Friday, April 22, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburgers with Corn and Potatoes

On Wednesday, we decided to make some Bacon Cheeseburgers! And I am so excited to share it because it was AMAZING! Who needs a restaurant when I can do better at home.


I washed 3 russet potatoes and cut them into the slices.
I put a small amount of oil(whatever kind you use)in a skillet. I just add enough to cover the slices of potatoes.
Heat the oil on medium high.
Once heated, add potatoes. I just watch them and once they start to brown, I flip them with a fork.

Once browned on both sides, pick them up with a fork and place them into a bowl lined with paper towels.
Then salt (or season as desired) and serve.


I shuck and wash the corn, making sure its clean and all the strings are off.

Then, I split them in half (not necessary but they fit better in my pot if I do)
I put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pot, not a lot, just need enough to steam the corn. Add a little salt to water, if you want.
Turn on high heat, until water comes to a boil.
Place the corn in and cover for about 7 minutes.

Remove corn, butter and salt as desired, then serve.


So I just want to start off with saying I'm showing you my hamburger meat because I learned a cool way to portion it out. It looks funny because It was frozen and apparently that can turn it brown due to a chemical reaction but my meat is NOT spoiled! :)
With that said, I defrosted 2lbs of hamburger meat.
I placed the meat in a large mixing bowl and added 1 egg, 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, and pepper.
I kneaded the ingredients together until it became a ball and I placed it on a cutting board.
I cut the ball with four slices making 8 triangles.

I balled and patted out single portions for the kids and 2 portions together for the adult burgers, making 5 burgers altogether.

I placed them on some aluminum foil and stacked the burgers. I, first, placed a small piece of wax paper between the burgers; before I wrapped them in the aluminum foil.

I set them in the fridge until the grill was ready.
We cook on a simple, older grill that just uses regular charcoal.
My husband did the grilling and after the charcoal was ready, It only took between 10-20 minutes for the burgers to cook. (I like to have a meat thermometer handy to gauge how done they are)
Then right before we pulled them off, we put on some cheddar cheese slices to melt onto the burger.


I usually buy the thick sliced bacon, because it cooks a lot better than the regular sliced. I cook my bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes and it always turns out perfect.

Setting the Plate

Then we loaded our burgers on buns with some lettuce and bacon.

And all of our other sides. It was so filling none of us could finish! Burgers were a little too big. Maybe next time we will just do the single portion for the adult burgers.

The key to this meal was I didn't have to do it by myself! We each have our part timed out, we communicated how much longer til each is done and worked together to make a fantastic dinner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cleaning House

So today was my cleaning day! I set aside one day a week to overhaul my main living area; declutter, sweep, mop, dust, and whatever else is needed that isn't already done on a regular basis. And on that day I pick one room a week to give the full cleaning treatment. This breaks up the heavy work, gives me more time to focus on one room at a time, and also keeps the boys from being locked in the house 7 days a week with mommy preoccupied.

Well as I was cleaning, I realized over the past 4 years that I have been home I have accumulated my favorite brands and products of cleaning supplies. I, by no means, have it all figured out, but I still have my favorites. Well I figured I would share with you what I have tested and what I prefer and maybe its something you might like to try or use as well.

The Floor

After I put away the toys, clothes, and extraneous item and the house is picked up, I tackle my floors. I have just a inexpensive bucket from Walmart that I fill with Pine Sol and water. Now I had never really used Pine Sol before until my steam mop blew up (still not quite sure what happened) and I went in search of a new mop. I had a coupon for Pine Sol and so I went to Walmart bought some, a simple mop bucket and a O-Cedar Twist Mop, just to tide me over for a while. I specifically went for the twist mop after spending an hour staring at mops, because you can pull it up and wring it out. I have found that I LOVE that combination! The twist mop is perfect for deep cleaning and instead of buying a brand new mop head I soak it in some bleach for a little bit, wash it out in the top and hang it to dry outside and it is good as new. I have found that Pine Sol actually does clean better than anything I have used in the past and it makes the house smell GREAT (I use the Lemon scent). And every so often, because I have wood floors, I use Pledge Wood Floor Cleaner to make it shine.

