Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Cleaning Tip--Removing Ink Stains and other stuff

I found this tip for ink stains years ago and have been using it since then. It really works well.

Ink Stains: The best way I have found to get out ink stains is to put rubbing alcohol on the stain - it disappears! This must be done before washing.

For ink on the wall, you can try using alcohol. Sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn't work as well. Perhaps it depends on the ink. When the alcohol doesn't quite work I will wipe the ink marks with bleach and they disappear.

If you have run out of alcohol, try using a baby wipe to remove the ink stain. Baby wipes usually have alcohol in them.

I've also used hairspray when I had run out of alcohol. Hairspray also has alcohol it in and works well at removing ink stains.

If you've tried everything to get ink off the wall and it just won't budge, then your last resort may have to be to re-paint that area. Be sure to prime the spot first though. If you do not use a primer the ink may just bleed through the new coat of paint.

Things have been a wee bit hectic around here. We had Christmas at my mothers on Saturday and it was a blast. Then David had a 23rd birthday party at his house on Saturday night. Sunday I took Stephanie and Samantha down to Bowling Green to shop at Steve & Barry'. The store was closing and it was their last day. We got some mega awesome deals. I bought 5 pairs of jeans, 3 shirts, a skirt and a purse for Rylie and only spent 11 dollars. Wooohoooo! Then the girls and I went shopping at the Goodwill where we found some more great deals.

Yesterday I took my car into the body shop. It was hit while it was parked on the street about 2 weeks ago. Luckily, it was hit by an honest person and they had insurance. I should have the car back at the end of the week. In the meantime, I am driving a Buick Lucerne that the insurance company is paying for. I love this car...I wonder if they'll take my ole Bonneville instead and let me keep this beauty. LOL

Rylie is doing much better. She still has a head cold that just won't go away. She is using it to her full advantage though and getting away with murder with her father. The past 6 months of her sleeping in her own bed has been thrown out the window by her (insert sarcastic voice here) ever intelligent father. He's created this problem by allowing her to climb into bed with us and now expects me to rectify the situation. Of course, as usual, he allows her to do whatever and spoil her and then makes me be the bad guy and put my foot down to fix his "bleep"-up. Grrrr! I am more than a little annoyed with him at the moment.

Other than that...things are just peachy. LOL
Have a beautiful day.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homemade Glass Cleaner

Good Morning! I thought since I was making my own laundry detergent I would look for some other cleaning "recipes". Here are a few that I found for making your own glass cleaner.

Home Made Glass Cleaner
1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon vinegar
OR for non toxic glass cleaner you can try the following
one fourth cup vinegar to one quart of water (one tablespoon of corn starch is optional)
OR
one cup vinegar to five cups of water
OR
one eighth cup vinegar to one cup of water or
OR
one half cup vinegar to one gallon water.
OR
You can also do a mixture of one cup vinegar to one cup of water with a few drops of lemon juice mixed in.
OR
1/2 TSP Liquid Castile Soap, 2 C Water, 1/4 C White Vinegar, Essential Oils (optional)

Re-use your old spray bottle for your homemade cleaner.

BTW...It's the day before the night before Christmas and I'm being really, really good. LOL Any other ole farts out there that remember that song?

Well, I ended up taking Rylie to the ER yesterday. Her doctor isn't IN this week...grrrr. She was doing ok, but she went to take a drink of room temperature 7UP and within minutes she was tossing her cookies again. Except she didn't have anything in her tummy to toss. Poor baby.

I got worried that if she just kept throwing up and couldn't even keep liquids down that she would get dehydrated real quickly. She even started to throw up while they were doing the initial check of her vitals, but there was absolutely nothing in her tummy. First, the doctor gave her a dose of zofron and then gave her a popsicle to see if she could keep it down. If she hadn't, then they were talking about giving her an IV. Thank God she was able to eat that lil' green popsicle without puking. Basically, they diagnosed her with "acute gastritis", gave us a prescription for zofron (expensive chit!) and sent us home.

She slept almost all day. She was awake for little spurts here and there. She may have been awake for a grand total of 7 hours and that includes the 3 hours in the ER. Poor thing was just so lethargic, it was just pitiful and broke my heart to see her that way. Then about 8 pm, or so, I realized that she had only tinkled once all day long. She had drank a few sips of soda here and there, but I couldn't get her to drink much at all. Finally, I got her to drink a few more sips of soda and eat a popsicle and she peed a lil' bit.

If I can keep getting the liquids into her and keep her tinkling, keep her fever down and she doesn't throw up...we may be good. I hope. She has waited so long for Santa to come and visit, I just hope she gets over this quickly and is able to enjoy the day. Right now she is just miserable and I feel terrible for her. I'll be sitting there rocking her and she will start mumbling in her sleep and I know she is in pain and feels just awful and then I feel the tears welling up in my eyes. It's hard when your child feels so bad and there is nothing much you can do to help.

BTW...I wanted to post a picture of David when we first saw him, but my luck ran the same as usual. When we spotted him coming down the stairs...my camera battery was dead. So no picture. Aw well, at least he is home. He does still have some visual reminders of his "clinch drill" two weeks ago. A fading black eye. The clinch is when they had to go 4 one minute rounds with, I think it was berets or something. They could only defend themselves. Sheesh...the craziness they go through. But David is really loving it and talks well of the group of guys he is working with. Most of them anyway...you know there are always a few who thought it would be easy and they don't work as hard and end up getting the whole group in trouble.

But my baby is home and the whole family will be together for Christmas. (Hopefully, everyone will be healthy too.)
Well, I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to get back on here again, so I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Stay warm and safe.

Hugs!
Jill Marie

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Recipe

Hey, just got on quick found a tasty little recipe at BHG and gonna run back out of here. Rylie is really sick today and I want to keep a close eye on her. Fever, tossing her cookies, Doc say's just a stomach virus, but the poor thing is just miserable.

Almond Sweets
Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Almond Icing
Small multicolored decorative candies (optional)
Directions
1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture.
3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
5. When cookies are cool, spread with Almond Icing. If desired, sprinkle lightly with multicolored candies. Makes about 60 cookies.
6. Almond Icing: In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1 to 2 tablespoons milk to make icing of spreading consistency. If desired, tint with food coloring.
7. To store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store iced cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days. Freeze undecorated cookies for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, then decorate.



