Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pinterest Idea To Clean Your Tub or Shower

I know most of you who read this blog have joined Pinterest.  I know that many of you have tried this technique for cleaning the tub and shower because it has been posted on Pinterest many times.  For those who haven't, I want to say how great it works.  All you need is white vinegar and dish soap in equal proportions.  I usually measure out a half a cup of white vinegar and heat it in the microwave.  Then I add 1/2 cup of dish soap.  This small batch does a large walk in shower floor.   The recipe calls for using Dawn detergent but I used another grease cutting dish soap, and it worked just fine. 

12 ounces white vinegar (I used 1/2 cup or 4 oz.)
12 ounces liquid, blue dawn detergent (I used 1/2 cup or 4 oz.)


Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.

Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.

You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.
The solution is slightly thick so it clings and stays put.  

I use one of my hand crocheted scrubbies to scrub it clean.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Watch The Calories In Those Mini Muffins

In the month of January you will see a common theme threaded through my blogs.  It is diet and exercise.  Every year I get focused in January and then forget it the next eleven months of the year.  It is obvious that I have lost the same ten pounds over and over again.  It is such a fine line between having enough calories and going over just a little.  If you have too few calories, the metabolism slows down and it goes into starvation mode.  It happened to me yesterday. told me that I hadn't eaten enough to lose weight.  This is a foreign concept to me.  On the other side of the coin, just going over a few calories can put weight on.  It only takes 3600 extra calories to gain a pound.  This brings me to my point.  Yesterday I made mini muffins.  My dad has to have his sweets and at his age he should.  At age 89 you should be able to eat anything you are hungry for.  I got out a boxed Double Chocolate Muffin Mix.  It wasn't a good choice to even have it in the cupboard, but I had bought it on one of my "off" moments.  Instead of making a dozen big muffins, I got out the mini cupcake maker.  I purchased this mini baker at Goodwill before they got popular.  I wonder if the person who donated it, regretted it.  The stores were full of this type baker over the holidays.

Super easy way to make cupcakes or muffins.

I quickly mixed them up.  All it took was the mix and one egg.  How bad could that be?  I got forty little muffins out of the recipe.

I put them into a plastic bag to grab when we wanted a little snack.

Fortunately I decided to figure the calorie count before I ate one or two or more.  I did the math several times because it just didn't seem right.  Can you believe that these tiny little mini muffins have 53 calories each?  They are one bite.  It would be very easy to eat six of them in less than a minute.  I will still eat them, but not as many as I thought I could.

This is a snack plate and the muffin still looks little on it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Exercise Wherever You Can

Sometimes it is really hard to get exercise.  Except for feeding the birds and walking to the mailbox, we don't get enough exercise.  We joined a fitness center once but it was 20 miles away.  It was like having a full time job.  We would get ready, drive for a half hour, exercise for an hour, get hungry, stop and eat more calories than we burned and then drive back home.  That only lasted a month.  We are eligible to use the equipment at our senior center, but walking on a treadmill or doing wii bowling just didn't cut it for me.  Plus they keep inviting us to the pot luck meal.  My husband plays cards there, but I'm not ready for that.  The best thing for us is just taking a walk.  It works great for most of the year, but not in the winter.  We can handle the cold, but the icy roads are a different story.  Today we found a solution to our walking dilemma.  We went to the school and walked the halls for 30 minutes.  I can see how it would get boring doing it everyday, but two or three times a week is going to be great.  So until the weather gets better, that's what we will be doing.  It's an easy way to add an extra 3600 steps to our usual day.  I'm still 70,000 steps behind both of our daughters for the week, but at least we are trying.

It doesn't look like I will get to 10,000 again today.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Make Your Own Vanilla

Yesterday in my blog I talked about wanting to make Vanilla Extract.  I didn't have the proper ingredients at the time, but today I found some vanilla beans for the recipe.  My daughter makes this vanilla extract so I know it works great.  Just make sure your vanilla beans are pliable and not all dried out.  They also need to be split so all the flavor inside the bean can come out.

