Friday, November 20, 2015

Shopping for a Cause

Nothing excites me more than getting a great deal.  So when my friend told me how I could get $30 worth of FREE clothes from Schoola, the excitement was almost too much!  Now, normally, I am very cautious with the free credit hook.  Sometimes, you are promised free credit, but have to jump through a hoop and a half to get it, or make a very high, minimum order.  When I was actually able to order 11 items and only pay $.92, I might have squealed (we'll just call it a squeal, even though my husband might disagree).  What made this even better, is that a portion of each item I bought goes directly to help out schools.  You actually get to see which schools each item (and how much of the sale) benefits.

Naturally, I put in an order for a bag to donate my kid's clothes to help out our local school.  So here's the deal, when you sign up, you get a $20 credit (ps, if you get your friends to sign up, and order, you can earn more credit), when you sign up, they send you an email for 25% off almost immediately.  Once you are all signed up, create your first collection, you'll then earn an extra $10 credit!  $30 of free money to spend!  Every item includes a description of the quality of the clothing, and what condition it's in.  Click HERE to get started with Schoola.

Another used clothing site I love is thredUP!  They also have lots of great kid's clothes, and designer items as well.  They recently started their thredUP for Schools program, which allows you to choose the school you'd like to donate a portion of what you buy.  5% of every purchase goes to the school of your choice!  It's as simple as that!  Unlike Schoola, you can send in your own clothes to sell, and earn a check, or credit to use on thredUP.  Either way, it's a great way to clean out your closet from your own home!  No early morning garage sale needed.  Click here to check out thredUP and earn a FREE $20 credit that you can use to get you, or your kids, some great clothes.  PS, I just bought two great tops for myself and paid just $.89 for the both of them!  How sweet is that?  And for those who think this is a gimmick, it's not.  I would not share, nor would I try anything that was a gimmick or a scam (yuck!).  These are two great sites that have allowed me to get great pieces of clothing, for free or super cheap!  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crochet Ear Warmer

Can you believe it's November already!  I've spent the past few weeks making hats and ear warmers for my family for this winter.  Keep your ears warm with this simple crochet ear warmer pattern.  This pattern is meant for an adult/teenager.

DC = double crochet
SL = slip stitch
SC = single crochet

Round 1: Chain 65.  Join with a SL into first stitch.
Round 2: Chain 2.  DC 64 stitches around.  Your chain 2 counts as your 65th DC.  Join with a SL.

Round 3-5: Repeat round 2 (chain 2, 62 DC).

Round 6: SC in each stitch around (65 total stitches).  Secure your yarn.

I hope you enjoy this pattern.  Stay warm!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My 52 Week Savings Challenge

In the past, I have tried the 52 week money challenge that has you put a dollar away for the number week of the year you are in.  $1 for week 1, but then $52 for week 52.  I don't know about you, but our family normally doesn't have the funds to put away $51 one week, and then $52 the next.  I came up with my own challenge to help me save money.  We will start with $5 a week, and then the last week of the month, we will add $10 instead of $5.  By the end, we will have put away an extra $330 towards our savings.  I have included a blank copy of the spreadsheet I am using, so that you can customize your savings to fit your household's needs.  Also, this month we are starting a new budget system, the envelope system.  Most of you have probably used this budgeting system by now, but we haven't.  I want to see how allocating funds for specific things will help us not only find a way to better save, but to hold us accountable for our spending as well.  First thing's first.  The bills must be paid!  One the bills are paid, we will put out all of the money that we have pre-designated to these different envelopes.  One will be for groceries, two are for gas money, we have another for necessities, and then of course, two for our spending money.  The idea is that whatever money that we have left from the envelopes the next time my husband gets paid, we will toss into savings.  Have fun challenging your family to save money!

Make sure to check out my posts on how I save a few bucks and bring in extra money for my family from the comfort of my home!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Santa isn't real.......

