Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Best Way to Clean Ceiling Fans? The Swiffer 360 Duster!

I love a clean home and ever day I am cleaning something inside or outside my home. When it has come to cleaning the 3 ceiling fans in our was always a struggle for me because I am only 5ft. 6" tall. Not only that, I had a total hip replacement back in April so dragging around a step stool or ladder to reach the high places is out of the question.

Recently I received a Swiffer 360 Duster and immediately fell in-love with it! A few days ago I blogged about how it's the best thing for cleaning mini blinds and today...I am going to tell you how I use it to clean my ceiling fans!

The Swiffer 360 Duster has a telescoping handle so I can adjust the length of the handle for whatever cleaning job I am tackling. Next, it has an adjustable angled head so you can adjust the head to whatever angle you need. Third, I love that I can purchase refills for my new Swiffer 360 Duster which saves me money...because I can use that same dusting head for many weeks before I have to change it.

When it came to dusting all of our ceiling fans I was able to telescope the handle out and reach the ceiling fan while standing on the step stool needed! I adjusted the dusting head at one angle to get above the fan blades and readjusted it the other direction to get underneath. This duster quickly gathered up the dust and cobwebs in quick, rapid fashion!

I loved that I was able to get inside those glass light globes and dust those out too! Each ceiling fan took me about 1 minute to clean and I was done and onto my next cleaning project. Wow, these Swiffer 360 Dusters just make cleaning so easy and they get the job done beautifully!

I have been using my new Swiffer 360 Duster all over my home and now I can't live without! Nope, you are going to find one of these products in my home all of the time! Over the next few weeks I will share with all of you all of the various ways I have been using it to clean my home.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any monetary compensation for this blog post. I did receive a free Swiffer 360 Duster to use and evaluate in the privacy of my own home. My thoughts, opinions and ideas on this product are honest and unbiased. Your opinions may differ from my own.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Spinach Pasta with Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

Fresh Spinach
A few weeks ago we attending a backyard barbecue at a friends house and she made this delicious spinach pasta with vinaigrette dressing and ever since...we have been craving more! Here is the recipe she gave to me and I think next week I am going to give it a try.

Spinach Pasta with Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

1 cup cooked spinach noodles (pasta)
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup onions, finely diced or minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
dash prepared mustard
Fresh spinach for garnishing, chopped

In a large mixing bowl combine together all of the above ingredients. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or until well chilled. Right before serving...chop up some fresh spinach and use it for garnishing.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Best Way to Clean Mini Blinds? Use the Swiffer 360 Duster

The Swiffer 360 Duster!
If you talked to anyone who has ever been in my home they would certainly tell you what a clean & neat freak that I am. That's right...I love to clean and I love to show off my home once it has been thoroughly cleaned! While most people are not fond of cleaning, I actually enjoy it!

A few weeks ago my husband finally got around to installing the new mini blinds into our new home. He spent the afternoon installing 8 of them in 3 different rooms. I love the clean & simple look and just purchased new window toppers to hang above them.

The following week I realized I didn't have a good plan in mind on how I was going to clean the mini blinds weekly because I do know that if you don't keep at them, they will collect dust & get ugly in a hurry...especially almond colored ones like the ones we purchased.

Well...I am hear to tell you all that my new favorite cleaning product is the Swiffer 360 Duster! Oh my gosh...I am in-love and can not believe that I didn't own one until now! That duster is the best thing to hit the cleaning world in a very long time!

I love that the handle is adjustable in length and in angle...I can get up really high and get it in-between all of those nasty mini blind slats. Each mini blind takes me less than 1 minute to clean and then I am onto the next one. Once I am done...I just hang it up and it's ready for the next time. When the current cleaning pad gets too dirty, I can dispose of it and attach one from my refill box. 

Over the next few weeks I will share with all of you the different ways I have been using my new Swiffer 360 Duster around my home...this weekend...I will be tackling the cleaning of our ceiling fans with it! Yay!!!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any monetary compensation for this blog post. I did receive a free Swiffer 360 Duster to use and evaluate in the privacy of my own home. My thoughts, opinions and ideas on this product are honest and unbiased. Your opinions may differ from my own.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Grandma's Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe

fresh zucchinis for bread making
My grandmother loved to spend time in the kitchen and was really passionate about baking. My gram passed on her passion for baking to me and I am passing that love onto my adult daughter. Last weekend my daughter and I went to the local Farmer's Market and bought a 1/2 bushel of fresh organically grown Zucchinis and brought them home and made homemade zucchini bread. Here is the recipe that we used.