Have a good day and hopefully Baby girl will be feeling better tomorrow and I'll be able to spend more than a few minutes on here.

Have a great day and stay warm.

Jill Marie

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally, some good news

I've won something again. That makes it twice now that I've won something online. How cool! I can't remember ever winning anything before and now twice within the past 4 months. The other prize was the Wave Petunia's that should be arriving in a few months. Maybe the big Publishers prize is next for me. (((crossing fingers, knocking wood and throwing salt)))

Today I won a prize from the Disney Community. Just for posting my homemade gift recipes on their boards. It's a Tinker Bell DVD. Perfect because my girls and I love Tink! My nickname for my oldest daughter is stinkerbell. LOL Don't worry, Rylie has a nickname too. I call her Mimi because she is a mini-me.

Here's a link to the Disney Page announcing the winners if anyone is interested... http://family.go.com/community/secret-santa-giveaway/

Besides that the best news of all is that David is coming home tomorrow. As of now, his flight is due in to Detroit at 11:40 pm. Grrr, the weather and roads really stink right now. He is gonna try to see if they can change it around and get him directly into Toledo.
Have a good night.
Hugs!
Jill Marie

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Colds, coughs and asthma relief remedies

Here are a few home remedies you may find useful.

Cough relief-
Soak almonds overnight. Remove their skin. Make a paste of these almonds with little butter and sugar. Very useful for a dry cough.
Hot tea with lemon and raspberry jam, drink as much as possible
Drink hot milk with honey at bedtime for cough relief.

Asthma relief-
Express the juice from garlic. Mix 10 – 15 drops in warm water and take internally for asthma relief.
Drink a glass of 2/3 carrot juice, 1/3 spinach juice, 3 times a day .
Mix 1 tsp. honey with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and take it at night before going to bed.

Common Cold relief-
Garlic juice made by adding few drops of garlic oil to a teaspoonful of onion juice and diluting it in a cup of water is helpful for common cold.
Ginger tea or a teaspoonful of ginger juice taken with equal quantity of honey brings relief from common cold.
*(Found this one too...) For dry and stuffy nose, try normal saline or salt water nasal drops made by adding 1/4 teaspoon of table salt to about 4 ml lukewarm water. Make a fresh solution every few days keeping it in refrigerator. Use a clean dropper to instill 1 to 2 drops in each nostril about 3 to 4 times daily for common cold. (However, I cannot imagine putting cold drops in my nose. You can buy simple saline nose spray at the pharmacy, if you don't want to use cold drops.)
Recipe for a cold and flu soup-
Sauté 6 crushed cloves of garlic in 1 tsp. vegetable oil until golden. Pour in a quart of beef or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and whisk in 2 egg whites. Beat together 2 egg yolks and 2 Tbls. distilled white vinegar; pour this mixture into the soup. Season with salt and pepper and top with croutons, if desired.

Has anyone ever heard of a fella named Edgar Cayce? If not you may want to click on the link and read a bit about him. Apparently, he came up with many remedies and a lot of them work. I don't know where you would find a lot of the things that go into these remedies, perhaps a health food store or something like that. Here is a link to a recipe for a herbal cough syrup he came up with...Cayce Cough Syrup Recipe.

Well, I was writing a whole lot more, but decided this was not the appropriate place for that. I'll have to think that out elsewhere.
7 days to go.
Have a great day.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Cleaning Tip--Gum and a little something FREE

Good Morning. Just nine days until Christmas morning and for me, just 4 more days until David gets to come home from basic training for Christmas. I am so excited! I can't wait to see my little boy. In the meantime, I'm sure we all have lots of cleaning to do before the 25th arrives. What? You found gum stuck in the carpet? Here's a quick tip to help:

1) Place a bowl of ice over the gum and let sit till the gum becomes hard, take a hammer and hit the gum. It should break apart and come off the carpet.
2) I've used peanut butter to remove gum from hair...and I've read it works on the carpet too. Of course, then you will have to get the peanut butter out of the carpet. Better than gum I guess. Do I need to tell ya'll that I use the creamy peanut butter? LOL
3) When I was out of peanut butter one time (I know, how could a mommy not have peanut butter in the house?) I decided maybe it was the oil in the p.b. that got the gum out of hair. So I tried veggie oil and it worked! So try rubbing some of that into the gum and see if it comes out.
4) If the none of those tips work, try dry cleaners solvent, pour a small amount onto a rag and rub over the gum, it should come right out of the carpet.

Of course, if you've used anything, other than plain old ice, on the carpet you will want to be sure to clean it well afterwards.

Ya'll are waiting to hear about the FREE thing aren't ya? When is she gonna stop yapping and tell us how to get something for FREE? LOL I said a "little something" remember...it's not a real big deal.

It is MP3 downloads from Amazon. I collected my Pepsi Points and used them all on songs. I also signed up to receive the newsletter and right now they are doing something called the 25 Days of Christmas. Giving away a free song every day until Christmas. Today's free song is "Angels We Have Heard On High" by the Brian Setzer Orchestra. They also have a section that they keep all the time on their Special MP3 Deals page called Featured Free Songs. When you go to the page scroll all the way down and you will see the Free Songs section.

Have a terrific day and stay warm!
Jill Marie

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken recipes and I hope it's not true about bad luck coming in 3's

Good Morning! I was reading and found some yummy sounding recipes for chicken from Tyson. Of course, if you're like me...cheap, that is...you won't just use Tyson Chicken, but whatever you can find that is on sale.

CARMELIZED ONION & GARLIC CHICKEN
4 Tyson® Fresh Split Chicken Breasts with Ribs or 4 Tyson® IFF Chicken Half Breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray 12 x 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-low. Add onion and garlic. Cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until soft. Stir in sugar and vinegar until dissolved. Cook and stir 7 to 9 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat.
2. Wash hands. Place chicken, bone side down, in baking dish. Wash hands. Spread onion mixture evenly over chicken. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done (internal temp 180°F).

