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Saturday, August 31, 2013

DIY Carpet Powder

Have you ever used Carpet Fresh powder? Or maybe you still do. I remember when we were little, Mom used to buy it all the time. I enjoyed watching the spread of white powder all over the carpet get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. What a weird child.

They actually advertise that they use a baking soda formula to eliminate odor. Now don't you think it would be cheaper (not to mention healthier since it wouldn't have the added chemicals!) to just make it at home? 

I whipped some up today before I started cleaning. I sprinkled it all over the carpets, then went about my other chores. By the time I came back to vacuum it all up, our apartment smelled so fresh and clean. After I was done, I got down on the floor and smelled the carpet. Don't judge. I only did it to see whether or not it really worked, so that you wouldn't have to. Well, good does! I even enjoyed vacuuming! Being able to use my "new" Kirby vacuum, while making the carpets smell fantastic, gave me a feeling of accomplishment. I know, it doesn't take much to please me.

Disclaimer: Product not guaranteed to make you enjoy vacuuming or any other household chore.

All you need is baking soda and your favorite essential oil.
(I used pink grapefruit. It's smells delicious.)

You'll also need a container to store your powder in. 
I grabbed a pint sized canning jar and the lid to a Parmesan cheese container. 
It works perfectly!

Sprinkle your baking soda into the jar.

Add a few drops essential oil.
(You can always add more if you want a stronger scent.)

Cover and shake!
(I used a regular lid to shake it up, so it was fully sealed.)

To use, sprinkle onto your carpets. Let sit 30-45 minutes. Vacuum.

I would love to have you comment and share your favorite essential oil scents to clean with. :)

Pan-Seared Salmon

Life has been pretty crazy around here lately. Work has been hectic, Tony has been working long hours as well as beginning another semester at the University, and things just never seem to settle down. With the busyness that has engulfed our lives, things no doubt seem to get pushed aside. Unfortunately, one of those things has been our home-cooked meals and healthy snacks. No, we definitely don't always eat as healthy as we should, but it's been pretty bad the last couple weeks.

We were finally able to have a night this week to make a meal that consisted of more than sandwiches or something horribly processed pulled from the freezer. We decided on a simple pan-seared salmon (since we still don't have a grill) and paired it with some steamed asparagus and baked garlic potato wedges (click here for that yummy recipe!).

If you are using frozen fillets, start by making sure your salmon is thawed completely.
Place a paper towel on a plate or cutting board.

Set your fillets on top and gently dab them to remove excess moisture.

Generously sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Set aside.

Heat your frying pan over medium heat.

Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil.

(The pan should be nice and hot at this point.)
Carefully place your salmon in the pan and lest rest.
Don't move it, so that it gets a nice sear.

After about 3-6 minutes (depending on size of fillets), carefully flip them over.

Cook another 3-6 minutes.
{Be sure to follow package directions if you have them. The fillets should be tender and flaky when done.}

We served it along with some fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.
I think this is officially my new favorite way to cook salmon. For now anyway. :)

If you are interested in some more ways to cook fish, take a look at these. :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nails: Tri-Color Polka Dots

I love polishing nails and experimenting with nail art. I usually keep it pretty basic, but I like to switch it up once in a while, too. I've been seeing a lot of girls with grey polish lately, and have wondered how I would like it. I was worried it might make my hands look pretty sickly. 

I found a dark, slate grey that I actually have grown to love! I kept it simple with 3 colors of polka dots. Green, pinkish-red, and white. 
(I think next time I'll polish the ring fingers pink or green then have some grey dots mixed in instead!)

Start with 2 coats of polish, letting each coat dry completely before adding the next.

Then, using your DIY Dotting Tool (click here for that!), or a toothpick, begin with your first color of dots.

Add the second color of dots.

Now add the third color.

Once the dots are dried completely, add a clear top coat.

If you would like the list of colors I used, here it is. :)

CND Vinylux- Asphalt 
Essie- The More the Merrier
Essie- Ole Caliente
Pure Ice- Superstar
+ clear top coat

Friday, August 23, 2013

Shoe Storage!

This is something so simple I am almost embarrassed to share it!  The only reason I am sharing it is because, as simple as it is, I never would have thought of it had my mother in law not told me that this is how she stores her shoes!  It has been very handy for me!!

When moving to a duplex versus a single family home, we gave up a lot of storage.  I will admit, having a substantial amount of storage was a challenge in and of itself.  You can ask all my family members who received "random stuff" when we moved out of state.  I thought it was all necessary to hold on to.   Although I have improved on keeping only what is necessary, I still do miss my storage.  

