Friday, November 9, 2012

Homemade Windex

Another super easy super cheap alternative to store bought cleaners. Windex glass and mirror cleaner. I love that I can feel good about letting my kids help clean with this because it is just vinegar. lemon juice, dawn, and water. 


The place that I found the recipe had you make a gallon but I was out of containers other than an empty windex bottle so I adapted it. In the spray bottle I put:
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Dawn
Then fill it up with water.

It works great and doesn't stink like vinegar, which is always a concern that I have. You will have to forgive me or not doing the cost comparison this time. I have been super sick all week and am now drugged up on 4 prescriptions so you will just have to take my work for it that this stuff it cheap, Less than a dollar a bottle for sure.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Simple Tricks from Friends

I am blessed to be surrounded by smart and thrifty women! I had a girls night last night and learned 2 tricks that I feel EVERYONE should know!

The first one is on buttermilk. I am not a buttermilk drinker but I do have a couple recipes that call for buttermilk. I love these recipes but I hate buying buttermilk because I never use it all and then have to throw the rest out and I HATE wasting things. I was telling this to my girl friends last night and one said, "you know you can make your own buttermilk." Two of them had done this before. Sounds hard right? It is SO simple!!! 

Here is what you do:

Put 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal one cup. Let is stand for 5 minutes and TA-DA! You have one cup of buttermilk. GENIUS!!!

The best part is that she said that she has even done this with SOY MILK! How awesome is that?!?!?!

The second trick is for keeping your shower walls from getting that foggy appearance. We have crazy hard water here in Houston so soap scum tricks are always welcome! Used dryer sheets. Grab a couple on your way into the shower and while you are in there wipe down the shower door with it.

I love having resourceful friends! Thanks girls!

Mop Solution

Today I tried a mixture for my mop. You could also just use it in a bucket with a regular mop. I have a mop that sprays like a Swiffer, but you can put whatever kind of solution you want in it and the pads you mop with are re-useable AND no batteries required!

I got mine at Walmart but I can't find it online so maybe they have a different version now but it is similar to this one

Option 1
Okay, here is what you need:

4 cups hot water, 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar, 
a few drops of grapefruit seed extract or lavender oil

I used Grapefruit Seed Extract this time because I didn't have lavender but I definitely plan on trying it next time because I love the smell. Anyway, just mix it all together and pour into the mop. It filled mine up twice, so if you don't have a lot of floor to mop you should half the recipe. It worked really well! I had to scrub my mop over certain spots but that is nothing new in my house. The purpose of the Grapefruit Seed Extract or Lavender oil is to mask the smell of the vinegar. It did a pretty good job but I stilled smelled it a little bit.

Option 2 

2 Tablespoons white vinegar, 1/2 T Dawn
2 Tablespoons washing soda, 1 gallon (16 cups) water

The original place I found this recipe made 2 gallons at a time, but I didn't have anywhere to keep that much and I wasn't going to use it all in one day, so I have split the recipe in half for you. It does store fine I made some a month ago and it still works great. I liked this one better because it did not make the house smell as much like vinegar and I think that it may have done a little bit better of a job. I didn't feel like I had to scrub very much at all. Also, this one does not smell like vinegar. 

So overall, they both work but my favorite was the second option.

Cost comparison:

Option 1 was hard to do because of the lavender oil. One little bottle costs about $7 at HEB but you only use 3 drops. I have no idea how many "drops" are in a bottle, But I have a feeling it will last a long time. The vinegar portion costs $.029 per mix (which filled my mop twice)

Option 2 is cheaper because the same amount of vinegar in option 1 goes a lot farther in this one. The Washing soda is less than $4 for a huge box and you only use 2 tablespoons so it goes a super long way too. This mix will fill my mop multiple times because this amount filled up 2 empty Simply Orange bottles as well as my mop!  
What I previously bought was Fabuloso which is $2.87 at Walmart and will clean the floor about 56 times if you measure it right which would be $.051 per mix.

So, if my math is correct, you save a dollar every 33 mop mixes for option 1 and even more for option 2. This doesn't sound like drastic savings like some of the other cleaners I have made, BUT keep in consideration that you are also getting rid of chemicals and gaining an all natural cleaner.That makes a difference when you have babies crawling on the floor. Not that I think buying a not all natural floor cleaning is going to kill your children, but better to do the healthy thing where you can right?

