February 28, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Week 2

How did ya'll do on your Week 1 of Spring cleaning?  Last week's Spring cleaning chart break down is HERE.  

Tackle the chores a bit at a time...like doing all closets on the list at one time, all ceiling fans on the list at one time, etc.  Break it up into doable lists. Go through and decide what you need to get done this week and divide it up into however many days this week you have time.  A lot of the items on the list are done on a regular basis on the Motivated Mom's Planner.  If you've been keeping up with that then you don't have to do as much. *wink*  Go HERE to order the planner.  It's only $8!

I have the entire five week Spring Cleaning Check-List over HERE for you to print out.

I'll go through the list and share ideas for this week's chores...
UPSTAIRS BATHROOM

declutter room

vacuum ceiling & corners -- Work from top to bottom

vacuum valances (wash if needed)

wash lights

wash window -- I use either the blue ammonia product or vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  I like to spray the window, wipe the window with crumpled up newspaper to loosen the dirt then wipe with a sheet of paper towel, then spray again and use a squeegee as a final non-streak step.  It really doesn't take as long as it seems and it has quite the nice result. (Don't forget to take the screens out and give them a good scrub.  You may have to wait for a really nice day to take them outside or if they are small enough they can bathe in the tub. )

wash walls  -- Use either a Magic Eraser or some baking soda/water paste on a dampened rag to wipe away difficult marks.  Be sure to follow after with a clean damp rag...both processes leave a residue.

wash rug & decorative towels

scrub tub -- Sprinkle the tub with baking soda.  Dampen a rag with vinegar and scrub the tub.  Inexpensive and not a chemical that can harm you!

vacuum floor edges & baseboards

scrub floor -- Use a rag, an old toothbrush, a bowl of steaming hot water, and some elbow grease.

DINING ROOM

declutter room  -- Use 3 trash bags to divide up clutter (trash, donate, keep) and work around the room clockwise from the door

clean lights

vacuum corners & ceiling  -- Work from top to bottom

dust greenery -- Put greenery in a paper sack with a handful of table salt.  Close up bag and shake well.  Take greenery out, shake off extra salt.  Voila!  Dust-free greenery!

wash windows

clean china cabinet -- Take pieces out carefully and hand wash if necessary.  Vacuum out the cabinet and dust shelves with a rag dampened with water (use a wood oil if necessary).

dust mantle, bakers rack & piano (or whatever pretties you have)

vacuum lamp shade

vacuum floor &  baseboards 

spot mop -- Use a damp warm rag. 

OFFICE & FOYER

declutter room -- Use 3 trash bags to divide up clutter (trash, donate, keep) and work around the room clockwise from the door

clean light &  ceiling fan  

vacuum corners & ceiling -- Work from top to bottom

vacuum valances (wash if necessary)

dust hutches &  desks

vacuum computer keyboards and the vents on the hard drive

wash windows -- see above

vacuum floor &  baseboards

wash walls -- see above
 

This post is part of Homestead Barn Hop at

February 27, 2011

February 26, 2011

Amazing!

The bar lotion that Kelly makes through the Old House Mercantile Annex program is wonderful!  I have an issue with eczema on my right hand.  It drives me crazy in the mornings mostly.  I wake up itching and scratching it and I try to find relief, but nothing seems to help.  Not even all the things the doctor has suggested.  Until now.  Kelly, sweetheart that she is, sent me a bar to sample.  I have been using this lotion bar before bed every night.  I rub it in and in the morning no itchies!  (It took a few days as the itchiness gradually wore off.)  It has been wonderful! 

The lotion bars are all natural --  made with organic coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax

If you have troubles with itchiness give Kelly's bar lotion or soap a try!  

All orders have FREE SHIPPING!










February 25, 2011

Pineapple Dump Cake

My hubby comes from a long line of good cooks!  I'm so blessed to know them!  This recipe was handed down by his Aunt Linda.  It makes me think of Spring!  It's super easy and yummy!  You're going to want to serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!  *wink*

Pineapple Dump Cake

2 c. white sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
20 oz. can crushed pineapple (un-drained)

Dump (hence the name!) all ingredients in a large bowl and mix.  Bake in a 9x13 greased pan at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes.  Ice while hot!!

Icing
Mix together the following:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 stick of butter, softened
2 t. lemon juice
2 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

February 24, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 7

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

Chapter 7 is "It's OK to Say No:  Managing Our Time as Homemakers".  Lynn, the author, starts with:

"What I have really decided is we all want more time than we have, and there are a couple of ways for us to cope with the realization it ain't gonna happen:
1. Schedule yourself ever more stringently, cutting people off midsentence because their three minutes are up.
2. Accept the fact that you can't do everything."

I vote for the second option. *wink*  This week's topic is something that I've written about before. Time Management is a big to-do lately. With all sorts of things pulling at us, wanting to use up our time from all directions, we sometimes want to stop time and just take a break. Can I get an Amen?!  Meetings, sporting events, work, chores, school "stuff", church gatherings; it's a lot.  Don't even get me started on all the gadgets: internet, computer games, Facebook, smart phone this and that.  All that technology vying for our time is enough to make me want to go Amish.  Although, our Amish neighbors' kids have cell phones and Gameboys so I guess it's not all the tech-free.  What I'm saying is this: We need to find balance!  We need to carve it out or no one else will.   We need to decide what's "important" and a "need" versus what's "fun" and a "want".  We find that out through prayer and meditation, and reading God's Word.  I'm not expecting the Lord Almighty to send me a stone tablet (although it'd be nice some days!), but just the action of starting your day with Him will help lead you down the right path of your day's actions.

