Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Please Nominate This Blog!

The Reader’s Choice awards are coming up and there is a new category, Grandparent Blog!  If you have enjoyed reading my blog would you please nominate me? You can do it by clicking here.

Read what Susan Adcox of About.com Grandparents wrote,
"The 2012 Reader's Choice Awards will celebrate worthy products, services and individuals in a variety of fields. This is the first year that that readers will have a chance to salute favorites in the field of grandparenting. Like most awards, the process has two phases. In the first phase, readers submit nominations in three categories. You can submit up to three nominations in each category, but only one nomination is required. After nominations close on Feb. 15, up to five nominees will be selected to advance to the voting round. In the second phase, readers will vote to determine which of the selected nominees should be the Reader's Choice Award winner in each category. Winners will be able to download a badge and a press release to let others know about their victory."


Thanks for considering me!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Make a Child Size Folding Table Easily

If you have kids around you need a table just their size for all kinds of reasons. But finding a good one at a good price is hard. Here’s one solution to try.
Why not purchase a plastic folding table, and cut the legs down to size? They fold up very flat and are very durable; kid tough! Clean up on these is a breeze. 
We used a four foot table like this. Notice the legs are straight. We needed to cut off nine inches to make the table the size we wanted, 20 inches high.
To cut them, my husband first used a pipe cutter like this. Cheap at Home Depot.
He didn't get them exactly even so he then used a roto zip tool

with a grinder attachment like this to grind them even. Then he replaced the leg plugs; those plastic tips.
Or you could replace them with these rubber tips. If you find you still have a little wobble due to uneven leg length, use these rubber tips and put some paper or cardboard in the tip for the short leg.

I love my kid height table; it fits in the space between my fridge and the wall perfectly, ready to use at a moments notice. I will admit though; I think with nine grand kids I should have used the six foot table! I found used kids chairs on Craigs list.
If you try this, just make sure the legs are ones with a shape that can be cut.
This round one would work great too.

 I don't think this one would work, unless you only wanted to shorten it an inch or two, so what would be the point?
This one would not work at all.

This one wouldn't work either.

This one would, but maybe only a few inches shorter.

I would love to hear about it if you use this idea!

I linked this post at Grandma's briefs.

*Join me in for my new link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Awww! Fresh and Clean

I had a few extra days without G kids around after Christmas. And I had a plan for that extra time too. I started by making a list of things that I want and like to do but never have the time for. I thought I would choose some things off that list for those extra free days. But, nope, that is not what I did at all! I decided what I wanted more than anything else was a really clean house! Kids can really dirty up a house; can I get an Amen?
top of the pantry

After I had put the Christmas decorations away I rearranged some of my d├ęcor items.
I freshened up my plants by sitting them in my bathtub and using my hand held shower sprayer, spraying them with lukewarm water to clean them and flush out built up minerals and salts from the pots.  

I cut off all the long draping branches and wound the rest in a circle, then secured them down with floral wire.

I topped off all my plant pots with new moss for a clean finished look.
Then I got down to some serious cleaning. I started with the bathrooms and first cleaned out the inside of all drawers and cabinets. I checked expiration dates on things, tossed them if needed and then added the item to my shopping list to purchase more.  Shelves were wiped down, drawers wiped out, things re-organized, and replaced. Then I moved on to the rest of the room going from top to bottom and left to right, making sure to clean everything; walls, ceiling, decorative items, nothing was left untouched. I washed the fabric shower curtains and replaced the plastic liners with new ones. Wow that felt good!
In my bedroom I had already started a deep cleaning a while back by cleaning and organizing my closet and dresser. I continued on with the night stand drawers and TV armoire. Then, top to bottom and left to right, all surfaces were wiped, brushed, or vacuumed as needed. I found a surprise behind the drapes and on the window sill.  Apparently, during rain showers, there has been a leak there undetected for a while. So, while the repairing won’t be fun, I’m glad I decided to clean when I did before the leaky window damage was greater.