Bonus trick:

The first solution did make it smell a little vinegar-ish in the house so I got to try out an air freshener trick I had just read about. (Thank you Pinterest) :) Put about a teaspoon or a little bit more of vanilla (it said 2 capfuls, but I bought an off brand that comes in a bottle that doesn't have a cap) in an oven safe dish. and "bake it" at 350 for 20 minutes. The house smelled heavenly. When the kids got up from nap they asked what "that yummy smell" was. I think they were hoping for cookies. :) A couple hours later when my hubby got home the vinegar smell was definitely gone because he is not a fan of the vinegar smell and for sure would have said something. ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Laundry Soap Update

So, if you have read my blog about laundry soap options, I have a new and improved version of the one I had suggested. Here is why:

I gave my sister some of the soap I had made that had Fels Nathpa in it and she got an itchy rash. She was not sure if it was the soap or something else, but it did lead her to look up info on Fels Naptha. Turns out that some people say that it makes them itch. So, thanks to my sister's research(and itchy suffering) I decided to try Zote Laundry Soap instead. I had originally just used Fels Naptha because the recipe said to, so why not try something new?

Her research said that it is a better option why it comes to skin allergies and I found that not only was it easier to work with, it smells better! I was never a huge fan of the way the Fels Naptha smells on its own, but I overlooked it because the lavender masked it. I really like the smell of the new laundry soap though!

Here is what you need: 

2 cups Borax
2 Cups Washing Soda
1 bar Zote Soap (it is a thick bar)
2 1/2lb Oxy Clean
30 drops lavender essential oil

The Zote is softer than Fels Naptha so it I just cut it into chucks and put it in my food processor (have I mentioned how much I love and could not live without that thing?) process it until it makes tiny little balls of soap and then add the Borax and blend in to keep the soap from being to sticky. Then put in all into a big bowl and mix in the other ingredients. 

I have been using this soap all week and really like it better. I am really glad that my sister got an itchy rash! Sorry, that you had to suffer though, Wendy! Just think how you helped me find a better homemade laundry soap recipe!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spniach Artichoke Hummus

So you know I LOVE to sneak veggies into things my kids eat. This one has actually been a huge hit because kids love to dip things. It started when I was pregnant with #3 and could not resist walking by this Spinach Artichoke Hummus at Costco anymore! So I bought some and not only did I love it, the kids loved it! 
The problem: it was kind of pricey for someone as cheap as me. Solution: look at the ingredients on the back and several hummus recipes online and make one up! So here is the recipe I can up with:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic clove minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 (15oz cans garbanzo beans (liquid reserved)
1 (14oz) can artichoke hearts (drained)
1/2 red bell pepper
4cups spinach

Saute the garlic and red bell pepper in the oils until tender. Meanwhile, dump the beans and artichokes in the food processor and blend. Steam or saute the spinach (whichever you prefer) to get it nice and wilted. Add spinach, garlic and bell pepper (with oil), lemon juice, and salt to the food processor with the bean/artichoke mix. Puree until mixed adding the juice from the beans to get it to the right texture.

 It makes a huge amount, so you might half it the first time to make sure that it is going to get eaten. We like to dip veggies, Stacy's pita chips (which I am ADDICTED to), and veggies straws in it. My daughter will sometimes eat it and sometimes not, but my son scarfs it down every time! The hubby likes it too, which is always an added bonus! :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Insanly Good Peanutbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I will just start by confessing that these are not healthy or fast. I am afraid to even calculate how many calories is in one of these little pieces of deliciousness. Therefore this is different than 99% of the posts you will see on my blog, but it is really good and it settled an argument between my kids so it is um... useful. This is one case where they are so good that I JUST DON'T CARE! :)

The kids were arguing this morning over what kind of cookie we should bake. Adah, as usual wanted chocolate chip. She goes by a little pearl of wisdom she learned from Gingersnap or Strawberry Shortcake "A cookie without chocolate chips is like a face without a smile." And that my friends is why I consider Strawberry Shortcake "educational television". Nate, however, wanted peanut butter cookies. Never fear, children! Mom's got the solution! 

I got this recipe from one of my best friends in the world Amy Roberts. The first time she made them, I probably ate 5. They are SO stinking good! Anyway, here is the recipe and instructions:

First step: Aprons, baking just isn't as fun without them! ;)
Not sure what look Nate was going for here.

