Archive for the ‘Housekeeping’ Category

Hello folks!  Today my tip is short and sweet and I can’t believe I haven’t posted about it before.  This tip is a cooking aid.  Have you ever had a bunch of random ingredients in your house but no plan for what to cook?  Well, Supercook is the answer!  This wonderful website allows you to input the ingredients you have in the house and it will tell you what types of appetizers, entrees, and desserts you can make with the ingredients you have (complete with recipes!).  It will also show you recipes that you could make if you added just one or two more ingredients.  I have had some great success with recipes from Supercook out of basically no ingredients (just because I didn’t want to go to the store).  I have had one maybe two not-so-successful attempts with recipes from Supercook…but that was probably just a taste thing and not the actual recipes or site.  And who cares anyway because I used ingredients I had laying around my kitchen AND I tried something new.

Supercook searches several recipe/cooking websites and matches your ingredients to recipes it finds.

So what should I make for dinner tonight?  I really don’t feel like going to the store on this rainy day. Guess I’ll SUPERCOOK it!


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This is the Tuesday of all Tips! I found this awesome thing that I felt NEEDED to be reposed as a tip for Tuesday. Thanks, Do It and How!

Do It And How

from 9gag.com

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Tips for Tuesday: Repurposing chalk!


Here’s a little tip I picked up at Real Simple.

1.  Cut out a square of cheese cloth.

2.  Place some pieces of chalk in the cheesecloth

3.  bundle up and tie the cheesecloth closed with the chalk inside

4.  Store with your good silver– this will help absorb moisture and slow any tarnishing that may occur.




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Moving can be stressful, exciting, time-consuming, and even fun!  It all depends on how you are able to prepare for the move.  I have moved 16 times in the past 27 months.  Granted, some of those moves were not major moves and then again some of them were 14 hour drive moves.  Regardless of the degree of difficulty of any move, there are some facts that can cause a lot of stress even if you think you are ready for the move.  Some of these stress factors are: the turnaround time, the distance, the help, who is moving with you, and the amount of stuff you have.  That last stressor, the “stuff” stressor, is the one that causes me the most distress and this last move (which took place YESTERDAY) was the worst.  Which brings we to today’s tip.

When moving, get rid of as much stuff as possible starting at least 1 month before the big day!  This will make packing and moving so much more efficient and easier than trucking all that stuff with you to your new place.  And, let’s be serious folks.  Unless you have a definite plan with certain items (such as large furniture you cannot fit in your temporary home but plan on being in a larger place within the next few years) a long-term storage facility is not the best idea.  Think of those storage facilities as traps.  There is a good chance you will forget what’s in there and not miss it at all.  Why pay the money for the storage unit if it really doesn’t make a difference whether or not those superfluous items are in your life?

When you are going through your items, really think about how often you use something and if you are keeping because you think you SHOULD or because you really will need it.  Remember, space is valuable and so is your time unpacking in your new place. The less items you have to unpack the better off you will be, the more time you can spend exploring the new ‘hood instead of slaving away in the house.

Take it from me, I would not wish the cluttery move I had yesterday on anyone.  And, the sad part is, I really thought I was going to conquer this move.  I had boxed up many items to give away (but never got around to actually getting rid of those items).  I had a packing schedule.  I had excellent moving help.  I had a load-in plan.  And then I had a major traffic jam in the house, a horrible rainstorm, and a bad mood. Had I lessened the amount of stuff I brought with me BEFORE the move and not had the attitude of “I’ll get to it at the new house.”  I could’ve ended the move earlier and taken my friends out for ice cream and a fun night in the new neighborhood.

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I am currently working on an assignment for a certification course I am taking.  One of the things we had to do for this assignment is research Global Warming.  In my research, I came across some really interesting facts that made my really want to step up my game when it comes to lessening my carbon-emissions footprint.

Your carbon-emissons footprint is expected tons of CO2 you generate per year.

The EPA has some great reading about this topic and also a calculator to help you determine how much you add to the problem and what reasonable steps you can do to help the environment!

So, for today’s tip, I encourage you to take the few minutes it takes and figure out your carbon footprint and learn what you can do to make it better.

The EPA’s website:  http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html

The EPA’s calculator is much more in-depth and relies on actual data you have.  For best results, you should gather your bills and calculate the average of summer and winter usage.  This calculator will take you about 15 minutes to complete.  And it has an excellent section on what you can do to reduce your emissions and save money!  It’s very clearly laid out and easy to read the final summary.

Another super easy free carbon footprint calculator:  http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/

This nature.org calculator relies on the national average and multiple choice to generate a result for you.  It takes less than 5 minutes to complete and is very user-friendly and easy to understand.

