Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why You Should Clean Your Vacuum Cleaner's Beater Bar.....

Sorry for the super nasty photos that follow.  There are just some things us homemakers MUST talk about....

So, yes, I knew this.  I KNOW we are supposed to clean the hair off of our vacuum cleaner's beater bar on a regular basis.  But.... well, I got lazy and HELLO THIS IS GROSS!!!!

According to this website, this is WHY we should make sure we clean the hair off on a regular basis.

Vacuums are the cleaning workhorse of our carpeted rooms, but every once in a while they need a little cleaning themselves so that they can keep operating properly. Most are already familiar with cleaning or replacing the vacuum bag since that happens on a more regular basis but it is not as common to remove the roller brush and clean it as well. If you live in a household with long haired people or animals you may know this problem all too well. As the vacuum runs along the carpet it picks up hair that wraps around (and almost dreads) your roller brush. When enough hair builds up, the roller brush is no longer able to rotate and stops picking up hair and debris on your floor. Luckily it's an easy and quick fix.

I finally cleaned mine last week.  Yep, disgusting.  All three of us girls in this home have long hair, so you better believe there was a TON of hair to remove.  

So now?  Our vacuum cleaner is running MUCH better than it was!!  We only purchased this vacuum 6 months ago and already we had this much hair.  YIKES!!  Lesson learned- I will clean it off WAY more often than every 6 months!!!!

How often do YOU clean the hair off the beater bar?  If you have pets, definitely be sure and look to see if it needs cleaning!!  And if you cannot figure out how to remove the beater bar, youtube is your best friend. Type in the brand of your vacuum and some nice person has surely uploaded a video of how to do it on your exact machine.  YAY for technology!!!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Super Simple Peach Cobbler...

This recipe is one my mother has always made.  If you ask her, she will say it's not "real" peach cobbler.  She loves the peach cobbler with hand rolled, homemade crust on top and fresh peaches on the inside.  Yes, it's tasty. But for me??? Oh I LOVE my mother's super simple version.  Quick. Tasty.  Can't beat that combination!!!

Recently, Caroline (7) has decided this is HER dessert to make for the family.  I put the pan in the oven and take it out, but she does everything else.  And she LOVES that she's making something  yummy for all of us. She made it tonight, as a matter of fact, and declared that next time she makes it she WILL have vanilla ice cream to put on top for everyone.  Sounds PERFECT!!!

Super Simple Peach Cobbler

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
2 (15 oz) cans of peaches

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13 place the stick of butter and put the pan in the oven.  Remove as soon as the butter melts completely (maybe 5 minutes??? WATCH CAREFULLY!!!!).

In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and stir to combine.  Mix in milk and stir well.  No lumps are wanted in this.  :)  Set aside.

As soon as butter is melted, remove from oven.  Pour the batter into the melted butter in the 9x13.  Then pour the canned peaches (juice and all!!!) on top.  You may want to carefully move a few of the peaches around so that they cover the whole pan evenly.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Then wait.  This is always the hardest part, by far.  

This is such an easy and delicious dessert!!  If you keep canned peaches in your pantry, you're pretty much always ready with a treat for last minute drop in guests!!  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Roasted Sausage and Peppers....

Roasted Sausage and Peppers is one of the easiest recipes I make. This also happens to be one of the favorite dishes of my seven year old.  I'm talking, when she sees me put the smoked sausage in the grocery cart, she starts jumping up and down.  Seriously.

(By the way, there ARE other things than just sausage and peppers in the recipe, that's what we have always ended up calling this dish over the years.)

The recipe is so so simple. It's just a matter of chopping your veggies and sausages then boom they're roasting away in the oven!!  Gives you plenty of time to wash up any dishes from the day and then maybe relax a few minutes before the oven timer goes off.

Roasted  Sausage and Peppers

2 smoke sausage links (something like this)
1 onion
4 bell peppers any color (we used red, yellow, orange, and green here)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 head of broccoli (I use the floret part only)
good pinch of kosher salt
2 T extra virgin olive oil

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Chop up the sausage, onion, peppers, garlic, and broccoli.  Place them on a cookie sheet with a rim.  Drizzle on olive oil and sprinkle on salt.  Toss it all together with your hands.  Cook for 20 minutes then remove from oven and toss around.  Place back in oven for another 25 minutes to finish cooking.  