BROWN SUGAR-RUBBED CHICKEN

4 Tyson® Fresh Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or 4 Tyson® IFF Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts with Rib Meat
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chili powder

1. Preheat grill to medium-high. Combine sugar and spices in a resealable plastic bag. Wash hands. Add chicken to bag, one piece at a time, shaking to coat. Transfer to plate. Spray on both sides with nonstick cooking spray. Wash hands.
2. Grill chicken, turning frequently to avoid burning sugar, 10 to 12 minutes or until done (internal temp 170°F).

Serving Suggestion: Serve chicken with corn bread, coleslaw and barbecue sauce for dipping. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tip: To substitute Tyson Individually Fresh Frozen® Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, rinse off ice glaze and pat dry before placing in bag with spices and increase cooking time by about one-third.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with steamed broccoli and parsleyed potatoes. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tip: To substitute Tyson Individually Fresh Frozen® Chicken Half Breasts, simply rinse off ice glaze and increase cooking time by about one-third. Boneless, skinless breasts may also be used for this recipe.

CHICKEN BREAST SUPREME

4 Tyson® Fresh Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 tablespoons butter or 1-1/2 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons green onion, chopped or 3 tablespoons fresh chives
1/2 lemon, juice only
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1. Wash hands. Flatten chicken breasts to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wash hands.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet to high. Cook chicken 4 minutes per side or until done (internal temp 170°F). Remove chicken to serving platter; keep warm.
3. Add green onions, lemon juice, parsley and mustard to skillet; cook and stir 15 seconds. Add chicken broth and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter.

Serving Suggestion: Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with lemon wedges and sprigs of fresh parsley. Serve with wild rice or rice pilaf, sautéed yellow squash and steamed green beans. Refrigerate leftovers.

Let's see what else is going on around here? Oh, that's right. Yesterday I had to take Rylie to get her hair cut. Not that her father, or I, wanted her hair cut. However, when a 4 year old takes scissors off my desk and cuts her hair on her own...well, there wasn't much choice in the matter. Luckily, it wasn't too bad. The woman suggested we take about an inch and a half off the length and then blend the shorter areas in with it.

It looks nice actually. Rylie definitely has my hair, pin straight and extremely fine. This new cut seems to give her hair a wee bit of body. (Dang, my fingers are dyslexic this morning. I have to keep backspacing and fixing everything.)

I am just about done with all the Christmas shopping. I still have a few gifts to get for the exchange at my Mom's Christmas. However, that isn't until the 27th...so I may even wait to pick them up on the 26th...yes, I am cheap...so what? LOL

Let's see what else...oh, my car. As Rylie keeps saying "Poor Mommy, her car got hit." Yep, it was snowing on Friday evening and I went over to Samantha's house, parked my car in front and went shopping with her. We got back and my car had a big ole dent in the driver side door. Luckily for me, it was a driver with insurance. It was an older woman who had been at her son's house across the street. When she pulled out she hit my car. They knocked on Sammi's door but we weren't there so she told her son to have me call her.

I felt bad for her because she kept apologizing and saying what a stupid thing it was and all. Saturday morning she called back and let me know that the insurance company would give me a call. I talked to them and then took it to our car place and they told us how much it would be. Whew! Thank goodness she has insurance. I'm waiting to hear back from the insurance company about the claim and find out when I can take it in to get fixed. I hope it is soon, because it is a real pain to try to get that door opened.

So there is Rylie's hair...1st piece of bad luck. Then my car...number 2. I hope that old wives tale about bad luck coming in 3's isn't true.

Oh, Sugar Shack! I just realized that the notebook I've been using to keep track of Christmas gifts I've bought and recently mis-placed...is the one where I wrote the claim number! Dang! I've got to find that notebook. It has to be around here some where. I hope...

Well, I am off on a scavenger hunt, I guess. Have a great day!
Jill Marie

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home Remedy--Constipation

Good Morning here are a few remedies for constipation in adults and children.

Constipation (In adults)
Eat a few black licorice sticks.
Take apple pectin.
Make sure you're getting enough Folic Acid in your diet.
Drinking ginger tea will help start a bowel movement.
One tablespoonful of corn syrup added to 8oz of water.

Constipation (In Small Children)
Soak 6-8 raisins in hot water. When cool, crush well and strain. When given routinely even to little infants, it helps to regulate bowel movement.


I can't believe how much stores will charge for one of those cookie mixes in a jar. Anywhere from $7 to $15 dollars. Sheesh! You could just buy a jar at the dollar store and make your own and print out the instructions on your computer.

Supplies You Will Need:
1 Ball® Wide Mouth Quart Glass Preserving Jar
1 Ball® Collection Elite® Platinum Wide Mouth Lid with Band
Or any decorative Quart sized jar

Ingredients You Will Need:
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup minced candied orange peel
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Step 1, Getting Started:
Read all instructions before starting. Assemble all supplies and measure all ingredients.
Step 2, To Prepare Layered Mix-in-a-Jar:
1.) COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt. Place mixture into a quart jar. Firmly pack flour mixture in jar using a tamper. Combine candied orange peel and raisins and layer mixture over flour mixture, gently pressing to make an even layer. Place light brown sugar in jar and pack firmly with a tamper.
2.) STIR together granulated sugar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves until evenly blended. Layer sugar mixture in jar. Adjust cap. Makes base for one recipe of Orange-Raisin Ginger Cookies.

Instructions to Include with the Jar of mix:
To Prepare Orange-Raisin Ginger Cookies
Makes about 2-1/2 dozen cookies
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup mild flavored molasses
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar 1.) REMOVE mix from one quart jar, keeping layers separate. Beat butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar mixture until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer. Beat in egg and molasses.
2.) ADD remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until evenly combined. Form dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 2 hours.
3.) PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Remove dough from refrigerator. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll each cookie ball in granulated sugar to dust, optional. Place cookie dough on parchment lined baking sheet 2-inches apart. Bake at 350º F for 10 to 12 minutes


I also have a few drink recipes you can make. I've made the cafe au lait recipe in the past and given it as a gift and people really seemed to like it. I don't like coffee so I can't really tell you whether it's any good or not.