Today I was sitting in the car with my 4 year old son and nephew as we waited for my husband and daughter to finish up registering for a youth bowling league.  In a low, soft voice from the backseat, all of the sudden, I hear, "Santa isn't real......."  What!  What do you mean Santa isn't real?  My 4 year old son just told me Santa, yes, the Santa Claus, St. Nicholas himself was not a real person.  I'm not gonna lie, there was a small part of me that wanted to cry!  How could this little person not think Santa is real?  I asked him why he would think or say something like that.....did someone tell him the big secret?  I sat there as he explained that he just knew this, and how I really bought him the cool Play-Doh set that Santa supposedly bought him.  I spent the rest of the ride home pondering just what I would respond with.  Would I give him the "Santa lives in all of us" speech that I had to give my 10 year old, or would I plea with him that there is a Santa, and that he's wrong?  As I sit here planning out our week of homeschooling, my son climbs up next to me to chat.  He looks at me (with his big beautiful hazel eyes), and asks, "Is Santa really real"?  I responded, "Do you believe there is a Santa"?  "Yes I do mommy.  I think he's just super magic, and that he just knew what I wanted from Wal-Mart."  Crisis averted!    So, for the time being, the magic of Santa lives on in our humble household.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Erasable Tracing Binder

I was on Facebook the other day, and one of the moms in my homeschooling group posted about these erasable sleeves she picked up at her local Target.  So I went to my Target to pick a couple up......and they didn't have any!  So this morning, my son, who just recently started working on his letters and tracing them, wanted to do some worksheets.  Like most people, I don't have the money to spend on countless workbooks, or printing a vast amount of worksheets!  I need something he can use over and over again!  I ran in the bedroom, grabbed an extra binder, and placed one of his worksheets inside the cover.......and BAM......our own erasable "sleeve" with a built in lap desk!  I handed him a dry erase marker, and sent him on his way.  Naturally he enjoyed being able to write and then erase (because that's so much cooler, right?). 

Inside his new binder, I added folders to organize his worksheets.  I labeled them tracing (for shapes and lines), letters, and numbers.  Now all of his worksheets are neatly organized in one portable binder that he can trace on all day!

Now I only have to print out one set of my Alphabet Tracing Worksheets for him to use!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oven Baked "Fried" Green Tomatoes

I am sucker for good comfort food!  Fried chicken, mac and cheese, and fried green tomatoes are some of my favorites.  As delicious as these foods are, they aren't exactly the best options for know.....since I want to eat healthier, and drop a few pounds (or a lot).  So, alas, I have found myself trying different methods of cooking my favorite foods, so that they are healthier for me, and my family........without sacrificing any flavor.  To start off my journey for a healthier lifestyle, I have to start with my favorite, fried green tomatoes.  I searched Pinterest for ideas on how to make them healthier, and naturally, skipping the frying and opting for baking seems to be the best way to save the calories without giving up the flavor.  When I fry my tomatoes, I coat them in corn meal.  Since that wouldn't be a great option for baking, I grabbed the panko instead (I've seen recipes that call for ground flax seed, but I think panko would give the best flavor).  I made these today for lunch, and the flavor is so much like my original version (with all of it's oily goodness).  I can now feel good about eating fried green tomatoes!

Oven Baked "Fried" Green Tomatoes

4 green tomatoes
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp. ranch dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
Milk Mixture:
1 egg
1/8 cup whole milk (or buttermilk)
3 tsp. Sriracha

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the ingredients for the milk mixture in one bowl, and the breading mixture in another.  Slice your green tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices.  Cover the tomato slices in the milk mixture, and then cover them with the breading mixture.  Place the tomato slices onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes on one side, flip, and then bake for 10 minutes on the other side.  Once finished, I enjoy them with some sriracha or Louisiana hot sauce.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Stay tuned as I attempt to enjoy healthier versions of my favorite foods!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Printable Planner

What I find completely frustrating is that when I go to look for a planner that meets my needs, they are all pricey!  As I started putting together curriculum for our homeschool year, I decided to get creative, and create a printable planner that is fun, and easy to use!  Along with some of the other things I created to help out my kids, I added my planner to my Teachers Pay Teachers storefront.  I am seriously loving this site!  Even if you aren't a teacher, or you don't homeschool.......there are still lots of neat things for purchase (or....even!

