Saturday, July 31, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Chicken Chili Cheese Cups

These dynamite little chicken and cheese quiches are a true kid favorite. Mild green chilies add a southwestern flavor without any of the heat. The pre-made phyllo cups, found in the grocery freezer section, add a slightly fancy touch.

2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked chicken, finely diced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack
30 mini phyllo shells

Heat the oven to 350º. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, toss together the chicken, chilies, cilantro, and cheese.

Place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon of chicken filling into each shell, then add about 1 teaspoon of the egg mixture. Let the shells sit for about a minute so the egg can settle to the bottom. Then add about another teaspoon of egg to each shell, filling it close to the top.

Bake the cups until the custard is set, about 15 minutes. After the cups have cooled, freeze them for up to 2 weeks. To serve, simply reheat them in a 350º oven until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 30 quiches.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fun Idea Friday! Another 10 Great Ideas for Great Summer Get-Togethers

A few weeks ago I listed 10 great ideas for great summer get-togethers that I found in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, June 2010 issue. Here is a continuation from #11-#20 of that list :) Even more to come later!

11. A few extras can turn your basic backyard setup into summer party central. You probably already have a table, chairs, and umbrella. Now add melamine dishes in a fun pattern, stackable chairs to seat a crowd, and lanterns and citronella torches to light the night. Set a color palette to guide your purchases, but don't be afraid to go bolder and brighter than you would indoors. Summer gives license to play.

12. Use cloth napkins in dark patterns. Indian block prints are nice--if they get stained with barbecue sauce, you won't notice as much.

13. Raid your shed for a garden theme buffet. Use a tiered plant stand for glasses and plates, cachepots for utensils, and large plant saucers to serve burgers, sandwiches, chips, etc. Make sure they're all thoroughly clean or, even better, new.

14. Short on shade? Buy a 10' x 10' pop-up canopy. Hang sheer curtain panels at the corners and tie them back with ribbon. It's an outdoor eating pavilion for under $200.

15. Serve drinks in short Mason jars. That way, if bugs are a problem, you can screw on the lid between sips.

16. To keep pasta or potato salads cool for up to two hours, fill the largest of a set of nesting mixing bowls with ice, then nestle in a smaller bowl full of salad.

17. Sending party invites by e-mail saves times, money, and paper. Upgrade the experience with's sophisticated photos and extensive customization options. You e-invite can even play music.

18. Be ready for grill time anytime: Soak a big bath of bamboo skewers in water for an hour or so, drain, and freeze them in a plastic bag. When it's time to grill, pull out as many as you need.

19. Dress up store-bought frozen treats with cute drip catchers: Cut a small slit in the bottom of a cupcake liner and pull the stick through.

20. Grill burgers in advance, then regrill them quickly before serving. This way, you don't stress about making sure they're properly cooked when a hundred hungry hands are reaching for them.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things to Do with the Kids Thursday! Puzzlepiece Necklace Craft

Puzzle Piece Photo Necklace Craft

This craft is reprinted courtesy of

It’s no puzzle that moms deserve lots of love! Bring a smile to Mom’s face with this Pieces of Me Necklace, so she can wear your smiling face the whole day through!


Aleene’s® Crystal Clear Tacky Spray™
Hole punch – 1/16”
¼” Ribbon – organdy
Card stock – pink
Wood skewer
Paper – coordinating pink print
3 Beads – medium size – aqua
Puzzle Pieces


Cut two strips of pink cardstock about 3”x 6”. Lay one piece on spray area with the right side down. Layer this piece on top of the remaining piece. Lay the puzzle pieces on the pink cardstock pieces, then trace and cut out.

Using the same puzzle pieces, trace onto the back of the printed-paper and cut out. Cut a ½” strip out of center area on both pieces. Refer to photo. Spray the back of each piece with Aleene’s® Crystal Clear Tacky Spray™ and attach to the corresponding area of the pink puzzle pieces. TIP: It is helpful to use a skewer to hold down the small pieces when spraying so they won’t move with the force of the spray.

Punch holes on each side in the protruding areas.

Cut the faces from your photos to fit the puzzle pieces. Spray the back of each one with Tacky Spray™ and place in the center of the puzzle pieces.

Cut a piece of ribbon and trim one of the ends into a long sharp point and thread one of the beads to the center of the ribbon. Place each end of the ribbon through the holes on one side of each puzzle piece and tie a knot at each end to secure. Trim excess ribbon.

Cut 2 pieces of ribbon about 15” long. Thread one end of ribbon through a bead and then through the outer hole on one of the puzzle pieces. Tie in place as before and tie another knot just past the bead to keep it in place. Repeat process for the other side. Tie the ribbon ends together to the length desired.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Kick off your shoes and run?

