Thursday, November 24

A Die Hard I Am Not

Um, yeah.

Thought I would attempt to go to the WalMart Black Friday sale, which started at 10 pm tonight.  I am SO not the early riser, so I thought this would be ideal for someone who just doesn't. do. mornings.

Apparently, so did everyone else in SmallTown.

And I do mean EVERYONE ELSE.  

As in, the WalMart parking lot was FULL, the sides streets were FULL, and the adjacent Home Depot parking was FULL and crowds were trucking across the street from the Home Depot towards the WalMart. 

Me?  I kept on driving.

They had some good deals and all (obviously good enough to get me out) but not enough for me to walk five blocks, in the cold, by myself, in the dead of night to attain them.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about years past and my previous Black Friday excursions.  First off, this is the first year I've ever been out this "early."  The earliest I've ever been in years past was about 6 AM.  Second, I forget that this is the only WalMart for like a hundred mile radius (you think I'm kidding!).  Back in HomeTown, there are dozens of stores in the metropolitan area for the crazies to choose from.  Third, in my years past when I have gone, I've never got out of my car and waited in line.  All the other people didn't either, they all waited in their cars where it was warm and then, when the employee unlocking the doors, you got out of your car and walked calmly inside.  Not here, apparently.  You bring lawn chairs and ear muffs and look every bit the part of a nut. 

And I was more than a little disappointed to come home empty handed.  I had high hopes of getting the Peanut a sweet little bike that will be under the tree for her on Christmas morning.  And with my savings, I would have been able to squeeze in a few other treats for her.

I keep on thinking I will try again later this weekend.....

But if tonight was any indication of what the rest of the weekend will be like, perhaps not! 

Sunday, November 20

Menu Plan Monday

Is Thanksgiving week here already?  How can that be?   Wasn't summer just ending?  No?  Well, I guess you're right.  I mean, we did already have our first snow.  We did also have a sweet little surprise late last week too.  My husband's extended-extended family (as in his uncle's extended family who are actually no blood relation to Hubs--who happen to live here in SmallTown as well) called to invite us to join their Thanksgiving dinner this week.  Isn't that just the sweetest thing?

We are most definitely blessed. 


Monday-Swedish Meatballs, steamed veggies

Tuesday-Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans

Wednesday-Lasagna (with this little tip!), steamed veggies

Thursday-Happy Thanksgiving!



For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie

Saturday, November 19

But It's a DRY Cold

That was said in the same tone as "Oh, but it's a dry heat."  I used to think that was so silly.  You know those people that said 120 degree summer days were fine because it's a "dry heat."

Really?  'Cause I just don't buy it. 

Then we moved here to SmallTown.  Although it's not quite the dessert, it might as well be, considering where we moved from.  We went from 50-60 inches annual rainfall to like 10.  Yes, it's much drier here in SmallTown.

And that dryness?

Makes all the difference when it comes to being cold.  

It gets cold here in SmallTown.  Like really cold.  We will go for weeks at a time without getting above freezing.  And it's that way for a greater part of the winter here.

Now in Hometown?  Not so much.  It's a much milder winter.  Snow it a treat there--depending on how you look at it of course!  It's certainly not an every week occurrence like it is here.

But it's wet.  It's rainy.  It's gray and cloudy and damp 

A lot.

But that's what makes the Pacific Northwest famous for being so pretty and picturesque and green

It never occurred to me (or Hubs for that matter) that the dampness was the major reason why I was so cold all the time in HomeTown.

Until we went home for our first visit after we moved here in late 2009.

This was the extent of the snow packing was super dry snow. 

During our visit, I remember laying in bed one night and I could. not. get. warm.  My feet were like ice cubes.  Hubs and I were discussing it later on our long drive home.  I made the comment that in SmallTown, it is oftentimes 20-30 degrees colder than in HomeTown, but it doesn't ever feel that cold.

That's when it hit us.  It's because the dampness makes it feel colder.  It's not damp in SmallTown, so it doesn't ever feel that cold.  And don't get me wrong--it is cold here, but it's rarely that take your breath away cold like it is HomeTown.  

Now that I've lived in a place where humidity {read dampness} is not a major factor?  I am a *little* more understanding when they say it's a dry heat {or cold}.   

And Peanut?  She is loving all that white stuff we've had this week--whether snowballs can be made or not!

Tried It & Loved It: On Hiatus

Well, my Tried It & Loved It posts have been sporadic (at best) lately, haven't they?  I do apologize for the inconsistency over the last several weeks.  No recipe one week, a new recipe the next, no picture the week after that.....  Although I truly hoped to make it a full year (which would be in January) of doing these posts week after week, I just don't think I can make that happen right now.

We have lots of exciting changes with our family in these next few months (which I promise to elaborate more on in the next few weeks) and I am very preoccupied with all those details.  Throw in a rambunctious three old (and soccer class and tumbling class), a few (big!) holidays, and a trip back to HomeTown next month..... and well, that's just a whole lot to juggle.

