Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to School & Rice Krispies Treats

Pin It It was back-to-school week at our house. I had some mixed emotions about the whole situation. The girls have been pestering each other for awhile, and so I was really happy for them to go to school so they could leave each other alone and put there energies into something else. But, my baby was heading to kindergarten, and that makes me sad. My kids are growing up too fast, and I am reminded of that each time September rolls around.

I guess there's not much to do but look on the bright side: they are alive and well, and I get the opportunity to watch them grow, despite how I wish it would slow down. My oldest is in grade five. This is almost incomprehensible to me. Before I know it, she will be in university. Why is it that when you're young, all you want it for time to go by faster, and when you are an adult, all you want is for time to slow down? 

Since I can't sit around wallowing about how fast time is passing by and how soon I will be geriatric, I figured that I might as well bake some things for school. We started out with the easy things: rice krispie squares.

I brought rice krispie treats to my girls' soccer game once, and one mom told me that they were better than hers, and asked what did I do differently. Other than using real Kellogg's Rice Krispies instead of her generic version, I didn't know. Recently, though, I read the back of the box, and the recipe is different than the one that I use. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that they omitted an ingredient in the recipe when they started boxing their own treats for so much more money. (Can I tell you that I just don't understand why anyone would waste so much money on a little box of treats, when you can make them at home for a fraction of the price? And, really, ten minutes and you're done.) They freeze great, too, so you can have them on hand whenever you want. My kids pull one out before school, and it's thawed out by the time they're ready to eat 'em. In fact, I pretty much freeze every snack I make, squares, muffins, cookies, whatever.

So, what do I do differently? I put in vanilla. And, I usually double my recipe, but cut the rice krispies down so that they turn out softer.

My Rice Krispies Squares

1/2 cup butter or margarine
80 regular sized marshmallows. (80 reg. marshmallows works out to about 2-250 g. bags. I only ever buy the giant bags, so I always end up counting them out.)
1tsp. vanilla
10 cups rice krispies cereal. (You can use 11 cups, if you want.)

(I have made this with the generic brand from my store, and they were not as good, but as a cereal on it's own, the generic brand wasn't even close anyway.)

Grease or spray a 9x13' pan and set aside.

In a large saucepan, over low heat, melt margarine. Add marshmallows; stir until melted and well blended. 
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
Add cereal, stirring until coated. Press into pan, using a lightly buttered or sprayed spatula, waxed paper, or your own greased hand.

Once it's set, you can cut into portions, wrap individual pieces that are left over after your family attacks the pan, place them all in a ziploc bag, and toss in the freezer until ready to eat!

Ok, it's Saturday, and the wind is nuts outside. Kids are bored, so we're going to go make some goodies for next week!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gallbladder Attack? Try This!

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So, I saw Dr. Oz the other day, like I said in a previous post. I turned him on again today and was talking about gall stones, which reminded me of a time when I was pregnant with baby #3, and I had the worst pain.

I didn't want to breathe because every time I moved, it would get worse. Being pregnant, I couldn't really do much in the way of pain relief, but I can tell you at that moment, I thought the pain was so much worse than labour. I had never had that pain before, and didn't know what it was. Superman went online, came back with a pickle in his hand, and told me to eat it. He said he thought I was having a gall bladder attack, and that the pickle was supposed to help.

The result?

 It totally worked! I could breathe again. I don't know the science behind it, and I have never had another attack to test it out again, but it was such a relief that night. I don't know that this is common knowledge, so I thought I'd share it for you to put in the recesses of your mind in case you ever get a sharp pain in the right side of your torso that won't go away--it may be from your gallbladder giving you grief, and a pickle might just do the trick!

Gallbladder getting you? Eat a pickle!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grocery shoppin'

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So, I've been reading up on once-a-month shopping. I made my whole month's list of meals and rounded up my list, looked through my fliers, and headed out.

I had only me, which I guess was nice, except I had to haul out a load of groceries to the van and hop back in for the second half. If I could have only fit it all in one cart, this experience would have been a lot cheaper, because I couldn't have put all those extras in....

My problem is that I always buy more than what's on my list. I know that discipline is key to staying on budget, but when I find stuff on sale, I think, "oh, that would be great for _______" (food storage or school lunches, usually.)

