Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrating America's Birthday

America celebrates her 241st birthday one week from today! How do you celebrate the 4th of July at your house? 

Here is a list of some of the things that our family has done over the years to celebrate Independence Day at our house...

* Have a backyard barbecue and invite the neighbors or extended family over to join the fun!

* Have a blast at your picnic by putting out table crackers, which look like giant firecrackers, but are actually cardboard tubes filled with treats. Save toilet paper rolls, and cover the tubes with red, white, and blue tissue paper. Before sealing ends, fill with such things as printed out patriotic sayings, small red, white, and blue toys, foil-wrapped candies, or other treats (use your imagination). Seal ends, adding a piece of gold starred and glittered wire garland on top for fuse.

* Layer pre-made blueberry Jell-O, Cool Whip Topping, and strawberry or cherry Jell-O in clear Solo cups. Top with a dollop of Cool Whip. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

* Put a patriotic spin on party games. For example, pin the name of an American icon on the back of each guest's shirt. Choose important people, places, symbols…even quotes found throughout our country's early history. For example…Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Francis Scott Key, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, Philadelphia,Boston, the Old North Church, Constitution Hall, American eagle, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, "One if by land and two if by sea!", "Give me liberty or give me death!", "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.", etc. Each guest goes around and asks questions of the others, obtaining clues until they guess correctly who, or what, they are. Get creative with your selections and have fun!

* Give small children large pieces of bubble wrap to stomp on. When they stomp it sounds like firecrackers going off. The kids love it and…just think…no mess, no smell, and no danger!

*Plant red, white, and blue flowers in your flowerbeds and windowboxes. Things like petunias, impatiens, salvia, alyssum, and ageratum work well. If you have enough space, and the ambition, plant them to resemble a flag!

* Fly your flag!

* Make Minuteman Ice Cream Sandwiches by spooning ½ cup vanilla ice cream between 2 chocolate wafer cookies. Roll edges in red, white,and blue sprinkles. Freeze until time to serve.

* Attend parades and local firework displays in your area.

* Make an American Berry No Bake Cheesecake. (Prep time 15 minutes plus refrigerating.)

2 packages (8 oz. Each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped topping thawed, divided
1 graham cracker piecrust
strawberry halves and blueberries

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Spread Cool Whip on top. Arrange berries in rows to resemble flag.

From our family to yours...HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! <3

Until next time...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dollar-S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Cleaning, Clean-Up-The-Food Project Plans For July

Due to changes in insurance coverage and extra payments being taken out all at once, July promises to be a few hundred dollars shorter than normal. No biggie! We'd be okay, either way, but, in light of the shortfall, we decided that July would be the perfect to time to institute one of our dollar-s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, cabinet-cleaning, clean-up-the-food project months, so...that's what we're doing!

Our plan is to begin by doing a complete food inventory to see what we have on hand. I will do the end-of-the-month shopping, as usual, toward the end of this week, but, I will not do a full shop. I will only purchase fresh items and items needed to round out what we have on hand. I will post my progress throughout the month and share meal plans and recipes as I can. 

I am excited about this challenge and am excited to share it with you! 

Until next time...

Happy 3rd Birthday, Essie!

Happy Birthday #3, Esther!
Last night we celebrated granddaughter, Esther's, 3rd birthday. She insisted on having a princess party and her mom came through for her in a big way by making this beautiful princess castle cake. Isn't it gorgeous? 
The Cake That Amber Made For Audrey's 4th Birthday
She used the same kit to make a princess castle cake for Esther's oldest sister, Audrey, when Audrey turned 4. 
Audrey's 4th Birthday
Both cakes turned out beautifully! Beautiful cakes for beautiful little granddaughters! 

Until next time...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Product Review - Rug Doctor Carpet Shampooer

We moved into the house the middle of October last year. We planned on cleaning the carpets then, but other things needed to be done first. Then, in May of this year, our 18-year-old dog died. During the final week of his life he had some incontinence issues and didn't always make it to designated areas to do his bathroom business. There was no putting off cleaning the carpet any longer. 

I borrowed a friend's carpet cleaner, but it just didn't have the suction power needed to deep clean the carpet. Next I tried using one of those cleaners that you spray on, sponge in, let dry, and vacuum. It didn't do a thing and was a total waste of money. The only choices left were to call in a professional steam-cleaning company (totally out of the question), rent a high cost steam cleaner for a very limited time period, or purchase one of our own. 

After thinking about the cost to rent a machine one time, coupled with the fact that we'd have to drive at least 40 miles round trip to rent one AND knowing that we'd be on a limited time schedule in using it, we decided that our money would be better spent to just purchase a machine of our own. That way we'd have it available on a regular basis whenever we needed, or wanted, to use it and, if we desired, we'd be able to share the use of it with others. We could even use it to make a few extra dollars cleaning for other people if we choose to. So...that's what we ended up doing and it turns out to be one of the best decisions we've made! 

We knew the carpet was dirty, but we didn't realize HOW dirty it was. My goodness! Look at the photograph! But the area cleaned by the Rug Doctor looks practically new! Wow! 

Okay...so here's the specs on what we bought...and we only purchased this one after wading through hundreds of reviews.

The machine that we purchased is the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner. It was listed as a professional grade carpet washer that uses cross action brushes to deep clean fibers from every angle to scrub away dirt and remove stains. It also claimed to have 75% more suction than comparable machines which provides a quicker clean and a faster drying time. The machine did everything that it said it would do and the results were soooo much better than anything we ever could have hoped for.

Other features of this machine that we really like are the fact that the cleaner comes with tools for cleaning stains and upholstery, the clean and dirty water tanks are easy to fill and empty, the clean water tank cap comes with a built in measuring cup, the machine has a removable tool caddy, it is easy to maneuver, and the collapsible handle makes it easy to store.

The machine weighs 25 pounds, has a cord length of 28 feet, and a tank capacity of 1.0 gallon. The cleaning path is 12 inches wide and the machine has 12 rows of cleaning bristles, plus bristles on the side. 

We purchased our machine through Amazon Prime. It normally sells for $289.99, but we got ours on sale for $234.00. 

After using this machine for ourselves, we highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about carpet cleaning!

Until next time...