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. Okay...it 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

Monday, March 9, 2009

My favorite sandwich recipe

I loooove reubn sandwiches. Mmm, they are the best. I used to make them and wrap them in foil and bake in the oven. But this recipe calls for grilling it on the stove. I'll have to try that, sounds a bit easier than my way. Oh, and I found the other recipe at the Pillsbury website, it looks pretty yummy too.

Traditional Reuben Sandwich
Preparation time: 10 minutes if ingredients are ready and at hand. Makes one sandwich.
2 slices of Rye bread
2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing (or to taste)
Corned beef (5-6 ounces, thin sliced)
1/3 cup Sauerkraut
Swiss cheese (2 slices of quality cheese)
Butter at room temperature

Spread 2 slices of rye bread lightly with Thousand Island dressing
Top one slice with a slice of Swiss cheese
Put a layer of sauerkraut over the cheese, then top with sliced corned beef and then a slice of Swiss cheese
Top with the second slice of rye bread, dressing side down
Butter the rye bread on the outside with soft butter and grill the sandwich in a skillet until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted
Remove from skillet, cut sandwich in half and serve

Easy Reuben Sandwich Slices
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations™ refrigerated flaky dough sheet
2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
4 oz thinly sliced deli corned beef
4 slices (1 oz each) Swiss cheese
1 cup sauerkraut with caraway seed, well drained (from 14-oz can)
1 tablespoon horseradish mustard
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons sesame seed

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll 1 can of dough onto large ungreased cookie sheet. Spread Thousand Island dressing on dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.
2. Unroll remaining can of dough on work surface. Spread mustard to within 1/2 inch of edges. Place mustard side down on sauerkraut. Press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg. Sprinkle with sesame seed.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut into slices to serve.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

I can't wait! Just nine more days until we leave to see David! YIPPEEEEEE!!!
I've already started packing...is that weird? Well, I've got lots to do this week but I'll be back. I'm not sure that I'll be posting at all next week...maybe a quickie on Monday. But then I'll be back the following week for sure.
Have a wonderful new week!
Jill Marie

Friday, March 6, 2009

Home Remedy--Healthy Toenails

Good morning. Here are a few tips for healthy toenails. At the very least, your toes will smell very nice with most of these remedies, lol.

Fungus on finger or toenails

*Use Vicks Vapor Rub-Take a nail file and run it over the surface of the toenail. Rub it both horizontally and laterally to make uneven grooves in the top of the nail.
Then rub Vicks Vapor Rub into the top of the toenail. The grooves will help keep the Vicks on the toenail. Do this for several days/nights in a row as often as you can.
The Eucalyptus in the Vicks will kill the fungus on the nail.

*Tea tree oil serves as an effective home remedy foe toe nail fungus, as it is a natural antiseptic that helps a great deal in fighting with fungus. Take some undiluted tea tree oil and mix a few drops of olive oil in it. Apply this mixed oil on the affected toenails.

*For healthy toenails, soak your toes in Listerine mouthwash.

*In warm water, add some apple cider vinegar and mix well. Soak your toenails in the water for about 15-20 minutes. Thereafter, dry your toes completely.
Apply a mixture of tea tree oil and lavender oil on the toenails using cotton balls. Do it 3-4 times in a day. This remedy is very effective in curing toenail fungus.

*Soaking the affected nail(s) with distilled vinegar kills off the fungus rather quickly. Apply daily after bathing and let the vinegar dry thoroughly before dressing.

Well, just 12 days until we leave for Ft. Benning. They gave the boys their cell phones back. David sent some pictures to his fiance and she printed them out and brought them over for us. I can't believe how great he looks. He had really put on some weight since he graduated high school. But he looks so good now. So grown up...

In the second photo he looks just as surprise as myself, at how much weight he has lost. But he really looks good and I just can't wait to get down there and see my boy in person. So different from that 13 year old boy that let his hair grow long and was playing the drums. My first born is all grown up and it is making me feel a wee bit old.

12 days, twelve days...288 hours, and we will be leaving. YEA! Even Rylie is excited about it. Every day she says "Mom, we're going to see David tomorrow", lol. I showed her with her fingers and mine how many more days it would be till we left. She looked at me, held up two fingers and said "No, two days Mom." LOL I wish!

It's adding up to be a bit expensive, but hopefully we will be able to borrow a mini van. The rental is just waaaaaaaaay too much for us to do at this time. We need to keep all our expenses down as much as possible. We did pay about $7 more, per night, than the cheapest rate I was able to find for the hotel. However, the one we got offers a free full breakfast, so that will save us money in the long run.

Have a really wonderful weekend.
Jill Marie

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday cleaning tip--Ovens

Good Morning. Is it really only Tuesday? This week seems to be going a bit slow around here. I've got this chore coming up, actually I should have done this already, lol. Here are some tips for those of us without a self-cleaning oven.

Every few weeks, fill a small glass bowl with ½ cup full-strength ammonia, place it in a cold oven, and close. Let the liquid stand overnight. The next day, remove the bowl of ammonia and wipe loosened-up grime with a wet sponge. The ammonia can be saved and re-used if stored properly.
*Ammonia is a very strong cleaning agent and I would recommend making sure the children are not in the room when you are doing this. Also, be sure to store it where the kids cannot reach it.
(I remember being a child and finding my Aunt Alice's ammonia on the steps to her basement. Being curious I opened it up and took a big whiff of it. LOL You can be sure I never did that with any bottles ever again.)