Hmmm, I'm thinking it looks a little plain .... maybe I need to update in the bedroom too. No, not doing any throw pillows; throw pillows equal clutter for me. Any ideas for me? Needs to be kid friendly!
My husband put shelves in the play room closet for me and I organized the baby and kids equipment I store in there, and then I cleaned out all my kitchen drawers and cabinets. I ran out of time to finish the kitchen, but I am glad that I choose to spend my extra free time by cleaning! It’s amazing how much lighter you feel just by cleaning the house. I had been cringing every time I opened a kitchen drawer and saw the crumbs in there!
By the way, I always listen to an audio book while I work, it makes the time so much more rewarding. I place a portable cd player with headphones in a fanny pack or apron pocket that I wear while cleaning if I am not alone in the house or if I am moving around a lot. (I don’t have an iPod or MP3 player). I get my audio books at my local library in cd form. I don’t think I would clean for long at all if I couldn’t listen to a book at the same time. I have ‘read’ a lot of books like this! Sometimes I even look for more cleaning to do if I’m at a good place in the book and don’t want to stop listening. J

Monday, January 23, 2012

You know you are loved when……

Our 3 yr old granddaughter has been exploring the idea of how much one can love something, and referring to different sizes of objects as comparisons. She goes around looking at things and saying “I love my doll (or whatever) this much” compared to the size of the object she is referring to.
So, after a very successful potty experience, and after her proudly viewing the size of the contents, she looked up at me and said “Gramma, I love you that much!" How does one best respond to that? I thanked her of course. J

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Menu Planning by Shopping for Sales

There are many ways to save money at the grocery store, and one of the best ways is to purchase items you need at sale prices, not regular prices. I decide what our weekly menu will be by checking what is on sale. It’s a rule I made a long time ago, and it really helps with the food budget.

First, I look through the weekly sales flyers for the stores I shop at. With note paper and pen in hand I write down what meat is on sale that I might be interested in at each store. I choose 2 stores that have the best prices on things I want. Then I decide what I will make for dinner with the meats that are offered on sale, complete with sides to go with it. From there, I check the contents of my pantry, refrigerator and freezer to see what else I will need to complete my menu; I add to my list what I don’t already have.

After I make my shopping list, I look for coupons I want to use, then I clip it all together and keep it in my purse. I plan my grocery shopping trips along with other errands I need to make, saving time and gas. I always make sure to purchase extra meats and other things on sale that I know I will need later. For example, I know ham will be on sale around Christmas and Easter, so I try to get several during those times and freeze them. When packaged macaroni and cheese is on sale, I buy a lot because with all the little ones around, I always need fast food they will eat. I try to keep my freezer and pantry stocked with foods purchased on sale.

Last week’s menu was:
·         Pork shoulder, $1.77 per lb., roasted, that became Pozole’ Mexican stew with enough to send home a quart or two with my kids, then a couple of days later, left over roast became tacos and shredded for bbq sandwiches for lunches
·          Corned beef for $1.99 per lb., that was boiled with potatoes, carrots and cabbage, a couple days later, left over’s became corned beef hash
·         Chicken tenders $2.69 per lb., stir fried with veggies and rice.
·        Cooked Hamburger from my freezer for spaghetti with a salad.
That makes 6 dinners for us. There is usually enough left from each dinner for lunches the next day. I leave a night unaccounted for so we have room for an impromptu meal or going out if we want. I usually have something quick for back up if needed.
If you don’t receive a weekly store flyer through the mail or in your newspaper, look online to see the sales for the week at your favorite stores. You will appreciate the savings to your food budget when you do your menu planning from the sales flyers.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

3 2 1 CAKE

Below is a fun and easy recipe that was sent to me by forwarded email. I have reprinted it here as it arrived. I do not know where it originated from.  Send me a picture of your 3,2,1, Cake if you make it, and I will post it here along with your first name and where you are from. Please include the flavor and topping you chose. Enjoy!