Here is a little tip that I use for storing my shoes--Walmart storage containers!  It is not ideal to have next to the pillowcases but, because they are so neatly contained, I feel a little better about it.  Things you do until you move into a different house. 

All that's needed:  Walmart storage containers. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chicken Tator Tot Hotdish

As a mother of 6, I am always looking for quick and delicious meals. Who isn't, right? This is a recipe I received from my Uncle Tom. I altered it a bit and it is still tasty! This is a fabulous "company is coming" kind of meal. It always goes over well and makes a large amount! This recipe will feed my family twice. One for now and one to freeze for later...yay!! Win, win!! So let's get down to business!

This is what you will need: 

 3 cups cooked chicken (chicken breast or a mix of light and dark is fine) 
 2 pounds mixed veggies 
 1 large can Cream of Chicken 
 1 can tomatoes and diced chiles (Rotel)
1 heaping cup of sour cream 
8 oz Mexican taco cheese, shredded 
 1/2 -1 package taco seasoning (I use 2 T. of homemade mix) 
 1 small-medium onion, chopped 
 Tator Tots (not pictured)

Combine all your ingredients.

Place mixture in pan (or pans). This will easily fill two disposable lasagna pans.

Top with Tator Tots. Bake at 350° for 1 hour 15 minutes or until bubbly.

That's all there is to it!! We have always served this with a lettuce salad with tomatoes and ranch dressing. This has definitely become a family favorite! Hope your family enjoys it, too!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Vodka Gummi Bears

Monday came way too quickly this week. I spent the weekend just over the state line at my aunt's cabin. I haven't been there for about 15 years, and we had a wonderful "All Girls" weekend with my aunts and cousins. We spent our time relaxing by the lake, goofing off with 'Minute to Win It' games, gambling at the local casino, and enjoying the time to reconnect & catch up with everyone that could make it. It was so much fun, and I really wasn't looking forward to leaving!

During our time there, we may have also had a few cocktails. :) The subject of vodka gummi bears came up in conversation, and we decided to go ahead and make them. I had tried making them at my sister-in-law's house a couple times before, so I had an idea of what to do.

large bag gummi bears (my bag was 1 lb. 2 oz.)
about 1 1/2 shots of your favorite vodka


Spread the bears on a rimmed plate.

Get your vodka ready.
(Use only 1 shot if you don't want a lot of "vodka flavor". Use more if you want them stronger.)

Pour the vodka on top and stir until evenly distributed.

Let rest for about 45 minutes exactly, stirring occasionally, then eat 'em up!
{They need that time to soak up the vodka, but letting them sit too long will cause them to be very sticky.}

Stormtroopers Nail Art w/Sharpies

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel with my husband for work. We were able to stay in a nice hotel for 2 nights, completely paid for. He did have to work each morning, but only until 1 pm, then we had the rest of the day to shop, walk the beach, and enjoy the city!

Since he worked each morning, I had some time to myself while he was gone. Awhile ago, he suggested I try to do Star Wars nails at some point. I figured this would be a good time to attempt it!
They definitely didn't turn out perfect, but for my first time, I think they turned out pretty good.

I started with a solid white. 
Use 2 coats, letting the polish dry completely between coats.
{I know it's a bad polish job...please ignore my imperfections! :) }

Using this as an inspiration, I began the details.
Using an ultra fine-tip Sharpie permanent marker, I made the outline of the design.

Then, I filled in the centers.

I added the mouth.

Then the bottom pieces of the helmet.

Once done, lightly spray a coat of hairspray (to set the marker) over your nail. 
Let dry completely.

Then, go ahead and finish off with a clear top coat.

To pull things together, I added the Star Wars logo. 
Er...I tried to anyway. It was pretty hard to do with my left hand.

My husband was pretty impressed. You should surprise your Star Wars-loving husband, too!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fresh Coleslaw

When preparing for dinner, I generally go to the store,  buy the ingredients for what I am making that night, go home, cook,  and throw the remaining ingredients in the fridge--telling myself I have to remember to think of another meal I can use so that the food won't go to waste.  Using leftovers is not my strong suit.  After making our Copy Cat Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad the other night,  I had a bunch of cabbage left over.  Trying to improve on this skill that I hope one day to attain, I decided to make coleslaw.  :-)
Ingredients :
2 cups red cabbage
2 cups napa cabbage
1/2 cup mayo
2 T.  Vinegar
2 tsp.  Sugar
1/2 tsp.  Celery seed
1/4 tsp.  Salt
1. Chop cabbage and place in medium bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine mayo, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, and salt.  Stir.
3. Drizzle mayo mixture over cabbage and gently mix.  Refrigerate over night so flavors will absorb.

Check these out!