  • Ok, now cream together 1 cup of butter (2 sticks, I warned you these were not healthy!) and 1 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  • Beat in 2 eggs, 1 cup peanut butter, and 1 t vanilla
  •  In a separate bowl whisk together 2 3/4c of flour (I use King Aurthur brand white whole wheat), 1/4c cornstarch, 3/4 t salt, 1 t baking soda, and 1/2 t baking powder
  • Now mix it all together. If you don't do much baking, let me suggest not dumping all of the flour mixture in at once unless you want to look like an episode of I Love Lucy. :)

Now last but definitely not least, add the chocolate chips. The recipe calls for 1 cup, but I tend to put a little extra for um... good luck? to grow on? Yep that's it... to grow on... to grow on my thighs, that's for sure.

 Resist the temptation to eat all of the dough right now...

Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and space about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. And enjoy! :) You might want to use a fork to smoosh them down a bit before you bake them like regular peanut butter cookies.

For those of you that are a bit OCD like me and need an ingredient list, here you go:
1 Cup Peanut butter
1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 3/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Chocolate Chips  - Well, at least one cup! ;)

Homemade Baby Food

Okay parents, when I had my first baby that thought of homemade baby anything sounded like too much work to me. Now I kick myself for not giving it a shot! If only I had known how easy and how much cheaper making my own baby food was, I would have NEVER bought it! Not to mention that it tastes SO much better (seriously, I would eat it) and since I make it I know exactly what goes into it and i don't have to worry about what is in it or how clean the baby food making factory is. So trust me, if you haven't tried this, it is SO worth giving it a shot.

You can make any kind of baby food from veggies, to meat, to rice cereal to oatmeal! I have not had much luck getting my kids to eat the homemade rice cereal. I guess I have not yet mastered getting it mushy enough. They have eaten my oatmeal though.Since I don't do the cereals often here is a good resource if you want to pursue it. I will post about meat in a future post, but it pretty much just cook it and puree it.

For veggies and for fruit I am a big fan of either fresh or frozen. I don't really like canned stuffed, but if you do you can use them too. I love frozen because it is picked at the peak of nutrition and flash frozen so I feel like it is probably the best for you. I also just don't think canned versions taste as good.That is just my opinion, to each is own. 

I use a food processor to puree mine, but if you don't have one, some blenders will puree. When I make my baby food, I like to freeze it in ice cube trays then put it in freezer bags to use as I need them. That way you can grab a sweet potato and mix it with a broccoli and have some fruit for dessert. (That is my little guy's favorite)


The instructions are pretty much the same for all veggies... cook it, puree it, add water if needed to get the right consistency. So to break it down:

Carrots, Broccoli, Spinach, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Peas: Steam them until soft then puree
Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes: Bake, then puree
Zucchini, yellow squash: Boil then puree

If I left any veggies off, just cook them as you normally would and puree. Most veggies you will need to add some water to get the right consistency. If you have boiled or steamed something, use the water that you used to cook them because it will have more nutrients from cooking the veggies.

Fruit: So easy

Fruit is juicy enough that you don't need to add water. Pears, peaches, apples, mango, banana, are great. Just peel them cut out the seed(s) and puree in the food processor. You have to be careful on berries because some berries are so seedy that they don't puree very well so they might not have a great texture. Also, berries have a stronger taste than some fruit so what I do it fill the ice trays half full to make smaller portions of berries and then mix it with another fruit. Josiah currently loves bananas with blueberries in his oatmeal. My 3 year old, actually asked for some in her oatmeal the other day so I plunked a cube of banana and a cube of blueberries in hers too! Some of the fruit like pears and apples tend to be really juicy so I mix the dry baby oatmeal with it to thicken it. 

Serving it up:

When it is time to eat, I just pick a couple cubes and thaw in the microwave. I try different mixed just like the store bought baby food does. Throw in a cube of squash and a cube of corn or whatever. Sometimes I even sprinkle in some whole grain cereal to thicken it up if needed. As your baby gets older you can also start leaving it chunkier when you puree to start transitioning into "table food".


You may ask what to do I do when we go out of town. Well, that actually just happened so here you go! I make a list of how many meals he will need and count out the cubes into tupperware containers. Put it in a cooler still frozen without ice and it will thaw itself. Once thawed either put it in the fridge when you get to your destination or keep ice in the cooler if you don't have access to a fridge. We recently did that and the ice kept it nice and cold. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homemade Foaming Soap

This super easy way to save money! I love Dawn Direct Foam dish soap so I went to my good friend Pinterest to find a way to keep my foaming dish soap while saving money and I found exactly what I was looking for!

So here is the deal:
You will have to buy the real thing once because you need the direct foam pump bottle. Then, instead of buying the refills buy whatever scent of regular dawn dish soap you like (actually, it doesn't have to be Dawn brand that is just what I did because I had some on hand). Fill the empty direct foam container about 1/3 of the way full with the soap, then fill to the fill line with water. Make sure that you do not have the water on pressure too high because you don't want to fill the bottle with bubbles. Use a knife to gently stir as to not create bubbles. Once you feel it is mixed well put the direct foam pump top back on and poof! No literally, push the pump and poof comes the foam!