Who doesn't like a good run every now and then. Some more now than then, but to find the time myself...impossible. I will tell you that I feel so awesome after a good run though :) I found this new "Trend Alert" article in the June 2010 issue of Woman's Day magazine.

Kick off your shoes and run?

The Buzz: Running barefoot around your neighborhood or a local track may seem kind of crazy. But the au naturel trend is gaining momentum among some serious runners who think it's better for your joints and leg than wearing cushioned sneakers. After all, we went barefoot for millions of years before shoes were invented.

The Reality: A recent study found that when most people wear running shoes, they heel-strike, meaning that with each step the heel pounds into the ground. But barefoot runners tend to land with a lighter step toward the front of the foot. Is one way better? "Some people hell-strike without injury, and shoes protect them from stepping on glass and other debris," says lead study author Daniel Lieberman, PhD. "However, others develop problems such as shin splints that could be due to heel-striking."

Bottom Line: Most runners (and walkers) will be more comfortable in shoes, but if you've had shin splints or plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and want to run barefoot, start slowly. Do it for 5 to 10 minutes a week and gradually increase the amount of time you spend without shoes over at least 3 months.

*For barefoot runners, the beach, park or even the pavement is fair game*

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tips Tuesday! How to Make Lipstick Last

I am not a huge makeup person, but I do enjoy a good nude color accenting my lips on a special occasion. How do you make it last though? I found this article in Allure magazine, June 2010 telling you just how :)

Go For Sheen: Many "long-wearing" lipsticks are matte and can dry out your lips. I prefer to use a satin-finish, pearlescent lipstick such as Chanel's new Rouge Coco Lip Colours. Because the shine is created by pearl pigments and not by the texture, it's not as moist as a creamy lipstick and will therefore stay on longer.

Be Strong: Go for a bright or dark shade; they tend to last longer than soft ones because they have more pigment.

Prep Your Lips: Lipsticks holds up best on a smooth surface, so gently buff your lips with a damp washcloth. Pat on a clear lip balm and give it a few minutes to sink in, then blot with a tissue.

Pencil It In: Lip pencil adds a layer of pigment and helps your color last. Choose one that matches your lipstick--unless it's very dark, in which case go one shade lighter. Lightly trace the pencil along the inside edge of your lips, then fill in your mouth and blot.

Swipe It On: Don't use a brush--you'll get richer color if you apply your lipstick straight from the tube. Blot the first coat with a tissue, then add another layer.

Finish With Powder: Women think powdering their lips will dry them out, but you don't need much. Close you moth, smile, and then dust a little face powder on your lips with a fluffy brush. don't reapply lipstick, or it could get cakey.

*Extra Tip: Lipstick lasts longer on an even surface, so gently exfoliate lips first.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Money Saving Monday! Find Savings in the Bedroom

For me, keeping a beautiful house is a never ending project. Having a degree in Interior Design, I constantly have thoughts going through my head about what needs to be redesigned or just slightly updated. That is on top of the fact that I have 6 kids and have to work very hard to just keep the house tidy, clean...basically in some sort of order. Sometimes my thoughts in design come so quickly that they end up a jumbled mess in my head and I have to try to sort them all out, separate them...categorize if you will. That is why it is so refreshing to just come across articles in magazines that put it all together for me so I can put my thoughts on the back burner just for a moment and breathe...

Here is a piece of an article I found in allyou magazine, June 18, 2010 issue.

Find savings all around the house: Save money in the bedroom

Redecorate for less. You don't have to spring for new furniture to give this room a makeover. Just update the rooms centerpiece: the bed. Pick up a comforter or duvet cover, matching sheets and pillow shams that you find on sale.

Spruce up bedroom windows. From time to time, department stores such as JCPenney and Sear's heavily discount curtains and blinds (up to 80 percent off). Make friends with an employee and ask when a clearance sale will be taking place.

Love you linens. Buy better sheets without paying a lot. Watch for semiannual bedding blowouts to get deep discounts at retailers--many hold a Memorial Day sale., and similar sites are the best online sources for high-quality sheets (and other items such as comforters, towels and curtains) at low prices; check them regularly.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Smart Idea Sunday! Ideas for Helping your Home.

I found this nice little article in Woman's World magazine, Feb 15, 2010 issue.

Smart ideas for Your home!

1. Touch up furniture scratches!
Head to the kitchen the next time you need to fix unsightly marks on your wood tables or chairs. Steep 2 Tbs. ground coffee in 1/2 cup boiling water for 5 minutes; cool. Dip a soft cloth into the liquid and rub into the nicks. The tannins in the coffee act as a dye to darken scratches so they blend in.

2. Revive a plant!
If the soil in your pot has completely dried out, submerge the plant in a pail of water until no more bubbles come to the surface. Drain well, then put back on the saucer. Your plant will perk right up.

