Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One word... Glitter

Well...actually three words. Glitter, glitter and more glitter. It is out with autumn and in with...uggg!!! Winter. Burrr. In my case, in with glitter. Come back tomorrow to see what it is.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nails with a professional twist

I'm so excited! I had found these nail shields through How Does She? I just couldn't pass up the deal. When I was in high school and had the time - you know, before kids - I did my nails every week. Well, a confession is a must here. In high school I was part of a gang that had matching jackets in marching band. While we would go through drill I would be painting my nails. Oh! I was not the only one that did this. Since having kids and a life I don't do my nails any more. Imgine my excitment when I came across this. They look so fun! Today I made my first purchase. Once I get them I will be sure to post the results.

This is what I am getting. Not my finger or nail - wish it were though.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Cheesecake

What did you make for Thanksgiving? Me? Well, this wonderfully delicious masterpiece. Pumpkin and cream cheese married at last. Eternally blissful combination! Better yet, cinnamon sauce swirled in!

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Cheesecake



1 1/2 c graham crackers
5 T butter, melted
1 T sugar

Mix Crust ingredients together, just till coated and crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 2/3 up the sides of an 8" spring form pan. Wrap aluminum foil around the base of the spring form pan to create a water barrier for later. It is easier to do it while the pan is cool than later after it being in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes at 350; once done set aside.


3 - 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla  *(the lid to the bottle equals 1 huh?)
1 c canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t ginger

Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix until smooth with an electric mixer. Add pumpkin, eggs and spices; beat until smooth and creamy. Pour into the crust.

Cinnamon Sauce:

1/4 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
3 T half and half
1 T cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cloves
1 T flour

Melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, 2T half and half, cinnamon, salt and cloves and cook while stirring constantly until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and add 1T half and half and flour. Allow to cool for a short time before drizzling on to cheesecake. 

The spring form pan should be prepped with aluminum foil to create a water barrier at this point. If not you will want to do so now. The prepared cheesecake will need to be placed into a slightly larger pan (I used a 10" pan). Place in the oven with the rack slightly pulled out. You will need to create a water bath by pouring water in about half way up the spring form pan. Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes or until the top turns a bit darker. 

Once time is up, open the door of the oven slightly to allow the cheesecake to cool down slowly. This will prevent cracking on the surface. Once the oven is cooled, remove the cheesecake and allow it to come to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator. 

Yes, it is some work, but it is a masterpiece and you will be a super star to those that enjoy it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cockpot Lasagna

Several years ago I had copied this recipe from a friend. She told me she had never made it. Since then I have made it several times over. Quick and easy! Prep it the night before in the crock. Before leaving for work or a busy day of errands you can start cooking it.

5-6 Lasagna noodles - I don't cook mine. I run the under water to get them wet prior to layering.
16 oz jar spaghetti sauce
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb hamburger, cooked
1/2 lb sausage, cooked
8 oz ricotta cheese

Combine meat with sauce. In crockpot put lasagna noodles, sauce with meat, mozzarella cheese, ricotta, in any order. No need to layer (but I do). Cook on low all day or a few hours on high. The top comes out nice and brown as if it were baked in the over. Oh - and the house smells so good!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Individual Cup Cakes

These make for a special treat when your day hasn't gone too smoothly or as a special reward for the kids. Like the days when the kids don't want to go down for a nap! They would be a great Christmas gift as well packaged inside a mug. Individual cakes - not cupcakes. They take a couple of minutes (literally) to make.

You will need:
Cake mix of your choice.
Small box of instant pudding mix.
Mix together.

To make:
Prep small dish, cup/mug or ramekin with cooking spray.

Measure out 1/2 c mix, 1 T oil, 1 T water, 1 egg white. Use a fork to mix together until smooth, then pour into prepared dish.

Yolk overboard! Salt will clean that up. 

Cook in the microwave for 2 minutes. Allow to cool and frost with a glaze (recipe below). Or top cake while hot with chocolate chips allowing them to melt.

While it is cooking you have just enough time to clean everything up and maybe the yolk.

I made this using 2T applesauce and cinnamon chips (didn't measure out) for an apple cake. I didn't frost it. It turned out pretty good. It was nice and moist. It is not gourmet, but hey we are going for quick, simple and fun here. I think adding a couple tablespoons of pumpkin to a spice cake mix would be good! Mmmm ~ note to self.

Your creativity comes in when you choose the flavor of cake mix and pudding. I was too chicken to try something too whild at first so I choose white cake mix and cheesecake pudding.


