Friday, April 30, 2010

Peanut Butter....the Miracle Worker!

**Answer to Wednesday's Bible Trivia is at the end of this post **
Through the years, I've heard how wonderful the peanut is and that there are so many uses for peanut butter . . . other than eating it on bread with jelly or adding it with marshmallow creme to make fudge (YUM!).


Last weekend, my husband had just given our dog a bath.  When he and our dog returned from their afternoon walk, I discovered a big "glob" of sap in our dog's hair.  We tried dish soap & shampoo and scrubbing his fur with a towel . . . all to no avail.  My husband was about to reach for the scissors when I said, "Wait!  Let's try peanut butter!"  He looked at me rather strangely and I went on to explain that I've heard it helps get gum out of hair and tar off of cars without damaging the paint.  So, we rubbed a glob of peanut butter into the hair & sap and it was like magic!  It dissolved the sap and we simply rinsed off the dog's fur.  Amazing stuff in that little peanut :-)

Now for the answer to the Bible trivia question from Wednesday:
Perez was one of twin boys born to Tamar who posed as a prostitute and propositioned Judah, who was technically her father-in-law.   The entire story is in Genesis 38 and I guarantee this was not a story you learned in Sunday School and rightfully so. . . this story has a PG13 or R rating so it's probably not one you want to read at the family devotional time.  However, it's definitely a story you should read.  Why?  Well, let's just say that the name "Judah" has huge significance when we learn about a baby born in Bethlehem.  Are you tracking with me now?  Also, as you read the story, think about the writer of the book of Genesis, Moses.  He was inspired by God to write this book and you have to wonder if he questioned why God would want him to include this crazy story right in the middle of the story of Joseph.  It wasn't until about 1400 years later that the significance would ultimately be revealed.  Amazed?  I know am!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bible Trivia Wednesday

How many of you know who Perez was or the story concerning his conception/birth?  I would not have recognized his name until learning about him recently in our Wednesday Bible Study. . . I was so amazed when I learned who he was and how he came into this world that it got me thinking. . .

I've been in church my whole life, graduated from a Christian High School and yet there is SO much of the Bible that I've just skimmed over and amazing details I never knew were there until I slowed down and took time to really study what I was reading.  To many, the Old Testament seems to be dry and just a compilation of interesting stories that have nothing to do with the New Testament.  But oh, my goodness is that ever wrong!  Since I get to learn from the best Bible teacher there is every week (a.k.a. my husband :) I thought maybe I should share what I'm learning with you.  So, come on and have a little fun.  Who knows . . . you might learn something amazing!  Answer will be posted in Friday's blog.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Recipe for Cleaning Silver

When it comes to cleaning jewelry, I usually tend to stick with conventional solutions and polishing cloths.  However, when I came across a "Home Remedy" for cleaning silver, my interest was peaked and I just had to give it a try.  So, this afternoon, I gathered the appropriate materials and prepared for the experiment.

I decided to try it on my interchangeable Sterling Silver chains that I wear quite often, and a few pairs of earrings.  These pieces were not completely tarnished but had a bit of that yellowish tone and definitely had not been cleaned for some time.  After completing the process, I was AMAZED at how beautiful the pieces came out!  They were bright and shiny and looked like new!  A word of caution:  before you unload your jewelry box and start boiling water, let me suggest that you only pull out pieces that are completely made of sterling silver (i.e., chains, hoop earrings, etc.) or that have hard stones/crystals.  There is truly some type of "chemical" reaction that occurs and I'm not sure how certain stones will hold up to it. 

Now, are you ready for the recipe?  Here it is . . . happy cleaning!

Ingredients:
  • Plastic or Glass Bowl (not metal)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Baking Soda
  • Soft Toothbrush
  • Water
  • Soft Cloth or Towel

Directions:

  1. Put a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the plastic or glass bowl.
  2. Pour near-boiling water into the bowl.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the water.  This will cause a slight bubbling effect and give off a little bit of an odd odor.
  4. Place the tarnished jewelry onto the piece of aluminum.
  5. Add more baking soda to the dish if necessary until you see the tarnish coming off your piece.  I used an old toothbrush to help remove any remaining tarnish from the crevices of the chain, etc.
  6. Remove the piece from the solution (Careful!  Remember the water is hot!) & rinse under cool water.
  7. Dry the piece completely with a soft cloth & admire the shine!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Get Every Last Drop of....

LIPGLOSS!  Those of you that know me well, know that I have quite a collection of lipglosses.  There are many that I know I will never use all of before they go bad.  However, I have several that I will use until they are gone.  It use to be so frustrating to get to the end of my favorite lipgloss and not be able to get that last little bit at the bottom and at the top of the tube. 

One day, I was at the Bobby Brown cosmetics counter and one of the beauty experts let me in on the secret to getting every last drop.  Here's the secret (applies to lipglosses that have a brush/sponge applicator that you insert into the tube of lipgloss): 
 
1)Remove the applicator from the tube & set aside.
 
2)Slide your fingernail around the lip of the tube and separate the hard rubber "filter" from the tube of lipgloss and wiggle it free from the tube.
 