3. Clean your toilet with this!
Mouthwash fights germs in your mouth, so why not in the rest of the bathroom? Pour 1/4 cup alcohol-based mouthwash (the cheap, generic kind) into your toilet and let sit for a half-hour. Swish around with a brush, then flush. It will sanitize and deodorize the bowl.

4. Unstick a screw!
If a screw and nut have rusted into place, soak a soft cloth with cola and wrap around the rusty pair. Leave on for a couple of hours. The phosphoric acid in the cola will eat away the rust so they'll come apart easily.

5. Fast way to find missing stuff!
If you've dropped a contact lens or delicate earring on the carpet, you know how hard it can be to locate. Easy solution: Cover the end of a vacuum hose attachment with a cut-off piece of pantyhose and secure with a few rubber bands. Hold the hose about an inch above the carpet and run it over the area. The suction will pull up the missing item, but the nylon won't let it go into the tube.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday...Apple Bites

Found this cute recipe on

These toothsome treats are fun and healthy!

Slivered almonds

Just quarter and core an apple, cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter, then press slivered almonds in place for teeth.

Tips: If you're not going to serve them right away, baste the apples with orange juice to keep them from browning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Feel Good Friday! Fill Your Home with Good Fortune

It's "Feel Good Friday!" I know everyone out there is always trying to find a good way to feel better about themselves. Let's face it, we all have those days where we wish for success, romance, a good mind...and sometimes all at once!!

I found this article: Fill your home with good fortune, in the Feb 15, 2010 issue of Woman's World Magazine. You can turn your home into a magnet for prosperity, health, and love by following these simple feng shui secrets! See if it helps you in your achievements :)

Achieve success with flowers: According to feng shui, flowers boost your chances of getting what you want--even a photo or poster of blooms can bring you opportunities.

Make things go your way with oranges: Displaying a big bowl of oranges creates luck and harmony. Bonus: Just a whiff of citrus has been proven to reverse fatigue.

Find romance with shades of pink: According to feng shui experts, soft pinks encourage unconditional love. If you mate doesn't like pink, even a small touch--a vase, pillow, or lampshade--will have the desired effect.

Reach your goals with glass: Glass, crystals and shiny objects magnify light around the room and help positive energy circulate properly, amping up you motivation! Tip: Put objects in front of a window or on a shiny surface to multiply the effect.

Tap your hidden potential with pebbles: Rocks, a symbol of the Earth, keep us in sync with the environment so our intellect is open to ideas and strategies than can help us realize our dreams.

Bring on riches with purple: Associated with wealth and royalty, purple should be used in areas typically connected with abundance, such as the kitchen and dining room.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Things to Do with the Kids Thursday! Flower Power

Looking for something to do with the kids as the week winds down? I came across an article in the May 2010 issue of Parenting magazine that may help you out :)

Flower Power: 7 ways to let the good times grow (and grow and grow)

Stick 'em up-Paint a bunch of Popsicle sticks green with your child, then glue them to colorful paper muffin liners to make flowers. Glue them to heavy paper and have him draw in grass, sun, and clouds.

Forget birthstones-Look up your child's birth-month flower on What does your child have in common with her special bloom? If she was born in April, is she friendly and open like a daisy?

Be sunny. Sunflowers are great for little ones to plant because the seeds are big and easy to manipulate--and the results are so dramatic. Plus, they pop up fast! Visit for more tips.

Strike a (flower) pose-Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together. Grab your ankles, then lean back gently and lift your feet so that you're balancing on your bum. See who can hold it the longest!

Plant the bucket-Dig out a cheap plastic bucket for your child to decorate. Fill it with about two inches of packing peanuts for drainage and top with potting mix. Help your child transplant a few small annuals.

Spread the joy-Flowers make people happy. Let him pick some from your yard or at the store, then decide who will get them. Have your kid do the giving so he can experience the satisfaction of cheering someone up.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Don't Forget your Drink!

I really liked finding this article since sometimes I am so busy, I forget to eat and drink. I is that possible?! With 6 kids, I would have to install a drive through window for a quick sip or bite because I never slow down! But I have to also take into consideration what are the right beverages when it comes to replenishing..which beverages keep the weight off?

July 23, 2010 issue AllYou Magazine

It's essential to track your liquid caloric intake because studies show that people don't eat less to compensate for calories they drink.

First Place! Water, Seltzer-These zero-calorie sippers provide plenty of hydration. If you don't like them straight up, add a wedge of citrus fruit.

Second Place! Tea, Coffee, and Skim Milk-Tea and coffee both offer antioxidants and caffeine (which can be healthy in moderation). Skim milk is loaded with calcium.

Third Place! 100 Percent Fruit Juice-Yes, they do contain vitamins and minerals but also lots of calories, and juices don't provide the fiber that whole fruit does.