I can't emphasize enough how important good time management skills are.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; two of the biggest tools in my life are Amy Andrews' "Tell Your Time" ebook and the Motivated Moms Planner.  Amy's ebook is a great tool to learn how to prioritize your time.  Now I'm not saying my life is perfect.  I have days where I let the kiddos sleep in and we're in our jammies eating breakfast at 10 am.  (We still get all of our school work done for that day, but a bit later in the day.)  We have to be flexible.  I'm saying that you need to get your ducks in a row and this is a wonderful way to learn out how!  Even if you think you have your ducks in a row...a refresher course might be up your alley right about now.

 On Sale Now!  $12  $9  Promo code: 9BUCKS
 



Once you've got your time mapped out you need to get a handle on chores and to-do's.  No matter how lax you are in life you have a to-do list.  Whether it be in your head or on a piece of paper, having it typed up and ready in one go-to place in your home puts you a step ahead in your day.  Motivated Moms Planner is a download printable with each week or day of the year to a page.  You can choose from half sheet or 8 1/2 x 11 size.  With scripture or with out.  A page per day or a page per week.  You have a lot of options and for only $8 it's quite the benefit.  There are samples of each kind.  I have gotten a lot of personal comments and e-mails regarding how much this planner has been a help in many a mother's life.  It so simple and it works so well! 

$8






Go take a peek at those ebooks and let me know what you think!  At under $20 combined I don't think you can afford NOT to read these and implement them in your life.  Drink water only for a couple days instead of buying a latte.  *wink*

February 23, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday

How are ya'll doing?  I'm not losing much weight but I'm hanging in there and chugging along with our goals.  You can read more about it and catch up on all previous posts HERE.

This week I thought I'd chat a bit about eating healthier.  When we hear the words "eat healthier" we think of salads, and tofu...at least I do.  I thought today I'd share a healthier version of a recipe our family loves.  I switched out a few things and they love it!   Give it a try!

Healthy Parmesan Crusted Chicken

12 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt  (instead of the mayo)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I'm cheap so I used Kraft from the can -- got it nearly free with sale and coupons!)
4 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 T Italian herbs
1 T basil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Crumbs:  (I left out the butter crackers and just sprinkled the following ingredients.)
3 T Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt

The goal to cooking the chicken right is to have them the same size. You will want to cut each chicken breast into at least 3 separate equal sized pieces. Cut them on a slant not in three chunks...you want it to look pretty! :)

Place the chicken in 2 -- 9x13 baking dishes. In a bowl combine yogurt, parm. cheese, roma tomatoes, Italian herbs, basil, and cayenne pepper. Spread the mixture over the top of the chicken.

Mix the crumb ingredients and sprinkle over the chicken. Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven and bake for 25-35 minutes until cooked through.

February 22, 2011

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Eggs

After all our years of raising chickens and using their eggs in the kitchen I stumbled upon this little nugget of wisdom!




Crack the egg on a flat surface (not the rim of a bowl) to crack the shell easier and reduce the amount of shells that fall in the bowl.  

Who'da thunk?

February 21, 2011

To Market, To Market Giveaway Winner!


The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is number #21,  "Shutterbug Elaine" come on down and claim your prize!  Actually just e-mail me at carmen (at) christian (dot) net with your name and mailing address! Thanks to all who entered and shared what you might like to see at the Mercantile!  I'm working on finishing that ebook to be released by the end of this month! 

Keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway posting in the next few days!

Spring!

Next month is what we've all been waiting for!  The month that we can finally say the "S" word.  No, not Snow...the good "S" word!  SPRING!   Now, don't get all "It sure doesn't look like Spring" on me.  It will be Spring in 28 more days!  At least on the calendar, anyway.  I know...I'm an odd sort.  At least we can say that Spring is right around the corner, right?  Punxutawney Phil didn't see his shadow so we get an early Spring!  Never mind the fact that it was too stinkin' snowy for him to see it.  Hey, I'll take what I can get!

There's a light at the end of the tunnel!  We can almost smell it!  Remember what it smells like?  Bliss!  The green grass, the fresh dirt to dig our hands into, the flowers!  Then there are the sounds.  The sounds; birds chirping, animals scattering about, lawn equipment breaking out of their winter homes.  You can almost hear the buds popping out of the barren tree limbs.  Oh and don't get me started on the sights of Spring!  The baby animals, the bulbs popping from the earth, the small light green buds peaking their way through the brown branches, the greener than green grass.  O.K. so I got started on the sights.  You know you wanted me to.  *wink*

With Spring comes all of the fun activities.  Going to the parks for picnics, long walks down lonely country roads, bike rides, playing outside, and just soaking all the yummy sunny goodness that we've been missing all winter long.


