How I Protect Our Pipes Without Following the Weather

How I Protect Our Pipes

I don’t watch the news very often because, quite frankly, I can’t handle the constant barrage of bad news. However, sometimes you need information from the news – for example, knowing if its going to freeze during the night so that you can run your water and protect your pipes. I’m not going to watch the news just for the weather information and I’m not going to remember to consistently check my weather app, but I did find a good way to get a nice little reminder if I need to turn the water on for our pipes. I have an If This Then That (IFTTT) recipe to text my phone and gently remind me to turn on the water every time the weather is getting below 20 degrees. This is come to my rescue several times since I set it up and I love not having to think prepare beforehand. I also really love not having to try to dethaw my pipes and hope that they haven’t busted yet (yeah… this is a voice of experience talking)! You can easily your own alert through the link below to keep your pipes flowing freely and your mind free as well! 

IFTTT Recipe: Save the pipes! connects weather to sms

Potato Soup Recipe

 PotatoSoup
This potato soup recipe is so good, I even requested it one year for my birthday dinner! It’s my mom’s recipe and although she normally cooks off of the “until it looks good” technique (which is normally a sign of impending doom for me), this is actually a recipe that I can handle. It goes great with a hot ham and cheese sandwich on the side. If you try this recipe, make sure you let me know if you like it!

 

Potato Soup
A hearty and delicious potato soup!
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Ingredients
  1. 5 lbs of potatoes, peeled and diced
  2. 1 stick of butter
  3. 3 stalks of celery, diced
  4. 1 medium onion, diced
  5. 1/4 cup flour
  6. 2-3 cups milk
  7. 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  8. Salt
  9. Pepper
  10. Parsley flakes
Instructions
  1. Boil potatoes in a large soup pot until fork tender.
  2. Drain most of the water from the potatoes. Leave about an inch or two of water in the bottom of the pot.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  4. Add celery and onion to melted butter and saute until fork tender.
  5. Remove celery and onion from saucepan and add them to the potatoes.
  6. Slowly add flour to the melted butter and whisk until a paste is created.
  7. Slowly add milk to flour and butter paste and whisk until all is well combined. This usually creates about 1 cup or so of liquid.
  8. Add that liquid to the soup pot of potatoes and other ingredients.
  9. Add cheese.
  10. Add salt, pepper, and parsley flakes to taste. (I know, to taste is very broad, sorry. You can always add a little now and more later.)
  11. Reduce heat to very low. Stir frequently. (This recipe will burn very easily if you do not stir frequently and/or have the heat too high. Go ahead... ask me how I know! ;) )
  12. Soup will thicken as it cooks and will be done in about 30 minutes.
Notes
  1. This soup is great topped with finely shredded cheese. It's also delicious with real bacon bits mixed in.
  2. My family tends to cook more in the "until it looks right" technique. I'm not a natural cook, so this usually does not bode well for me. Unfortunately, this is one of those recipes where it is truly hard to pin down exact amounts of ingredients. You may need to use a little more or less of the ingredients based on how your recipe is going. So, for those of you like me, I'm sorry! But trust me, you will do great with this recipe. Just give it a try!
Aforementioned Thoughts http://www.aforementionedthoughts.com/

Crochet Towel Ring

CroWe almost always keep a towel of some kind on our stove handle. Since our kitchen is on the smaller side (that is  – about an arm-span wide) it’s handy to have a towel directly behind you to dry your hands on after washing them. I love my knit hanging towels and my crochet topped hanging towels, but we also have a drawer full of kitchen towels begging to be used as well. I decided to give a crochet towel ring a try to make use of these towels too.
 
I tried a couple of different patterns before landing on the one I eventually used. Some people include a shower ring, which I understand but was not something I wanted for my towel ring.  Fabi’s pattern was easy to follow and created just what I needed, a small ring for my stove. I’m very happy with the results!

Four Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookie PhotoThis was my very first recipe I ever used my KitchenAid mixer for. To be fair, I probably didn’t need the KitchenAid for this recipe, but I wanted to find a simple, yummy looking recipe to try out and these four ingredient peanut butter cookies fit the bill.
 
These were super simple to make, made even easier by the KitchenAid. The Hubby and I both loved them and ate our way through almost the entire batch over a few days. I did struggle a bit in figuring how to best shape the cookies, because these do not spread. They’re prettier all balled up into small cookies, but I prefer the crispy taste they get when flattened down on the cookie sheet (plus I always like to feel like I’m eating something larger than something that only takes a bite or two to get through). They should be eaten over a plate as they are a little crumbly, but trust me, they’re worth it!
 
 
Four Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
A sweet and simple cookie made from items you probably already have in your pantry!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup peanut butter
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Set your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together all ingredients. (You'll need a mixer or a really strong spoon and muscles.)
  3. Round spoonfuls of dough in your hands and place them on the cookie sheet. They do not spread much, so place them just an inch or two apart.
  4. Bake for about 6 to 8 minutes until they are slightly brown on the bottom. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about a minute before moving them to a cooling rack.
Notes
  1. Servings will depend on the size you make these cookies. I believe I got about two dozen small cookies from my batch.
  2. I did struggle a bit in figuring how to best shape the cookies, because these do not spread. They're prettier all balled up into small cookies, but I prefer the crispy taste they get when flattened down on the cookie sheet (plus I always like to feel like I'm eating something larger than something that only takes a bite or two to get through). They should be eaten over a plate as they are a little crumbly, but trust me, they're worth it!
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Aforementioned Thoughts http://www.aforementionedthoughts.com/
 
 

Why I Won’t KonMari My Home (a review of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up)

KonMari

 

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a book quickly making its way around the Internet.  I first heard of Marie Kondo from YouTube videos, but found I began seeing more about her and her book throughout the Internet. I found the book available for digital download from our library and just finished making my way through it. Tidying up may be life changing for some, but I won’t be putting the book’s techniques into practice in our home. At least not right now.

