Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday already?

My how time flies...I can't believe it is already Wednesday, much less the ninth of September. Did summer just get started? Well, it seems that way. Summer always goes much too quickly.

Well, today is soap day. Meaning I'm almost out of laundry detergent so I had to make a batch. If you are looking to save money, you should really try this. I can make about 4 to 6 batches (depending if I use any of the supplies for other cleaning projects) with one box of borax, one box of WASHING soda and a few bars of soap. AND each batch fills up 4 empty laundry bottles. The supplies cost me about the same price of one of the "name" brands of detergent. Hm, same price and I get tons more laundry detergent.

Here's the recipe I use:

Hot water
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar Soap (grated)

In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

You can also add some scent if you want to. I think I'm going to go to Michael's (craft supply store) and buy some of the scents they sell for making hand soap. That should work well. I've also heard that you can just add some essential oil to scent the detergent.

Well, I've got to run. I promised Rylie that I would have some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies for her when I pick her up from school. Usually I have a ton of "chips" in the freezer but all I have right now are butterscotch and white chocolate and she wasn't going for either one of those. My girl likes her

See ya later!
Jill Marie

Monday, August 24, 2009

My apologies...

It's been a long and busy summer and Rylie and I have been very busy. Okay, most days we woke up, put on our suits and headed for the pool. We also planted a vegetable garden and worked in the yard a bit.
Rylie lost one of her fillings and we had to make an emergency visit to the dentist. Usually she does pretty well but that day she just screamed and cried. We had to put her in the papoose (sp) because she was moving so much. That is just so pitiful, to see your baby in restraints like that.
Yep, it's been a busy summer, although nothing was as busy as the past 5 days, or so. Let's see, last Wednesday we had steak for dinner. A piece seemed to get stuck in my throat. I wasn't too worried because this has happened, in the past year or two every, every couple of months. Usually I just stand over the garbage disposal and let whatever slide up my thoat. Well, I did that...all night long. And all the next day. I couldn't even keep water down. Even if I sucked on an ice cube, it would take just a minute and I'd be gagging again.
I went to the clinic and the doctor said it was GERD (acid reflux). He gave me a presciption for a medication to stop me from throwing up. I'm not even going to say how I was suppose to take it, but I couldn't keep anything in my stomach so I'm sure you can guess. Then a half hour later I was suppose to take a Nexium. Well, I still felt "gaggy" so I waited an hour. I took the Nexium and up it came. I took it again and it popped back up to say hello. After the third attempt I just gave up.
Ray got home and took me to the ER since it had been 24 hours since I had been able to drink any water we were a little worried about dehydration. They took x-rays and said I would need to stay overnight and have a scope put down my esophegus the next morning. Well, Ray and I had some pretty BIG plans for the next day (Friday). The doctor called specialist and explained the situation and he said he and his nurse would come in that evening. So at about 10pm I was sedated and they popped this scope down my throat.
They found the impacted food and removed it. They also informed us (I don't remember, I was pretty high from the demerol and whatnot) that I have a hiatal hernia in my throat. Apparently that makes my thoat real narrow and I have to take very small bites and chew very thoroughly.
Friday morning arrived and Ray, Rylie and I got dressed and headed for the courthouse. We were getting married. We had our birth certificates, drivers licenses and I had my divorce papers. Unfortunately, I was missing one page...the one with the judge's signature. Oops!
Luckily, the clerk was able to call the county clerk in Wood County and verify that the divorce was finalized on Feb. 29, 1996. Yea! It was a go. So we went downstairs and met a very nice minister who married us on under a tree on the front lawn of the Lucas county courthouse.
Then today is the first day of kindergarten for Rylie. I am a bit worried about her. She doesn't eat much breakfast and she isn't used to getting up so early. I hope she is okay. I also feel a wee bit guilty because everyone said I was gonna be one of those mom's who cry. I didn't.
Instead I came home, cleaned the front bathroom, did two loads of laundry, cleaned Rylie's bedroom (thoroughly) and am sitting her catching up. I don't know, maybe it will hit me later. It's not like I don't care. I'm worried about how she will do, if she is hungry, if she is tired and whether or not she will make friends. I just haven't cried or had a breakdown like everyone predicted.

Here's a song for Rylie's big day. "Fireflies" sung by Faith Hill.

Before you met me I was a fairy princess
I caught frogs and called them prince
And made myself a queen
Before you knew me I'd traveled 'round the world
I slept in castles
And fell in love
Because I was taught to dream

I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top
To capture Tinker Bell
And they were just fireflies to the untrained eye
But I could always tell

I believe in fairy tales
And dreamer's dreams
Like bedsheet sails
I believe in Peter Pan
And miracles, and anything I can to get by
And fireflies

Before I grew up I saw you on a cloud
I could bless myself in your name
And pat you on your wings
Before I grew I heard you whisper so loud
life is hard and so is love
Child, believe in all these things

I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top
To capture Tinker Bell
they were just fireflies to the untrained eye
But I could always tell

I believe in fairy tales
And dreamer's dreams
Like bedsheet sails
And I believe in Peter Pan
And miracles, and anything I can to get by . . .
And fireflies
And fireflies . . .

Before you met me I was a fairy princess
I caught frogs and called them prince
And made myself a queen
Before you knew me I'd traveled 'round the world
AndI slept in castles
And fell in love
Because I was taught to dream

Well, have a great day and I promise to try to get back into the swing of things on here.
Jill Marie

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Home Remedy and my take on the final American Idol performances

Happy Thursday! I like Thursdays...they seem so cheerful to me. Especially when they come before a 3 day weekend. =)

Here is a home remedy for a cough with mucus:
Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1/2 tsp. each of ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon. Filter. Sweeten with 1 tsp. honey and drink.

Did anyone else watch American Idol? We did and I can't tell you how happy I am that Kris Allen won. I was really cheering for Danny Gokey, but I liked Kris too.

One Tuesday, their final performance, I was a wee bit ticked off with the final song. It was one that Kara DioGuardi (the new 4th judge) co-wrote. It seemed to be a song written just for Adam Lambert. Even Kara admitted that it had been written in a key too high for Kris. It appeared as though they had written a song perfect for Adam and made to help Kris fail. And oh how Kara glowed after watching Adam's performance of her cutesy little song. It wasn't too hard to see that she had written this with only Adam in mind. But Kris did his best and after almost 100 million votes he won American Idol.

I don't want to take anything away from Adam. He has a great voice and I think he'll do great on a big stage (Broadway). Kris and Adam are just two very different performers. You'd go see Adam if you wanted to see a huge performance, a big "show". If you want to feel like someone is singing to you, like your hanging with the guy...then you would go see Kris. Kris reminds me of someone like John Mayer, where Adam reminds me of...sorry, but I kept thinking this every time I saw him sing and I have to be honest, he really reminded me of a drag queen. You know, like he was putting on this really big show. While Kris just seemed more REAL and honest in his performances.

I'm sure I'll get more than a few hate-mails if any of the Adam fans find me here in my little blog. I really don't mean any disrespect by it, but that is honestly what I kept picturing in my mind when I would watch him sing. His performances were just so "showy" and that's what I would think of. Where Kris just seemed more authentic with his performance.

Yeah, I'll admit after watching many of Adams performances I would sit there and say "wow, what a show" and "that boy can really scream high". But when I would watch Kris sing it almost always touched me in some way and it always left a smile on my face. I think it would be really cool to see him perform live and watch him just sing on with his acustic guitar (maybe a few back up instruments). Kris has the ability to touch you with his voice without needing to scream and screetch or put on a big "show" and that is what I like about him the most. Plus, that lil' boy is cute too. LOL

Well, I hope ya'll have a happy and safe holiday weekend.
Jill Marie

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's all child's play...

Good morning. Yesterday was just way too busy and I didn't have time to get on the computer and make a post. So today I wanted to give ya'll those recipes for childrens activites that my neighbor gave me. These are for clay, paint and paste made right in your kitchen. The kids will have fun working on projects and helping make the art supplies too.


1 cup flour, Add cold water until water and flour is as thick as cream. Simmer and stir for 5 minutes. Add wintergreen for nice smell. Add food coloring for nice color. Store in refrigerator in airtight Jar.