While you are checking out TBT, don't forget to check out my weekly planner, alphabet tracing worksheets, and my cupcake clip-art!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Saving Money and Making Money

Yep, I made that!
Being a stay at home mom can be a financial strain at times.  However, it's something I wouldn't trade for the world.  Staying at home with my two kids has allowed me to homeschool and put more focus into my home and family.  Every family is different, and for mine, this is what works.  I like to pride myself on being a pretty frugal gal, but there are times I wish there was just a little extra income somewhere.  A few years ago, I got into doing a wide variety of rewards sites.  Some of them had very little reward, while others were so incredibly easy.  After trial and error, I narrowed it down to three sites that have helped me earn the most, instaGCSwagbucksBing Rewards.  All three of these sites are incredibly easy to use, and have earned me a lot of free Amazon gift cards!

Yes, this clip art is for sale!
In regards to selling items, there are several ways to earn an extra buck or two.  In the past, I have made headbands and tutus to sell.  While I do enjoy making these items, getting quality supplies can  be costly, and it is time consuming.  However, the reward is great!  You can easily double your investment.  However, if you are going to make items to sell, make sure they are quality.  You wouldn't want to make a poorly made item, and then slap your name on it.  My daughter and her friend made tile coasters to sell at craft shows last year.  They were cheap to make, and so much fun to customize!  Since I started homeschooling this year, finding low cost and free curriculum was at the top of my list.  However, finding good quality worksheets and study guides that meet what we are learning.....that has been a challenge.  I have resorted to making my own!  I am able to take what I create for my own children, and sell them for a low cost on Teachers Pay Teachers.  This has allowed me to turn around and purchase worksheets that I am in need of, while supplying more of a variety to others.  I have also started making my own clip art to use as well.

Every so often, when I find the energy, I go through all of our belongings and have a garage sale, or sell the kid's clothing at a Just Between Friends sale.  Another way I have helped to create an income for our home is to sell my services (get your mind out of the gutter folks!).  Babysitting, cleaning homes, yard work, tutoring, music lessons.......these are all things that are simple, and can help you to generate funds for your home.

At one point (when I worked full time), I was an Avon rep.  I enjoyed it very much, but I didn't have the time to invest into building a client base.  Right now, I am looking into possibly becoming a direct sales rep once again.  Direct sales can be so much fun and rewarding, even if you aren't the sales person.  You can seek out sales reps, and ask to host a party.  Most of these companies offer free product to you when you host a party, and reach a certain level in sales.  It's a fun way to hang out with your friends, and earn free goodies!  I am still learning ways to help out any way I can, while still trying to teach and maintain our home.  What are some ways you have helped earn an income?

Last year, we took our family on our first family vacation ever!  We spent six days driving from our home in Missouri, all the way to South Carolina!  We made lots of stops along the way, and many memories.  However, none of it would have been possible if not for my frugal planning.  I hit up Groupon to check out if there was any deals for restaurants, hotels, or activities.  We were able to take a private charter to go shelling on an island for about half the cost it would have normally cost us!  We also used to help us find great deals on hotels where we were staying!

Want to get quality razors without the high price delivered to your door?  Sign up for the Dollar Shave Club!