Last Place! Soda-With no health value but plenty of calories, some nutritionists call soda pop a "liquid candy." Diet soda is better but still on the negative side of the ledger.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tips Tuesday! More Ways to Clean House

During the summer season, we go through our entire houses for items to sell, donate or even toss.

I found this tip strip in the June 18, 2010 issue of AllYou magazine. If selling, tossing or donating doesn't appeal, check out these other options:

Regift It-Remove the tags from your unused items, wrap them in new packaging and give them to a friend. Make sure you keep track of who has given you which presents so they don't end up in the same hands.

Create a Family Heirloom-So what if that necklace cost $2 at a flea market? If it was special to you at one point, pass it on to a daughter, niece or granddaughter. You could start a tradition.

Swap it Online-Trade clothes and cosmetics with other woman at, books at, gift cards at, CDs at and DVDs at

Get Crafty-Glue magnets to old brooches to jazz up the fridge, or turn mouse pads into trivets for hot pots. Do a Google search to find ideas for new ways to use your object.

Fix It-If you're discarding something because it no longer works, why not give it a second chance? Get an estimate at a fix-it shop, or check out the how-to videos at and

Throw a Swap Party-Round up your unwanted items and invite friends over for a "Goodbye, clutter" gathering. Rummage through one another's goods while munching on snacks and listening to music.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Money Saving Monday! Cut Costs this Season

I love coming across ways to save money. Everyone who knows me knows that I spend my days looking out for all the bargains! Found these passages on how to cut costs this season in the June 18, 2010 issue of AllYou magazine.

Pour the remains of your morning coffee pot into ice-cube trays. Whenever you want iced coffee (a great summer drink), the cubes keep it cold and strong, just like at the specialty coffee shops--only free!

Take advantage of free community offerings, like movies in the park and the library's summer reading program for kids. And some movie theaters show family flicks at discounted prices.

Instead of running your dryer in the summer, hang you whites out in the sun. The scent of a line-dried sheet is heavenly.

Save on electricity by cooking dinner on the barbecue three to five days a week. Throw together a salad or grill veggies for variety.

Use your slow cooker to make big meals--including enough for leftovers--without heating up your kitchen. That helps cut down on your air conditioning costs.

When the weather gets reasonable, start running outside. That means you can stop your gym membership, saving a lot of money!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Sunday! Summer things to do...

Found these ideas of things to do in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, June 2010 issue.

Breathe in the romance of the season's most fragrant flowers. Then exhale....Watch the spin of a colorful pinwheel, spend a lazy day at the beach, and bring your camera. Moments like these should last forever.

Things to do this month:

1. Go for a spin...It's nice outside! Lose the Wii under a sofa cushion for one night and make your own family fun. Need inspiration? The book Make These Toys by Heather Swain offers 101 creations crafted from everyday objects such as pinwheels..a delightfully simple combo of colorful paper, wind corks, pushpins and chopsticks.

2. Holey Holidays! Homer Simpson has this one right: Mmmm...doughnuts! They're the summer's hot dessert (you'll even find em' at restaurants). Here's a sweet way to end a meal: Build a sundae with a cake doughnut topped with ice cream.

3. Alfresco Flicks! On June 6, 1933, a creative New Jerseyan strung a bed sheet between two trees, and the drive-in theater was born. Find your own movie magic at

4. Check out this Tweet! A walk among the warblers is just one of the outdoor activities you can explore as part of the National Wildlife Federation's Green Hour initiative. Discover plenty more ways to go a little wild (and unplug for an hour each day) at

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday...Cold Salmon Spread

Cold Salmon Spread

I got this recipe from Sample this creamy spread, served with crackers, fresh cut vegetables, and toasted French bread.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 pound red salmon steak, 1 inch thick
1 tablespoon chicken stock
1/2 pound smoked salmon, diced
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the shallots and carrot. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring once.

Rinse the salmon steak, cut it in half lengthwise, and place the pieces atop the vegetables. Drizzle with the chicken stock. Cover the skillet and resume cooking for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Then remove the skin and bones from the fish.

Blend the fish and vegetables in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process until the smoked salmon is finely chopped but not smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until a few minutes before serving time. Makes 3 cups.

Friday, July 16, 2010

FYI Friday...Get More Nutrition Out of Every Bite!

I found this nice little FYI article in the July 23, 2010 issue of AllYou Magazine.

Finding health payoffs in the foods you eat is important. Check out these 6 smart substitutions.

Eat this: Dark Chocolate
Not that: Milk Chocolate

Why? Dark chocolate has more than double the heart-healthy antioxidants of milk chocolate, thanks to its greater cocoa concentration. Look for bars that are composed of at least 60 percent cocoa.

Eat this: Raw Spinach Leaves
Not that: Iceberg Lettuce

Why? Both are sources of potassium, but spinach delivers more calcium and a punch of folate and beta-carotene.