This recipe will make 2 regular sized Zucchini loaves and once can wrap & freeze them for later use...up to 3 months in the freezer. When ready to use...thaw at room temperature or thaw in the refrigerator.

Grandma's Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe

3 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled & shredded zucchini
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Beat the large eggs in a mixing bowl and then beat in the sugars and vegetable oil until well combined. In another bowl combine together the all purpose flour, salt, ground cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the first bowl until well combined. Stir in the shredded zucchini until it's well blended together...I do this by hand which takes about 2 minutes to accomplish.

Lightly spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour half of the batter into each loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until done. Each oven varies so check on your breads at the 30 minute cooking mark to see how yours are progressing and adjust time & temperature at that time. Once they are done, remove and let cool before serving.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Children and their Fascination with Cardboard Moving Boxes

Princess playing in her new cardboard box fort!
Back in December we had about 50 cardboard moving boxes delivered to us so that I could pack up our belongings and move into our new house. Our entire living room was stacked wall to wall with empty moving boxes and you could barely get around in that room.

Well, the Princess came over for a play date with Nanny and Pappy and when she saw all of those empty cardboard moving boxes her eyes lit up like flying saucers! You would of thought that child was looking at gold or something! Seriously, she could hardly contain her excitement when she saw over 50 empty boxes sitting in our living room.

Within minutes she had her Pappy building her a multi-level fort out of all of those cardboard boxes which took him about 30 minutes to do. Once it was done...Princess crawled right into her new cardboard fort and played in there for 4 hours straight! Matter of fact, she fell asleep in her fort and that is where she napped for the entire afternoon.

Later that day when she had to go home she actually cried because she wanted to take all of those boxes home with her to play with them at a future date. Of course my daughter (her mother) way!!! Ever since that play date our Princess has been enthralled every time she sees a pile of empty cardboard moving boxes and wants to play in them and with them.

Funny...we can go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a new toy for our grand kids (and kids) but yet you give them some free empty boxes and that is the BEST toy ever! When the next grand kid comes along some day, I am going to remember that the FREE toys are just as good as the expensive ones!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Homemade Banana Facial Mask Recipe - Great for Dry Skin!

A few years ago my 88 year old mother-in-law gave me her recipe for a homemade banana facial mask and let me tell is fantastic! I usually whip up this recipe about once every 2 weeks and apply it to my face and neck. I then let it sit on my face as I get things ready for my shower and then wash it off while showering.

The mask only requires three ingredients that you most likely have in your home right now. If you have dry skin...this mask is definitely for you! If you are pressed for time...whip it up, refrigerate it the night before. Then in the morning when you are getting ready for your day...take it out, use it and then get your morning shower.

Banana Facial Mask Recipe

1 sliced banana, peel removed
1 cup olive oil
2 large egg whites (discard the yolks)

In a blender container, combine all three of the above ingredients and process until smooth. Place container into the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove and apply the mask to your face and neck area. Leave on for 10 to 12 minutes and then rinse off with cool water. Blot face dry with a soft cotton towel.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Princess & Her Cotton Candy - Almost Wordless Wednesday

Princess Gia loves going to amusement parks, county fairs and small town carnivals. The surprising thing about all of this is that she is NOT afraid of any rides...nope, not at all! When it comes to getting on the rides...she is all about the adult ones!

A few days ago I published a post here on my blog showing you all how she got onto the Ferris Wheel several times with her Pappy and it was her favorite ride at the Dauphin Carnival. If she had her way...she would ride a Ferris Wheel every day! Not me...I am afraid of heights!

One of the things Princess Gia loves after we are done riding rides and playing games is to get a big bag of cotton candy! Yes...that sugary sweet stuff that makes your teeth hurt and your tummy ache! She doesn't care what flavor it is...just as long as it's cotton candy and a lot of it!

She was quite happy as you can see from the above photo to have received a brand new bag of cotton candy from Pappy for being such a good girl at the carnival. Lucky for pappy who doesn't need any more high-calorie food...she didn't share any of it with him! LOL Good for her!

Anyway, this is my new "almost" wordless Wednesday post for this week. Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Dauphin Carnival in Middle Paxton Township

Pappy & Princess on the Ferris Wheel
Last week was the popular Dauphin Carnival up in Middle Paxton Dauphin, Pennsylvania. My husband grew up in Dauphin and even though we don't live there now...he always looks forward to the Dauphin carnival coming into town.

