Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Savings

Keep an eye out for deals this Memorial day weekend. One store with exceptionally great deals is Ace Hardware. They offer many rebates, making several products free after the mail-in rebate! Don't forget to be thinking of Father's day gifts while you shop. Here's a breakdown of my trip today:

2 (3lb each) bags of plant fertilizer
2 jugs of Ortho home insect killer
1 bottle car wash solution
1 bottle tire shine
1 bottle wheel cleaner
2 cans Cutter insect repellent spray

Total spent in-store: $71.88
Total spent after rebates: $9.93

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Easy as pie crust.

I recently discovered my new favorite way to make a pie crust: my food processor! Not only did it take less than 2 minutes, it was perfect in texture and flavor! Here's how:
Add cubed butter or shortening to flour and salt

Give it a whirl til' pea-sized crumbles remain

Add cold water by the tablespoon til' the mixture is starting to stick together and is clammy.

Shape into a ball to roll or chill. That's it!

Easy Pie Crust Recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pump vs. Squeeze

I used to have a travel-sized squeeze bottle of hand-sanitizer in my car. It was great. (Or so I thought) I recently converted to a pump-style bottle and I have to say it's worth telling you all about! I know it sounds stupidly simple, but it is so much easier to use. When we all get in the car and need to clean our hands, I can quickly dispense it to everyone in the back seat with one press. No more shaking the bottle or sanitizer exploding out while you open it up. So if you've already reached that pinnacle of intelligence and have long ago discovered this, then I applaud you! Here's the link to my homemade hand-sanitizer recipe if you haven't already tried it. Once you convert, you shall never return!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Plant a pretty pot. (Say that 5 times!)

Do you ever get caught up in a moment of gardening zeal and find yourself at the landscaping store trying to select flowers for your pots? It's much harder than it looks isn't it? Here's a basic, no-fail design that works every time.
  • Choose a tall plant and place it in the back of your pot.
  • Use a brightly colored flower for the main color and plant it in the center.
  • Fill in with "neutral" plants that have simple flowers or are leafy.
  • Finish by planting a trailing plant off to one side.

* Try to incorporate different textures and tones or throw in a dark leafy plant for contrast. Have fun with it!

Popular plant choices:
Shade or part-shade: begonias, coleus, and impatiens.
Sun: geraniums, gerber daisies, vinca, and petunias.
Trailing plants: bacopa, licorice vine, sweet potato vine, and vinca vine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick Summer Dessert

One of my favorite summer treats is strawberry shortcake. (Especially now, when the strawberries are in season!) The next time you have a little free time, make a pound cake and stash it in the freezer. Now when you have unexpected company, just pull it out and serve fresh strawberries and whipped cream over the slices. It freezes remarkably well and works perfectly with summer fruits. Looking for something a little more gourmet? Toast the cake slices on the grill for a fun twist. A frozen homemade pound cake is always the ace in my pocket for a quick summertime dessert!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Golden Egg

Last week's golden egg hails from Goodwill. I snagged a cute brand new pair of Nine West sandals for $5! I got them for my mom, but alas, they didn't fit her. Now I'm faced with the terrible burden of wearing them myself. Oh the horror! Here are the little beauties:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mood Lifter

Spring is now in full swing and I don't know about all of you, but my schedule is getting more crowded by the day. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but sometimes the clutter in certain places of my house can start to overwhelm. The worst area for me is my desk. It turns into the island of misfits (you know what I mean if you're a Rudolph fan). For example right now, there's a vacuum cleaner attachment, a clean fork, matches, and sunscreen taking up residence on my desk. Anyway, the goal is to achieve a sense of peace when I sit down to my transformed oasis. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh what the heck, I'll do  before and after pictures! I'll have to post the "after" picture later today, so bear with me...
*This picture is sure to make you feel better about your house-keeping skills!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer Strawberries!

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with you-pick strawberries nearby, then you probably need recipes to help use them up. Here is a "recipe" of my favorite fruit salsa. I use the term recipe loosely, because it is not exact. It is however, extremely refreshing, healthy, and delicious!

Strawberry Salsa
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 Tablespoons of strawberry jam
2 kiwi fruits, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
zest of 1/2 a lime

Combine all and add more jam or lime to taste. Serve with cinnamon tortilla chips.

Cinnamon tortilla chips
Place flour tortillas on a sprayed cookie sheet. Spritz with water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400* till crisp. Break into bite sized pieces.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Clean that keyboard!

My computer keyboard has become horribly dusty. It haunts me every time I sit down to use it. Well, I've discovered a quick, easy, and free way to clean in between the keys: a paintbrush. Just grab a clean paintbrush and sweep away the dust. It worked perfectly! No more buying compressed air-in-a-can. I always thought it was morally wrong to have to purchase air!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fun Mother's Day Gift

These bottlecap magnets are a perfect gift for Mom! They add a personal, yet stylish touch to your fridge while managing to be entirely functional. Imagine that! I made some of my late grandparents at Christmas and slipped them into my mom and sister's stockings. (Yes, we still get stockings! No one should ever have to give up getting a stocking.)

What you need:
Bottlecaps (use twist-off ones so they don't bend)
Craft glue
Resin (you can find this at Michael's)
Small magnets (find them at Michael's)

Cut your picture into a small circle to fit inside the bottlecap.
Glue the picture to the inside of the cap and let dry.
Glue the magnet to the back of the cap and let dry.
Follow the mixing instructions for the resin and pour into the bottlecap til' almost flush with the edges.
Let the resin set for 24 hours.

Here's the finished product:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Foam Soap Recipe

I love the foam soaps that are widely available these days. No more sticky gooey soap! I've found a great "recipe" for your own homemade version. It literally takes less than 30 seconds to make! It costs just pennies to make and you can customize your own scents. The Castile soap is so much gentler on your skin too!

Here's all you need: Castile soap, essential oil, an old pump bottle

Step 1:
Add 1 Tablespoon Castile soap and a few drops of essential oil to bottle; fill up bottle with water.

Step 2:
Wait. There is no step 2. It's that easy!!

Luscious, foamy soap!