Friday, January 20, 2012

I guess I'm behind

It just dawned on me that I didn't post some of the things I made for Christmas!  I guess I was just glad to finally have them done!  So, this weekend I'll get on that!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops and Crock Pot Mashed potatoes!

I found this recipe from

The original recipe was for pork chops, which I did do the first time.  We loved them!  YUMMY!  This time I didn't have pork chops, so I made it with chicken and Justin loved it even more.  He prefers chicken over pork though.  And the gravy from the meat is awesome on the potatoes!

Here's what I did:

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops or Chicken Breasts
4-6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick or boneless chicken breasts
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
2 (10 oz) cans Cream of Chicken Soup
Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours or 3.5-4 hours on high for chicken.

Did you know you could do mashed potatoes in the crock pot?  Yep!  That's right!  This is my new favorite thing to do because you don't have to watch them and make sure they don't over boil and make a mess and constantly check them to see if they are done!

 Crockpot Potatoes:
2.5 lbs potatoes peeled and diced (I used about 10 red potatoes)
2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cup chicken broth (I use water and chicken bullion)
milk and salt
Place the potatoes in the slow cooker.  Pour chicken broth over and top with butter.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
I used a small slow cooker for my potatoes (see picture below) so my potatoes were done in 3 hours!
 I'm not sure how many quarts my small slow cooker is, but my big one is 7 qt. So, I took this picture to give you an idea.
Add milk to desired consistency as you mash them and salt to taste.  You can add other seasonings too like garlic or cheese, even sour cream (at the end.)  Get creative!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crochet Pot Holders!

So, I'm sure some of you have seen or even crocheted a "Magic Pot Holder."  This is not that!  My friend Andrea taught me how to make these really awesome pot holders.  They are by far my favorite to use and even Justin loves them!  I was trying to help a friend (who lives far away) make them too, so I made these videos to help.  They are far from good videos, but they do the job.  I had to put the camera on a box and try to crochet in the site of the lens.  It proved to be quite difficult!  That is partly why I ended up doing 3 videos and also because in one of them my stitching was too tight, so I couldn't see where to put my hook! LOL!
Here's the Pattern as best as I know how to type it:
100% Cotton yarn (Sugar'n Cream and Peaches 'n cream are good ones)
Hook Size: G (4.25) Originally I posted H (5.00MM) but the G will give it the tighter stitch I was looking for.
Chain (ch) 31 and turn
Skip the first chain and sc (single crochet) in each ch across until the end
ch 1 and turn
Insert hook in back loop of the sc and in the back loop of the beginning chain (pic 1) and draw up loop and yarn over and pull through loops (sc)  Do this all the way across then ch1 and turn

You will feel like you are doing it wrong, I promise!  But keep going and you'll see after about 4 or 5 rows that you have a really thick square starting.  Here are the pics my friend Andrea did to show me what to do, then I will add the videos I did to help my other friend.

To finish it off (when you have made a true square) you will go through all three loops (so both loops from the single crochet and the one bottom loop) doing a single crochet.  That will give you a nice finished edge.  Let me know if that doesn't make sense and I'll do a video.

Here's a close up.  See how nice and tight she made them!  I'm working on making mine tight, but it's hard for me to do certain things tight.  Love love love these pot holders!

How to clean Stainless Steel!

I'm sure there is a "right" way to clean stainless steel, but I haven't found anything that works until yesterday!  I was scrubbing my stove top with baking soda like I do every time I scrub it and I decided to just do the stainless part, on the back splash where the digital controls for the oven are, with baking soda too.  I've always left this part to do separately because I knew you were supposed to clean it a special way.  Everything I've ever tried to clean it hasn't worked, so I figured, why not?  This is the part of my stove that gets all the oil splashes and then I can't get them off!  A little baking soda paste and wah lah!  All clean!  

