Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WHAT I BUY WEDNESDAY (My grandsons' Christmas gift)

"Traditions are not for keeping.  They're for keeping us close."  A Hallmark print ad

Like everyone else I have been picking my Christmas projects and then trying to get them done.
I decided to make these fun fort kits for my grandsons for Christmas.  I found several different blogs that shared what they had done.
My favourite was Saltwater-Kids.  I started my search by finding great quality twin size flat sheets at a thrift store.  Each "Fort Kit" uses 2 sheets.  I did not want to worry about finding 2 sheets that match, so each boys kit has 1 blue and 1 red sheet.  (We are a blue team family.)  

I found 2 matching pillowcases for the fort contents.  I did not want to worry about drawstring dangers, so I just undid about 2 inches of stitching in the pillowcase side seam and sewed in ribbon ties.  (Remember to quickly burn the ribbon edges to keep the ribbon from unraveling.)

I really liked the idea of using jersey fabric strips for the fort/tent ties.  Cheap and easy.  One shirt made ties for 2 fort sets (6 ties on each of 4 sheets).  I liked Saltwater kids tutorial for the ties, but found it was easier to sew the ties on and then stretch and knot the ends.

Then came finding and collecting all the necessary accessories ;)
In each kit I used

2 sheets, 1 pillow case and 2 yards of ribbon - $6.00 @ thrift stores (Unloading the dishwasher for 1 week got all the ties sewn on for me :)

12 jumbo clothespins (clamps for hooking loops to chair legs.) $2.00 at $ Store (Took about 1 month for me to find them.)

12 wooden clothespins (great for closing gaps, or doors) - $.50 for 1/2 bag from $ Store

Pack of 3 bungee cords - $1.00 at $ Store

Flashlight w/ batteries - $3.00 at Walmart

50 feet of cord - $2.00 at Walmart

6 carabeaners (Is this spelled right?) - $5.00 at Walmart  (I think.)  I just like them.

1 roll of Duct tape - $1.00 at $ Store

1 tube of 50 glow sticks - $4.00 at Macey's grocery store

1 over the door metal hook - $1.00 at $ Store (Great for raising the height of the fort.)

1 shoebox size plastic container for storing the small supplies - $1.00 at Walmart

Fun funnel phone - $1.00 for funnels at $ store (Need to have 2 funnels the same size per fort kit.) + $8.00 for 20 ft. of tubing at Home Depot.  (Be sure to take your funnels to make sure you have a good tight fit.)

Total cost was about $35.00, but the total play value will be priceless.  I will make one for my house after the holidays.

This toy has many hazards and dangers.  It should be played with by appropriate aged children.  Use caution.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


It is hard to blog when you have not blogged for awhile. 
My sister came for a fun and busy 2 week visit.

After she left, I started a fun project (that I was slightly obsessed about) that I found on PINTEREST.  The idea came from "Hollyhocks and Honeybees".

I already had a table top flip frame/album that I had found at a thrift store a while ago.  I used that for this project.  I started by unscrewing the whole thing and taking it a part.  The cover said something about friends so I  spray painted it.  Then I "mod podge"d a cover (paper) on the cover and when dry, I distressed it (inked the edges).

Then came the fun part.  And the hard part.  Scrap booking 25 pages.  The hardest part was picking which pictures to use (and I have so many that I feel like I need to make another one).  I collected Christmas scrapbook supplies, and regular scrap booking supplies.  The frame/photo album had photo sleeves so that determined my size. 

I ended up not going to bed at all on Monday, working 1/2 day on Tuesday and all day Wednesday.  So far.  (Only 7 pages left.)
I watched a lot of Christmas movies and got caught up on "Studio 5".

I love this new Advent Calender (not that I needed another one;).   It is personal and it is so fun to look at the pictures.
The pictures are pretty bad.  Still learning my new camera.
I spray painted a cover that had texture,
and then Mod Podged a new paper cover on.

I have a few more posts before Christmas.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Caesar Salad With Homemade Croutons

I have been making these croutons (with a few minor changes) since the summer of 1992.  When I make my own I can use the left over french bread, plus I hate 1/2 a box of anything hidden in the pantry.
This recipe is fast, easy and uses what you have in the house.


#1  In a big microwave bowl/dish, melt
1/4 cup BUTTER

#2  Toss in
About 8 slices of bread - cubed  (I use french bread cut into 1 inch slices and then cubed into 6-8 pieces.
Left over bread works great.)

#3  I sprinkle 2-4 table. of OUR BEST BITES  "Garlic Bread Seasoning" ( I told you we use it a lot.  You can use herbs of your choice.) and toss until the bread cubes are coated with the butter and the seasoning.
Garlic Bread Seasoning
(This recipe is in their cookbook.)

bread cubes tossed w/melted butter & seasoning
in a microwaveable dish
#4  Microwave, uncovered, on high for 4-6 mins.  (You can stir it once if you want, but then I need to cook a bit longer.  Mine usually take 5-6 mins.)  They will be crisp when they are done.
2 loafs of french bread made 4 batches
and a very full 9x13 pan
#5  Let cool.  Serve or store.
Pretty easy, huh?  My family loves these.  We use them to top salads and soups. 

