Archive | December 2012

2013 Project: Room-by-Room Organization

We are kicking 2013 off with a great new series of room-by-room organization. For this series we will be  going through rooms of your home, giving organization tips that relate to each room. The tips will include highlights of favorite tips and new ideas for getting your home cleaned, organized, and in great shape for 2013.

Happy Organized New Year!

Christmas Cookies: Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

This week’s final Christmas cookie is a twist on traditional gingerbread cookies. The Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookie mellows the gingerbread flavor with butterscotch in a cookie that is stiff enough to cut (like sugar cookies) or roll into balls for round cookies.

TIP: These cookies can be frosted or dipped in chocolate.

Christmas Cookies: Peanut Butter Blossoms

Our Christmas cookie tray wouldn’t be complete without Peanut Butter Blossoms. Though this recipe tells you to use specific brand name products I have made these with a variety of generic or cheaper substitutes and it works fine.

TIP: For added interest try using Hershey’s Caramel Kisses instead of just plain chocolate

Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a staple at our house at Christmas. We cut them into shapes and them frost them with a basic white frosting (buttercream is our favorite) and let the kids go wild with sprinkles and other decorations. I use this great sugar cookie recipe to make cookies that cut into shapes easily.

Christmas Cookies: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

This week I will be sharing my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Today we start with my family’s favorite….Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

TIP: If the dough seems too sticky, add a bit more flour 1-2 tablespoons at a time. The dough should not be sticky like peanut butter.

Saturday Project: Pocket Scarf

pocket-scarf-winter-craft-photo-420-FF0207EFFA01I have been looking for scarves for the kids’ stockings but haven’t found exactly the right thing. That is until I found the patter for the pocket scarf from This super-simple project is great for kids, and especially great for warmer climates where mittens aren’t as needed as they are in northern areas.

Week of 12/17 Menus


Breakfast Menu:
M: Eggs
T: French Toast Muffins – slice bread into 1″ cubes & fill muffin tin. Cover with egg/milk/cinnamon mixture (just like regular french toast) & soak overnight. Bake at 350°F until golden.
W: Whole Wheat Pancakes
Th: Chocolate Chip Muffins
F: Donut Muffins
S: Omelets
S: Scones
Dinner Menu:
M: Broccoli Cheese soup – I use the slow cooker for this
T: Lasagna
W: Hot Dogs, veggie sticks
Th: Pinwheels
F: Spaghetti, salad
S: Beef Burgundy
S: Grilled Cheese, veggie sticks


Make Your Own Dishwashing Detergent

DSC02666I have been experimenting with making my own dishwashing detergent and have found a recipe that is simple, doesn’t use Borax, and gets the dishes very clean. I settled on a recipe from The Eco-Friendly Family. Here are the ingredients & steps:

  • 12 oz. Lemi-Shine powder (available in the dishwashing detergent aisle, usually with rinse aides on a high shelf)
  • 1 1/2 cups washing soda – This is the main ingredient in most commercial dishwashing detergents and is the same thing used in making your own laundry soap. The basic pH is what does the washing.
  • 1/2 cup baking soda – for more washing power
  •  1/2 cup sea salt – I used coarse crystals but any sea salt will work.

Put all these items together in a container that will seal air-tight. Humidity is the enemy of this powder. Shake the container to mix and evenly distribute ingredients. Use 1 tablespoon in your dishwasher’s main reservoir with each wash. You can add 1/2 tablespoon to the secondary reservoir for more washing power.

TIP: For a rinse aid – fill your dishwasher’s rinse-aid reservoir with white vinegar. This will rinse the dishes clean and keep them spot free.

Patching Jeans

09-12Regular readers know I am all about saving money. At our house, we patch clothes, sometimes many times, before we consider getting rid of them (often into the scrap pile to patch other clothes!) Previously I have written about ways to patch clothes with denim. But what if you want to patch the jeans instead of turning them into patches for other clothes?

Adventures in Dressmaking has a great tutorial for how to patch blue jeans. I have used this technique and it works, while also giving your jeans that great “used” look that so many people pay a lot of money for these days.