3)Insert a q-tip or brush and scrape that tube clean!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pure Fitness by Crystal Light

For those of you that have wondered if there would ever be a great tasting beverage without artificial sweetener and without a bazillion calories, the day has arrived!  It's a new drink mix made by Crystal Light called "Pure Fitness". 

There are 7 packets per box and each packet flavors 16 ounces of water.  Thus far, there are only a few flavors available . . . I tried Strawberry Kiwi and it's great!  Not only are there just 30 calories for a whole packet but there are no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.  Usually these types of drinks taste like watered down Kool-aid . . . not so with this one.  I don't know how Crystal Light packed so much flavor with so few calories but they managed to pull it off.   So, here's to a nice ice cold glass of refreshing Pure Fitness water.  Cheers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Multiple Uses for Bare Escentuals Blush

One of the many things I love about Bare Escentuals' products is that many have dual or even triple application possibilities. 

Take for example their blush - aside from brushing it on your cheeks you can also apply it as an eye shadow or on your lips.  My favorite way to use it on my lips is to apply it wet, like a lip stain and then after it dries to apply a sparkly gloss over it.  Fabulous!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mexican Fiesta Side Dish

About a month ago, we were having burritos for dinner and I wanted something other than refried beans for a side dish.  I love black bean salsa so I tweaked the recipe a little and came up with this great side dish that is super easy to prepare and tastes good without tortilla chips. . 

Mexican Fiesta Side Dish
   
Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.25 oz) Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 can Original Rotel, drained
1/2 tsp. Salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
Sour Cream
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Finely chopped Walnuts

Directions:
Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium size bowl.  Stir together and add additional salt if desired.  Garnish each 1/2 cup serving with a dallop of sour cream on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and walnuts (about 1 Tablespoon of each).  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Secrets of Coupon Clipping

Coupon Clipping is in my genes, what can I say?!  My mom was my chief mentor in the coupon clipping world.  She always sat down on Sunday with the newspaper and carefully clipped coupons.  As I grew up and moved out on my own, I followed in her footsteps.  Many of my friends have said that they aren't sure it's worth the time and trouble to clip the coupons and then try to remember to bring them to the store with you.  One of my record coupon savings in one transaction (without any double coupon promotion) was $13. . . that's not chump change :-)  Here are my secrets to coupon clipping. . .

Secret #1
:  First and foremost, do not clip unless it's for a product and brand that you use or will use to substitute for something you normally use.  Keep in mind that the manufacturer's main purpose of coupons is not to save you as a consumer money but to get you to try a different brand or buy more than you would normally buy.  

That leads me to Secret #2:  Don't clip coupons for quantities of items that you do not normally buy or that you cannot use/store.  Example:  My husband and I occasionally eat Cheerios.  I was having a craving for them one week and saw a coupon but stopped before clipping it . . . I could save a $1.00 if I bought 3 boxes.  Very clever of General Mills to try to get me to buy 3 boxes when I only wanted 1.  I knew that we would not eat all of that cereal before it went bad and my cupboard had no room to store 3 boxes.  On the other hand, when my deodorant company offers money off the purchase of two deodorants, that is worth it because I can easily store the second one and use it next month.
 
Secret #3:  Buy a small inexpensive expandable folder to keep your coupons in.  Separate the coupons into categories and label each divider in the folder accordingly.  This helps you be able to easily find those coupons you clipped when you go shopping.
 
Finally, Secret #4:  Envision actual money sitting there instead of a piece of paper that says $1 off.  It's easy to dismiss coupons when you only think of them as a piece of paper.  But if you see a dollar bill laying there or two quarters, why wouldn't you want to pick those up and put them in your pocket to spend on something other than laundry detergent?
 
My final advice is to be a responsible coupon clipper . . . meaning don't try to use coupons that have expired or try to use them for products not included in the discount.  Read that coupon carefully and make sure you are buying the right product.  Stores are extra careful with coupons these days . . . play by the rules and you'll be saving $$ in no time!  Happy Clipping!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bacon....YUM!

When it comes to breakfast meats, bacon is at the top of my favorites list.  I'm pretty particular about how it's cooked though . . . no limp chewy bacon for me!  Since I'm so particular, it has to be cooked in a good ole' frying pan - no microwave bacon please!  Now, the problem comes when I open an entire pound of bacon and only need 2 or 3 slices.

Here are a few solutions that I came up with:

1) Cook the entire pound of bacon all at once.  Drain the bacon on paper towels and cool completely.  Put the cooked bacon in a ziploc bag and freeze.  The next time you want to eat bacon, you can heat a couple of strips in your frying pan on the stove as you are finishing up your eggs and the bacon is crisp and wonderful!
 
2) Or, cook only the strips that you plan to eat that day.  Tear off 2 or 3 sheets of wax paper & size them to fit in a large gallon-size ziploc bag.  Separate the remaining raw bacon and lay each strip side by side on each of the wax paper sheets.  Carefully lay each sheet on top of each other and slip into the ziploc bag.  Lay it flat in your freezer & freeze.  The next time you want some bacon, peel off several strips from the wax paper and cook.  Return the remaining bacon to the freezer.