Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School - Mama Says Yipee!

My girls might not be that excited that Summer Vacation is over and today is back to school but I am!  Don't get me wrong, I love Summer Vacation ~ especially the lack of Homework Battles, but the couple of weeks just before school starts are too hectic!  We (I) run around trying to make sure that all of the supplies on the school lists are purchased (without having to take out a second mortgage on the house) and that the new school wardrobe is appropriate and will actually be worn.
This is me just before school starts:
This is my salvation:
This is me after school starts (o.k., not really, but I can envision it):

Hooray for Back to School and the fact that I don't home school!  Sometimes Mama just needs a break!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday at the Mall....

Yesterday started out like any other Saturday, kind of lazy, sleeping in (except for me), checking on Facebook posts & comments and writing a couple of blog posts.  That particular Saturday however was not to be our typical Saturday.....we had scheduled a mall marathon of school clothes shopping....just Mom, Dad and our almost 13 year old Diva in Training.  Of course we couldn't go to the local mall ~ no sir, we had to drive an hour and a half away to go to a "larger" mall with more shopping and spending options!

Now I have to tell you, first of all I am not now, nor have I ever been someone who enjoys shopping with others, my ideal shopping trip is solo.....I don't need anyone else to tell me if the pants I want make my rear look big ~ I know how to look in a mirror and I'm not afraid to use it!  Shopping with more than myself tends to drive me insane as I usually don't get everything done that I want to do, I guess I am not much of a collaborative shopper!

We dropped the youngest off at Grandma's house and finally hit the road around 11:30!  Traffic wasn't too bad and we made it to the mall after about an hour and twenty minutes.  The weather was warm (hovering around 80 degrees or so) but not to worry we knew there would be air conditioning!

Our first stop was productive (if video games count as school clothes)......Game Stop, really??  Not my idea of fun on any day, but I was out voted by little miss Diva and Daddy.  After a half hour in the store with not a chair in site, we were finally ready to go!

We wandered in and out of so many stores that I lost track of time and direction.....the only thing I didn't loose track of was my feet!  You see my daughter insisted that I had to wear my "cool shoes" and not my everyday comfy Sloggers (even the hubby voted for my cool shoes).
My Sloggers are Blue, I'm thinking Zebra for the next pair???  Anyway I digress, back to the story at hand. 
Two pairs of jeans and one t-shirt later ~ we all decided to eat a late lunch.....Three people and one food court, hmmm....choices, choices! We decided to all get our food from the same place to save some time....Of course, I think only the D.I.T. (Diva in Training) got to eat where she wanted, Mom and Dad caved!
Got the food, sat down and realized, hey no air conditioning, isn't this fun!  My theory is the mall decided that with no air conditioning you can pack in the people and they will clear out quick and go back to shopping (which we did).

Back to the shops we went, like good little sheep following the D.I.T.  Finally, thank the Lord, we had a total of 3 pairs of jeans, 5 t-shirts, socks and shoes!  Time to EXIT the Mall!  At this point everyone was grumpy as we had been at the Mall for just over 4 hours!  Got on the Freeway and all voted to find the nearest Starbucks, which we found in record time.....we live in the Pacific Northwest where coffee shops and drive-through coffee stands can be found every couple of miles!

Starbucks was the highlight of my day!  Vente Cafe Mocha, yum!  Caffeine, yum!  Block everyone out, yum!
Look at these "Stats.... my body was in caffeine and chocolate heaven.
Thank you Starbucks!

Back on the road again, picked up the youngest from Grandmas, arrive at home, take off shoes, feed dog, hubby walk dog, feet up on couch and..........wait for it..........have D.I.T. try on the small fortune in clothes we just bought from the Mall now located an hour and a half away from our now you are already guessing the end of the story!  Jeans, fit, check.  Shoes, fit, check (we did try those on in the store).  Socks, fit, check.  T-shirts, fit........wait, back it up ~ all five t-shirts didn't fit it seems our D.I.T. is growing up!

Not only were they too small, the nice lady helping us at Aeropostle decided it would be a wonderful surprise to leave one of those BIG, WHITE, SECURITY TAGS ON ONE OF THE T-SHIRTS!  Why we did not set off the alarms when we left the store, I will never know!

The good news.....the T-shirts can be exchanged at stores in our local mall.

