Monday, April 26, 2010

Kids Corner: For my children and yours

I love this nursery rhyme. What is your favorite?

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe;
Sailed off on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going and what do you wish?" the old moon asked the three.
"We've come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea.
Nets of silver and gold have we," said Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song as they rocked in the wooden shoe.
And the wind that sped them all night long ruffled the waves of dew.
Now the little stars are the herring fish that live in that beautiful sea;
"Cast your nets wherever you wish never afraid are we!"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three - Winkin', and Blinkin', and Nod.

So all night long their nets they threw to the stars in the twinkling foam.
'Til down from the skies came the wooden shoe bringing the fisherman home.
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed as if it could not be.
Some folks say 'twas a dream they dreamed of sailing that misty sea.
But I shall name you the fisherman three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

Now Winkin' and Blinkin' are two little eyes and Nod is a little head.
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies is a wee one's trundle bed.
So close your eyes while mother sings of the wonderful sights that be.
And you shall see those beautiful things as you sail on the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

Cajun Pork roast

This is an easy and elegant meal, special enough for a Sunday dinner or holiday meal. Add hot baked rolls, salad, and your favorite steamed vegetables for a perfect family meal.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes

•1 center-cut pork rib roast, about 3 pounds
•2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
•1 teaspoon dry mustard
•1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
•3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
•2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed (I used regular potatoes, I do not have fingerlings)
•1 large onion, cut into 6 to 8 wedges
•2 tablespoons melted butter
•salt and pepper
•1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

Heat oven to 350°.

Wash the roast and pat dry. Rub roast all over with the Cajun seasoning, dry mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, half of the minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sear the roast over medium-high heat in a skillet in remaining olive oil for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.

Toss potatoes with the remaining minced garlic, onion wedges, and the melted butter. Arrange the potatoes in the baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the browned rib roast on the vegetables, bones facing down. Pour the wine or chicken broth in the pan. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the roast registers about 150° when a meat thermometer is in the thickest part of the meat, not touching fat or bone. If the rib ends begin to brown too much, cover each with a piece of foil. Cut between the ribs into separate chops and serve with the roasted potatoes and onions.
Serves 4.

Cajun season mix

2 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons paprika

4 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons white pepper

4 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (the recipe called for 2 tsp, I used 1)

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons basil

1 teaspoon dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon allspice

Mix all ingredients. Makes about 1/2 cup.

***I did not have a rib roast. I just used regular pork roast. I buy what I can get inexpensively.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kids Corner: Homemade Scented Playdo

Sure, store bought playdo is inexpensive enough, but can you buy it in red and cherry scented or chocolate? What if you're home with three bored kiddos and you don't really want to get out of the house? Well, you can make your own with these recipes.


1 cup flour
1 cup of water
1/2 cup salt
3 TBS oil

Mix all ingredients together and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until dough forms the consistency you want. Remove from heat and cool. Keep in airtight container, refrigerate until used.

***You can add one package of any flavor Koolaid to the above ingredients to get a colored, scented playdo.
*** I have added several drops of lavender essential oil to the recipe along with a little food coloring to make the dough purple.

Chocolate Scented Play Dough


1¼ cup flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ cup salt

½ tablespoon cream of tartar

1 ½ tablespoons oil

1 cup boiling water


Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large, heavy bowl. Add the oil and boiling water to the mixture. Stir very quickly, mixing thoroughly. Once the mixture has cooled, mix it together using your hands. The dough can now be played with. Get out cookie cutters and let the kids make you some "cookies".

Be sure to store all doughs in an airtight container when not in use. Enjoy!!!

Crockpot Chicken Recipe

I love my crockpot. It's great for year round use. I usually make beef or pork, but occasionally I make chicken. The following is a family favorite. It is not a good recipe to go off and leave all day while at work, but it's great if you have a busy day at home or have some errands to run during the day.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

• 4 boneless chicken breasts
• 1 (16 oz) jar picante sauce or salsa (either is good)
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp chili powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1 can corn
• 1 can black beans

Pour a little oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and brown chicken on both sides.
Place the chicken in the crock pot and pour salsa/picante over.
Add the garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on Low 4 hours.
Remove the chicken and shred with a fork, then put the chicken back in the crock pot.
Cover and continue to cook on Low for 1 hour.
Stir in the corn and black beans.
Cover and continue cooking 1 hour.