Well, last week he took our little 4 year old grand daughter ~ Princess Gia up to the carnival for her first time. He thought she would be afraid to get on some of the rides...but she wasn't! Matter of fact, she wasn't interested in the kiddie rides at all...nope, our girl was IN LOVE with the ferris wheel and got on it several times! She is one brave little girl as I hate ferris wheels since I am afraid of heights.

After the carnival they stopped on their way out to pick up some cotton candy (one of her favorites) and to get some sno-cones. She was super excited about the evening she just had and begged her Pappy to take her back the next night. Thankfully, she forgot about it the next day which made pappy pretty happy! LOL

Since I wasn't feeling well, I stayed home and enjoyed a good movie, with a lot of peace & quiet until they arrived back. Wow, she was wound up tight like a top, after eating all of that cotton candy! Shame on pappy for giving it to her late in the evening!

Next week we are both going to take Princess Gia to another area carnival that is coming nearby and hopefully, they will have even better rides than the last one.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Alison Sweeney Shares Her Tips for Healthy Living This Summer

TV host, actress and healthy living advocate & mom, Alison Sweeney knows that when it comes to not-so-good for you snacks, keeping them “out of sight, out of mind” is a great motto.  From planning out weekly meals to making sure the right choices are on-hand, being organized is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

At today’s Frigidaire Sack Race in LA, Frigidaire and City of Hope partnered up to celebrate the launch of the new Frigidaire Gallery French Door Refrigerator which features more than 100 ways to organize groceries, ensuring healthy options stay front and center to help busy families make better choices when perusing the fridge (images attached/below).  Special guest host Alison Sweeney shared quick & easy tips that feature some of the key benefits of the new Frigidaire Gallery French Door Refrigerator along with how she keeps her own refrigerator organized so that her family can make healthier choices:

  • Make a point to arrange your food for maximum visibility. When you can’t see what’s in your refrigerator, you’re more likely to head to the cabinet for cookies.  
  • The SpaceWise® Organization System allows you to easily reorganize items in your refrigerator to make unpacking groceries easy. You can unpack and rearrange without removing existing items from your refrigerator.
  • A great alternative to sugary drinks is naturally flavored vitamin packed fruit smoothies. With the Flip-Up and Slide-Under shelves, there’s enough room to fit the blender jar directly inside the refrigerator.
  •      Keep pre-cut and washed fruits and veggies like strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, carrots or celery in air tight, labeled containers so they’re easier to grab on the go. Pair with hummus or yogurt for great dipping options to round out a mid-afternoon snack.
  • Keep fresh fruit and vegetables in separate crisper drawers so they are easier to identify and reach for when opening the refrigerator door.
  • Stock the Full-Width Cool-Zone™ Drawer with low-fat/non-fat yogurt. It is easy to reach and the see through bins can help you easily choose your favorite flavor.
Disclosure: The information and photograph in this blog post was provided to us by a PR firm to share with our blog readers. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Gardening - Petunias Gone Wild!!!

    My "almost wordless Wednesday" post this week is a photo that I took last weekend of the Petunias in my front flower bed that have gone completely wild with their growth! We planted them in late May of 2013 and they were scrawny little plants with no blooming flowers. We got them at the garden store with a hefty discount since they looked terrible and weren't doing well.

    We brought them home and immediately planted them. We then hit them with the garden hose and our favorite growth product "Miracle Gro" and continued to water them regularly and with the Miracle Gro once a week. Wow, what a difference 6 weeks makes and lots of love & care! Those Petunias are going WILD now and some are getting so large they look like flower bushes!!!

    I absolutely love outdoor flowers and have 4 flower beds on our property. This particular flower bed has nothing but Petunias in it and I am loving how full and lush they are! Just goes to show you that you can bring a scrawny looking plant(s) back to life again with the proper love, care and nourishment (Miracle Gro) and they are doing fabulous now!!!

    If you look closely, you can see one of my 12" tall solar garden lights buried in those Petunias which will show you how large they have become. I think this weekend I will trim some of them back as they are interfering with the solar lights getting enough sunlight during the day.

    Well...there you have it...another "Almost" Wordless Wednesday post for this week!

    Monday, July 8, 2013

    Grandma's Homemade Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

    My grandmother was a fabulous cook and every weekend I remember her spending hours upon hours in her kitchen cooking and baking. Grandma was a big fan of gardening and preserving food for later use and I often remember her making up a big batch of refrigerator pickles. Today, I am sharing her recipe with all of you and it's a great way to use up all of those fresh cucumbers from your backyard garden.