Eat this: Homemade old-fashioned rolled oats
Not that: Instant oatmeal

Why? You'll skip added sodium and sugar --and feel fuller longer because it takes more time for your body to break down the less processed oats.

Eat this: Brown or wild rice
Not that: White rice

Why? Brown rice retains more nutrients because it has the healthy bran that white rice lacks. Wild rice is actually not a rice, it's a long-grain marsh grass. It has fewer calories than brown rice and is more nutritious.

Eat this: A sweet potato
Not that: A baked potato

Why? Baking potatoes are higher in iron; sweet potatoes have more calcium but are rich in beta-carotene.

Drink this: White Tea
Not that: Black or Green Tea

Why? You get more antioxidants from white tea.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things to Make Thursday...Platform Flip Flops

Got this neat idea from

Platform Flip Flops

No more boring footwear for you! Make custom flip flops to wear all summer long.
You need:

Three pairs of flip flops in the small size and style (at least two colors)
18" of coordinating trim
Low Temp Glue Gun

Remove the straps and toe part from two pairs of flip flops by cutting them and poking through. Discard these parts. You only need the soles. Using a generous amount of cement glue, line up and glue two soles to the bottom of the third sole.

Glue trim across the strap.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What to do Wednesday? Have a (Paint) Ball!

Found this neat little article in one of the June issues of Parenting magazine.

7 ways to encourage your mini-Monet

Eat your finger paint: For the tiniest artist, add a few drops of food coloring to plain or vanilla yogurt, dump it on her high-chair tray, and let her smear her way to a masterpiece that's finger-lickin' good.

Roll with it: Who needs paintbrushes when you have toy cars? Pour some paint into a disposable aluminum pan, then show your kid how to roll the car through the paint and drive it onto the paper for a cool design.

Pull a Demi Moore: Have you kids put on their swimsuits, head to the backyard, and cover themselves in body paint. You can make your own by mixing powdered tempera paint with baby shampoo.

Meet Matisse: Cuddle up with any of the Mini Masters books by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, with paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, Cassatt, and more. Our fav? A Magical Day with Matisse. (Birth to 4)

Chalk it up: Turn sidewalk chalk art into watercolor creations: Just dip the chalk in water before drawing, or spray water onto your driveway to create a wet "canvas." The H2O gives the chalk a painterly feel.

Redecorate: Older kids can scour garage sales for a chair that needs some love. Clean it with soap and water. When it's dry, sand it down with sandpaper. Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth and start painting!

Make a mural: Got a blank wall in the basement? Let your kids have it! And when they get bored, you can just paint over it and start again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday! How Having Kids is like Being a Wall Street Tycoon

Found this top ten list in Parenting magazine.

How Having Kids is like Being a Wall Street Tycoon

1. Your gross domestic product rises evidenced by the daily pailful of dirty diapers.

2. You have weekly board meetings...what's family night without Scrabble or Monopoly?

3. You're the subject of a hostile takeover...really, why should you be able to have a full night's sleep without a toddler showing up to hog your pillow and steal the blankets?

4. You're sentenced to several years in a maximum-security facility...and it's funny how your preschooler is better at opening the safety gates and drawer latches than you are.

5. You keep a sharp eye on interest green veggies, educational television, and chores.

6. You dole out sweet bonuses...hey, a handful of Froot Loops can work wonders on a kid who won't get into her booster seat.

7. You're on constant market watch...because with what your tween son eats these days, a sale on hamburger is a very big deal.

8. You gladly accept a bailout..thanks for babysitting, Grandma!

9. Your bonds are extremely rewarding...and every group snuggle on the couch reminds you.

10. You're all about the perks...since you can't get through a day without five cups of coffee.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Must Have Monday! Tools

Found this article in Woman's Day Magazine, April 17, 2010 issue.

Most repairs consist of taking something apart, replacing the defective part and putting it back together. Easy. With the proper tools, that is. Bare hands are only so effective against wood and metal. Here are the tools you really need to own, along with the good to have around extras.

1. Pliers
A. Large slip-joint
B. Long nose
C. Needle nose

2. Multi-bit Ratchet Screwdriver
(the ratchets let you tighten without picking up the screwdriver after each turn. Look for a set with 8-10 Phillips and Flathead bits)

3. Hammer
A. Lightweight
B. Heavyweight

4. Adjustable Wrench
A. Large
B. Small

5. Putty Knife

6. Awl (This sharp point of metal with a handle is ideal when you need "something sharp")

7. Hex Keys (Some screws have a six-sided indentation on top. Hex keys fit in there to tighten them. Also called Allen wrenches; common in Ikea furniture)