The score for Dave and I combined at nature.org, in our current house and current jobs is:

Results (calculated carbon footprint for my entire household)
Emissions Comparison Tons of CO2 eq/year
95 Your Estimated Emissions (2 person household)
53 is the United States Average (2 person household)
11 is the World Average (2 person household)
Your estimated greenhouse gas emissions are 95 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year, which is above the U.S. national average.
(not including Dave, my score was:29.    Dave’s horrible score is largely due to his job and how much traveling he does)
Anyway both sites help you figure out what your current carbon footprint is and what you can do to lessen your impact on the natural world.
It would be interesting for anyone who reads this to post your carbon footprint in the comments and state which website you used.
** update** according to the EPA calculator Dave and I combined (though it did not ask about flights…) use 34,327 lbs of CO2 per year (that’s just over 17 tons) and the national average is 41,500 lbs per year (20.75 tons).
So, celebrate Tuesday and Get Calculating!

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I have been working insane hours lately and though I tried to get my tip for Tuesday out yesterday, it just did not happen.  But don’t worry, here is a super quick tip for busy people like me!

I decided I was going to bake two things today: fruit cupcakes and home-made cherry pie!  (I need to use up some of the fruit I got from my farm share before it goes bad!)

Trying to squeeze cooking from scratch into my crazy schedule

As I frantically began this adventure (yes, frantically… lately everything has been frantic for me!) I realized I did not have all of the ingredients I needed!  I was almost completely out of All purpose flour and had no cornstarch.  By no stretch of the imagination did I have time to go shopping for these missing ingredients. So I did the only thing I could– I quickly researched online to find substitutes.  And, to my delightful surprise I found tons of cooking and baking substitutes out there!

So, for yesterday’s tip, I’d like to share with you this ultimate cooking substitutions chart I came across. It is a great way to save you time when searching for a substitution and way better than spending the time going to the store when you have a strict time frame. Hope you enjoy!

The chart:


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It’s finally starting to look and feel like spring again!  The return of sunshine and warm weather really gets everyone out and about.  You see neighbors walking up and down the street that you didn’t know exist, flowers bloom, windows start to open, and, one of my favorites, the ice cream truck starts making its rounds again!  I know I couldn’t wait to get outside and work in my garden, which, thanks to family and friends has gone from this

Back yard


The state of the garden when we moved in

Overgrown and dying Garden

to this work in progress

May 2011 Garden seating

Can't wait till these seats are filled with friends!

Early May Garden

This is what my garden looks like right now!

While the spring and summer seasons begin to settle in, there is someone else who is ALSO starting to settle in.  That is our not-so-friendly visitor, the mosquito.  I think everyone will agree that mosquitos are irritating–literally!  And so, in an attempt to beat the biting bug blues, I thought today’s tip would focus on how to naturally repel them.  I certainly don’t want my friends being subject to numerous bites while we are out back this weekend.  So, I did a little research on what can help keep those nasty pests away. The number one thing I learned is that there are many species of mosquitos so the best way to limit your chances of a mosquito encounter is to have a variety of repellents and other anti-mosquito solutions.  I am going to list two ideas here for today’s tip!

Idea 1: Home made natural mosquito repellent

This recipe was taken from  http://chemistry.about.com/od/healthbeautyprojects/a/naturalmosquitorepellent.htm  the article that linked me to this recipe warns that just because it is natural doesn’t mean it’s harm-proof. Please use caution and common sense when making anything!

To make your own simply mix 1-2 drops of an essential oil for every two tablespoons of carrier oil/alcohol.  (that’s 5-10% essential oil or 1 part essential oil to every 10-20 parts carrier oil/alcohol)

Suggested Essential Oils :cinnamon oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, castor oil

Suggested Carrier Oils/ Alcohols: olive oil, sunflower oil, other cooking oil, witch hazel, vodka

Note: you will need to reapply this every 1-2 hours or after swimming or sweating!

Idea 2: Home made mosquito Trap

Many of the sites I read described a mosquito trap using a 2 liter soda bottle.  This site, http://www.helium.com/items/1237914-how-to-build-a-homemade-mosquito-trap-repeling-mosquitoes  listed 2 different ways to make the trap.

Additional Tips:

Mosquitos are attracted to warmth, dark colors, carbon dioxide and monoxide, and dampness (they breed in standing water and are quite attracted to perspiration).  Knowing that information, you can better prevent yourself from mosquito-attracting.  Since they are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, they will be attracted to open flames…hence the citronella candle…

Obviously, one of the most commercialized ways of repelling mosquitos is with citronella candles. While researching this, I found that citronella grass is a great way to repel mosquitos and is grown commonly in Brazil but can also grow around the U.S..  Additionally, Rosemary, Catnip, and Marigolds will also repel mosquitos.

Alright, time to go get some marigolds to plant!

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