Monday, June 20, 2011

What is It?

We found this attached to our front porch this morning.....the spindle that it is attached to is less than a foot away from our front door!

To put it in the correct size perspective, the spindle that it is sitting on measures 1.5 inches from side to side.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Pouring Down Rain and I Want a Pool?

So I live in the Pacific Northwest and we get rain - A LOT of RAIN, but it's o.k. we're used to it and it means we get GREEN - A LOT of GREEN!  Everywhere you look we have GREEN in the hills, valleys and lots of flowers and trees, so I'm not complaining MUCH!  We are definitely privy to four distinct seasons - o.k. so there is a blur between Spring and Summer and sometimes (like this year) Summer takes a while to arrive!  We've only had a few days that have gotten over the 70 degree mark and just when we think Summer is here we wake up to more RAIN, like this morning!

We don't live in the land of everyone has air conditioning and back yard pools but we do have days in the summer that breach the 90 degree mark and since we are very humid year round it does tend to make one swelter when all you have is fans to cool you off!  So.....I want a pool!  I have wanted a pool since I was a little kid.  I remember growing up and one of our neighbors had one of those 4' deep rigid sided above ground pools and it was the best day ever when I got invited to go swimming!  We had one of those smallish 18" deep pools that are so popular nowadays, but our version had metal sides, a pool liner and a plastic rim that kept everything together or at least it was supposed to!  It was just big enough that you could put an inflatable air mattress in it and not much else!

Photo from WalMart
Each year I purchase the "modern day version" of this for my kids which is a snapset pool and costs about $20 - by the end of the season it just works the best if you toss it out!  This version has no filter and you need to take it down and set it back up every couple of days so that you have semi-clean water and you don't completely kill off your lawn!

This year I am going to go for it and finally fulfill one of my childhood dreams and purchase this pool from WalMart:
Photo from WalMart
This version is 18 feet across by 48 inches deep - big enough for adults to swim in and small enough that we can take it down each year and store it!  This version has one of the highest customer review ratings - almost 5 out of 5 stars!  Less than a week to go until I can order it and have it shipped direct to my local store!  So in about 3 weeks time we should have a pool!  I bet our popularity rating in the neighborhood increases.....but pool time will be by invite only!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread aka Herman Starter

I resurrected this post from the archives and have added a couple of things to it.  I have not made this actual version, as the friendship bread I have used in the past was given to me.  I plan on starting this today, so I will take photos and update this as I go along.

I am sure many of you will remember this, I can remember my Mom having it around when I was younger.  The recipe I am showing is a "natural yeast method" and does require a little more babysitting.  This version does not go in the refrigerator (it will slow down or stop the fermentation process).  You may wonder if this method is safe and yes it is as long as it is done properly.  I recommend doing your own research on this subject - you may want to go with a more modern version of this  which adds yeast to recipe, thereby avoiding the natural fermentation process.  You will still get the same end results, but it will not be the same recipe that our ancestors used before pre-packaged yeast was available.

Starter Mix:
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • On Day 1- in a GLASS pitcher or PLASTIC bowl, combine 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup Flour, and 1 Cup Milk. Stir mixture with a wooden or plastic spoon. (do NOT use metal spoon or electric mixers). Pour mixture into a Ziploc baggie. Keep at room temperature- do NOT refrigerate.
  • On Days 2, 3 and 4: Simply squish the baggie thoroughly, then open to release the air. It is normal for the batter to rise and bubble while fermenting. Re-close baggie.
  • On Day 5: Add 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup Flour, and 1 Cup Milk. Squish baggie thoroughly. Release any air. Re-close baggie.
  • On Day 6, 7, 8 and 9: Simply Squish the baggie thoroughly, open to release air, re-close baggie.
  • On Day 10: Add 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup Flour, 1 Cup Milk. Squish to thoroughly mix. Remove 3 Cups of this mixture- dividing into 1 Cup portions. Give 1 Cup to 3 of your friends. Save the remaining starter for yourself.

A few variations for prepared batter:

Pre-heat oven to 325°. To the remaining batter in the bowl, add:
3 eggs
1 cup oil
½ cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 cups flour (sifted if you wish)
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding

  1. Grease 2 large loaf pans.
  2. Mix an additional ½ cup sugar and 1½ tsp. cinnamon. Dust the greased pan with half of this mixture.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into 2 pans and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top.
  4. Bake one hour.
  5. Allow the loaves to cool and Enjoy!