Cafe Au Lait Mix

Combine 6 oz, instant non-dairy creamer (1 1/2 cups), 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup instant coffee crystals, and dash of salt. Store in airtight container. Makes 2 cups mix.

Directions to pack with mix: For one serving, mix 1/4 cup mix with 2/3 cup boiling water.

Now I usually give these in a canning jar, or save some small jelly jars, add the directions and your ready to give!

Spiced Mocha Mix

2 cups sweetened cocoa mix
1/3 cup instant coffee crystals
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine cocoa mix, coffee, and cinnamon. Stir thoroughly. Store in airtight containers. Makes 2 1/4 cups mix.

Directions to pack with mix: For one serving, combine 3 Tablesppons mix with 2/3 cup boining water in a cup.

Hot Tea Mix

1- 9 oz jar orange flavor breakfast drink powder (1 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup iced tea mix with lemon and sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Store in airtight containers. Makes 2 cups mix.

Directions to pack with mix: For one serving, combine 2 tablesppons mix with 1 cup boiling water in a cup.

Hot Choco Coffee Mix

2/3 cup Granulated sugar
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/4 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/4 cup Instatnt coffee granules

Measure sugar into small bowl. Sift cocoa, cinnamon and coffee granules into sugar. Stir. Store in plastic bag or jar with tight fitting lid. Makes about 1 cup mix.

Directions to include: Heat 1 cup milk in large mug in microwave on high for about 2 minutes or until very hot. Add 1 1/2 Tbsp. mix. Stir. Serves 1.


Well, I hope someone found something useful here today. Have a great Thursday and remember just 2 weeks until Christmas!
Hugs!
Jill Marie

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Cleaning Tip--Shoo fly, shoo!

Anyone else ever have a little gnat problem? Those tiny boogers can be a real pain in the hiney to get rid of. Here are a few suggestions I found for ridding yourself of these uninvited houseguests.

Mix apple cider vinegar with baking soda, it makes a very intoxicating aroma, and if you set it on the counter for a day or two, all the gnats get in there and die! Be careful, as the baking soda will react with the vinegar and foam up, add very little at a time!

You can also try mixing 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 tablespoon Dawn dish detergent. The gnats will be drawn to this, eat and die.

Also, if you have a bottle of wine, leave about 1/4 inch left in the bottom. Then leave the bottle on your kitchen counter for a day or two. They are attracted to it, drink it and die! The bottom of your bottle will have a ton of dead gnats in it!


Ray's daughter, Aimee, told us recently that she was having a problem with them too. She was getting so annoyed with them and she had a bottle of Windex close by so she grabbed it and sprayed the nearest gnat. She said the little thing dropped to floor and kind of turned an ugly red and died.

I tried my generic window cleaner and it didn't seem to work as well as she said the Windex did. So I got to thinking the generic probably has more water than alcohol. Hm, so I poured some alcohol into an empty mini-bottle and tried that. Yep! Them little boogers dropped to the floor.

I still kept a tiny glass with cider vinegar in the kitchen and bathroom to attract the gnats. When I would see them all sitting on the edge of the glass I'd spray it with the alcohol and down they would go.

The gnats seem to be drawn to windows, mirrors and the television...all of which are usually brightly lit areas. So be sure to keep you Windex handy, but out of the reach of small children.

You can also put these clear sticky things up on your windows and mirrors if you'd like to. I found them at Wal-Mart. I can't remember what they are called, but I found it in the bug spray area. They come in a package of 3 and are clear plastic strips with a sticky side that has an aroma that attracts fly's. You just pull off the sticky covering and hang them on your windows or mirrors. They'll just pull right off when your done using them.

I kept one on the bathrooom mirror as I saw a lot of them in there. It got covered with those little boogers. Every morning I'd go in and take a "dead gnat count". I never did think of it at the time, but the gnats are really attracted to tomatoes. I wonder if I had put a dot of ketchup in the center of the sticky area, would I have gotten a lot more and more quickly?

By the way, yes you will get these nasty lil bugs if you have trash sitting around, or fruit sitting on the counter too long. However, they will also come in via your plants if you bring them in from outside at the end of the summer. I wasn't sure how I kept getting them and then I read that little bit of information and it all clicked. Apparently they get in the dirt and will just come in with your plants.

I found an article and video on how to get rid of gnats if they've made a home in your plants soil. You can check it out here How to get rid of gnats/eHow.

Have a happy Tuesday!
Jill Marie

Monday, December 8, 2008

I made it...

I almost forgot to tell ya, last night I finally got around to trying two of the homemade detergent recipes I posted last month. I gave the information in the post, Homemade soaps... and just hadn't gotten around to making it until last night. I made the dishwasher detergent and the second recipe for laundry detergent.

I ran the dishwasher last night and am pleased to report that the dishes came out just as clean as when I use store bought detergent. I made the laundry soap last night and am washing a load of clothes as we speak. I can tell you this, I used Ivory soap in my mix, and the detergent itself smells nice and fresh. Like...well...soap, lol. I also was able to make enough to fill 2 empty 78 oz laundry soap bottles, and then a wee bit more.

Ray is freaking out that I was going to use Borax and Super Washing soda in the dishwasher. "On our dishes? Isn't that like SOAP?" Uh...what did he think dishwasher detergent was? It's not like it doesn't get rinsed off. Duh...

So he is all worried about using soap/detergent in the dishwasher, but then he asked me if the laundry detergent I made would really get the clothes clean. Am I missing something here? He thinks this stuff is too harsh for our dishes, but won't clean the clothes... What did he think our great grandmothers used before they began making Tide and all the other stuff? My philosophy is that NEW does NOT always mean better.

Yeah, it may save me the 20 or so minutes a month to just buy the soaps. However, I'll gladly spend that 20 minutes every month to save the money I'd be spending on detergents at the store. Matter of fact...there's an idea. I should start a "Soap Jar". I'll put the money that I would have spent on detergents in there. Then when I need to buy some more borax, washing soda, or bar soap...I'll take the money out of the jar. I bet at the end of the year I have a pretty penny saved up. Yeah, I'm gonna have to do that. Let's see, I'll just take an average on what detergents cost. So, for laundry soap...say $5 for every 78 oz jug will go into my jar. For dishwasher detergent, I get the cheap stuff, so $2 for every container I make will go into the jar.

