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Sock it to me

Posted on Dec 6, 2012 in Lifestyle | Comments Off

Baby/kid socks get lost even easier than my socks do.  Whatever does happen to them all?  Here is the best way that I’ve been able to keep tabs on my daughter’s socks.  They don’t get lost, it’s easier to match pairs, and they can’t get sucked into the washing machine.  Put them all in a lingerie bag for cleaning.  Life just got a little easier.

 

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It’s a ……!!! Our gender reveal party

Posted on Dec 4, 2012 in Entertaining | Comments Off

This is the deal with second pregnancies – the fun of preparing for the baby already took place with the first pregnancy.  You already have the baby furniture, gear, boppies, shmoppies, etc.  Typically there isn’t a baby shower to have something to look forward, which also means blank pages in the baby book (yes, I know most people don’t care about this type of thing – but I can’t help myself).

The solution to celebrate Baby #2 was to have a ‘gender reveal party’.  This was a fun way to create a special memory for the pregnancy, enjoy lunch with friends, and anticipate finding out the sex of the baby.

This is how we did it:

  1. At our 20 week ultrasound we had the ultrasound technician write the gender of the baby on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope, and mail to my mom (we actually sent 2 separate envelopes in case 1 got lost in the mail)
  2. My mom was the 1st person to find out the gender of the baby and made a cake with the coordinating color (pink for a girl or blue for a boy)
  3. We  had a lunch at our house with friends.  After lunch we cut into the cake to reveal that baby #2 is going to be a boy!
  4. Guests wore either blue or pink clothing to show off their guess.  Those that guessed correctly won a prize.

Along with the cake, I also made cupcakes to match the decor.  For the tablecloth I cut a pink and blue plastic tablecloths and wove them together.

I used drink dispensers to offer pink lemonade for an N/A beverage and an ‘adult’ beverage made with blue raspberry vodka, 7-Up, club soda, and lemonade.

Here is the cute cake that my mom made for the big reveal.  There was a little miscommunication on the blue & pink theme to the party, however the green & yellow cake is another cute color choice and added some variety to the table.

Before the big reveal!

 

Prizes were handed out to those that guessed the gender correctly.  They were simple gifts like coffee, photo albums, loofas, etc.  All the kids that came got a little prize too.

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Scrumptious Pumpkin Bread

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 in Recipes | Comments Off

This is my mom’s recipe for pumpkin bread and it is sooo delicious.  The recipe makes 2 loaves.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 2  cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp clove
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Steps to prepare:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Grease 2 loaf pans and coat with a dusting of flour

3.  Mix the butter and sugar together first, then add the rest of the ingredients

4.  Bake for 45-55 minutes

5.  Enjoy!!!

 

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How I Make a Turkey and Gravy

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 in Recipes | Comments Off

I think making a turkey is one of the easiest things to do.  Once it’s in the oven there isn’t much left to prepare (except sides) and clean up is a breeze.  There are tons of different ways to prepare a turkey, but this is how I do it and have always had great results.

Here are a few pointers on turkey making:

  • Figure 1- 1.5 pounds of bird per person (leftover turkey is never a bad thing to have and you don’t want to run short)
  • Make sure your bird is completely defrosted before cooking.  I like to leave it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before I cook it (shorter or longer amount of time may be needed depending on the size of the turkey).  If you don’t have time to defrost it this way or if it’s still partially frozen you can soak it in a sink filled with cool water.  If you defrost it this way make sure you clean your sink before and after.  Also, change the water out every 30 minutes.
  • My way of preparing turkey does not call to brine it ahead of time (soaking the bird overnight in a mixture of water, salt, and sugar), but it is definitely a step you can do.
  • Plan to cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound.  You can check the breast with a meat thermometer to make sure it’s up to 165 degrees.  Don’t overcook!
  • The more you open the oven to baste a turkey, the longer it may take to cook.  Heat is lost each time you open the oven.

What you’ll need:

  • Turkey!
  • A roasting pan with a lid (a use tin foil to cover it)
  • Cheese cloth (found in most grocery stores).  This helps keep juices on the bird during cooktime.
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
  • Butter
  • Spices (see step 4 for a list of what I use)
  • Baster or ladle

The Steps:

1.  Rinse the turkey well and remove and innards.

2.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

3.  Pour the chicken broth in the pan and set the turkey in.

4.  Sprinkle the bird and pan with spices.   I don’t measure amounts….I just use a little bit of everything listed:  garlic, paprika, rosemary, parsley, pepper, onion powder, salt

5.  Melt 1 stick of butter (I put it in a coffee mug in the microwave) and place a piece of cheesecloth (cut the size of the bird) into it to soak the butter.  Place the cheesecloth over the bird.  Cover the turkey and place in the oven.

6.  Baste the bird every hour.

7.  Remove the bird when it’s done cooking and remove the the cheese cloth.  Let it sit for 20-30 minutes before carving.

 

How to make gravy:

1.  Remove the turkey and any scraps from the pan, leaving just the juices.

2.  Place the pan on the stove top and turn the heat on high.

3.  In a separte container mix water with flour and shake (the constancy should be fairly thick, but still pourable)

4. Whisk the juices as it comes to a boil and slowly add the water/flour mixture until the gravy is to a consistancy you desire.

