The 2014 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle




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Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

This huge wealth of information and guidance will be right there on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle, whenever you need it.

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28

What? 78 eBooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle here.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth nearly $900, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?

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Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Pantry Meals – Tuesday

Like I’ve said, breakfast (1/2 an English muffin with peanut butter for me) and lunch (yogurt and an apple for me) are pretty much always the same. Tonight’s dinner was another mish-mash since hubby was working again. He had melted cheese sandwiches, a banana, and some cheese danish. The kids and I had baked beans and the rest of the cheese danish.  I know totally not balanced nor healthy.  As a side note – our church gets day-old bread to share and we rarely need to buy bread any more.  The cheese danish was in the last delivery of day-old bread.

Beans for Dinner

Does anyone else add brown sugar to their beans? Even though they come with brown sugar already in them?

I had hard boiled eggs in the fridge because it just isn’t Easter without coloring eggs. We ate some of them at Easter dinner, but the rest of them needed to be dealt with.

Colored Eggs

My daughter helped me shuck them and she was tickled when one of them peeled so nicely!

Long Peel

My father-in-law makes delicious deviled eggs and he told me his secret is adding some finely diced pickles or relish. I just happened to have some relish hanging around and it needed to be used up, so into the eggs it went.
Leftover Relish

Mmmmm!! So good! A healthy snack for a few days. At least two of my kids will eat them.
Deviled Eggs

Pantry Meals – Monday

Around here, breakfast and lunch are pretty much the same everyday – makes it easy for me!  Dinner is usually where things fall apart.  Some weeks I’m really good about meal planning and then making a list and doing the shopping.  Weeks like that are so easy!  For some reason though, I’m not consistent.  I’m not sure what happened when I shopped last, but I apparently only did one week worth of meals instead of two.  Hmmm…  So, dinner last night was a mish-mash.  Hubby had to work his second job which means he leaves before dinner time.  He had a couple peanut butter sandwiches, a couple hot dogs, and a banana.  I had an apple salad and the kids had breakfast for dinner (I love when they do that – they can make everything with very little help).  I also finished up my vegetable broth.  I blended some of the veggies in and strained the rest out.  I was afraid it would be too much if I did all of them.  The house smelled so good while it was cooking!!

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Eating From Our Pantry

When I checked out one of my favorite blogs today, I noticed that she was issuing an eat from your pantry challenge. This seemed like perfect timing for me.  Grocery day is this Friday and I always try to use up what I have before going shopping.  Sometimes it means eating leftovers, sometimes it means getting creative or sometimes both.  I found some veggies languishing in my fridge drawer and pantry.

Limp Veggies

I chopped them up and tossed them in a pot of water.  Don’t worry, I only used one clove of the garlic!

Veggie Broth

At the very least I’ll have some delicious vegetable broth that I can use to make a meal or two.   I’m thinking some of it will go in a potato leek soup I want to try my hand at making.

Our First Long Camping Vacation

About a year after we bought our popup, we went on our first trip that was longer than a weekend.  We (my husband & I, his parents, and our three kids – 7 people in a pop up!) went to Niagara Falls, Thousand Islands & Boldt Castle, Ausable Chasm, and then ended up at a state park near my in-laws.  We did all this in 10 days/9 nights!  While we were planning it, it didn’t seem so bad.  All we’d ever done were weekend trips, so we thought this would be like several weekend trips put together.  Not really.  First up was Niagara Falls.  We planned to stay there for 3 nights.  We ran into construction on the way there so a four and a half hour trip took closer to six…this on  Friday night after John got home from work.  Not a good way to start vacation!  So, anyway, we could’ve spent the whole week at Niagara Falls!  There is so much to see and do there!

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls from Maid of the Mist

Then we went to Clayton, NY.  On the way, we stopped over in Lockport to see a lock and see how they used to use water to generate power for several plants.  It was very interesting, but probably took too long.

Tour boat going through the lock.

Tour boat going through the lock.

We didn’t get to our campground (Merry Knoll) until 8pm – much later than we had intended.

The view from Merry Knoll Campground

The view from Merry Knoll Campground

The main attraction near Clayton is Boldt Castle and the Thousand Islands.  We took a tour boat around the St. Lawrence River and then to Boldt Castle.  I’ve been there three times now and the amount of work they’ve done to restore the castle is amazing!

Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle

We were there for two nights and then off to Ausable Chasm.  This time we were a little smarter and didn’t plan any stops other than lunch and a grocery store.  Nothing ever goes as planned though.  Our 5 year old son threw up halfway there!  We had donuts for breakfast and he overindulged!  (He later asked me why I allowed him to have more than two??)  Fortunately, one of the next signs we saw was for Jacques Cartier State Park.  We figured they would at least have basic bathroom facilities and we could clean him up some and get the car cleaned up too.  We were so surprised when we discovered a very nice shower in the bathroom!  I was able to wash him off, rinse his clothes, and dry them somewhat with the hand dryer.  He thought it was great fun to dry off under the dryer!  My mother-in-law cleaned up the car for me and we were on our way again.  A quick stop for groceries and lunch were the only other stops we made.  We set up camp (again!).  At this point we were really thinking that we had crammed too much into a week!  The kids weren’t happy that we hadn’t been able to swim and use the playgrounds more.  The adults were getting tired of setting up and tearing down camp plus spending several hours on the road every other day.  Of course, since we arrived at the campground at a decent time, we thought we could swim or maybe use the playground.  No, it was too cool and it started to rain.  So, we all went to bed early.  We did enjoy Ausable Chasm and since it was right next to the campground, it didn’t take long to get there and back.  The kids were able to enjoy the playground some although it was still too cold to swim.

Ausable Chasm Campground

Ausable Chasm Campground

The next morning we packed up and headed for our final destination – Lackawanna State Park.  It was about 283 miles and took us over 6 hours to get there!  Our two year old had so many accidents that we had to stop so I could buy him dry undies & shorts (there’s just no easy way to get to your luggage when it’s in the pop up!).  I did have some dry clothes in the truck with me, but he went through them!  When we got to our campsite, we had to back in – YIKES!  We’ve done that exactly twice – once with way too much help and once again with way too much help.  I think it took us a good half hour to get in the site the way we wanted to be and get level (I’ve never seen such an unlevel paved site!).  It didn’t help that a big ol’ fifth wheel came along and whipped into the site across from us – he just backed right in like a pro.  So glad he didn’t see us trying to back in!!  Then we discovered that our site didn’t have water.  How we missed that I’ll never know.  We were right next to the bathrooms so it worked out, but it was a shock at first.  By Sunday, when we packed up for the last time, we were ready to be home.  We were tired of traveling, tired of setting up & tearing down, just plain tired.  Next time we’re planning to stay at one, maybe two campgrounds over the course of a week.  I think everyone will be happier!

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Sugar Cookie Dough Pops

My kids have been watching old episodes of The Next Great Baker and my middle child has been trying to come up with a recipe for us to try.  He decided we should make cake pops with cookie dough.  He even made a list of what we would need.

IMG_2986We didn’t have any cake pop sticks so we made do with toothpicks, but they would be fine with nothing either – they really aren’t that messy.

He originally wanted to ice them, but after mixing the icing in the cookie dough, we didn’t have any icing left (oops).  However, the sprinkles stuck just fine.

IMG_2984After my next great baker tried one and pronounced them delish, the rest of us tried them and then had another.  Mmmm!!

IMG_2985

Sugar Cookie Dough Pops

Cookie Dough

1/4 C Butter, melted

1/4 C Oil

2 C Flour

3/4 C White Sugar

2 T Milk

1 t Vanilla

Dash of salt

Icing

2 C 10x Sugar

1/2 t Vanilla

2 T Milk plus more

Food coloring

Mix cookie dough ingredients together.  It should be crumbly and not like dough at all.  Mix the icing ingredients adjusting the amount of milk needed to give it a good thick consistency.  You should be able to stir it with a wooden spoon, but you don’t want it to be runny.  Mix the icing into the cookie dough.  Now it should resemble cookie dough.  If it’s too thick, add some more milk.  If it’s too runny, add a little more flour.  Roll the dough into balls and roll in sprinkles.  Put on a cookie tray.  Eat right away or chill loosely covered.  Enjoy!

Welcome Home Wednesdays
”Linda’s

Extending Clothing Life – Making a Dress Shirt Short Sleeved

IMG_2966In our new, warmer climate, hubby doesn’t need to wear long sleeve dress shirts for work.  It seemed like a shame to just get rid of (donate) all of his dress shirts though.  Most of them were in really good condition.  So I tried making one into a short sleeve shirt.  It wasn’t that hard!  It may seem intimidating, but it is really very simple.  It took me about 15 minutes to do this.  I use a short sleeve dress shirt as a pattern so I know where to cut the sleeve.  Line up the shoulder seams.

IMG_2967It needs to be cut about an inch longer so you have room to hem it.  I think cutting the first sleeve off is the hardest part.  After that, there’s no going back.

IMG_2968Using the sleeve you just cut off as a guide, cut the other sleeve off.

IMG_2969I remove the buttons before tossing the cut off sleeves.  You never know when you might need to replace a button.

IMG_2970Fold the cut edge under once and then again and pin it.  Do this all the way around both sleeves.

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Line up the shoulder seams and make sure the sleeves are the same length.

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Sew each sleeve hem.  I line up the fold of the hem with the edge of my presser foot.  That way the seam is the same distance from the fold all the way around.

IMG_2975A quick press to smooth out the new hem and you have a “new” short sleeve dress shirt.

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Shakedown Cruise, Part 3

Make sure you read part 1 and part 2.

