Pet Hair Removal Made Easy

dog hair removerPet hair. It had me on the ropes. I could NEVER get ahead of it. Every time I turned around, there it was again!  It’s as if my dog’s hair leaps from her body and burrows itself into the upholstery. Not just ON it…..but IN it. Literally. But I’ve finally found a gadget that makes pet hair removal easy. (more…)

Gluten Free Caramel Freezies

caramel freezies cover2

Clean eaters of the world, avert your eyes, for I present to you, Crunchy Caramel Freezies. They’re sweet, they’re crunchy, they’re frosty, and you’re going to love ’em!  Yes, they do have ingredients that include preservatives, but they ARE gluten free, and under 100 calories per serving!  I think I can make an exception here (tee hee).

Best of all? Just two ingredients, and done in a snap.

I found these cuties in a magazine featuring Hungry Girl. Known for having a way with cutting fat and calories from everyday, basic dishes, snacks and desserts, this treat is one of our all time faves. (more…)

A New Alternative to cutting cost of Cable TV

cable tv cover“I’ve been paying too much for cable, and for far too long”. Sound familiar?

Since transitioning from two incomes to one, I’ve been looking for ways to cut back expenses wherever possible, and putting cable on the chopping block seemed to be a real no-brainer for us. Sort of. But then along came Sling TV.

Never heard of it? Well, as I write this post, it is pretty new (January 2015).

We’ve watched cable television for so long, it seemed like watching tv any other way would feel like a sacrifice. But nowadays, we do have alternatives.  Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix to name a few. But do they really cover all the bases?  I mean, enough to “cut the cord” as they say? (more…)

DIY Dog Toys

dog toys cover wmAbout a year ago, our family adopted our very first puppy. Very first for me meant literally the FIRST dog I’ve ever lived with, and it didn’t take long to figure out that pricey dog toys just weren’t in the budget.

Our dog isn’t large, but is a mixed breed with a ton of energy. Other than our daily walks, I was desperate to find things to occupy her when the weather was bad, or when weren’t home as much as usual. I turned to toys and chew bones to keep her busy, but wow, was THAT getting expensive!

After studying those dog toys I’d brought home (and were chewed apart before we could even remove the sales tag), it occurred to me that I was doing this all wrong, Most of these toys were little more than fabric stuffed with squeaky toys and “puzzles” with treats hidden inside. I can do that too, right? Of course I can do this, and you can, too! (more…)

Chorizo & Turkey Chili

chorizo chili cover 3In my opinion, there are just so many reasons to love chili. Aside from the fact that it’s exceptionally tasty, chili is just so gosh darn versatile. Let me also add inexpensive and super, duper easy. For years I’ve been experimenting with different ingredient combinations that make this a dish that is overall pretty hard to screw up!

One such ingredient is chorizo sausage.  A number of years ago, my sister introduced me to this  fantastic little flavor dynamo and I loved it instantly. I’ve been looking for new ways to work it into more and more recipes ever since.

The chili I have here for you is just one example of how well this Mexican sausage can blend into new and existing recipes with ease……..Chorizo & Turkey Chili.  This one really gets it done when you’re looking for a little winter comfort food, or for days when you just don’t want to make a huge effort to get a tasty meal onto your table. (more…)

Spinach Pesto

pesto mainThe first time I tried pesto, I didn’t like it. To me it tasted strange and a little…”herby” maybe?

But that was then and this is now. Today, I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Seeing how expensive the jarred pesto was, I decided to try making this myself. At first I stuck to the original concept of pesto using basil, garlic, cheese and pine nuts. Since then, I’ve experimented a little, changing this out for that, increasing and decreasing quantities here and there, until I hit upon what I find to be the perfect combination. (more…)

Seriously Perfect Brown Rice

brown rice recipeIn my never ending quest to cook healthier meals, I’ll admit that small changes don’t always stick. One change that has is that I always substitute white rice for brown.. I’m shocked that my picky family has easily accepted this change. It’s pretty much the only kind of rice I’ll make now. But I’ll tell you, my first attempt at cooking brown rice wasn’t pretty.

On my first venture, well, let’s just say that I should have read the instructions more carefully before forging ahead.  If I had, then I wouldn’t have run into the problem of the main dish being done WELL before the rice was finished cooking. You see, as I’d discovered, it takes a lot longer to prepare brown rice than white. Not only that, the results were…..embarrassing. One time it’s totally underdone, then through my efforts to improve my method, I over compensate by cooking it to a starchy, mushy mess!

Not willing to give up so easily, I then discovered a better method that gets me away from stovetop vigilance to simply using the oven.. Did I read that right? Baking rice? I’ve seen it done for casseroles, but not just for the sake of cooking only rice. But I’ll tell you, I’ve never looked back. I initially used this recipe from Baked Brown Rice from Alton Brown. (more…)

The Best Way to Remove Eye Makeup Naturally

Eye makeup remover olive oil Confession time. I wear makeup…..every…single…day. I don’t know what it is. For me, it’s like putting on shoes. I feel put together. Ready for the world! Even on days where I probably won’t see anyone outside of our family. I still put it on. I can’t help myself!

So, this being my morning ritual, it of course brings about the less fun evening ritual of removing it. And by “it”, I’m mostly referring to eye makeup. For many years, I had a “go to” remover that got the job done. But over time, I found the price ticking ever higher, while the packaging got progressively smaller. I concluded that this shouldn’t be this hard, and surely there is something better out there.

Thus began my quest. My requirements were simple: It must be effective, gentle on the eyes, and inexpensive. After a bit of trial and error, I’ve landed on a remover that beats them all, hands down.  And my journey to get to that holy grail of eye makeup removal went a little something like this: (more…)

Holiday Treat Boxes from Paper Plates

Holiday paper plate treat boxesDon’t ya just love it when creative folks share their genius with the rest of the world?  Such is the case of It’s Always Autumn and this super idea of turning paper plates into cookie boxes!.  Check out her project and you’ll agree it’s a crazy good concept!

I’ll admit that my “creativity muscle” is still developing and has a long way to go, but how great is it when you see an idea and find so many other ways to use them? Being as impressed as I was at Autumn’s creation, I thought this idea would be absolutely perfect for holding teacher’s gifts and the kid’s class treats as well. And with Christmas coming up, why not give it a shot, right? (more…)

The Ultimate Budget Holiday Decor….Mason Jar Candles

mason candle 7I just love the holidays don’t you? It was always my mom’s favorite as well. Maybe that’s why I feel the way I do. Christmas Eve with mom, dad and the three of us girls. Familiar decor, delicious food, an obscene amount of gifts and lots and lots of happy laughter. It was a small gathering of mostly just the 5 of us, and never, ever fancy. Just us.  And I loved it. Every minute of it.

As a little girl, I would fantasize about someday hosting these gatherings myself. The sounds, smells and sights….I couldn’t wait to make them all my own. I imagined the sight of glowing candles, the smell of spicy cinnamon and autumn fruits, all with the backdrop of Bing Cosby’s “White Christmas” or Nat King Cole’s “Oh Holy Night” (my favorite) surrounding us.

It was and is all about the atmosphere. Ambiance. I’m sure you’ll agree that this time of year has a feeling to it, and I think décor takes center stage in creating that.

But who has a ton of extra cash to drop on décor?  Certainly not me. Of course, for the most part, I find that “do it yourself” is the way to go. I look to others for inspiration, and it’s always just a mouse click away! (more…)