To put it simply: My family has to come first.

Phew......I feel so much better getting that off my chest!

Now, I hope to continue to post new Tried It & Loved It recipes starting up again after the new year, but they probably won't occur each and every week.

But they still will occur on nice of me to leave one thing the same, right?

I know, I know, the things I do....

Anywho, I just didn't want to leave the handful of you out there who impatiently waited week after week for my Tried It & Loved It posts.   

Snicker, snicker. 

Hopefully this will provide that much needed closure. 

Oh, how I kid....

Okay, I promise I'll stop.


Right now. 

For reals, this time. 


Wednesday, November 16

First Snow

I always forget here in Smalltown, that when the forecast calls for snow--it snows.

I guess it's time to put the studded tires on.  

Tuesday, November 15

The One Where I Talk About Perspiration

These are seriously some great tips I am about to share with you.

And this first one?  About the greatest thing I have ever come across.  However, let me start at the beginning, because as always, there is a story behind this.

My husband works as a manager in a restaurant.  He's busy.  It's fast paced.  He even sweats from time to time.  I do prefer the term perspiration, however if for some strange reason the Man Police read this and see that I said Hubs perspires, they may come and take his Man Card away.

He always wears a white undershirt under his button down work shirts.  His undershirts HAVE to come from JC Penney because it's the only store he's ever found under shirts that come in talls, 'cause he's a tall guy and if he doesn't get the talls, the undershirt comes untucked and it's just all irritating.  At least from what I understand....but I totally get that.  I do. 

And for the record, I have Hubs full permission to post this.  I asked him if I could and he asked why I was even asking.  I said, well you know, it's a little personal and I thought maybe you might care if I shared your sweaty shirt story with the world.  His response?  "I am guy.  I sweat. Who cares?"

Alrighty then.

So combine the sweat with the deodorant and the day after day wear of his undershirts and over time, they start to get this nasty, yucky, yellow buildup in the armpit area of the shirt.  I've tried bleach, soaking the shirts, scrubbing the stained armpits of the shirts with crushed aspirin, the list goes on and on.....but nothing ever seemed to get rid of that build up. 

So our solution before was just to buy new undershirts when the old ones got gross enough.  Yuck, right?  But I didn't see any other solution.  Fast forward several years later and living on one income.  Dropping $60-$75 on a new undershirt rotation just wasn't in the cards like it used to be.

However, just a few months ago I came across a trick and thought, heck why not?  It's certainly worth a try and it's cheaper than getting new shirts.

The trick?  Baking soda.  Good ol' standard, been around since practically the beginning of time, baking soda. 

It totally works like no other.

And it's cheap.  

I seriously wish I would have found this YEARS ago, because whenever we got new shirts for Hubs, the old shirts were never really worn out, they just had nasty, stained armpits.  The condition of the shirt was always just fine. 

Now, this definitely takes more time in my washing routine, but Hubs has nice clean shirts to wear and I feel like I am taking care of him that much better.  (That probably sounds really dumb and archaic, but it's the truth.  I like being a "homemaker" and knowing I do the best I can running our home.  Hubs does his part in working 60+ hours a week and I do my part in taking care of our Peanut and all things home related.)

So how do I do it?   First, let me say that I started this process well after his shirts were all stained, so I am kind of playing catch up.  For us, the yellow color has not gone away completely, but the nasty gunkiness of the (deodorant?) build up has gone away completely.

Oh, and for the record, I usually work at the kitchen sink during the process.

I turn the shirts inside out first.  Second, I mix a solution of baking soda and warm water to a thickness of about pancake batter.  Then with each shirt, I run the armpit portion of the shirt under hot water to get the area wet and then I spoon about a soup spoon portion of the baking soda mixture onto the shirt.  I scrub it into the shirt and repeat the process on the other armpit.  Make sure to sort of wrap the shirt in on its self because the baking soda will sort of cake and fall off otherwise and you want the mixture to sit on the fiber as best you can.  Repeat the process with all shirts.  Then, I let the shirts sit for a couple of hours before putting them in the wash.  After a couple of hours have passed, I run the cycle with HOT water and set it to soak prior to letting the load actually start the wash cycle.  I also throw another cup of baking soda in with the detergent during the soak cycle.  Then, once the clothes have sat in the hot water for an hour or two, I start the load as normal.

The shirts look cleaner, feel cleaner, and smell cleaner.  I am just so happy I found this little trick, I wanted to share it with the world.  And it's so stinking cheap!  (FYI--Costco has a 13+ pound bag of baking soda for like $5!!!) 

Second sweat tip.  I know.  Two tips, right?

I love all those cute ballet flats that are so fashionable right now.  They are cute, comfy, and they look more dressy than the "non-athletic sneaker" I had become so fond of.  And they don't have heals.....'cause let's be realistic here people, heals and toddlers don't mix.  At least in my world they don't.