I use Romaine lettuce, Caesar Salad dressing, grated Parmesan cheese and croutons for a fast and easy salad.  I prepare the lettuce ahead of time because I want it really dry.  (Most of the time we use a spinner.) 
Remember to not dress and toss the salad until just before serving.  And... the lettuce will reduce to about 1/2 the amount that was in the bowl.  (I use a purchased dressing most of the time.)
Easy salad.  Great reviews. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winter blew in last night taking October with it

In Utah, fall blew out as we slept last night. "sigh"
October and Halloween have moved on for another year.  We ended the month with a few of our favourite things.

This year our Grandpa (Dad:) really surpassed his past spook allies/haunted houses.  (Even better than the year he had a partially demolished empty house.) 
On Grandpa's  FRIGHT SCALE, he said the basement would be a 5 (with 10 being the scariest).  The yard would be a seven, and the garage, a nine.  Lincoln loved it so much that he declared the whole outside a 15.  (He kept reviewing everything so he would not miss anything as he tells his sisters about it.  The gorilla in the garage, the thrown leaves from upstairs windows (and great use of a leaf blower), rings of fire...)

My scariest part (O.K., I only did this part.  I am afraid of things jumping out in the dark.) was THE BUSH.  Mark borrowed a friend's undercover bush and scared a lot of people.  (I just stayed near Mark to watch people  ;-)
Thank you, Dad.  Your spook alley is one of the big highlights of the whole year. 

THE BUSH (Mark) relaxing after
a "frightening" evening.
Doug's office invites Trick or Treaters on Halloween day.  Logan has gone every year.  He loves walking around with Grandpa.  He loves how much candy he gets in a short time.  (We miss Layne, who lives in Idaho.)
Brooklyn, Grandpa and Logan
Lady Bug, Grandpa and Captain Jack Sparrow
I used my fun BAT sandwich cutter to make a Halloween lunch for Logan.  He said it was so cute. ( "Can I eat the whole apple?  O.K. I will take 1 tiny bite, and save the rest.")

I ordered my BAT sandwich cutter at Amazon.  (It came with 2 cutters for $6.69)

With Halloween gone, I have my first Thanksgiving Decor up.
My centerpiece of $ Store pumpkins with their fall/winter sweaters on.

I got the fun idea for sweater pumpkins from Under My Umbrella blog.  I have been buying sweaters (at thrift stores for $3.00 or less) to make an Eddie Bauer inspired sweater quilt.
Pinned Image
Eddie Bauer quilt
(It is sold out on their site)
Since I have my sweater collection, I just cut a sleeve off of 3 that coordinated.  (I cut a cuff off of each of my sweaters to take with me for matching, when I go shopping.)  I slide them up from the bottom to the top of the pumpkin, with the raw edge on top.  I tightly bound jute around the top raw edge to form the stem, and used fishing line to sew the cuff on the bottom shut.
 (I can use these pumpkins again next year for Halloween by cutting the fishing line.  When it is time for sweaters again I will just slide the sweater down this time, and restitch the bottom.)
Since I bought the sweaters for another project, my only cost for this centerpiece was $3.00 for the pumpkins at the $ Store.  (I had the basket, and the mini pumpkins were given to me.  The fall leaves were leftovers from a daughter.  And jute to wrap the "stem"?  I ALWAYS have jute. 

Happy Holiday Season.

Friday, October 28, 2011


With Halloween right around the corner I thought I would share a few of our favorite Halloween movies, and a game.

ACROBATS is a fun game that we played when my children were small.  It has 3 plastic pieces that form an arch.  A magnetic bat hangs from the arch, ready to have many more hooked on.  The colour you hang is based on the roll of the die.  This game can be short or long.  And losing is not bad.
This is a game that I pick up if I find it at a thrift store or yard sale. 
Here Logan and Grandpa enjoy one of Logan's fun games at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Our movies are ones more on the suspenseful side, so many of them are black & white (grey).  Some of our favorite B&W ones (starring Bette Davis (scary) are "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane" and "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte".   Some earlier B&W include "Gaslight", "The Second Woman", "Asrnic and Old Lace", "Sorry, Wrong Number", "Picture of Dorian Gray",  and "Laura".  Some smart ones we like (Hitchcock or Hitchcock style) are "Wait Until Dark", "Dial M For Murder", "Charade", "North By Northwest", "The Spiral Staircase", "Spellbound", ......  A couple other favorites are "The Bad Seed" and the newer "Lady In White".
These are just a few.  Hallowwen is a great time to turn off the lights and enjoy some classics.


Thursday, October 27, 2011


I was going to show what I am buying and doing for a Christmas gift, but I did not get the next step done.  (Fighting with sinus infection/headache all week.) 

So, I decided to show what I buy for my sinus problems.  I have had them all my life.  Thru the years I have found things that help.

The first is a NETI POT.  A Neti Pot is a small ceramic(or plastic) teapot used as a sinus rinse.  I paid about $12.00 for mine on sale.
The Neti pot is filled with warm water and a small packet of a saline nasal rinse.   I use it by leaning over the bathroom sink and tilting my head to one side.  I put thespout in my top nostril and "pour" about 1/2 the water in.  It will drain out the bottom nostril.  Then you sniff, and blow.  And repeat with your head turned the other direction.
(Confused?  There are videos on line that demonstrate.)
After my Dr. suggested I do this (about 6 years ago) I had less problems.  (I would have even less if I did it everyday - problems or not.)