8. Combination Square
(The all-in-one measuring tool for hanging anything--it's a level, protractor and ruler)

9. Tape Measure

*Bonus Tools*

10. 2 Pipe Wrenches
(Just like normal ones, but bigger, for pipes)

11. Power Drill & Drill Bit Set
(The drills marketed to women are often less powerful. Get a guy's drill, and make sure it fits comfortably in your hand. Corded drills are more powerful while cordless are portable)

*Extra Helpers*

12. Assorted Fasteners Kit (hooks and screws for hanging pictures)
13. Picture Hanging Wire
14. WD-40
15. Liquid Cement
16. Stud Finder
17. C-Clamp
18. Rubber Jar Opener
19. Magnet
20. Gloves (rubber kitchen gloves and work gloves)
21. Safety Goggles

*Where to buy them*

Quality tools last forever. And, luckily, repair hobbyists tend to over collect. Garage sales are meccas of $1-$3 tool hunting. Bring this checklist and your toolbox along with you, and fill er' up. Look for metal tools that are heavy in your hand and feel sturdy. Avoid plastic.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! The Lowdown on Cell Phone Batteries

I got this article from Woman's Day, April 17, 2010 issue. It is something you may know of or something you may not. Maintain your knowledge or gain some :)

Tech 101: The Lowdown on Cell Phone Batteries

Charge it! Most batteries won't overcharge-you can leave the device plugged in overnight without a problem.

Know the lifespan! Batteries only have 300 to 500 charges in them (a charge "counts" when there's less than half of the battery's life left). Once the battery no longer holds a charge (usually one to two years later), get a new one.

Buy it right! If you're buying a replacement battery, make sure it says "cells from Japan," where they have the highest production standards. If it doesn't, you could be buying a battery that's improperly made and will overload and burn out! Replacement cell phone batteries cost between $20 and $50.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday...California Sushi Wrap

Found this gorgeous looking creation on

California Sushi Wrap

Introduce your kids to the art of sushi rolling with these easy sandwiches. The tortilla does double duty as a rolling mat and a tasty wrapper.

2 cups cooked sushi rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup chopped green onion
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
4 sheets nori, or 2 cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 4 spears (we used the European variety)
1 (8-ounce) package imitation crabmeat
Soy sauce packets

In a small bowl, mix the rice with the salt, vinegar, and green onion.

For each wrap, heat a tortilla in the microwave for 10 seconds. For an authentic sushi taste, place a sheet of nori on the tortilla (or use 1/2 cup of spinach if your family's not game for the nori). Spread about 1/2 cup of the rice mixture on top of the nori, then add a layer of grated carrot. Next, place a cucumber spear and a quarter of the crabmeat near one side of the nori. From that side, roll up the wrap and tuck in the ends.

Tightly cover each sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Cut in half and serve with soy sauce for dipping. Makes 4 wraps.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fun Idea Friday! 10 Great Ideas for Summer Get-Togethers

I found an article in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, June 2010 issue which listed 40 Fun Ideas for great summer get-togethers. Thought I would just share a piece of it with you and then maybe some more at a later time :)

1. Bring the beach to your backyard. Use a colorful beach towel as a table runner. Line a tray with crafts store beach glass and candles.

2. Ask guests to bring a favorite summer book or two to swap at the party. It's a conversation starter, party activity, and take-home gift all in one.

3. Instead of cramming everyone around one table, put out a large blanket on the lawn and let kids eat picnic-style, while the adults enjoy some peace and quiet at their own table.

4. Throw rosemary or other fresh herbs onto the charcoal when you're grilling. They'll lightly scent the air and flavor the food.

5. Drape beach towels over the backs of patio and lawn chairs. It makes them look more festive and feel more comfy for extended periods of sitting. Plus, the towels disguise mismatched or worn furniture.

6. Delight everyone's inner child by setting up a lemonade stand-no charge this time around-at your next party. Serve plain and flavored lemonade in big glass jars. Set out chunks of fruit for skewering, plus ginger syrup for a flavor twist. for the grown-ups, try a lemonade spritzer: Mix 1 part sparkling wine with 2 parts lemonade.

7. Lights give an evening party instant ambiance. Take your holiday string lights out of storage and run them along fences and deck railings, in trees and around trunks. (Leaves help obscure the cords) For a high-impact display, hang a cluster of globe-shape paper lanterns from tree branches with fishing line. Fit them with battery-operated lantern lights and you won't have to worry about cords. Come dusk, just flip the switches and listen to the oohs and aahs.

8. As if long days and warm weather aren't reason enough to get together, these party themes offer another nudge: Beat the Heat! Gather in the early evening, when the sun is less scorching. Set up a salad bar and serve icy drinks and Popsicles. Provide water guns and set up refill stations (buckets of water) around the yard.

9. All-Star Game! This July 13, celebrate America's pastime whichever league you root for. Serve hot dogs will all the fixings and frozen malt cups. Play stadium music pre-and post-game.

