Friday, May 31, 2013

Cleaning up that, Ooh Crap, It Boiled Over

Cleaning a Stovetop with a Baked on Mess
What you will need.
Homemade All Purpose Cleaner  (recipe can be found here on the blog dated May, 2013).
Soap Wire Pad or Magic Eraser
Lysol Power and Free Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Clean Paper Towels or Clean Sponge
We've all had it happen at one time or the other. This happened when I was multi-tasking and had the wrong size burner covers. Ooh Crap. All the junk went under the covers and baked on. Can you say lovely?

Well, here's the fix. Yes, it will take time to clean it up, but not a lot of elbow grease.

Note: Do not use Wire Pads on smooth stovetops, I would use a Magic Eraser just because I love those things.

Step 1
Heat oven to 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or do this after you have cooked a meal and the stove is still warm. You may want to leave it on low to keep it warm.

Step 2
Spray stovetop with Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Step 3
Dash Baking Soda over the same area.

Step 4
Spray Baking Soda with Lysol Power & Free Mult-Purpose Cleaner. The Soda will begin to foam; like pictured above.

Step 5
Allow to sit 15 to 20 minutes to let the Soda do its job.

Step 6
Using a Wire Soap Pad, begin rubbing the surface.

Step 7
You can spray more Lysol or All Purpose Cleaner on stubborn areas. This will cause baking soda to foam back up.

Step 8
Wipe away residue with clean paper towel or sponge.

Don't get so excited about the easy fix that you forget to turn off the oven!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Explode in Your Mouth Chicken

Explode in Your Mouth Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts 
8 jalapeño peppers 
16 strips of bacon
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated Colby jack or cheddar cheese
1 cup BBQ sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Butterfly each breast (Slice all the way through so with each breast you have two slices). Slice jalapeños in half and deseed. Mix cheeses. Put 2 tbsp of cheese mixture on wide edge of chicken slice and 2 jalapeno slices and roll chicken. Bacon will hold it together, so don't worry if its popping open.

Wrap each breast with 2 slices of bacon. Wrap tightly and tuck the ends of the bacon under the strip itself.  Baste with BBQ sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Yields 8 breasts

The Best Greasy Cabinet Cleaning Method Ever in 3 Easy Steps

The Best Greasy Cabinet Cleaning Method Ever in 3 Easy Steps

You'll never buy anything else to clean your greasy cabinets. This is an easy and inexpensive method.

Step 1
First, using your dry magic sponge, rub down dry cabinets with Dawn dish detergent. Work left to right, top to bottom, to be sure not to miss a spot; its part of the method to the madness.

Step 2
When you're done with the first step, run your Magic Easer under hot water; hot as you can stand it. Squeeze your sponge until it foams. Don't squeeze out all the water, just enough that its not dripping. Now, go back to the first cabinet you started with and rub in a circular motion; applying some pressure. Continue wiping down cabinets in the same order in which you did step one. When sponge dries, wet again, and go to the next until all cabinets have been wiped down. This is the step where you will see the grease coming off the cabinets.

Step 3
Rinse all soapy residue off cabinet with clean hot water and Magic Eraser.

Very little elbow grease, few steps, inexpensive, and it works.

Clean Coffee Pot Stains Like Magic

Easy Coffee Pot Stain Remover

Clean Coffee Pot Stains Like Magic 

I can't tell you how much I've spent on special cleaners, or how long I've soaked and scrubbed coffee pots, over the years. Its maddening to think that it could be so simple. After I share this with you, you'll never have to buy that special coffee pot cleaner again.

Ready for this? A wet Magic Eraser simply wipes away coffee pot stains. Seriously - that simple. So simple and easy it makes me mad at myself for not coming up with this one sooner.

Get Rid of Lime Stains in 2 Easy Steps

Easy Lime Stain Removal
Use our recipe for homemade All Purpose Cleaner. So you don't have to search for it, here it is. 

 Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

1 cup of Dawn dish detergent
2 cups of white vinegar
Spray bottle

Using a funnel, pour dish detergent in spray bottle. Pour vinegar in microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes.

Pour warm vinegar into spray bottle and shake until mixed. Now its ready to use.

Step 1
Spray the surface with your homemade All Purpose Cleaner.

Step 2
Spray Lysol Power and Free Mult-Purpose Cleaner over the area you just sprayed with the other cleaner. Lime Stains magically disappear.

The chemical reaction between the vinegar in the one solution and the peroxide in the other, melt lime away. No, there aren't any nasty side effects from mixing these two. However, I'm not sure that mixing the two in one spray bottle would give you the same effect. If you try it, please let me know how it works over time.

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

 Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

1 cup of Dawn dish detergent
2 cups of white vinegar
Spray bottle

Using a funnel, pour dish detergent in spray bottle. Pour vinegar in microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes.