Liquid starch and a little food coloring mixed together. Use a pastry brush ,or paint brush. Or Mix soap flakes and a little water to make paste. Add food coloring. Store in baby food Jars.

Mix 6 Tbsp, each of bluing, water and salt. Add: 1 Tbsp. ammonia. Mix well and slowly pour over 3 or 4 small rocks or coal in an old pie pan. Crystals start to grow very soon and continue to grow as long as liquid stays. You may add a few drops of food coloring to rocks.

3 cups flour 2 tsp. food coloring 3/4 cup salt 1/2 cup water
Sift flour and salt together Into a pan. Mix coloring and water and add gradually to flour and salt mixture. Knead as you would bread dough until mixture is smooth and easy to handle. When not In use, place in plastic bag and keep in cool place.

Mix flour and salt with a little water to make a paste like thick gravy. Add food coloring. Used best on shelf paper.
1 can shaving soap (non-mentholated). Mix powdered paint or food coloring for desired color. If soap begins to dry add a few drops of water or more soap. This paint cleans up easily with 9 paper towel and washes off clothes and hands easily.

2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and a few drops each of: oil of cloves
and food coloring, and water. Mix flour, salt and cloves. Add
food coloring to water and then add to flour and salt. Can be
stored In plsatlc bag for a month. Don't refrigerate.

1 handful of flour, add water (a little at a time). Mix until
gooey, It should be quite thick.

1 cup salt 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup water 2 Tbsp, food coloring Mix all ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl. Can be stored for weeks in a plastic bag or covered Jar in refrigerator.

In the top of a double boiler put:
1 cup salt, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 3/4 CUP cold water
This mixture will thicken quickly. Place on waxed paper to cool before making your project.

I apologize for any typo's. I scanned the paper and saved it to my computer. Unfortunately, the scanner didn't recognize some of the charaters and I had to try to catch them all and correct them.

I was in the kitchen making Rylie's breakfast yesterday when the doorbell rang. It was the FedEx lady. She had a nice little delivery for me. It was the Wave Petunia's I won in a contest last fall. I was so excited, I just couldn't wait to get them planted. I planted most of them in the middle of the yard around one of the water features (I'd really like to re-do that one) we have.

I'll have to take some pictures of the flowers once they take ahold and get busy growing. I am so excited about summer! On Monday I went and bought a few vegetable plants and put them in the garden...after I made it a wee bit bigger. LOL So from seeds I have 3 kinds of radishes, carrots, lettuce, green beans, spinach, cucumbers and onions. From the nursery I have zuchini, squash, watermelons, cantaloupe, banana peppers and habeneros. Mmm, I can't wait until it is time to start harvesting some of those goodies.

I'm off to finish some things and then hopefully enjoy a beautiful day.
Jill Marie

Monday, May 18, 2009

Baked Ziti

I was trying to figure out what recipe to share with ya'll today when I got an email from our neighbor with a recipe she had promised to send me.

* Salt
* 1 pound ziti
* 1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 6 ounces pesto
* 15 ounces ricotta cheese
* 1 (9-ounce) package washed spinach
* Butter, for baking dish
* 2 cups shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
* 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add ziti and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander.
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute turkey sausage. Add onion and garlic and saute until the sausage is cooked through. Use your spoon to break up the sausage while it cooks. Add the can of diced tomatoes and pesto and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the ricotta cheese, spinach, Parmesan and mozzarella to a large bowl, and stir to combine.
Butter a 4-quart baking dish, add the cooked pasta, then sausage mixture and cheese mixture. Top with a sprinkling of mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake until completely heated through and golden and crisp on top, about 20 minutes.

Sounds delicious to me. And...I have spinach planted in the garden so soon I'll be able to add FRESH spinach. Yum!
I also went and found a really simple recipe for those of you who have to work and need to put a dinner together quickly. Just add a veggie and/or a salad and some hot garlic bread or rolls and your ready to go.

1 box ziti noodles
1 jar spaghetti sauce
ricotta cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large oven safe dish, pour in the whole jar of spaghetti sauce. Add ricotta cheese, mixing as you go, until the mixture turns an orange kinda color. Meanwhile, cook the whole box of ziti noodles according to the instructions on the box. When they are cooked and drained, dump them into the dish with the spaghetti sauce/ricotta mix. Stir so all the noodles are covered with the sauce. Cover the whole mixture with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 350* F until mozzarella cheese is melted.

I often forget to buy garlic bread so I put some cheap dinner biscuits on the pan and lightly spray the tops with butter flavored cooking spray and shake a bit of garlic salt on them. It's a quick and easy way to flavor up the package of 33 cent dinner biscuits I get at Aldi's.

It looks like it is going to be a very nice day here ((keeping my fingers crossed)). I've got some laundry to do, a garden to check on (we had a freeze warning last night, ugh) and I might try to find the time to make some salt clay for Rylie today. The same neighbor who gave me the Ziti recipe sent me a page of homemade paint and clay recipes. I'll have to put some of them on here at some point.

Have a great day everyone!
Jill Marie

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cleaning Tip & Home Remedy

Good Morning! Since I was busy crying with pain last week, over my kidney stone, I've been spending most of this week trying to catch up on household chores. So here is the tip I should have posted on Tuesday.

Smelly Shoes: Simply fill a tube sock with kitty litter, baking soda, or tea leaves; tie the end closed; and place the filled socks in the shoes when you're not wearing them. These sachets can be used over and over in any kind of shoe.

And here are some home remedies for dealing with morning sickness. If you are a first time mommy you should know that morning sickness is just a "morning" thing. It can hit you any time of the day, or all day long.

Morning Sickness

Keep a snack by the bed to eat before you lift your head from the pillow in the morning. Then, get up slowly.

Make sure your stomach is never completely empty. Carry fruit, cheese and/or crackers around with you to nibble on throughout the day.

Mix 1 tsp. each fresh juice of mint and lime, and 1 Tbls. honey. Take 3 times a day.

Eat a high protein snack before bed at night.

Eat a diet high in carbohydrates and protein, low in fats.

Sniff a fresh lemon peel.

Avoid strong odors and stuffy or smoky rooms.

Suck a piece of peeled ginger root.

Drink red raspberry leaf, peppermint, squaw vine or spearmint tea.

Drink ginger tea made by boiling some ginger root in water. Strain it and add honey to sweeten.

Try taking your vitamins later in the day.

If you are vomiting a lot, try limiting your diet to a single food, one that you know you can tolerate. Add one additional food per day as you can tolerate them.

Everyone is different and what may work for one person may not work for someone else. The most important thing is to make sure your baby is getting enough nurishment. Be sure you discuss the morning sickness with your doctor. Let him know what you have tried and whether or not anything is working for you.

I hope ya'll have a great day. It looks like another gloomy and wet one here. Blah... =(

Jill Marie

Monday, May 11, 2009

Olive Garden Salad & Bread Sticks

Forgive my absence. I had to go to the doctor and ER last week. Another bout of kidney stones. I can't even begin to describe the pain and the pain meds make me loopier than usual. =)

Saturday my daughter, Samantha, took me out to lunch with her boyfriend and his mother. We went to Olive Garden. My main entree' was alright, but I still love the salad and bread sticks the best. I looked around online and found these recipes to share with ya'll today.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tbls. corn syrup
2 Tbls. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbls. Romano cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 Tbl. lemon juice

Olive Garden Salad Mix
1 bag American blend Dole Salad
4-5 slices red onion
4-6 Black olives
2-4 Banana peppers
1/2 cup croutons
1 small tomato, quartered
Freshy grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a blender or processor until well blended. If this is a little too tart for your personal taste, add a little sugar.

Olive Garden Breadsticks
1 Loaf unfrozen bread -- thaw in bowl at room temp
Garlic powder
Dry oregano leaf -- rub to a powder between fingers

When dough is soft enough to knead, spray your fingers with Pam or oil and knead just until you can shape into cigar-sized pieces (about 8 to 10). Place these 3" apart on Pam-sprayed cookie sheets. Let rise in warm place until doubled - about 1-1/2 hours. Then holding Pam (I use butter flavored Pam for this) about 8" from sticks, lightly spray top of each and then dust with garlic powder and oregano. Bake at 375 for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on rack to serve within a day or two.