    Grandma's Homemade Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

    7 to 8 cups sliced cucumbers
    1 cup chopped onions
    1/2 cup chopped green pepper
    1 tbsp. salt
    1 cup white vinegar
    1 tsp. celery seed

    In a large mixing bowl combine together the sliced cucumbers, chopped onions, chopped green pepper and the salt, stirring to combine. Add in the white vinegar and celery seed, stirring again to combine. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 3 days. Remove and spoon pickles into smaller containers if desired.

    These pickles will keep for up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator, do not freeze!!!

    The Christian Focus of Homeschooling

    Guest post by Daniel L

    Australia is a land of great distances and sparse settlements, particularly away from the coastal areas. Everywhere in the country are families whose children need not only a secular education, but also a Christian-focused faith-based education that will prepare them to meet the rigors of modern life.

    The Australian Christian College, Moreton, provides instruction at all levels of primary, middle, and secondary (college) education. They do it for the home-schooled audience via the Internet, and with parental support, using the same dedicated faculty available at the Caboolture schools.

    Called "distance education," the program heavily involves home and parents as participants in the child's education. The school feels that the atmosphere of family values is a blessing to the student and while the student misses the collegial aspects of a centralized educational activity, there is much to be gained by learning the important lessons of life in a loving, nurturing family setting.

    There is one very specific advantage of ACC's distance education program: the student gets to interact, albeit electronically, with students and adults from all over the country. This socialization, involving a cross section of many age groups from student to adult, helps the distance student to acquire behavioural rules of conduct. In addition, the ACC ministry allows them to gain the beliefs and attitudes to prepare them to function effectively in society.

    It is recommended that you view the school's website and take particular notice of the perspectives of the mothers who are interviewed. Each is highly supportive of the school's participation with their children and well pleased with the preparation to meet both secular and religious challenges for their children.

    Saturday, July 6, 2013

    Healthy Veggie Juice Recipe

    The official start of summer is just around the corner, which makes right now the perfect time to do a jucie cleanse! People are constantly looking for a cleanse that will work with their lifestyle and their budget Omega Juicers has teamed up with Leanne Vogel, holistic nutritionist, of Healthful Pursuit to create a simple healthy veggie juice recipe.

    Light and delicious green juice, sweetened with oranges and grapefruit. Fresh tarragon makes each sip grounding and wholesome. Preparation time is approximately 5 minutes and this recipe will make one 500ml serving.

    Blushing Greens Juice

    1 cucumber
    2 cups spinach
    1/2 grapefruit
    15 grams fresh tarragon
    1 orange
    Juice from 1/2 lemon

    Instructions - If you have a ‘low’ setting on your juicer, juice all items in the recipe but the lemon juice. When complete, add lemon juice, stir and enjoy!

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    Happy July 4th - Have a Great Holiday Weekend!

    I love July 4th and every year when it rolls around I always look forward to it! This year we will be attending two July 4th picnics (one with friends and the other with family) so it will be a busy day for us for sure! With that said, I am really looking forward to eating some great food today!

    Later tonight we will be heading out to Koon's Park in Linglestown to see the annual July 4th Fireworks show! This year it will be extra special since the entire family is going and Princess Gia loves seeing the fireworks go up in the air! Afterwards we always treat her to a balloon, cotton candy and some pizza!

    Anyway...hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend! Got anything fun and exciting planned? Heading out for fun or just staying home this weekend?

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    Newly Hatched Baby Birds - Almost Wordless Wednesday

    Hubby and I have been big bird watchers for the past 10+ years and every year we are blessed with several different species of birds calling our backyard their home. When we find the nests...we chart them on our backyard map and make sure that we keep an eye on the birds while they are nesting and living here.

    When you stumble upon a nest, it is really important to NOT touch it and do not disturb it in any way. When we photograph eggs, nests and newly hatched birds, we always make sure that mom is out hunting for food and that we do NOT touch the nest! We use a high powered camera with telephoto lens to get our snapshots.

    Well, last week we stumbled upon a Robin's nest that is built in one of our large bushes and inside that nest was 4 beautiful blue robin eggs. Two days of the eggs hatched and the following day...two more eggs hatched. It has been five days now and the 4th unhatched egg has disappeared.