1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 ½ tsp dry flavoring
( ex. powdered lemonade mix, powdered orange breakfast drink mix, cocoa powder)

I had tried the glaze, but didn't care for it too much. Let me know if you come up with something that works great with this. The cake itself is pretty moist, so without it is still pretty good. Of course, you HAVE to test it - when and if you can manage to get the kids are down for a nap. Make it a mommy moment!

Read more: Budget 101.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Homemade laundry soap

It is great to find ways to cut grocery cost. Lets face it - laundry soap is expensive (inless you are a nudist). I had found a recipe for it over at Unlabeled Mama. I headed out to find the needed ingredients. In my mind I was sure it was going to take some searching. Really, one stop and it was the first and only stop. Nothing better than that when you have 2 under 2. I was able to find it at Krogers. Both the Borax and Super Washing Soda were right next to each other!
What you will need

1 c Borax
1 c Super Washing Soda
1 bar of Ivory

Grate the Ivory bar - this is sooo simple because it is soft. I was worried at first, because I don't have a food processor or any other appliances to assist me. Measure out the Borax and the Super Washing Soda. Be sure you get the Super Washing Soda. This will do more than clean your clothes, but will be great for you pipes.
Once its mixed together you can place it into a container or a sealable bag (that is what I did). Measure out 1 tablespoon per load. If it is extra dirty then use 2 tablespoons.
I had read the boxes for their uses. There are so many other things you can use these for. Cleaning dishwashers, carpet stains and not to mention the fact it cuts though grease from meats and other foods. Plus, there are no perfumes.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Winter is near, which means dry weather is here. With two in diapers there is alot of hand washing, which means my hands get dry. And lets admit it - diving into brownie batter is always so tempting. Or even swimming in chocolate. Could you imagine?!
 What you will need:

Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Scrub

2 c sugar
1c light olive oil
5-6 drops of Vitamin E oil
2 oz chocolate - I used the bakers chocolate that is already in liquid form. It comes in packs that are 1 oz each.
1 tsp peppermint (I used extract because I have it)

Mix everything together. Rub onto skin and rinse off. Vitamin E is good for dry skin and chocolate has antioxidents.

If you make it let me know what you thought of it. I would love to hear about it. BTW...the longer it sits the more fragrant it is.

*Christmas gift possibly. Seperate into pint jars, make them look all cutesy to give away.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bathroom Closet - Operation Organization

Have you ever bought something only for it to sit for a 3 years? Not me! Well, ok maybe. I had bought baskets at Walmart with the intention of using them to organize the bathroom closet. They were used, but not for organizing. The largest one wouldn't fit in the bottom of the closet without the door being taken off. I needed hubby's help for that, but he did it in a flash. So simple! Isn't nice to have them involved occasionally though.

So operation organization had begun. I took everything I do mean EVERYTHING out of the closet. Sorted through it. Then everything was organized into the baskets. Towels, soap, cold medicine, ect. To be completely honest there are some things I haven't gone through, which would be my stuff. Hubby got a container for his stuff. He has a problem finding stuff. I am hoping this will help to resolve some of that issue.

Here are the baskets completed. The blue painters tape (I couldn't think of what else to use) indicating what was what. Next step was that HORRIBLE shelf liner. Seriously! That has been here since I bought the house. It should have been gone LONG ago! While we were at Menard's we picked some new shelf liner up.

Shelf liner done! Seriously I should have done this much much sooner, not to mention admitting my lazieness procrastination. Next was the blue lables. I had gotten wood rectangles from HL. Four to a pack for 99 cents. They are 2 1/2 x 3 1/2. I painted them using one of the colors I had used from our summer art work. I used the lightest color because I wanted the labels to stand out. I had also gotten some vellum that would serve as the background for the print of the labels. The vellum has a tone on tone small dot print for some cuteness. I didn't want to keep trying to line up the print from a printer on the vellum, so I printed first on regular paper what I would need. Then layed the vellum over the paper and used a marker to follow/trace the letters. (I don't always have the best handwritting and thought this would be a much neater way to go about it.) Once I had everything traced, I modge podged the vellum on top of the painted rectangles (some of them didn't turn out since I am not yet a pro at modge podge). Once they were dry, I sanded away from the center creating them to look like one. I think I should use some ink on them for distressing.

