Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Random Tuesday- Cows, Goats, Bobcats and Lyrics

We went to the stock show on Saturday- I love the stock show. We don't really go to see the animals like other city folk do, we see those at my husband's parents' cattle ranch. We go to watch some of the rodeo and horse competitions but mostly we go to see all the expo booths. You pick up a free plastic shopping bag and fill it up with all kinds of free crap- pens, rulers, foam cowboy hats and candy. I love pulling out a fertilizer company pen when someone asks to borrow one. They always give me this strange look like WTHeck???? Makes me laugh,  I'm easily entertained.
I love looking at the new and fantastical items that are for sale. How about a Vitamix blender? I swear it could build a house and decorate it for you, it can do so much but really- how much pureed stuff do you want to be eating? And all for a low price of $400!! No thanks.   The one thing I always look for is that one item that looks too good to be true. Every year there's one small booth, run by someone who had a great idea and is trying to sell their cool product.  I fall for it every single time!! You know what? The items have always lived up to the hype. Last year I bought a funnel shaped ice scraper from a guy who developed it in his garage. It is hands down the best ice scraper I've ever owned. This year was the most amazing fur remover to use on clothes and furniture. I'll be sharing this product with you soon. I was asked by the owner to keep my mouth shut for now.  I wish I could come up with a good idea I could sell!

I had a terrible morning on Friday. I drove up to meet a workman at our cabin in the mountains. It was a miserable 3 hour drive that usually takes 2. It went from 50° to 18° and sunny to freezing fog where you couldn't see the side of the road to heavy snow with high winds that caused ground blizzards- all in the course of 90 miles. So not cool.  Made it there and miracles of miracles the guy showed up on time, only to insist that his company could not have installed the hardwired smoke detectors that were wigging out.  According to him they've never installed that kind. OK- the guy has only worked there for 9 years- the house was built 16 years ago.  I designed the house, down to the location of every single outlet, and I was the one that hired his company to put them in and... I WATCHED THEM INSTALL THEM. He wouldn't budge because they're hardwired and he's "not a licensed electrician". I was ticked. After "discussing it" for a good half hour with a support call to my hubby to talk with him, we gave up and had him install new wireless ones instead of fixing the old ones. Now I have to go back up and find an electrician to remove the old ones that keep going off. ARGGGG
After all of that, I can only say that I'm SO GLAD that I went!!! By the time I headed home, the wind had died down and it was snowing softly. I was about a mile from the cabin, rounded a corner, and saw something crossing the road. I stopped where I'd seen it go in into the trees and low and behold this is what I saw.

Yep a bobcat!!! We've only seen him a few times over the years and I was so excited.
Thankfully, I'd brought my camera with me and got this shot of him.
God knew what kind of morning I'd had and did a great job cheering me up.

Farther down the mountain, I also got to see the mountain goats by the road.

All in all it turned out to be a good day!

If you ever listen to popular music and actually listen to the lyrics, you know how stupid many of them are. Over at My Own Brand of Crazy- Gina has started Monday's Ridiculudicrous Lyrics. For a great laugh head on over and check it out.

Have your own random post? The Un Mom is the place to go to link it up. Do It!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hints to help you Clean up the Kitchen!

This week I'll be focusing any extra minutes in my kitchen. It's time to scrub down the outsides of the cabinets, clean off the counters, organize and sort through the drawers, and wipe down the appliances.
I have a really busy week so I'll break these jobs down into 15 to 20 minutes tasks.

DRAWERS: 5 to 15 minutes per drawer
When I clean out a drawer, I remove the drawer and dump it out onto the counter. I wipe out the inside and make sure it's really clean before I start putting stuff back in. As I sort through the items I ask myself, when was the last time I used this?, How often do I use it? and Do I really need this? If I only use it once a year, I have a plastic tub with a lid in my laundry room and that tool goes in this keeps the drawers less crowded. If I only use it occasionally, it goes to the back of the drawer. The items that I use frequently go in the front for easy access. I use plastic bags or tiny plastic containers to keep smaller items, like corn cob holders , together and organized.  I have a hard time giving things away that are perfectly good, I haven't used in years BUT- I might need them someday. I force myself to put these things into a bag, TAPE IT SHUT and set it in the back of my car. I write a date on the bag one month from when it goes into the car. If I haven't needed anything from the bag in that month, I drop it off at goodwill WITHOUT LOOKING IN THE BAG!!! I use this method with closets and the basement too. I forget exactly what's in there and if I don't see it, I won't miss it.