Like any recipe, make this like YOUR family likes.  They LOVE onion?  Add more!!  They only like green peppers?  Use just those.  Y'all detest garlic?  Leave it out.  You, fellow homemaker, know best what your family prefers.

This can be served over rice or pasta, but we eat it just like this- scoop it up off the cookie sheet and onto our plates and enjoy!! OH! And Caroline (7) says to be sure and tell you that she adds a dash of balsamic vinegar and really REALLY likes it this way.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Scripture Sunday... 5.21.17...

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 
James 1:5

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Favorites.... Olive oil soap...

I've shared before with y'all how I've had weird skin issues.  I'm still not 100% sure if it is caused by fragrances or by whatever is it soaps these days.  Regardless, I've eliminated most non-natural smells from our home (well I do have one favorite perfume I'll share another Friday!!) as well as store bought soaps.  I make my own hand soap, use Ivory Dishwashing liquid (watered down even!), I "wash" my hair with conditioner, and I found the BEST homemade soap that is local to me!!!

Sweet Teas Soaps & Stuff is WONDERFUL!!  I've been buying their soaps for several years now and have had ZERO issues with my skin cracking or getting super duper dry.  YAY!!!  Their bars are HUGE so I always cut them in half before I put them in the shower.  I wipe them on my poofy (what do you call them?) and they suds up nicely!!!

Their website says this about their ingredients...
Our soap is made in small batches from pure Olive Oil, Distilled Water and Sodium Hydroxide – the most basic ingredients – just as our ancestors would have used in the pioneer days. There are many healing benefits to olive oil soap and it cleans and soothes the skin like no other. We have unscented soap as well as many with different Fragrance Oils, Spices and Additives for exfoliation. The fragrances are long lasting and the bars are oversized at 6+ oz and can easily be cut in half so they last even longer.)
So if any of y'all are looking for some quality soap that won't bother your skin, try my FAVORITE- Sweet Teas Soaps!!!!

(I'm not an affiliate for Sweet Teas.  I'm just sharing what works for me and what I LOVE!!!!)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

An Old Favorite... Better Homes and Garden Cookbook...

I'm sure I'm not the only one with a love for cookbooks.  I've got a bazillion of them.  I had to give some away a few years ago because I read out of room!!!  Anyone else "been there, done that"? 

This cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens, is one that will always remain on my shelf.  It's got so many "old faithfuls" that I trust again and again.  Their pancake recipe is WONDERFUL!!!!!  Oh!! And their Chocolate Crinkle cookies are DY-NO-MITE!!!  OH!!! I could go on and on, but I do love this cookbook.

I pulled it out yesterday as I needed a basic yellow cake recipe for Caroline's birthday cake.  Very easy and turned out just like a yellow cake should- simple and delicious!! (Well, except Caroline, being her girly girl self, insisted we add sprinkles to the batter!!)

I was curious about this cookbook, so I googled the history of it.  I had NO idea it started in 1930!!  No wonder the cover of this one says "New!"  Go to their website post and read all about it!  Here's a sneak peak...

Throughout the years, the cookbook adapted to the times while remaining true to its original mission of providing cooks with a trustworthy cooking resource. The formula has worked. The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book -- with its distinctive red-and-white plaid cover -- is one of the world's most recognized books. In 1930, when that full-page ad claimed that there had never before been a cookbook like this one, it might have seemed quite the boast. But 34 million copies later, it's almost an understatement.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Brown Sugar Granola...

I've been making granola for years.  SO easy and tasty and cost effective!!  I mentioned in another post that I've been wanting to find ways to cut back on our weekly grocery bill.  Making our own cereal is definitely one way to do that!! I've been out of the habit for a while, but mmmmmm was my family happy that I started baking up an easy batch of granola again!!!

I've been making Peanut Butter Granola for a long while.  Buuuuut my littlest girl doesn't like peanut butter (I KNOW!!! Can you believe it???!!!)  Thankfully I found this yummy recipe on Hillbilly Housewife's site!!  

I have made a few changes from the original recipe, so this is how I am making it.  You can read there original here.  (By the way, Hillbilly Housewife has some GREAT recipes!!!) 

Brown Sugar Granola...