Since we've been cooped up all winter long along comes the "C" word.  *whispering*  "Cleaning"...as in "Spring Cleaning".  It's not as bad as it could be.  Really.  Before all those fun aforementioned sights, sounds, smells, and activities start beckoning you from your home we need to get a heads-up on the cleaning.  It's not that bad.  Really.  I'll hold your hand along the way. 

Staring today I will get you started on the easiest Spring cleaning ever.  Just do what I say every week and everything will be alright.  Pinky promise!  *wink*

Below you'll find my Spring Cleaning Check-List.   Each page is a week of spring cleaning chores.  In five weeks, by the end of March, you'll have your house sparkly clean and ready for Spring!  If you are using the Motivated Moms planner (post on it HERE and purchase it affordably HERE) you may skip over some of the items on the check-list since you're doing those items regularly on the list anyway.

Spring Cleaning Check-List

Each week on Monday I'll post my list on the blog and give you some tips and how-to's.  Are you ready?  Let's get started!  Go to the post below for Week 1.



This post is part of Homestead Barn Hop at


Spring Cleaning: Week 1

I know, I know, you looked at that list and thought "How in the world am I going to get all that done in one week?", didn't you?   That's what I thought, too.  Just imagine how nice it will be to have the bedrooms and hallway clean by the end of the week?  It'll feel really good!  Just do a bit at a time...like doing all closets on the list at one time, all ceiling fans on the list at one time, etc.  Break it up into doable lists. Go through and decide what you need to get done this week and divide it up into however many days this week you have time.  A lot of the items on the list are done on a regular basis on the Motivated Mom's Planner.  If you've been keeping up with that then you don't have to do as much. *wink*  Go HERE to order the planner.  It's only $8!

I have the entire five week Spring Cleaning Check-List over HERE for you to print out.

I'll go through the list and share ideas for this week's chores...


MASTER BEDROOM

 declutter room & closets -- use 3 trash bags to divide up clutter (trash, donate, keep) and work around the room clockwise from the door

 clean ceiling fan  -- if your ceiling fan is really dusty then you may want to use the hose from your vacuum to suck off  excess dust before you use a damp rag (I save old towels and dish rags as they get unsightly from the kitchen and bathrooms cut them up to usable sizes)

 wash bedding/turn mattress -- air dry your quilts and mattress covers outside if it's a nice day

 vacuum corners/ceiling (closet) -- work from top to bottom

 vacuum valances

 clean off and dust furniture

 vacuum under bed and furniture, baseboards

 
vacuum lamp shades
  
 wash windows -- I use either the blue ammonia product or vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  I like to spray the window, wipe the window with crumpled up newspaper to loosen the dirt then wipe with a sheet of paper towel, then spray again and use a squeegee as a final non-streak step.  It really doesn't take as long as it seems and it has quite the nice result.

    vacuum floor 

  wash marks from walls -- You can use either a Magic Eraser or some baking soda/water paste on a dampened rag to wipe away difficult marks.  Be sure to follow after with a clean damp rag...both processes leave a residue.
GIRL'S & BOY'S BEDROOM
(Make a separate list for each room for checking-off purposes if you like.)

 declutter room & closets

 clean ceiling fan

 wash bedding/ turn mattress

 vacuum corners/ceiling (closet)

 vacuum valances

 clean off and dust furniture

 vacuum under bed and furniture, baseboards

 vacuum lamp shades

 wash windows

 vacuum floor

 wash marks from walls

UPSTAIRS HALLWAY

 vacuum ceiling and corners

  wash lights and walls (Be careful not to clean the lightbulbs when they are hot.  Not only is it dangerous, but the coolness of the rag may blow the bulb.  Not that I would know from experience or anything. a-hem)

 dust pictures  -- I usually just use the soft brush attachment on the vacuum or a feather duster. If the glass is really bad I might use a paper towel dampened with window cleaner.

 vacuum hampers, baseboards

 vacuum floor and landing


Think of how clean and nice these rooms will look and feel when you're done!  You'll be a fifth of the way done with finishing your Spring Cleaning! 

February 20, 2011

Orientation

Hi there!  *me waving*  I know so many of you are new and I wanted to fill you in a bit on what's going on over here at Old House Kitchen.  First off, we are celebrating our one year "blogaversary".  Or is it "blogoversary"? With an "a" or and "o".  Oh well... Anywho...there are giveaways sprinkled throughout the month and recipes, etc.  It's one big party!   Be sure to enter the current giveaway HERE!  It ends tonight at midnight!

Over at the right hand column you can search for a recipe, find some popular recipes and a topical index.  You can also find a button link to my shop, Old House Mercantile.  There are sales galore and always FREE SHIPPING! 


Over on the left hand column you can view my profile, click on the envelope to send me a question or a comment, and become a follower or a Facebook fan (or both...please and thank you!). 

You'll also find some buttons for very inexpensive and highly effective time management tools. The posts about Motivated Mom's HERE and Tell Your Time HERE.  You can order Motivated Moms  HERE and Tell Your Time HERE (use promo code 9BUCKS for a special price of $9)


See the Gooseberry Patch ribbon?  Click on that to read my interview over at Gooseberry Patch. You can click on "BigOven" recipe system to order, but first read my tutorial HERE.  There's also an Amazon carousel listing some of my favorite cookbooks.  (I'd like to add that any time you want to order something from Amazon, if you would click to Amazon through one of my links and start shopping, I would appreciate it!  Every little click helps...that's how I've been able to give some items away this month!)