CUPBOARDS- Inside-  20 to 30 minutes each.
Take everything out, wipe down shelves and put everything back in. Is there a better place for these items. For example- Are your coffee cups and coffee making items near the coffee maker? Are the dishes easy to put away from the sink or dishwasher? This is the time to rearrange if it makes more sense.
If you have young kids- try placing their dishes in a drawer that they can reach. This makes it easy for them to help put their dishes away and for them to get their things out for meals and snacks. My kids are grown and we still keep the small bowls and plastic plates for snacks in a drawer. Drawers are also a much easier place to keep tupperware bowls and lids. It makes it much easier to find them than in a cupboards.

CUPBOARDS-Outsides of all-  15 to 30 minutes.
Wipe down the outside of the cupboards and drawers with Murphy's Oil Soap or whatever is safe for your cupboard doors. I like to use a microfiber cloth for this to really get the cooking build up off.

APPLIANCES- Outsides:15 to 20 minutes
Wipe down the tops, fronts and sides of all the appliances- The fridge top can be scary if it hasn't been done in a while. While you're cleaning, Take the time to remove all the stuff from the fridge front. Take down all the magnets, photos and stuff. I tape those kinds of things on the inside of my cupboard doors. This keeps them in a handy yet out of sight place. Just removing all the stuff from the fronts and sides of the fridge will make your whole kitchen look cleaner and more uncluttered. It really does!!!!! Try it!!!!

REFRIGERATOR COILS- 5 to 10 minutes
Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator to increase energy efficiency and prolong the life of the compressor. You should clean the coils at least 2 times a year, if you have pets 4 times a year! Your owner's manual will show how to do this or you can google it online. 

Break it down this week and get that kitchen cleaned.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Tuesday so it must be random!

Have you tried the new retro Pepsi and Dr. Pepper made with real sugar? All I can say is that there's a huge flavor difference. We did a blind side by side taste test (we would) with the regular Dr. Pepper and the retro, sugar Dr Pepper and the retro sugar formula won hands down. I think I'll be stocking up!!!

It's impossible for you to lick your elbow.

My dog has been  more than a bit gassy so I read that you could put some tennis ball size, smooth, clean stones in the dish and because the dog has to eat around them, they can't eat as fast which helps prevent them from gulping extra air as they eat. It worked great until all the food was gone and then she started carrying the rocks around the house and dropped one on my foot. Dang dog! 

I downloaded photos from my camera to my computer and found that someone had been using my camera over Christmas break. There were over 400 photos taken by my kids of themselves and their friends jumping and flying through the air. This is a favorite pastime  of theirs. It was so fun to see them together having so much fun.

Statistics say that 75% of you tried to lick your elbow. Admit it- I was right- You couldn't!!!!!!!! Actually 99.9% can't. Were you one of the few who can?

Have your own Random thoughts? Head on over to The Unmom and link up!!! You'll thank me later!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday's Household Assigments-Planning all your meals for the week saves time and money!

This week's household assignment is to start planning ahead for your meals each week! By planning your meals once a week you'll save money and time. I plan all my meals for the week on Wednesdays because this is when the grocery sales flyers come out. Some stores post their flyers online and other only have them in the paper. I always get the Wednesday paper for the coupons and the flyers. I lay out all of the flyers and my schedule for the week. I identify the days that are going to be crazy where I'll need to plan on a crock pot dinner or a fast  preparation dinner.

I then look at the meats that are on sale that week. Last week, there was a great sale at Sunflower Market on their ground meats. Ground chicken breast, turkey and beef were on sale for $1.97 a pound. In addition their Italian sausage and pork loin roasts were on sale.  Once I pick the meats, I go ahead and plan my main dishes around these meats. (I also bought extra for the freezer, more on that later.)  I pull out the recipes and make sure that I have all the ingredients for them either in the pantry or on my shopping list.  I then go through the circular and plan my side dishes. My menu ended up being,
       Wednesday-  Spaghetti with Italian Sausage, salad, french bread
       Thursday- Creole Stuffed Peppers (ground beef), broccoli and
                        honeyed carrots (crockpot)
        Friday- Roast Pork Roast with cranberry chutney, green beans, wild rice and tossed salad,
        Saturday- Tamale Pie, corn, fresh tomatoes and shredded lettuce
        Sunday- Beef Pot Roast- Bought on sale last month used out of freezer,
                       new potatoes, carrots and peas
        Monday- White Chicken Chili on rice (crockpot)
        Tuesday- A family tradition- Srevotfel-  Leftovers- It just sounds more
                                                              elegant when you spell and say it backwards!!!   This cleans                                                                     out the fridge for shopping on Wednesday.
Once week a month- I challenge myself to make all the meals from the pantry and the freezer so that the only things I have to purchase from the store are fresh veggies and dairy items. This helps the budget a lot!!!!!