I just tried this one out and was SUPER happy to see that I will be saving money!! 
Here is how much money:

30.9 fl oz for $5.64 at Walmart
This will refill the 13.5 oz Direct Foam pump bottle 2.28 times, that makes it about $2.47 per refill. Side note: Why 2.28 refills in a bottle, Dawn? Why not an even 2? Just curious...

56 fl oz for $5.64
This will make about 12 refills for the 13.5 oz  bottle. That makes it about .47 cents per refill! That saves $2 per refill! I know you probably only refill it 6-10 times a year (depending on how much you hand wash) but every dollar counts and if we find other ways to save, it WILL add up!

In other awesome foaming soap news:
According to The Frugal Girls, you can do the same thing to make foaming hand soap, which my kids seem to think makes hand washing much more fun. And stretches those refills to save cash! I am going to buy some hand soap foaming pump bottles tomorrow! ;)

One more random use for Dawn:

While I am on the subject of Dawn soap, I want to share a super cool trick my hubby found last year. If your dogs have fleas, bathe them with regular Dawn soap. The fleas will literally flee. The soap kills them on the spot. Start at your doggie's head/neck and work your way down because the fleas will try to run for "high ground". Maybe we are weird around my house, but we think it is fun to watch the fleas run and get all washed off. We were SHOCKED at how many there were! EWW! Dang Houston flea infestation!

Happy foamy cleaning! ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homemade cream of anything!

This is so amazing! I have come across several things in my diy, save money, live healthy journey that have made me think "THIS is my favorite thing I have done so far!" My top 3 I think are the homemade baby wipes, soap scum cleaner, and this: Cream of ___________ substitute. I happened to see it on Pinterest and like most things, I had it pinned for a good month or two (or three...) before I got around to actually reading it.

I have several favorite recipes that call for cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or tomato soup. This pin claimed that it is better for you and "wayyyyyy cheaper" so I decided to be brave and go for it. My blog motto is "trial and error", if I never try it, I'll never know. So, over the past 2 weeks I have tried all 3.

It has been amazing!

So they all have the same basic recipe that you tweak for each. Here is the "basic" White Sauce:
First, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan (I have used salted, unsalted, & margarine; all have worked). When is is melted, add 3 tablespoons flour (I use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose), 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a dash of pepper. Whisk and cook over medium heat until it bubbles. Then slowly add 1 1/4 cup of liquid (different for each). Add is slowly while whisking constantly to avoid clumping. Cook, while whisking, until it thickens.

Okay, so when I first read that I thought that it sounded like it might be hard and take a long time, but I was very wrong. It was SO easy! 

First I will cover the Cream of Chicken  I used it to make a family favorite: Chicken Pot Pie (recipe here). My husband said "this is better than the canned kind" That made me feel like I had won an Olympic medal. I almost gave a speech.

Make the basic white sauce but add 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning to the flour mixture. For your liquid use 1 cup of chicken broth and 1/4 cup of milk. One thing to know about this one is that you can use all chicken broth and no milk (use 1 1/4cup). I just used the milk because I was worried it would not be creamy enough.

Next moving on to Cream of Mushroom OH MY GOSH! This was so good that I licked the saucepan! I used it to make another family favorite that I grew up calling Cattleclatterhash (recipe here).

While the butter is melting add 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms to saute. Add the flour mixture as usual and use milk as your liquid. One tip for this one: you can't buy just 1/4 mushrooms, but you can cut all of them up and freeze them to get out 1/4 cup each time you need them. :) I have tried this and it works just fine.

Now on to Tomato Soup. I originally made this for another family casserole we call One Dish Dinner (recipe here).  I later just made it as soup for me and my son to have with grilled cheese for lunch one day. Put to the husband test, it was good in the casserole but had a stronger tomato juice taste than canned tomato soup when eaten by itself.

This one is simple. Make the white sauce but use tomato juice as your liquid. You can buy those little 6 pack cans of juice and use 2 cans.

Health run down: well, there are 3 tablespoons of butter so you know there must be more calories than in the canned stuff (you would be right) but the good thing is, you know exactly what is in it, less processing and less sodium.