There's a button for Raising Homemakers where I am a contributing writer.  Bargains to Bounty is a wonderful site that lists store deals and coupons.  I go there first before I make my shopping lists!  I also have a few of my favorite kitchen links...like my dear friend, Karla, over at The Culinary Enthusiast.



There you have it!  A brief tour of the Old House Kitchen!  I hope you like what you see and visit the links!

February 19, 2011

Bonus!

Ya'll are spoiled today!  Not only did I post a frosting recipe, but you can find me over HERE at Raising Homemakers with Grandma's Banana Cream Pie recipe!

photo credit: crumblycookie.net

Frosting!

My girls have a wonderful Sunday School teacher, Miss. Carol (she's married, but that's what my kiddos call her).  She's a retired lady with many talents.  She quilts, paints, sews, and is a whizz in the kitchen!  My girls love going to her house and working in her studio alongside her.  The creations they bring home are so precious; quilted pillows, little purses, stuffed critters.  Miss. Carol even celebrates the kiddos' birthdays in her Sunday School class.  One of the girls brought home the left over cupcakes from her birthday celebration.  They were homemade with a delicious frosting. I had thought for sure they came from a bakery but the girls insisted Miss. Carol made them at home.  We had friends over yesterday for an after-Valentine's Day party. (We're cheap frugal and bought goodies after the holiday at clearance prices!)  So I made cupcakes (from a mix) and Miss. Carol's homemade frosting.  Everyone enjoyed the cupcakes.  We had some left over from lunch so we had them with dinner.  Hubby knows I'm not a great cake/cupcake decorator (one thing I wish I could really do!) so he was really surprised when I told him I made them.  A few of the kids even asked (again) "you made those, mom?"..."for real?".  I think it was the awesome frosting!  I'll share the recipe with ya'll today!



Frosting

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter 
2 t. vanilla flavoring
2 pounds Confectioners sugar
milk


Beat the first three ingredients well then slowly add the sugar.  I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  Add a little bit of milk at a time.  Just enough until it's to the right consistency.  Sorry it's not specific, but some things in the kitchen you just need to eyeball!  The secret to fluffy bakery-like frosting is to beat it enough so you don't have a grainy texture.  This recipe was more than enough to frost 24 cupcakes with the fancy decorator tip.

February 18, 2011

Creamy Chicken -n- Noodle Casserole Revised

I posted the original recipe HERE, but I've tweaked it over the last year or so to be a bit healthier and budget conscious. 

Creamy Chicken -n- Noodle Casserole

16 oz. egg noodles (cooked)
1 can cream of chicken soup (or use my homemade version HERE, just cut the recipe in half)
3/4 can of milk (I'm into dirtying as few dishes as possible! -- just use the can from the cream of chicken soup to measure...or about 1 cup will do fine)
1/4 c. butter
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded colby-jack cheese
1 can of cooked chunk chicken (or 1/2 - 1 lb. cooked, chopped chicken -- depends on your preference)

Cook the egg noodles. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan.  Stir until the mixture is nice and creamy. Stir in the chicken and combine with the noodles.

Notes: You can put this in a baking dish and add cracker crumbles or crumbled chips as a topping and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Or you can skip that step and just add the noodles to the bowl and serve from there. *whisper* That's what I do. They don't care about the fancy-schmancy presentation. But don't tell them there's an option. *wink*

Or...you can make this mid-afternoon and then put it in a crock pot on warm to keep it warm. This is such a versatile dish! Oh so many options!

Also there are no leftovers with this meal. If I make a double batch then there might be a little bit for lunch the next day but the more I make the more they eat. I guess it's a good problem to have, eh?

February 17, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 5

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

Since Valentine's Day was last week we switched chapters around a bit so last week was chapter 6 and this week we're on chapter 5:  "Celebrating Creativity in Small Snatches".

Sometimes I get frustrated that I'm so busy with this and that that I don't have time to finish the creative activities that I start.  I have a tote full of them; projects meant as gifts, clothing that needs patches, embroidery started but never finished.  I have to remember that I have other things more important that require my attention.  Sometimes, though, I need a little creative outlet.  Carving out time for little creative things has to be done...well, creatively.  Stitching while watching a movie with the family, making a card while listening to a book on my mp3 player, working on the blog while the kiddos are in bed, embroidery while chatting with hubby.  I have to enjoy the small-scale creativity.
As writer Valerie Schultz expresses in her essay "Reckless Abandon", "Jump into the life-medium of the moment, whether it's oatmeal or beach sand or Dr. Seuss' rhymes or the soup you're making for dinner.  Schultz, a mother of four, says, "You will have no greater manifestation of the creative urge than your child ... Give your all, freely, wholeheartedly, and unconditionally.  You will get it all back.  Your child will grow up confident of your love.  Your child will be so secure that his or her gradual but oh-so-quick independence will shock you.  And again there will be time for essays or stories or pitchers or pots, all of them bursting with fresh insight and raw creative power."
As much as I love being in my craft closet and creating something I try to remind myself that cooking and cleaning, folding laundry, baking a cake are the most important creative endeavors in my life.  I'm nourishing my family.

