Wednesday, June 29, 2011

If only I could twitch my nose...

I love people.  I mean I really do love people.  I guess it is good that I married a man who loves people too.

As much as I love people... not always a fan on the clean up.  When you invite 2 people over no biggie... 20 plus... ehhh, bit different.  Last night was one of my husband's closest friend's 30th birthday party, we hosted.  It was great, lots of activity outside and inside, food was everywhere... people had a blast... and it showed... all over my house.

I don't do well with a dirty messy house... I don't function well, I keep thinking of that when I am supposed to think of... well whatever it is I am doing. 

So when I woke up this is what I found... and this is after my husband and I cleaned up a bit last night...

To get the whole  house spic and span (including scrubbing the kitchen floors on my hands and cleaning the bathroom) total of 1 hour and about 15 minutes or so.  My method: I start in one area, specifically the kitchen I work on the dishes first and all things that are quick focused.  During the process I always come across things that are out of place I put them on hold till I have a few items going to the same location, say the bedroom, and then I go back and put them away and take care of anything that needs to be done there, like making the bed (if it already isn't) and the process continues till I am done.  Washing the floor is one of the last things I do so that I don't walk across it when I inevitability find something that I missed.

This is the system I have found to be most successful in getting things done in the least amount of time.  I am sure that it is not the best system for a great deal many reasons but for now it is the one I use.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I hear a roast is on the menu

Is it bad that every time I go to post anything about it "being easy", which is almost all the time because it really is, I start doing a little dance to go with the Jackson 5 song I get stuck in my head.  You all know which one I am talking about...

On to the recipe:

Slow cooking a beef roast is SUPER easy.

Step one: have a roast
Step two: preheat the oven to 250 (or your crock pot to low, though this will take longer)
Step three: Put the beef in with some water (not fully covering but close) and whatever spices you desire: I used rosemary and tarragon as my two main spices
Step four: leave it be for at least 3 hours (in a crock pot more than that)

I served my roast with mashed potatoes: I don't like flakes so I use potatoes.  Rinse, but you know that.

Peel chop and put in water (I also add a little salt).  Bring it to a boil, cover reduce heat and let it light boil/simmer till you can stab the fork into the potato and it falls back off.

Drain and put back in the pot.

I use a blender so that it gets all creamy, add butter, milk (or cream or whipping cream or half and half), salt and pepper (garlic can also be fun to add) to taste (no one knows what you want your potatoes to taste like better than you!

And as my mom always said, "You have got to have at least one vegetable with each meal"  So we chose carrots... and kind of candied them.  Not sure that counts but we used butter, brown sugar (sucanat), salt and pepper.

Last ingredient:

Ready for this it is cheese

No, I am not going to say love


Yea, I warned you, cheesy but we always like to have friends over.  It really is fun... well depending on the people but we had some great and really fun friends over.

Good cooking!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grocery shopping is an ADVENTURE!

Grocery shopping is a hassle to some but it is an adventure to me!  I coupon... and so each month it is my goal to spend as little as possible and get the most I can.  

This week at my local Harris Teeter is SUPER DOUBLE coupon!  On top of that they have a deal going that if you transfer or bring in a new prescription you get $20 towards groceries (up to 5 prescriptions per VIC card). 

This week I went out and got this:

All for the bargain price of:

($2.13 if that's hard to read)

How you ask?  Well, you shop by the sales and what you have coupons for.  Not necessary a "need", for example I will need sandwich bags but I don't know but I got them any way because of the price with the coupon or I don't usually buy Starbucks ice cream but I got it for a dollar.

Break down:

eVIC price on eggs is $0.77 for a doz (limit of 2) = 1.54
Uncle Bens Rice 2 for $3 - a $1 coupon that is doubled to $2= $1 (for 2 boxes) 
Hefty bags Buy/Go ($3.79) -  a $1 coupon that is doubled to $2 = $1.79  (for 2 boxes) 
Frosted Mini Wheats Buy/Go ($3.49)-  a $1 coupon that is doubled to $2 =  $1.49 (for 2 boxes) 
Starbuck's ice cream 2/6 (this coupon you only had to buy 1)  -  a $1 coupon that is doubled to $2 = $1
Frozen Meat Lasagna  2/6 (this coupon you only had to buy 1)  -  a $1 coupon that is doubled to $2 = $1
Deer Park 24pk Buy/Go (7.49)  (this coupon you only had to buy 1)  -  a $1 coupon that is doubled to $2 = $1.75 roughly
Emerald Nuts $4.99 (x 2) - a $1.50 coupon that is doubled to $3 = $7 (for 2)
And lastly my HT has a soon to go bad section in produce so I got 3 grapefruits for $1

Then you take $20 away from the prescription I had and the total runs a whopping $2.13

I am not one to boast about couponing but I got to say I am pretty proud of that one!