My original thought was to attach them to the baskets using wire, but hubby thought it wouldn't look right. So I used some of that addhessive puddy to attach them. Hopefully it will  hold.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crusted Honey Dijon Chicken

Secret is out! I confess this was originally Pecan Crusted Chicken. Pecans can be expensive though. And what if you dont use all of them? The first time I made this I omitted the pecans. Last night I made this using cornflakes. It was highly approved of.
On a side note. We live in northern Indiana close to all the vineyards of Michigan. In fact that was one of our first dates - wine tasting. One particular vineyard is Tabor Hill. We had their Demi Sec at our wedding (which happens to be a wine that has been at the White House). Hubby loves the Pecan Crusted Chicken there that is accompanied with raspberry sauce. The closest I had gotten was with reduced balsamic vinegar. I encourage you to try balsamic vinegar.
So the recipe for the Crusted Honey Dijon Chicken

4 chicken breast
1/2 t. salt
1/4c honey
1/4 c butter
2T Dijon mustard
crushed cornflakes - I didnt measure the amount. There were some already crushed that needed to be used. I would guess a cup of crushed flakes though.

Season chicken with salt. Combine honey, mustard and butter in a shallow dish and stir well. (I melted the better since it was cold. I think it helped everything to combine better.)  In a seperate dish or resealable bag place crushed cornflakes. Coat chicken with honey mustard mixture, then coat with cornflakes. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350.
I lined a baking pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Then poured some of the remaining honey mustard mixture on top of the chicken breast before putting them in the oven. They looked like something from a high end resturant. The best part? Cheap!!

* Helpful tip - spray measuring cup with non-stick prior to pouring in honey. This will allow it to come out without a fight.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birthday week

Tomorrow my oldest will be 2. The big 2!! I have had some ideas that I wanted to make for her in honor of her birthday, which we will celebrate with family on Saturday. I was going to work on these over the weekend, but didn't have a chance to. See hubby and I were out shopping. Not just shopping, but Christmas shopping! Seriously this early? Us shopping for Christmas? This is a HUGE accomplishment for us. We have my stepson's gifts completed with the exception of a game, which hubby is taking care of. We have not gotten as far with the girls stuff, but have made something of a dent.
Anyways ... birthday week! So here I am pushing to get this stuff done. Meanwhile, she decides she wanted to get a cold. Cranky crankerton has not taken a nap today! Yesterday I was working on her skirt until I ran out of tulle, so back to HL today to get some more. Picked that up today while hubby relieved me of my motherly duties so I could get that accomplished. That is almost done. I WILL have it completed by the end of the day. There WILL be a coordinating shirt with it that will need to be done later this week. Once the tulle skirt is done it is on to another shirt with a layered skirt to match her duck shoes that are from Bella Nova Squeaky Shoes. I thought it would be a cute idea. However, it has taken me quite a bit of time to find the perfect fabric to complete this. That too will be done, but tomorrow if all goes well tonight. I will first need to replace the needle that broke on me earlier today.
Some days are meant to be harder for some reason. Really those could be rescheduled when everyone is feeling better. I will be sure to post pictures later as long as everything looks super cute.

Monday, November 8, 2010


This has been something that I have wanted to do, but have been intimidated by. Bento's are/can be a true peice of art and looks sssoooo complicated. I have checked out a few websites to break it down to make it a little more simple for me. Another Lunch is one good source and you can follow her on Facebook as well. If you are on Facebook try looking up Muffin Tin Monday. There are so many fun things to do with it once you get the hang of it.
This one I did green beans (she likes them cold, room temp or heated), ham rolled with a cheese slice, thawed strawberries with thawed blueberries topped with Teddy Graham and Ritz crackers. She ate the fruit and some of the green beans with a few crackers.
The dividers I used are baby food containers from Gerber. I think they are 2.5 oz. The container itself is from Lock N Lock's lunch set. With 3 containers the lid wont go on, but if you use 2 the lid will fit.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hello Gorgeous

The mobile spa that helps to provide makeovers to cancer patients.

Saturday afternoon I atteneded a fund raising event. What an incredible event it was! The event was for Hello Gorgeous, which is a non for profit that provides complementary professional makeovers to women that are cancer patients. It's hard to not get choked up over such a huge service this is to those that are fighting cancer. I have worked in a doctor's office where we provided services to cancer patients. The people that it affects are some of the strongest women that have the kindest hearts.

I was asked to attend this event by a Sean, a college of my husband. It is his sister-in-law who began doing this 4 years ago. My husband and I have done things from time to time on a social level with Sean and his wife, Tina. Saturday afternoon during the fund raiser I had an opportunity to talk to Tina and ask a few questions. Her sister is a hairdresser who one day had the idea to provide the services to women who are cancer patients. Tina had said that her sister Kim "had a calling". After having been at the fundraiser I can say that she had a calling indeed. Kim has a heart of gold to provide such an opportunity to women who are going through such a battle.

The fundraiser takes place once a year, which includes a silent auction and (get this) men that parade in a suit with items to purchase (such as a man bucket including beer, peanuts, candy bars, ect). Not only that, but you get escorted to your table by one of these gentlemen and they say "Hello Gorgeous". This coming March they plan to do a smoker for the men. (government prohibits you doing a smoker when your nonprofit is less than 4 years old).