Here are a few creative ideas for nourishing your family:

*Grab a sketch pad and draw with your children.  Color a picture in a coloring book with your toddler helping beside you.

*Take pictures of the every day things in life that your family enjoys. 

*Finish half-done projects that are taking up space in your closet. Like patching those knees in your son's jeans, hemming your daughter's skirt, or finishing Christmas gifts (you'll be ahead for this year!). 

*Start a blog to record your family's happenings.  (Blogger.com is free and easy to start!) It can be kept private if you like and you can even turn your blog posts into a printed album!

*Learn a craft along with your children.  There are a lot of videos on youtube.com that you can learn from!

*Read a story to your kids dramatically.  Our kiddos love this and you'd be surprised how "creative" you feel when you're reading aloud with funny voices and all!

*Try a new recipe with your kids helping along. (Use the search option at the right hand column to find something on OHK that peaks your interest.)

- - -

"He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what god has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God."  
Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

February 16, 2011

To Market, To Market Giveaway!

Are ya'll having fun so far with all the fun things happening at Old House Kitchen?  I am, too!  How about another giveaway?!

Over at Old House Mercantile we have all sorts of lovelies for your tummy, your kitchen and your home.  We've sold a few of these shopping totes and thought you might like to win one for yourself!  Made by Kelly in Minnesota as part of our Old House Annex program (see bottom note) these shopping totes are designed after the singlet style plastic shopping bags the stores provide. Measures 22 1/4" from handles to bottom, and 14 1/2" across the widest part of the bottom of the bag. Two-inch gussets in each side give this bag nice expanding room. A French seam along the bottom is a highlight of this super-strong, reusable bag. Two full gallons of milk can easily be hauled in this bag with no worries of it breaking on you. Great for toting groceries, holding in-progress stitching projects, or for use as a library tote. Also great to "wrap" a gift you may be giving...bless someone special with two gifts in one! Machine wash and dry.

Also in this giveaway are two other Old House Mercantile products:  a tube of peppermint lip balm and a peppermint lotion bar.  Everything you need to stay soft and protected from the winter weather while shopping at the market.


Contest starts NOW (Feb. 16) and 
ends at 12:00 (midnight) (EST) Feb. 20. 

Since the last giveaway was so much fun I'm going to spice it up a bit...

Here's the scoop:

Leave separate comments, please!  
If all entries are in one comment it will only count for one entry.  Sorry, I'm a busy momma!  *wink*

Please remember to make your name distinctive (like "Carmen from Northern Indiana") 
Leave a comment with an item that you'd like to see at the Mercantile 
(take a peek HERE)
*
Leave a comment telling me if you are a Facebook fan
*
Leave a comment if you are a Follower
*
Leave a comment if you linked to this on Facebook
*
Leave a comment if you linked to this giveaway on your blog (include the link, please)



(Each entry receives an ordinal number.  A number is chosen by the number generator at Random.org.)

- - -

NOTE:
Are you interested in the Old House Annex program would like to sell your handmade wares on Old House Mercantile e-mail me for details!

Weight Loss Wednesday

So far in our weight loss chats I've given you tips on portion control, water intake, not snacking after dinner, and moving more while eating less.  How have you all been doing?  Have you noticed a difference in your energy?  I have!  I have been getting more done around the house. 

This week I want to touch on something that may be bit sensitive to some, but how much time do you spend sitting watching TV or sitting at the computer?  I read an article recently that discussed a link between computer addiction to depression.  I also recently read that watching more than two hours of television a week is not good for brain health.  Ouch!  I did not want to hear all that!  Think about it, though.  How many homes have televisions in the living room, family room, kitchen and each bedroom?  It's unhealthy to fall asleep while watching television (read it in another study), besides if the television's on there's not much time for nurturing your relationship with your spouse.  Did you know that when sitting watching the television your brain actually slows down?  Think of all the things you could accomplish around the house instead of vegging out in front of the television or at the computer (reading, playing games, etc.)?  You could get that mountain of laundry tackled, the kitchen tidied up, a craft accomplished, a mile of in-home walking done!  Try monitoring your family's vegging time as well.  Do fun activities together like playing games (non-computer games!), reading books, making fun healthy snacks, and exercise! 

So let's recap.  Portion control.  Water (8 - 8 oz. glasses a day).  NO after dinner snacks.  Move more...eat less.  Less TV/computer time.

February 15, 2011

Sugar Cookies

This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe!  At Christmastime we make cut out sugar cookies using a packaged mix.  It takes a bit of the stress out of the event.  But when I want real sugar cookies full of homemade goodness I go to this recipe! 



Sugar Cookies

2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter (room temp.)
1 egg
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 T. milk (room temp.)

Sift together flour, soda and salt.  Set aside.  Cream together butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla.  Add egg.  Mix until fluffy.  Stir in dry ingredients until smooth.  Blend in milk.

Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheets.  Flatten with bottom of glass which has been dipped in sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool and if you desire frost with frosting and any sugars or sprinkles you like.   Frosting recipe forthcoming!

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Enjoy this fun day!  

Love on your family! 
Go HERE for a few ideas how!

Hugs from the Old House Kitchen!


photo credit: craftyavenue.com

February 12, 2011

Have you Visited the Mercantile?