The fun part about it is it isnt' that hard.

I cut mine up and put them in base ball card holders 

I put them inside a binder and organize them by categories (like Frozen, cleaning... you get the ideas)

Then I go online and I look at the sales with my book open. As I go over each section of the store on sale I look over my coupons to figure out what's a good deal, who has the best deal and then I write down what I want from each store including coupons (so I don't forget).

This is my list from this week.  The most time consuming part is the starting the process, the initial push of cutting up and organization.  After that it's not a real big deal.  I put on a TV show, cut up my coupons organize them and then go over the sales all finished easily before the show! 

This process saves me so much for this year, just from HT I have saved around $540.  This trip I saved $42.90.

There are many ways to do this.... this is mine.  What's yours? 

(oh, keep in mind that if you coupon think of your house as the grocery store and the grocery store as the surplus store.  Point being you will buy stuff that you don't "need" right now but you will use, toothpaste, laundry detergent because it is $1 this week and in 2 weeks when it is needed it's $5.  If you have any other questions voice them!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate chip cookies... AMAZING

What's so great about these?  What's so different?  Not much.  The main thing is that they are made with the same freshly ground whole wheat flour that I use from the local mill.  It is simple much like any other chocolate chip cookies.  Many I post this to encourage you to play around with freshly ground flour. It isn't difficult to use.  Don't be afraid to go off recipe.  More often than not when I go off recipe is when it turns out great.  So I am not actually going to list the recipe because I didn't follow one.  

Baking Soda
Sugar (sucanat and Demerara)
Chocolate chips semi sweet


I challenge you to go out and bake/ cook OFF recipe! (If it has sugar it in it... it is hard to go wrong)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rain, rain come again!

Old house equals old... well everything.  

When we got the house we knew there were some big projects we would have to tackle: both bathrooms, kitchen, HVAC, roof, windows... you get the idea. 

We took on the kitchen first thing... loads of work and time later it was finished.  All the while we were painting and decorating our other rooms and started taking apart one of our bathrooms.  Not forgetting the exterior but putting it aside at the moment. 

  • Shingles start pulling back and flapping in a strong wind... might want to fix it... but can't right now.  More shingles pull back and it just looks funny, we go up and patch it for now time passes and it does it once more. All the while we are still working on the inside but God being as amazing as he is allowed us a way to both continue working on the inside of our house, fix the roof and not have a completely empty bank account.
Rescue Roofing and  more specifically John Kemp came to our door and offered their services to us.  What they do is work with your home owners insurance to replace natural damaged roofs.  So they come over, take a look at your roof, we signed something saying that if our insurance company (by John working with them) decided to allow us the claim that we would use Rescue Roofing, you call in the claim,  John took it from there, we got a check in less than a month and the dropped the material off one day came a couple days after that and fixed the roof all in one day!  The cleaned all the debris up using essentially a large magnet.

The men were nice and in obtrusive.  With all the hammering and walking on the roof it can get a little loud but not too bad (still able to watch a movie but if you are in need of deep silence for meditation... not going to happen).

So this is our new and wonderful roof and all for, the price of your deductible!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

C-r-o-c-k-p-o-t that's how you spell...

Right before Chris and I got married we ran into a friend of ours who had just got married.  She was so excited for us.  She said, "You'll love being married, I mean I do!" She had just gotten married a month before and was sweetly enthralled.  As she is telling me about all the joys of our soon to be marriage she stops dead in her tracks and says, "You have to get one of these amazing things!   It is called a "CROCKPOT".  and you can just put stuff in it and sit all day and it is great every time.  You HAVE to register for one of these!"  She was being so sweet and helpful I didn't have the heart to tell her I knew all about crockpots and that I actually owned one, instead I said, "Oh thanks!"

What was the purpose of the little anecdote?  Not much of anything save to say that a lot of people do know about crockpots...

I have another friend who cannot seem to figure out her crockpot.  Isn't comfortable with it and so doesn't use it.  This isn't a bad thing but it got me thinking how some people though know about a crockpot don't know the key secret to making crockpot dishes.

Oh, yes there is a key secret and I am in possession of it!  Ready, it is life altering!  DON'T MESS WITH IT.  The key to a great crock pot dish: meat, sauce, water, turn it on and LEAVE IT ALONE for hours.  No turning necessarily, no messing, no playing, and no checking needed.  This is a difficult concept because everything we know about cooking is that attention is needed but not true with a crockpot.  Resist the urge to poke and prod.