Make sure to check out my post on how I am challenging my family to save money!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Homeschool: Pre-Colonial U.S. History

To start out our homeschooling year, my 5th grader and I are starting at the beginning.  It's amazing just how little she knew from her 6 years of traditional schooling, about how our country was formed.  Our school year will be spent developing our nation, so to speak.  We have started out with the Bering Straight Theory, and have moved on to European exploration and colonization.  As I flipped through the history curriculum, I was amazed at how little detail was given, and how some of the most important events were left out completely.  I mean, can you honestly expect our kids to believe that Columbus found America.....and that's where it all started.  Eventually they'll begin to ask more complicated, if Columbus founded America, then why were there people here already?  Does this go against most of what is traditionally taught in public schools, possibly, but at least my daughter will know that there is more than what we are told as young children.  We came up with a pre-colonial timeline to help pin-point the more important events for the development of our country.  I'm still working on trying to take what the history curriculum I purchased has to offer, but expand on that a bit further.  Wish us luck!

Make sure to check out my nouns worksheets and alphabet tracing worksheets as well!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Stroke" of Luck

Wow, I feel so bad, neglecting my little blog for so long, but we've been very busy lately.  This June, my dad suffered his second stroke.  Luckily, the impact of this stroke was very minor......because of my daughter.  Last year, after my father-in-law suffered a stroke, my daughter set out to find out why this not only happened to her Papa (my father-in-law), but her Grandpa (my dad) almost 2 years earlier.  She decided that would be her science fair project.  She worked on this project from September until April of this year (almost 8 months!).  However, when she went to ask her teacher for aid on finalizing her project, she was told it was a bad project idea, and she should start over with a new one.......keep in mind, this was in month before the science fair, and almost 7 months into her research.  My determined child, in so many words, said "screw her, I'm not giving up.......I don't need her help anyways" (at this time, we were on the fence about homeschooling, and this helped us greatly in our decision).  Fast forward to June, my dad is suffering his 2nd stroke......and wouldn't luck have it, my daughter, who has since become a pro in the science of strokes, was able to notice the signs of a stroke almost immediately.  We called for help, and the hospital was able to administer the clot busting medicine in record time (and this is a hospital that specializes in strokes).  A month later, we begin to receive phone calls from several media outlets.......the hospital was so impressed, they contacted some local news outlets who covered my daughter's story.......and then that caught the eye of national news outlets, like Fox & Friends!  Yep, my kid did it......she made it onto national TV (her big goal in life).......just for doing the right thing.

What the news doesn't cover, is that since then, my dad has suffered his 3rd stroke, which he is currently in rehab for.  The effects were more harsh this time around, but he is doing well.  However, trying to talk a 62 year old Marine vet into some sort of lifestyle and dietary change is like dressing my 4 year old son in all white, and expecting him to not get dirty!

If you notice someone might be having a stroke, it is imperative that you call 9-11 immediately.  Time means everything when it comes to a stroke.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer is Finally Here!

Monday was Memorial Day.....the unofficial start of summer.....but also the day that we (my family) remember the family members who are no longer with us, who served our country with grace, honor, and dignity.  Tuesday was my daughter's last day of school (seriously, they went ONE day this week!).  That means summer is finally here!  Lots of changes in our household this summer.  For one, we had to take our foster doggy back to the shelter......he tore up our couch, and seemed to not enjoy sharing all of the love and affection with our fur baby.  He has since found his forever family and hopefully is getting all of the belly rubs he needs!  We also decided to homeschool, so right now I'm working on gathering up supplies, resources, and creating a plan for the next school year.  Is it me, or do we as parents have much higher expectations for our kids than schools do (my kid is going to think I'm one hard teacher).  I am also in the final stretch of our chicken fight.  City hall seems to think it's a laughing matter (I mean, they charge you $250 just to have this heard by the p&z board....who also thought this was a joke, and shot it down fairly quickly).  I'm trying to not give up though!  In other about the Duggars?  I for one, am a huge fan of 19 Kids and Counting, and the Duggar Family.  I will say, I am shocked over the current news of the oldest son, Josh, and what occurred 12 years ago.  Not to be controversial, but I will say this, many of celebrities have had sex scandals, or have been accused of something as serious as molestation or rape.  Yet, people rally behind them.  People believe that they are truly innocent, or had a lapse in judgement.  Consider this, as I walked down my high school's hallway, countless times I saw young boys, teenagers, grabbing girls in private areas, only for the girls to look over, and have no clue who touched them.  We have created a society that idolizes such things.  Teenagers who have no respect for themselves, or others.  If he was just another teenage boy, well.......boys will be boys.  Since we were not present, and no one but the parties involved will ever truly know the full story, or how it was handled, can we safely assume that he was dealt with, received help, and has since become a productive member of society?  Let's be honest could have been ignored, it could have been worse, he could have gone down a darker path with no return.  As for the victims......I understand there were 5.  I have read many different things, but most of the stories say that 4 of them were his own sisters.  Let's be thankful that the girls also received help, and that such an experience did not cause them lifelong pain.  From what I understand, they have forgiven him (Josh).  Lastly, let's stop persecuting this family, we can't be so hypocritical to think it's ok for one person to behave in such a manner, but not another person.  And there is my 2 cents on the topic.....that is all I've got to say about that!  Anyways............let's enjoy some summertime fun!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Deciding to Homeschool