New items are added to the Mercantile regularly.  Just today we added a more Scarves, Coasters, and adorable  Shopping Totes!  

We also have some wonderful SALES as well! 


All Dishcloths are 1/2 OFF!


Receive a free Hand Lotion sample with every Soap Bar purchase!

Don't forget Old House Mercantile always has FREE SHIPPING!


We've also added a new selection, Old Fashioned Soap Balls!  


Want to try a bar of our Handmade Soaps, but not sure which scent to try?  Try our Old Fashioned Soap Ball assortment!  Made in the Old House Annex these soap balls are packaged in assortments of 6 different scents.  Soap balls are perfect for use at bathroom and kitchen sinks.

All soaps are 100% vegetable based, created using high quality food grade olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, vegetable shortening, sodium hydroxide and water.  Scent is added using essential oils, not fragrance oils. This is a wonderfully moisturizing soap with a great lather, perfect for hands, face and body. Perfect for sensitive skin.  Soaps are fully cured and ready to be put to use.

Gooseberry Patch Giveaway Winner!


The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is number #1,  "LyndaLoo from Texoma" come on down and claim your prize!  Actually just e-mail me at carmen (at) christian (dot) net with your name and mailing address! Thanks to all who entered and shared your favorite Old House Kitchen recipe!

Keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway posting in the next few days!

February 11, 2011

Facebook Fun!

If you aren't a fan of Old House Kitchen on Facebook, you are missing out!  I have posted to several sites lately with fun crafts.  I'll share a few of them here, but don't miss all the fun!  Hop on over and "like" Old House Kitchen! 

Martha has some great ideas like this sign card  HERE.

Positively Splendid has instructions for this lovely diaper box canvas bin over HERE.

But don't miss out!  Go HERE to get in on all the Facebook action!  From surveys to quotes and recipe tips, to crafts and sales deals you're not going to want to miss out!
 

 

Food, Inc. -- Review and Thoughts

My mom and I watched Food, Inc. last night.  I had heard about the movie and other people's opinions.  It's different when you see it for yourself.  The viewer is taken on a tour through Tyson and Purdue owned farms (more like warehouses) as well as an organic farm.  The difference is astonishing.  Sadly, the organic farm is questioned regularly by the government and yet the warehouse farms are the norm.  There are several interviews with farmers, law makers, inspectors, etc.  The most shocking statistic that I heard (and I can't find it online to quote verbatim) was in the 1970's  over 50,000 (I think?) food inspections took place and in 2006 (?) about 9,000 (again not sure on the numbers but it was an astonishing drop).   Another point the movie touches on is how cheap it is to eat low-nutrition foods and how expensive it is to eat healthy foods.  While we're not the healthiest family on the planet, I'd like to share with you what our family does to eat healthy and what our future plans are.



Part of the reason why we have our own chickens is for good, fresh eggs.  We have a dairy goat so we can milk her in the spring after she has her babies (hopefully more than one...I'd like two more does).  We'll use that milk to drink, make cheese, yogurt, and soap.  I'm not sure we'll have enough with one goat for all those endeavors.  I hope some day we can have two to milk....even more!  We have a large garden to help reduce what produce (in the summer, anyway) we have to buy from the store.  I try to cook from scratch as much as I can.  Some days are better than others.  We drink a lot of water from our reverse osmosis system (living on farm land, you never know what's in the water).  We don't eat out much.  It's not only a wasteful practice for our family, it's not very healthy.  I think our family has come a long way from where it was a few years ago; prior to chickens, goats and large gardens.

However we have so far to go.  We are thinking on expanding our chicken flock to have more to butcher, and also to build a chicken tractor so they can eat more bugs and grass and less feed (which is mostly corn).  We are seeking out a grass fed beef farm to buy half or quarter of a cow.  We hope to have our own hog to raise some day. (After the littlest ones are old enough to understand that his name will be something more along the lines of "Pork Chop" or "Bacon" instead of "Wilbur" or "Babe" and when they can grip the fact that he won't be a permanent guest.)  We hope to purchase more local items from farmers markets.  Not just any farmer, but ones who don't use pesticides.  I know it will cost a bit more than going to W*lmart and buying a tomato ripened with ethylene gas, but our family's health is worth it.  (Yes, I buy those so-called "vine ripened" ones in the winter...blech!)  We plan to buy local honey.  I hear it helps a lot with allergies.  Again, more expensive, but if it helps with the many allergies we have issues with in the spring and fall and our family can be less dependent on medicine, then it's worth it to!

In what ways are you living a more healthy lifestyle? One of the quotes that I love best at the end of the film is when they are interviewing a farmer and he says "If you want to buy $2 milk, you're gonna get a feedlot in the backyard.  It's that simple. People have got to start demanding good, wholesome food of us.  And we'll deliver.  I promise you."  

How will you start demanding more wholesome food?  It's a question I'm asking myself.

February 10, 2011

Queen of the Castle -- "Valentine's Day"

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

Since Valentine's Day is next Monday we're going to switch chapters around a bit so this week chapter 6; "Valentine's Day".  Next week we'll do chapter 5. 