Today my downfall was cereal. I noticed our supply was getting a little low and I must have come home with a dozen boxes. Oops. Then, I noticed a few mistakes on my bill and had to go back to the store for corrections (which worked out to over 9 dollars, so totally worth it.) The downside? I went back with the kids, and by then I was really hungry, noticed chips on sale, which of course when you're famished, just don't seem like they're going to hit the spot without some dip.(I know the cardinal rule of grocery shopping: don't go when you're hungry. Should've had a snack before I went back....) And then on the way to the check-out, we noticed toaster strudels on sale. Really? I think I've bought those once in the kids' existence. So, nine dollars in, and then $27 dollars out for a net loss of 18 bucks. Sheesh. I am the worst grocery shopper. BUT, at least I think I'm set for the month, so hopefully I won't have to step foot in there for another month, because, as you can see, I cannot just go in for a jug of milk. It's a jug of milk, and five things that are on a great sale, and then 60 bucks later I've overspent.

So, this month's shop was a little under than $250 less than last month's once a month shop. So, it's progress, right? Truth be told though, I still spent about 100-200 more than I was hoping for. And now I have to Yawn.

 I have decided that next month I will have to take only the amount of cash I want to use and if I overspend, I will embarrass myself by pulling stuff off the bill. Maybe that will teach me??

 What's you're grocery budget per month? How often do you shop? Do you stick to your list?

Feeling a little numb...

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...literally. For, I don't know how long, maybe a week or so, my fingertips have been tingling. And they're getting worse; it's radiating up to my elbow. (I have a physical coming up in a couple of weeks, so I'll have to remember to mention it.)

Last week I saw an ad  for the Dr. Oz show and I made a note to myself that I should watch it to discover what vitamin I'm not getting enough of. It's amazing I remembered with the memory I have. After doing a major grocery shop today, I was tired and in need of a little rest, and it happened to be when the show was on. Yay!

So, I'm watching today and he asks five questions:

Do you have an overall lack of energy?--check

Do you have unusual mood changes?--if you ask my husband, he would say absolutely

Do you have difficulty concentrating or remembering things?--Does the fact that my mom called me once to tell me she thinks I have ADD count as difficulty concentrating? As for memory, my life is a mess because I can't seem to remember things. Like, to the point that I get in trouble with my family for missing events.

Do you have tingling or numbness in hands or feet?- Gasp!!! Right now!!!

Is your tongue inflamed, red, or cracked?--no. Well, I do have a cracked tongue, and I have no idea what's up with that. It's creepy, like a side show circus act, but I've had it as long as I can remember. But not inflamed, and it's just pink. I think. well, whatever, it doesn't seem unusual, so I'm going with no.

Anyway, he tells me that perhaps I have a B12 deficiency. I think to myself that this is plausible as my mother has this. I happen to have B12 in the cupboard from once when my mom suggested that could be my problem, that I have stopped taking because I forget to. But, if there's a chance that it could get rid of my tingling hands, then I'm all for it. And if it gives me a much needed energy boost, then, hey, bonus!

As soon as the segment's done I closed my eyes for a little catnap and promptly fell asleep for an hour. :(

Anyone else have these symptoms?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tater Tot Casserole

Pin It I had never tried tater tot casserole until last night. I know it's a popular American dish, but, as far as I know, not so much in Canada. I heard Michelle Duggar talking about it once on her show, and I thought, well, if she can feed her 18 kids on that, it must be economical and kid pleasing.

 I found a recipe on Pinterest from Craving Comfort.
 I'm copying it exactly how she has it on her site, but for pictures, head on over there.

Tater-Tot Casserole
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
  • 1 16oz package frozen tater tots
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Brown ground beef. season with salt & pepper.
  3. Add chopped onion, cook until tender.
  4. In a casserole dish, combine ground beef mixture & cream soup.
  5. Top mixture with tater tots.
  6. Bake , uncovered, for 30-40 minutes till bubbly and Tots are golden brown.
  7. remove from oven & top with cheese, return to oven until melted.
  8. Enjoy!
This casserole freezes great!
Just put it together then freeze until ready to bake. (adjust cooking times accordingly)

I always double or triple this one! It re-heats beautifully!

  It was pretty good. Everyone liked the tater tots the best. I doubled the recipe and put it in my biggest casserole dish. My only problem was that I didn't really double the tater tots because I figured the bottom layer of tater tots would turn to mush. I put just enough to cover the meat. Definitely a mistake. I think next time, if I double it, I will put it in two casserole dishes. I have five in my family, and we don't mind leftovers, so I thought doubling was a good idea, but here's a warning: this stuff is good enough for seconds, and maybe thirds, BUT, then all of a sudden it hits you! You will be instantly, and uncomfortably full. It's like it sits quietly in your belly for a while, and then expands like crazy and by the time you realize you are full, you've already overeaten. You've been warned. Enjoy!