Another option (that a daughter uses) is Sinus Wash SQUEEZE BOTTLE.  It works on the same principle as a neti pot, but you just lean forward over the sink.  It is plastic and costs about $10.00 and includes saline packets.

Next is a muscus relief product.  Musinex is a brand name one.  I buy Walgreen's brand when they are "Buy One, Get One Free".  It is an over the counter version of a prescription that I used to use.
This taken with a full glass of water, which helps to thin the mucus, and is taken about every 4-6 hours.  (I have no medical experience.  AT ALL.  These are just some things that I have learned.  I do have my honorary Law and Order law degree, however ;)

Lots of water, a humidifier, chicken noodle soup, warm (I use hot) showers or baths with steam.  You know the drill.  Everything our moms said.  (Sleep helps, too:-)    

I know.  Boring "What I Buy Wednesday.  But, I really recommend the Neti Pot.  Friends have called to borrow it from me.  Mine is ceramic and was bought at Walgreens.  I have read reviews of plastic ones, and it seems they tend to leak.  Mine does not.  If you have any questions, I am happy to try and answer them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Work to be grateful the tragedies in our lives not directly related to the choices we have made. (Adapted from a thought I like by Josi Kilpack.) 

#1  I (finally) watched "UP".  (My DVD got a scratch on it the first month we bought it, so I watched it on the Disney Channel on the night of of a late, home football game.)  I really liked the beginning and especially the end.  The silly talking dog plot?  Way coulda done without.  I DO understand that I am in the minority here. 

I wanted to watch it after visiting our local "UP" HOUSE.  Yep.  The "UP" HOUSE.  A local builder built it for a home show.  Lindsay and I headed over to see it with the grand kids for a play date.  (It was not open that day, but Lindsay and David were able to go in an open day with the kids.)
It was fun to see with Logan.  (I had not seen the movie, yet.)

#2  I try to try 5-10 new recipes a week, from various sources.  I have been hand copying/writing them. 
 Leslie has started printing them for me.  (I still write some.)  Saves me lots of time :)

#3  I tried 4 new crock pot recipes for dinner this Sunday.  One was a BIG hit.  Several asked that it be put on my 30 Day Rotation.  (Of course that means that 3 are gone.  Not terrible.  Just never repeated.)
I will share the recipe next week.

#4  My nephew, Jordan, returned from a 2 year church mission to Chile.  It was great to welcome him at the airport, and then later hear him share his experiences and testimony.

#5  I was able to visit the temple with family, and a nephew, Alex, who is preparing to leave on a mission to California.  We went to the Salt Lake Temple (first time at that temple for one kidult) and had a special evening.  (Minus my sinus infection/chest cold induced asthma attack.  SO EMBARRASSING:-(
(Mom and Dad took us to Crown Burger after.  Darn New York City for making me love pastrami.)

#6  My mom got bumped from her flight (with compensation) and came to spend another night with us. 
My nephew, Christopher, who lives an hour south of us, came up to visit her and have dinner with us.  It meant a lot to my mom.  Thank you, Christopher.

#7  When we built our addition, we lost our kitchen window (and quite a bit of light).  Last summer I bought 2 "SOLAR SKYLITE"s.  David installed them for us during his vacation.  THANK YOU, DAVID.  Love the extra light. 
(If only I had bought more.  The price was great.)

#8  Hilary and I took a 2 month class on aprons with our woman's church group (Relief Society).  (Leslie is making one at home.)  It has been fun to see Hilary learn, and like, to sew.  (Wonder what she will get for Christmas?)  I could not get a good picture of my apron, but it is cute :)

#9  Winter is blowing thru for a few days, (That is not what makes me happy.) signaling the end of the harvest.  Tomatoes will all be collected tonight and carefully stored (and watched) for indoor ripening.  The basil will be  picked and put in olive oil for a few weeks to make basil infused oil.  (Thank you, Henry.)
It was a good garden and growing season.  Thank you, Honey, for all your hard work.
(The good news is that warm weather will return for Halloween weekend.)

#10  Peanut butter is going up in price.  UGH!!!  That is a real staple at our home.  (Doug takes a peanut butter and honey sandwich every day for lunch.  Has most of our marriage :)   We use a 64 oz. jar (4 lb.) every 2-3 weeks. 
I found 4 jars at my regular $6.78 price (Only 4 after visiting 3 of the regular stores.)  and was able to order 15 jars at $8.06.  (An extra $.1.28 per jar ($19.20 for the 15).)  I am happy to have 19 jars (plus 3 I already had).  I love emergency preparedness.  And planning ahead. 

As always, these are in no particular order. (I have at least another 10 for next week.)
Tomorrow I will share what I am making my grandsons for Christmas.  (A great idea that was shared with me.)

Friday, October 21, 2011


(And I am not looking forward to the snow and the cold..).  but I still have some tomatoes from gardens, so I decided to try this soup this week.  Now I wish I had many more tomatoes. ( My husband grew tomatoes for us in his garden.  (Thank you, Hun.)  A kind neighbor (Thank you, Diane) and sister in law (Thank you, Kate) shared many tomatoes with me.  I cooked them into seasoned tomato sauce (and froze) for pizza this winter.  23 frozen blocks.  I used Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce .  It made the house smell wonderful.)
Back to the soup.  I made "Roasted Tomato Soup" from The Italian Dish.
Everyone really liked it.  (Even 1 kidult who hates tomato soup tried it since she has a bad cold/sinus infection and can not taste or smell ; ) 
This was really an easy soup.  (I would love to have so many tomatoes that I could roast them and freeze for a winter of this soup.)  This soup was so good that I forgot until just now to use fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top. 

