Friday, October 19, 2012

Hello there!

So for anyone that is actually checking this thing at all and has noticed I haven’t updated lately, I’m sorry.  Things have been crazy in this corner of the world and it’s kept me from posting anything interesting!  The good news is things have calmed down and I’m getting myself organized to start posting away and I’ve got some good ones lined up.  Hopefully I will have my act together soon and we can get back on track!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pin #16 Condensed milk caramel

I’ve seen this pin a lot.  I always read it and sort of dismissed it because it IMG_7891seemed too simple, too easy.  Supposedly all you need for delicious caramel is a can of condensed milk.  Mmmmm warm caramel.  One of my favorite things to put on my ice cream! So you submerge the whole can in water in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.  It took me a while to do this one because it requires thinking ahead, at least 8 hours ahead, which is not my strong suit.  Finally I did remember and so here are my thoughts. 
First, right on the label it says to not heat the can.  Hmmm, IMG_7894pourquoi?  It gives no reasons.  Without some symbols for radiation or poison I thought I’d take my chances.  Nothing exciting happened, good or bad.  It just looked like a can in hot water.  For 8 hours.  By the IMG_7899end it did look a little suspect, with what looked like either leaking caramel or rust on the can.  It took me a few minutes to determine how to take it out of the crockpot.  Super hot water and super hot can….  tongs? Nope.  Hands?  absolutely not.  Slotted spoon? Winner!  Definitely the best option.  After getting the slippery sucker out I put it in a bowl to cool, and honestly, forgot about it for at least an hour.  At dessert time I had an epiphany and ran to get some ice cream with caramel sauce. 
IMG_7902Just opening the can the caramel started oozing out looking fabulous.  It’s a bit thicker than the store bought stuff and lighter in color.  Honestly a little less appetizing to me.  So I scooped some out, drizzled on the ice cream and took a bite.  Yum.  Is it the best I’ve ever had?  Nope, not really a contest.  But it is good.  And it’s easy and cheap!  A can of condensed milk will run you maybe $1-1.50.  And it’s unattended cooking which is easy. (:
Bottom line – great short cut
Not the most impressive caramel sauce ever, but still tasty.  It’s a super short cut that’s cheap and easy, as long as you can think at least 8 hours ahead.  I’m also wondering how long it will keep.  I imagine in a sealed container in the fridge it would last long enough.  Long enough to eat all of it that is.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

7 Things about me

Wooo Hoooo!  Hi everyone!  I have lost track of time and gotten off track with my pins but I’m posting for a different reason today.  The lovely lady Sarah over at Our Next Great Adventure has nominated me, or Pin Busting, for a “7 Things About Me” award!  As a nominee, I must, yes you guessed it, share 7 things about me.  (:

Check out Sarah’s great blog about her day-to-day musings and DIYs and recipes….  she really is a jack of all trades!  I mean this pic alone gives you an idea of all her fabulous posts!  So I now have to share 7 things about me….

1.  I have an insane sweet tooth.  Sometimes I want to literally scoop out a spoonful of sugar but usually settle for a spoonful of Fluff which seems to be more socially acceptable.

2.  I have a strong lazy streak that must not be indulged.  If I manage to keep it curbed I’m good, but the second I indulge it it’s like a bad addiction.  I imagine it’s what people who give up carbs go through.  It’s also why I am so excited to never scrub my tub again!

3.  I have seen Back to the Future so many times I can nearly recite the entire thing.  It’s one of the best movies ever.

4.  When my sister was born, my parents had to pretend around me that her name was Gabrielle because that was the name I chose and they had planned on until my brother suggested Jennifer instead.  Stupid brothers right?

5.  My husband was my first crush.  In second grade.  We chased each other on the playground and everything. 

6.  When I was younger and people asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I would answer all kinds of things but really the only thing I ever really WANTED to be when I grew up was a mom.  I think it’s because my mom is so incredible, and she made it look so easy!

7.  I have a thing for linens and dishes.  It’s almost impossible for me to turn them down at yard sales, or at the very least pet them all wishing I could either afford or find someplace to store them.