Oh...Momma is gonna get a new pair of shoes and then some, by the time next year rolls around. WooHoo!

Quick Dinner Recipes & a lil' something to think about

Good Morning! I found a bunch of less than 30 minute recipes on Better Homes and Gardens and picked a few to share with you this morning. I picked a hearty meal that Ray and most men would probably like and a few that just sounded interesting to me. I hope you find one that you might want to try too.

Potatoe Topped Beef Bowl
Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef
1 16-oz. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
1 8-oz. pkg. shredded cheddar cheese (2 cups)
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups instant mashed potato flakes
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions
1. Preheat broiler. In extra-large skillet brown beef over medium-high heat; drain off fat. Stir in frozen vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Stir in half the cheese, half the parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
2. Meanwhile, in large bowl combine 2 cups boiling water, potato flakes, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
3. Divide beef mixture among four 16-ounce broiler-safe dishes. Top with potatoes; sprinkle remaining cheese. Broil 3 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted. Drizzle with melted butter; sprinkle with remaining parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Flat Iron Steak with BBQ Beans
Ingredients
2 boneless beef shoulder top blade (flat iron) steaks, halved (1 to 1-1/4 lb.)
2 tsp. fajita seasoning
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup bottled barbecue sauce
2 to 3 tomatoes, sliced
Corn bread (optional)
Pickles jalapeño peppers (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with fajita seasoning. On greased grill pan, grill steaks 8 to 12 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees F) or 12 to 15 minutes for medium (160 degrees F).
2. Meanwhile, in medium microwave-safe bowl stir together beans and barbecue sauce. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microcook on high (100 percent power) for 3 minutes, stirring once.
3. Serve steaks with sliced tomatoes, beans and corn bread. Top with pickled jalapeño slices. Serves 4.

Maple-Glazed Chicken With Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients
1 1-lb. 8-oz. pkg. refrigerated mashed sweet potatoes
1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
2 tsp. steak grilling seasoning blend, such as Montreal
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sliced green onion (about 4)

Directions
1. Prepare sweet potatoes in microwave oven according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, lightly coat chicken with steak seasoning. Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken. Cook 5 to 6 minutes until no longer pink (170 degrees F), turning once halfway through cooking. Remove from skillet; cover and keep warm. Stir maple syrup into hot skillet; cook 2 minutes. Stir in green onions.
3. Divide chicken and potatoes among 4 plates. Drizzle with maple syrup mixture. Serves 4.

Balsamic Pork And Dumplings
Ingredients
1 16.9-oz. pkg. frozen potato-and-onion-filled pierogi (potato dumplings)
12 oz. green and/or wax beans, trimmed (3 cups)
1 1 lb. pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (optional)

Directions
1. Cook pierogi and beans in boiling water according to package directions. Drain pierogi and beans; divide among serving plates.
2. Meanwhile, slice pork into 1/2-inch thick medallions. Gently flatten pork slices by hand to 1/4-inch thickness; lightly sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pork. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until no pink remains. Transfer to serving plates with pierogi and beans.
3. Drain fat from skillet. Add balsamic vinegar to hot skillet. Cook, uncovered, 1 minute or until reduced by half. Drizzle over pork, pierogi, and beans. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary. Serves 4.


I got this mailing today from Daily OM. It sort of fit with a graphic I worked on this weekend so I'm including that picture with it.

December 8, 2008
The Joy Of Being
Celebrating The In-Between Times

While celebrations are intended to honor life’s more momentous occasions, much of real life tends to happen during the in-between times. While moving from one moment in time to the next is seldom considered a significant occurrence, it is during those in-between times that we are most in tune with life’s most profound, albeit simple joys. Between birth and death, triumph and sorrow, beginnings and endings, we enjoy innumerable experiences that often happen unnoticed. These times are just as worthy of celebration.

The in-between times are seldom about landmark moments. How you choose to celebrate them or which moments you choose to celebrate is up to you. You may want to celebrate the simple facts that you are alive and that every day is a chance to spend time with the people you care about or do the work that you love. Then again, when you look at the good that exists in your life, many reasons for celebrating the in-between times may become clear: a cup of your favorite tea, a beautiful sunrise, a good book, and the smell of fresh air can be reasons for celebration.

Celebrating the in-between times can be as easy as paying special attention to them when they do happen, rather than taking them for granted. It’s your focus of attention that can turn an in-between time into a celebration. You can also pay homage to the in-between times by slowing down and allowing yourself time to look around and allow your heart and mind to take in all of your life’s wonders. Far too often, we can let those simple moments of awe pass us by. The in-between times are when life happens to us between the pauses that we take to honor our milestones occasions. Without the in-between times, there would be no big moments to celebrate.
I think back to when my older children were young like Rylie and how much I missed out on by being so wrapped up in "just getting through the day". I was a young stressed out mother just trying to survive with 3 young children and (at that time) a husband who was gone more than anything else. I had someone once tell me that, even though I was married, I was basically living the same sort of life of a single mom. The husband often left the house in the morning and didn't come home until late at night. Of course, I was so naive, I didn't learn till much later that he wasn't always working.
So I remember those special moments, the celebrations. And I remember the sad times too. Repeated visits to the hospital (sometimes 3 times in the winter season) when Samantha's asthma became so bad she just couldn't breath. Losing family members. The highs and lows are pretty much ingrained on your being. It's those little moments, the daily things we take for granted. Things I wish I had taken the time to write down for the future (which is now the present). What quirky, loving or funny things (things that only happen once in a lifetime) did I lose along the way because I was too busy trying to survive and didn't take the time to cherish them in the moment?
I keep saying I need to go back and take tidbits from my online journals, things I've written about what Rylie did or said, and make a journal to print out. Things we can look back on and reminince about. I mean, let's be realistic, Rylie came along later in my life and it is highly possible that I may not be there to tell her children cute stories about their mommy. If I print out the stories I've written about her, about me and Ray, they will have some stories in my own words whether I'm here or not.
Perhaps, that is a new weekly entry I need to start doing. Like on Wednesdays or Fridays, whenever, I could write about some of the stuff Rylie did that week, or something. Then immediately after that print it out and start a little Journal file. I don't know. I know that I have a ton of stories fromt the old AOL journal that I need to track down and copy. That is part of the reason I was so worried about losing my entries, it would be a little like losing my diary.
Well, I guess I've rambled enough for one day.
Have a wonderful Monday!
Jill Marie

Friday, December 5, 2008

Child torture...read more to find out about it!