Mothers Day was a really good day. Ray made me breakfast in bed...really! LOL It was a great start to the day. I had bought wooden picture frames about two weeks ago and had Rylie paint them for her grandma's, so we had those to give them. So that morning Rylie and I went to the nursery and bought a planter for both grandmothers.

Ray, Rylie and I spent the day working outside and whatnot. Then we took our mom's to Red Lobster for dinner. We only go there about once every 3 or 4 years so, of course, we made pigs of ourselves. It was delicious. I think, if I let him, Ray could eat two of the Ultimate Feasts all by himself. LOL

By the way, did anyone watch the Celebrity Apprentice? OMGosh...I could not have been more annoyed. When we first started watching the series I kept ignoring Ray and the smart alec comments he would make about Joan Rivers and her daughter, Melissa. However, several weeks ago that ol' hag Joan started showing her true colors and let me tell you, she is a very ugly person inside. I believe if you lifted up their shirts you'd see the umbilical cord which still has Melissa attached to her mommy.

Joan attacked another woman, Annie Duke (a famous poker player) week after week. All because she thought Annie had "betrayed" her daughter. Give it up's a flippin' game! I'm sorry, I never saw the scene where anyone swore allegiance to her precious lil' Melissa. What the heck? But apparently when you "betray" that old woman's daughter you better be prepared to be viciously attacked by an old vile mouthed plastic faced viper that wears a ton of make-up.

I guess I expected a little more class from an old woman like Joanie. For someone who thinks she is so much better than everyone else she behaved like pure trash! I'll just say this, I am a mother of four, I shop at Aldi's and live in a double wide and I believe I have more class in my little finger than ol' Joanie has in her entire body. Joan Rivers may have won the Celebrity Apprentice, but I'd give the award for grace and class under attack to Annie the poker player. Annie also appears to be a much better business person too.

Old Joanie was also infamous to attacking Clint Black, accusing him of being egotistical. OMG, is that calling the kettle black or what?! I don't think I've ever seen anyone as egotistical, nasty, vile, and sure of their superiority than old lady Rivers. Just my opinion.

Anyway, I'm hoping for a nice day here. I'd really like to get outside and work in the garden.

Have a good one!
Jill Marie

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bisquick Dinner Recipes

Good morning! When David, Sammi and Chris were small I used to make this first recipe a lot. It is one that is on the back of the Bisquick box. We'd top it with ketchup and mustard. Sometimes I'd even make some french fries to go with it. The Betty Crocker site has a lot more Bisquick recipes if you wanna check out some more.

Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in salt. Spread in pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.
3. In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with fork or wire whisk until blended. Pour into pie plate.
4. Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Impossibly Easy Taco Pie
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 package (1 ounce) Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix
1 can (4.5 ounces) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, drained
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
Old El Paso® salsa (any variety)
Sour cream, if desired

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Cook ground beef and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in seasoning mix (dry). Spoon into pie plate; top with chilies.
2. Stir milk, eggs and Bisquick mix until blended. Pour into pie plate.
3. Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 8 to 10 minutes longer. Cool 5 minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) Increase first bake time to about 28 minutes.

Special Touch-Top it like a taco! Pile slices of this zesty pie high with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions and sour cream.
Substitution-For a zippier flavor, chop a jalapeño chili and use it instead of the green chilies.

Quick Cheeseburger Bake
1 lb (at least 80%) lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 can (11 oz) condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1 cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 cup milk
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
3/4 cup water
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Generously grease rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Cook ground beef and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in soup, vegetables and milk.
2. Stir Bisquick mix and water in baking dish until moistened; spread evenly. Spread beef mixture over batter. Sprinkle with cheese.
3. Bake 30 minutes.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) No changes.

Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie
2 cups frozen veggies, thawed
1 cup cooked chicken, or 1 can chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Save Recipe

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix veggies, chicken and soup in a glass pie plate. In a separate bowl, mix the Bisquick, milk and egg. Pour batter on veggie mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

Of course, if you're on a tight budget, or just extremely cheap (like myself), you don't have to use the Bisquick brand. I use a generic baking mix, along with everything else generic, and it is just as good.

When Ray's oldest daughter lived with us, we liked making the Chicken Pot Pie. However, we were not crazy about all the veggies, so we just added corn and potatoes. Mmmm. After the second or third time of making it that way, Ray informed us that he didn't care for it. He always ate it though, he said by the time he got home he was just hungry and ate whatever was for dinner. I love the fact that we will just eat whatever I make with no complaints. So unlike our youngest, Rylie Jo, who will eat one thing this week and hate it next week.

By the way, I'd like to make a little product recommendation. Last week I bought a bottle of that stuff call "Cool Blue Agent", or something like that. It's made by Listerine. It has a cool little measure thing right at the top of the bottle. The kids just slowly squeeze the bottle and it measure exactly how much you need into the neck of the bottle. If they squeeze too much, the excess goes back into the bottle. The kids swish it around in their mouth for about 30 seconds and it will leave a blue stain on their teeth showing them where they really need to concentrate on brushing.

Rylie really enjoys using this stuff and now makes of point of remembering to brush her teeth. She will even go into the bathroom in the middle of the day to brush now, without my having to tell her to do it. I just have to count to 30 while she swishes the stuff in her mouth.

I don't know if this will work the same way for other kids (getting them to brush more often), but it's worth the $3 or $4 to give it a try.

I went to take a look at my garden the other day. I am so flippin' excited. It's been less than a week and I've got radishes popping up. I can't wait to get everything else planted. Mmmm, fresh veggies. My neighbor isn't doing a garden this year so she gave me some of her fresh oregano to put in my garden. I also have fresh chives growing out there. Wow, let me tell you, those chives are awesome and I don't have to do anything to keep them. They just keep coming up like crazy.

Well, I've got a lot of laundry and cleaning to do today, so have a wonderful day and I'll see ya later.
Jill Marie

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Home Remedy--Insect Bites

Well, spring is here and that means that soon we'll be spending more time outdoors and most of us will be getting bit or stung by some pesky insect or other.

Insect Bites
*Mix water with cornstarch into a paste and apply. This is effective in drawing out the poisons of most insect bites and is also an effective remedy for diaper rash.

Try to wear less perfumes as many insects will drawn to you by the scent. At our house we use rubbing alcohol to stop the itch of skeeter bites, but you should only do this before you start scratching. If you've already broken the skin and then put on the is really gonna burn.

Bee Stings
*Use meat tenderizer-Mix water with cornstarch into a paste and apply. This is effective in drawing out the poisons of most insect bites.
*Make a paste with crushed aspirin and water and apply liberally to the sting.
*When you get a bee sting spit in some dirt and make mud. Apply the mud for 15 minutes this helps bring the stinger quickly and helps the pain go away. Great idea to try if your away from home, camping, hiking or whatever.
*Sprinkle an alka-seltzer tablet with enough water to make it fizz and lay it directly on top of the sting. In a couple of minutes the pain should go away and the swelling should go down.
*If you have a cigarrete nearby break it open, wet the tobacco & apply directly onto bee sting, it relieves the pain and avoids swelling.

Another remedy, that I had never heard of, but read about, was to place childrens benadryl directly on the bee sting. Hmmm. Well, there is a lot of information out there. A lot of different remedies passed down from generation to generation.

If you have a remedy for bee stings, ways to keep bee's away, or skeeter remedies, etc., please leave a comment and let us know what your family finds most effective. Thanks!

Have a great day.
Jill Marie

Monday, April 27, 2009

Salsa Pizza Recipe

Good Monday Morning! I hope ya'll had as beautiful of a weekend as we did around here. Here's a tasty sounding pizza recipe from good ole Betty Crocker.

Salsa Pizza with Cheese Crust
1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/4 cups Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/4 cup mild salsa-flavor or jalapeño-flavor process cheese spread
1/4 cup hot water
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease large cookie sheet.
2. Cook beef in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain. Stir in salsa; remove from heat.
3. Stir Bisquick, cheese spread and hot water until soft dough forms. Turn dough onto surface dusted with Bisquick; roll in Bisquick to coat. Shape into ball; knead 5 times. Roll into 14-inch circle; place on cookie sheet.
4. Spread beef mixture over crust to within 2 inches of edge. Sprinkle with onions. Fold edge over till it meets the beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
5. Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Serve With-Garnish the pizza with chopped tomato and shredded lettuce.
Substitution-Use the jalapeño-flavor process cheese spread if you prefer a spicier crust.