Fortunately, no one complained about our tempo-tank, but I would never do that again.  Seriously, you should see the sloshing the bucket does when full. Regardless, it worked for the weekend, but you can bet that the gray water tank was number one on my list of things to add to our camper collection.

The full set up and unpacking went extremely well and rather quickly despite some of the quirks I noted above.  We were relaxing and ready to enjoy the campground on day 1.  We made campfire, had our dinner, and the kids were back at the playground.  Day 1 came to an end with snores all around.

On day 2, I decided that it would be nice to have hot water.  So, I read through the manual, made sure the gas was on, and opened up the outside access to light the hot water heater.  I was immediately puzzled as our manual did not seem to match what I was seeing.  We soon discovered that the manual did not match the model number.  I was not happy, but a friendly camper-neighbor was willing to help me get the hot water heater going.  Let me make a statement at this point…

Most fellow campers are helpful and friendly.  I know.  I know.  The people that know me are asking themselves if I have lost that wonderful cynicism about humanity for which I am well known.  However, it is well in place.  Yet, despite my cynicism, I must admit the helpfulness and general good nature of people we have met camping.  You still have idiots, but they are apparently more tolerable with wood smoke. Anyway…

The camper-neighbor and I figured out how to light the burner, and I let it run as he suggested.  An hour later, we still had no hot water.  Two hours later, no hot water.  I was not happy.  Then, something hit me.  When we were looking at the camper to purchase it, I remembered that the hot water tank had been bypassed.  Sure enough, I opened the cabinet, and it was still bypassed.  This brings us to…

New Camper
Lesson #3 – Even if the Dealer Says It’s Ready…Check!

Our dealer was excellent and friendly, and literally did a lot for us during the purchase.  We trusted them when they said the camper was ready, but they missed the bypass.  Luckily it did not damage the tank when we heated it.  However, I did contact the dealer and asked why it was not set up.  The dealer immediately asked us to drop the camper off on Monday.  They set the tank up, and added an awning to the camper without charge.  Great Deal!  However, check everything and, then, check it again!

End of Lesson

So, we spent the weekend without hot water which was survivable as we could heat it up on the stove or campfire.  It was, however, a bit embarrassing and frustrating.  Yet, it did not ruin a great campground and a good time with the kids.  At least, the weekend was going great until we received a phone call on Saturday.

I was sitting in the sun, feeling the relaxation taking affect, when my cell phone rang.  It was our Pastor. He asked if I was willing to help in the Service the next day.  I said I would, and then he explained, with relief in his voice, that he had had A HEART ATTACK and was calling me from the hospital. I spent the rest of the day buried in my Bible and praying for inspiration for the sermon I would now be delivering.  So, the final lesson from the shakedown cruise…

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

 

Shakedown Cruise, Part 2

Camping Trip 1

Cold Water, Open Flames, and Blocked Arteries

See part 1 before continuing with my husband’s version of our first camping trip.

*This post contains affiliate links.

OK… so, despite the fact that camper was not properly supported (though I did not know it at the time), we were able to get it completely set up and ready for use.  My wife began her list of things we completely forgot and things we wanted for our next trip, and I began my mental list of things I did not like about the camper.  Yep, we had a brand new camper, and I was already complaining.  However, it was not about the camper per se, but the camper filled with 5 people.

I am not a small person, and I am not a thin person.  So, I like a lot of room.  Thus, as my wife unpacked, I began to find myself crowded by everything.  I think it was extremely psychological, but it was there nonetheless.  As things kept appearing, the first thought in my head was that I needed to design and build some form of shelving that would be reasonably priced and easy to put up and put down.  As the unpacking continued, the second thought was to run home, stretch out in the luxurious space of my workshop, and build shelves.  I eventually pushed the desire to scream and run home down and
ran outside to hook up water and sewage.

Reveling in the open space of the campsite, I had the electricity and water hooked up very quickly.  Some advice I can offer is that you should buy a new hose for use with your camper.  It allows you to have new washers in the hose and to be sure that the water coming in is not tainted by water from your home lawn and garden taps.  Also, it just looks spiffy!

Side note from Mona – you also need a pressure regulator although we didn’t know that yet.

Anyway,I digress.  So, I hooked up the water and electricity, and I hooked up our temporary gray water tank… ahem… which was, believe it or not, a giant kitty litter bucket… which brings us to

New Camper Lesson #2 – C’mon Scrooge Buy the Freaking Tank!

OK… so we did indeed use a kitty litter bucket for a gray water tank on that first trip, and let me just put a plug in for the kitty litter bucket.  Those little gems can hold everything from tools, to water, to ash from a fire place.  I really like them for carrying things in box-like containers with handles.  However, there are many reasons that you should simply spring for a good quality gray water tank.  Gaining that tank made a lot of things easier, and I will talk about it in future posts.  However, from the get go, do yourself a favor and buy a sizable, portable, and tow-able tank!


End of Lesson

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