As the school year begins to wrap up, I have to wonder, did my child learn to her full potential?  Was she challenged enough?  Has she retained important knowledge and life skills?  My daughter has received outstanding grades this year, but I'm almost certain I can answer no to those questions.  My daughter attends a local public school.  Her old school, in the same district, closed down two years ago because of budget cuts.  She enjoys her new school.  They do some fun activities for the children and their families.  They also started a school garden this year (which we have been busy helping out in!).  The school and district are ranked in the top tier for the state.....but I still wonder, is it a good fit for my kid?  There are 4 categories of students in school (which I know a little about from my own experience in the grade school system).....the children who are having a little trouble learning, and are offered extra help.....the children who are slightly above average, not in need of extra help from the teacher, but not quite to the level were they are considered "gifted"......and then of course, the gifted students, who get bused off once or twice a week in order to do higher level learning and activities.  Two of these groups get all of the attention, while the rest are left to their own devices, and more often than not, aren't being pushed to unlock their true potential.  That is where my daughter falls.  Last year she was tested for the gifted program, she missed the score needed by 1%.  By all measures, my daughter is brilliant (and by brilliant, I mean book smart......let's not discuss common sense!).  She wants to study rocks and become a geologist one day, she even has an extensive rock collection, including a case full of rocks and minerals from a local university!  There is so much potential that we have yet to see from her........has the public school system failed her?  Would she be better off as a homeschool student?  This summer has a lot of thought and questioning before question is, which way should we go?

If you homeschool, or have in the past, I'd appreciate any input.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Boys will be Boys

Yesterday the little boy next door and his friend (who are about 7-8 years old), asked my kids to come over and play.  Okay, go play......have fun......leave me alone for 30 minutes!  As I'm standing in the kitchen preparing dinner (looking over our backyard and the neighbor's)....I notice one of the boys (not our neighbor who is a very nice young man), drill my son in the back with a soccer ball.  I stepped outside to observe since I had heard him taunting my FOUR YEAR OLD son and saying mean things to him (I believe in letting kids handle their own little a certain point though).  As I stood there watching, he started playing nice (he knew I was on to him).  I stepped inside the backdoor watching him from my garden window.......the kid grabs his ball, jumps up, and drills my son in his forehead.......right in his goose egg (he fell and nailed his forehead two days ago leaving what my mom calls a "goose egg").  I walked outside, called my kids home.....walked up to the fence.....and in a calm, teacher-like voice (even though I was screaming inside), told this 8 year old boy that my son was only 4 years old.........half his age.  And while he might have thought it was funny to hurt him, it was incredibly mean.  I then asked him if his mom would be okay if I told her what he was doing......he just looked down.  What I really wanted to do was grab his soccer ball and drill him in his forehead (How'd ya like that punk!  Funny now?).  At what point, as a parent, do you step in to help your children with their little "battles"?  Do you intervene at the first sign of name calling?  Or do you wait for a physical altercation?  I don't think these boys understand that he's just out of his toddler years, and hasn't even started school yet.  Thoughts?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Please.....let me do your chores for you.