So that’s 7 things about me… now check out my 7 nominations! 

Tales of Expansion

Blissful and Domestic

A Beautiful Mess

Her New leaf

hip 2 thrift

coffee, light & sweet

Full of Great Ideas

So the rules for the nominated are these : 1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. 2. Tell everyone seven things about yourself. 3. Choose 7 other blogs that you think deserve the award, and post on their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated.

So that’s it for today and hopefully tomorrow I’m back on track for busting some pins!  Thanks again to Our Next Great Adventure for the nomination!! So thrilled to be nominated for anything! 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pin # 15 In-shower cleaning

pinI continue on my quest for the solution to never having to scrub my tub/shower again.  This pin says that if you wipe everything down with a vinegar and Dawn combo while you’re still in there that it will stay clean.  It sounds miraculous, which of course makes it a perfect pin for Pin Busting.

I filled my soap holding scrubber with Dawn first then added the vinegar.  It’s hard to get them mixed so I would plan to fill it only maybe 2/3 full so that there is plenty of room for all the suds and to mix well, or just pre mix a bunch in something else so that you can just refill the scrubber easily.  I had Green Apple scented Dawn so it was very easy to see how mixed it was but I would think that it would be a lot harder with clear soap.


I forgot to take a before picture but it turns out I didn’t have to!  My tub and shower look just as clean after 1 week and then 2 weeks of using this method (almost) daily.  I probably did it 6/7 days of the week.  It only takes a minute or two when you’re finished your shower and it’s so much easier to get to everything because you’re already getting wet and standing in there as opposed to leaning in from outside and trying to stay dry.  I did IMG_7886use it on the chrome fixtures which definitely decreased the look of water spots but I will probably still clean them with the water/vinegar combo I use when I do the sink fixtures.

Bottom line –DEFINITELY DO IT!

It turns out that this is mildly miraculous!  I think if I keep it up my days of scrubbing may be over.  It’s cheap and lasts a long time (after 2 weeks still half left).  I wouldn’t recommend hanging the scrubber by a loop on the end because I bet the soap would drip out over time and look gross or be slippery or whatever.  I had to finagle some zip ties to hang it so the scrubber was at the top. And definitely use a scented Dawn that you won’t mind smelling pretty intensely.  I really didn’t notice the vinegar smell but the apple scent was much stronger in the hot shower than just when doing dishes.  It doesn’t linger all day but while you’re in there it’s pretty strong.  So if you’re at all interested in decreasing your scrubbing the bathroom time this is the way to do it!  I’m beyond excited for that AND that I won’t have to deal with the horrible fumes of other cleaning products!  WOOOOO HOOOOOO!



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pin # 14 Baking corn instead of boiling

pinI am not a huge fan of corn on the cob, or corn in general.  Ok, that’s a huge understatement and if you know me you are actually laughing right now.  I’ll spare the rest of you the details but let’s just say I don’t eat corn. Ever.  The only thing I can say I like about it is how it smells when butter is melting on it.  But then again, when does melting mutter not smell wonderful!
I do, however, have to prepare corn on the cob from time to time and particularly despise the whole husking and corn silk sticking to you thing.  So I saw this pin and thought it could be fab.
Hubby wanted some corn and wanted to let the little guy try to eat it off the cob.  Our son had recently gotten a hold of a pretend corn on the cob and he just kept trying to bite into it so my husband decided we had to provide the real thing ASAP.  So, ta da, corn in the oven.IMG_7861
Corn after the oven.
Hot corn steaming up my camera.
Ends cut off.
Post peeling off the husk.
Bottom line – Do it!
My dislike for corn aside, this worked great.  I would especially say go for it if you’re making a lot of corn at once.  My husband said the flavor and texture was great and I thought it looked great.  Cutting off the very end is no biggie and sliding off the husk is easy too.  It doesn’t come off without effort like the pin sorta suggests, and there is a bit of silk you still need to contend with, but all in all a fast easy way to deal with it.  I love fast and easy.  Fast and easy and cheap.  I’m only talking about food preparation here… and maybe crafts… and yard chores… ok so I’m a big fan of fast, easy and cheap but who isn’t?? (:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pin #13 Homemade make up remover