The bad news #1: I have to go back to the Mall.

The bad news #2:  Why did we drive an hour and a half away to go to the same stores that our local mall has???

The bad news #3:  I guarantee that the security tags will work when we go into the mall and we will set off the alarms!  It's Murphy's Law and it's the law of school clothes shopping!

Until next time.....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Household Helps from 1911.....

Back to my trusty 1911 Book of Kitchen & Household Tips, some of these are humorous, while some of them just might be worth trying.  If you try or have tried any of these, please leave us a comment and let us know what the results were!

  • To clean a velvet suit, sponge the spots with pure alcohol. Then suspend the suit on a hanger in the bathroom in such a way that the air can reach all sides of the garment. Turn on the hot water in the tub until the steam fills the room; shut the door and windows; shut off the water, and let the steam do its work for an hour. Then admit the air, but do not touch the garment until it is perfectly dry.

  • To remove shine from woolen goods, use gentle friction with emery paper. Rub just enough to raise the nap, and then rub it over with a piece of silk.

  • To mend kid gloves, first buttonhole around the rent not so close as in a buttonhole; then overcast, taking up the thread of the buttonhole on the edge, and then draw together.

  • To clean men's coat collars, rub with a black stocking saturated with grain alcohol. This will remove the greasy look.

  • To freshen a thin dress, dissolve two teaspoonfuls of elastic starch in half a cupful of lukewarm water, and with a soft rag dampen on the right side, then with a hot iron press on the wrong side.

  • To clean grease spots from silk, split a visiting card and rub the soft internal part on the spot on the wrong side of the silk. The spot will disappear without taking the gloss off the silk.

  • To mend lace curtains, take a small piece of net, dip it and the curtains in hot starch, and apply the patch over the hole. The patch will adhere when dry, and the repair will show much less than if the curtains were mended.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kitchen Tips from 1911

Found these kitchen tips from an all purpose Kitchen/Household book published in 1911...some of these "tips" may be a little obscure in today's kitchen, but many are still useful today!

  • When you wish a fine-grained cake, beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff foam with a Dover egg-beater. If something spongy, such as an angel cake, is desired, use a wire egg-beater, which makes a more air-inflated foam.
  • Recipes in the older, much-prized cook-books often call for a teacupful of yeast. A teacupful liquid yeast is equal to one cake of compressed yeast.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rafflecopter Open for 48 Hours

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for an invite from Rafflecopter, maybe because (like me) you didn't take advantage of it when it first came out because you didn't do that many giveaways or you wanted to take a sit back and see how it works approach.......there is great news from Rafflecopter!

Since Rafflecopter just passed the 2,000 fan mark on Facebook they are opening up the software for the next 48 hours (posted 17 hours ago, so you had better hurry). 
You can find out more here:

I still don't do many giveaways, but I have one coming up and I was not looking forward to having to run my own giveaway! Thanks Rafflecopter, I look forward to having you at my disposal!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Pop Overs

  • One egg
  • One cupful of milk
  • One scant cupful of white flour
 Beat the egg, yolk and white separately. Add to the yolk, when well beaten, one half of the milk, and sift in the flour a little at a time, stirring until the whole is a perfectly smooth paste. Add the remainder of the milk gradually, beating well until the whole is an absolutely smooth, light batter about the thickness of cream. Stir in the stiffly beaten white of the egg, and bake in hot earthen cups or muffin rings, and to prevent them from sticking, sift flour into the rings after slightly oiling, afterward turning them upside down to shake off all of the loose flour.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Giveaways & Reviews?

I was recently approached about doing a giveaway and a review of a product that looks to be very promising....up until this point the only giveaways that I have hosted have been through Facebook and have been for my own Country Gourmet Home products.  I have always been intrigued about the review/giveaway progress, but haven't had the time to really delve into them nor to search out sponsors.

For those of you who are currently doing or have done product reviews/giveaways can you provide me with some feedback on your thoughts, advice and/or impressions of this process?  What giveaway software, if any, are you using?

For those of you who enter giveaways, what would make you want to participate in a giveaway that I host?  What influences your decision to participate?  How important is the actual process of entering the giveaway?  I have to admit that I have entered some giveaways in the past and found the whole process of entering downright intimidating and almost scary!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.......