1t Liquid dish soap
1t Lemon juice
1-1/2t Bleach
1qt. Warm water
Mix all ingredients in bucket or bowl and apply solution (with a sponge) to the oven's cavity. Allow to sit for 45-minutes and then scrub clean. Rinse well!


5T Baking soda
3 drops hand soap or liquid dish soap
4T White vinegar
Mix above ingredients until they form a thick paste. Apply paste to inside of oven and scrub with sponge. Wipe clean and rinse thoroughly.

Use equal amounts of lemon juice and salt. Apply paste to stubborn stains and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Scrub with brush and wipe clean.

1c Salt
1c Baking soda
1c Water
Make a paste using the ingredients above and apply it to the inside of the oven. Close door and heat oven to 500-degrees for 60 minutes. Turn off oven and allow to cool. Wipe debris from oven using a moist sponge. Rinse well.

4T Baking soda
4T Hot, steamy water
Make a paste with the above listed ingredients and apply it to the oven's cavity using an old toothbrush or soft-bristled cleaning brush. Allow solution to sit for 1-minute. Scrub with brush until oven is clean. Rinse with water and sponge until no traces of baking soda remain.

*You can remove all cleansers from the oven by rinsing with vinegar and water.
*Always wear rubber gloves if using chemical-based solutions.
*Wiping the oven after each spill will eliminate the need for a big cleanup later.
*Use aluminum foil to avoid a mess from accident boil overs, greasy run-offs, and spills.

Of course, I'm sure there aren't many of you out there like me...dealing with an oven that is 30 years old. Well, at least it works. Maybe if I show it some love , by giving it a good and thorough cleaning, it will start showing me some love and hit the right temperature. LOL A gal can always dream.

Have a terrific day!
Jill Marie

Monday, March 2, 2009

Easy Recipes

Good Monday morning! Here are some quick and easy recipes for those evenings when you just don't really feel like cooking. I got the first two recipes from the Dollar General website.

1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
½ can (8 oz.) mixed vegetables
1 can (6 oz.) white tuna in water, drained, flaked
8 RITZ Crackers, crushed

PREPARE Dinner in large saucepan as directed on package, adding vegetables to the boiling Macaroni water for the last 2 min.
ADD tuna; mix lightly.
TOP with cracker crumbs just before serving.
SUBSTITUTE: ¼ cup French-fried onion rings for the crackers.

1 pkg. (14 oz.) Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1 lb. ground beef.
1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) Taco Seasoning Mix
¾ cup sour cream
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup of chunky Salsa

HEAT oven to 400°F.
Prepare KRAFT® Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner as directed on package.
While Macaroni is cooking, cook meat with taco seasoning as directed on package.
STIR sour cream into prepared Dinner; spoon ½ into 8-inch square baking dish. Top with layers of meat mixture, 1 cup cheese and remaining Dinner mixture; cover with foil.
BAKE 15 MIN.; top with salsa and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered, 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

These last two recipes aren't quite as quick and easy as the first two were. I found them at the Pillsbury website and they just sounded good to me.

1 container (8 oz) chives-and-onion cream cheese spread
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup drained Old El Paso® pickled jalapeño slices (from 12-oz jar)
1/2 cup canned (drained) Green Giant® whole kernel corn
6 Old El Paso® taco shells (from 4.6-oz box), coarsely broken
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
2 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Unsalted or Salted Butter, melted
1/2 to 3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
1 2/3 cups Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
2/3 cup sour cream

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, garlic powder, jalapeños and corn; set aside.
2. Place broken taco shells in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Crush taco shells with rolling pin until coarsely ground. (Or, place broken taco shells in food processor bowl with metal blade; process until coarsely ground.) Pour crumbs into shallow dish; stir in chili powder.
3. Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast, smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Spread butter over one side of each chicken breast.
4. Place about 1/3 cup cream cheese mixture on center of buttered side of each chicken breast; roll up chicken. Pour buttermilk into shallow dish. Dip chicken rolls in buttermilk, then coat with crumb mixture. Insert toothpick to secure. Place in ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish. Drizzle with honey.
5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese blend; bake 4 to 5 minutes longer until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Heat oven to 375°F.

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies
1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
3 cups Fisher® Chef's Naturals® Chopped Pecans
1/2 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 jar (12.25 oz) SMUCKER'S® Caramel Ice Cream Topping
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (16 squares)

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Press cookie dough evenly in bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan.
2. Sprinkle 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups of the pecans over dough; lightly press into dough. Set aside.
3. In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, caramel topping and graham cracker crumbs. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Pour over crust in pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups pecans.
4. Bake 25 to 32 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown and pecans are lightly toasted. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes; loosen sides from pan, but do not cut. Cool completely, about 3 hours longer. (For firmer bars, let stand an additional 2 hours.) For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 27 to 34 minutes.

Rylie had her first birthday party to go to on Saturday. When the invitation arrived it happened to be a Disney Princess Party Invitation. Well, Rylie decided that she had to go dressed as a princess. So she wore her Cinderella dress and a little crown with matching earrings and ring.
I got her in the car and had to run by the convenience store before going to the birthday party. As were walking by the glass fronts of the soda coolers, I saw her turn and blow a kiss at the cooler. I asked her who she was blowing a kiss to and she told me "Me! because I'm so pretty." Okaaay, either I've done a really good job of raising a little girl who is self-confident and loves herself, as we all should. Or I've raised one of the most vain little girls in the Northwest Ohio area. LOL Since I've seen her show sympathy and compassion for others, I'm gonna go with the self-confident train of thought here.
Have a fantastic Monday.
Jill Marie