Miracle Wart Remover

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My kid got a plantar wart on her thumb. I know that's weird, and you're probably thinking, like I was, that that was impossible, and it must just be a common wart. Apparently, the thick skin on top of your fingertips is similar to the skin on your feet, and a plantar wart can be quite happy there for quite some time, as proven by the one on my kid. She has had that thing for months. So many months that I can't even remember how long. At first I thought it was a blister, so I didn't worry about it, but then it never went away and took on more of the proper, recognizable form.

Took her to the doctor; had it frozen once or twice. Also used the Dr. Scholl's home freezing on it, and it still stuck around. Tried the whole duct tape thing, but seriously, I had to wrap her up like a mummy, and the tape still fell off.

Lamenting that I needed to call the doctor again and that the stupid duct tape wasn't working, Superman said, "hey, why don't you try crazy glue. It should suffocate it." Hmmm....why had I not read about this? It seems like a logical thing. If duct tape is supposed to suffocate it and kill it, then crazy glue theoretically should work. Didn't hurt to try.

Anyway, we've been applying it every day, (sometimes more if we've noticed that it's worn off) for about a week, and can I tell you, that disgusting thing is almost dead! After all the things we've tried over all these months, turns out the least expensive and easiest to do, seems to be working. I thought this miracle cure was to good not to share.

Edited to add that it's been a couple of weeks, and though it took a bit longer than I thought, it has mostly died. It really did work! Considering that it looked like it had expanded to several roots, putting crazy glue on it every night has done the trick!

Monday, August 27, 2012

How to keep photos from being pinned

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So, I have a couple of photos of my family on my blog. Probably not nearly enough, but, you know, since I'm back on the blogging bandwagon, you never know, next week there could be a magazine shoot full. Anyway, though I don't mind recipes and the crafty things that hopefully I will eventually do, and share, on my blog being pinned, I really don't want pictures of my kids running off into the universe. Is it just me being paranoid? I mean, maybe weirdos don't look at pinterest. Whatever. Maybe I ought to keep them hidden. I really often teeter on that fine line of being protective and utterly paranoid. Most people who know me say I run too often into paranoid territory. At any rate, I came across Jessi's blog practicallyfunctional. She taught me how to keep some of my photos from being pinned. Thought it was really great, and that you might be interested, so there you go!

Also, after much hair pulling, I've found out how to add pin it buttons to my blog. Apparently the directions that come on pinterest don't really work so hot with blogger. Sure, you can pin, but it always tells anyone who clicks on pinterest that they might be going to spam. This explains a lot to me. I often go to sites that "others have reported" as spam, and they rarely ever are. I got that help from over at spice up your blog.

Hope these helps work as good for you as they did for me!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Musings with a side of Apple Fritters

Pin It     Ok, so last post I said I would let you know how my little "schedule" went. I think it lasted about a week, Darn it. I realize now, that since the Beast starts kindergarten in a little less than two weeks, I'm going to have to revamp everything. For instance, now that all of the kids will be in school, I will be able to go every week to the meeting at my brokerage. (Oh, yeah, for anyone that didn't know, I spent part of my blogging hiatus getting my real estate license. If you or anyone know needs a Realtor in or around Winnipeg, I can help. If you live further away, I can refer you to a great realtor; you want to make sure you've got one looking out for you, not them.)

Anyway, back to the subject. I have a really hard time getting my kids into their own rooms for quiet time by 7:30. Maybe it was a pipe dream, but if I was seriously going to go to bed at 10, I need my downtime without my kids for a bit. Are you with me on this, or am I on another planet to think that I might get some time to myself that didn't require me to workout or clean? Cuz, really, I hate both of those. Not my idea of a good time!

Guess I'll have to rework it a bit, but hey, it's a starting point. Have I mentioned that I am kind of dreading the first day of school this year? It's like a glimpse of what empty nest syndrome is all about. I'm getting misty eyed just thinking about it. This is why I got my real estate license--so that I won't be wallowing in my sorrows that all of my kids are getting too big for my liking. :*(

Right now all of the kids are outside. Bean has a friend over. The are making "dinner" in the yard-grass, apples, dirt. Well, whatever, at least I won't have to cook tonight, right? And, it's giving me time to blog. Win-win, I say.