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Toast - It's What's for Breakfast!

Once again I am turning to my vintage recipes for a collection of what to serve on toast....say Bye-Bye to the traditional toast and peanut butter. We know Zwieback as the crispy crackers that you can buy in the store, but before you could buy them in the store, Zwieback was nothing more than twice baked bread or what we know today as toast, utilizing one of our modern conveniences ~ the Toaster! Some of these recipes look great, while I am not sure I could convince my kids to eat some of the others!
Enjoy and let me know what you tried!

Apple Toast.—Fresh, nicely flavored apples stewed in a small quantity of water, rubbed through, a colander, sweetened, then cooked in a granite-ware dish in a slow oven until quite dry, make a nice dressing for toast. Baked sweet or sour apples rubbed through a colander to remove cores and skins, are also excellent. Soften slices of zwieback in hot cream, and serve with a spoonful or two on each slice. If desired, the apple may be flavored with a little pineapple or lemon, or mixed with grape, cranberry, or apricot, thus making a number of different toasts.

Apricot Toast.—Stew some nice dried apricots. When done, rub through a fine colander to remove all skins and to render them homogeneous. Add sugar to sweeten, and serve as a dressing on slices of zwieback which have been previously softened in hot cream. One half or two thirds fresh or dried apples may be used with the apricots, if preferred.

Asparagus Toast.—Prepare asparagus. When tender, drain off the liquor and season it with a little cream, and salt if desired. Moisten nicely browned zwieback in the liquor and lay in a hot dish; unbind the asparagus, heap it upon the toast, and serve.

Banana Toast.—Peel and press some nice bananas through a colander. This may be very easily done with a potato masher, or if preferred a vegetable press may be used for the purpose. Moisten slices of zwieback with hot cream and serve with a large spoonful of the banana pulp on each slice. Fresh peaches may be prepared and used on the toast in the same way.

Berry Toast.—Canned strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries may be made into an excellent dressing for toast. Turn a can of well-kept berries into a colander over an earthen dish, to separate the juice from the berries. Place the juice in a porcelain kettle and heat to boiling. Thicken to the consistency of cream with flour rubbed smooth in a little water; a tablespoonful of flour to the pint of juice will be about the right proportion. Add the berries and boil up just sufficiently to cook the flour and heat the berries; serve hot. If cream for moistening the zwieback is not obtainable, a little juice may be reserved without thickening, and heated in another dish to moisten the toast; of if preferred, the fruit may be heated and poured over the dry zwieback without being thickened, or it may be rubbed through a colander as for Apricot Toast.

Berry Toast No. 2.—Take fresh red or black raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries, and mash well with a spoon. Add sugar to sweeten, and serve as a dressing on slices of zwieback previously moistened with hot cream.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scalloped Tomatoes

Wondering what to do with all of the tomatoes your garden has produced?  Try this vintage recipe for something different.  Scalloping is not just for Potatoes after all!

3 cups fresh tomatoes  sliced
1 medium cucumber pared and sliced
1 small onion, sliced
½ cup bread crumbs, buttered
½ cup grated cheese

Into a greased baking dish or casserole place a layer of tomatoes, add half the cucumber and onion slices and half of the crumbs. Repeat with more tomatoes and remaining cucumbers, onions and crumbs. Top with tomatoes and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in moderate oven, (375-f) 40 minutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Happenings....

Sunday Blog Hop Shibley Smiles
Family, friends, food & fun!
Here I sit on the computer, o.k., I am not really sitting on the computer but you get the idea!  It's mid August and in typical Pacific Northwest fashion the local weatherman is calling for rain!  I have yet to take a dip in our new pool and I am stuck with a head cold in the middle of August!  No one else in the family is sick, thank goodness ~ however I just wish I could have gotten this cold closer to the typical flu season and not for these last few weeks of summer!