 Photo courtesy of Claudia

*Update: Thank you Claudia in Fort Smith, AR, for the picture of your 3,2,1 Cake, it looks delicious! Claudia says it was so simple and easy. When removing the cake from container after baking (in her case a coffee mug), she waited just a few seconds with the cup upside down on a plate and the cake dropped right out.

This is perfect for those of us with just one or two in the house these days, and hate to make a huge cake,(cause I tend to eat it all). This way you can make 1,2,3, or as many as you need. These individual little cakes are amazing and ready to eat in one minute! They are perfect for whenever you feel like a treat without all the fat and calories that cake can have. Genius idea!

1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
1 box Cake Mix - Any Flavor

In a ziploc bag, combine the two cake mixes together and mix well. For each individual cake serving, take out 3 Tablespoons of the cake mix combination and mix it with 2 Tablespoons of water in a small microwave-safe container. Microwave on high for 1 minute, and you have your own instant individual little cake!

KEEP remaining cake mixture stored in the ziploc bag and use whenever you feel like a treat! You can top each cake with a dollop of fat free whipped topping and/or some fresh fruit.
Helpful Tips:
This recipe is called 3, 2, 1 Cake because all you need to remember is  "3 tablespoons mix, 2 tablespoons water, 1 minute in the microwave!" Always remember, that one of the cake mixes MUST be Angel Food. The other can be any flavor.  The Angel Food is the cake mix that has the eggs whites in it. So, if anyone is allergic to egg whites, you can NOT serve them this recipe.

Try various flavors of cake mix like carrot, red velvet, pineapple, lemon, orange, etc. Just remember that one of the mixes has to be the angel food mix; the other is your choice.  The flavor possibilities are endless!

I lined this post at GRAND Social at Grandma's Briefs.

**Join me for Wow Us Wednesdays link up party.**

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another New Year

Today is New Year’s day. I’m sitting on my back patio enjoying a beautiful Arizona afternoon. It’s really quiet! Not a grandkid in sight and the man of the house is out on an errand. The Christmas tree is down, decorations are put away, and I’m in the mood for a good deep cleaning of the whole house. I want to clear out things too; get organized again, simplify and start fresh.

That’s the way I always feel this time of the year. Resolutions for the new year? No, don’t make those any more. But I do take time to think about things I would like to see happen this coming year. I won’t do it all at one time but rather keep a note book handy and jot down ideas as they come to me. Then after a couple of weeks go by I’ll take a good look at my list, number the things written there from most important to me to the least. I’ll put them into categories aiming for a well rounded list; I will see if I am out of balance by having too many expectations in any one area.

My plans will be for my family: gathering my family closer and working on creating those strong family bonds. This will include my marriage of course, my relationship with my adult kids and their spouses, and the grandkids. My home: deep cleaning and decluttering, repairs, organization, decorating etc. My life: my health plans like exercising and eating right, my spiritual life, my social life and emotional life. I don’t forget that learning is a life long experience. I think about areas I fall short in and need to work on.

After organizing my plans in all these different areas, I think about how they all fit together and when I hope to accomplish each one. I break each one down into sizable, workable pieces, write them down and add them onto a calendar where necessary. I learned years ago at a sales seminar to “Plan your work, then work your plan” Well, that has worked well for me for many years. When I find I’m not on track or way behind getting ready for something, it’s usually because I didn’t ‘work my plan’. Of course life happens and I often have to change things. I try to build into my plan room for those changes and time spent doing things that just happen along the way. This planning is a mere visual guide, a map, not a contract that has to be followed to the letter.

As I look back over the year and flip through the notes I’ve made along the way, it’s amazing at what God has done in my family, home and life! I marvel at some things, shake my head at others wondering how we made it through. I smile at the note about the precious new little one that joined our family, and the other three first birthdays we celebrated. So much life lived, so much family to hold close and love, so much to be thankful for!

May God bless you all, and best wishes to you for a Happy New Year!