Also, yes, it is cheaper. The math is of course different for each one, depending on the ingredients. One box of stick butter will make this 10 times. I am feeling to lazy to figure out how many tablespoons my 5lb bag of flour is, but the cost of the flour needed is most likely pennies. For the mushrooms. I bought a little thing of fresh ones and chopped them up and froze them in in snack bags that had 1/4 cup in each so that I could get a package out when I needed it. I got 6 servings out of it and then used the rest for pizza toppings. :) For the tomato juice, I bought a 6 pack of juice which ended up being $1.32 per soup mix. I am sure there is a cheaper way to buy tomato juice so I am going to work on that one.

Anyway, I thought these were delicious. You can find instructions for cream of celery and chive soup in addition to these at this blog. It is the same as the the cream of mushroom except with celery or chives instead of mushrooms. Hope you enjoy!

Three Recipes

These recipes go with my Homemade Cream of Whatever post. They are all simple recipes that my family enjoys. I am not and do not claim to be a master chef. My goal is simply getting my kids to eat dinner without complaining! :)

Chicken Pot Pie
I have actually made this for other people and they all seem to love it. 
The secret is... it is SO easy.

1 can of chicken
1 can cream of chicken (or the alternative in this post)
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
1 box of pie crust (comes with 2)

I am hoping to eventually master making whole wheat pie crust, but after 2 epic fails I am going to have to have someone actually SHOW me how. Anyway, mix all of the ingredients. Put the first pie crust down in the pie dish. Fill. Put the other crust on top and seal the sides. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes if thawed, longer if frozen. (Until it is golden brown) This is a great, simple "freezer meal" too. AND it gets my whole family to not only eat all of their veggies, but ask for seconds! It is magic!

This is one I ate growing up. My mom got the recipe from my grandfather (my dad's dad) who I did not get to meet because he passed away before I was born. We have had lots of fun with his "cattleclatterhash" though. My mom used to make us say it before we could eat it and now that I have kids I o the same thing sometimes. It is quite amusing! :)

1lb ground beef
1 cup dry macaroni noodles
1 can cream of mushroom (or the alternative in this post)
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon chili powder
onion or onion flakes (to taste)
shredded cheese

Brown the beef. Drain grease and add the onion, chili powder, and tomato sauce. Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes. If you prefer the stove you can just simmer it for a few minutes. Most of the recipes I have from my mom have been converted to how you make it in the microwave because she hates cooking and microwaves were all the rage in her early married days. ;) Love you mom! Okay, back to cooking....
Cook and drain the noodles and mix with the beef mixture. Top with cream of mushroom and then cheese. Put the lid on and microwave long enough to melt the cheese. Enjoy!

One Dish Dinner
This is another one that I got from, my mom and I only know how to make it in the microwave. This is one that not only I grew up eating, but my mom did too. The name "one dish dinner" is a bit deceiving though because unless you are a veggie hating bachelor, you are going to want a side dish or two.

1lb ground beef
8oz wide egg noodles
5 slices of sandwich cheese
onions or onion flakes to taste

Brown meat with onion. Drain. Place UNCOOKED noodles on top. Cover with the cheese so that you cannot see the noodles. You will have to do patchwork with the cheese. Pour the tomato soup on top then a can (or cup) of water on top. Pour the water slowly so that you don't wash away all of the soup. Cover microwave for 5 minutes. Now take it out and use a spoon to push the noodles down into the water a bit and microwave a few more minutes. Repeat until the noodles are soft. Then you will see why my sister and I referred to this as "the orange noodle stuff" when we were kids.

I hope that you and your family enjoy these. Don't forget to read my post on the alternatives to the soups!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Supermom. Why do we do this to ourselves?

"You are like Supermom."

That is a phrase that I never pictured someone saying to me. It even took me a minute to process. Did she really say that? But tonight at a MOPS dessert night I went to, it really did happen. After the surprise, I started thinking "wow, me? Supermom? What a dream come true! Someone thinks I am a Supermom!"  Shortly after this amazing phrase was said to me I had to hop in my car to head home in time to nurse my littlest before bed.

Sometimes when I get the chance to be in the car alone I like to turn the radio off and just be alone in the silence because let's be honest, silence is not a sound that moms hear very often. Suddenly, I am alone in my thoughts "Supermom. Wow. I used to think of Mary (I am going to make these names up) or Becky as supermom and be jealous and wish I could be like that. I remember even crying about it when I was feeling a  little postpartum after my 2nd baby was born and feeling like I was not a good enough mom." 

Then God came into the conversation...."And how did that make you feel?" 

