Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Slow Cooker

IMG_4086This is probably a classic slow cooker. It’s one that my lovely husband brought with him into the marriage. I am on my second giant cooker in addition to this one but this one is still going strong. I usually use this for drinks, dips, or when I am simply cooking chicken for another recipe. The giant one is for when I am actually making a dinner. One thing I hate is to have this beauty out on the table when I’m having a party, because it really doesn’t go with my party d├ęcor. What better plan than to Pinterest it?

I’ve seen pictures floating around Pinterest about painting your slow cooker with chalkboard paint, but don’t have a link because it’s honestly pretty self-explanatory. You buy chalk spray paint and paint it. Easy. I was actually very lazy about this also and didn’t have an even, or clean area I was even spraying it on. It was also windy out and a little puppy kept walking by.

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No problem though! This beauty turned out perfect!

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Laundry Detergent

Let’s talk laundry. While I am not very picky about my detergent, I began paying more attention to it when we moved to the boonies and bleach is unusable with a septic and the husband tends to get about 10X more dirty, causing more use of detergent. I was terrible at remembering to buy detergent when I was out and I was always annoyed as I never had a favorite. My first try was to use SUPER CONCENTRATED NO-GRATE LIQUID LAUNDRY DETERGENT, but I really disliked how difficult it was to get everything dissolved, no matter how hot I had my water. Also, while it is “super concentrated,” it really doesn’t make a huge batch and I was making it more often than I wanted.

IMG_4069A friend recommended this Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent and I had everything but the Fels Naptha from the previous detergent, so it wasn’t hard to order the soap and get started. Let’s just say, I still have no idea what Fels Naptha really is, but it SMELLS INCREDIBLE! I was so excited. Also, I read the directions, but didn’t really think through the fact that I was making a 5 gallon batch. I think I read it that I was just making it in there, not that I would actually have that much. It was not difficult at all and actually seemed easier than the first recipe I made since you are using a massive bucket and water from your bathtub.

IMG_4096I let the soap sit overnight…and ended up with a giant gelatinous glob. I was thinking of just leaving it like that and taking a scoop out of it each time, but the bottom of the bucket was where the other liquid collected, so it wasn’t all mixed together. After a process of scooping out masses, transferring them to the blended, blending, and putting them in every single milk jug I had (and making Cole finish off the one in the fridge), I ended up with the 5 gallons. In hindsight, I need an immersion blender. Like bad. This would not be hard with one of those. As it was, I ended up with incredibly soft arms from giving up and using my entire arm to mix it. After using the detergent for a month, I have gone through 1 gallon (I do about 4 batches of laundry a week). I really like it and will definitely keep with this recipe for the price. You end up using a lot more detergent than the first recipe per batch, but it is well worth it. I haven’t noticed my clothes smelling any different and I probably end up paying about $.50 per month on my detergent. Worth it.

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Our Favorite Things

1503324_10153113628348532_744165897_nOne of my favorite parties of all time has to be Favorite Things. It seems that I was a huge slacker and failed to post about my previous party, but the idea is that you invite friends to come and bring their favorite item to give to another person. Since I was unsure of who was going to be there, I asked everyone to pick their one favorite thing and bring 3 of them.

This turned out great since there were 6 of us. I put everyone’s name in a bag and as they picked a name, they would receive whatever that person brought. The items included cookie butter and a cinnamon sugar grinder; a chick flick, mug, and hot chocolate; knitted headbands; a scarf; fancy lotion; and chocolates.

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Along with some great food, it’s a yearly party that I love.IMG_3916IMG_3922

Quick Bathroom Fix

The two bathrooms of the main floor of our house have always bothered me because they don’t have a practical use of space over the toilets. The spare bathroom had a giant medicine cabinet and no towel space at all. Not only is having the medicine cabinet in there bad because everyone can view your pills, but it’s also unsafe since a child can easily climb on the toilet and grab things.

The master bathroom wasn’t as bad, but it had too many spots for towels and a large wasted area above the toilet. Easy fix- swap the two! Cabinet out of the spare, towel rack in its place. Towel rack out of the master, cabinet in its place. Perfect solution.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Christmas

My favorite decorating time of the year. This year was great as I tried a couple new things, one of which is putting ornaments, lights, and pinecones in hanging baskets and using them for decorations. This is perfect since the deer would eat any normal hanging basket flowers we had out.

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The snow finally hit! It was about 2 weeks before Christmas and didn’t last long…which is pretty much how I like it.

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And now for the Christmas fun!!! No snow for sledding, but the kiddos still found plenty to do.

Winter Visits & Happenings

October Company included the always wonderful Beck parents. We have a very strong suspicion that papa Beck Rain-X’d our cars, which was a huge, and very appreciated surprise when buckets of rain dumped on us in February!

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Coal turned 29! In celebration, we took pictures with the newest Jeep.

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Late snow allowed for plenty of burning. Our oak restoration is going great!

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Lack of snow also allowed us to travel to the Beck house for the annual Thanksgiving extravaganza. Plenty of amazing food and great company.

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Gracie is of course always happy to be home where she doesn’t have anyone to impress.

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