Anyone else thinking the same thing as I was after reading that recipe? Like adding some cheese to the crust before folding it over? Or I also though about just making the crust, cutting it into squares and folding it over cut up pieces of string cheese, or some other yummy centers, baking and serving as appetizers or hor d'oeurves (sp). Along with some dipping sauce...Mmmm.

Well, as I already said, it was a beautiful weekend here and I made the most of it. I went and got some good top soil and cow manure and worked them into my vegetable garden. I also expanded the garden by about 4-5 feet. I may have to add some more footage though. Last year my garden was so crowded and I want to try planting even more this year. Having fresh veggies right outside our door was just wonderful. I can't wait to start planting and then harvesting. Yum!

Have a beautiful week!
Jill Marie

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Home remedies for heartburn

Good morning! Here are a few home remedies that may come in useful if you suffer from heartburn. Always keep in mind that frequent heartburn may be a sign of an ulcer and you may want to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

*Almonds- can relieve heartburn. Eat several almonds when heartburn symptoms persist *Lemons- can prevent heartburn. Cut a lemon into thin strips and dip in salt. Eat before meals to prevent heartburn.
*Lemon rind can also be eaten to prevent heartburn.
*1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 1/2 glass of water sipped during a meal. It may sound bizarre to ingest an acid when you have an acid problem but "there are good acids and bad acids.
*Drink a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water for immediate relief.

Well, I am back on the nicotine patch and going to give the quitting smoking another try. We'll see how this works out this time. Stress seems to be my big trigger for not being able to stick to the plan. Although, now that I am thinking about it...I wanna smoke. Grrr.

Okay, I've gotta get moving here. It looks like a lovely day outside and sitting here in my office is not my idea of fun on a nice day. LOL

Jill Marie

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday cleaning tip

Well, spring is upon us and if you're anything like me, that means the cleaning bug is going to hit you. When I clean I tend to move furniture and change everything around. Which means there will be flat spots on the carpet from heavy pieces of furniture. So here's a quick little tip to deal with those flat spots.

Smashed Down Carpet: To make the carpet stand back up after moving a piece of furniture, place an ice cube on the spot. As it melts, the piles will go back up.

Actually, the carpet in our home is at least 30 years old and it's pretty flat all over, lol. The only way to make it look only 25 years old is for me to steam clean the entire carpet. Which reminds me, it's about that time again.

The weather this week is suppose to be pretty yucky, so I might just clean the carpets and give the house a real good cleaning. Friday and Saturday it is suppose to be up in the 70's, so if I get the house good and clean I can play outside and not feel too guilty.

I had so much fun playing in the gardens last weekend. It was beautiful outside and I was able to get all the flower beds cleaned up and mulched. Samantha gave me some pavers and I used those to make a pathway through the garden. This weekend I'm hoping to get the vegetable garden prepped. I also want to put some stakes and chicken wire up for the beans and cukes to grow up on.

Just a few more weeks, some steady warm weather and I'll be able to start planting seeds. Yipee! Last year I the only thing I didn't have luck with was the lettuce seeds, so I don't think I'll try those again. I did buy some green bean and carrot seeds and am hoping I'll be able to get those to grow. I'll plant those along with the cukes, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and melons (they were mini melons and very yummy). And of course, I have to decide if I want to use some of the space for Rylie to grow her own pumpkins.

Well, I've got some laundry to finish up and cleaning to get started.
Have a great day!
Jill Marie

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easy Recipe for Chicken Quesadillas

This recipe seems easy enough. I found it at Simple and Delicious and the total prep and cook time is approx. 30 minutes. If your not thrilled with the idea of using "spicy" tomatoes, I'd try using regular diced tomatoes and a package of taco seasoning.

Ultimate Chicken Quesadillas
Cheesy quesadillas filled with a mixture of tender chicken and spicy tomatoes;

No-Stick Cooking Spray
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can (10 oz each) Ro*Tel Mexican Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice & Cilantro, undrained
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend

Spray large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add chicken and undrained tomatoes; cook 10 minutes or until chicken pieces are no longer pink in centers and liquid is evaporated, stirring frequently.
Spread chicken mixture evenly onto bottom half of each tortilla to within 1 inch of edge. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over chicken mixture on each tortilla. Fold each tortilla in half to cover filling.
Clean skillet. Spray with additional cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook quesadillas 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Cut into wedges to serve.

I also found this recipe at All Recipes for Churros if you want to make it a Mexican dinner night.


1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying
1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

I also found another recipe using a can of flaky rolls at RecipeZaar, click here Easy Churros, to check out that recipe.

I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday working in the yard. Getting the gardens cleaned out and ready for planting and putting a lot of mulch out. The weather was absolutely beautiful and, as a matter of fact, my back was even sunburned. I can't wait for it to warm up a wee bit more and stay there so I can begin planting flowers and veggies.

I'm so excited. I'm waiting for my petunias to arrive (I wrote about winning them last October) from entering an online contest. I wonder if I saved that email because it looks like I should be receiving another confirmation before they ship out the flowers.

The main thing I have left to do in the gardens, besides planting, is getting some more cow manure and top soil to mix into the vegetable garden. I also need to buy some stakes and chicken wire. I want to put the chicken wire up in the back of the garden for cucumber and beans to grow up. Last year I had vines growing all over the place and I want to see if it will be better growing up the wire.

I've never had any luck growing pumpkins, but maybe I'll give Rylie her own little patch so she can try growing her own pumpkin for Halloween. I think she'd really enjoy it. She's always wanting to help me in the yard with the gardens. She has her own little shovel and I have to keep a close eye on her or she'll just start digging my stuff up and say something like "look mom, I'm your helper." LOL

Well, have a great week.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cleaning shower doors

Morning ya'll! I hope this week finds everyone happy and healthy. Here are a few cleaning tips to try the next time you go in to tackle the job of cleaning the bathroom. Personally, I hate trying to clean the shower. We have a big garden tub so they gave us this little square shower in the corner. When I'm cleaning the door it is hanging open, over the carpet, and cleaning goo just drips all over the floor.

Of course, I could always stand inside the shower, with the door closed, to clean it. Except then I am stuck inside this 30" x 30" space with cleaning fumes. It is very claustrophobic and I cough continuously from the odor of the cleaning supplies. Ick! Besides, just one or two showers later and the door is all cloudy with gunk again. Anyway, here are some tips for trying to get those shower doors all sparkly clean.

To clean shower doors...

1)Try using Resolve® carpet cleaner on clear shower doors to remove soap scum. (I've heard this is suppose to work well.)

2) Make ammonia solution of 1/2 C. ammonia in 1 gal. water. Pour solution into a spray bottle. Spray the shower door. Use a sponge or stiff bristle brush to scrub. Rinse well.
Warning: Keep room well ventilated while working! Ammonia can irritate your skin, so wear gloves while cleaning with this solution. Ammonia and bleach form a toxic gas when mixed together. Do NOT mix the two cleaners!

3) Vinegar works well on soap scum, especially hot vinegar. Try heating up vinegar in the microwave, clean the microwave (as the vinegar will have loosened any stuck on food) and take the vinegar to the bathroom to clean the soap scum from the shower curtain and walls.

Don't forget, if you have a cleaning tip or a cleaning brand that works great for you, be sure to leave a comment and let everyone else know. Thanks!

BTW, I made a post, not too long ago, about cleaning your fridge with a half & half mixture of warm water and white vinegar. When Rylie and I cleaned out the fride a few weeks ago we used that mixture and it worked really great. I think it even helped with that "fridge" odor.

Have a great day.
Jill Marie

Monday, April 13, 2009

Some recipes from Pillsbury

Good Morning! Here are a few recipes from Pillsbury using their Grands Biscuits. Of course, if you're budget minded (cheap) like me, you'll just buy the cheap generic biscuits for 33 cents a container and use them in place of the Pillsbury brand.