All the ingredients necessary to make Vanilla Extract.

Vanilla Extract

2-3 Vanilla Beans
1 cup Vodka
Glass jar with tight fitting cover

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise down one side.  Leave it connected on the end.

Put the beans into a glass jar and cover completely with the vodka.  Make sure the beans are covered.

Store it in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months.  Shake it once in a while when you think of it.

After you start using the vanilla and need more, you can top it off with more vodka.  Shake it when you add the new vodka.  It can last for many years.  There are cute colored bottles available to buy to store the vanilla in.  It shouldn't be stored in a clear bottle unless it is kept in a dark cabinet.

My daughter is also trying to make vanilla sugar for the first time.  She buys vanilla sugar at Penzey spices, but it costs about $8.00 for a small amount.  Apparently you can put a split vanilla bean in a container of granulated sugar to make your own.  The vanilla bean will infuse the sugar with vanilla flavoring.  She will check it soon to see how intense the flavor is.  I will update this blog when I find out how well it works.

*The following link makes vanilla with Brandy.  It may be worth trying.

Monday, January 20, 2014

It Was A Long Day

Everyone has heard of the dog days of August, but they don't compare to the long days of January.  Yesterday I talked about embracing the winter and enjoying it.  Today I did not practice what I preached.  It was a miserable day.  I got to start it out with giving haircuts to my husband and my dad.  Next and the part I hate the most was toe nail clipping.  Yes I said it.  I have to clip my dad's toe nails.  It ranks right up there with life's most gagging moments. 

My husband is also obviously bored with winter.  The last two weeks he found things to do that usually get overlooked.   He cleaned the freezer we have in the basement.  He found a lot of stuff that was not usable anymore, and reorganized what was left.  He has cataloged every item and wants me to check off the items when I use them.  This way we can keep track of what we have, and what we need to buy.  I'm not sure how diligent I will be at doing it.  We have a lot more room in the freezer now because he took out many many cold packs.  Why we have so many is one of those questions with no answer.

Next thing on the list was organizing tax papers.  It is a job that needs to be done but it makes a big mess.  Of course, my husband has everything organized by date and type.  He has spreadsheets and plastic boxes with everything labeled.  That's the good part.  Everything else is still sitting on the dining room table and needs to be dealt with soon.

I made chili today, went to Dollar General for some new socks and otherwise I was just lazy today.  I was going to make perpetual vanilla extract.  My daughter never buys vanilla because she makes it herself.  All you do is put 3 vanilla beans into a cup of vodka.  You store it in a glass jar for a couple months and then it's ready to use.  I didn't have any vodka or vanilla beans so that stopped that project.  We went to the store to buy the ingredients but vanilla beans are too fancy to sell in my town.  I picked up some other groceries and when we began checking out I saw a gigantic bottle of vodka my husband had put in the cart.  He asked the check out kids if they needed to see his ID.  They said "uh, NO".  I only need a cup and since we don't drink, I will have to make a lot of vanilla.  We aren't teetotalers but we just don't like the taste of booze. 

Thank goodness it is almost bedtime.  Hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Enjoy the Winter Instead of Complaining

We live in Wisconsin.  There is no escaping winter.  Sometimes it is mild and sometimes it is long, snowy and cold.  We live here because we love all four of the seasons.  People complain all the time about the cold, but it isn't something new and there is nothing to do about it but enjoy it.  You have heard the term, "if your handed lemons, you make lemonade".  That is what we do.  It makes the winter more enjoyable.  Instead of wishing your life away, have fun.

Today we stopped at my daughters house.  They were outside playing in the snow.

It's nice to have a sledding hill in your own backyard

Dylan working on the snow fort.

Heather having just as much fun as her boys Ewan and Dylan.

Piper too.

Snowmobiles going up and down the river.

The shark may not be happy with the weather, I believe he is frozen solid.

I also heard from my other daughter this morning.  She spent the morning snowshoeing on one of the many trails available to us.  It looks like she had a great time too. 

Fun, fun, fun