Now for my daily cleaning I will pull out my Swiffer Sweeper. Quite possibly the best daily cleaner ever made!! It sweeps up the dirt and dust bunnies and then I switch the dust sheet for the wet mop sheet and clean up the stubborn dirt and spills. It just makes life a little easier!


I have to dust my fans, TV, blinds, air filters, this strange line in the middle of my wall that collects dust, etc. And for certain dust I have my Swiffer Dusters. They pick up a lot of the big dust and traps it inside. For my fans I can attach my dusters to my Swiffer extender attachment so I don't have to climb all over the furniture and risk death (which is highly possible considering how clumsy I am). But for the real stubborn dust, I have my VIVA paper towels. Now I use VIVA for everything in my house but I particular love them for this! I can wet them (they are basically a disposable cloth) and run them along whatever the Swiffer didn't get and it will clean it PERFECTLY! Also, Swiffer just came out with a Dust and Shine product, that I had an amazing coupon for so I tried it. Its a spray that dusts and shines wood, marble, etc. I use it on my dressers, entertainment center, and such and It was great! I was thoroughly impressed.

There are a few things I still want to try but today was not the day for it. I read an article in my All You magazine and it said that a great way to dust blinds is to wet a cotton sock and run it along each slab. Also, I was looking into those new Windex Electronics cleaning system because I have an LCD and am kind of freak out about doing to much to the screen, right now I'm only using the Swiffer Dusters because the are so gentle. I still have some more research to do on that product and cleaning an LCD.


My kitchen is a place of constant cleaning. It is forever dirty! But I was called out the other day by one of Jackson's friends (She's 3) that my doors and cabinets were really dirty. It doesn't help that my kitchen is the entrance from the backyard but that is just an excuse. Well, I realized it was time to stop trying to wish the dirt away and go out and buy my Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Yet another ingenious cleaning invention. I don't know what it is about it or how it works so wonderfully but I do know that my doors and cabinets look brand new right now. I just sat down with a pair of good rubber gloves, an eraser, a bowl of water, and a cotton wash cloth; and I got to work. I scrubbed the doors, cabinets, baseboards, fridge, oven and dishwasher. When I got up to look at my work, my kitchen sparkled! And it really didn't take long at all.

For my counters, I use Lysol 4-in-1 spray. I have a big jug of concentrated formula that I put in a bottle and mix with some water. I have had that bottle for at least a year now and it still hasn't run out and I use this stuff like crazy. I do a lot with raw chicken and I watched a commercial when I was a kid, causing me to be terrified and paranoid of salmonella or E coli, I don't remember really but I do know raw chicken is dangerous. So I found the best disinfectant spray I could find and who is better at disinfecting than Lysol! (In fact, now that I think about it I think it was a Lysol commercial that made me scared of raw chicken... can you say subliminal messaging?!) And on the big cleaning days, I use Soft Scrub with bleach. Also, with Soft Scrub, use a small amount because it, a little water, and a sponge can go a long way!

For my dishes, I use Palmolive Antibacterial, I prefer the orange scent because I find it pleasant. But if I have a good coupon I will get the Dawn with Oxi because that stuff works miracles with a very small amount of soap. I find Palmolive is a better price, its antibacterial, and can usually get a large refill jug for cheap and just continually fill up my smaller container, so I gravitate to it. I am very particular about my sponge, I only like Scotch Brite Heavy Duty, because its a normal sponge on one side and a harsh scrubber on the other. It will generally last a long time, if you keep it clean. I got an 18 pack for dirt cheap at Costco almost a year ago and I'm only half way through the pack, which makes me happy. For my dishwasher, I get Cascade powder detergent (Lemon scent) because I can usually find a coupon and I feel like it doesn't leave a residue.


Ah, cleaning the bathroom. My least favorite chore of all! As funny as I am about my kitchen counters, I am as funny about my bathroom. Its a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and who knows what else. Jackson still misses the toilet when peeing so that's got to be taken care of! My husband leaves the door and the curtain shut after his shower so it doesn't get to aired out until I get there to open it all up. So to clean my bathroom I first of all sweep the floors because its inevitable, I am going to be on my knees A LOT! I first get a bucket of Clorox bleach (if I had a coupon, if not I will get store brand), water and a sponge and I scrub the tub, the walls, everything. Then I get all my stuff that lives in the shower and I fill the bath tub (only about a gallons worth) with some bleach and water and soak everything while I clean the rest of the room.