Good Morning and a very happy Friday to ya'll! Yesterday Rylie woke up early, I took a shower and we decided to get some Christmas shopping done. We went out about 10:o0 am, or maybe a bit earlier. We hit Kohls, to return a few things and pick up some others. Then we went to Gander Mountain, where I didn't find what I was looking for, blah. Dick's Sporting Good's was next, I found 1 of things I was looking for, but it was twice the price I was willing to pay. Then it was Target, where I didn't find what I was looking for, but did pick up a couple bed pillows and Rylie tried on some Christmas dresses. At Wal-Mart I finally found a few things I was looking for and at a decent price. (Sorry to the American workers, but we are on a budget here and those cheap prices really help us out.)

After paying at Wal-Mart we wandered over to the little Subway there and had lunch. I was pleased to see Rylie actually eat most of her sandwich. She is such a picky eater and even when she does eat it doesn't seem like enough to fill a mouse. (See lunch time photo's below. LOL)

Then we went to our last store, the new Burlington Coat Factory. I found several gifts there. Rylie tried on about 6 dresses there. She is such a girly girl, lol. She loves clothes and she loves to wear dresses. I need to get as many pictures of her at this stage as possible. I am sure there will come a day when she refuses to wear dresses. Right, Samantha? LOL

The dress she loved the best, and me too actually, is so pretty. It's a scary thing for me though as it is all cream colored. I keep picturing the first glass of red fruit punch going down the front of it. YIKES! What did I do? Well, I couldn't help it. She looked so pretty. Every time she went out of the dressing room, to look in the 3 way mirror, she would do a full spin to see how the dress looked when she twirled. LOL She is way to funny and predictable. You will never guess what the name on the tag of the dress is...too ironic considering who this dress is for. It's made by "Cinderella". How perfect is that?

Okay, here are some pictures of Rylie from our day.

Shopping

Let me explain a bit about the last picture. A few days ago I wrapped a few presents to put under the tree. I just love the way a tree looks with gifts under it. Well, I was smart enough to only wrap 2 for Rylie and only told her about the 1 wee box (the one you see in the picture). It's just a little $1 puzzle.

Well, that little box has been driving her nuts! She will sit next to the tree and look at it. Then she'll finally pick it up and shake it. Then the nagging begins, "Can I open this? Please, please! Just one. Pleeeeeeease Mom!" Ohmahgosh! LOL I just wanted to encourage that little thing called anticipation...I didn't even consider that even that one tiny box was way too much for a 4 year old to endure for 24 days. LOL We finally told her that if she was very, very good this week that she could open that 1 gift on Friday night. (Yeah, we caved. But hey, it's just a $1 puzzle.)

Well, after finally got home yesterday, around 3:30 pm...ohmahgoodness...did we really spend 5 and 1/2 hours shopping? Whew! Anyway, I was on the phone talking to Daddy and lil' Miss Rylie wandered over to the tree. Yep...adoring her wee gift again. Finally she picked it up and started shaking. LOL I really can't believe she hasn't figured out it was simply a puzzle. It's too funny to watch her face as she contemplates this little wrapped wonder.

I've got to buy more things that make noise when shaken. LOL Ohmahgosh! Did I just kind of admit to wanting to "torture" my child even more? There's no "kind of" about it! Yep...I do want to. LOL

Anyway...so there I am talking to her Daddy and watching her with the wee wrapped wonder whilst she ...did I just say whilst? LOL WHILE she shakes it trying to figure out what it is. Let me just say, that at this point the little box has been under the tree for 3 days and it looks like it's been there a few months. LOL So she's shaking the box, I'm smiling and shaking my head when suddenly she starts "petting" the box. It was too funny! She's just sitting there staring at this precious little box (remember, it's a dollar store puzzle) and petting it as lovingly as if it were her beloved little puppy.

I'm still talking to Daddy while I'm watching this lovable little joy of my life when suddenly I see her raise the box to her face. I think she even sniffed it (did I just mention something about a puppy?) and then suddenly I see her lick it several times! O-H-M-A-H-G-O-S-H!!! Did I just claim this strange little creature as the joy of my life? LOL Yeah...uh...that strange little bit of her personality comes from her fathers side.

Yep...I got me a gift shaker. A gift petter. Even a gift sniffer. But a gift...licker?! She continued to beg me to let her open the gift. I continued to nicely deny her. She finally feel asleep (on my grandma's rocker) holding her wee wrapped wonder. I think she was petting it until she finally feel asleep. LOL Oh, the embarrassing stories that will go with that picture as she grows up.

After dinner Rylie tried on her dress for Daddy and I decided it was time to take some pictures by the tree. I remembered a Photo Challenge and went online to read about it only to find out I had just about an hour to get it entered. I worked on a picture a bit and finally made an entry in my photo journal. It's here if anyone wants to take a peek: My Photo

I wasn't very pleased with the picture I chose or how it looked, so I ended up playing on the computer last night (till about 1:30 am) and got this picture done too.

2008 Christmas Postcard

I just like the way it looks much more. I like the profile of her face and the fact that she is looking directly at the tree and the way the glow of the lights reflect on her face and dress.

Well, later in our evening about 9 pm, or so, I felt bad about dragging that poor child around to all the stores. She came to me and crawled up in my lap and said her head hurt. I felt her forehead and sure enough, my baby is running a low grade fever. I gave her a couple acetaminophen for the pain and fever. Poor baby. I hope she isn't getting the flu.

She was still awake when I went to check on her at mid-night. Just laying there, looking all sad and pitiful, and just breaking my heart. It hadn't yet been quite 4 hours, but she was still in pain, so I gave her a half dose and prayed she could finally get a bit of sleep. I'm gonna go check on my wee one as soon as I get done with this entry. I don't want to wake her though because I'm sure she needs all the sleep she can get. I just pray she feels better today.

