SO good, so I gave it a try last night. Here is the link to the recipe on the food network and here is the video.

Here is the recipe pasted here, you can see my notes of what we did different at the bottom.

Slamma Jamma Parmigiana by Guy Fieri
4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breasts
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish, grated
Olive oil, for frying (about 2 cups)
1 pound penne rigate, cooked al dente
Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley, for garnish
Lightly pound the chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness. Combine the kosher salt, sugar, and 1 quart of water in a 1-gallon size resealable plastic bag; shake until dissolved. Add the chicken breasts and soak at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place the flour in a medium bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine. Shake off excess moisture and, with tongs, lightly dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and transfer to a large plate.

Mix the eggs and milk in medium bowl and whisk thoroughly. In a separate bowl combine the bread crumbs, oregano, basil, parsley, sea salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the egg and milk mixture with tongs and let excess mixture drain off. Now dredge the chicken into the bread crumb mixture, and lightly pat down in the bread crumbs to adhere.

Preheat the broiler.

Let the breaded chicken sit for 5 minutes before frying. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to come 1/3 up the side of the chicken. Cook the chicken in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan when cooked and place on a sheet tray. Repeat with remaining chicken.

When all the chicken is cooked, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over the top. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and is golden brown.

Serve chicken over pasta and ladle tomato sauce on top. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.

Tomato Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups peeled and diced Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until almost brown, then add tomatoes. Saute for 30 minutes over low to medium heat. Add the basil and oregano and continue to cook for 30 minutes longer. Puree in a food mill or let cool and puree in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, to taste

Here is what we did or will do different next time:
This recipe is VERY good like it is. It's not that difficult either. Here are a few things we did do different and will change next time.

It ended up to salty. I'm not sure if it's because the chicken was in the brine to long, or if i need to lesson the salt in the breading.

I didn't have enough tomatoes to make his sauce so we used spaghetti sauce, which was good, but next time i'm trying the sauce. I used Barilla Tomato and Basil sauce. I thought it would go good, since there is Basil in the breading too, but it was to much basil. SOooo next time I will make the sauce or try some Barilla Roasted Garlic sauce.

I didn't have any fancy pasta, so I just used this spaghetti noodles. It was good, but next time, i'll go get some fancy noodles, just to make it fancy lol.. Rigatoni or Penne noddles would work great.

I don't know what the Panko bread crumbs are, so I just used 3 c of homemade bread crumbs (dried bread that didn't raise, in my food processor to crumbs)

Oh and last of all, i don't have a meat hammer thing, so i used my rolling pin lol. I put the chicken in a large ziploc bag and used my rolling pin to hammer it. I than used a large bowl to soak the chicken in the brine. Otherwise you have to worry about the bag leaking. Hubby says I need to get a real one LOL.

So try it, and let me know what you think. It was yumm!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's been HOW long??

I was searching for a post I thought I made on here a while back. While searching, I realized something. I've been blogging for 4 years. Can you believe it's been since Dec 2006?? WOW, I only had 3 kids ages 1 to 6, now I have 4 kids ages (almost) 2 to 10!! It doesn't seem like it's been that long... WOW..

Thanks for all those who have followed me, even tho it's only a few.. I love re-reading post about my kids. I forgot some of the things they said, this has been a great way to keep it all journaled, no matter if my computer crashes or my office goes up in flames LOL. Which BTW is how it looks. I better get busy on it.. I'll post some tips on organization later..

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sick kids!

Never fun!! UGH.. I've been up all night several nights this past week. First it was Amber, I thought it was just the blueberries she ate. They were a new bag of frozen berries, but they were given to us, so I can't say how old they are or anything. She got sick shortly after eating some, not a TON, but probably a cup. Abigail ate a few as well, and came and told me "mom, my belly hurts" this is my almost 2 yr old. It's great when they can talk and tell you what they want or need. I'm always amazed at how much more she communicates at this age than David did.

So I thought it was the blueberries, I mean the kids have only been out of the house twice in the last 2 weeks, HOW could they get sick?

Thankfully it only lasted about 12 hours and I was able to nap a bit the next day. Well that was Thursday and last night it all happened again, but this time with the boys, UGH. David comes scooting down the stairs at 3 am, holding his belly. He said "I'm sooo hungry" of course it was gas/stomach cramps, not hunger pains. I gave him some toast and crackers, but he didn't want any more than a few bits. So on the couch I was again. After a while he told me in the most serious voice, "mom, i have gas" .. right before he got sick on the couch UGH... so into the bathroom we go, poor guy.. After he was all done, he looks at me and says "I don't like air in my stomach, i think i'm allergic to air" lol. He's my 4 1/2 yr old. He only made a mess that once, but he's not eating or drinking very well. We even got him some really good Popsicles...

Later that morning Marky was sick too.. So now I'm just hoping hubby and I don't end up sick.. I've had enough already.. I'm ready for BED!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Organization Tip #3

Get rid of it!