If you are interested in reading more her link is included at the top of this post.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar is a staple here in my house. It is on my grocery list every other week - I shop once every two weeks. There are so many uses for it. It may not smell to pleasing, but what it can do is great. And since I mentioned the smell factor, nothing to fear. The smell disintegrates in no time flat, so it really isn't that bad when you consider it be a work horse and great for green cleaning.

Here are a few things it can be used for ~
Cleaning shower heads. Simply soak the shower head in some vinegar while you clean and the lime build up will disappear.

Great for cleaning up grease build up around the stove/oven area.

Drain maintenance - Pour 1c baking soda in the drain. Slowly pour 1c vinegar down the drain and let set for 5 minutes. Be sure to slowly pour the vinegar to allow the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar time to occur. After setting for 5 minutes, pour 1 gallon of hot water (again) slowly down the drain. This is great for cleaning drains and clearing up clogs. If you still have a clog, repeat the process following with a plunger.

Cleaning counter tops/bathroom sink. I have a mixture of vinegar in a spray bottle ready when I need it. I mix 1/2 water and vinegar in a spray bottle so I can use it on surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.

Disinfectant - Use vinegar undiluted as a disinfectant in place of bleach wipes.

Fabric softener - Use in your washing machine in place of fabric softener. Bonus - great for the drain.

Dish washer - A cup set upright in the dishwasher filled with vinegar will work as a rinse agent. It will also help to reduce the lime build up on the coils in the bottom of the dishwasher.

Works great to neutralize cat urine smell. A neighborhood cat spent its summer spraying on my porch. As much as I love that he would hunt for mice I was not fond of him spraying. I would rinse the porch about every other week with water and vinegar. This would keep him from spraying for a while, in addition to neutralizing the smell his urine left behind.

See what I mean about it being a work horse?  These are a few reasons why we have vinegar as a staple in our house. It's great. Light a candle if you want to help combat the initial smell from the use of it. Oh, I had also found it is a great deterrent for kids. They don't like the smell of the area it after you cleaned, therefore avoid the area.  Happy cleaning!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Whoopie Pies and mixer dies

Sunday I decide to make some whoopie pies. Well, let me back up to last December 2009. Ahhh, yes! My Christmas baking frenzy. I decided that I would do a 12 Days of Cookies for hubby to give away to those that works on  his team. That was his gift to him. Whew...that was crazy. My second child was due to be born in March and here it was December - 5 months into the pregnancy with a 16 month old in addition. Nothing like a good challenge though! Amoung all my baking I had done something to my hand held mixer and knew that it may have messed it up. Fast forward to today. Mixing up some whoopie pies on Sunday/Halloween eve and my mixture decides that the gears on one side is stripped out leaving me with one functioning beater. Do you know how much more work that makes? I do. The whoopie pies could have been better. They were made. They were yummy, but not as good as they could have been if I had a fully functioning beater. Here is where the good part comes in. Are you in the same boat as me? Have one thats old and need a new one? Just need one period? Melissa at Motivate Mompreneur is offering you a chance at winning one. Stop over and visit her blog!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Easy Quiche

Really this should be called quick Quiche. Only because it's fun to say. And a good use of q's. Every day I do my best to get dinner ready/prepped/started when one of my two girls are down so that I am not juggling so many balls. Yes, supper usually gets started at 3ish, but it is something that will either take that long to make or can be prepped a few hours in advance. (hubby gets home around 5ish most days)
I had found this quiche recipe in "The Coupon Mom's Guide". She has a list of recipes in the back of the book that are on the cheap. The quiche one is a good way to use up leftovers to avoid throwing money out. I hate that we seem to waste so much food. Some weeks I can do quite well at curbing that, but I am not consistant at it.

Easy Quiche
2c or 8 oz shredded cheese (any type you prefer)
1/2 c add-ins, such as ham, peppers, onions, broccoli, ect (optional)
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c milk
3/4 c baking mix, such as Bisquick

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 inch square glass dish or a 9 inch round pie pan. Spread cheese on the bottom of the pan. Spread any optional add-ins over the cheese. Mix the eggs, milk and baking mix. Pour over the cheese and toppings. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly and serve whole or cut in half.

I love adding cheese and frozen broccoli. There are times where that is all I will add, making it a meatless night. Today I added leftover sausage (from a bad recipe) with spinach in it,  frozen broccoli and cheddar cheese. When I mixed together the egg mixture I added sour cream to that since I had that left from last week as well. In the past I have used leftover taco meat, salsa and cheese. It is great for dinner and what is left is good for breakfast as well! Enjoy!