When you plan ahead you:
  • Are prepared for dinners on busy days with food in the crock pot or quick preparation recipes so that you can avoid last minute take out or delivery food that costs so much.
  • Avoid extra trips to the grocery store that do cost you extra cash with those impulse purchases! 
  • Prepare a broader variety of meals when you write it all down and do a little bit of planning. 
  • Ultimately save money!!!!!!! 
Hint- When ground beef goes on sale, buy 5 or 6 pounds and take an extra 30 minutes to brown 3 or 4 pounds of it. Once it's browned completely, cool slightly and divide the cooked meat into separate plastic bags, label with the date and toss into the freezer. With the meat already browned, you can thaw a bag in the microwave and make it into tacos or spaghetti sauce in under 5 minutes- It's a real time saver!

Friday, January 15, 2010

And the winner is................

The winner of the Old El Paso  is comment number 2- Sprite's Keeper. Stop over and say hi to her! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random Tuesday- How can this be?

I just had a birthday. They have this nasty habit of coming faster and faster each year. I turned 49 which in itself isn't freaking me out, it's the fact that next year I'll be 50. THAT is freaking me out. 50 just sounds so dang old. Even when I turned 40 50 sounded like old lady with a walker age, not really but kind of. The weird thing is that I don't feel old inside. I swear I still feel 28 or 32 or something and then I look into the mirror and BAM- Who's face is that??? UGHHH Hopefully buy the time next year rolls around I'll be more comfortable with the idea. Like I have a choice!

It also occurred to me this week that I am going to be a mother-in-law in 3 1/2 months. I know, I've known about the wedding for months but it just dawned on me about the mother-in-law title- a bit slow on the uptake but I catch on eventually. I hope I'm not going to be a stereotypical one!

I was working on a recipe for Coq au Vin this morning and set off the fire alarm. To show you where my priorities were, I finished photographing the flames for the recipe before calling the alarm company to call off the firemen. Priorities are important!  I'll post the recipe soon but admit it, the photo was worth capturing!

When my daughter got engaged, I bowed out of all my spring obligations in case we had lots of wedding stuff to do. The wedding is well under control, she is my daughter after all, and now I have some free time. It's been so long since I had any that I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I've cleaned almost every single cupboard, my storage room and most of the closets. I should be writing my novel in a month but I just can't seem to get started. I guess I'll figure out what to do next... Tomorrow.

Today, I'm working on a really cute baby sweater for a shower this coming weekend. I love knitting girl stuff. I got the Fan and Lace pattern for the bottom of the sweater done last night and now just have to finish the body.
I finished the hand part of the mittens I've been working on but can't decide on the pattern for the cuff. Once the sweater is done I'll figure out what I want to do.

OH MY GOSH!!!! I really am an old lady- I'm sitting here and talking about my knitting- CRAP!!!

Don't forget to enter to win the Old El Paso Tackle the Taste  Giveaway. Only one entry far,  so you have a great chance to win. Click Here to enter!

Have your own Random thoughts? Head on over to The Unmom and link up!!! You'll thank me later!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spin Cycle- Cleaning and organizing!

I was over at Sprite's Keeper and her Spin Cycle this week is about the show Hoarders and cleaning and organizing. It got me thinking about how much I love to keep things around me organized. For instance, as you all know, I post a Monday's Household Assignment each week. I have no plan for them, I just post the tasks that I'm doing or have done that week myself. Organizing and cleaning just come naturally to me. I can't help it. I like things neat and tidy around me or I feel like my whole life is out of control. I keep my spices alphabetized, I love my labeler and have labels on all my linen closet shelves and shelves in other closets. I just like things to be organized.  The only exception to this is my desk which tend to gather a pile. Every two weeks, I muck it off and then it begins again.

After Christmas, I was so overwhelmed by all the Christmas decor that had been out, when I got it all put away, I didn't even take out all of the regular items to put back. My mantel usually has 5 candle holders, a couple of vases with grasses and stuff in them and a wooden box with seed balls on it. Right now it has one vase and 2 candle holders. I just needed super clean and pared down for a few weeks to recover. I find it soothing and calming. I  try not to be obsessive about it but it is just so dang nice  when everything is in its place. Do you like things organized or do you thrive with some chaos around you? Head over and join in on this weeks topic. 