10. Stargazing! The sky's the limit when you use an astronomical event-be it a full moon or a minor meteor shower-an inspiration for after-dark party. Find a list of celestial events at

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Things to Make Thursday...Tank Top Beach Bag

I got this great idea from a website called What a great way to recycle!

Tank Top Beach Bag

Recycle an old tank top into a beach bag. All you need is some fabric glue and decorative trim.

You need:

Tank Top
Rick Rack or Other Trim
1 Yard of Cord
Fabric Glue
Small Scissors
Safety Pin

Using a small, pointed scissors, open up about 1" of the hem of the tank top. Attach safety pin to the end of the cord and push the pin with the cord through the opening into the hem. Work the pin and cord around the entire bottom until you reach the hem opening again. You should have both ends of the cord sticking out of the hem opening. Remove safety pin.

Pull cord end gathering up the bottom of the tank top as tight as possible. Tie ends together, double knotting. Trim ends. Push the knot up inside the hem. Glue a large appliqué over the opening on the bottom on the bag. Decorate edges with rick rack and appliqués.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What to do Wednesday? Indoor Activities with the Kids

Where we are in PA, there is currently a massive heat wave going on. I myself do not want my kids outside for the fear that they will actually get too hot. How about a few activities to do indoors? You can do them all in one day or spread them out over 6 days. I found these activities in the March 2010 issue of Parenting magazine. They were in the March issue, mind you, so the actual article is written for St. Patrick's Day, but I will try my best to change it around to make it 6 days of fun anytime!

Search for Treasure: On pieces of paper, write clues-"Turn left at the rocking chair" or "Take 5 steps past the refrigerator"-have a prize handy for when the treasure is found!

Play in the Sand: Make an indoor sandbox by emptying a large box of oatmeal into a plastic dishpan. Toss in spoons, cups and toy cars.

Get Lucky: Have your child find a stone in the yard or at the playground that fits perfectly in your hand, then let her paint it. Ask her to carry the "charm" in her pocket, and tell her that every time she squeezes it, it will get luckier.

Taste the Rainbow: Buy several packs of Skittles or Life Savers and ask your child to separate them according to color. Then glue the candies onto poster board to make a rainbow.

Be Cheery, not Dreary: Prepare for spring showers (or humid summer rain); buy cheap, solid-color umbrellas and have your kids decorate the outsides with fabric paint. Let dry to 24 hours before closing or taking them out in the rain.

Eat Dirt: Scoop some chocolate pudding into mugs with crushed Oreo cookies or graham crackers. Tell your gardeners to mix them together to make "mud." Then stir in a good helping of gummy worms and "plant" a lollipop flower.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tip Tuesday! Diet Tips That Can Also Trim Spending

I found this neat little article in the July 2009 issue of Parents magazine:

Diet Tips That Can Also Trim Spending

1. Write it down. Keeping track of where your money goes has the same effect as counting calories: it raises your awareness and helps you make more-informed decisions.

2. Set modest goals. Trying to shed 25 pounds seems daunting, but aiming to drop two or three? Much easier! A recent study found that Americans are better savers when they set short-term goals-"I'll stash away $50 this month"-rather than more ambitious ones, like attempting to save $500 for the year.

3. Get your partner on board. Just as it's tough to lose weight if your husband stocks the freezer with ice cream, it can be hard to save when he's still spending frivolously. If you both vow to take control of your finances, the task will seem easier.

4. Avoid gimmicks. Plans that promise instant weight loss-or immediate riches-never work. "An investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true probably is".

Monday, July 5, 2010

Money Making Monday! How to Price Yard Sale Items

Now is a great time of year to start cleaning out, if you haven't already and making yourself some extra cash :) It's yard sale season!! Here is a guideline list of recommended pricing for items that I borrowed from Woman's Day Magazine, Issue June 2010:

Children's Clothing-$1-$3, Perfect condition dress clothes-$5-$7
Tops and Sweaters-$2-$8
Suits and Dresses-$15-$20
Decorative Pillows-$2-$4
Kitchen Appliances-$5-$12
Dinnerware-$1 per item
Sporting Goods-$10-$20
Tennis Rackets-$5-$20
Bed Frame-$30-$60
Desk or Kitchen Table-$20-$30
End Tables-$12-$20

Make your life easy by pricing most items $1, $2, $3, $5, or $10 and using round colored stickers (example: Red is $1, two reds is $2, yellow $3, purple $5, etc) Put up a few large posters explaining the system and include three very important words: "All Sales Final." Fir higher-priced items, write the prices on little stringed tags.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Fact Sunday! Spectacular Strawberries

Since it is summer, I thought this small article in Family Fun Magazine, June/July 2010 issue was appropriate. Here are some facts (and a few delicious looking recipes) about one of the most luscious fruits of the summer: Spectacular Strawberries.