Have a good day and I hope you got a wee giggle today from my "gift licker".
Hugs!
Jill Marie

P.S.
I'm thinking about having postcards made with the picture of Rylie and the tree and sending them out as our Christmas cards. I'll have to go to Walgreens and see if they can do that.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Home Remedy--Conditioning Hair

Good Morning and Happy Thursday (Yea! it's almost Friday-Day). Here are a few tips for those who have dry and/or damaged hair.

Condition Hair

Use a can of beer to condition hair.

Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes. (Good to know if you ever get involved in a cool whip fight. I'd rather eat it that cover my hair with it.)

Mayonnaise will condition your hair; it will also (allegedly) kill lice. (Thank goodness I haven't had to try it for that second use...yet...knock wood. "thump-thump")

Olive oil or coconut oil are really good for conditioning extremely dry or damaged hair. You will want to use an amount that depends on how thin or thick your hair is and how dry it is. You can leave on your hair from 5-15 minutes and some people even leave the coconut oil on overnight.

A nourishing conditioner for dry or damaged hair which can be used for all hair types: Separate the white of an egg from the yolk, whip it to a peak. Add 1 Tbs. water to the yolk and blend until the mixture is creamy. Then mix the white and yolk together. Wet your hair with warm water, remove the excess moisture, and apply the mixture to your scalp with your fingertips. Massage gently until the froth is worked into your scalp, then rinse the hair with cool water. Keep applying the mixture until it is used up and then rinsed until all of the egg is washed away.

I have a friend that moved to Hawaii several years back. The wind, sun and salt water did a real number on her hair. Finally, someone told her to use olive oil to deep condition her hair. She said it worked wonders for her. Well, I have thin and really fine hair, but in the summer it gets really dry, so I tried it and it does work very well. I would just say that if you have hair like mine, you might want to do this the night before and just leave it on a few minutes. Then next morning shampoo your hair as usual. It does leave my hair a wee bit "oily" feeling and looking immediately after using it. (Duh Jill...it's OIL! lol)

I can't believe I have so much of my Christmas shopping done already. WhooHoo! Now it is mainly finding something for the boys (mine and the girls significant others) and stocking stuffers. Unless I decide what I got for the girls is all wrong...I'm thinking about doing a few returns...we'll see.

Well, I've got to get going. I want to get some things done before the wee one wakes up.
Have a blessed day!
Jill Marie

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday Cleaning Tips

Good Morning! Here are a few tips you may find useful.

Freshen Laundry Basket: Place a fabric softener sheet in the bottom of your laundry basket (remember to change it weekly.) You can also simply sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of your basket and that will help absorb the odors as well.

First, if you're trying to find ways to stretch the budget, cut your dryer sheets in half. Just half a sheet should provide you with the same static cling protection as a full sheet. There are so many uses for used fabric softeners so keep a little ziploc bag near the dryer and put them in there rather than throwing them away. Then you can just pull one out as you need it. Below are a few suggestions for using the used dryer sheets.

Pick up pet hair
Pet hair can get a pretty tenacious grip on furniture and clothing. But a used fabric softener sheet will suck that fur right off the fabric with a couple of swipes. Just toss the fuzzy wipe into the trash.

Lift burned-on casserole residue
Those sheets will soften more than fabric. The next time food gets burned onto your casserole dish, save the elbow grease. Instead fill the dish with hot water and toss in three or four used softener sheets. Soak overnight, remove the sheets, and you'll have no trouble washing away the residue. Be sure to rinse well.

Freshen drawers
There's no need to buy scented drawer-liner paper; give your dresser drawers a fresh-air fragrance by tucking a new dryer fabric softener sheet under existing drawer liners, or tape one to the back of each drawer.

Do away with static cling
You'll never be embarrassed by static cling again if you keep a used fabric softener sheet in your purse or dresser drawer. When faced with static, dampen the sheet and rub it over your pantyhose to put an end to clinging skirts.

Wipe soap scum from shower door
Tired of scrubbing scummy shower doors? It's easy to wipe the soap scum away with a used dryer fabric softener sheet.

Repel dust from electrical appliances
Because television and PC screens are electrically charged, they actually attract dust, making dusting them a never-ending chore, but not if you dust them with used dryer softener sheets. These sheets are designed to reduce static cling, so they remove the dust, and keep it from resettling for several days or more.

Do away with doggy odor
If your best friend comes in from the rain and smells like a ...well ...wet dog, wipe him down with a used dryer softener sheet, and he'll smell as fresh as a daisy.

Tame locker-room and sneaker smells
Deodorizing sneakers and gym bags calls for strong stuff. Tuck a new dryer fabric softener sheet into each sneaker and leave overnight to neutralize odors (just remember to pull them out before wearing the sneaks). Drop a dryer sheet into the bottom of a gym bag and leave it there until your nose lets you know it's time to renew it.

Prevent musty odors in suitcases
Place a single, unused dryer fabric softener sheet into an empty suitcase or other piece of luggage before storing. The bag will smell great the next time you use it.

Buff chrome to a brilliant shine
After chrome is cleaned, it can still look streaky and dull, but whether it's your toaster or your hubcaps, you can easily buff up the shine with a used dryer softener sheet.

Use as a safe mosquito repellent
For a safe mosquito repel-lent, look no farther than your laundry room. Save used dryer fabric softener sheets and pin or tie one to your clothing when you go outdoors to help repel mosquitoes.

Abolish tangled sewing thread
To put an end to tangled thread, keep an unused dryer fabric softener sheet in your sewing kit. After threading the needle, insert it into the sheet and pull all of the thread through to give it a nonstick coating.

There is so much going on in this country and across the world at this time and it sure does seem petty to be sitting here writing about recipes, cleaning tips, etc. My heart just isn't in this right now. Today I am thinking of a little 2 year old boy (Moshe Holtzberg) who watched as his mother and father were murdered in Mumbai. I think of this child screaming for his "mommy" and my heart breaks for him and all the children like him.