In this chapter Lynn, the author, shares with us a few stories and a list of fun things to do with your family on Valentine's Day.  I'll share a few of Lynn's and some of my own ideas that I'll be doing for my family.

Sneak into their rooms in the dark of night and leave a bag of treats by their beds.

Tint the breakfast oatmeal pink (oatmeal recipe HERE) and throw in a few cinnamon candies.  Serve with strawberry yogurt smoothies! (homemade yogurt recipe HERE)

Write a greeting to your hubby on the coffee filter.  (We don't drink coffee, but I'll be leaving him a little love note in his lunchbox. Don't tell him, though. K?)

Make an all-red dinner: spaghetti or pizza (we order pizza on Valentine's Day -- I don't cook on V-Day!), strawberries, cherry cinnamon applesauce (recipe HERE), fruit punch.

Make Valentine cupcakes!  White cake mix, frosted in white with red and pink sprinkles on top is what I'll be making!

Give your hubby a back massage as you watch a movie together.  Better yet, watch your wedding video or look through your wedding album!

Make your children Valentine Coupon Books.  For each child cut two sheets of construction paper (light pink, or white, or whatever light color will work) into quarters.  Stack them together and staple at one side.  Write "Valentine Coupon Book for _____" (fill in the blank) on the cover.  (Use a red marker!)  On each page write down a fun treat or activity for them.  Examples are:  drink chocolate milk with dinner,  stay up 30 minutes past bedtime,  play a game with mommy,  day off from school (that only works if you're a homeschooler, I think the schools would frown upon little Bobby trying to redeem such a coupon *wink*),  plan and make (or help make--depending on age) dinner,  pick the movie night selection,  etc.  You get the idea.  They love it!  I did this a couple years ago and my kiddos are asking for it this year!   (You could do this for hubby, too, if you like.  Although I think you may want to change it up a bit. *smile*)

Lynn reminds us that we need to give ourselves this little valentine...
"For enduring all the family's winter colds and science-fair projects, you deserve a valentine yourself.  Repeat after me:
*I am doing an important job by loving and serving my family.
*I am demonstrating to my family what love is.
*The service I am providing my family is priceless.
*I am helping my family members know they are precious.

Taking care of our families can be exhausting work (I don't have to tell you that).  But I believe God will bless our efforts in ways we can't even imagine.  By devoting our energies to our families, we are giving them a gift of love and security beyond measure."

Let's remember the following verse for our husbands, our families, and each other.

"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  1 Corinthians 13:4-7


February 9, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday

How are ya'll doing on portion control, water intake, and not snacking after dinner?  Me?  Well...this weekend was a birthday celebration after celebration for our little guy and I just can't resist cake!  Can you?  No? I thought not.  Then of course there was that blasted football game that just begs for munchies, and not healthy ones, either.  *sigh* My scale isn't talking to me again because I forgot to invite her to the birthday party.  Oh well...tomorrow is another day!  I did keep up on my water intake (how could you not with a cute cup in hand?!) and portion control...well...let's just say the portions did the controlling. 

Good news! I got all of my blood work results back and I'm not going to die any time soon. Praise the Lord!  So I think I've procrastinated enough. I am going to start exercising. *gasp*  I know.  I didn't think I heard myself correctly, either.  But I keep reading that if you eat less and move more you'll do yourself a world of good so I think I'm going to give it a try. I have a Leslie Sanson "Walk the Walk" inspirational dvd that I've used before and it's pretty easy on a gal who hates exercise.  I plan to walk one mile, four days each week for starters.  There's a two mile program that I may throw in here and there for variety.  I love to go for walks on our country road, but if I have to bundle up like that little guy on "A Christmas Story" then forget it!  I'll wait until Spring.  "Oh Spring?!  Where are you?!"  How many more days until Spring?

So let's recap.  Portion control.  Water (8 - 8 oz. glasses a day).  NO after dinner snacks.  Move more...eat less.  Got it?  Who's with me on this?  Ferris? ...  Anyone? ...  Ferris?

February 8, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Giveaway!

The kind folks at Gooseberry Patch heard of our blogoversary and were kind enough to send over a cookbook to give away to you lovely readers!  Aren't they sweet?!


  Let's make your chances of winning even greater shall we?  


Here's the scoop:

Leave separate comments, please!  If all entries are in one comment it will only count for one entry.  Sorry, I'm a busy momma!  *wink*

Please remember to make your name distinctive (like "Carmen from Northern Indiana")

Leave a comment with your favorite recipe here on Old House Kitchen
 *
Leave a comment telling me if you are a Facebook fan
*
Leave a comment if you are a Follower
*
Leave a comment if you linked to this on Facebook
*
Leave a comment if you linked to this giveaway on your blog (include the link, please)


Contest starts NOW (Feb. 8) and 
ends at 12:00 (midnight) (EST) Feb. 11.
 
(Each entry receives an ordinal number.  A number is chosen by the number generator at Random.org.) 


Rub a Dub Dub Giveaway Winner!

The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is number #13,  "Andrea in Colorado" come on down and claim your prize!  Actually just e-mail me at carmen (at) christian (dot) net with your name and mailing address! Thanks to all who entered and let us know what you like from Old House Mercantile.

Keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway posting later today!  

Gooey Bars

This recipe needs no explanation!  The name says it all!  Yummy gooey goodness!