Don't forget to enter the El Paso Giveaway that I have going this week. Click here to enter!

Monday's Household Assignments- Makeup does have an expiration date!

Last week I opened my medicine cabinet to get out everything to put my face on, when half of what was on the bottom shelf came tumbling out. Time to organize the mess. I took everything out and as I began to sort through everything, I came across some blue eye shadows and thought about how old some of my stuff was. Seriously, when you find baby blue Bonne Bell eyeshadow and you're over 16, you are long overdue for a cleaning out session!!

I got online and found that most of what I have is expired and should be thrown away. Here are the expiration dates I found.
Expiration dates — beginning from the time you first open these products
  • Pressed powder cosmetics: face powder, blush and eyeshadow should be thrown out after one year. 
  • Cream shadows: 12 to 18 months
  • Liquid Foundation: 1 year if you use a sponge or applicator. If you use your finger ont he top of the bottle then 6 months
  • Wand Applicator foundation- 6 months
  • All Natural cosmetics should be discarded after 6 months because they do not contain any preservatives.
  • Lipstick and lipliner: 1 year
  • Mascara and eyeliners: 3 months - WHAT!!!!!
  • Blue Eye Shadow- Throw away the 70's are over!
  • If you get any kind of an eye infection, you should discard any eye makeup that you have used to prevent reinfecting yourself.
  • Never Share Your Makeup!!!
Makeup brushes: Clean weekly using a mild detergent or shampoo
Makeup sponges: Replace weekly, or when sponge becomes soiled

When you use your makeup, you expose it to bacteria on your hands and face and this bacteria can grow and thrive in your makeup which really can be harmful, especially if used around your eyes.

Here's what I did:

I took everything out and if I couldn't remember when I bought it, I threw it away.  I then scrubbed the shelves, got a small plastic box to hold all of the small items and now, not only can I find everything, I'm not going to infect myself with bacteria and I won't be wearing any more blue eyeshadow! If only this would help with either the zits or the wrinkles that BOTH seem to be taking over my face. It's so unfair to still get zits when you are getting wrinkles at an alarming rate.
Have fun cleaning out your makeup!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Old El Paso Green Chilies and Tackle the Taste Giveaway!!!

The Superbowl is one month away on February 7th and have I got a fun giveaway for you.
I will choose one (1) of my readers to win a "Tackle the Taste” gift pack that includes two free cans of Green Chiles, a football-shaped ceramic chip and dip, a package of football-themed plates a package of matching cocktail napkins, and a football field table runner all provided and mailed directly to you by Old El Paso and Blog Sparks! 
They also sent one of these sets to me as a thank you! Of course one of my kids immediately put dibs on it and will be using it for their Super Bowl Party. It was so cute too!!
Even if you don't want to enter the giveaway, everyone can click HERE to download a $0.55 coupon good on one can of Old El Paso Green Chiles- that's a deal!
Here's how to enter: All entries must be in by January 15th so that, hopefully, you will be able to receive your gift pack by Superbowl Sunday! That's not in my control but the sooner the better, hence the one week deadline. 
Please make sure that you have your profile set to public! If you don't then I have no way of getting your email to tell you that you are a winner and get your mailing address to send off to Old El Paso. If you don't want to make yourself public, once you have entered, email me by clicking the link at the top of my page and let me know you are entering and give me your email that way. Thanks.

1. YOU MUST DO THIS FIRST or all other entries will be DELETED! Please let me know how you're going to use Old El Paso Green Chiles to spice up your favorite recipe(s)(1 entry)
2. Follow Me on Blogger (1 entry) If you are a follower already, leave a separate post saying you already are a follower.
4. Follow ME on Twitter (1 entryAlready follow? Leave a post. I do check!!!
5. Leave a Tweet and the direct link to that tweet (1 entry) You can do this Daily!
6. FOR 5 EXTRA ENTRIES - Blog about this giveaway, including a link to my blog and come back and leave the link to your blog post. Once you have your post up- leave FIVE separate comments  here, that you've blogged about the giveaway.
7. FOR 3 EXTRA ENTRIES-Add my  BUTTON to your sidebar (leave 3 Separate comments here saying that you've done this)
8. Add Factwoman to your blogroll (using my URL), with a link back to me! (leave 1 comment here telling me you've done this)
 This giveaway is only open to U.S. entrants.
Many thanks to MyBlogSpark & Old El Paso for this Giveaway Opportunity!