You kids may not need a reason to eat fresh strawberries, but the health benefits certainly sweeten the deal. Just consider: out of more than 1,000 foods, the berries were ranked third highest in antioxidant content per serving by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, behind blackberries and walnuts. Loaded with Vitamin C, strawberries are also a good source of potassium, manganese, and fiber. Now is the time to enjoy them at their prime.

Make this now!

This refreshing Strawberry Gelatin has a kid-friendly texture that's a cross between jam and pudding. Mix 3 cups strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice in a blender. Strain the mixture and pour the liquid into a small saucepan (discard the solids). In a bowl, pour 2 packets unflavored gelatin over 1 cup cold water and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Heat the strained liquid until it's just starting to boil, then stir it into the gelatin mixture. Pour the gelatin into an 8 by 8 inch glass pan and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Make this now!

Here's an easy way to make your own Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. Freeze 2 cups fresh strawberries. Combine the berries with 6 oz nonfat French vanilla yogurt in a food processor, then blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Did you know? One cup of strawberries offers 140 percent of the RDA of Vitamin C for adults and kids ages 5 and up.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday...Raspberry Sparklers

What a perfect weekend to get a new recipe in the drink department! I found this recipe in AllYou magazine, July 23, 2010 issue. Haven't tried it yet myself, but it does look de-lish!

Raspberry Sparklers

Blend 2 pints raspberries, 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar in a blender until smooth. Force mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Spoon 2 Tbsp puree into each of 8 tall glasses. Fill glasses with ice cubes and pour in enough chilled seltzer to just cover ice. Stir well. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint, if desired.

Let's share!! Does anyone out there have an easy recipe they want to swap? Maybe even another drink recipe?

Friday, July 2, 2010

FYI Friday...6 Facts about Clogs

I have definitely had my share of clogs this year. From the washing machine hose to the boat sailing out of the kids toilet. I was really excited to see this article in Woman's Day, Issue April 17, 2010...I was really not in the know when it comes to toilets!

6 Facts About Clogs

1. Clogs damage pipes-They solidify, become highly corrovisve and then the pipe. Damaged pipes can burst and cause serious home damage. So...

2. All clogs should be cleared immediately-Clogs are like traffic jams: More traffic only makes it worse. you to address the cause.

3. Garbage disposals are a major cause-Disposals should only be sued for plate scraps. Sink pipes are 1.5" wide-too small for solid items, which clog the pipe where all the household lines meet.

4. Don't flush tissue or paper towel-Their fibers are designed to cling together when they hit water. Toilet paper is designed to seperate in water; that's why it's OK.

5. Toilets from the mid-90's are big cloggers-When the government required 1.6 gallons per flush in 1995, some toilet manufacturers simply made the hole smaller. Newer toilets are better.

6. You can prevent most clogs-Use soap sparingly, and only allow water, natural waste and toilet paper to enter pipes.

What do you know?! I have learned something new. I had no idea that you couldn't flush tissues. That has always been the backup when the tp roll runs dry! Who would have thought that the 90's were not just famous for Beanie Babies, but toilets with smaller holes! Crazy!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things to Make Thursday...4th of July

Looking for things to do with the kiddies during the upcoming holiday weekend? I found these great ideas in Family Fun, Issue June/July 2010.

Can Do Stilts!

Give your favorite patriot a boost with a pair of classic tin can stilts. The design allows you to empty the can while keeping its top and bottom sealed for safety and stability.

-Puncture-style can opener
-2 (29-ounce) cans of tomato sauce
-Acrylic paint in white, red, and blue
-Star shapes cut from household sponges
-Disposable pans or plates
-2 (5-foot) lengths of cotton or nylon clothesline

-Puncture a can in opposite spots on its side, as shown. Drain it by blowing into one hole to force the sauce out of the other. Repeat with the second can. Wash both cans under running water to clean them, inside and out. Remove their labels and let them dry.

-Paint both cans white. When they're dry, dip dampened sponge stars into pans or plates of red and blue paint. Apply the stamps to the cans and let them dry.

-For the handles, tape one end of a length of clothesline to a skewer. Push it through one hole and out the other, as shown. Have your child stand on the can, holding the line's ends. Knot the line at hip level and trim. Repeat for the other stilt.

Frosty Fireworks!!

One way to make a splash this Fourth of July is by treating your kids to tall glasses of Patriot's Punch. Simply fill an ice cube tray with a red or blue fruit-flavored beverage (such as Powerade, Gatorade, or Kool-Aid) and let the cubes freeze solid. Then drop three or four colored cubes into each glass, pour in flavored seltzer water or clear soda, and watch the special effects. As the cubes melt, colored bubbles will swirl through the seltzer.