Dirt just collected in the baseboards of the bathroom unlike anywhere else in the house, I don't understand why. So with my bucket of bleach water and a cheap tooth brush, I scrub my baseboards and wipe it clean with a cotton washcloth. I usually have two, one wet for wiping and a dry for drying. I cleaned my whole bathroom's baseboards in about 30 minutes today.

For the toilet, I clean the seat and the outside with my sponge and bleach water. I wipe it down with my washcloths. I use Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner for the inside.

For my counters, I use my Lysol spray from the kitchen, which works great.

For my mirrors, I had a coupon to try Sprayway Glass Cleaner and so I gave it a shot today. Normally, I use a store brand glass cleaner which is fine, but I think I may be hooked on this stuff. It was a perfect clean and totally streak free! But be careful not to use too much, you really only need a smallish amount.

I am very careful not to mix ammonia products with my bleach because my science teacher in high school gave me a terrible picture of dying in the toilet due to mustard gas. So I check and double check all my products and I decided to just cut out ammonia all together because bleach works great in killing EVERYTHING all by itself. But be sure to wear your rubber gloves and a face mask if you can because it will make you SICK!

Another thing, I use in the bathroom (and all over the house for that matter) is the Febreze Air Effects spray. I like to pick the seasonal fragrances, so right now I have Hawaiian Aloha but there are tons of fragrances to choose from. It really kills the odor and just makes the place smell pleasant. I do recommend walking away after you spray it, so it has time to settle, because it is a bit strong when it is first sprayed.


I am a big laundry color sorter. I will spend hours before I get started actually washing sitting around sort and emptying pockets (all my boys, husband included, are terrible about leaving stuff in pockets). I think its because I do enjoy tedious work. So if you don't its a good idea because less clothes get destroyed when they are turned the proper way, colors are bleeding onto whites, and there's nothing in the pockets.

I was reading my All You magazine (I think last month's) and it was talking about saving money on laundry. It was saying you can run the cold cycle for every load expect sheets and towels and it should work the same as warm cycle and save you way more money because your not having to heat every load. So I tried it and everything came out great! Also, it talked about concentrated liquid laundry detergent, which is what I primarily use. They said you really only need a very small amount of it and you only need to see a few suds during the wash cycle and that is plenty. I just thought that was interesting, especially since the ones I use are 2 to 3 times concentrated because you can get a whole lot of loads out of one container. I prefer Arm and Hammer with Oxi Clean or All with Oxi Active, because they just give my dirty boy laundry that little extra UMPH to get clean. I haven't been using fabric softener lately because I have been to cheap to buy it but I prefer Snuggle to all else. I was using sheets and liquid but I may never use liquid again because that same article was talking about how liquid softener clogs up your machine.

Well, I have padded wire bras that are very delicate (Victoria's Secret is my weakness), they do NOT do well in the wash. There use to be an infomercial on TV for something called a "Bra Baby". I try to avoid infomercials at least until it comes in stores and an "As seen on TV" item that I can decide for myself. Well I was in Walmart, what feels like years ago... which I think it may have been, one of those Bra Babys were on a clearance aisle for next to nothing. Well the picture on the box had my bra as the advertisement bra used. I will say, it has been the best laundry invention I have ever bought! I only have the one, which is perfect because I can usually only fit one in my load. But it washes the bra, without twisting, stretching or ruining it. Then I lay it flat to dry and my bras as a result my bras are lasting way longer than they ever have before. Definitely something I would recommend!

Well I think that about covers my suggestions and product endorsements for the day. I am by no means made of money to be able to buy all this name brand stuff. BUT I hunt for sales, clip and save coupons, and maybe hit up a wholesaler on occasion because sometimes name brand can be better, especially, I find, with cleaning supplies.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Latest Adventures in Potty Training

After my initial potty training adventure was over, I was so hoping we were in the clear! But now it seems I have a new potty problem... It is called sleep.