Oh dear, there goes my "supermom" high. That did not make me feel great at all. In fact, I went through a really hard time thinking that God shouldn't have even given me a second child because I just couldn't do it, it was too hard. Too exhausting. She was too fussy and her big brother was into everything and I just was not patient enough. Then I would look at the supermoms I saw around me and think "I should be like that." 

God joins in again "And today? Were you supermom today?"

Hmmmm.... Well let's see... I started my day off struggling with a really bad attitude, having a pity party about a couple of things going on in my life right now. A commitment I made even though I didn't really want to, bills piling up with the car breaking down and family members needing dental work, etc. Whine, whine, whine. Then God reminded me that I have WAY too many blessings in my life to be whiny so I resolved to be more grateful and less whiny. 

Then I hear the kids fighting in their room. Sigh. Not a good way to start the day. I break that one up. Shortly after that, another fight ensues. And then I yell at them. UGH, I hate when I yell. That certainly doesn't feel very supermom-ly. What is the deal this morning they don't usually wake up this grumpy? Okay moving on...

We have 40 minutes to get ready and get out the door for my son's dentist appointment. He has to have a cavity drilled. Yes my 5 year old has a cavity. THAT makes me feel like a terrible mom. In the next 40 minutes I had to change the baby twice due to spit up and my 3 year old daughter twice due to spilled milk (don't worry I didn't cry) and a little bathroom situation that involved her not getting her skirt out of the way enough. I was very frustrated at her and I made sure she knew it. I hate mornings that require rushing. It never fails that I get stressed out and end up yelling or talking meanly to one or both of my older kids. Finally we get out the door and make it on time.

Fast forward though a mostly successful day of laundry, home school (where everyone had great attitudes today) to dinner time. I like to cook, but only when my hubby is home to watch the kids. Today he was not home. This resulted in the kids getting into things, me getting frustrated, me yelling (again, I hate that I yell) and finally everyone sitting down to dinner. Literally the second I sit down to eat, the baby wakes up screaming and my hubby is not home yet because he had a meeting on the other side of town so I got wrangle a baby while eating and watching my 3 year old daughter forgo the fork to eat with her hands. She actually dissected the green beans and only ate the little bean parts from the middle, but hey she technically ate green beans, so I decide to be satisfied, but I do give her a hard time about the mess that she makes every time she eats.

So, the parts of my day that are sticking out most to me right now are me getting frustrated and yelling, oh and the dishes piled in my sink and laundry piled in my living room. Not feeling so supermom anymore....

"But, but, she said..."

So what would make her say that? I do get a lot of things done. I work 15 hours a week from home. I home school. I try lots of home made cleaners and things. I cook. I blog. I have 3 kids, that has to count for something! Okay, so I am pretty good at time management with my obsessive compulsive Excel spreadsheet schedule (true story, people). Okay the women that I have looked at as supermoms in the past, what has made me think that? Well, one of them is always going and doing fun things with her kids. The zoo, parks, splash pads. Her kids have tons of fun. And the other mom, well, she is so creative coming up with these cool fun learning activities for her kids to do. Oh and this other friend, does these great bible studies with her kids and is SO good at showing them God in everything they do. 

Then it hit me. We all have different gifts or talents. None of us are Supermom. If we were, we wouldn't understand our need for God and his amazing grace. I yelled at my kids today because I was frustrated, but they forgave me and so did God. After all, He is the one that gently convicted me about it and lead me to apologize to my kids. I may get a lot done, but it is only because God gave me the gift of time management. I say that loosely because there are plenty of things I forget about and let slip through the cracks. We all fail, but we all have the same gift of forgiveness being offered to us by our Savior.

My first thought at being called "Supermom" may have been, "what a dream come true" but now my thought is "I have them fooled. I have to tell them the truth." 

I don't want anyone ever to look at me and think "I wish I were more like her" I have done that so many times when looking at some of the amazing women in my life and it is painful. Why do we do this to ourselves?

God does not call us to be someone that others call "Supermom". God does not call us to live so that others give us glory. I want to live in a way that gives HIM glory. When I succeed, it is because HE helped me. When I fail, HE forgives me. When I compare myself to the "Supermoms" I see, HE reminds me that it is not my peers that I am to strive to be like. It is Jesus. If there is one thing that I want people to look at me and see, it is a sinner saved by grace, doing my best to be the woman that God calls me to be. I am not perfect, but I am forgiven.

So now you know the truth. ;)

Thank you Lord, for not letting me become prideful. Thank you for gently reminding me that I need You everyday.