 This is the bottom of my microwave because I didn't think about posting this until my stove was all clean.  Look how gross it is!  It also gets a lot of grease and is hard to clean because it's right above the stove.
 Take a wet (non scratch-able) scrubber and put a generous amount of baking soda.  You need a paste to clean with baking soda.  It's not like Comet or Ajax where you can just put a bit on and have a really wet rag, you need more baking soda than water.
 Then scrub...wipe clean, sometimes takes a few rinses to get the residue off.  And dry with towel.  If you don't dry with a towel you may now have water deposits all over your stainless, not pretty! :)

See how pretty it is!?!  The front of my oven was really really bad, so when I was done there were still marks on the steel even though it was clean, so I used the magic wipes (they call them that, not me) and it seemed to help moisturize it.  The wipes claim to clean, protect, polish and be fingerprint resistant.  I've only found them to polish, but it was just what I needed.

These are the wipes I mentioned. I found them at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Shredded Pork Loin Roast

The website I got this recipe from is working out some bugs, so I don't know what link to give you, but I got it from Crockin' Girls!

For sure interesting and also tasty.  I'm not sure that it's my favorite shredded pork, but still good :)
*Edit: the leftovers were awesome!  Way yummier than the original!  I drained most of the extra juices and poured a bit more bbq sauce over top before I put them in the fridge.  A few days later I ate it for lunch and it was super yummy!*

Shredded Pork Loin Roast:

1 (5 lb.) pork loin roast
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
1 can Dr. Pepper
Onion powder, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste

This is a recipe that you can use for several different recipes. Such as:
1) BBQ pork roast sandwiches served with lettuce, tomato, chips, and a pickle
2) BBQ pork roast loaded baked potato served with sour cream, butter, and chives
3) BBQ pork roast nachos served with chips, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, black olives, and shredded cheese
4) BBQ pork roast Corn tortilla tacos served with broccoli slaw and avocados


Place roast into the slow cooker and season with onion and garlic powder. Cover with BBQ sauce and then pour Dr. Pepper over the roast. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours until pork is tender. Shred with forks.

 This is a little trick I learned from Pinterest as well!  Who knew you could use your Kitchen-Aid to shred your meat?  I will never use 2 forks again!  I got a blister once doing that!  And Bonus, I got to use my brand new Kitchen-Aid twice today!

I thought it would be easier to put the kids in a hotdog bun and I was right!  My older kids loved it and my younger 2, well, they don't eat much of anything, so you know...


I've tried for years to plan what day each week I'm going to clean/do what so that I can have a super clean house and be uber organized.  It's been a fail each time, but this time I think I have it right!  See, I have delegated some of my chores over the last year or so and now it will all be easier!  My kids empty the dishwasher and my husband does the dishes!  How awesome is that?  And now my two older kids are doing their own laundry!  (When I remember to force them to, of course!)  So, I've simplified my list.  I think I always took on too much thinking I could have a really clean awesome house all the time and my 4 kids wouldn't ruin it 5 seconds after I just cleaned it.  Reality check!  Oh, and my husband does his own load of clothes and even washes our whites! (He can't mess up the whites!) BONUS!  Okay, so I have planned 1 day each week, not including Sundays, to do one load of wash.

Monday: Sheets
Tuesday: Reegan and Bronx (my 2 younger kids)-this is one load total
Wednesday: Mine
Thursday: Whites (if Justin hasn't done them, so if he has I get a free day! YAY!)
Friday: Towels
Saturday: Madison and Kennedy do their load each
Justin can do his laundry whenever he feels like it, lol!

Then I picked one chore besides general pick up, because that is NEVER ENDING at my house.

Monday: Back Yard (somehow my kids are super awesome and making that place look like a dump!)
Tuesday: Front Yard
Wednesday: Scrub the kitchen (since you know no one bothers to do when they are doing the dishes)
Thursday: Dust (can you tell Thursdays are my busy days, because if the Whites don't get washed, Justin will do it and if the dusting doesn't happen, who cares! HAHA!)
Friday: Scrub both bathrooms.  Great thing about this one is that my oldest 2 also get to do this chore with my guidance!  So I almost get a free chore day here too! :)
Saturday: Clean our rooms

My only real goal for the year is to do better with eating and exercising and to be ready for the day by 9am.  For some of you that may sound silly, but as a mother of 4 who is in a carpool (so 2 out of 3 weeks I don't drive) sometimes it's really easy to not even get dressed!  So, I've set up my above schedule so that it's something I can do really quick in the morning, hop in the shower and be ready.  Then I have the rest of the day until the older kids get home to chase the little ones around and do what mothers do!  Once the older kids get home it's running/biking time, homework, piano, dinner, showers and bed, so it's a full evening!  If I can be productive without overwhelming myself before the day even begins it will be an awesome 2012!

