Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Clean Rooms for Kids

I don't know how many times I've asked my kids to clean their rooms, and had them come back repeatedly to ask me to check if it was clean enough to excuse them. Is it clean? "No, put the clothes in the dirty clothes basket." Is it clean? "No put your books away." And on and on... That's when you want to give up and clean it yourself!

I read something that suggested to give clear and concise guidelines for what you expect. What better way to do that then with a photo?

 I took a photo of the kid's rooms clean, then printed and laminated it(just so it wouldn't end up in a crumpled pile of garbage, but it's not necessary). Now, hopefully, they will have a guideline for what the room looks like clean. Make it look like the picture!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Adventures in Jam-making

Making and freezing fresh jam, how delightfully domestic! A few months ago we stumbled across a crazy deal at Safeway which left us with bunches and bunches of nearly free strawberries, more than anyone could be expected to eat. So we tried this recipe which was lovely, but a little runny, and I don't have the experience or gumption to "Can" or properly preserve. Then, having gotten the courage up to try more recipes, I bought some powdered Sure-Jell and tried a fresh no-cook recipe. It turned out good, so I decided to try another cooked recipe, but it was not great, and again I didn't want to can or preserve it. So we tried again, and came out with our favorite which I have now made three times.

Why should you make your own jam? Well, you can control your own ingredients. Instead of what's listed here (high fructose corn syrup alert!):

you can use as little as 3 or 4 ingredients. You can use organic berries, organic sugar, you can even pick your own strawberries!

One more tip, at my farmer's market one vendor sells "Jam berries", which is an entire flat or strawberries or raspberries for $10 (ordinarily at least $25)! This flat has some berries that have gone south, so it needs to be picked through on the same day, but MAN was it worth it! I found about 5-10 individual berries that couldn't be salvaged, but the rest were great. I just picked through and sliced them up when I got home and had a TON. I gave away some baskets to neighbors, had enough for two big batches of jam with leftovers. Ask your farmer's market vendors for jam berries, it's worth a try!

Freezer or Fresh jam is my pick, as you don't have to can or preserve it, and it is made with uncooked fresh berries, so it's faster to make and fresher. It also uses 1/2 the sugar! I like the Sure Jell Certo, because it takes out even 1 more step, as the jell is ready to use from the packet.

Quick & Easy Strawberry Jam

2 cups crushed strawberries
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 cups sugar
1 pouch Certo

Crush berries 1 cup at a time. You can use a potato masher, but I found it easiest to use a food processor to a fine chop. Bits of fruit should be remaining. Measure fruit into a bowl.

Measure exact amount of sugar and add to fruit. (Don't try to skimp on the sugar, as it won't set properly.) Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you're feeling really saucy you can add a touch of vanilla.

Stir pectin into lemon juice. Add to fruit and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top.

Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set. Refrigerate for 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 year.


Ever read the ingredients on your strawberry yogurt container? Lots of additives there too, and tons of sugar. We buy plain organic yogurt and add some jam to that. Granola on top and it's a yummy parfait too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Stave off summer boredom with this free craft e-book. This first window that pops up requesting your email address can be closed without entering an email.
I think we'll be trying the "finger friends". Looks cool!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Paris! Paris! Paris!

1. Drop whatever you're doing, go to oh Happy day here: http://ohhappyday.com/2011/06/goes-to-paris
2. Enter to win a trip to Paris!
3. Pack your bags.
4. Sit on your chair and wait until June 20th when the contest ends.

Friday, February 25, 2011



* 1 3/4 cups white sugar
* 8 cups water
* 1 1/2 cups lemon juice


1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.
2. Remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups water.

(Credit All Recipes)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

London Broil Take 3

I stretched out the London Broil into a 3rd meal (it was a mondo piece of meat)...I've been promising myself to capitalize on my kids love of spaghetti noodles for a while. I used the leftover meat, spaghetti noodles and vegetables on hand (zucchini and carrots, which I shredded, and spinach) and mixed with asian dressing and "stir-fried" ala Mongolian BBQ. So for another .99 cents we had another meal from our cheap London Broil!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two Dinners in One - London Broil & Steak Salad

Looking for ways to use that cheap London Broil ($1.99/lb) from Safeway?

Tuesday night we did this recipe for London Broil, baked potatoes & zucchini. Wednesday night we used leftover steak, added mozzarella, some fresh heirloom tomatoes (from my dad's garden) and kalamata olives - dressed with some champagne dressing. Yum! And the next-day salad took minutes to put together after all the hard work had been done!

Groceries for 2 dinners:
$5 London Broil (used 1 steak out of a 2 pack, we still have leftovers too!)
$.25 Baked Potatoes (from roadside stand, $1/10 lb bag Russets)
$.49 Girards dressing ($2.49, used $2 coupon)
$1.00 Mozzarella (used 1/2 pack of fresh mozzarella)
Total $6.75 + ingredients on hand

Note about London Broil: Most recipes for this meat will require 3+ hours of marinating, so plan ahead when making it!