Heck, in the first recipe I could get away with a real cheap dinner. Just 33 cents for the biscuits and the generic dogs for 79 cents and then add a bag of generic chips for 99 cents and I've got dinner done for just $2.11. LOL Okay, maybe I'll throw in a can of generic beans for 49 cents. Heck, I'm still under $3.

Grands Corn Dogs
1 (17.3-oz.) can Pillsbury® Grands!® Refrigerated Golden Corn Biscuits or 1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury® Grands!® Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits
8 teaspoons ketchup
8 teaspoons mustard
8 hot dogs

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Press or roll each to form 6 1/2-inch oval.
2. Spread each biscuit with 1 teaspoon ketchup and 1 teaspoon mustard. Place 1 hot dog in center of each biscuit. Roll dough around hot dog; seal ends and edges well. Place seam side down on greased cookie sheet.
3. Bake at 350°F. for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Pot Pies
1/2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion (1/2 medium)
3/4 cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ frozen mixed vegetables
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
3/4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Pillsbury® Grands!® Frozen Buttermilk Biscuits (from 25-oz bag)
2 teaspoons milk, if desired
1/2 teaspoon sesame seed, if desired

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Spray 8-inch skillet with cooking spray. Add ground beef and onion; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked. Drain.
2. Stir in frozen mixed vegetables, brown sugar, mustard, chili sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
3. Spoon beef mixture into 2 (1 1/2-cup) ungreased ovenproof bowls or ramekins. Top each with frozen biscuit. Brush each biscuit with milk; sprinkle with sesame seed.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until biscuits are deep golden brown.

Grands Biscuit Taco Cups
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 (15-oz.) can spicy chili beans, undrained
1 (1.25-oz.) pkg. Old El Paso® 40% Less-Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup water
1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury Grands!® Refrigerated Golden Corn or 1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury® Grands!® Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded lettuce, if desired
1/2 cup chopped tomato, if desired
1/2 cup sour cream, if desired
1/2 cup Old El Paso Salsa, if desired

Heat oven to 375F. Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.
Add chili beans, taco seasoning mix and water; mix well. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 10 minutes or until ground beef mixture is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, spray outside bottom and sides of 8 (6-oz.) custard cups lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Roll or pat each biscuit to form 4 1/2-inch round. Place rounds over outside of sprayed cups; press to fit over bottom and part way down sides of cups. Place cups, upside down, in ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.
Bake at 375F. for 14 to 16 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove pan from oven. Carefully remove biscuit cups from custard cups. Place biscuit cups, right side up, in same baking pan. Spoon beef mixture evenly into each cup.
Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and salsa. 8 taco cups

Meatball Bubble Biscuits
1 (12-oz) can Pillsbury Golden Layers Refrigerated Buttermilk or Flaky Biscuits (I bet Grands would work)
10 frozen cooked Italian meatballs (about 5-oz), thawed, each cut in half
2 (1-oz) sticks string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup marinara sauce

Heat oven to 375. Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Press each biscuit layer to form 3-inch round.

Place 1 meatball half, cut side up, and 1 string cheese piece in center of each dough round. Wrap dough around meatball and cheese, pressing edges to seal. Place seam side down in single layer in ungreased 8 or 9-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Remove from pan. Serve warm biscuits with warm marinara sauce for dipping. 20 servings

Cheesy Sausage Calzones
1/2 lb bulk Italian pork sausage
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 (10 ounce) can 95 biscuits) Pillsbury Grands
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375. In medium skillet, combine sausage, onions and bell pepper; cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Drain. Cool 10 minutes.

Separate dough into 5 biscuits. On ungreased large cookie sheet, press each biscuit to form 6-inch round. Top half of each biscuit round with sausage mixture and cheese to within 1/2 inch of edge. Fold dough over filling; press edges firmly with fork to seal.

Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm calzones with warm pasta sauce for dipping. 5 servings

Mini Pizza's

One can of Pillsbury Grands biscuits
Pizza or spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Any additional pizza toppings

Flatten Pillsbury Grands biscuits to the thickness of crust you desire. Add sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake at 400º F for approximately 12 minutes or until crust is brown, and cheese is melted. This is a great dish for kids to help with.

What, you want dessert too? Okay, open a package of biscuits, flatten one and add a dollop of pie filling. Fold it over and seal the edges. Drop into hot oil and cook until golden brown. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar when you take it out of the oil and...Viola! Individual pies.

Have a lovely Monday.
Jill Marie

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Home Remedy -- Headaches

Morning ya'll. Here are a few tips you can try to relieve a headache without medication.


*Eat 10-12 almonds, the equivalent of two aspirins, for a migraine headache. Almonds are far less likely to upset the stomach.
*Drinking two glasses of Gatorade® can relieve headache pain almost
immediately -- without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional "pain relievers."
*Hot OR Cold compress applied directly to the area of pain. I've read comments that say hot compress and I've read comments that say ice packs work to relieve pain. I'm going to guess that it depends on the person and what type of headache they have. I remember years ago, my doctor told me to alternate cold and hot compresses for my migraines.
*Drink lots of water. As much as possible, stick to the eight-glasses a day recommended amount of daily water intake. Water cools down the body and so when you feel a major headache, drink up to get rid of it. This relates to the tip to drink Gatorade. Dehydration will cause you to have a headache or hangover. Drinking 6 to 8, eight oz glasses of water a day may help you to avoid the headache and it is just good for you from everything I've heard.
*Watch a funny movie. Laughing is supposed to stimulate the release of serotonin and it is believed to relieve headaches.
*Tension is a major cause of a lot of headaches. Try to de-stress as much as possible. I usually find that my tension headaches start in the back of my neck and go up my head. Find someone to give you a gentle, but firm, shoulder and neck massage. If you've been sitting for a long period of time and feel a headache starting, get up and stretch your muscles a bit.

I've also read that a common problem for women is a headache that comes days before their period. This is usually felt as a pain directly behind the eyes. Some suggest that to get rid of this headache, women should eat foods that are rich in zinc, especially those that come from lean proteins such as lean meats.

I hope this week has treated everyone well. Sunday here is supposed to be sunny and with a high 53 degrees. That would be nice but I certainly won't hold my breath. With my luck it will be overcast, windy and bring a few snowflakes, lol. Oh well, we'll just wait and see. Although I do hope it is warm. Rylie loves to dress up in dress and it would be nice if it were warmer for that.

Speaking of Miss Rylie, she has a dentist appointment today so I better get off here and get some stuff done before I have to get her ready for that.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Scratches in wood surfaces

Scratches on Wood Surfaces

Take the meat from a pecan (for darker wood) or a walnut (for lighter wood) and break in half. Rub the meat of the nut across the scratch. There is a natural stain in the nut meat that fills in the scratch. Go in the direction of the scratch and try to stay within the scratch as the nut meat may darken the surrounding wood.

Eyebrow Pencil – Eyebrow pencil comes in many colors, and will often conceal small scratches. Match the color carefully, and follow the direction of the scratch.

Crayons – Children’s crayons can also be used to fill a scratch, if you have the right color. You have a bit more leeway with these, as they are wax, and can be removed if needed.

Shoe Dye or Shoe Polish – Shoe polish comes in a myriad of colors these days. Either the liquid, or the paste forms can be used to fill a scratch. If using liquid, use a fine brush to apply. If using the paste variety, a cotton swab can be useful.

Iodine – If you have mahogany woodwork or furniture, iodine often works well to hide scratches. For brown or cherry mahogany, use iodine that has turned dark. For lighter woods, such as maple you can dilute the iodine with an equal amount of denatured alcohol to cover scratches. In each case, paint the iodine carefully in the scratch with a fine brush and allow to dry. If it is too light, apply another coat. Always err on the side of lightness, as it is easy to darken an area further, but more difficult to lighten it!

If these don't work for you there are commercial products you may want to try. Stain pens, pencils, etc. Check with your local fix-it shop or Home Depot store.

Once you have darkened the scratch to match the surrounding wood, all you need to do is wax or polish the wood, and the scratch will be gone.

I've used the meat from a nut trick several times and it tends to do a pretty good job. Just be sure to wax or polish the wood. The table I used this trick on was used a lot and I needed to repeat, but then I hadn't waxed the spot either. Oops.