No Purchase Necessary. Void where prohibited by law. I was provided a product or sample for this Review and Giveaway blah blah blah blah. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Writer's Workshop Wednesday- My favorite books to read to children- and the most hated!

Kat over at Mama's Losin' It has some great prompt for Writer's Wednesday this week. Try it out. You just might like it!

2.) Book Review! What children’s book do/did you hate reading to your child?

     It's been many, many years since I read to my kids but I can still remember the ones that I hated to read aloud and the ones we all loved.
     I hated any book written by Dr. Seuss for the same reason that Kat hates Chicky Chick Chook Chook, the repetition.  His books were great to use once they just began to read because they could figure out what the next word would be but, they were awful to read aloud because they were so boring and repetitive. They were also without much of a plot or any good character development- Kidding! They were just boring as all get up and go to read over and over again. They made me grit my teeth and thankfully, these books somehow got hidden under my bed lost a lot!

     On the flip side, there were books that I read literally thousands of times and still love. Some of the books that I loved to read were: Goodnight Moon  and The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

I also love children's poetry and story collections like A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevensen and A.A. Milne's;Winnie the Pooh, The House At Pooh CornerNow We Are Six, and When We Were Very Young  My favorite is When We Were Very Young, especially the poem called, Disobedience- "James James Morrison Morrison Whetherby George Depree took great care of his mother though he was only three..." Bet your shocked at that. Amazon actualy has a great set with all 4 of these titles.

We also loved Robert McCloskey's Blueberries for Sal and  Make Way for Ducklings.

If you weren't from New England, you may not have heard of these but you should get them.

Last but not least, my favorite book and my kids' favorite book, hands down, is a book called
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. 
It was given to us by my step uncle, who volunteers to this day at a preschool. I had never heard of the book until we received it, but it quickly became our must read book. After thousands of reading I'm still not tired of it.
     What are some of your favorites. most hated kids books?
It's freezing cold here today and I think after I finish my chores, I might just grab a book and read. I only wish I still had a little one at home to snuggle up with and read to! Man time flies!!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Random Tuesday- Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!! Yes I am a bit late but this is truly the first day that I have had that is somewhat back to normal. We celebrated Christmas Eve on the 30th with all the kids home and then this Saturday my husband's family was having a get together at his brother's house. Everyone left on Sunday night and yesterday I spent the entire day taking Christmas down. I really need to cut back on what I put up. I still have to disassemble the village and take the outside lights down then it will all be put away. It took so long because I had to take everything out of the storage area and organize it before putting stuff back in there.
If you haven't done a Random Tuesday post yet, you should and this is the time to start. Head on over to The Unmom and link up a random post today!

I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to have all my kids home at the same time. It sounds strange but I don't realize how much I miss them until they get home. I sure wish the older ones lived closer. We had a blast hanging out and playing games. Mike, the fiancé, is a perfect fit not only for my daughter but for our family. God answered a lifetime of prayers in one amazing man!

We also got to meet Mike's parents. They came into town for a couple of days and stayed with us. It was such a fun time. We played games and just got to get to know each other. It's an interesting thing meeting people who will be playing such an integral part of your child's life, for the rest of their life. After meeting them, she's going to be in great hands.

The Olympics start in something like 36 days. I love the Olympics!!! I love the opening and closing ceremonies and all the different events. I must admit that I loke the winter Olympics much more than the summer ones. My older kids are going to run up to Vancouver and try to see a few events. Yep, I'm a little green over that!

I am going to have a nice slow start to the year. Because the wedding in is April, I said NO to every single thing for this spring and because they are doing almost all fo the planning themselves, I have some free time. I got a few new knitting books and some new yarn and am planning on doing a lot of knitting. I got the Magnificent Mittens & Socks book and am having so much fun. I'm knitting up a pair in Black and Hot Pink with some teal in the cuff. I'm on the second thumb and it's going pretty fast. I chose a really hard design but the mittens are really easy. You knit them from the top down eastern European style. Much faster and better than cuff up.
This is the style.

I'm thinking of holding some knitting classes for all my friends who don't kow how to knit. Anyone interested?

I've got to run and stage a house. I've missed everyone and can't wait to get all caught up on your blogs this week.

A shout out to my niece, Jenny! Love you!