Pour warm vinegar into spray bottle and shake until mixed. Now its ready to use.

Great for greasy stoves, microwave messes, and sinks. Melts soap scum off shower walls and bathtubs. Just spray on surfaces and let set for a few minutes, then wipe away. Non-toxic, cheap and it works.  I keep a bottle in the bathroom and one in the kitchen, at all times.

No, solution does not have to be warm for it to work.

Make Your Own Dryer Sheets

Homemade Dryer Sheets

Save the environment and your wallet. Make your own dryer sheets. Take a wash cloth and saturate with your favorite liquid fabric softener. Allow to dry completely (I put mine outside to dry). Now, its ready to use. Good for about 50 loads. Save money and you from looking for new uses of old dryer sheets.

Untraditional Meat Empanadas

Meat Empanadas

1 lb. of ground beef
4 oz. of cream cheese
1 medium onion diced
1 large jalapenos deseeded and diced
1 small can of mushrooms (optional)
4 roll out pie crusts
1/2 tsp of minced garlic
Salt to taste

Brown ground beef, add garlic, onions and jalapenos to sautee. Drain grease and add cheese, stir until melted. Add salt.

Unroll pie crust onto greased bread pan (cut in forths). Place filling in center of one the pie crust pieces. Cover with the other pie crust and press together with fork.

Pop in the oven, cook at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cucumber dill Greek yogurt dip pairs well with this dish.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Address Planters

DIY Address Planters. Any buckets or flower pots with a smooth surface will work.  The dollar store has these cute bronze colored buckets and cracked paint flower pots. I placed the pots in the buckets so I can plant in them without the fear of the bottom rusting out. Using chalkboard paint and a stencil, I painted oval shapes on each bucket. I then, painted a house number on each. Once I plant a flower in each and stagger down the front porch steps, they will greet each visitor with a burst of color.

And to greet the night time visitor, I used glow in the dark paint over the numbers, so they will still be visible. Will have to work on a better photo but you get the idea.

How to Easily get Spray Paint off Your Skin & Nails

Easily remove paint from skin

How to Easily get Spray Paint off Your Skin & Nails

If you're a crafter or DIY person like me, you've probably had those moments where you wondered how you were going to get all that stuff off your skin. I can't tell you how many times, I've finished a project and noticed my nails and hands were the same shade of what I just created. Spray paint is the worst. So many times, I've scrubbed my hands raw after using spray paint. Nail polish remover, alcohol and nail brushes never complete the job. But, I've got a quick and easy trick that saves on the hands.

Trick? Take hand sanitizer and rub it all over your nails; paying special attention to the underside and cuticles. Rub it on your hands and any other areas that need to be cleaned. Next, wet a magic eraser with warm water, and use it to rub down those areas.

Pretty cool trick, huh?

Now, to be completely honest, I've never used this trick with nail polish on, so I don't know if it works them same.

Always keep these sponges on hand. They are so versatile that when all else fails, I pull one of these out and give it a try. Many times, it does the trick.

Easy Fondant Recipe

Mint Juleps 'n Muddin': How to make Fondant Recipe

Make your own fondant

Fondant Recipe
16 oz. mini marshmallows
2 lbs. powdered sugar (sifted)
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. corn syrup

Put marshmallows and water in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 min or until all marshmallows are puffed. Grease a spoon with shortening. You can now add color, flavoring and corn syrup to marshmallows and stir. Then, add in sugar a little at a time. When sugar no longer stirs into marshmallows, turn out on powdered sugar covered board and knead in rest of sugar. Store in Ziploc, squeezing out all air. Good for about 30 days, after that it becomes lumpy. Allow to cool before using on cakes. Costs about $4.00 to make. Huge savings over the cost of store bought and my family says it taste better.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Laidback Couponing

Many people don't coupon because of the time involved. Either they don't have the time to spend searching for and clipping coupons or they hate the bother. I have a simple way to save money using coupons. It still takes a little time but nothing like those you see on television.

Step 1:  When you remove your coupon inserts from your Sunday paper, take a marker and write that date on each set.

Step 2:  Put your coupons in an Accordion file folder under that Sunday's date. I date mine from the back of the folder to the front, that way the most recent sets are the first ones you see.

Step 3:  The day before you shop, you need to go to a site like Southersavers. There are many couponing sites available but this is one I prefer. Find the store you are going to shop at and look at their weekly ads. Laid out before you will be what's on sale and where to go to get available coupons. It even shows you how much you will pay for each item using certain coupons.

Step 4:  Each available coupon will start with M- Manufacturer Coupon or S- Store Coupon Behind each coupon will be SS- Smart Source or RP- Red Plum or PG- Proctor and Gamble or All You- for All You Magazine and the date these coupons were in your paper. Go to that date in your file folder and pull out the coupons filed there. If it says SS, look in the Smart Source set of coupons for that date.