This morning my daughter came walking into my room complaining she had no clean pants.  Have you put all of your dirty laundry in the laundry basket?  No?  Then that's your problem sweetheart!  The look on my daughter's face was priceless.  It was a combination of shock and disgust.  How was it possibly my fault that she failed to do her chores and clean her room?  My daughter is 10.  10!  At what age is it supposed to click for her?  I have recently taught her how to do laundry, and with supervision, she can do it pretty well.....except the folding part.  I'm considering letting her sink or fail on this one....maybe I'll just put her in charge of her own laundry.  Why haven't I?  Teamwork.  We work together.  I clean some things that you may have messed up, and you clean some things I may have messed up.  I'm pretty sure I made her feel bad as she walked out the door though....I told her that while she was at school, I'd be busy doing her chores before I could start on mine.  What made the chore thing click with your kid?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Chicken Battle Continues.....

Last night my friend John and I presented our ordinance proposal to Planning & Zoning.  It went about as well as the first presentation, but we were met with our first taste of opposition.  Yikes!  I was nervous until I reviewed the information that was presented to the board....then I felt a little bit of relief.  I'm not saying what she presented was wrong, because some of it was true.....chickens should not be taken lightly......however, it seemed that her agenda was more of a fear driven one.  Our proposal has been "tabled" for the next meeting where it will be discussed again.  So, for now at least, I will continue to educate residents here in my city about the pros and cons of chickens (as opposed to instilling fear, or creating this false dream of a perfect chicken with no problems).  And as always, wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Inside-Out Laundry

I enjoy cleaning........not picking up after my kids, but deep cleaning.  I find it therapeutic to get down and scrub the crap out of something (except dishes.....I hate scrubbing dishes).  Laundry is one of those things I don't like doing.  My family, however, has this thing where none of them turn their laundry right-side-in.  I would spend most of my time turning clothes right-side-in just so I could watch them.  Not anymore!  I recently stopped flipping their clothes and started washing, drying, and folding them......inside-out!  I wonder how long it will take them to notice the difference in their laundry.  Will my 10 year old daughter put her clothes on without flipping them over first?  I wonder.....  As I prepare to watch these severe storms roll into my Midwestern city, I want to update you on my chicken fight.  We presented an ordinance proposal and the idea of backyard chickens to our board last night (and by we, I mean my friend John.....since I get too nervous to do anything in front of people).  They heard us with an open mind.  Today we begin step two.  Wish us luck!  Now, off to save my dog from the life threatening thunder!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday

Well, it's Easter Sunday.  That means my kids and nephew have had more sugar than one should ever really eat, the house was clean for a whole hour this morning, and of course, we had family over.  My husband and I, we love to be around family.....but whenever you have family, plus the stress of a holiday, there is sure to be some sort of trouble.  We often joke that it's not a true holiday unless there's an argument........which more often than not is true.  Admit it, you've had your fair share of family/holiday arguments!  It's once everyone has left, and the dishes are still soaking, you realize that even though you might want to ring a neck or couldn't imagine your life without your family.  Ok........enough sappy sentiments from me.  I've got a chicken update for you.  Tomorrow a new friend of mine is going to present an ordinance proposal to the board of alderman in hopes that they one day will allow us to raise hens.  I think if some of the aldermen vote no, we take some free range, fresh eggs from a backyard farmer and make them omelettes!  Wish us luck.  This is the first big step in our chicken fight.  I'm sure we'll have lots of opposition, but I have faith.      