Gooey Bars
1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, softened
1 lb. box powdered sugar
1 8 oz. block cream cheese
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Mix cake mix, egg, and butter and press in a 9x13 pan.  Beat together powdered sugar, cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla and pour over the crust.  Bake 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Enjoy!

February 7, 2011

Fabulous Five!

This little guy is five today.  


He melts my heart. 


 Happy Birthday Elijah!

February 6, 2011

To Live Without

The youth group at our church is participating in the 30 Hour Famine to send funds to Bible college students at FATEAC; an Alliance College on the Ivory Coast.  They have seen food prices triple in recent weeks due to civil strife and political unrest. That would be like paying $23.99 for a can of coffee, $9.99 for a loaf of bread, and $14.99 for a gallon of milk. They are having a difficult time getting supplies.  Most of us in America are so blessed to be able eat wonderful, wholesome foods, drink clean water, and enjoy other luxuries we feel we "need", and to be able to access those items whenever we wish.

Our family has decided to only purchase the bare necessities this week like toilet paper, diapers, some fresh fruit, etc. What is left of our weekly grocery budget of $150 will go to our youth groups collection. Our goal is $100. Will you join with our family and live on what you can to get by with this week so that you can give to an organization that helps those less fortunate?

Better yet, would you consider sending funds to help the FATEAC students and faculty?  Contact the Christian and Missionary Alliance website (HERE) to send a donation.



February 5, 2011

"Queen of the Castle" Winner!


The winning comment number, drawn by random.org, is comment number #15, Langela. "Langela in snowbound Iowa" come on down and claim your prize!  Actually just e-mail me at carmen (at) christian (dot) net with your name and mailing address!

Thanks, everyone, for entering!  Please be sure to register for THIS drawing that ends Monday!

February 4, 2011

Rub a Dub Dub...A Giveaway!

Over at Old House Mercantile we have all sorts of lovelies for your tummy, your kitchen and your home.  We love these handmade soaps!  Made by Kelly in Minnesota as part of our Old House Annex program (see bottom note) these soaps are wonderful for sensitive skin.

My mom (I often refer to her as "Nana") has sensitive skin.  She only uses Kelly's soaps.  All other bar soaps sting her skin.  Nana's favorite is Lemon Poppyseed, but she assures me that she'll be trying other varieties and will probably find new favorites!  If you want to forgo the add-ins (like only the best essential oils and herbs that Kelly uses!) then give the "Buck Nekkid" soap a try!  Buck Nekkid is just that...void of essential oils and add-ins.  Plus it doesn't hurt that it has a cutesy name!  *wink*

We are giving away an Old House Mercantile bundle!  
One bar of Lemon-Lime Strawberry Seed Soap and a beautiful Granny Square Wash Cloth!



Contest starts NOW (Feb. 4) and 
ends at 12:00 (midnight) (EST) Feb. 7. 

To make things simple just hop on over and peruse Old House Mercantile (HERE).  Come back and comment with your favorite item from the Mercantile and your name
(something distinctive like "Carmen with 7 kiddos from Northern Indiana").  

(Of course I would be grateful if you shared this giveaway with a friend or even blogged about it!)

(Each entry receives an ordinal number.  A number is chosen by the number generator at Random.org.)

- - -

NOTE:
Are you interested in the Old House Annex program would like to sell your handmade wares on Old House Mercantile e-mail me for details!

February 3, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 4

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker  HERE (in April).

This week's chapter is "Delighting in the King:  Building Healthy Spiritual Habits".  This week Lynn, the author, shares a struggle with us.  I'm sure we can all relate.  We want to be as close to the Lord as possible.  We need to remember to stay grounded by reading the Word and seeking Him.  Without the Lord we'll stumble along, following our own ways.  God doesn't want us to live that way.

Lynn shares how we can get closer to Him.  Draw near to the One who loves us more than we could ever possibly know.  We need to have time reading the Bible.  Lynn quotes Joanna Weaver "The rougher the day, the more time I need to spend with my Savior.".  Even if it's just a few minutes it can make a big difference.  I know we all have had a struggle from one time to another to find time to read the Bible each and every day.  I try to read mine first thing in the morning when hubby is out the door to school and the kiddos aren't up yet.  My quiet time is small, though, because it's only a matter of minutes until little feet tip toe down the stairs and then it's on to breakfast, schooling, and computer work.

I've realized that I'm not going to be able to read the entire Bible in a year.  It's an impossible goal for me and instead I choose to pick a goal that's more attainable; reading the New Testament in two years.  It's good to have a goal!  I think quality is much more important that quantity in this situation. Lynne shares "We can drink in God's Word, even when it's only a verse or two at a time.  It may seem like an inconsequential choice.  But if we repeat that choice over and over, day after day, our lives will be transformed."  Amen!

I've found a great Bible study website that e-mails me a few Bible studies a week.  I can either do all of them or pick one for the week and work on it as I go.  I don't have to turn it in to anyone or have any profound words to share with anyone if I don't want to.  It works perfectly for my stage in life right now.  If you are interested go visit  biblestudyplanet.com to choose the format you like.

- - -

"Thy words were found, and I ate them, and thy words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart."
Jeremiah 15:16
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