I touched on this a bit in the other post, but it's an important point to make. It always amazes me how recycling and de-clutter goes hand it hand. So here are a few ways to de-clutter and also follow the old phrase:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I also like to say

Reuse what I can, recycle what I can't.

So when you have stuff to get rid of, it's much easier to pass it on to someone who can use it, rather than just toss it in the trash. First of all, it's more incentive... I hate wasting stuff, and isn't that how most clutter starts?? What if I need it someday, it's perfectly fine I can't throw it away... etc. Here are a few ideas:

Find your local food and/or clothing pantry.. If they don't take household items and clothing, they probably know who does. These places pass stuff on to families who can't afford to go to even Goodwill. I have to admit, my kids got alot of clothes from our local one. When they were younger, we just didn't have a way to buy them new. We save many of our clothes from our older two, to pass on to our younger ones.

Pass clothes on to your family. My SIL and I had kids stair stepped, so when my oldest was about a yr old, she has a son. All my baby stuff passed to her, than when we had our 2nd child, I got it back, and back and forth it went. Now we are both done having children and we pass what we can on to our other siblings and friends to keep, that can use it. We of course kept clothing that was made just for a child or other special clothes. I have a tote for each child, this holds their keepsake items. Blankets, homemade clothes etc. If you don't have siblings to do this with, maybe a friend?? My girls are 8 years apart, so we are being selective in what we keep to pass on. 8 yrs in a shed isn't going to help anyone. They may be chewed and worn by the time they get used again, so most of them we pass on now.

Try If you aren't familiar with it, check out their site. You can find a local group for you and give and get free stuff. The purpose is to pass it one and reuse something rather than fill a landfill. Here are some of the things we have received for free, from freecycle:

Chest freezer (actually 3 over the years)
Cast iron pan (perfect condition, someone just didn't use it)

I try to give more than I take, it helps on the whole clutter thing lol.. So here are some of the things we've given to others for free:

Old washer and dryer (someone wanted the scrap metal)
Couch (a friend had given us a new one, it would have cost us to take it to the dump that's 30 miles a way)
Baby items, swing, exer saucer, etc.
leftover garage sale stuff (YES I didn't even have to take it anywhere, they picked it up from our house)
Rocking chair
Other various items

You can specify if you want them to pick it up at your home, or meet them at a public place. Of course always use caution when having them come to your home.

Of course there are always second hand store, consignment shops and places like that as well. If you are in a good area you can save it for a garage sale too. We tried that last year, and our area just didn't do well, it didn't end up being worth the hassle. We even sold it really cheap. So we choose to keep a box in the back room of stuff to get rid of. When it's full, we go drop it off. Even my kids add stuff to it. They know they won't miss it. We've been doing it long enough that they know we will provide what they need too, so keeping broken or to small stuff is not necessary.

So find your local donation place and go for it. It will feel great to drop off a bunch of stuff, knowing someone was dreaming of having it!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Organization TIP #2


Yes, i know it's hard, but when your working with limited space, it's important. We have NO storage in this house. We don't even have closet storage, you know the shelf above your closet rod?? well we don't have ANY.. We have the floor and nails in the sides all the way up to the ceiling. Yes we should put them in but it's on that list of not as important as other jobs. So we've had to simplify ALOT..

For example, it really isn't necessary to have SO many shoes that you only wear once in a while OR all your old shoes you don't wear!! Give them away, someone else may need them as their only dress shoes. Yes I have some nice dress shoes, that I don't wear often, but I don't have 10 or 20 pairs. I have 2 pairs. That reminds me, I have a box of purses to donate lol..

Or is it really necessary to keep that old blender in the cupboard for the just in case I need it once a year... did you know, the food processor you use all the time works too?? Yea i figured that out lol. I also recently came to the conclusion that the huge George Forman grill with the busted top is just clutter too. Yes, I use it in the winter when I can't grill out, but it takes up a WHOLE shelf, AND i just discovered the my broil pan that has a nice, cozy place to go in the stove works even better. I LOVE my broiler pan, never realized it's use. I always thought you had to use it in the broil part of the oven. I've never had a good experience with cooking in there. Well my MIL told me how she cooks her bacon and it's SO good, in the oven on 350 in her broiler pan. Well the other night we had pork chops, I hate pan fried pork chops and as much as I wanted some, I really didn't want to go outside to the grill, it was in the 20's outside. SO i tried them on my broiler pan, 350, in the oven. EVEN BETTER than the George Foreman. So out it goes, and I have a shelf to put my crock pot on, (that I use weekly) and that clears up work space on my already very small counter top..