Friday, March 27, 2015

Grapefruits and Chickens

My fight to have the right to raise chickens is really starting to come together!  I've had people reach out to me that want the same thing, I've researched urban chicken keeping and ordinances from neighboring cities, talked to my chicken-loving-country-boy-alderman, and even drafted a potential ordinance change.  Yep, busy, busy, busy!  So busy that I didn't even notice that my 4 year old son ate my grapefruit I had prepared as a snack!  Don't worry, he got me a new one (see, he even cut it up with a butter knife!).  Anyways, my alderman invited me and my fellow chicken lovers to the next board meeting to present our proposal.......we had planned on attending anyways, but now they know we're coming!  It's such a relief that my alderman also would like the right to raise chickens.  I'm trying to not get too excited though, because there are eight alderman that have to vote, when and if it comes up for a vote........and potentially the non-chicken-loving-mayor (if it's a tie).  But for now, I'm going to be positive and pray that change is coming!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sweatpants and Divorce

Last night as I was surfing the web (yes, people still "surf the web", well, I do anyways) for trivia questions, I came across a story about the #1 cause of divorce.......sweatpants!  Yep.  Of all the things that one could want to divorce a person for, it's gotta be sweatpants.  At least that's what Eva Mendes said (fingers crossed it was a joke people).  As I read the headline, I looked over at my husband, and his sweatpants, who was looking at me, and my sweatpants.  "We're doomed" he said to me!  Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but you'd think money or unfaithfulness would be top contenders for that #1 spot.  Obviously this story has no merit, nor can it be taken seriously.....but for the fun of it, let's act like it does!  Ladies and gentleman, toss your sweatpants out before it lands you in divorce court!  Comfort must not be tolerated in your marriage!  Won't my husband be furious if he comes home to all of his sweatpants tossed out in the trash (muahahahaha)!  What would cause you to divorce your spouse?  Would one thing do it?  Or would it have to be a series of things?  Or is divorce something that is just not fathomable for you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sweet and Sticky Riblets

My family loves ribs!  However, we couldn't afford to eat ribs all the time, so riblets are a great (and cheaper) option.  While I enjoy cooking every meal, I sometimes find I don't have enough time to spend prepping a meal and then spend an hour or two preparing it.  That's why I have a crock pot!  There is very little you can do to mess up a simple crock pot meal, so that's why recipes like this one, are great for beginner cooks.  For me, there is nothing better than a rib, or riblet, with a sticky sauce to go with it.  This recipe would go great for both ribs and riblets, and even short ribs!  We've even tried this recipe using chicken wings (which was equally as delicious!).

Sweet and Sticky Riblets

Riblets - 2 pounds

Seasoning for Riblets:
Salt and Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder

Ketchup - 1/4 c
Brown Sugar - 4 tbsp
Siracha Sauce - 2 tsp
Soy Sauce -  1/4 c
Worcestershire Sauce - 1 tbsp
Honey - 2 tbsp
Rice Wine (or red wine) Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Pineapple Juice (or apple juice) - 1/8 c
Cornstarch - 2 tsp
Garlic - 2 cloves finely minced (or 1 tbsp pre-minced garlic)

Lightly season the riblets with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.  Set aside.  Mix together all sauce ingredients, except garlic.  Once the cornstarch and brown sugar are completely mixed in, add the garlic.  Put the riblets into the crock pot, and pour the sauce over the top.  Cook on low for 6 hours, until the meat is tender, and the sauce becomes thick and sticky.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sesame Street, Skin Color, and a 4 Year Old