Well, I am 24 hours smoke free. Yea? Grrr. I crave it so badly. I'm proud to have made it this far even. But I just want to sit and have a smoke so much. I'm not even gonna try to guess how much junk I ate yesterday in trying to avoid running to the store to buy a pack of smokes. Instead I went to the store and bought peppermints, twizlers, peanuts, those mini jaw breakers and a big bag of wintergreen Life Savers.

I predict if I manage to quit smoking for good that I will weigh in at a hefty 200-something or other. Bllllppphhhhttt! Sorry, but as you may be able to tell, I am not in a very pleasant mood this morning. I want a CIGARETTE! Okay, done with my tantrum, lol.

Have a nice day...even if mine sucks and my body is screaming at me. =)
Jill Marie

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter desserts

I'm taking the easy way out today. Rather than posting some recipes, I'm giving some links to some Easter dessert recipes. I've chosen these sites because they give some cool recipes and have some great pictures showing you the finished product or how to cut the cake to look like a bunny.

The first site comes from with her Easter Bunny Cake.

Next is the Betty Crocker site with their Easter Bunny Cake.

Then I chose the All Recipe website with their page full of Easter Desserts. They have cakes, cupcakes and cookies.

I also found this website called Homemade Dessert Recipes with a lot of Homemade Easter Desserts. I'm going to try one of two from there. I love old recipes.

Saturday they had an Easter Egg hunt down at the community club house. I took Rylie and we went with another couple and their daughter, Rylies friend Caitlin. The girls had a lot of fun, even though they only found one egg each. Apparently, when they let the kids take off for the hunt, the older kids ran through the little kids area and snatched up a lot of their eggs.

So Chris, Caitlins mom, and I decided to have our own little hunt. We bought some little plastic eggs and filled them with treats. Then we hid them in the yard. We told the girls that the Easter Bunny had been going down the street and when he heard they only got one egg each he hid some more eggs. The girls had so much fun.

Of course, on the way home Rylie turned to me and said "The Easter Bunny hopped down the street and left us more eggs? Mom, you left them eggs." I knew she had seen the eggs in that white store bag. So I told her that Chris and I had a few eggs for them, but the Bunny saw us and left a lot more eggs for them. She seemed satisfied with that answer.

I hate to admit it, but I'm really not in the mood to do the big holiday dinner this year. It is such a huge chore for me do all by myself. Everyone else gets to sit around, munch on appetizers or goodies and visit with each other, while I'm busy in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning up by myself.

It's hard because I really enjoy having the whole family together, but it is so much work, a bit expensive and I don't feel like I really get a chance to enjoy it. At least, not until I've spent several hours cooking and prepping, then another 30-45 minutes cleaning up after everyone. Then a lot of the time, the kids have to leave to go to another parents house for dinner before I even get out of the kitchen.

Maybe it is just all the family drama that has gone on this year that has me feeling like not doing it. I don't know, maybe I'm just a burnt out and I'll feel more like doing something the next time a holiday comes up.

I've tried to explain the religous meaning behind this holiday to Rylie but it's a bit hard. She just looked at me like I was making no sense at all. Then she asked me about the Bunny and what kind of things he was going to bring her. Perhaps, the fact that we've gotten so far away from the true meaning of Easter has a bit to do with my lack of desire to host a family dinner. I don't really know, perhaps I think I'm just in a wee bit of a blue mood currently.

Maybe I'll just do a small little dinner for Ray, Rylie and myself. I've already gotten some things to do baskets for Ray and Rylie on Easter morning. I think a nice quiet day for the 3 of us sounds just perfect. Then we can do whatever we want that day without having to worry about entertaining other people. Or cleaning up the house before and after a big get together. Sounds perfect to me.

Have a blessed week.
Jill Marie

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Home Remedies--Hay Fever

Well, spring is quickly approaching so this is a good time to post this information about hay fever.

Hay Fever
Hay Fever also known as nasal allergies, pollinosis or seasonal allergic rhinitis is a collection of symptoms. Hay fever is an allergy to dust, pollen or dander in the air. It mainly causes allergy to the eyes and nose. Hay fever is seasonal; however it can last throughout the year if the allergens are present in the air throughout the year. Spring and fall are the two main seasons for hay fever.

Hay Fever Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of hay fever are as follows Coughing, Headache, Itching of nose, mouth, eyes, throat, ear and skin, Red and watery eyes, Runny and stuffy nose, Impaired smell, Sneezing, Sore throat, Wheezing, Fatigue and trouble in sleeping

Home Remedies for Hay Fever
*Steep 1 tsp. fenugreek seed in 1 cup water, covered, for 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup a day to help hay fever symptoms.
*Freeze-dried nettle capsules (Nettle tea also works) Nettle is a blood-cleanser. Similar results may also be found with Chinese Scullcap.
*Add some honey to boiled minced grapefruit and lemon. Have this solution three times a day.
*To stop irritation in your nose, apply little petroleum jelly inside your nose.
*Boil chamomile in water and inhale fumes from the water.
*To "cure" hay fever...from what I've heard...take a tablespoon of LOCAL honey every morning and evening. I heard this second hand and after doing this for 2-3 years someone "cured" their hay fever.

Other Suggestions for Hay Fever
*Avoid going out early in the morning or late in the evening. At this time pollen count in air is comparatively more.
*Avoid using nasal spray continuously for three days. It may increase congestion of nose.
*Avoid smoking and air pollutants.
*After being outside for a long time during the day, wash your hair to avoid inhaling pollen that falls from your hair onto your pillow.
*Wind-dried clothes can become pollen catchers, put clothes in a dryer, or hang them inside to dry, to keep them pollen-free.
*Keep your house and car windows closed and your air conditioner on during spring, summer and fall months. If you don't want cooled air, at least flip on the fan setting. The fan will filter out the offending pollen. During the pollen season, you should clean your air conditioner filter approximately once a month.

A local furniture is having a 5 day sale this week. Rylie's mattress is shot so I'm heading over to the store today to get her a new one. They advertised twin size mattresses for $69. Sounds like a deal (dang near a steal) to me. I got her mattress from a friend nearly 15 years ago when the ex and I first separated. It was a hand-me-down mattress so I don't know exactly how old it is. However, it feels like it is at least 30 years old. One of those mattresses where you can feel every flippin' spring in it.

I'm sure that a $69 mattress isn't going to be the best, but as long as it last for another 10-13 years, I'll be happy. I just wish I had the money to shop for new living room furniture too. Ours is a mish-mash of hand me down stuff. Nothing matches and most of it looks like it's about to fall apart.

I've also got my grandmothers old dining room table. It has 4 leaves that can be put in to make it much bigger. But it really needs to be refinished and I have to find a little wheel for the center leg. I'm hoping to get that table refinished and fixed when Rylie starts school in August this year.

Well, I guess it's about that time. I want to get some things done around here before her Highness, Rylie Jo, wakes up.
Have a beautiful day.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cleaning Tip--How To Get Rid Of Roaches

Well, I've never had a problem with roaches (((knock wood))) and I hope I never do. However, here is a tip I found for getting rid of the pesky lil' boogers.

Roach Problem: Combine equal parts boric acid (a powder sold in hardware stores and drugstores) and sugar, mix well. Sprinkle in crevices and, if building or remodeling, between walls before putting up plaster board. Put the powder in jar lids; place lids behind the fridge and under sinks. CAUTION: Keep mixture away from children and pets. If ingested in large quantities, or even in small amounts over several days, boric acid can be harmful.

I read that and thought "there has got to be more information than just that". So I went online and found a great article on WikiHow, Get Rid of Roaches. The article gives several more options on ways to get rid of roaches and how to keep them away. There is even a chemical free way to kill the roaches, although it will not get the ones you don't see.

Have a great day!
Jill Marie

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Morning Recipes

Well, this past weekend I was wandering around the big ole Internet and found a few recipes that I want to try and thought I would share them with you. The first is a salad recipe from Kraft and the other two are lemon dessert recipes, one from Nestle and the other from Betty Crocker.