You can find the recipe here at The Italian Dish. 
The ONLY changes that I made were to use my basil olive oil on the tomatoes (for roasting-instead of regular olive oil).

AND, I added about 2 table. of OUR BEST BITES Garlic Bread Seasoning as I started the 20 min.simmering step.  (That recipe is on page 53 in their cookbook and on their blog.  Gotta say we LOVE the Garlic Bread Seasoning.  I use it for oven roasted Parmesan potatoes, on pastas...)
(I am sorely lacking in my photo skills (and my simple camera just quit it's ZOOM feature, so be sure and check out The Italian Dish post.)
On the Roasted Tomato Soup post there is a recipe for Parmesan Crisps that look great on top of the soup.  I did not make those this time, but they are on my list.

I served my homemade croutons with the soup, and they were great.  I will post that recipe next week.

I filled a canning jar with fresh basil leaves from my husband's garden  I filled the jar with EVOO and put it in the fridge, flipping it over every few days.  The basil will not last in the oil, so after about a week I started using on pizza, in soups, ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I am making my grandsons' Christmas gift this year.  My 2 grandsons are almost 4 and almost 7.  The perfect ages for the gift I am making.  It has lots of parts and pieces.  This week I am making one complete part of the gift.  (I will show you more next week.)

The first thing I bought were 2 sets of (the black) FUNNELS at the Dollar Store.  (Two sets give me 2 of each of the three sizes.  There are 3 different sized funnels in each set.)
While I was there I also picked up a couple of rolls of DUCT TAPE. (No picture.  Needed at a later date.)

This is one set.
Next we headed to HOME DEPOT with one set of the funnels.
I bought 2 rolls of clear PLASTIC TUBING (because I am making 2 sets).  (It was in the plumbing area near the back of the store.)   Make sure that your tubing is at least 10 feet long.  (Mine is 25 feet long.)  Before you actually pick your tubing, make sure that the end of one (of the 3) funnel(s) will fit snuggly into the tubing.
20 feet of clear plastic tubing.
Yep, we made walkie talkies/a phone/communication device...
With 2 sets (of 3) funnels you can make 3 phone sets, BUT the tubing sizes will be different for each phone.

I made these for grandsons to play with at our house this summer.  (I used white funnels, but decided to use black for the boys.  More manly :)  Plus they will look cleaner.)  I surprised Logan by putting a "funnel" outside the door when they were on their way for Sunday dinner.  We were working in the kitchen when we hear, "Hello?  Is someone there?"
These have GREAT reception.  (It may take a bit of time for younger children to to learn "on your EAR to LISTEN.  On your MOUTH to TALK" :)   It is always a fun toy to bring out.  Layne and Logan will enjoy having their own as part of their Christmas gift.
The funnels are $1.00 per set of 3.  The tubing is about $7.00-$10.00.

We have lots of fun playing with the
funnel phoneswith our grandsons.
CAUTION- The tubing is a choking/strangulation danger.  We use this with adults (under supervision) and put it away in a container when not in use.

I tried a new bread recipe this week that we loved.  I will share the recipe either this week or next, as well as a few things we have done with kids-in the kitchen.

I am getting ready to do a GIVE A WAY for my blog followers in November.  (Think Christmas.)
As always, I love to hear from you.  Have you tried a recipe or craft?  Let us know.
Thank you for stopping by.    Michelle

Monday, October 17, 2011


I said last Friday that I would post a newer recipe that I have been making.
There are lots of "TWIX" recipes out there, but I had this one several times before I got the recipe and made them.  I have not been disappointed in this recipe.  I got it from Nell (my friend, Paula's daughter in law).  She makes these to sell at each of the "Flea.o.logy Antique and Craft" shows in Payson.  (We are next to her booth.)  (There are three shows per summer.  I am already getting things for next spring, and am working on 3 FUN & NEW crafts :)
Once I find a good one, I quit looking or pinning.

This is a homemade TWIX recipe, but they are not even in the same race.   I changed the name of them just a bit. 
Also, just so you know, this recipe uses 1 POUND of butter.  But it does make a 9x13 pan.  (I don't think I would have tried this if I had not eaten them first.  Darn.  Just remembered I forgot butter at Sam's Club today.)

TWIXT BAR COOKIES (There are 3 parts to this recipe)


1 cup (2 cubes) cold butter (cut into small pieces)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar

Cut together until butter and flour/sugar are crumbly.  (Pinch some together and make sure it sticks.)
Press into the bottom of a sprayed 9x13 pan.
Bake at 375* for 17-20 mins. (Until lightly golden but not browned.)


1 cup (2 cubes) butter
4 table. light corn syrup
1 cup packed brown sugar

Mix all 4 ingredients in a sauce pan on medium (stirring constantly) until it comes to a light boil.
Boil and stir for exactly 5 mins.
Cool about 5 mins. and pour over the cooked shortbread crust.
Refrigerate 1 hour.