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups rolled oats (old fashioned oats)

In a large 4 quart saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar, salt, and water together. Stir it well and let it simmer for a few minutes (2 or 3 minutes should be enough). Remove the pot from the stove and stir up the granola. You want to coat the oats with the brown sugar and butter so keep stirring until everything is moistened. Put the granola onto a cookie sheet, the kind with sides. Bake it at 375° for 15-20 minutes until it is golden brown and doesn’t look “wet” anymore. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the granola to cool right there in the pan. When it is cool, break it up into small pieces and transfer it to a storage container with a lid. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Scripture Sunday... 4.30.17...

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Easy and delicious homemade bread....

I LOVE cooking.  It's just FUN!!  Kind of like science meets art, dontcha think???  

Anyway, of all the time I spend in the kitchen, making bread is by far my favorite thing to do.  Oh yes, I ADORE desserts, but there is something so satisfying about homemade bread.  Maybe it's the flour that covers my apron when I'm finished, or the time I can spend thinking about anything and everything (or nothing at all) in the world while kneading the dough.  It's relaxing and homey and just plain old FUN for me!!!  

This is currently (notice, I said "currently") our favorite bread.  However, I have been making this for about 6 years now. It's delicious right out of the oven slathered with butter (we are SO into Kerrygold right now! DELIICIOUS!!!), perfect sliced for sandwiches, GREAT as buttered toast, and, oh yes, most excellent as French toast.

Where did I get this bread recipe? Allrecipes!!!! It's my favorite recipe source online.  For this one, I actually stick by the recipe!! SHOCKER!!  I do use extra light olive oil in the bread, however, instead of just vegetable oil.  No big differences, though.  

Amish White Bread

2 cups warm water
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra light olive oil
6 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof (also called blooming) until yeast resembles a creamy foam (about 5 minutes)

Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well-oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Y'all please let me know if you make it.  And PLEASE share YOUR favorite bread recipes!!!!!  

Happy baking!!!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Scripture Sunday... 4.23.17,..

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Friday, April 21, 2017

Grocery budgeting and frugal recipe help wanted....

One way that we homemakers make a house a home is all the yummy foods we prepare for our family each meal.  Nourishing, delicious, satisfying, full of love cooking is what our families want when they walk in the door at the end of the day.

I've recently decided that we need to cut back on our grocery budget.  Mr U doesn't have a problem with it (but aren't we all always looking for ways to save!!!), but I've kind of taken it as a personal challenge to lower my spending in this area.  We spend around $140 a week for the four of us and I'd love to see that number reduced.  I really, really do enjoy cooking, but I've given in to "convenience foods" way to often these days and those prices can quickly add up.

Surely I'm not the only one that would appreciate help in the grocery budget area?  Sooooo... I would LOOOOOVE to hear from YOU!!!  How much do you spend on groceries each week for your household?  How many people are in your family?

Also, please share your favorite frugal dinner meals??  Feel free to add links to your blog if you have the recipes on your blog already.  :)

We homemakers have so much to share with each other.  When you share in the comments here, others will benefit from  your wisdom when they read what you wrote.

Have a happy Friday and a GREAT weekend!!!

Mrs. U

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How I make our foaming hand soap....

I've shared before how store bought cleaners are horrible on my hands.  Painful cracks are NOT my idea of fun. Even any store bought hand soap seems to bother me, but antibacterial soaps are the worst!!!!  The very next day, the skin on my palms as well as my fingertips will start cracking open.  SO PAINFUL and it takes about a week to heal.  I haven't done the research to find out exactly what's in those soaps (probably should!!!), but I just try my best to steer clear of them.  What do I do in public or in someone else's home?  PRAY!!  I wash my hands and RINSE RINSE RINSE.  Doesn't always work, but it's better than walking around with germy hands in those situations.  

Anyway,  here's my "recipe" for my homemade foaming hand soap.

Mrs U's Foaming Hand Soap
1 foaming handsoap container
distilled water
2 capfuls of Dr Bronner's Liquid Castille Soap (I prefer unscented)
10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice (I prefer doTERRA)

In the foaming hand soap container, fill with distilled water about 3/4 of the way full.  Add Liquid Castille Soap.  Carefully drop in the essential oils of your choice.  Add the pump and use right away. 

Okay sooooo a word about several of the things here...

- Foaming handsoap container.... Yes, you can buy foaming hand soap containers on Amazon.  But mine I got from Aldi!!!!!  The pumps came with antibacterial soap in them, so I just poured out the soap (and yes, I felt completely wasteful doing it, but I knew I couldn't use that antibacterial stuff) and rinsed super duper good to get it all out.  Maybe your Aldi has them, too!!