pinThis seemed like the natural follow-up to the fake lash post:  make-up remover.  I generally skip a remover and go straight to my nightly face washing but this intrigued me, especially for those nights you might need a little extra muscle for say, 10-12 layers of mascara.
So I mixed the ingredients as directed in the pin, except I halved it.  I did not have coconut oil on hand so I used olive oil.  First impression, smells nice and clean.  Second IMG_7796impression, use a larger container than needed because when you shake it there is A LOT of suds.  Also use a better container.  I happened to have a baby food jar like in the pin but I would recommend some sort of small mouth or squirt type bottle.  Once you dip a cotton ball in there it soaks up too much and it’s harder to apply without making a mess.
mascara2aSo once again here is a nice mug of the before – about a dozen layers of mascara on the right eye and your average face make-up combo.  Why only the right eye you might be thinking…  well it just didn’t occur to me to apply the mascara to my left eye before removing everything.  Whatever.
Here is the aftermath.  No mascara or other make-up on my right side.  after
My cotton balls were over saturated and squirted into my eye a few times and that stung a little but otherwise I love it.  The make-up and mascara came off easy and left my skin feeling clean but not dried out.
IMG_7807Bottom line – Do it!
Definitely cheaper than retail products and it’s easy on the skin.  It was fast and easy to make and use.  Other than a few changes in container, I’d do this again without question.  Maybe next time I’m wearing a dozen coats of mascara.  And maybe next time I’ll manage to have it on both eyes!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pin # 12 Faking fake lashes

There seems to be something innate in women to adore and desire long, full eye lashes.  I’m sure there are some women that will tell you it’s all somehow men’s fault, that they set some standard of beauty for us a long time ago before we had more rights than a goat…. or something like that.  I don’t know why it’s wanted but it’s wanted, badly.  Badly enough that I’ve seem women look legit angry jealous when they see a little baby, almost always a boy, who has unbelievably impressive long full lashes.  Badly enough that some ladies glue strings of fake lashes to their eye lids.  When it works it looks great, when it doesn’t you’re left wondering why this woman doesn’t notice the spider attached to her eyeball.  This pretty lady in in the pin says you can fake the fake-out.  Love it.
Here I am with bare lashes and eyes.  I’m no dummy, I’ve got on otherbefore1 makeup (you think I am putting pictures of myself out in cyberspace without a lil’ help from Cover Girl? I don’t think so!).  So my lashes are naked but I already curled them, just like she says in the video, by pumping 5 times.  C* (that’s what she goes by) seems to be already wearing mascara when she starts the tutorial which would be a little like cheating so I am starting bare.
After curling, I applied 5-6 coats of the Maybelline LashBlast Fusion to my right lashes.  It’s brown and it happens to be my go to mascara and according to C* you can use any 2 mascaras you want, as long as the mascara1asecond is waterproof.  The multiple coats of mascara go against everything I know about applying mascara.  I've always unerstood to keep it to 1, maybe 2, coats to avoid spider leg lashes.  Why you ask?  I have no idea.  I’m guessing an assortment of magazines and tv shows.  And I've always functioned with the look like you're not wearing any make-up approach.  And that is probably why I am enthralled by these women that wear crazy bright purple eye shadow and look great.
Definitely a noticeable difference.   Next, about 5 coats of the black waterproof mascara, Big Fatty Waterproof Mascara by Urban Decay.  And since my better half was taking these pictures for me we somehow missed the after two mascaras but before lash separator picture.  Oops.  But after separation and a little pushing up/back to keep the curl, this is the result.
Bottom line – Do it!
I have never worn fake lashes.  I suspect they might look a bit fuller and longer than the final result here but with the extra hassle of applying them .  Extra hassle will almost always lose with me so I think this is a winner.  I can’t say I’ll be doing this everyday, it doesn’t really suit my stay at home mom of a 1 year old thing right now.  But if I’m heading out for the night I’d certainly do it.  And I’m sure it would look even better with eye liner and shadow helping out.  And maybe a pretty cocktail.  That can’t hurt either (:
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pin #11 Hard boiled eggs in the oven