1 1/4 cups milk chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips (I use semi sweet)
1 table. oil

Melt in the microwave (I just go 20 seconds.  Stir.  Repeat til melted and smooth.)  
Pour over the top of chilled caramel layer and spread.  Chill, then cut into 2' squares.

I have gotten requests for this recipe each time I have taken it somewhere.
Thank you, Nell.

Friday, October 14, 2011


...and my husband and I are ALMOST home alone.  (Almost does not count.)

After a busy few weeks I am finishing some projects.

I started by putting black craft paper up on a wall that I wanted to paint with chalkboard paint.  Then I hung everything back up, and quickly took them back down and pulled the paper off.  I HATED it.  Could not believe how small and closed in it made the area.  (Good thing I tried it out with paper first.  1 thing crossed off my list.)

I did some work on a felt book I have been working on since summer.  (Not done yet.)

I had left over black craft paper, so I made these.  (I found them on Pinterest.  You can see MY PINTEREST boards by clicking on the Pinterest link on the right side of my blog.  They are sold several places on Etsy.)  Can you tell it is a "monster" coming out of the toilet?

(It was only an experiment, which is why I used black craft paper..  But it looks pretty good.)
I free-handed it with a yardstick, cutting out 2 at a time, and then used lots of masking tape on the back so they would stick.  I used E6000 to glue on g0oGly eyes.
I will make these out of vinyl next week.  (Scared 1 kidult, so far:)

(MONSTER UPDATE- The masking tape is holding great so I will leave it until the end of this season, and then copy my pattern for next year. 
To cut your own cut a V about 24 inches long with one side straight and the other side angling out about 3 inches.  The first "hand" is about 14 inches from the left (on the point end).  The straight end slides under the toilet lid.

Tomorrow I am heading to Pleasant Grove for a mini (Flea.ette from Flea.o.logy) antique and craft event @ 67 South Main.  The location is "Simply Splendid" and they will be open from 9-3.

I am not selling this time. Just going to shop.  I have several things I am hoping to find, but am most looking forward to one of Nell's TWIX bars.  (BUT SO MUCH BETTER THAN A TWIX.)   You may have seen these all over the Internet, but I tasted these before I made them.  They are GOOD.  (This is my 3rd or 4th favourite recipe right now.)
Because I am a FOLLOWER of  I will get one of Nell's Twix Bars.  (Worth the drive even if I do have the recipe and have made them.)  They will also be giving their blog followers the recipe.

Here are some that I made.
If you can't make the sale, don't panic.  I will post the recipe on Monday :)
(I am also taking them to a missionary homecoming on Sunday.)

It is still pretty early for a Friday night (and the baseball game is still on) so I am off to complete a few more things.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Bet you thought I had forgotten about my blog.
We have had lots of company over the past 2 weeks (and next 2 weeks, too :)  Some planned.  Some very unexpected (and with short notice), but so welcome.  (My mom got a 14 hour layover on her way to New York.)

For "What I Buy Wednesday" this week, I have another drain item.  (I wonder if I am obsessive with keeping drains clear and clean?)
I buy "ZIP-IT" (from BrassCraft (and made in the USA :) from HOME DEPOT for about $3.00.  (I always have several extras.)
It is a zipper form with teeth and a tab on the end, and is 17 1/2 inches long, not counting finger tab.
They are used to remove hair, etc. from clogged or slow drains.  Simply slide it down, twist and slowly remove.  They can be be washed and used several times.

I used my ZIP-IT a new way yesterday.  A kidult commented that vacuum was not cleaning great, and put it away???  I told her to hit the back.  Oh yea.  WAY FULL.  (I prefer bags to bag less.)
After removing the bag - and everything I could reach from the hose - I tried a butter knife :(  Then I remembered my ZIP -IT.  It worked great.  And fast.  It is washed again and ready for the next clog.

I will post some new breakfast recipes we have tried later this week.
And next Wednesday I will show you what I am buying for my Christmas gift project for my grandsons.

I have not been compensated  at all for my What I Buy Wednesday post.  (But my daughter did vacuum my house for me).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Every year (usually summer) I have a big 2 day yard sale at my house.  A lot of families bring their stuff priced and ready to sell.  That week end is this week end.  Friday and Saturday (23 & 24 Sept.) from 8-2.  Want to sell?  Let me know and bring your things tagged with your name and price.  The more the merrier :)  (Call with questions @ 572-2955.)

Since I am getting my garage ready, I decided to fix a few things on my blog. (I will post "What I Buy Wednesday" next Wednesday.)

Many posts ago I showed you a very big frame with an unattractive picture that I had been waiting to go on sale (at a thrift store).   I finally found the very large frame I wanted (needed) for $15.00 that looked like THIS.

(Large ugly frame I needed for an idea.)
When a follower asked what I did with it, I REALIZED I NEVER SHOWED YOU!

Here is what I did.  I framed my 1960's DISNEYLAND map, and used it as a (giant) scrapbook. 
I made copies of some of our fun Disney pics from thru the years (1983-...), and backed them with bright solid cardstock.  Then I just taped them on.  (The frame has acrylic instead of glass making it lightweight.)  And hung the GIANT picture in the grandkids room.

(OF COURSE I put the pictures in the correct land :)
Another follower asked how the found dresser came out.  What?  I never posted that, either?  UGH!  (Thank you for remembering.)