Yesterday on Sesame Street, the "Proud to Be Me" episode aired.  It was one "snazzy" episode!  My 4 year old son came running into the kitchen to tell me all about what he had just learned.  He told pointed to his arm and said "this is my skin".  He asked what color his skin was, and I told him it's called tan, or white.  So very proud of what he had just learned, he told me that some people have brown skin, some people have black skin, "pan" (tan) skin, "wipe" (white) skin.......and maybe people have blue skin and pink skin!  as I mentioned, my son is only 4, so the topic of skin color and race isn't one we've had yet.  He has noticed that his baseball idol, a young man named Nicco who plays for my father-in-law's team, has dark brown skin.....and that he doesn't.  My daughter, who is 10, was about his age when she began to talk about skin color.  She would compliment people on their beautiful different shades of skin colors.  At one point, she was told by an young African American woman at the grocery store, that her skin was that beautiful shade of brown because she drank all of her chocolate milk as a young girl.  You could imagine my little girl's excitement when she realized that she always finished off her strawberry skin was in her future for sure!  I'm discussing this topic, one that seems to be a very sensitive one here in St. Louis, because it shows the innocence of young children.  They are blank canvases just waiting to soak up all the knowledge they can.  Shortly after the skin discussion with my daughter, it soon turned to why everyone is different, and how boring the world would be if we were all the same.  How have you, or how do you plan to address the topic of race, skin color, and overall differences among human beings with your child(ren)?  If you have a toddler, might I suggest you look no further than Sesame Street.

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Remodel Headache

So the hubby and I decided to a mini remodel on our home.  I'm not an overly picky person, so I don't require anything extensive or over-the-top.......just something that makes our house (that we bought almost 5 years ago) feel more like a home, and add storage/work space (especially in the kitchen).  We're starting out with a small budget which is fine, that just means we've got to pick and choose our projects wisely.  Instead of replacing the cabinets, we're going to refinish them......again.  You see, when we bought our home, it was a foreclosed, bank-owned home, and the previous owners left it in quite a mess.  Pipes had been cut, there were holes in the walls, horrible 80's style track lighting, and obnoxious paint jobs in the bedrooms.  Since I was pregnant with our son when we were getting it ready to live in, I'll admit, we cut corners.  We had replaced the horrible laminate tiles on the kitchen floor, with more horrible laminate tiles.  Since our home has an open concept, I would like for our hardwood floors (which are pretty much generic, gunstock oak planks) to flow into the kitchen.  The problem I'm having is finding said flooring for under $6 a square foot.  Then there's the main bathroom........the walls were covered in wallpaper originally......horrible green wallpaper.  We removed that, what was left was three very different types (and colors) of tiles.  The shower tiles seem newer, as does the flooring, and while they don't really "match", I think we can get them to work.  The walls are a different story.  Pink porcelain tiles.  Since we plan on doing all of the work ourselves, this bathroom has given me a headache out of this world!  Do we paint it (and still not have it match the other tile), or remove it and attempt to put up new drywall?  I thought remodeling headaches were supposed to happen after you've started the work.....not before you even spend a dime!  Since our budget is small, and we plan on doing our kitchen, bathroom, and living room closet.........I think I'm going to have to get really resourceful.  Wish me luck, and if anyone has a tip to share, or a pin they have found, I would not object to hearing all about them!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Chicken Debate

Over the past few months, I have been doing a lot of research into raising backyard hens.  The benefits, for my family, outweighs most of the cons associated with having hens.  Healthy food supply from my backyard, free fertilizer for my garden, and something to get the kids outdoors so that they can learn responsibility and life cycles.  I am ready to raise my own hens.....there's just one city doesn't allow it.  I live in a small municipality in suburbs of St. Louis.  The city itself allows backyard hens, and a good number of municipalities in my county allow backyard hens.  My city, however, does not.  The mayor claims there isn't enough interest (which is far from the truth).  Over the past month or two, I've become friends with quite a few people in my area who are pushing for the same thing, the right to have chickens!  Missouri is a right to farm state (which is still unclear to most of the residents what exactly that means for backyard farming).  If you have never been to Missouri, it's basically a bunch of farmland, with a few urban cities like St. Louis and Kansas City.........but when I say it's mainly me on that one!  We have a petition (CLICK HERE TO SIGN!) going around just to get the mayor to listen to us, and hear us out......because it seems whenever the topic is brought up, those who oppose the idea, shoot it down, cover it up, or more recently, delete the Facebook discussions/comments about the topic!  I am still searching for people who have gone through this fight and came out successful to help our city out.  But in the meantime, I'm still researching chickens that would be the best to raise in my backyard (one day).