Perhaps I am just an idiot, but I do not understand all the flippin' violence in this world! How in the heck can a terriost attack be of benefit to ANYONE? Do people really believe that after they kill innocent people that others will say "Oh, it's all so clear now. I understand why they did that." Do they really believe they will influence others to believe the same as them by killing?!

So many of these senseless deaths are in the "name" of religion. Can you believe that? I can't! What sort of religion tells you to kill others that have a different belief or religion than yours? That's not religion! That is fanatical politics! Mindless idiots following the ideology of some psycho fanatic.

I don't care if you're an Israeli, Palestinian, Protestant, Catholic, Wiccan or if you pray to a freakin' Volkswagon Beetle...I do not believe that any God would want one person to kill another in His name. Life is a precious gift from God, not something to be taken lightly. I don't care what you're fighting for, there is no reason to resort to violence and murder. Without compassion we are nothing more than animals. Worse than that, because even an animal will only kill for substanance.

I am so disappointed in the human race and what we are willing to do to those who believe differently than ourselves. I pray that instead of being so disgusted and angry that I can learn to pity and pray for those who know nothing more than to attack and spread their vile hatred in these ignorant displays of violence and murder.

So for today I leave you with my wish for a peaceful life for little Moshe, and the families of the other victims. May they find strength in their religion, support from their communities and love throughout their life.

Jill Marie

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday morning recipe

Good Morning! I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and extra long weekend. Everything went well here except for the fact that I forgot...don't ask me how...to make mashed potatoes. I think the fact that Ray stepped into the kitchen to make sweet potatoes really threw me off my game. LOL Yeah, I'm gonna go with that excuse.

Not that it really mattered since there was so much food besides the forgotten mashed taters. We had so many leftovers it was ridiculous. We ate turkey all weekend and still have some left. There were enough desserts to feed a small army. Even though I sent some of the cookies and treats home with the kids, there were still a lot sitting here.

Okay, so time for another recipe/meal idea. This one is for Southern Fried Chicken and an Apple Pie Cake. Mm, sounds good.

SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN

Ingredients:
4-5 lbs. chicken parts
4 cups salt brine (recipe below)
1½ cups buttermilk
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground sage
1 cup flour (to dredge the chicken)
Oil or shortening to fill skillet ½ inch deep

Directions:
1. Make the salt brine by dissolving 1/2 cup salt in 4 cups of cold water.
2. Place chicken parts in a large glass bowl, add enough salt brine to cover, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight.
3. The next day, drain off the salt brine and add 1½ cups buttermilk to the bowl. Allow the chicken to soak in the buttermilk for a couple of hours (or until ready to cook) turning the chicken several times to make sure all the pieces get to soak.
4. To make the breading: Add salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and sage to 1 cup of flour.
5. In a very large, heavy skillet, add vegetable oil or shortening to ½ deep, and heat over a medium flame. Be careful of overheating or you'll burn the flour coating, but if the oil isn't hot enough it will soak into the coating (making it greasy). Test the temperature by dropping a pinch of flour into the hot oil. If it sizzles right away without smoking, it's perfect.
6. Dredge each piece of the buttermilk-coated chicken in the seasoned flour and place them skin side down in the skillet. Do not to crowd the pieces in the pan to achieve the best all-over crispiness.
7. Cover the pan with a loose fitting lid to vent some of the steam and cook to a deep golden brown (approx. 15 min.). Turn the chicken over with tongs and cook an additional 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Chicken is done if the juices run clear and there is no sign of pink near the bone.
8. Drain the cooked chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Serve on a warm platter.

Serve the chicken with some mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans and biscuits.

If you don't want to make mashed potatoes then Cheesy Hash Browns sound good to me. I love this dish.

CHEESY HASH BROWN POTATO CASSEROLE

Ingredients:
2 lbs. hash browns, defrosted
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
1 c. sour cream
2 c. grated sharp cheese (Colby or cheddar)

Directions:
Mix above ingredients and put in a 9"x13" pan.

TOPPING:
2 c. crushed corn flakes (can use Ritz crackers)
1/2 c. melted butter

Melt butter and add corn flakes to mix. Sprinkle topping over potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I don't do the butter and corn flakes though. I always take the bag of nearly empty chips that has just the crumbs in the bottom and pour them into a ziploc baggie. I save all the crumbs and use them on nearly every dish that calls for a crunchy topping.

Then you can follow the fried chicken dinner with this simple Apple dessert.

APPLE PIE CAKE

Ingredients:
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg -- slightly beaten
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups apples, peeled -- chopped
1/2 cup pecans -- chopped

Directions:
Thoroughly grease a 9-inch pie pan. Melt margarine, remove from heat, and blend with sugar and egg. Mix in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, apples, and pecans. Spread into pan.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.
Serves 8

So did ya'll go out and shop on Black Friday? I've never gotten up in the wee hours of the morning after Thanksgiving to go shopping...until this year. Unfortunately, I did not have a shopping buddy so I did not get any of those crazy good $ deals. I did, however, get a lot of my Christmas shopping done and picked up some really good things for Rylie.

I had gotten up at 5 AM on Thursday to start the Turkey, so I was a bit surprised when, without the aid of an alarm, I woke up at 4:30 AM Friday morning. I showered, got around and was at Wal-Mart just moments after they opened the doors. I got a few things and waited for nearly 45 minutes to check out.

I went to Kmart next as they were opening at 6 AM. I got there just about 10 minutes after they opened. However, I was too late to get the Princess Bed Tent that I was looking for. I did happen upon 2 women who had several of the tents in their cart as they were talking. I asked if they were planning to put one of the tents back and they said "No, is that what you were looking for?" I told them that the Princess Tent was the main reason for my trip to Kmart. As I was walking away they said "wait a minute" and then they gave me one of the tents and wished me a Merry Christmas. It was the highlight of my entire day. So a huge Thank You to my two unknown angels that morning.

All I can say is that if I ever go again...I'm taking two things. 1) A shopping buddy...a definate must have. And 2) A mini-van or some sort of big vehicle. LOL

I'll leave you with this thought this morning...

"To undertake is to achieve." — Emily Dickinson

Have a great week!
Jill Marie