So simplify... If you don't use something that much, find a way to get it done with something you do use more often. How many of the same tool do you really need?? If you don't have room for it to have a place, out of the way to go...think, think, think.... Chances are, you may not even miss it!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Organization TIP #1

Start small.. If you look at your whole house and try to start, you will get overwhelmed and quit. Trust me, I'm talking from experience here. So start small, set a goal and don't stop until you reach it. For example:

My dining room wall was at one time lined with boxes. Boxes of books, clothes, misc stuff that just needed sorted, taken to the shed and tossed. So I decided that was my small goal. I got the boxes off that wall. I had a box for trash, for give away and keep. I figure if I don't have a specific place to put it, and haven't used it in the past 6 months, I probably won't miss it. If I really do, I will find another one. Of course there are exceptions to this. I do have a few boxes in the shed of keep sakes, stuff I may never use, but can't give up, they were made by my grandpa, or something along those lines. I just try to be conscious of how much I am keeping. I have 2 boxes of 'household' decor type things. No more than that, I don't need to keep it. So I donate it to our local church pantry, who passes the stuff on to families for free, who actually need it.

That hardest part of de-cluttering is getting rid of stuff. What to save and what to get rid of. I know for me, knowing I was donating it to someone who could use it, was a HUGE incentive. Yes you can donate to Goodwill or a consignment shop, but a church that passes it out for free was even MORE incentive. The people who can't afford Goodwill probably needed it more.

So start small, a specific room or shelf and don't start another project until it's done. Give yourself incentive, like when I get this done I will sit and watch something, or sit at the computer or whatever your relaxing is. If it is a few day job, than take a few days, but just get it done.. You will feel a huge sense of relief and achievement when you do.

So there is tip #1, I hope that helps someone!! lol

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A slice of heaven. Banana Cake

Banana Cake, the BEST!!
My second favorite cake is this one, my first is the Peanut Butter cake. As with several recipes in my book, they are written in Grandma Dugan's handwriting. It may be hard to read, but it's definitely worth keeping as is. (I have it in an easier form below)

2 large or 3 small mashed banana's (aprox 1 c)
1/2 c marg
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/4 c buttermilk or sour milk (if you don't have sour milk, add a touch of lemon juice to
some milk and wait for it to curdle)
Mix together well
2c flour
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Pour into a greased 9x13 pan
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or till spongy
Once it's cooled top it with some Banana frosting
Banana frosting
1 banana
1 lb powdered sugar (aprox 2 -3 cups)
1 t vanilla
3/4 c of melted butter
mix and add enough milk to make it just runny.
Pour over the cake, and let it cool a bit more, so the frosting thickens. I like to poke the cake and let the frosting run inside of it too.
And ENJOY!!!!
It's also delicious with cream cheese frosting (omit the banana and butter and use cream cheese instead)


Have you ever watch any of the shows on hoarders or "Clean House"? You know shows that take a persons cluttered house and make it neat and tidy, organized and well, much better!
Do you watch in horror at how horrible some people can live? Or look around and say to yourself, "Hmm maybe I should be on that show"?

Or are you like me and watch the show and use it for motivation to get off the couch and organize something?? lol.. I don't want my house looking like that, again..

When my older kids were younger, my house was always a mess. I didn't have the energy or the ability to get it clean and keep it there. I mean it was 'clean' in the sense that there wasn't trash and dishes and such lying around, but the clutter and laundry and toys was overwhelming. Being a SAHM you tend to look at it all day and instead of feeling motivated to do something about it, it instead seems like a "I don't know where to start" kind of task. It soon blends in and clean takes on a new meaning. Instead of vacuuming once a day, clean is if there are no large pieces of paper or trash on the floor. This sounds horrible, but if your a mom with young kids, you know what I mean. Now that my kids are older and can help with the normal routine chores, I have time to do the "extras".

So I just thought I would share with you all, what I did and do to declutter my home. I truly believe that if you can declutter you home, esp if you are home all day, your brain will work better lol. Depression is a big issue for me, and having a decluttered home has helped alot. So I'm going to attempt to post some tips I found useful. I'll title them all Organization. Maybe the tips will help someone, if not, than at least I have a list of them for future use lol.. (you'd be surprised how many times I come back here to see what I did last time lol)..

Friday, January 1, 2010

My favorite brownies!

How is it, that I've never posted my favorite brownie recipe on here. I'm in shock, I can't believe it. I mean these are the staple of junk food around here. We can polish off a 8x8 pan with ice cream in one night. The whole family helps of course. If I make enough for the next day, we eat them for breakfast lol.

Well we made some again tonight. I showed my niece how to make the best brownies EVER!!

Fudgie Brownies from Jennifer Dugan’s kitchen
½ c. marg
½ c. cocoa
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
½ c. flour
¼ t. salt
½ c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 and grease 8x8x2 pan.
In a saucepan melt the marg. Removed from heat and add cocoa, stir until well blended. Add sugar & mix well. Add eggs, slowly one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla, flour and salt. DO NOT OVERBEAT. Fold in the nuts.

Bake 325 for 25-30 min, till knife comes out clean. Doubles well into a 9x13 pan.

Alternate options: use peanut butter, milk chocolate, mint or vanilla chips when you add the nuts. These are really fudgey brownies and super good!