I can't give Jackson any sort of liquid after 7pm or he will pee in the bed. I can't give him a bath after 6pm (I know its gross but he drinks the bath water when I turn my back) because he SOAKS the bed! For the simple fact that him drinking the bath water grosses me out its almost time to start switching to showers, but that drives me crazy because its so much easier to give the boys baths together. Andrew is still to small for the shower. But its either no more baths or I will have to continue to wash his sheets EVERYDAY! And the worst part is last night, he didn't have water after 7 or a bath and he still wet the bed!!!

I am beginning to see why the created the night time diaper underwear for kids because this is ridiculous. I don't want to digress by putting him back into pull ups but I just don't see another option until he learns to hold it while he sleeps. But I will say if you are suffering from the constant wetting of the bed and you haven't gotten a mattress protector yet, go to walmart and get a simple cheap vinyl fitted sheet! It works like a dream!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beauty Tip #4: Eye Color Application

Everyone's eyes are different... so the way you apply it shouldn't be the same either!

Here's an example of some different eye shapes...

Below I have pictures of some different types of eyes and under it is an application guide for a suggested way to put on your eye shadow to best enhance your features. (For step by step instructions click the picture to follow the link)

The numbers in the pictures correlate to the different shades of colors used:

1. Highlighter - lightest shade, used to enhance brow line or inner corner of the eye

2. Midtone - medium shade, usually a neutral color. Generally used to enhance crease of the eye.

3. Accent - darkest color, adds a pop of color and depth to the eye.

Wide-Set eyes are eyes that are more than one eye width apart
Standard Eyes are eyes that are one eye width apart

Hooded eyes are eyes that are set so that the natural crease is not readily seen.
Deep-Set eyes are eyes that are set deep, making brow bone appear more noticeable Close-Set eyes are eyes that are less than one eye width apart

A few extra tips for great eye color...

-Always remember to blend! Your colors should blend smoothly, not just look like streaks of color

-If your unsure of your eye shape, NO WORRIES! Use the standard application, it looks great on everybody.

-If you have a combination of eye shapes, choose the application for the feature you want to downplay or enhance the most.

Have fun with your makeup! Try different applications until you find what works best for you!

Some other food experiments

As I said before, I've been googling recipes trying to create some variety in our diet and also learn to make things I've never made before... So far its been a lot of fun!

I made this for dinner tonight, It was amazing!!! I will definitely be making this again.

It is a homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

My attempt at a Oven Fried Tilapia... I'm not going to recommend it. I can't tell whether it was the frozen fish that was bad or whether I just don't like oven fried, either way... NOT A FAN!

Very tasty easy to make biscuits! Next time I will cut them bigger, because these little things just weren't very filling on their own. I did put some ham in them with cheddar cheese which made for an excellent breakfast sandwich.

Other favorites (but forgot to take a picture)

Italian Sausage Rigatoni from Johnsonville was FANTASTIC!! I will be making it again, it was a huge hit.

The Chicken and Garden Vegetable Skillet was also very tasty!

There was a sale on turkeys at the store so I got one and googled a recipe since I had never made one myself... Mom's Roast Turkey was AMAZING!!! I stuffed it with veggies and cooked it upside down, then flipped it back over to broil the top. I was soooo mad at myself for not getting a picture of this one. This bird was BEAUTIFUL and perfectly cooked

Monday, April 11, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

Sorry I haven't been blogging lately... I have been in my kitchen creating! Well maybe not so much creating as much as testing recipes I googled... but I feel like I'm creating!

I have been making this Mac and cheese since 2007 when my wonderful friend Alexis gave me her recipe! I've tweaked it a bit and made it my own but her recipe is still the rock!


8oz block of sharp cheddar cheese

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups cooked noodles (I vary between macaroni, rotini, and shells usually)

1/2 stick of butter or margarine

1/2 cup of milk


1. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside

2. Cut up cheese block into cubes

3. Turn burner on low and melt butter

4. Add cheese cubes to butter and melt completely (keep stirring so it doesn't burn on bottom of pan)

5. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

7. Lay cooked noodles in 8 x 8 Pyrex (or whatever you choose to cook in) and add egg/milk mixture, stir them all together. 8. Pour your cheese/butter mixture on top and gently mix together. (sometimes I will sprinkle some shredded cheese on top for a little extra) 9. Bake for 35 minutes and ENJOY!

(haha... sorry I had forgotten to take the picture before I served it up!)