6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup matchstick-cut or shredded carrots
1/2 cup KRAFT Light Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3 slices OSCAR MAYER Center Cut Bacon, cooked, crumbled

TOSS lettuce with broccoli, carrots and dressing.
TOP with cheese and bacon.
Shortcut--A 10-oz. pkg. of torn romaine lettuce will yield 6 cups-- just what you need to make this flavorful salad.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (about 1 lemon - reserve lemon for later use)
LEMON SYRUP (recipe follows)

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 8 x 4-inch baking pan.
COMBINE flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Beat eggs, evaporated milk, oil and lemon zest together in medium bowl. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Using the skewer, poke numerous holes in the hot bread, piercing all the way to the bottom. Slowly drizzle the hot Lemon Syrup over the bread (Syrup will soak into the bread). Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes; run knife around edge of bread. Remove bread to wire rack to cool completely.
COMBINE 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 lemon) in small, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and a light syrup is formed.

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow or lemon cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
3/4 cup Betty Crocker® Whipped vanilla frosting (from 12-oz container)
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1 container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped butter cream frosting
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Betty Crocker® star decors OR sprinkles OR decorations of your choice

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes, using water, oil and eggs. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
2. By slowly spinning end of round handle of wooden spoon back and forth, make deep, 3/4-inch-wide indentation in center of top of each cupcake, not quite to bottom (wiggle end of spoon in cupcake to make opening large enough). 3. In small bowl, mix filling ingredients. Spoon into small resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut 3/8-inch tip off one bottom corner of bag. Insert tip of bag into opening in each cupcake; squeeze bag to fill opening.
4. In medium bowl, stir together 1 container butter cream frosting, the lemon peel and lemon juice. Frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with stars or other decorations.

Have a beautiful week. (((crossing fingers for spring-like weather)))
Jill Marie

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Home Health Remedy for hangovers and more pictures

Happy Thursday! One more day until the weekend...yippee skippy. LOL

Hang Over
Eat honey on crackers. The fructose in the honey will help to flush out the alcohol in your system.

*We use to eat something like a peanut butter sandwich before going to bed. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids the next day as part of the problem may be dehydration.

Well, let's see how this works today. I decided to just upload pictures to Flickr and then post them on here. That way I only had to wait once for all the pictures to upload rather than waiting for each one to upload on Blogger.

The speaker at the graduation ceremony started off by telling us that the new secret weapon of the Army wasn't any gun or tank. It was the soldiers, our sons. Then you could hear gun fire and tanks starting up. 100_1180 This is a picture after a tank had come zooming from our left and one had come from the other end of the stands to the right. They criss-crossed in the middle and the show began. When the tank stopped about 9 boys came out of the back of it. (There is actually only room for about 4 people back there) David was one of the first ones to come out. He was a part of this group that was called the Super Squad. It was so exciting to see him in action. 100_1182 (My child is the 4th from the left in this picture)
And I must confess, a bit scary too. was terribly frightening to see my child in full combat gear with a huge ole gun in his hands. The same hands that use to sit and patiently draw such exact and well defined pictures when he was only 3 or 4 years old.
So all these soldiers were walking towards us and stopped right in front of us. Luckily, David had told us where to sit the day before and we got some really good pictures. 100_1187
Yep, that's my little boy. And yes...I was standing there crying and crying. I can't explain the wide range of emotions I was feeling. And the fear of what may come. Not just for David, but for all those young men standing before us. It was really an overwhelming moment for me.100_1191 When the speaker got done explaining what responsibilities each soldier had and about his weapon they all backed up into this formation and then they started back to the tank in groups of 2 or 3. It was such a neat thing to see.
After this the platoons marched in and there was a lot more that the speaker talked about and the inspection of the troops. I don't remember a lot of it because my mind was wandering a bit. I had so many thoughts going through my head.
100_1209 These are the troops as they walked around the field past the grand stands. This was the last graduation ceremony to be held at Sand Hill. There was a Museum built and from now on all the graduations will be held there.

After we left Fort Benning we went up to Gretna to stop for a visit with Ray's brother, Tom, and his wife, Jeni. It was a great visit and we got to see the new house they bought a few years ago.
100_1230 This is a view of the sunset from their back deck, just off the kitchen. Isn't it beautiful?

We left on Sunday afternoon to head for home. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn somewhere, or something, and ended up going through the mountains rather than around them. That put us 60 miles out of our way. Although we did get to see some pretty scenery.100_1251 It was really beautiful and so unlike the flat landscape of Northwest Ohio. Except instead of getting home around 10pm we got in about a quarter after 12.

Well, I need to get busy around here. Today is Rylies 5th birthday. We are taking her and her little friend, Caitlin, to dinner at Chuck E. Cheese tonight. She is so excited. I hope she is not too disappointed in her birthday gift. A few outfits for the warmer weather and a CD.

Have a beautiful day.
Jill Marie

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More pictures from our trip to Fort Benning

So when the blues ceremony was done, we were able to take David for the afternoon. The original schedule had been that we were to have him back by 9 pm. However, the married couples had an orientation that lasted an hour so they decided that we should have the boys back by 8 pm. I guess since the married soldiers were losing an hour of free time they decided that the single soldiers should miss out on an hour too. Although we later found out that their Sgt. had told the boys they had to be back by 9 pm.

David was just thrilled to be riding in a car where he wasn't bouncing around in the back of a vehicle with a bunch of other boys. We left the base and went to eat lunch at a Golden Corral. We had the best waitress there, she was so friendly and really fun.

After that we headed back to the hotel. We wanted to give David and Jill a chance to talk and catch up...some alone time. The night before we had seen this huge house from the balcony of our hotel room, so Ray, Rylie and I decided to take a walk over there and check it out. The picture is the front of the house, which has been turned into an antique shop. It was absolutely beautiful, both inside and out. It was built in 1884 for a family and at one point was a home for wayward girls and was also a funeral home at some point in time.

This place was huge and just filled with antiques and some newer items too.

This is a picture of the intricate carvings just inside the front door of the house.

This is the ceiling of the dining room. Yeah, I can't see my brood eating in a room like that. LOL I can see it now, we'd have grand kids trying to climb those beautiful cases that line the back wall.

This is a close up of one of the doors on the shelves in the dining room. They are all lead glass. Are they just beautiful? Just imagine...those have been there for over a hundred years and they are still absolutely gorgeous.

Rylie standing next to a fireplace that was in one of the bathrooms.

This is a view of the house from the side. I believe the women at the store said that little sun room was added later. "Little" sun room, lol. There was nothing little about this house.

After we toured the home/antique shop and Jill & David had a wee bit of alone time, we went driving around. We checked out a big Army supply store called Ranger Joe's, the new museum just outside the gates of the base and the big PX which is inside a little mall.

At Ranger Joe's, Rylie decided that she just had to have an Army outfit like her big brother. Well, the fatigue jacket and pants were $35 and the hat was $10. So we got her this little outfit (tee shirt, fatigue shorts and hat) all for $30. She really liked it until she looked in the mirror and said "I look dumb", then she wanted to change back to her other clothes. So that look on her face is not her "soldier girl" face. No it's more like "I hate this outfit and my mom won't let me change clothes". LOL She kept throwing the hat on the ground until a few people mentioned the cute little soldier. Then she put the hat on every time we got out of the car, just like her big brother did.

Oh, we also bought Rylie a set of dog tags. They say:
Blossom, Rylie
Rank: Princess

This uploading of pictures is taking way too long, so I'll post pictures of the final graduation tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cleaning the refrigerator

Good morning! Before I go into the trip or post any pictures I want to give ya'll these tips for cleaning your refrigerator.

Cleaning A Refrigerator

*Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

*Or you can make a cleaning solution of 1/4 cup baking soda to 1 quart of warm water. Baking soda is a great sanitizer, brightener, and odor remover. You do not need to rinse off the baking soda unless you've used enough to leave a residue. Then you may wish to wipe it off with a clean, damp rag.

If you're going to deep clean on your refrigerator, you will want to remove all items making sure to either store perishables in another refrigerator or in a cooler, and place similar products together on your counter.

Remove all shelves and drawers, and them in the bathtub. Use your cleaning solution of choice or hot soapy water to wash down the inside of the refrigerator. If you use the soapy water mixture, you will need to wipe it off with a clean, damp towel to remove all traces of soap.

Give the drawers and shelves a scrubbing with a stiff brush or plastic scrubby, rinse well, shake off excess water, and dry. Then put them back and replace the food items.

