Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cornelia Marie or Our Freezer?

You decide.

Several weeks ago we noticed that our freezer was beginning to look perplexing similar to a frozen tundra.  Frost was beginning to accumulate out of nowhere.  Not just frost, but inches of frost and ice.  So much so that Mark would often have to get all Deadliest Catch and chisel some ice off the shelves so that we could get things out or I don't know, maybe shut the freezer door.  We thought the seal was broken. 

Shortly thereafter, we discovered that the fridge wasn't staying consistently cold.  We had a problem with this after we moved into the house and our homeowners insurance paid to replace the seal and the thermostat on our nearly 30-year-old appliance.  Yes, like me, it's a product of the 80s.

At the time of our recent discovery we tossed around the idea of getting an appliance repair person out to look at the fridge, or maybe even taking the plunge and replacing it.  Right when we started to get really fed up with it, the fridge magically got cold again.  We continued to have trouble with the frozen tundra that was our freezer, but it was keeping things frozen and we also have a stand-up freezer in our garage to keep things in.  As long as our food was staying fresh we were content.

Fast-forward to this week.  We again realized that the fridge wasn't keeping things cool enough.  The water in our Brita pitcher might as well have been taken directly from the tap for as non-chilled as it was.  We also had an incident with some chicken spoiling.  Sunday it all came to a head.  I went to use some milk with a "sell by" date of 9/1/10 and it was lumpy.  LUMPY!  Gross!  It was at that point that I began really kvetching and Mark promised that he would get a repair-person out to visit as soon as possible. 

Today was that day.  Originally, our appointment was for early afternoon.  No problem.  Somehow it got moved to between 8 and 9AM.  That is a problem.  Right around that time is when I'm trying to get a fussy baby who doesn't like to go to sleep down for his morning nap.  Luckily for me and non-sleeping baby, Mark was able to leave for work a little late so that he was here to meet the repairman. 

Mr. Fridgeman was here maybe 5 minutes.  I'm willing to bet that he was here even shorter than that span of time.  He was here long enough to tell us that our refrigerator is un-fixable and collect a check for $65+tax.  But don't worry, service calls are good for 3 weeks, so if we want to have him out again during that time period it won't cost anything additional.  Really?  So... I can schedule a time to have him come back out to tell us again that we have to invest in a new fridge?  Awesome.  Sign me up for that. 

So, we are now trying to decide what to do about a new fridge.  I've been browsing Craigslist in hopes of scoring a used appliance for a good price.  I really don't want to shell out for an overpriced model from a home improvement store right now.  That'll just make me even more angry.  Not to mention, we don't plan on staying in this house forever so if we do purchase a nice fridge we'd have to worry about taking it with us and all that entails. 


Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 29th

Sunday:  Grilled Lime-Jalapeno Chicken with Black Bean and Corn Salsa and Steamed Zucchini

Monday:  BBQ Chicken Pizza (with leftover chicken from last night)

Tuesday:  Steak Fajitas with Refried Beans and Cilantro-Lime Rice

Wednesday:  Rigatoni w/ Chicken Bacon and Mushrooms with Bread

Thursday: Sloppy Joes with Corn

Friday:  Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes

Saturday:  OUT

I'm linked over at OrgJunkie

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is a mighty important recipe to have in your arsenal.  I've never met a person who didn't like it and it's so quick and easy!  It's my husband's favorite dip and a must have for football season. 


2 - 10oz cans chicken breast (I think the one I buy is 10oz, they come in 2 sizes and you want to get the larger one), drained

3/4 - 1 1/4 c. Hot Sauce (like Frank's Red Hot, not Tabasco!), you can adjust according to your taste preferences

2 - 8oz blocks cream cheese, leave them on the counter to soften up

1/2 c. Ranch Dressing

1 c. Shredded Cheese (I suggest Cheddar or Colby-Monterey Jack)


In a sauce pan over Medium heat combine drained chicken and hot sauce.  Allow these to heat and stir to break up the chunks of chicken.

Add both blocks of cream cheese and allow to melt, stirring occasionally.

Add the ranch dressing and cheese and stir until combined and the cheese is melted. 

That's it! 

I usually serve it in my Dipmaster (small CrockPot) - except klutzy me happened to drop it and break it Sunday afternoon... it works fine served in a bowl too - with tortilla chips, but other dippers could be crackers, bread, carrots, or celery sticks!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 22nd

This week's menu: 

Sunday: Parent's house for brother's birthday party, contributing a (hopefully yummy) Double Fudge Coca-Cola Cake and Buffalo Chicken Dip

Monday:  Pasta Carbonara

Tuesday:  Mom's Night Out for me with the playgroup ladies; Boy's Night In for Mark and Jackers!