Cornflake Chicken, Potato Curls, and Green Beans

Here is a random food/recipe post for you! :)

In my mind there are 3 categories of dinners: Healthy, Cheap to cook, and Just Plain Yummy. When an item falls into all 3 of those categories it is really a favorite, but sometimes it only fits in one or two of these. Tonight's dinner has 3 items. Cornflake chicken, is pretty cheap to make (especially with store brand cornflakes), pretty healthy b/c it is baked not fried, and yummy. The green beans I make are all of the above too. The potatoes on the other hand, lean strongly into the just plain yummy category since they require a cup of cheese, bacon, and half a stick of butter, but let's live a little.

Cornflake Chicken

  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 2 cups Cornflake crumbs
  • 1 T water
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Paprika
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the chicken. Whisk together the eggs and tablespoon of water. Mix the cornflake crumbs, paprika and olive oil in a separate bowl. Now dip the chicken in the egg, then coat in the cornflake mixture. Next, put the chicken in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes (until done)

Potato Curls
This is a Celebrating Home Bean Pot Recipe

  • 4 Potatoes Peeled (optional) and thinly sliced
  • 3-4 green onions chopped
  • 4-5 strips of bacon cooked and crumbled OR 4 T real bacon pieces
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 stick melted butter

Place the potatoes in an oven safe dish with a lid (I use my stoneware bean pot or casserole dish). Mix all other ingredients and spread over potatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Simple, Yummy Green Beans

I use frozen green beans. I am a big fan of frozen veggies b/c they are picked and flash frozen at the peak of their nutrition and they last much longer than fresh. When I start my garden this fall, I am hoping to have enough to freeze some veggie for later use. 

 Anyway, I just put them in a skillet with a lid, put a little olive oil (like a tablespoon and a half-ish) and seasoned salt on them and cook on medium heat, covered, stirring often until they are done. 

And there you have it, our yummy dinner!
 Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Drano Alternative

I don't know about you, but it seems we are constantly having to buy Drano. Part of the problem is that our shower/tub drains do not have the little grate to catch hair. You know how you lose a lot of hair right after having a baby? I swear we were using Drano every other week! We also have a couple of sinks that were draining slow lately so I decided to give a homemade option a try! 

It is SO simple! Here is what you need:
Baking Soda, Vinegar and a measuring cup

Here is what you do:
If your drain has a stopper like this, twist it until you get it off. If you don't it will be MUCH harder to get this stuff down the drain.

 Add 1/2 cup of baking soda. See how I poured it a little to fast so it didn't go down? Whoops. If that happens just do this:

You need to get as much of it as possible down the drain. I used tweezers the first time and a wooden skewer the second time to poke it down in there, but just use whatever you can find that fits to help work the baking soda down.
After you get as much down as possible replace the stopper so that you will be able to close the drain. Like this:

Now for the fun part :) Seriously, gather the children this is cool. It made me feel like a mad scientist...

 Pour in 1/2 cup of vinegar

It will fizz up like this. Unclogging your drain now qualifies as an entertaining science experiment for your kids! ;)

Close the drain when you pour it and wait for the fizzing to chill out a bit. This step basically eats up what bit of baking soda is in the sink so that the rest of the vinegar can go down easily to react to the vinegar in the pipes below instead of just what it in the sink. When the fizz looks more like a glass of sprite, open the drain allowing the vinegar to go down and when it is all down, close the drain.
Leave the drain closed for 15 minutes.

 Now flush it down with hot tap water. I will admit when the sink filled up with water from turning the faucet on high, I thought I had just wasted my time, my vinegar and my baking soda. Then I heard a bubble noise and the whole sink drained!
And now it is draining like a charm! WooHoo!

Price Comparison:
Drano: $3.98 at Walmart
Homemade: About 50 cents!!

If this does not work on the first try, you should consider using a plumbing snake to push or pull out the clog. We had to do this on our tub/shower because of the massive amount of my hair that was in it. I am hoping that now that it is clear I can just use my homemade drain solution at the first hint of slow flow to keep it that way. 

So, I wrote this after the first time that I did this but wanted to do it a couple more times before posting so that I could have more tips on how to do this best. Most important thing I have learn is that it is easiest to pour the baking soda down when the drain is dry and do it SLOWLY. Do not dump the whole 1/2 cup down at once. Dump a little, make sure it goes down, use a wooden skewer or something that shape to knock it down, then pour some more. 

Another thing, when you take the stopper part off, if you can see hair (or in my kids' tub hair and grass, ew) go ahead and pull it out if you can with a wooden skewer or screwdriver or whatever you can find. It will stay unclogged longer if you pull that stuff up instead or push it down. 