Maybe this isn’t news to you but I saw this pin and got all excited.  My son has recently discovered hard boiled eggs, at least deviled eggs anyways, and since I’m not a huge fan I don’t have a lot of practice boiling eggs.  When I tried a few times it never seemed as easy as it was supposed to be and that annoys me.  So where this felt like a foolproof way to get it done I was on board immediately.
There is nothing complicated about these directions.  Put however manyIMG_7773 eggs you want in a muffin pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 325 degrees.  Done.
My eggs cooked closer to 30 minutes and were super duper hot for a while so I quickly plucked them from the pan and let them cool on a pot holder for a bit.  Once they were cool enough I got peeling.  The first one I did was super easy, the shell came off fast and IMG_7781easy.  There were a few brown spots which I assume are little burnt areas.  No biggie to me.  Then the second two eggs were a bit more annoying.  The shell was stuck to the egg really well so once I was able to peel it off a pretty thick layer of the white came with it.  So as you can see I had what looked like mini eggs.  I sliced into them easy and the yolks looked good, a little greenish on the outer part. I heard somewhere along the way that the greenish color means it was cooked too long so that makes sense here.
IMG_7779           IMG_7785
Bottom Line – Do it!
While I let them bake a little too long, the general results were still fantastic and with less room for error than boiling, though you should note I still managed to find the error!  Whatever my 1 year old eats sticks so I can’t imagine a little green yolk is going to bother him!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pin # 10 Borax and baking soda dishwasher soap

pinI was hopeful that this pin would save me from the tragic forgot to buy the dishwasher soap mistake.  So equal parts baking soda and Borax is supposed to fix this problem.  Love it.IMG_7746
The “recipe” calls for about 2 TB of the mix per load so I made 3 loads worth (to buy me several days before having to get to the store of course).  Scoop, dump, stir.  I saved it in a mini cheapo plastic container. 
Come after dinner clean-up, in 2 TB went.  We didn’t take it easy, we didn’t pre-rinse everything and there were a few things that had a little stuck on somethin’ somethin’.  I spared you from pictures of all of our dirty dishes… blech.  I set the regular cycle to run as usual and waited.  Well actually we ignored it and then went to bed and the next day I checked it out.  And the result was interesting.  All of the food came off and the dishes looked fantastic.  I was actually surprised and got excited because this would be a whole lot cheaper than buying ready made stuff.  Then I picked up a few dishes.
Yuck.  There was this weird powdery film on everything.  I couldn’t see it but it was everywhere.  I ended up having to put everything through an IMG_7751extra rinse cycle to get rid of it.  It also didn’t get off some of the more stubborn sticky pan stuff.
Bottom line – good in a pinch
After 3 uses, always the same results:  mostly clean with weird film.  I tried vinegar once in the rinse aid well and it didn’t make any difference.  I wouldn’t use it regularly because of that weird film but I would use it again next time I make the same tragic mistake that I make nearly every time dishwashing soap is on the list!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pin #9 Quick and Easy Orzo

pinYou might be wondering what about this is “too good to be true.”  You might think this is just some random basic orzo.  Well of the few times I’ve tried making some sort of orzo in the past it always comes out wrong.  Burnt, soupy, not fully cooked… you name my orzo stunk.  I’m not a professional cook by any means but I am more than capable of following a recipe!  Anyways I saw this and thought, “quick and easy you say?  let’s just see about that!”

So the directions were easy brown uncooked orzo in butter, add chicken stock and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.  Then stir in parmesan and basil. 

Straightforward  enough right?   And it actually was.  I didn’t burn it or undercook it.  And it was FABULOUS!
Bottom line – MAKE IT!IMG_7764
It tasted great and went beautifully with the prosciutto chicken I made.  My only complaint was that the cheese melted so once it cooled a bit it got all congealed like and made it tough to scoop.  Especially as leftovers it was like one solid mass you had to chop at.  But it still tasted great!  So maybe it’s not a miraculous revelation but good orzo was a mini-miracle in my kitchen!