Today is the day for our annual family & friends picnic, so as soon as I am done with this post I will be making a big pot of spaghetti & meatballs (or maybe just spaghetti, I forgot to check if I had hamburger).  Every year my parents host this event and get fresh Salmon that my Dad barbecues over a fire pit and everyone loves it!  I only get to nibble - darn seafood allergy!  We usually have around 50-75 people there and since it is a potluck there is always a wide variety of food.  My brother works at a refinery and they have a private park that employees can reserve, so we have the whole park to ourselves!  I am not sure how many acres it sits on but it is completely fenced, has a play area for the kids, a baseball field, horseshoe pit, basketball hoops, apple & other fruit trees, a complete kitchen with indoor dining!  The only drawbacks are portable toilets and giant mosquitoes!  Bug repellent is a must!  Weather permitting there is also a man made water slide for kids, but since today's forecast is for rain ~ I think I had better pack some rain gear and indoor games!

Here are a few images from past picnics, keep in mind I am many things but professional photographer is not one of them!
My Son and Mom at our 2010 picnic

DUTCH MEAT ROLLS (Boova Shenkel)

2½ lbs. beef
10 potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 chopped onion
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
3 eggs
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon shortening
1 tablespoon butter

After seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, stew the meat for two hours. Then make dough with flour, baking powder, salt and the shortening. Mix into a pie-crust dough. Roll into a dozen circles 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Steam the potatoes, pared and sliced thin; add salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of butter; the parsley and onions and then beat lightly the three eggs into the mixture. Put this mixture on the circles of dough after it has stood a little while. Fold half the circle of dough over like a half moon and press edges together tightly. Drop these into the pot with the meat and stew water. Cover tightly and cook for 30 minutes. Into a frying pan put a couple of tablespoons of fat skimmed from the stew before putting in the dough rolls, add to this 1 tablespoon of butter. In this brown small cubes of hard bread and stir in a half cup of milk. Pour this milk sauce over the Meat rolls when serving.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Seasonal Foods

This was taken from an 1863 Book on Household Management.  Although some items in here may not be of interest to everyone, it is a pretty comprehensive list of seasonal foods by Month!
 TO BE ACQUAINTED WITH THE PERIODS when things are in season, is one of the most essential pieces of knowledge which enter into the "Art of Cookery." We have, therefore, compiled the following list, which will serve to show for every month in the year the TIMES WHEN THINGS ARE IN SEASON.


FISH.—Barbel, brill, carp, cod, crabs, crayfish, dace, eels, flounders, haddocks, herrings, lampreys, lobsters, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, prawns, shrimps, skate, smelts, soles, sprats, sturgeon, tench, thornback, turbot, whitings.

MEAT.—Beef, house lamb, mutton, pork, veal, venison.

POULTRY.—Capons, fowls, tame pigeons, pullets, rabbits, turkeys.

GAME.—Grouse, hares, partridges, pheasants, snipe, wild-fowl, woodcock.

VEGETABLES.—Beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, celery, chervil, cresses, cucumbers (forced), endive, lettuces, parsnips, potatoes, savoys, spinach, turnips,—various herbs.

FRUIT.—Apples, grapes, medlars, nuts, oranges, pears, walnuts, crystallized preserves (foreign), dried fruits, such as almonds and raisins; French and Spanish plums; prunes, figs, dates.

FISH.—Barbel, brill, carp, cod may be bought, but is not so good as in January, crabs, crayfish, dace, eels, flounders, haddocks, herrings, lampreys, lobsters, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, prawns, shrimps, skate, smelts, soles, sprats, sturgeon, tench, thornback, turbot, whiting.

MEAT.—Beef, house lamb, mutton, pork, veal.

POULTRY.—Capons, chickens, ducklings, tame and wild pigeons, pullets with eggs, turkeys, wild-fowl, though now not in full season.

GAME.—Grouse, hares, partridges, pheasants, snipes, woodcock.

VEGETABLES.—Beetroot, broccoli (purple and white), Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, celery, chervil, cresses, cucumbers (forced), endive, kidney-beans, lettuces, parsnips, potatoes, savoys, spinach, turnips,—various herbs.

FRUIT.—Apples (golden and Dutch pippins), grapes, medlars, nuts, oranges, pears (Bon Chr├ętien), walnuts, dried fruits (foreign), such as almonds and raisins; French and Spanish plums; prunes, figs, dates, crystallized preserves.


FISH.—Barbel, brill, carp, crabs, crayfish, dace, eels, flounders, haddocks, herrings, lampreys, lobsters, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, prawns, shrimps, skate, smelts, soles, sprats, sturgeon, tench, thornback, turbot, whiting.

MEAT.—Beef, house lamb, mutton, pork, veal.