I have found that doing this is not only cheaper than the store bought solutions, it works better. We had gotten to the point in our shower that we were having to clean it out WAY too often. The pulling the hair out is gross but makes a massive difference no matter what you use. 

**Random tidbit***
I just saw on Pinterest that instead of getting helium balloons for birthday parties you can use baking soda and vinegar! Put baking soda in a bottle, pour vinegar in a balloon, then seal the balloon over the mouth of the bottle and stand it up pouring the vinegar from the balloon to the bottle and it blows up the balloon!! How cool is that?
**Update: really bummed to find out that this does NOT make balloons that float. Darn you Pinterest! I guess it turns out you CAN'T trust everything you read on the internet. ;) However if you want to blow a balloon up in a cool way, click here for instructions.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Extremely Good Smoothie: Chocolate Edition

You may have read my blog about the smoothies that I make for my munchkins almost everyday to sneak in some spinach. If not, click here. This is the indulgent version that I do sometimes. It is certainly more calories than the regular smoothie, but it is not too unhealthy and of course has hidden spinach.

Here is what you do:
Depending on how much you want to make put 2-3 frozen bananas in the blender. (I use 3 because I want a lot of it!) They MUST be frozen or the consistency of your smoothie will be more like chocolate milk. Then add your big handful of spinach and if you like peanut butter, throw in a couple tablespoons of that. Go easy on the peanut butter if you are counting calories though because it is pretty high in calories. It does have protein though, so that is my excuse! Then pour in a little Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (or Chocolate Soy milk if you prefer), blend it up until the bananas and spinach are smooth. Then add more of the milk until you have it at the consistency that you like.

 Now enjoy your treat that is healthy enough to not feel guilty about! ;) My kids think it is a special treat. They were excited to wake up from their nap to these...
 Nate's still sleepy approval.
Adah's up in the camera thumbs up with her nap-time hair :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homemade Baby Wipes

I have been dying to tell the world about these! I first heard this mentioned on my sweet friend Karessa's facebook page and had planned on trying this on Josiah but I just got around to it a couple weeks ago. 

I will be honest, I was thinking that this was going to be something that I would endure to save money but that I would miss my Huggies Natural Care wipes. My husband and I are pretty picky about wipes. I think he is even pickier than I am. These wipes have been husband tested and approved! If he gives the green light to keep making something, I KNOW it is good! :) I was SHOCKED at how much I loved these!

So here is what you need: 

Viva paper towels (because they are strong and soft)
Baby Oil
Baby Wash
A plastic container with a lid (size below)
Have a knife handy too

Here is what you do:

First cut the paper towel roll in half. DO NOT use a serrated knife. Rookie mistake, made a mess. Now you will have to take the cardboard roll out of the center. It takes a little work, but it is not a big deal to tear up the piece of paper towel that it is attached to, it will actually help you pull the first piece out of the center. How I get is out is by working my finger around it just pulling it out then pushing my finger down beside the cardboard. When it is separated from the paper towels fairly well, I just pull it out. When using the wipes you start with the center wipe. 

Now mix 2 cups or water, 2 Tablespoons baby oil, and 2 Tablespoons baby wash. I boiled the water and let it cool to make sure that it was sanitary especially since it is going to be sitting in a closed container. Pour the mixture into your container. (Make sure that the container is large enough to hold your half a roll of paper towels) Put the paper towels in on to of the mixture cut side down.

**Update: Someone asked what kind of container I used. I just found a washable plastic container the was large enough to hold the half roll of paper towels at Walmart that came in a 2 pack, which was perfect because I keep wipes upstairs and downstairs. No, a regular wipe container will not work unless you want to pull apart all of the paper towels to fit them in. However, if you want to use wipes that you can wash and reuse, you could use a wipe container. However, if you do this I would start with half of this recipe because it might actually be too much. Trial and error will get you there though!I just can't bring myself to do the yucky, time consuming task of washing baby wipes and diapers. You girls that do are amazing! Good for you (just not for me)!

After the fluid is completely soaked up, turn the container upside down. I don't remember how long I left it there the first time, but the second time when I went to get them I noticed that the top of the paper towels were not wet so I just turned it back upside down for a while. I would say leave it for an hour to be sure that they are ready and you can tell by looking and feeling if they are wet all of the way through. Then just turn them back up and enjoy.

I haven't done the math on this one yet, but I am positive that it saves money.I will eventually get around to doing the math and update this post, but I just couldn't wait to share this! Also, I can't pass up an opportunity to post a picture of my adorable baby! ;) I am just a little partial.