Serve with tortilla chips or as tacos in soft or hard shell tortillas. Also may top with sour
cream or guacamole.

My family likes to make tacos out of the mix and top with cheese. I have served rice, refried beans and guacamole with it. Drizzle a little ranch dressing over the meat before you serve it if you like. It's super delish. This is awesome to make for taco bar and movie night with the family.

Lovely laundry

I have a recipe for a lovely scented laundry detergent. I am always looking for scented things that won't irritate my asthma and eczema. I purchased an E book that had a recipe for a wash that used unscented liquid soap as the base, however, I can not find unscented anywhere here. So, I improvised and came up with a nice fragranced soap that does not bother my breathing.

15 oz lavender chamomile hand soap (I used two 7.5 oz bottles of Soft Soap brand)
1/2 c Borax
1/2 c washing soda
1/2 c water

I also added about 20 drops of lavender essential oil to punch up the lavender scent. This is totally optional. Then, I put it in a quart sized mason jar and shook it up to mix. I used a couple of tablespoons for a small load of delicates.

I would guess you could use any scent you like in lieu of the lavender chamomile. I have found a lemongrass basil soap that I think I might like to try next.

Beautifying my books

I was doing some searches for bookplates because I want to add some to my books. I wanted something vintage looking to match several of my antique books. I found two that I liked. Here is a butterfly from The Blah Blah Blahg that I fell in love with. You can download it here.

The next was a set from Martha Stewart. Nice, simple and classy. I love Martha's style.

I am going to print these off on to self adhesive paper and place them into my books. I will probably save a rainy weekend for this task. I really want to jazz up my bookshelf and even though I am the only one who will see them, they will make me so happy. Adding a little formality to my laid back atmosphere helps keep me from feeling like I am in mommy mode all of the time.

Ironing Bliss

I have never been much into ironing. Most of my clothes are cotton knit, wash and wear type of things. I iron occasionally if a dress shirt needs it. Well, I decided to try keeping my pillow cases starched and ironed since I have heard that it makes for a more restful night's sleep. In case you're wondering, it does.

I bought a can of Faultless lemon scented heavy starch (the yellow can below) to use on my pillow cases. I have to say, it smells very much like lemon. I ironed some very wrinkled tea towels and loved it.

I wanted to add lavender scent to my pillow cases since it's a scent for relaxation and who couldn't use a little more of that? I mixed lavender essential oil with enough distilled water to fill my iron. I used the lemon starch with the lavender steam and, oh my, it was delicious. So incredibly relaxing, it makes me want to rewash my pillow cases and start all over.

I went to the Faultless site for this picture and have discovered a lavender scent. I did not see that at my store, but I didn't look that closely either. I saw the lemon, I like lemon, so that is what I purchased. I may look for lavender next time I go, but I really enjoyed the method I used today. You should give it a try. Happy ironing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ugly Space

This ugly space is above my stove. I am in the midst of spring cleaning and decided to pull out the stove and give it a scrub. I had every intention of cleaning the range hood, but it was too gross (it has been icky since I moved in no matter how much I have tried to clean it) so I yanked it out.

Now, I must decide what to do with the empty space. I don't want to put another range hood there, however I think I need a light and exhaust fan. I need to try to figure out what to do. I think I would like a little shelf and some pretty jars in which to store my most used herbs and spices. I know I am putting a backsplash on the wall, but beyond that I'm not entirely sure.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I've been busy.

I haven't been around much. A lot has been going on in my life with remodeling the house and shopping through taxmas.
I picked up a Shark Navigator and Euro Pro steam mop. Loving them to pieces. I had posted how much I loved my Wet Jet. That little mop, while considerably cheaper, can't touch my Shark.
In other news, we finished the bathroom. It's lovely and relaxing.

I have also been hanging out more on a blog called BrocanteHome. It's a beautiful blog. The author, Alison May, has such colorful writing skills and the most wonderful ideas for making your home more, well, homey. I get lost in her Puttery Treats. She's such a delight to read. You should check her out.