I did make them a little snack today. Bean wanted some apple fritters. A long time ago, I printed this recipe from allrecipes. I adapted when I first made it and they were delish! Second time around, I did it a little differently. They didn't turn out as well, but I know why. I'll fill you in as we go.

Here's my version of Apple Fritters:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt* 
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
about 2 quarts of oil for deep frying**
4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped***

*I just realized as I was writing this, that I forgot to add the salt in today. I won't omit it again; I think it really improves the flavour.

**  I use good ol' canola oil. It doesn't import a lot of flavour into the finished product, and it works well at high temps.

*** The original recipe called for them to be sliced to make rings. I figured that it would be hard to keep the batter on the rings, so instead, I saved myself the headache and just chopped them. Make sure to chop them small. I made the mistake of cutting big chunks today. I will definitely remember to cut them into much smaller pieces next time, so that they can cook and not end up with raw apple.

(The original recipe calls for dusting them with powdered sugar. I have a hard time doing that without making a mess, and the kids end up looking ghostly after they eat, so instead I make a glaze.)


1 cup icing sugar (confectioners/powdered/whatever. It's all one in the same for those newbie bakers out there)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water

Mix the icing sugar and cornstarch together. Add the water. Stir until smooth. Set aside until apple fritters come out of the pan and drizzle how you like.


1. Chop the apples into small pieces. I like to mix up a bit of cinnamon with some sugar and coat the apples before I put them into the batter. Today I used about 1 Tbsp. sugar to about 1 tsp. cinnamon, but do what looks good to you. It's not a make it or break it step. I can't be sure this was the ratio I used last time.

2. Pour oil into a medium to large saucepan. Turn to medium heat and wait until temp is 325-350 degrees.*/**

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.

4. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs, and stir in milk. Stir until blended.
5. Stir milk into flour mixture until smooth.

6. Stir apples into batter. 
This is where I realized my apple sizing mistake--of course, the moment it is too late. Those chunks do end up being far too big.

7. Drop by spoonfuls into heated oil. fry a few at a time. Turn them once, and when they are golden brown all over, pull out with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Dab excess oil off. Place on plate or in tray and glaze. 
This was way too hot!! They ended up being the really dark ones. As you can see, the oil is at 400 degrees. I had to pull it off the element. For me, just a touch to the left of five on the element dial seems to be the magic spot. I just always forget to heat at the beginning and then crank it to high to get it warm, and then wait too long to turn it back down. The temp keeps climbing for a bit before it settles out.

7. Eat as soon as they are cool enough to not burn your mouth but still warm. They are best warm.
Can you see the difference in colour? The first ones on the towel were cooked at a lower temp.

*(I have a pot set that has three or four sizes and then a giant one for pasta n' stuff. I don't use the giant one, but the largest of the "smaller" ones, so that I get a good sized circumference, but not so deep that I will burn myself trying to get things out.)

**Be watchful of the temp of the oil. If you don't have a thermometer, just put it at medium and when the oil spits when you put a drop of water in, it's ready. (Although, full disclosure here: I have never remembered to put the oil on at the beginning. I am not sure that it will heat to the desired temp without putting it on high for at least a little while. Try it, and let me know, would ya? Thanks!) The original recipe calls for 375 degrees, (which I started with today) but the fritters come out really dark and have a slightly burnt taste. I've found 325-350 to be much more favourable.

All in all, today's batch were not as good as the first time around. I am sure it is because:

a. I forgot the salt.

b. I cut the apples way too big.

c. I waited too long before I turned on the element, and then got it too hot. 

 The family still liked them, but I'm pretty sure that there are a few left, whereas last time, I literally could not cook them fast enough.

Well, I'm hungry, and this post is far too long. If you got to the end--well, I'm sorry I took up so much of your time, but I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Guess I'd better go find out what kind of exotic concoction the kids came up with for supper. 

Time Keeps on Ticking

Pin It      So, a long while ago I wrote about falling off the blogging wagon. Well, I did it again. So much so that the wagon left without me and I had to start walking to find it. I did try out a new wagon, called wordpress, but you know, I just am not that tech savvy, and had no desire to figure it all out. So I posted once, and I'll post it here, just for consistency, but honestly, I did one blog in the spring and that was it. So it's here for you to read, and I'll update you in the next post!