Optional Additions:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Giveaway in Progress on My Facebook Page!

I'm trying out a new Third Party Application and running a Giveaway on my Facebook Page. You must be a fan of my page to enter and if you refer a friend who WINS then you win too!  To enter go to my Facebook Page and Click on the Giveaway Tab on the left.  If you Win you will be getting a Shredded Pork Seasoning Mix (one of my all time favorites).  Contest is open to US Residents only.
Shredded Pork Seasoning Mix - Yummy!

Good Luck!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

FREE Summer FUN for KIDS!

I am a frugal Mom (who isn't these days) so I am always on the lookout for FREE activities to do with my kids - especially over the summer months!  When the weather is nice most of our kids will have no problem entertaining themselves, but it's the not so nice days that I worry about!  I started doing some research and was surprised at the number of FREE activities and opportunities that are available.  I am very happy to share what I found and would love to have you leave a comment if you know of more so that we can all combine our knowledge and give our kids a fun-filled FREE Summer!

The following activities are 100% FREE (according to the information on their various websites).
  • Kids Bowl For FREE: 
    This website is easy to navigate and has a map of the United States, simply click on your state and you will be provided with a list of participating bowling alleys listed by City.
  • Lowe's Build & Grow:
    Clinics for kids to build a pre-determined wooden project.  Each participant also receives a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch, and a certificate.  Class size is usually limited to a specific number of kids so register early.
  • Home Depot Kid's Workshops:
    Held the first Saturday of each month (plus additional dates for special projects).  Kids ages 5-12 will get to make and keep a project and they will also receive a kid-sized orange apron, similar to The Home Depot associates' aprons, and an achievement pin.
  • Michaels Crafts Passport to Fun:
    Crafts from around the world, free for kids.  Click on the link to see the various activities (instructions to complete at home are also available).  Once you have had a chance to see what is available, find your local store's location and website to see when the in-store Passport to Fun Events are scheduled.  Michaels also offers craft classes for both adults and children that are low cost.  
  • Public Libraries:
    Most local public libraries have a variety of free summer programs for kids, click on the link to find your local city or county library.
  • Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program:
    Kids read 8 books over the summer, record the books they read and their recommendations in their own downloadable book journal.  Once 8 books have been read just take the completed journal into your local Barnes & Noble and exchange it for your FREE book!  A downloadable parent activity book is also available. 
My kids and I have not had a chance to try any of these programs yet, but we are looking forward to participating in some of them.  Now we have some fun things to look forward to on our rainy summer days!

Friday, June 3, 2011

National Doughnut Day!

Today is National Doughnut Day, which is always observed the first Friday in June....Apparently, National Doughnut Day honors the Salvation Army ladies of WWI. Salvation Army ladies were sent to the front lines of Europe where they served homemade cooked foods, and provided a morale boost to the troops. Often, the doughnuts were cooked in oil inside the of the metal helmet of an American soldier (infantrymen were often called doughboys).

Check out your local bakery or grocery store and get a doughnut (or two) to celebrate.  If you have the time you can also make your own doughnuts - check out my recipe for Golden Puff Donut Balls!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Advertising - Good or Bad?

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I usually don't have advertising on my blog (except for my own).  I was recently convinced to go ahead and give it a try and see where it leads.....

In addition to the standard Google Ad-sense advertising I also have Amazon Advertising, Vistaprint and Dreamstime.  I use and highly recommend both Vistaprint and Dreamstime.  Vistaprint is a great source of both free and paid for print media for all business needs.  They have a huge range of products including:
  • Business Cards
  • Rack Cards
  • Thank You Cards
  • Post Cards
  • Banners
  • Gift Certificates
  • Rubber Stamps
  • Return Address Labels
  • & Much More!
 Dreamstime has images to suit just about anything you want to do, prices range from FREE to paid and licensing ranges from Royalty Free to Commercial.  Images range from photographs to graphic illustrations.

I've kept the advertising out of the individual posts but have it available on my sidebars and between posts - I don't want to overwhelm my readers with in your face advertising, but instead keep the ads visible but unobtrusive.

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on what you think about advertising in general and if you have it how it is working for you!  I look forward to reading your comments.  Thank you and until next time......