Step 5:  There will also be coupons that can be printed from somewhere on the internet. These will have "PRINTABLE" listed behind the coupon listing. "PRINTABLE" in blue is a link to that coupon. You can click on the word "PRINTABLE" to go print that coupon. "ECOUPON" is a link to load a coupon to a shopper card or to your cell phone. I write the ecoupon item and amount on an index card.

Last:  Once you've clipped all your coupons, or while you're clipping, place them in an envelope in the order of the store; i.e. if produce is first in the store, then put any produce coupons toward the front of the envelope, and so on. Place index cards of ecoupons in order of store behind coupons. I also use index cards to write things I need that I don't have a coupon for and place it in the order of the store. This way you're not digging for coupons and are less likely to purchase on impulse.

The envelope system saves me time and money but drives serious couponers crazy because they don't have their entire binder to work from. You can figure out whatever works best for you. This is the quickest way I've come up with. Hope you find this helpful and it saves you so money.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Inexpensive Graduation Party With A Southern Theme

Menu on Chalkboard

Cabinet door chalkboard leaned against an old wooden ladder.

Use an old cabinet door, scrap piece of wood, an old shelf, or pretty much anything to paint with chalkboard paint.

Put those tents to good use by keep insects out of your food and off guests. Ask friends to borrow theirs, so you will have a few to set up. These are so affordable that most households own one.
 Just adding a little southern fun with some Duck Dynasty quotes.
Banner made at the local sign shop. Makes a great personalized touch that the graduate can keep for years to come.
Memory Wall made with plastic lattice bought at Home Depot and just leaned against a table or another wall. Framed photos of Graduate from birth to Graduation hung on wall with decorations.
Picture Frame Sign. Pick up a cheap frame from the dollar store and vinyl letters from Hobby Lobby or Michaels. I used a silver painted frame with black letters and aluminum foil as the background. This could also be done with a mirror. Place letters over mirror, spray paint any color you wish, and once dry - peel off the letters. Cheap, simple and elegant.
Claw foot tub used as cooler. Tarps are great to keep the sun out and about a 1/4 of a box of rock salt poured over the ice, makes the drinks icy cold.
Silver tray painted with Chalkboard paint and stood on gold colored easel. Used here on the table as a special message to the graduate but great for menus.
Corn Crate used to hold dinnerware.  Cute way to keep everything from blowing away in the wind.
Plastic-lined bushel basket used to hold food. Here its holding low country boil.

Easy Diploma Mints  Buy fondant from a craft store or use our recipe. Buy flavored oil (cinnamon, creme' de mint, etc.) Cut off 1/8 of a block of store bought or use about a cup of homemade fondant. Knead fondant until pliable, poke holes in it with a toothpick and pour a tsp. of oil in the holes. Knead in the oil (if it gets sticky, use powdered sugar to eliminate). Roll out fondant on a powdered sugared surface. Cut 1 1/2"  wide strips. Then cut those strips 2" long. Roll up & tie with a ribbon or color fondant and roll into strings then, wrap around scrolls. Allow 24 to 48 hours to dry.
So, as you can see, you don't have to spend a ton of money to make a party special.  Just look around at the things lying around your property and see if you can either use them as is or if they can be spruced up a bit. You'll be amazed at how special the guest of honor will feel by all your hard work; not how much you spend. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bow Tutorial for Flower Bouquet

Items Needed
  • Egg Crate
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Floral wire
  • Stick pin

Pin one end of the ribbon in the center of the closed crate. Wrap ribbon around crate 3 complete times. Pin down loose end.

Cut loose end of ribbon from spool. Place your index finger under all the ribbon layers, at the center, where pinned.  Pinch all layers of ribbon together with index finger and thumb. Continue to hold tightly, as you slide the layers ribbon from the egg crate.
Find the center of the circle and pin down like pictured.
 Cut off about 3 inches of floral wire. Place it under the center of the ribbon. Using index finger and thumb, pinch the center of ribbon together and pull out pin. Begin wrapping tightly with wire (it will gather and crease from the force). Wrap wire around, about 3 times, then twist both end of wire together; cutting off any excess. 
Cut off about 6 inches of ribbon. Tie it tightly around the floral wire. Flip the entire bow over. Now the wire should be covered, with a smooth vertical ribbon in the center. Starting with the loops on the left side, grab top loop and interior loop and pull the top loop to the right and the interior loop to the left; spreading the loops apart. You have to twist each loop a bit to get them to stay puffed out. Go to right side loops and do the same as you did with the left. Pull straight ribbons down to make streamers from bow.

