Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Advent Paper Chain

This is what I've been up to today: an advent calendar paper chain. On the back of each paper chain link there is a Christmas activity for us to do like baking sugar cookies, watching a Christmas movie, or making homemade ornaments. I got the printable sign from The Tom Kat Studio and the printable paper chain links from The Paper Mama. Both printables are free!

  1. Go buy our annual "special ornament" from Hobby Lobby.
  2. Decorate the Christmas tree.
  3.  Make paper snowflakes.
  4. Make homemade Christmas ornaments.
  5. Build a (paper) snowman.
  6. Have a Christmas music dance party!
  7. Make a nativity.
  8. Eat a candy cane
  9. Write a letter to Santa Claus.
  10. Check out some Christmas books from the library.
  11. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  12. Christmas coloring pages.
  13. (My sister-in-law's birthday) Make a birthday card for her.
  14. (My birthday) Make a birthday cake.
  15. (A cousin's wedding) Drive out of town.
  16. Make Christmas cards for friends.
  17. Play some board games as a family.
  18. Read the Christmas story in the Bible.
  19. Sing Christmas carols.
  20. Make homemade hot cocoa with marshmallows and whipped cream.
  21. Pop popcorn and watch Christmas movies.
  22. Bake Christmas cookies and other treats.
  23. Decorate cookies and gingerbread houses.
  24. Read "It was the Night Before Christmas."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Save Money with Homemade Laundry Soap

A lot of people I know might balk at the idea of making your own laundry detergent, but if you hang out on Pinterest as much as I do, you'll have noticed that there are a lot of people who do this. But it is surprisingly easy and will save you money.

Here is my recipe for laundry soap:

Dry Laundry Soap Recipe
2 cups Arm and Hammer washing soda
2 cups 2 Mule Team Borax
1 cup baking soda
1 bar of Fels-Naptha, Zote, or Ivory soap, finely grated with a cheese grater
Mix together and store in a Ziploc bag or sealed container of your choice.  Keep in a cool, dry place. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load of laundry.  Use an additional tablespoon for larger loads or heavily soiled clothing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Slow Cooker Country Style BBQ Beef Ribs

This is a super simple recipe that will feed about 4-6 people.

Slow Cooker Country Style BBQ Beef Ribs

What You Will Need:
  • about 3 pounds country style beef ribs
  • 1 (17.5 ounce) bottle your choice barbeque sauce
    (I used Kraft Honey Hickory Smoke flavor barbeque sauce.)
  • 1 medium or large onion, thinly sliced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • onion powder
  • vegetable, canola, or olive oil
Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel, liberally sprinkle the seasonings on, and rub in on all sides. Brown for about 1-2 minutes on all sides on the stove top in a large skillet in the oil. At this point we are not cooking all the way through, just browning ONLY. This is to lock in the juices and flavor of the meat. (You can skip this step, but you will notice a difference in the flavor and texture of the ribs.) Arrange the ribs in the bottom of the slow cooker and dump in the sauce and onions. Lightly turn the ribs to coat in the barbeque sauce. Cover and cook on low for about 6-8 hours.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Yesterday for Halloween we carved a Jack-o-Lantern. He was fantastic and quite dapper. In all honesty, it was the first time in my entire life that I've ever carved one. Yes. I know. Sad. But my children will know the joy of carving a pumpkin for Halloween! When you carve the pumpkin, don't throw away those seeds. I found a bunch of recipes online for roasting and toasting those seeds, also called pepitas.

Pumpkin seeds are also very healthy for you, containing many vitamins and minerals and are high in protein. Check out this link for all the ways pumpkin seeds are beneficial to your health. If you have never eaten them before, the best way I can describe them is that they taste like a cross between popcorn and sunflower seeds.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

What You Will Need:
  • the seeds from a pumpkin or two
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt or garlic salt (or your choice of spices)
As you can see, I don't have specific measurements for the ingredients because different pumpkins net different amounts of seeds. After you've removed the stringy pulp and rinsed the seeds in a colander, coat the seeds in the oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread the seeds in a cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Turn and flip the seeds with a spatula and roast for another 10 minutes or until very lightly browned. Removed from the oven and let cool. Enjoy this super healthy snack!