Wednesday: Lentil Tacos with fixin's

Thursday: CrockPot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches on Whole-Wheat rolls

Friday: Thai Chicken Pizza

Saturday:  Lime-Jalapeno Chicken with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

A few of these are obviously meals that were planned for last week that we didn't get to.  When meal planning last week I forgot about a few things like the fact that Mark and I had a date night scheduled for Thursday and I had a party to attend on Saturday.

I'm linked over at OrgJunkie.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good Stuff

As I was leaving the house yesterday (running late as usual!) I noticed that something was posted on our window.  It was on city letterhead.  Upon closer inspection, this is what was waiting for me:

Dear Resident,

It is our comunity's desire to protect the residential standards and property values of our neighborhoods. In doing so, we must inform our citizenry of violations of city ordinances. Unfortunately we bring to your attention a violation on your property that may adversely affect your neighborhood. Your cooperation in correcting this violation is greatly appreciated. Please correct the violation by the compliance date stated on the lower portion of this warning. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Marked on the paper:

COG Section 945.06 - No person shall allow noxious weeds and grass growth on such property and adjacent right of way shall be maintained in such a manner so as not to exceed eight ( 8 ) inches in height.

Written at the bottom:

Location on property of violation: front yard, back yard (buh? We have a tall privacy fence. They can't even SEE our backyard or access it. They must be psychic!), side yard, tree lawn (I don't even know what this means. Anyone?)

Notes: First and only notice to cut the grass and weeds. If not cut in 5 days on the 6th day City of ________ shall cut the grass and weeds, issue a citation, and file a lien on the property.

Sounds bad, huh? Ready for the pics of our lawn?

Oh noes! It's a forest out there!!!11!1!!!! There are probably rodents running rampant in all the tall grass!

It was cut last Sunday. It wasn't cut this past Sunday because it was storming on and off all day.

Admittedly, we do have some patches of a particular type of weed that newly appeared during the week. See them along the street and our driveway? They are tall and skinny and *might* reach the 8" mark, but clearly they aren't out of control and they haven't even been there that long.

Really? They felt the need to issue us a warning. For a lawn that hasn't been mowed in 7 days. 

Hahaha! Good stuff I say! 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 15th

Here's what's cooking this week:

Sunday: Parent's house for dinner, I contributed a fresh peach cobbler!

Monday: Grilled Eggplant Panini (with basil and eggplant from the farmer's market and tomato from the garden!) with Potato Cakes (using leftover potatoes from last week)

Tuesday: Burgers (made with local beef from the farmer's market) on Whole-Wheat Buns with Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday: Hot Dogs (local from the farmer's market!) on the grill on Whole-Wheat Buns with local Sweet Corn

Thursday: Homemade Pizza

Friday: Lentil Tacos with fixin's

Saturday:  Pasta Carbonara

I'm linked over at OrgJunkie.com

Friday, August 13, 2010

And the Winner is...

The winner of the eco-friendly giveaway sponsored by Fluffy Buns Diapers is:

Comment #21... Bao! 

Congrats!  I'm sending you an email as we speak to get your shipping info! 

ETA: The original winner has not responded to my request for shipping info so we are going to draw a new winner!  The new winner is:

Comment #13 - Rebecca!

I am sending you an email now to get your shipping info!

Thanks again to everyone that participated!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent

I've been using this recipe for a while now and I've had great results!  It's cheap, eco-friendly, doesn't have any harsh chemicals or fragrences, and you know exactly what's in it!

1 cup Washing Soda (I use Arm & Hammer, found in the laundry aisle)
1 cup Borax (I use 20 Mule Team)
1/2 cup Oxi-Clean (I use Oxi-Clean Free)

To use: Add 1 Tablespoon detergent to cold rinse cycle.  Then, add 1 Tablespoon detergent to your hot wash.  Diapers will come out smelling like - nothing!  This is good : )

Note: You can also mix this up in bulk so that you don't have any leftovers.  If doing so, you will need 3 boxes Washing Soda (55 oz. each), 2 boxes Borax (76 oz. each), and 1 large tub of Oxi-Clean (96 oz.).  However, I know from personal experience that Borax is a good item to have around the house.  It can be utilized in other applications besides this detergent!

There is also a "regular"/clothing laundry version of this detergent that I have not tried yet.  Once I get through the store-bought detergent that we're currently using I will mix up a batch and let you know how we like it!

Recipe and photo courtesy of:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 8th

We'll call this Menu Plan Monday, Tuesday Edition. 

I didn't get our menu planned on Sunday like I usually do because we had a busy weekend.  I didn't get it planned yesterday because I was uninspired.  So, today it is. 

