Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oven Glass

I really had no intentions of creating a post about this, but I was so shocked at the results that I just had to share. You can see in the photos just how gross the glass in the oven can get. 
I had seen several comments about how great Bar Keepers Friend is, but I never imagined this. I was skeptical about using it on glass, but the package said it was safe.
Even with the horrible reflection, you can see how well that stuff works.
It's pretty cheap, too, and you can often find coupons in the paper. I've seen ads that they make a cooktop cleaner. As soon as I find it, I'll get that too. Do you use Bar Keepers Friend? What do you clean with it? I'm ready to clean some more!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mini Pizzas

 If you have battles over what toppings to put on the pizza, then this is just for you! It's the perfect size and simple enough to let the kiddos get involved. On those nights when you just want to get something made quickly, without the argument, whip up a batch of these little pizzas.

Refrigerated pizza dough (or make your own)
Pizza sauce - get the smallest jar, you won't need much
Mozzerella cheese (shredded)
Your favorite toppings
  We chose:

  • Pepperoni
  • Sausage
  • Mushrooms

Lightly spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray. Spread out the dough and cut into 12 equal blocks. Tuck these squares into the cupcake tin. Spread the sauce evenly onto each pizza. Top with your favorite topping and cover with cheese. Pop in the oven according to the directions on the pizza dough package. 

The kids chose what they wanted on theirs and nobody had to pick stuff off. Even the hubby liked it. Clean up was a breeze and everyone was happy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kitty Home Remedies

Did you see the story about the 4 pound hairball that was removed from a tiger? The story is from my local area, but I know it made national news. Can I just say YUCK?!?! You can click on the link under the image for the full story.
Associated Press
The litter box has to be my least favorite thing about owning a cat, but the whole hairball thing is almost a deal breaker. So what can you do help your kitty? There are quite a few choices. You can buy a lubricant.  They work well enough, but the smell is horrendous. I don't know how cats stand it.
You can give them kitty treats especially formulated for hairballs. My kitty actually likes these, but he's already over 20 pounds and the recommended dosage is 5 treats a day.
There are even some home remedies that you can use and you most likely already have it in your pantry.
  • Butter - add 1/2 teaspoon to food once a week
  • Olive Oil - add 1/2 teaspoon to food once a week
  • Petroleum Jelly - place a dab on kitties nose and he will lick it off. The jelly will smooth the animal's digestive tract and allow the hair to glide along smoothly.
I wouldn't recommend doing all of those - pick one - or you might have a mess from a different end. You can also help your kitty with regular grooming. I have a long-haired cat and he's also very fat. Two strikes against him when it comes to self grooming. 
I bought a Furminator and it's really helped get that thick undercoat out. Amazon has some great deals on this tool, you just have to watch for it.

Hope this helps you keep your 
kitties happy and healthy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Angel Chicken

This recipe can be found on the Crockin' Girls website, but I've pasted it below for you. I'm a sucker for slow cooker recipes because I like to fix it and forget it. This site has a ton of recipes to choose from. I have to admit, the thought of putting Italian dressing mix on my chicken did not sound appealing. However, the photo makes it look so yummy. 
Angel Chicken @Crockin' Girls
My attempts never turn out as pretty as the photos from where I find recipes. I'm just going to assume that the taste is the same and this one was pretty good. The Italian dressing was not overpowering, but gave it just a little kick of flavor. I would suggest more towards the 7 hours rather than 8 hours for cooking. Chicken just always seem to cook faster for me in the slow cooker. Ready to try it for yourself?

Angel Chicken
• 4 to 6 Chicken Breasts
• 1/4 Cup Butter
• 1/2 Package Dry Italian salad dressing mix
• 1 Can Cream of mushroom soup
• 1/2 Cup Dry white wine
• 4 Ounces Cream cheese with onions and chives
• 1 Box penne pasta
• Chives, for garnish

1. Put all ingredients in the slow cooker except pasta
2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours
3. When the chicken mixture is done, prepare penne pasta according to package directions; drain
4. Mix pasta with chicken. Serve in a large bowl with chives sprinkled on top

I hope you'll go check out Crockin' Girls for more dinner ideas. I know I'll be going back.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pinterest Round up #1

I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, as do many of you, so I thought I would start a weekly posting of my top five pins from each week. The more I pin, the more I find I need to add more boards to organize all those pins. This past week I created a new board based on one such pin. It wasn't long before I accumulated 89 pins. That's a lot of cupcakes!

Favorite Pin #1
This was originally pinned from Rachelles Beautiful Bespoke Cakes, out of London. Her creations are just amazing. If you check out her blog, which is linked on her site, you can see how she puts together some of these sweet designs.

