Friday, September 19, 2014

12 Passenger Van

Or the end of life as we know it, according to Ava.  Who told me I was ruining her life.

The left side of the car.  Of course it's white.  What other color do you ever see?

The right side actually makes it look less "creepy white van" because of the black horizontal line where the door opens.  Or at least that's what I tell myself.  I drove into my brother's uber nice neighborhood and you should have seen the look one of the women gave me as I passed by her yard.  I think she was already getting ready to call the cops on the scary van.

Confession:  I love it.  I love being up high and I love that all my kids can fit in it without sitting next to, or touching the other.  I love that I can go to IKEA and always have room for what I want to buy.

I don't love the gas mileage, or the fact that it doesn't fit into the garage.  But for all the pros I will deal with these cons.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chic Beret

I've never been a fan of hats, but this fall am obsessed with berets.  I mean how chic are these ladies?

I need a red beret...but they look better if you don't have to wear bifocals....le sigh.  Crocheted Slouchy Hat / beanie  in Black - Women - Teen - CHRISTMAS in JULY SALE - 25% off regular price. $30.00, via Etsy.

Plus I think it will work well in Ireland.  Just add hat and don't worry about the hair.  Perfect.

I was in a Bass outlet yesterday and they had a bunch of winter stuff on sale.  And I found this white one.  I may have to go back and see if they have red.  And black.

And the best thing is, it's cold here like half the year, so I can use this baby a lot.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vanilla Extract DIY

Years ago, Chris and I took a cruise that stopped off in Mexico.  Everyone, and I mean literally everyone, had 2 or 3 bottles of something in their arms.  We couldn't figure it out.  I think one of us eventually asked and they said vanilla.


We were totally nonplussed about it, mostly because I wasn't that great of a cook at that point.  Move forward years later to now where I would rather be as natural and DIY as possible, and I now totally understand why they were hoarding great vanilla at amazing prices.

Enter pinterest, which has basically become my search engine.  And wouldn't you know it, there were DIY vanilla extract recipes.  They are all basically the same:

DIY Vanilla Extract

80 proof Vodka, 1 liter
Vanilla beans (6-7 per quart, so 14 for 1 liter of vodka)

Pour half of vodka into quart jar.  Slice open beans, spread apart, cut in half.  Drop into vodka.  Shake.  Shake daily for first week, a couple times a week for the next two or three, and then whenever you remember for the next 2-6 months.

Here they are sitting in my laundry room.  A place I unfortunately am in every day so I remember to shake the bottles.

Two months is the minimum amount of time to let it sit before using it.  You could keep the beans in there indefinitely if you wanted, but I will strain them out since I am giving them as Christmas presents.  This extract will essentially keep forever since it's made with vodka.

Some people just put 14 beans into the giant container of vodka rather than splitting it up, and you can certainly do this, but I saw a few people who said due to the bigger volume, it had to sit longer to get the flavor finished.  I suppose you could be extra-aggressive with your shaking to counteract that.

I buy my vanilla beans from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Love that store.  They have all sorts of herbs and good stuff.  Check it out.

And if you are going to make these for Christmas presents, get cracking!  Time is short and the water rises.  (That's my dad's saying!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Terrible But True

What else is there to say?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Wet Clothes Left In a Dryer

Chris left a load of wet clothes in the dryer for 5 days when we were gone and he was in Canada. You can pretty much guess what that smelled like.  Death.

From The 25 Most Awkward Cat Sleeping Positions:  "Imagine that you are a wet T-shirt, fresh from the washing machine.  Drape yourself accordingly."
And this picture has nothing to do with dryers, but it is in a laundry room plus it's funny.  I'd have to be real tired to fall asleep on that.

Anyway, we just got home from almost three weeks away and I had a ton of clothes to wash, and a nasty dryer to clean first.  I was going to use vinegar/water to clean it, but I don't really like the smell of vinegar and it just seemed like a lot of work.

So instead I grabbed a towel, got it soaked and wrang it out, and then put my Purification oil from Young Living (you can use whatever brand of oil you want, they almost all have a Purification blend of some type)all over the towel, probably a total of 20 or so drops, popped it into the dryer and ran it for a full cycle.

And it totally got rid of the smell.  I was a happy, happy camper.  I've also used the oil to get rid of the pee smell in the kidlets room after unfortunate night incidents.  I also use Purification when Chris cooks fish and I want to get rid of the smell real fast.

Here are a couple of Purification oil options:

Native American Nutritionals: Purify  $17  The cheapest but I don't like this smell the best.

Young Living: Purification  $25  What I used

doTerra: Purify  $24  another option

Friday, September 5, 2014

I Bought 74 lbs. of Apples....

So I bought 74 pounds of apples for $20.  What a steal.  And pinterest is filled with amazing apple recipes.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Can I just say bring them all on?

German Apple Pancake Recipe
German Apple Pancake

Crunchy, simple, healthy Baked Apple Chips. These are so addicting and all you are eating is apples. @sallybakeblog
Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

Apple fritter bread
Country Apple Fritter Bread

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Applesauce
Cinnamon Applesauce

irish apple cake 2
Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Creating a New Wardrobe

I went crazy the other night and got rid of at least half, if not more, of my clothes.  I sort of snapped.

But it's all okay because I am loving moving towards minimalism.  I cleaned out the little 3 kidlets clothes getting ready for fall and got rid of four garbage bags of stuff.  I am a little ashamed to admit it.

Anyway, back to my decimated closet.  I think I can go further with it because I have 4 white tshirts, 3 black tank tops, 2 black sleeve long tshirts.  And how many of them do you really need? Plus I am thinking that if I have way less clothes, I will keep up with laundry better simply because I will have to if I want any clean clothes.

This lady went down to 30 pieces.

I'm not sure I could do it.  But it is very enticing.  A little hard for someone who lives in a climate with 4 seasons, but maybe I could make a few (very few) additions.

I'm currently still trying to decide what all to part with.  It gets a little tricky and hard to let go...