"Gingerbread" Nativities!!!

This was a lot of fun and one of our new family traditions!  The kids had a blast, and so did my husband and I!  We made 2 so we could take one to our neighbor who had just moved a few days before.

 We used black licorice for the face and legs of the marshmallow sheet, gumdrops for the shepherds and wise men, and my husband even got creative and made some animals with toothpicks and gumdrops!  The hay is coconut with yellow food coloring.
 Next year I'll buy the bigger gum drops because they were really tiny compared to the rest of the display.  And figuring out how to do an angel would be cool too.  We used fruit roll ups for the head pieces.  Something else may work better, but the kids thought it was great!  Really you can't go wrong, just buy some candy and get creative!

Pumpkin Donut Holes!

One of my kids favorite after school snacks!  They love them so much, they ate them all today!  That won't be a norm, but I love that they love them!  I got the recipe HERE, but changed it, so my recipe is below.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumkin pie spice (if you can't find that or don't have it on hand use: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. allspice and 1/8 tsp. ground cloves)
1/3 cup vetetable oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup milk

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1/2 cup melted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

In medium bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside and combine the remaining ingredients in mixer until smooth.  Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

I used to cookie scoop to fill my muffin tins.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Meanwhile, melt butter in one bowl and combine sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.  Let muffins cool for 2 min.  Dip each muffin in the butter and then in the sugar mixture.  So yummy!  I can only handle a few because it's a lot of sugar!  I need to find a way to make less sugar adhere to the donut, but they are good! :)

Marshmallow Popcorn

This recipe isn't linkable because it was just a picture someone uploaded and put the instructions as the caption.  I ended up doing it my own way anyhow (not on purpose, lol!)

3-4 bags popcorn (pop and take out extra kernels) 
1 sticks of butter (1/2 cup) 
16 oz bag of marshmallows 
1 cup brown sugar 
Microwave butter, marshmallows, and brown sugar for 2 1/2 min. Take out and stir. Microwave again for 1 min. Repeat until thin sauce. When done pour over popcorn and mix. YUM!

The difference between what I did and the original recipe is the butter and the amount of popcorn.  The first time I accidentally only used 1 stick of butter instead of 2 and I liked the results better with less butter.  These pics are of the second attempt doing it "right" and I wasn't as pleased.  It was runnier and easier to mix on the popcorn, but it made the popcorn mushier and stickier.  I made them the first time for all my friends and neighbors for Christmas and got raving reviews, so I know it's not just me ;)  I also felt the need for a bit more popcorn, hence the 4th bag.


Homemade Lip gloss!

So easy and fun!  Petroleum Jelly and Kool-Aid!  Found the idea HERE.

What you'll need:

1 tub petroleum jelly (vaseline)
1 pkg of kool-aid drink crystals - whatever flavor you want, or you can make a few
lip gloss containers
labels printed out on sticker paper
scissors or 1 inch paper punch


1. put about 1 cup vaseline in a microwave safe bowl
2. heat the vaseline in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each heating. It took me about 5 minutes to melt each batch of vaseline. It will be liquid when it is fully melted. It will be very hot! Make sure you wear gloves or oven mitts and make sure children are being supervised.
3. take out of microwave and stir in kool-aid drink crystals until desired colour is reached - I used the whole package for each batch. Stir until the crystals are completely dissolved.
4. if starting to solidify you can heat again for another 30 seconds - skip this step if it is still liquidy
5. pour into your lip gloss containers and leave to solidify - a couple hours
6. repeat this whole process if making more flavors
7. print out labels on sticker paper
8. using either a 1 inch punch, or scissors, cut out the circle labels and attach to your lip gloss container
9. give to all your favourite people, but remember to save a few for yourself too!

I found these containers on ebay. I believe you can also find them on Amazon.

 I got the 5g and would even go as big as the 10g next time.

Starting to get liquidy after a few minutes of stirring.

 Almost done!

Clear and ready for the Kool-Aid!  It only took about 5 minutes for me, but others were saying it took them longer!  Spoon the melted lip gloss into the containers and let cool.  Add a cute label and Wah lah!