 

Let me back up a little. Overall, I’d give the book a good rating. While I don’t think that the KonMari method is right for my home right now, I do think the book makes some great points about our possessions, simplifying, and tidying your home. The tone of the book is like a warm hug. Overall the book gave me a lot of things to think about in regards to my home. If you’re interested in the subject,  I’d definitely suggest you give it a try.

 

Her technique encourages you to pull all of your possessions in one category (like clothing) out at one time. You then sort through and only keep items that bring you joy. She claims that out of her hundreds of clients, none of them have went back to having clutter. (This claim set off my false claims alarm right away, but I have nothing but my instinct to back up that claim.)

 

Here’s why I won’t be applying the lessons to my own home:

 

– It makes my head go klapewy. I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But just thinking about applying the KonMari technique to my home made me get major anxiety. Pulling out all my items at one time? There’s no way I’m going to be able to dedicate time to get that done in one sweep. I have a small child and the thought of this just wasn’t working for me.

 

– I’m not sure all my items need to give me joy. Yes, the idea that you have a home full of items that give you joy is a beautiful one. But I have several items that, while I’m not sure they bring me total joy, help support my life. I think the joy technique can be a good one to consider when decluttering and purchasing new items, I am not sure I need it to be my end all.

 

– It seems overly complicated in a family home. Marie is great about saying that you are to only focus on your possessions, not those of others in your home. However, the waters get murky for me when I try to consider which of the items in my home are only mine in our major living areas.

 

– It triggers perfectionism in me. I really don’t consider myself a perfectionist, but techniques like this really trigger perfectionism in me and make me want to shut down. I can’t possibly picture the technique working in my life right now or being able to keep it up every day. The all or nothing suggestions in her book really makes me feel like a failure just thinking about it. I need to feel positive and encouraged about my homemaking efforts, not discouraged.

 

If you feel the KonMari method works for your home, great! And if you, like me, feel it’s best to pick a few of the tips to apply to your home, just know that’s great too in my opinion!

 

Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? What are your thoughts on the book?

How to Get a Beautiful Pedicure for Only 50 Cents

June 24, 2015 at 0948PM
 
I love a good pedicure, but I don’t love shelling out $50+ every few weeks for one. And honestly even if I did, since becoming a mother I have other areas where I prefer to spend my time instead.  That doesn’t mean I still don’t want cute toes though. Lucky for me, I’ve found a way to get a cute pedicure in about 15 minutes for only 50 cents!
 
June 23, 2015 at 0134PM

The Dollar Tree has these nail stickers for $1 a pack. They aren’t top quality compared to more expensive brands, but they do a better job than I expected.  To apply, you simply apply the sticker to your nail and then file off the end to give it a smooth edge. 

Since these stickers are designed for fingers, you’ll have to think outside the box a little for them to fit your toes.  I find most can be pretty comparable, but I have had to trim extra for my large nail before.  With the designs on the stickers they tend to blend pretty well. 

I also cut the smaller stickers in half before using them on my toes, which left me enough stickers for another pedicure in the future.  That means I can get two pedicures from one pack of stickers!

They don’t look perfect, but they are pretty and give me a smile when I look down at my sandaled feet. I’ll still go get treated to a full pedicure out from time to time, but this is the perfect solution for me for my normal summer routine!

What’s your favorite frugal summer self treat? 

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

 

I have second time failure syndrome when it comes to cooking. More often than not, the first time I make a recipe its great. Then,  for some reason that I cannot figure out, the second time that I try to make the recipe something goes wrong. I burn it, it tastes funny – something will go wrong. However this recipe is one that I think has made it past the second time. It is one of the few I feel like I can make with a bit of confidence at this point.

My mom passed on the crock pot recipe to me several years ago but I never got around to trying it other than at her house when she made it. She mentioned it again after Mudpie came and I decided to give it a try. It’s quickly become one of my favorites. Prep is so easy that when baby girl was tiny I did it all she was still sleeping in the morning. She slept in our living room which is adjacent to the kitchen so this was no small feat. The ingredients are perfect pantry staples that can be used for other dishes if I decide to. This also means that I usually have the ingredients on hand. And,  of course,  it’s a lovely crock pot recipe which means I don’t have to check on it too often. There’s nothing pretty to look at in this recipe. It’s not too pretty before it cooks and it’s really not too pretty after it cooks. But trust me, it is delicious. It’s also super easy to double this recipe with practically no extra work. Leftovers are a wonderful thing. 
 
Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings 
Serves 4-6
 
1 can Flaky Biscuits (8 biscuit size) 
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken 
2 cans cream of chicken soup 
2 soup cans full of water 
4 teaspoons all purpose flour 
2 teaspoons chicken bullion granules
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
 
– Cut your biscuits into sections. I find cutting them into 6 sections each works best for me. 
– Dump the other ingredients into your crockpot and stir. 
– Place the biscuit sections on top of the other ingredients. Gently stir them in.  
– Cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you are home during cooking time, it is great if you can check about halfway through and gently stir. Don’t worry if you can’t though, it will still turn out great. 
– Dish up and enjoy!