Favorite Pin #2
Chevron Baby Blanket

This precious little blanket can be found over at Eat, Knit, & DIY. which I find amusing since this is a crocheted blanket. I often get requests from crocheted gifts whenever a new baby is close to arriving. This blanket will make a fine addition to my collection of go-to gifts, especially with the recent popularity of the chevron pattern. Added bonus - I found a new blog to follow!

Favorite Pin#3
Placemat Bibs
Not surprising that I would pin something from MADE. I love this blog. I've been stalking it for over a year now. Dana is a mama blogger after my own heart. Not only is she a mom to three adorable kids, but she is also an author. She posts lots of sewing tutorials and offers her patterns for sale. To make me even more envious, she is a great photographer.

Favorite Pin #4
Lemongrass Planters
Just another reminder that spring is here and I need to give my yarn some serious TLC. Supposedly, lemongrass repels mosquitoes, or so this site claims. That would be great, but I was also drawn to it because I think it would require very little care. I have other things I want to be doing besides working in the crocheting, sewing, reading. You know, the important stuff.

Favorite Pin #5

Uses for Coconut Oil
Have you jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon? I didn't even know this stuff existed until a few months ago. Now I use it to remove my makeup and as a moisturizer. Did you know it has anti-bacterial properties in it? Plus, you can use it in cooking. The lists just keeps growing.

There you have it. Not a bad start. I just need to organize my boards a little more now that they have grown to such large numbers. Plus, I need to file the ones I really want to keep. Nothing worse than clicking on a pin than to find out that the page is gone. I copy and paste the page content into Microsoft One Note to save it permanently. What do you do?

Happy Pinning!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Crocheted Healing Shawl

There have been several funerals in our calendar this month, so I thought I would do something for those loved ones who are grieving. Hopefully, it will give them just a little comfort during this time. I've heard of the Prayer Shawl Ministry before, but I never put anything into action.
 The idea behind the shawl is to create a "hug" with the length of the shawl. With the traditional prayer shawl, there are prayers that can be said before, during, and after the creation of the shawl with the idea that those prayers are weaved in with the yarn and transferred to the recipient. It's really quite beautiful. For those who aren't religious, or if you are unfamiliar with the recipients belief, you can create a healing shawl. There are tons of poems that you can include with it - or write your own.  I found lots of patterns with fringe, but I wanted something different and classier. 
Fringe can unravel over time and I wanted to make this give last a long time. I think the edging added a touch of sophistication to the shawl.For this particular one, I had a bunch of left over yarn from an afghan project that turned sour - not the yarn - just the project. I have another shawl to make, but I think I will use a  bulkier yarn. Maybe Red Heart Super Saver Chunky or Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky yarn. This is also a good project that you can work on a little at a time.  I plan to make a few to keep on hand for future giving, as these events usually do not allow for planning ahead.
Favorite Little Princess Healing Shawl
Yarn: approximately 740 yards or 14 ounces - I Used Red Heart Super Saver Jumbo
Hook: N

Chain 60 stitches or desired width of shawl.
Chain 1, turn, single crochet in each of the stitches to end. Chain 3 and turn. (59 stitches)
Double crochet in top of each single crochet.  Repeat this row 2 more times.
Chain 1 and do 1 row of single crochet to end. Chain 3 and turn.
Do 3 rows of double crochet.  Repeat pattern to end (1 row single, 3 rows double)
Make as long as needed to where you can hold each end with your arms stretched out (fingertip to fingertip)
End with 1 row of single. Do not fasten off.

Row 1 - Chain 1, turn, sc in next sc, *chain 3, skip 1 sc,  sc, chain 3, skip 1 sc, sc, chain 3, skip 1 sc, sc, chain 5, skip 3 sc, sc* repeat across ending with sc

Row 2 - Chain 1, turn, sc in ch3 space, *chain 3, sc in ch3 space, chain 3, sc in ch3 space, in ch5 space 5 dc, chain 2, 5 dc, sc in ch3 space*, repeat across to end 

Row 3 - Chain 1, turn, *sc in ch3 space, chain 3, sc in ch3 space, chain 4, in ch2 space 3 dc, chain 2, 3 dc, chain 4*, repeat across to end

Row 4 - Chain 1, turn, *sc in ch3 space, 5 dc in ch4 space, picot (ch3 and slip st in first ch), in ch2 space 3dc, picot, 3dc, picot, 5 dc in ch4 space*, repeat across to end. 

Row 5 -
Finish off and repeat edging on opposite end of shawl.