But what I don't love about the ballet flat?  Is that most ballet flats are meant to be worn with no socks.  And my feet sweat perspire from time to time.  I cannot stand it when my feet feel like they were wrapped in wet plastic wrap.  SO gross, right?

And for the record, I know I am not the only one that feels this way.  Before I quit work at the bank, one of the gals that worked for us at our branch always wore super cut high heels--almost always without stockings.  She always looked so put together--you know the type--you want to look like that when you grow up....even if that person is ten years younger than you?  Anyhow, I finally asked her one day, "Don't your feet get hot and sweaty without stockings?"  Why yes, as a matter of fact, they did--she's the one that described it feeling like wet plastic {saran} wrap.

So glad I am not the only one. 

Anyhow, just a few weeks ago, it hit me.  Those little insole inserts should work perfect.  And they do!  I picked up several sets (they were like $1 each) and put them in all of my (three pairs) ballet flats.  NO more wet feet!  Don't you just love it?!?!?! 

These little lovely tips definitely work for me!  For other Works For Me Wednesday tips, visit We Are THAT Family

cleaning sweat stains, t-shirt stains, getting sweat stains out of shirts, underarm stains in shirts,

Sunday, November 13

Menu Plan Monday

It is starting to get COLD here.  The forecast for next week even calls for some snow and I am definitely ready for that.  I can't wait to get some new pictures of our little Peanut all bundled up in the snow.

 For this week~

Sunday-Cod fillets, sweet potatoes (might try these as Oven Fries?), steamed veggies

Monday-Baked potato bar with chili, broccoli, cheese, sour cream, green onions and lots of butter of course

Tuesday-Spaghetti with homemade sauce, steamed veggies

Wednesday-Chicken tortilla soup with sour cream and avocado

Thursday-Steak (with this marinade and mushroom cream sauce), sweet potatoes, steamed veggies



For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie

Saturday, November 12

Tried It & Loved It: Gingerbread Muffins

Another fine muffin recipe to add to our muffin rotation.  These just scream "Christmas" to me.  They are very similar in taste to my family favorite ginger snap cookies, so what a treat to have these little lovelies first thing in the morning.  I apologize, as I didn't get a picture, but Sara has a great little picture of these on her blog, Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

These are a real treat....I hope you get to try them out!

Gingerbread Muffins ~ slightly adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen

2 C white whole wheat flour (I used my soft white wheat)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 C brown sugar, packed (I used regular sugar because sucanat doesn't have the molasses stripped from it and with additional molasses in the recipe, I didn't know how it would taste)
1/4 C coconut oil, melted
1/2 C molasses
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with non stick spray or line with paper liners and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.  Set aside.

In a seperate bowl, mix together sugar, molasses, egg, vanilla and buttermilk.  Mix wet ingredients into dry and when almost completely mixed, pour in coconut oil and finish mixing to combine.

Fill muffin cups two thirds full and bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cool about 10 minutes prior to removing from pan. 

Slather with lots of butter and enjoy! 


Monday, November 7

Chili Cheese Dip

This isn't that kind of chili cheese dip.  You know the ooey gooey processed cheese (chemicals) and a can of chili dip.  But you know?   That other stuff is good.  No redeeming nutritional value whatsoever, but good.  This is all just to clarify that I have eaten junk (and liked it!) and lived to tell about it.  ;)

Anyhow, I set out to make a recipe the other night and realized I didn't have all the ingredients, so I just came up with my own version.  The verdict?  Amazing.

Like so amazing I would have ate it all for dinner and not left any for Hubs when he got home amazing.  But I was a good little wifey and I did leave some for Hubs.


Chili Cheese Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayo
2 cans (4 oz. each) diced green chilies
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs (see my tip here)
Diced jalapenos for topping, if you like the extra heat (Peanut and I don't, but Hubs does)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together softened cream cheese and mayo until well blended.  Add in chilies and Monterrey cheese and mix evenly.  Place in an oven proof bowl and top with bread crumbs.  Heat until warm and starting to bubble and bread crumbs are browned on top, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Top with additional jalapenos if desired.

Serve with veggies, chips, crackers or bread slices. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Designs By Gollum Foodie Friday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen
Hearth 'n Soul Recipe Swap at Premeditated Leftovers

Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday  

Menu Plan Monday

Better late than never right?  Life has thrown us an expected curve ball so I have been a little preoccupied with that these last few days.  I will share more details in the coming weeks as we figure things out.  So for this week we will be having:

Sunday-Salisbury steak, lemon parsley rice, green salad with chunky blue cheese dressing

Monday-Tortellini with butternut squash pasta sauce, green salad

Tuesday-Roast chicken, sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli


Thursday-Pork chops with aqua negra marinade, Spanish rice

Friday-Nachos with leftover chicken


For other great recipe ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie


Related Posts with Thumbnails