    Officially, we got three beautiful little robin babies that are growing stronger each day and will be ready to fledge the nest in about 4 to 6 more days. They are doubling in size daily and each & every day they have more and more down & feathers on them. When mom leaves the nest to collect food...they are pretty noisy awaiting her return.

    Well, there you have "Almost" Wordless Wednesday post for this week and this post is also being filed under our bird watching category here on the blog. You can find other bird watching info & photographs by visiting that category.

    Do you enjoy bird watching and if so, what are some of your favorite species of birds to watch? We are big backyard birders and we love to watch sea birds and owls too! Happy Birding!

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    7 Frugal Wedding Tips to Help You Save Money on Your Big Day

    When many couples decide to get married they are not really thinking about the costs and all of the hard work that is involved to pull off a day that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Once the plans kick into action, many couples are faced with sticker shock on how much that wedding is going to cost them and/or their families.

    Once reality has set in...these same couples are looking for frugal do-it-yourself wedding ideas to help cut the costs and to save money. After all, who wants to start out their new marriage in debt? No one! Here are some ideas that might help you when it comes to planning your own wedding.

    1. Shop Around - Shop around for photographers, cake makers, dresses, reception halls, wedding venues and everything else that you will need for your big day. Make a list of all providers of the services that you will need and personally interview them & check them out for yourself. Decide how much you can spend and stick within your budget.

    2. Photographer - If you have to hire a professional photographer, hire only one and only for the exact amount of time you will need them. Let your guests know before the wedding day that you would appreciate them taking photos and then showing you the proofs of the photos they took. Buy only the BASIC PACKAGE that your professional photographer offers and then get extra photos from your family & friends to fill up your wedding album. Trust me, you don't need the biggest and best package that the photographer has to offer.

    3. All-Inclusive Wedding Packages - These days you can rent a wedding venue and many of these places include everything you may need. For example: Place to hold the wedding & the reception with catering, flowers, the wedding cake, table decorations, the entertainment and more! A lot of times these package deals are cheaper than you trying to put it all together yourself.

    4. Make it Yourself - Table centerpieces, reception decorations, party table favors, etc. can all be made by yourself or enlist the help of your wedding party. You can make these items and get a lot of FREE ideas on what to make by searching the internet and visiting your local craft supply store. Make only what you think you will need and keep them pretty basic to keep costs down.

    5. Barter for Services - If you have a friend who is a DJ, one who is a photographer or one that works at a bakery making cakes...barter with them for services! Offer to babysit their kids, mow their lawn or whatever it is you have to offer to get FREE goods or highly discounted goods and services. There is nothing wrong with bartering for what you need!

    6. Borrowing - If you know someone who has a nice luxury car, a wedding dress, tuxedo, tables, foldable chairs or any other items you may need for your big them and ask to borrow the item. Before borrowing an item, write out a contract and list the details to ensure that both parties understand the "rules" for the borrowing transaction. It is your job to return the item(s) in the condition in which you received them.

    7. Asking for Help - You don't have to plan and throw this wedding yourself! Ask your close family members and friends for their help! You can use them to help set things up, make phone calls, clean-up once it is over and to help return the items you rented and/or borrowed. Don't pay a company extra money to set-up and clean-up!

    There are many things you can do to help defray the costs of your wedding and these 7 frugal wedding tips are just the tip of the iceberg!

    Shelly Hill is a professional ghostwriter and paid blogger living in south central Pennsylvania. You can visit Shelly's This, That and a Little More Blog for additional frugal living tips, craft ideas, recipes and more.

    Monday, July 1, 2013

    FREE Shipping at Kidorable until July 8th 2013

    We have been big fans of the products that Kidorable sells for the past 4 years and Princess Gia owns several of the Kidorable rain coats, rain boots, umbrellas, wooden hangers and bath towels! Matter of fact, they are some of her most treasured items that she owns.

    Well, Kidorable is having a sale for the upcoming July 4th holiday and if you spend $20.00 or more before July 8th, 2013 and use the following coupon code you can get FREE Shipping in the US! Yay!!! Now is the time to grab those birthday gifts and other items that you need.

    Coupon Code: JULY4TH13
    Valid: July 1st, 2013 through July 8th, 2013
    Restrictions: Coupon code can not be used with any other promotions

    Head on over to Kidorable today and take a look around. You will love their cute & adorable products for both little boys and little girls!

    Disclosure: I was NOT compensated for this post and I am NOT an affiliate of Kidorable. I posted the info because we simply love Kidorable products!