- Distilled water... Yes, you can use tap water, however, when I use our tap water, the soap gets super cloudy.  Kind of dirty looking.  I prefer to use distilled water so that the water stays clear looking.

-Dr Bronner's Liquid Castille... A couple of things.  First, I prefer unscented because I LOVE to use different essential oils pretty much every time I make our hand soap (we have 5 pumps of hand soap if you're curious).  The scented castille soap always smells like whatever scent it is (Peppermint always smells like peppermint, etc).
   Second, you can buy Dr Bronner's Liquid Castille on Amazon but I've also seen it in Publix and Sprouts.  (And I just noticed that the link to Dr Bronner's on Amazon ALSO INCLUDES A FOAMING HAND SOAP PUMP!!!!!!)

- doTERRA... LOOOOVE using doTERRA!!!  My current favorite scent combo to use in our hand soap is Wild Orange and Peppermint.  Fresh and uplifting!!  

Anyone else make their foaming hand soap?  Let me know!! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday... April 14, 1017

32And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull,34 they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.
35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting [p]lots. 36 And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him [q]which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
38 At that time two robbers *were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were [r]hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 He saved others; [s]He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.43 He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He [t]delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.
45 Now from the [u]sixth hour darkness [v]fell upon all the land until the [w]ninth hour.46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49 But the rest of themsaid, “[x]Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him[y].” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the [z]veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the [aa]saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was [ab]the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while [ac]ministering to Him. 56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I know I shouldn't have... but I did!!

I originally posted this brownie recipe in July of 2006.  2006!!!!!!  Were any of y'all reading blogs then????

Anyway, this is what I said...
Yes, I did it. I admit it. After my post this morning about Weight Watchers, I made brownies anyway. Not low fat brownies, mind you. Fully charged and loaded brownies!!! Wait'll you see the recipe and you'll see what I mean. These are GREAT brownies. Eat them. Share them. But most of all MAKE THEM!! You won't be sorry!! :)
So now that this is 2017 and I do still LOVE these brownies, I figured I'd share them again!!!  We still love them. We still make them.  These are sooooooo easy to make.  So nothings changed about our love of brownies here!!  

Oh, but, full disclosure here.... I do not do Weight Watchers anymore.  LOL. Y'all probably figured that out by now if you look at my recipes.  

What are you waiting for?  Go make these now!!  Mmmmm. Your family will thank you.

Mrs. U's BEST Brownies
12 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup salted butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup self-rising flour
1 1/2 T vanilla extract

Combine cocoa and sugar. Stir in melted butter, eggs, flour and vanilla. Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool, cut and eat!!!

Feel free to add nuts if your family likes.

Let me know if y'all make them!!!!!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Scripture Sunday... 4.9.17... Palm Sunday...

Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!”

Matthew 21:8-9

Friday, April 07, 2017

How to shop at Aldi....

Who doesn't love Aldi these days?????  Saving money AND getting tasty food??  Count me in!!!!

I heard about Aldi years ago when we still lived in Augusta.  There wasn't one there yet (is now!!!), so I had no idea what I was reading about when everyone was so excited about all the money they were saving at Aldi. I read about the prices being seriously lower, I read about needing a quarter for the grocery cart (we call them "buggies" around here!!!), and I read about there being no bags to put your groceries in.  Hmmmm. No bags for your groceries.  How in the world do you do that????

After a few weeks of seeing others check out, pull over the "the counter area" in Aldi,  and fill the bags they brought from home with their just purchased goods, I decided there HAD to be a better way.  And I found one!!!

Now maybe I'm not the first one to discover this, but I don't know anyone else who has done it except me (and the few struggling mothers I shared it with in the check out line).  Y'all ready?  I keep an empty laundry basket and empty cooler in the back of my van so that as soon as I leave Aldi, I put all my food in one of the two large containers!!!  YES!!  So when I get home, I carry in only two containers.  I don't spend extra time bagging groceries and I don't have to carry in all the bags and then keep them for the following week.  I just carry in the two totes, put all the groceries away, and stick them back in the van for next time.  WOOHOOO!!!  Super easy and major time saver for me!!

Anyone else LOVE Aldi?  If so, how do YOU get your groceries home???  


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