If you use ice trays this is a good time to give them a good cleaning too. After having cleaned the inside of your refrigerator, be sure to wipe all jars, bottles, cans and other containers with a paper towel or clean cloth before putting them back. Rinse and wipe fresh fruits and vegetables before replacing. Line the drawers with paper towels for easier cleanup.
The trip down to Fort Benning was a long one but so very worth it. We got to Columbus, Georgia at about 10:30 PM on Wednesday night. Rylie has gotten car sick on trips that were over an hour long so I asked the pharmacist what I could give her to help with it. He recommended Benadryl. Apparently the ingredient in it helps with motion sickness.
Between the boredom of the car ride and the benadryl, Rylie slept a lot of the time. She was really well behaved for such a long trip.

We got up early and went to Fort Benning for the "Blues Ceremony" on Thursday. David looked so good standing there in his platoon. I don't think I've ever seen my son's face looking so chiseled and grown-up.
David is in the second row from the left and the 3rd one from the front. That fella with the olive green hat is drill Sgt. Cook. David really admired Sgt. Cook. I think he wants to be just like Sgt. Cook when he grows up. :)

They talked a bit about the boys and what they had done and what the Blue shoulder ribbon means. I didn't hear most of it, lol. I was too busy looking at my little boy who had been turned into this soldier. Then they gave us five minutes to walk down, put their ribbon on, talk to our son's and get a few pictures.

Rylie was so excited to see her big brother, I thought she was gonna choke him and then you know the Army would be after us for wounding their "property". LOL

And of course, Jill couldn't wait to get her arms wrapped around her fiance. Doesn't she just look so happy?

The proud Mom and her baby boy. LOL

David in the middle with his buddies Fording and Jones. I'd tell you their first names, if I knew them, but they all just call each other by their last names or nicknames.

And this is David with Sgt. Cook. These guys look so good in their uniforms. They told us at the orientation meeting that morning that our sons would be different than when they went there and they were right. Not just their physical appearance but we had sent our boys to basic training and they were sending back these men. I can't put my finger on any one thing but I can sense it, ya know?

I'll be back tomorrow to post some more pictures from the graduation ceremony on Friday. It was such an awesome thing to see.

Have a wonderful day.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tip for unsticking photographs

Here's a quickie before I get going.

I'm sure we've all done it. Found some old photographs that have become stuck to each other, and of course, at least one of them is the front of the photo. So you try to ever so gently peel them apart and rip the face off of ole uncle Bob and your left with a white patch where his face used to be.

Try the hair dryer. Use it to slowly heat the sticky up and then ever so gently try to peel them apart. I can't guarantee it will work, but it is definitely worth a try. Good Luck.

Well, I have lots to do, so have a great week and I'll see you next week.
Jill Marie

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dessert Recipe

Good morning! I had gotten this recipe a few weeks ago and kept forgetting to post it. Of course, now I forget where I found this one but nevermind, it sounds really yummy. Mom used to make apple crisp and it was so good, I hope this comes close to hers.

French Apple Dessert

Streusel Topping
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons firm butter or margarine

6 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (4 to 6 medium)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup Original Bisquick® mix
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs

Ice cream or whipped cream, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with shortening or cooking spray. In small bowl, mix 1 cup Bisquick mix, the nuts and brown sugar. Cut in 3 tablespoons firm butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture is crumbly; set aside.
2. Spread apples in baking dish. In medium bowl, stir remaining filling ingredients until blended. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with topping.
3. Bake about 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean; cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Serve warm if desired with ice cream.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Heat oven to 375°F. Use 5 cups thinly sliced apples. Decrease 3/4 cup Bisquick mix in filling to 1/2 cup.

Try these favorite varieties of apples for baked pies and desserts: Empire, Regent and Spartan.
Serve this yummy apple dessert with scoops of frosty cinnamon ice cream!

Okay, I have the portable DVD player and some movies for Rylie ready to go. I made a "road trip" CD with some fun (and favorite) songs. I have my camera and video recorder batteries chargin up as I speak (write). I've got Rylies bag and mine mostly packed. I also keep removing the un-necessary items that she keeps putting in, such as a tiara, etc. Yeah, leave it to my child to want to wear her princess tiara to her brothers AIT graduation. I don't even want to know why she packed her little dance leotard with the skirt on it.

I've printed out directions from our house to the hotel and from the hotel to the Army base. I have no idea where our Atlas is. We haven't used it in 6 years and who knows where it could be. Probably in one of the old cars we've gotten rid of.

Today I have to run some errands and pick up last minute things and some lunck meat. I also have to thoroughly clean the house. I hate coming home to a mess, ugh. I want to get all the laundry done before we leave because we'll be coming home with a weeks worth of dirty clothes that I'll have to wash.

What else? Oh, I know there is plenty that I am forgetting. There's always something.

Well, I've got plenty to do so I better get moving.
Have a beautiful week.
Jill Marie

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bread braids

Usually I get up early Sunday morning and fix a big breakfast. It's usually bacon and eggs, maybe some sausage gravy with biscuits or a pancake breakfast. This morning I slept in and just didn't feel like making a big ole breakfast so I grabbed one of the loaves of frozen bread dough that I had thawing in the fridge and improvised.

I used a knife to cut off slices, about 3/4 to an inch thick. Then I layed them down and cut two slices in them from about a quarter of an inch from the top all the way down to the bottom so that I had 3 strands coming from the top. Then I braided the strands of dough and pinched the bottom so they stayed together. I placed them into the hot oil in the pan on the stove and let them come to a nice golden color.

When they were down I placed them on a paper towel on a plate and them them cool down. Then I dipped them in some powdered sugar glaze I had made or I tossed them into some plain white sugar. (The picture is of some of the ones I made this morning.)

Ray and Rylie loved them. Ray liked them because the were good "dunkers". Rylie liked them just because they were something special and, of course, sugary. LOL

Well, I am busy trying to make sure I get everything we need around and ready to go for our trip on Wednesday. I just want to get on Map Quest and make sure we have some directions on how to get directly to the hotel.

Have a blessed day.
Jill Marie

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Remedy--Gum stuck in hair

I'm sure most of you have heard these tips before, but they are worth posting. If you're a mom then you've either had a child with gum in their hair or you will have at some point in time. LOL I had this happen to me once at a child. Apparently I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and it was in my hair when I woke up. Mom just grabbed the scissors if I remember correctly.

Gum in hair

*Soak the gum-coated hair in Coke® and it should wipe out easily.

*Use peanut butter. I know it sounds gross but it really works.

*Try vegetable oil. I've heard that using any kind of oil will quickly and safely remove gum from hair. Vegetable oil, baby oil, olive oil or vaseline.

I've used the peanut butter tip on one of my older kids when they were little. I used the vegetable oil to get very sticky gum off of Rylies face and hands. They really do work. Just make sure that, which ever tip you use, you wash their hair well afterwards. LOL

Well, less than a week to go until I see my boy. I am so flippin' excited. I guess they are all done with training and are just doing "recovery" now. Whatever that is, lol. I have to goals on this trip, to get my son and bring him home...and to stop at a Sonic's. I've never been to one. We don't have any up here, but I always see their commercials and I'd really like to stop and have lunch at one. LOL

Have a good day.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cleaning tip--pet stains on carpet

If you have one of those little dogs that get easily excited and tend to tinkle on the carpets, this cleaning tip will come in handy for you.

Pet Urine on Carpet:
First, blot up what you can with paper towels. Then, with warm, soapy water and a clean cloth, blot the area clean; rinse with clean water; blot until dry. Next, combine 1/3 cup white vinegar with 2/3 cup water and dab it on stain; rinse with clean water; blot until dry. Once the area is totally dry (at least 24 hours), sprinkle entire carpet with baking soda or rug deodorizer; vacuum after a few hours.

Lucky me, I'm allergic to cats and dogs, lol. It's weird because we had a dog the entire time I was growing up and my allergies didn't develop until I started having kids. Now I can't even go into a house with a cat or my eyes start to swell and it looks like someone beat the crap out of me.

Just eight more days until we leave...YEA! I started packing yesterday. Hey, a gal has to get a head start on these things. I've got to pack for both myself and Rylie and double check Ray's packing. =)

Have a great day!
Jill Marie