      You know those people who are always a ball of energy and seem to be able to get a massive amount of things done in their day? Well, I'm not one of them. I seem to be a low energy person; it's not depression, and it's not a medical issue (other than slight anemia, everything seems to be fine). I don't consider myself lazy either, most days. I just don't seem to have enough energy to make my body do all that my mind wants to. I'm trying to improve my eating habits, so maybe I'll make a discovery there. In the meantime, I just need to push along and do the best I can. Keeping in mind the balance that I'm trying to achieve, I've decided to figure out just how much time I have in a day and what I am wasting all of my time on.

I saw something on Pinterest today that said, "Every day we decide on who we will be by the actions we take."  [A bit ironic that while I'm thinking of all the things I waste my time on, Pinterest quotes start coming to mind.....(where's that whistling emoticon when I need it?)] Well, I want to be an energetic person who can get everything done on the to-do list in a day, and not waste any of the time God's given me. I hope that I can figure out how to do it and not fall back into bad habits.

So, I need to figure out my time.

I think I sleep longer than I probably need to. It seems I am a bit of a slave to circadian rhythms. Once the sun is gone, I am sleepy. Thank goodness spring is here; I find myself waking up earlier! I should really try to get in the habit of being in bed by 10:00 and up by at least 6:00. That's a full eight hours. I find if I can get up in the morning, I'm much more productive.
I wonder if this can work:

  • wake up, make bed (less temptation to get back in that way, right?)
  • read scriptures for 20 minutes. That should put me on a good note.
  • meditate for 10 minutes.
Oh, darn, this is where things get messy. My husband works weird shifts, and if he's up, I usually help him with his meals for the day. Most can be done the night before, but the green smoothies he takes just don't last well through the night, so they're a must make in the morning. Hmmm.....ok. Well, I guess I just do it and carry on.

  • put a load of laundry in.
  • workout for 20 minutes. You workout gurus will tell me that that's not enough. Well, it's better than what I've been doing. Baby steps, right?
  • put laundry in the dryer
  • hit the shower, get dressed and brushed--who am I kidding--this will take more than 15 minutes, but I can overlap a few minutes to, say 7:45
  • kids get up, so I need to help them stay on track.
  • pull out laundry, fold, and put away! (ok, laundry is the bane of my existence. I can never find matches to socks. Ever. I have baskets of unmatched socks. I have tried to buy them all matching, but for some reason, it is hard to find a package of socks for kids that are all the same. Laundry baskets are always full of something at my house, and my laundry room floor hasn't seen the light of day in months. I.Hate.Laundry. So much so, that if it weren't for the cruel things gravity is doing to me, I would probably run off and join a nudist colony.)
  • get girls off to school
  • tidy from breakfast
  • take the boy to school
  • come home/ go to office and work
  • go pick up boy from school
  • feed boy and me lunch
  • set boy up with some quiet things. (He needs to prep for kindergarten.)
  • do some housework
  • prep for supper
  • since I'm totally getting tired already just looking at this, (I know, it's not a lot, but gimme a break!), maybe a nap would be in order here, or at least some quiet time.
  • get supper ready to go. If it's an easy meal, maybe some more housework? (See, I'm already wondering what to do with all of my time. It seems I have so much!)
  • file any papers that need to go away. (Ok, next to laundry, filing papers is the bane of my existence)
  • get an after school snack ready for the kids.
  • If I have more real estate work to do, now would be the time.
  • I guess if I was really on top of things and had nothing to do, I could do something fun, like make some soaps or lip balms, or something else I might like to take up as a hobby. After I've completely de-cluttered my house, of course. Yeah, who am I kidding? Will I ever get the house de-cluttered??)
  • kids come home. All sense of peace goes out the window.
4:45-6:00 ( this is a window. We don't eat for over an hour.)

This is really where I have issues. I know that dinner should be ready by about 5 for them, especially when there are activities, but sometimes, we just don't get to eat until 6:30, or even 7! I mean, how can I expect them to start getting ready for bed at 7:30 when I haven't even fed them.
I just don't even think I can go any farther because every night is different with hubby's work schedule and kid's activities, but the goal would be to get them all ready for the next day and getting ready for bed, and family prayer by 7:30, leaving the girls to read for about half and hour and the boy going to bed then, and giving dear husband and I some time to ourselves, or me time to do showings, before getting up to do it all again the next day. This does not sound that hard, so why is the application so difficult? Anyone have any great advice?