Free, ugly, old dresser.
This was a fun project.  I faux painted the veneer top as granite.  (It was a test to see if I could do my counter tops.  Result?  It has gotten a couple of tiny chips over time so I will just wait until I budget for real granite.  Sad.)

I have enjoyed this in my kitchen.  It stores my ramekin collection, the Popsicle trays (when not filled), the electric griddle for pancakes (in a pillowcase), a couple of my more often used silicone baking pans and my container of kid's decorative sandwich cutters.

During the week I keep the fruit there.  On Sundays I put the salad bar there.
Yep.  I like it.  And it was free.

(Remember the top 2 drawers were missing.)
If you want me to post the steps of how I painted the faux granite
 just let me know, and I will post it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I was going to share some $$$ store finds today, but my power went out yesterday.  It was a cooler day and I was home alone.  It was off for about 3-4 hours, and it was a little sad when it came back on.  I had to quit reading.)  (I will do the Dollar Store post next week.)

I am way into preparedness.  As I have gone thru the process of preparing, I have found some things that have have really helped.  (I have shared some of these ideas before.)

LIGHT  (A big one)

My go to light sources are
1 - the small (very powerful) flashlights.  I have at least 5 of them hooked to lanyards and hanging in my closet. 
In an emergency we may not have hands to carry a flashlight.
We may not need the constant light source, and just misplace them. 
Long term, we may get somewhere and realize we forgot our flashlight and have to go back.  (In a simulated emergency I would run downstairs to the storage room for food, and have to run back up for my flashlight ;(
Of course, we also have regular flashlights w/ extra batteries, hand crank and shake flashlights and glow in the dark flashlights and glow sticks.

2 - Yard solar lights (Yep, just the inexpensive ones you stab in the landscaping.  Watch for end of the season sales now.)
I got this idea after seeing them in our back yard during our last "fake" disaster.  I just wiped off the tip and brought them in, and set them upside down.  They did a GREAT job illuminating a room.  I just took them back out in the mornings to recharge. 
If you are in an apt., consider planting a few in an outdoor potted plant.

Keep in mind that although propane lanterns work great, they give off A LOT OF HEAT.  (And the hissing gets annoying.)  Also, I would rather use the free solar light than my propane bottles. 


If I see the thermos' (the ones with the spigots.  2 1/2 gallon, 5 gallon...) at yard sales or thrift stores, I get them.  They are practical for taking water and juice to the canyons.  And homemade root beer :) 
But, they work great for emergency water.  (I always have clean ones in the basement.)  Several times our neighborhood has lost water due to construction.  One Thanksgiving day our neighborhood water was turned off due to a neighbors burst sprinkler line.) 
Anyway, I quickly filled the coolers, and put 1 in the bathroom for hand washing, and one in the kitchen for drinking.  (In a true emergency we would use hand sanitizer and drink ALL the water ;)
I also store water pouches, water bottles,  water jugs...


I collect the small propane bottles.  I just pick one up as I am out shopping for groceries, gifts, whatever.
BUT my big thing is, HAVE AN EXTRA PROPANE TANK FOR YOUR GRILL.  And always keep it full.  The reason is obvious.  Who wants to run out of propane in the middle of a party?

We used to trade our empty tanks in for new ones when stores had them on sale.  Then my son in law heard from his dad about a commercial place.  That is where we go now to get ours filled.  The cost is less, and they fill them full.  If you are in the Salt Lake City, UT area, here is where we go.  (They also sell full tanks.)

Commercial Propane, Inc.
8750 South 300 West   Sandy, UT  (East side of the freeway)

If you are not from here, call around to commercial propane co. for prices.  (Not gas stations with a propane tank.)


I had a meeting last night and was glad that I have some regular wind up hair rollers for after my shower.  I did not know if I would be able to use my curling iron.

Hand can opener.  (Store a new, good quality one.  It may get a lot of use.)

Alternative radio.  (Battery, hand crank, solar...)  You will want/need to hear the news.

This is my favourite extra.  It is a smallish battery powered fan.  I use them at night when I travel for air and white noise.  (Yellowstone, New York)  They work great.  I keep extra batteries with them, but have not needed to replace them.  (I got them from Walmart for $5.00 during our first "fake" disaster.

$5.00 battery operated fan uses 2 "D" batteries.
Centre circle is about 6" across.
(I also collect aluminum foil and ziplocks.  They will help w/ food needs/prep.)

We (actually me) do an inventory of the very basics the first week of October and April.  I update emergency snacks, check battery needs...
I hope some of this helps you get ideas for preparedness.  Remember to add card games, a good book or a few things to help you enjoy your day with no power.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ON MY MIND (My collection of odds and ends)

I had a different post planned for yesterday, but got a flu.  It was short.  And I slept.

On My Mind

I have never watched "Casablanca".  I love old movies.  I have tried many times to watch it.  I deleted it from my DVR again last night.  (I made it over 1/3 of the way through it.)

There are fewer commercials on BBC (it seems to me), but I wish they were British commercials.  Then I would not fast forward them.