Here's what's cooking this week:

Sunday: BBQ Chicken @ my parent's house

Monday: Creamy Taco Mac & Corn (that we didn't get to last week)

Tuesday: Paninis with Tomato Bisque

Wednesday: Grilled Honey Pork Chops with Corn on the cob

Thursday: Orange Chicken (Crockpot) with Broccoli & Rice

Friday: Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes

Saturday: OUT

I should note that I usually don't follow recipes as written, but the links that I have provided are my inspiration from which I'll adapt our meals : )

I'm linked over at OrgJunkie.com.

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Eco-Friendly Review & Giveaway!

Sponsored by:

Fluffy Buns Diapers is another great Etsy shop.  Fluffy Buns specializes in mama-made upcycled cloth diapers.

What is upcycling?  According to Wikipedia, "Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.".  This means that all of her products are made out of materials such as unwanted clothing, blankets, and other cloth items that may otherwise be thrown away.  By utilizing them to make her fitted diapers they are turned into a useful, cute item with a whole new life!  I think this is very cool!  Fluffy Buns Diapers also sells other items such as woolies, cloth wipes, and will even take custom orders.

Fluffy Buns Diapers provided me with the opportunity to try out one of her upcycled fitted diapers.

Alicia was very helpful during the ordering process, asking for Jack's measurements first to make sure that the diaper we received would fit him perfectly.  The diaper I received is not a one-size fits all, but it does have snaps with multiple settings at the waist, so I'm sure that it will last for quite a while.  Fluffy Buns Diapers does stock one-size diapers as well as sized.

My first reaction when I got it was that it was of great quality.  The fabric was nice and soft and seemed like it would be absorbant.  The soaker is wide and several layers thick.  To be honest, I don't have a lot of experience with fitteds.  The only other type of fitted that we own is the popular Goodmama.

When I put the diaper on Jack I was pleased to find that it wasn't quite as bulky as a Goodmama, likely because it's sized vs. one-size fits all.  We were able to get a nice snug fit even around his skinny bird legs.  I experimented with the diaper without a diaper cover and then with a diaper cover.  Jack was able to wear the diaper for a good 2 hour stretch without me feeling any wetness on the outside.  He wore it for an extended period of several hours through an afternoon nap with a cover without experiencing any leaks.

Overall, I think this is a great diaper to add to your stash.  It's a great fitted, but even better is the coolness factor because it's made from recycled materials!

Fluffy Buns Diapers has provided one reader with the opportunity to win a fitted diaper of their own to try!

This is another cute, upcycled fitted diaper! 

To buy your own: Visit Fluffy Buns Diapers Etsy shop.

To win it: There are several chances to win.  Please leave a SEPARATE comment for EVERY entry you complete!

Mandatory Entry:

- Follow me publicly with Google Friend Connect (button located on sidebar to the right).

Additional Entries:

- Visit Fluffy Buns Diapers and tell us your favorite item.

- Vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs. This can be done once per day. Remember to leave a separate comment for every entry. (Button located on sidebar to the right)

- Follow me on Twitter and tweet the following: "Win an #eco-friendly #clothdiaper #giveaway from @Stefibeth. Sponsored by Fluffy Buns Diapers! http://tinyurl.com/263v7g9 ". This can be done once per day. Remember to leave a separate comment for every entry.

- Grab my button and put it on your blog or website. Leave me the link to where it is located in your comment.

Giveaway will close Thursday, August 12th at 12pm EST and a winner will be chosen via Random.org. Thanks for participating!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

5 Months!

This month's pictures capture a very important milestone, Jack's first taste of solids! 

Jack is 5 months old as of last Wednesday and we decided that it was time to let him try some cereal.  He seemed to really want to try something new and was more than willing to open his mouth to the spoon, but then funny faces followed. 

I don't know if it was the taste or the texture that turned him off, but he doesn't seem to be a huge fan.  I can't say I blame him, I tried a taste and organic brown rice baby cereal mixed with formula isn't as tasty as it sounds ;) 

As long as he stays interested I think we'll try a puree of some sort soon.  Possibly an avocado or some sort of green veggie.  I hope he will enjoy it more than the cereal.  I know I sure do!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 1st

I really enjoy looking at everyone's weekly menus for inspiration.  I always make a point to menu plan for the week to make grocery shopping (and cooking!) easier so I've decided to start posting our weekly menu with hope of inspiring others.

Here's what's in store for this week! 

Sunday: Grilled Homemade Pizza - BBQ Chicken (made with leftover grilled chicken from last week) for Mark, and Margherita for me made with a fresh Farmer's Market tomato and pesto that I made last week.

Monday: Teriyaki Ranch Chicken (CrockPot) with Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday: Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce with Homemade Garlic Bread

Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Meatballs with Cheesy Broccoli & Rice

Thursday: Mongolian Beef with Brown Rice and Steamed Chicken Potstickers

Friday: Creamy Taco Mac

Saturday: OUT

And we have local sweet corn and zucchini and several different varieties of tomatoes from our garden that we will be eating throughout the week! 

I am linked over at OrgJunkie.com