~Be sure to wash and dry before giving.~ 
If you use a fabric softener, your gift will have a comforting scent as well as be super soft and cuddly.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mayfaire 5K

Most of our 5k races are early in the morning; a necessity with the Florida heat. It got pretty warm during the day and I was worried we were going to have a hot event, but by the 7 PM race time it was pretty cool out. We even had a little time to take in the scenery.
The Mayfaire 5k was a new event for us, so we weren't too sure what to expect. There was promise of two lakes to run around followed by fireworks and we thought that sounded like fun. 
What was not fun was trying to run after our first kickboxing class. Oh my goodness we were in so much pain! To top it off, we had to tackle several hills. Double ouch! At least we had pretty scenery to look at. We found a couple of houses we wouldn't mind moving into, as well.

Not our best times, but we weren't really running for a PR (personal record). Our family 5k races are strictly for fun. It was fun to finish, but it felt longer than 3 miles. We grabbed some food - which was better than we've had at a lot of runs - and stayed for some of the fireworks.

It was a late night and we decided to just take Sunday easy. It was Mother's Day, so I decided we should head to the beach.
Remind me to come up with a longsleeved, floor length swim dress for K1. I don't think I'm ready for her to look so grown up.
We had the beach mostly to ourselves and we just kicked back and enjoyed our beautiful location. Spring is definitely flirting with summer, so perhaps it is time to invest in a beach umbrella so we can hang out longer. Got to protect K2's sweet little freckles! Time to start planning our next adventure... 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Mixer Cover

I've been wanting to make my mom a cover for her Kitchen Aid mixer ever since she got me one. Mostly because I discovered how much dust settles on them. I'm not sure why I kept putting it off, but the farthest I could get was pinning patterns to Pinterest. Don't I feel silly now that I know how easy it is. I think I could do a basic one in less than an hour, but I couldn't just make my mom any old cover. Nope! It needed to be special. Disney special.
Ultimately, I decided on this pin:
I found some images on Flickr of others who used this pattern, so I figured I could handle it. Plus, it came with a pattern and instructions. First, I cut out all my pieces. I debated about using a batting to make it stiffer, but decided against it. However, I did line it with the muslin I used to do a test run for size. Waste not, want not! 
Next, I pinned on the piping. I've never sewn piping on before, so I used a ton of pins to make sure it didn't move. 
It wasn't that difficult. I used the zipper foot and just lined up the piping with the foot. 
Onto the pockets. These aren't necessary, but I thought they could be useful and then I wouldn't have to frustrate myself trying to match up the pattern all the way around. 

I lined these with the muslin as well.

These only needed to be sewn on the one side (top) but I did the top and the two sides, just to be sure it wouldn't shift when attaching it to the cover.
Fold the seam over towards the printed side and iron.
See how nice it looks?
Here are the two pockets showing both sides (one for the front and one for the back. Give it a good press once you fold it back together.
Then I sewed the pockets to the bottom of the cover.
Once the pockets are in place, it's time to turn it inside out and sew all the main cover pieces together. Again, I used a ton of pins because I was sewing quite a few layers together and I didn't want any puckers. I also switched back to the zipper foot since I would once again be sewing against the piping.
Halfway done! Ha...this is actually on my sewing machine. I wanted to see how things were progressing and now I'm thinking this would be a good sewing machine cover, too! Time to repeat for the other side and then move onto the trim.
Turn it right side out and attach the double fold bias tape. I've actually never done this before and I didn't understand the instructions on the main tutorial I was using. So, I Googled for something else and found an easy tutorial over on the Smashed Peas and Carrots blog.
It fits great! But, it's still missing something. A bow! I just sewed a rectangle pillow, stuffed it lightly, and added the wrap around the middle.
I also sewed a straight stitch up the middle of the pocket to create two pockets. Much more sturdier for holding stuff.
I'm just in love with it. Seriously, how cute is this?!?!
Happy Mother's Day, mom. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Let's Get Ready to B-B-Q

Summer is right around the corner, so it's time to get ready for some backyard grilling!

Do you use a charcoal grill? Sprinkle an even layer of cat litter in the bottom of the pan before adding the charcoal. The litter insulates the metal from heat and also absorbs grease and fat for easier cleaning.
Does your grill rack get so dirty it makes you want to scream? Maybe that's just me. I hate scrubbing it. Here's an easier way. Place the rack in a large trash bag and spray the rack with Easy-Off oven cleaner (or similar brand). Seal the bag closed and let it sit outside overnight. Remove the rack from the bag, spray it down with hose, and throw away the trash bag. 
You can also wrap the rack in aluminum foil (shiny side facing inside) and place back in grill. Turn the heat on high for ten minutes or more. Let the rack cool, then remove the foil. All of the burned-on food and grease will fall off the rack.
Can't find your grill brush? Is it frayed beyond all use? Crumple up some aluminum foil into a ball and use it to scrub the warm rack.
Is your grill showing signs of weather wear? Polish it with some cooking oil and then buff with a dry cloth.
Now you're ready for some grilling! 
What time do we eat?