I made a "new"  "recipe" for hot cheesy bean dip, for Sunday dinner.  As I made it, I realized it was not new, nor was it really a recipe.  It is what I usually do to our refried beans, only called a dip. 
However, the point of this comment is the chips I bought.  Doug and I were walking down the row to the tortilla chips (on Saturday night, AFTER the (sad) game) when I stopped because I SMELLED tortilla chips.  Of course, we got those. 
They did not disappoint.  Everyone commented on how good they were.  They tasted like what you are brought in some Mexican restaurants.  They may or may not be higher in fat/calories.  I chose not to check.  (JUANITA'S TORTILLA CHIPS   manufactured by DOMINGUEZ FAMILY ENTERPRISES, in Hood River, Oregon)

Highly recommend these tortilla chips.
$2.18 at my local WINCO

Although it looks wrong... I wonder why "REJOICE" is not spelled "REJOYCE"?

Hilary was looking for a particular talk on line.  I found it quicker in the actual magazine :)

Speaking of magazines (well, actually books), I was watching Doug read on his Ipod last night.  He used a finger to move down the "page".  Yuk. 
I love real books.  I love to hold them, and turn the pages.  I like to see how many pages there are.  And go back to look at the author's picture in the back cover and...
For his birthday Doug wanted a book that was 50% cheaper to buy for the Ipod  (also could be bought immediately).  But now I can't read it.  Or at least don't want to read it in that format.  Want to know what books I have been reading?  Just click on my "Pinterest" (right side of my blog) and check out my "Books I have read...and liked" board.

Want easier access to one of my recipes?  Just let me know which one and I will put it on my "Recipes I like" board.

Friday, September 9, 2011


The weather is starting to cool a bit.  Fall is on it's way. 
I use my crock pots year round.  (In the summer I use my crock pot out on the patio.  Keeps the house cooler.)  but this is more of a fall recipe.
I especially like crock pot meals on Cub Scout day and Sundays.  I am always on the lookout for new crock pot recipes.

We have been making this recipe for about 4 years and it is a family favourite.  It is easy and left overs are great. 
The name of the recipe is from a daughter in law that does not usually like "white chicken" (she means casseroles ;)

from Pam J.

4 table. butter or margarine
1 package DRY Italian dressing mix
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - frozen or defrosted
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup

Prepared rice or noodles

Spray crock pot and melt the butter in it. 
Add Italian dressing mix and stir.
Put chicken breasts in and stir to coat with butter mix.  (Can stir again during cooking process to be sure that all are coated.)

Cook on low 6 - 8 hours, or high 3-4 hours.

About 30 mins. before serving, shred the chicken in the crock pot (with forks).
Add and stir in softened cream cheese and cream of chicken soup and cook on low about 30 mins.
Stir over prepared rice (our preference) or noodles (very good, too).

I can always use another good and easy crock pot recipe.  Thank you, Pam.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I Buy Wednesday

This week for "What I Buy Wednesday" I am heading to the laundry room.  I thought I would share a few of my favourites/must haves.

The first one is TIDE STAIN RELEASE - In Wash Booster.  I bought this on accident when it first came out a few years ago.  (I had a coupon for $3.00 off and thought it was laundry SOAP with a booster.)
After I figured out what it was, and used it,  I was impressed with how bright my laundry was.  But lots of things can give me that.  Here is what won me over.  IT GOT MUSTARD OUT OF ONE OF MY BLOUSES.  (Mustard, to me is like a dye.)
I don't use it every load.  I use it most for my light loads (not towels).  I have kept buying it.  And I still look for coupons.

I also like TIDE TO GO stick.  (It is like a marker of spot remover that you use by going over the spot, to remove it, on the spot.  It sometimes dries with a faint ring around the missing spot.  That washes out.) It has been used often by my family.  (It worked on a sweet flower girl's dress when she got hurt, and bled on her dress.)

I keep SHOUT COLOR CATCHER around just in case.  I like it when an item is part dark and part light?  Which load do I wash it in?  (Usually dark - with a COLOR CATCHER.)
I use it when I am washing a new item and am unsure about color fastness.
I also use it case of an emergency.  The standard case of the white(ish) shirt that jumped in the dark load.  It has always pulled the color out, after the incident, for me.
My box is a 24 sheet size, and I have had it for several years. 

Last but not least is basic White Vinegar.  I use a gallon of vinegar about every other month.  It is great for removing odors.  (Pool/chlorine, pet accidents (if your cat is very old), dish cloths...) 
It is also helpful in cutting hard water.  Vinegar is a good basic cleaning tool.

I have a favourite laundry soap, stain remover, dryer sheet and fabric softener.  (Don't we all?)  These are just a few other helps I have found.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR SOME OF YOUR FINDS :)  You can share your finds and experiences by leaving a comment.
Next Wednesday we will share some $$$ store finds and favourites.

All opinions (and actual products) are mine.  I was not compensated.  I do try to find coupons.

Monday, September 5, 2011


With our big family Yellowstone/Island Park trip over, and my N.Y.C. trip past and the antique/crafts FLEA.O.LOGY market done, I guess I will get back to menu planning.  (I did try 9 new recipes in 3 days last week end :)

As I am planning my menus for the week, I use 9 categories to include variety and ease.  These are my categories.