 

 

 

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We have an announcement!

Posted on Sep 13, 2012 in Photography | Comments Off

Lauren, our sweet 19 month old, wanted to share some news with you all!

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Adjustable sized batteries!

Posted on Aug 16, 2012 in Lifestyle | 1 comment

I’ve learned that having a child means having the need for a large amount of batteries of different sizes.  There are so many gadgets, toys, sleeping sounds machines, etc that keep my kid happy that I can’t keep up with stocking alkaline power!

The other night we realized that the ‘ocean wonder’ crib accessory had lost juice.  Serious problem.  The bigger problem was that when we went to grab new ‘C’ batteries for it we realized we were out.  My husband used a little trick that apparently he has done for years.  I had never seen it done before and had to share!

What an easy thing to do….just wrap scotch tape around a smaller sized battery until you create the size needed.  Problem solved!

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Make a functional sofa shelf

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 in Design & Decorating | 1 comment

We have an L-shaped sofa in our basement family room.  It’s great for lounging and watching movies, but I hate that there isn’t a place to set drinks, remotes, and other items when relaxing (we have an ottoman and a 1 year old, so using a coffee table isn’t an option).

A solution I came up with is making a basic shelf that runs along the back of the couch.  It works great, is easy to make, and was super cheap!  It’s just deep enough to hold glasses without making the couch stick out.  Here’s how to do it yourself!

You’ll need:

  • A board that is the length of your sofa.  I went to Home Depot and picked out the least expensive 1″ thick by 6″ deep board.  They sold it by the foot, so I had them cut the exact length of my sofa.  Too easy!
  • Stain, polyurethane, and 2 foam brushes
  • Mounting L-brackets
  • Screws

1. Lightly sand the board to get rid of rough edges and the sharp ends from being cut.  Wipe off the board with a dry rag.

2. Apply a coat of stain.  To apply stain use a foam brush to evenly coat the wood.  Take a dry rag and gently wipe off excess stain and rub the rag across the whole board for even coloring. Depending on how deep you want the color, you may need to apply more than one coat of stain.

3. Once that dries apply a layer of polyurethane with a foam brush and leave until it’s dry.

4. Mount your brackets.  The width of your sofa will determine how many brackets you should use…. mine are spaced 3 feet apart, so I used a total of 4 brackets.  You can buy these from the ‘closet/home storage’ section of a home remodeling store (I got them at Home Depot).

 

I pulled the sofa out a few feet, so you can see how the shelf is attached to the wall.  The height of the shelf just meets the top of the sofa.

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The Patriot …My Little American Girl

Posted on Jul 17, 2012 in Photography | Comments Off

Using personal photographs as seasonal decoration is something I love to do. It adds special memories to holidays and gives more meaning to the decor you display throughout the year. I’ll use a couple of these shots to put in a frame or make a collage to help decorate the cabin for many July fourths down the road.

This weekend I dressed my 17 month old in all American gear, handed her a couple flags, and let her run around. Trying to get a baby to stand or sit still, look at the camera, and smile is just about impossible. So plan to take a bunch of photos in order to get some usable ones. My favorites are the ones of her running around or twirling the flags….. maybe not traditional good shots, but it captures the fun she was having.

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Top that tater

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 in Recipes | Comments Off

Here is a super easy way to make homemade potato topping without all the fat:

  • One 16 ounce container of light or fat free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of freshly chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • Pepper and salt to taste

Mix it all together and enjoy!   If you don’t want as much of the garlic/onion taste use 1/4 tsp of each.

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Mold and mosquitos be gone!

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 in Lifestyle | Comments Off

My mother and aunt are pretty awesome ladies.  They have taught me many things over my lifetime and a couple ideas they recently passed onto me have been working splendidly.  I want to pass on the advice.

Preventing mold on your fruit

I love fresh berries, but I hate how fast mold grows on them.  If I don’t eat strawberries, raspberries, etc in a day or two mold starts growing.  What a waste!

Mom already taught me that using white vinegar is the best way to kill mold if it grows in food containers…and Lord knows I’m not good at cleaning out the fridge.  This trick comes in handy.  Why not use the same principle to prevent mold and keep fruit from going bad?

Fill a bowl with 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water.  Put your fruit in that for 10 minutes and then thoroughly rinse it.  This will help kill any small mold spores and give you 1 to 2 weeks to eat those berries!  ***If you are going to put fruit back in the container you bought it, pour the vinegar water over the container and rinse it before placing fruit back.

Keep mosquitoes away with a minty fresh smell

Why use expensive, harsh chemicals to spray your yard to ward off mosquitoes when you can buy a value size bottle of Listerine?  That’s right….Listerine.   I bought an economy size bottle of generic Listerine, poured it into a spray bottle, and squirted the tar our of my yard.  The amount of mosquitoes flying around dropped quite a bit!

My aunt even sprays it on herself to keep the buggers away.  That works too, but expect a little stickiness.

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