Now you're ready to put the bow on your bouquet. You can either use floral wire or ribbon, (I used ribbon) strung through the back, under the knot of your ribbon that you used to tie around the center.
Simply wrap the wire or ribbon around bouquet and twist together or tie. This was for my niece's graduation, so I wanted to incorporate in both the school colors. I simply tied the other color ribbon to the front of the bouquet and allowed the ribbon to hang freely. 
Next, just to dress it up a bit, I added this graduation key chain. This was easily hung from one of the flower stems, just above the bow. The key chain had a cute saying packed with it and I wanted her to see it.  Using a hole punch, I made a hole in the paper and slid it on one of the ribbons and tied it into a knot so it wouldn't slide off. If you have an item that you want to use, but it can't be hung like above, you can always get out the hot glue gun or a safety pin. 
Takes a little time and effort but well worth it. 

Ideas to Make Your Trip to the Beach Fun & Carefree

With schools releasing for summer break, many folks will soon be heading to the beach. If you're like me, you worry about that beach bag while in the water. Many of us take our cell phones to the sand, along with cash, room cards or keys, and other valuables. You don't want to be left in the beach chair, watching over those things, while everyone else plays. Here's a few tips to make your day at the beach relaxing and worry free.

First, don't throw out that empty Pringles can. Dump the broken chips and wipe down the inside with a baby or cleaning wipe. Allow it to dry, then throw it in your beach bag for future use. Its great to conceal cell phones, room keys, money, etc. It also keeps them dry and free of sand.

If your family uses Crystal Light flavor pouches, don't throw out those containers. They are great as a sunglass holder, cigarette case, skim board wax holder, or to toss in that jewelry you forgot to take off, for holding sunscreen sticks and any other tiny objects you don't wanting lost in the bottom of your bag. The uses are endless. They are air tight when lid is secured and great for keeping water and sand out. Though, I wouldn't recommend throwing it in the water.

Keep a small container of baby powder in your beach bag. Sprinkle some over your sand covered family to soak up excess moisture and make the sand easy to brush off.


And my favorite beach tip  . . .  the MacWagon. This thing collapses and expands; great for traveling. Big rubber, large tread tires are great for pulling over the sand. Throw in the beach chairs, small cooler, umbrellas, beach bag, wake and skim boards and head to the beach. Its a little pricy but well worth the investment. Great for the kids' ball games, camping, working in the yard and for any event you have a lot to carry.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Homemade Insect Trap


With heavy duty scissors, cut the top off a 2 liter soda bottle.

       Make bait
  • Wasp - use raw meat.
  • Mosquitos - use 1 tsp. of yeast and 1/2 cup of sugar in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Flies - use 1/2 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water.
  • Most any flying insect - use 1 cup of a sugary soda.

Place bait into bottom half of bottle. Invert top and place in bottom half. We use black electrical tape to adhere the two pieces together due to some beliefs that the color black attracts insects.

Insects will go in and won't be able to get out.

A Solution for all Those Box Tops for Education

Are you like me and take the time to tear off all those Box Tops only to wonder where the crap to store them until the kiddies turn them in? I realized I had to come up with a solution when they were found in several different places in the kitchen.

Solution - A jelly jar in the front corner of one of my kitchen drawers.  Out of sight, together in one place, and easy to store.

Busy Mom's Memory Jar

Are you a busy mom that never seems to get the time to work on that baby book? Working full-time, going to little league, cooking dinner, cleaning and trying to be everything to everybody, some things are surely gonna fall through the cracks. Guilt stricken about my son's empty baby book, I came across this idea and quickly put it to use.

Use what you have around the house. Any jar will do; Mason jar, decorative jar from the dollar store or even an old spaghetti sauce jar. Paint (I used puff shirt paint and a tube of acrylic.) Paint Memories on the jar and what child the jar is for.

I left the jar on my kitchen counter and would grab any piece of paper lying around. Write the date and the memory on it. If this jar becomes too full, start another one.

My son will graduate next year and I intend to open the jar, as a family, and read each one.

Save Your Clothes With Color Bleed

We've all had it happen . . . that red sock snuck in with the whites and now your husband's tighty whities are a beautiful shade of Pink. I'll save your life with these tips and you'll keep the hubby happy, happy, happy.

How to save clothes with color bleed. First, do not dry the clothes that have bled. Wash them again in cold or warm water; do not use hot water. If this does not fix the problem, you can soak the clothing in either saltwater or vinegar.

Add a cup of salt to a half gallon of lukewarm water (Epsom or Table salt will work). When using vinegar, add a half cup to a half gallon of cold water. Let the clothes soak for at least 30 minutes, then rinse in cold water. I just use the washer for both methods to eliminate a huge mess; using a tea pitcher to measure the water.