POULTRY.—Capons, chickens, ducklings, tame and wild pigeons, pullets with eggs, turkeys, wild-fowl, though now not in full season.

GAME.—Grouse, hares, partridges, pheasants, snipes, woodcock.

VEGETABLES.—Beetroot, broccoli (purple and white), Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, celery, chervil, cresses, cucumbers (forced), endive, kidney-beans, lettuces, parsnips, potatoes, savoys, sea-kale, spinach, turnips,—various herbs.

FRUIT.—Apples (golden and Dutch pippins), grapes, medlars, nuts, oranges, pears (Bon Chr├ętien), walnuts, dried fruits (foreign), such as almonds and raisins; French and Spanish plums; prunes, figs, dates, crystallized preserves.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Croquettes


1 pt. mashed sweet potatoes
1 tblsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tblsp. sugar
1 egg white
bread crumbs

Mash sweet potatoes very fine and add salt, sugar and melted butter. Shape into croquette rolls or patties and chill in the refrigerator for a half hour. Then roll in bread crumbs, dip in the egg white, slightly beaten, and in the crumbs again. Bake in a shallow, greased baking dish for 20 minutes, in hot oven (400-f). For a modern variation of this old recipe, place a marshmallow in the center of each with the potato mixture coating it completely.


Scalloped Sweet Potatoes & Apples


6 medium-sized sweet potatoes
½ cup brown sugar
1½ cups sliced apples
4 tblsp. butter
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. mace

Boil sweet potatoes until tender. Slice in ¼ inch pieces. Butter baking dish and put a layer of sweet potatoes in bottom, then a layer of apples. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and mace, and dot with butter. Repeat until dish is filled, having the top layer of apples. Bake in moderate oven (350-f) for 50 minutes.


The Sweet Potato

I love it when I find great books that are old enough so that their copywrite has expired.  I will be sharing several articles over the next few weeks from a few of these books.  The following is taken from:
Science in The Kitchen
Superintendent of the Sanitarium School of Cookery and of the Bay View Assembly School of Cookery, and Chairman of the World's Fair Committee on Food Supplies, for Michigan
This book is full of everything you wanted to know about Cooking in 1893, I am starting with the subject of Sweet Potatoes.
Description.—The sweet potato is a native of the Malayan Archipelago, where it formerly grew wild; thence it was taken to Spain, and from Spain to England and other parts of the globe. It was largely used in Europe as a delicacy on the tables of the rich before the introduction of the common potato, which has now taken its place and likewise its name. The sweet potato is the article referred as potato by Shakespeare and other English writers, previous to the middle of the seventeenth century.

Preparation and Cooking.—What has been said in reference to the common potato, is generally applicable to the sweet potato; it may be prepared and cooked in nearly all the ways of the Irish potato.

In selecting sweet potatoes, choose firm, plump roots, free from any sprouts; if sprouted they will have a poor flavor, and are likely to be watery.

The sweet potato is best cooked with the skin on; but all discolored portions and the dry portion at each end, together with all branchlets, should be carefully removed, and the potato well washed, and if to be baked or roasted, well dried with a cloth before placing in the oven.

The average time required for boiling is about fifty minutes; baking, one hour; steaming, about one hour; roasting, one and one half hours.


Baked Sweet Potatoes.—Select those of uniform size, wash clean, cutting out any imperfect spots, wipe dry, put into moderately hot oven, and bake about one hour, or until the largest will yield to gentle pressure between the fingers. Serve at once without peeling. Small potatoes are best steamed, since if baked, the skins will take up nearly the whole potato.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pool is Done!

I posted a while ago that I was finally able to realized one of my Dreams......the purchase of a large above ground pool!  We finally got it installed, up and running.  Here is a little photo montage of the progress!
The first step was to level the yard ~ we used sand.  The youngest daughter
had to play in the pool while it was filling up!
View from the deck above, daughter is still playing!

Still filling up - overall it took about 9-10 hours to fill.

Proud Hubby - it's almost full (we had to finish filling it the next morning)!
All Done!
Daughter playing in the's still too cold for me!  The pool is 18 feet diameter
at the base and 15 feet at the top.  The overall depth is 48 inches, but you only fill it to
about 42 inches ~ plenty of room to still swim around!