So with this thought I made dinner:  Catalina Chicken with roasted potatoes 

 Step one: pull crock pot out

Step two: put chicken into CP with water

Step three: add Catalina dressing (amount... your choice)

Step Four:  Wash some red skinned potatoes

Step five: Cut up said potatoes into bite size pieces and pour some olive oil on top and dust with your choice of spices (I chose garlic, pepper, salt, rosemary and a little copped onion)  Whatever you put it will be great.  If you question a spice: my go to is to smell the dish and then smell the spice, if it smells off from the rest of the dish don't use it.

Step six: Carefully remove the chicken from the CP (it will be falling apart) top with a little of the sauce from the pot.  Add some potatoes (and whatever else you want to the dish) and you're good to go!

I decided to do a little cinnamon sugar butter: just add cinnamon and sugar to butter till it tastes good to you!  You can't go wrong.

This has rocked your world hasn't it! ;P  Well even if it hasn't maybe you will be challenged to pull out your CP and do something you haven't ever done!  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Easy as one, two, three?

I love my house.  It's the home that Chris and I have made.  But there are some days when the projects seem more than I can handle... the list of to dos feels like it is ever growing!

Today happens to be one of those days.  I sat and thought about what I could write about and just couldn't but feel a little overwhelmed at that things I need to do.

My "trick" to get out of this funk:

1. STOP THINKING ABOUT IT! (harder than it sounds but also more profound)
2.  Start small: do something as small as wash the dishes and have  clear sink or make your bed or fluff your couch pillows
3. Decide on one thing that you want to start on (anticipate that you won't be able to do much and if you go past the little you set up to do then you will feel even better!)

I know... you're thinking she's a rocket scientist with ideas like that!  I'm pretty amazing... but then again so are you ;P

It is funny how we forget the basic stuff... worry, stress, anxiety: not helpful.  Nope.  Not one bit.  But oh, how I seem to make my home there!  Why is that?  Because I rely on my own strength when I shouldn't.  I can't do it on my own.  And yes, I do mean my husband, my friends, my family but all the more importantly for me: God.  Oh how this basic concept of trust eludes me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

continuous project

Just a short six months after my husband and I got married we started the process of buying a house.  We chose a fixer-upper (doubtful that's a real word ;).

We of course chose a house that need the kitchen and both bathrooms replaced... if you know anything about house costs you know that those are the most expensive to replace.  I love my house but it is a continuous project.  I know that every house is but when I go to other people's houses I don't feel like theirs is... because I am not the person fixing it.

This beauty is our master bathroom.  We have gutted it as you can see.  Sadly I don't really have any before pictures... I don't always think.  It had basic 1980's linoleum floors, stock cabinets (from the 80's), an old cracked sink and an old stained toilet.  So out they went. 

Our plan:  Put in tile floor ourselves.  I already have the cabinet and toilet that we are going to use... not it is just getting started.

We did tiling once already : our kitchen.  I'll have to post those pictures here one of these days.  It is way easier that it looks... but be warned it is messy and tedious.

So much like the dress I'm making on one of my other blogs, this will be a slow and stead "wins the race" kind of things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My free poster frame!

So I found this poster frame in a free pile of stuff I was given.  It was just a basic white frame.  We needed a frame for a movie poster we had been given by our dear friend Taber. 

So I took it apart and played with it, trying to figure out what I should do with it? The room I need to put it in has an interesting pattern on the wall so I thought I would just match that.

Step One: hang the frame.  Silly I know but the easiest way for me to make sure the poster will line up with the design on the wall after I paint it is to actually mark on the poster frame the pattern.

Out pattern though fun isn't too difficult so it only will take three colors: a green color, a brown color and a pale yellow/tan

Then comes the painting within the lines.  You will mess up: it is ok.  Nothing is perfect and you wouldn't like it if it was.  Art, which is what you are making for your home, most definitely isn't perfect!  Beauty if in the imperfections. . . that's why I am gorgeous ;P

So this is the wall the frame will hang on.  I hung it long enough to mark it but then down it goes. . .

This particular frame holds in the picture/poster by bendable tabs.  I can't bend them very well with my hands so I use pliers.  Warning: if you mend too much they can twist and break... they aren't too bad to bend, it just hurts my wimpy fingers

First coat:  I always prefer to do a second coat, just to make the colors bright a crisp and to cover up any possible missed spots!

The frame itself was just a tad to small for the poster so I decided to modify my poster but cutting it down a bit to make it fit.  Make sure if you decide to do this that you, as best as you can, cut evenly on each side.  Making sure to keep the poster as centered as possible.  

After the second coat and cutting down the poster a bit:  here it is our HP7 poster!  Thanks Taber!