1 Meat with sides
2 Casserole - pasta, rice, beans
3 Crock pot, Homemade Soups, Chili, meats
4 Pick A Can - canned soup, canned chili, cereal, Spagettios...  You pick, you prepare, you eat.
5 Easy - paninis, sloppy joes, sandwiches...
6  Requests
7 Left Overs/Planned Overs
8 Breakfast for Dinner
9 Sunday Dinner

I try to plan about 2 weeks of menus at a time.  It makes grocery shopping easier.
I usually make a list of what I am planning (and if there is a new recipe, where to find it).
I adapt my list to my day.  An easy day may suddenly change, leaving me with no time to cook the planned meal.  I just pull an easier/faster meal from what I have already scheduled.

(New topic)  I have tried a couple of recipes lately that have been a disappointment.

One was "Brookies".  (Betty Crocker Supreme Bars Cookie Brownie - Did not care for these.  Needed to cook almost 20 mins. longer and they were still not done, but we had to leave for church.  They were heavy and the flavours/texture were not defined.)

I also made baked spinach artichoke dip with a new recipe that used pureed white beans instead of cream cheese   What a waste of all my ingredients, including 2 cans of artichoke hearts :( 
Don't you hate when that happens?

I will post other failures, and my successes in my posts this month.
I am heading to the laundry room for WHAT I BUY WEDNESDAY.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Planning Our Menu (or What We are Eating)

Some of my family really loves fish.   I can take it.  Or leave it.  Usually I cook salmon.  I buy mine at Sam's Club, divide it and freeze it. 

When I cook salmon I start with one of my 3 go to seasonings.  Brown sugar.  Lemon pepper. And Cajun seasoning. (blackened).

I have 3 cooking methods.  In the oven.  On the grill, or in the crock pot.  Using the grill or crock pot keeps the smell outside (as long as you eat it out there, too;) 
Cooking in the crock pot is a great way to keep your house cooler with summer weather, but the crock pot itself gives off heat (and does not contain that fishy smell.  I just take mine outside and plug it in on the patio.

I never cook frozen fish.  This is a big thing to me.  (You can do whatever you want.)  I never cook frozen fish.  It makes a difference (to US) in the texture of the fish.  I use defrosted or right from the store. (not fresh I'm sure)


When you cook your fish in a crock pot, it will be wrapped in foil, and in a single layer.  I like to have the base of my crock pot match the base (in size) of my piece of fish.

Start by laying out a large (enough) piece of sturdy foil (or doubled foil).

Next I spread about 1 table. of softened butter on the foil to the size of my fish piece.  (You could use your preferred fat.  I like the flavour of butter.) 
Then I season the butter.  I sprinkle the Cajun seasoning (or lemon pepper or brown sugar) over the butter on the foil..

Because I am NOT turning my crock pot fish over during the cooking process, I PUT THE UGLY SIDE OF THE FISH DOWN ON THE FOIL.

Then I butter the top of the fish, and season the top.

Wrap the foil as you would for a tin foil dinner and put in to the crock pot.
Put your fish pack into the crock pot with NO water or other liquid.  (You do not need to spray your crock pot, either.)

Cook on low for about 2 hours (My fish is about 1 inch thick and not frozen when I start.)

Easy.  Cooler than the oven.  Can keep the smell outside :)
Crock Pot Salmon

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What We Found... An EXPOSE'

I am posting this from New York City.  This is one of my very favourite places to visit.  I am so grateful to my my brother, Michael and Tracey (and Jenna and Tashina :) share their house and city with us.  THANK YOU!
"What I Buy Wednesday" will return next week.

I hate to tattle... but this was a surprise to us.

During a very busy week (a few weeks ago) Emily brought home KFC (chicken) for dinner.  (Thanks, Em:) 

Doug noticed the honey packet was labeled, ""Honey Sauce"???  So...we read the ingredient list.  (Ready?)

(In order)
high fructose corn syrup
corn syrup
contains less that 2% caramel color, molasses, water, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, malic acid
(7% real honey)

I buy a lot of honey.  My husband loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  I buy our honey at Wincos.  You pick your flavour, and fill a clear sour cream style container.  (Be careful not to lift the lid of the box.  They have a safety notice warning that the bees could escape.) 
Although the bears are cuter, I like the wide opening style container.  No waiting for the honey to move to the lid so you can squeeze it out.   Even as it starts to firm up, you can get the honey out with a knife.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Couple of Summer Ideas

Any last minute summer fun planned?  My blog posts next week will be from New York City.  We are flying, of course, but I wanted to share a couple of summer ideas we used this summer while out and about.

BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS had a great idea of using a cereal (storage) container for car garbage.  I stuck a few extra bags in the bottom.  Then I used a grocery bag to line the container and put the lid on.
We used this on our trip to Yellowstone this summer and I loved it.  (We put in wet diapers, banana peels, chewed gum (at least what did not fall on the floor :)  The pop open made of the lid made it easy to use and kept all odors inside.  This idea was a real find.

While we were waiting for lunch at a restaurant this summer, I noticed Hilary and Lincoln playing TIC TAC TOE.  With silverware and sugar packets.  It kept our wiggly Lincoln in his seat, and looked fun.
(I just learned she found the idea from...who found it from...  But I think this idea originally came from bedifferentactnormal.  It's a good one :)
 (Emily and Hilary are full of fun ideas.  While they were on a cruise this summer they played "Go Fish" (using credit cards, business cards, appointment cards - you know, stuff from a wallet :) with Lincoln while waiting in line for a midnight event.) 
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