Home Maid Simple: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Packing, and more Packing

When people move, they usually have some kind of system.

Green tape = kids room
red tape = kitchen

and so on .... or.....

They do colored dots, and then place those same colored dots on the rooms in their new house, so the movers know where to put everything.

Brilliant ideas really.

I have no system. My only system is that no garbage comes with us, and the box be labeled accordingly.  We do all our own moving. Although we've had plenty of family and friends to always help us. This time may end up a bit different.

The house we're moving into, isn't ready yet. The owners still have about 25% to clean out, and then they want to hire a professional cleaning service to come in and clean it (you will hear no complaints from me!).  This put us back a couple days though.

Mark still needs to be down there this weekend so he can get his classroom(s) ready. School starts in a 3 weeks!  So what are we going to do?  We're going to move all our stuff on saturday into the three car garage at the new place.  The kids and I are only going 1/3 of the way, and will stay at my parents house until the new house is ready to live in. Mark will pick a room, and live in it alone, spending most of his time at the school prepping.  How we are going to get his car down to him I have no idea. I'm sure we'll figure something out though.

I don't know how long I'll be at my parents...who don't know anything about this plan as of yet.... so I've got to make sure I have anything that we may need packed in the van with me. 

Oh the joys of moving.

Now if only my allergies would go away, I would feel a bit better, and could get more done.

Nah, I think I'll just have a tea party with the girls and their friends tomorrow instead. No need to do more packing. It can take a break.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Meals when you Move

Oh menu planning, how I miss you!

This week is moving week. We get our Uhaul on Friday, and we'll be gone on Saturday. That means a lot of packing, and quick meals this week. 

When you're getting ready for a move, you don't want to be spending your time in the kitchen. Normally that's where most of my days are spent, but it just can't happen this week. I have other things that have to be done. Paper plates are the only thing on my grocery list this week. I don't want to move a bunch of perishables either.  That means I've got to plan meals that use up everything in my fridge and freezer.

Lunches for the week are going to consist of a lot of leftovers!

Monday - Pasta and Meatballs
Tuesday - steak pizzaiola
Wednesday - Chicken Nuggets
Thursday - Surprise! whatever is left that needs to be eaten
Friday - pizza out
Saturday - ? maybe a nice new neighbor will bring us a meal. Or we'll find a local place to eat out
Sunday - Sandwiches

Have you ever moved? How did you work out meals?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Foodie Friday - Tempura Chicken


Hosted by
Simple Living With Diane Balch

It has been one crazy week here! Mark was offered a job last week, 3 hours away. So on Monday he and I went to find a place to live. We found a house, and now we have just over a week to pack up and move!  I'm trying out some simple recipes over the next few weeks that are made with items already in my pantry.  3 years ago we went to Japan to spend Christmas with Mark's parents. While there we ate a lot of food fried in a tempura batter. Ever since then I periodically like to buy a box of the mix, and fry something up. It's simple and the kids love it.

Tempura Chicken

Tempura Mix (I used Krusteaz brand)
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Vegetable oil

Follow the instructions on the Tempura Mix to make the batter. 
Cut the chicken into bite size chunks.
Heat about 2 inches deep of oil in a large pot. Begin dipping the chicken into the tempura batter. Once the oil sizzles when you flick a few drops of water on to it, start adding in the chicken. Only do one layer at a time, or the chicken will stick together. Cook for about 3-4 minutes to make sure the chicken is cooked through.
These go great with Wildtree's Moroccan Grilling Sauce as a dip.

Here are some of my favorite recipes from last weeks link up -

Javelin Warrior's Cookin w/ Luv shared a Roquefort Strawberry Souffles
Souffles Ready to Serve
I've always wanted to try making a souffle but I haven't yet. This may motivate me!

Sweet Smart Vegan shared her Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshake
Mint Chocolate Chip....and it's healthy too? Yes please!

Feisty Tapas shared a recipe for Maple Glazed Roast Chicken with Sesame Seeds
I'm a sucker for anything covered in maple!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

When a joke isn't funny - Think About It!

Your hosts for this weekly meme are
Tim and Angi's Blog

This weeks topic
What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

Next week's topic
Has education become more about temporary results and grades than long term success and knowledge?

So what is too serious to be joked about?  Can a sense of humor go too far? I do believe it can. I love a good joke like the next person. Laughing is a great release of chemicals especially for anyone suffering depression.

For me personally a joke has gone too far when it brings others down. Race, Religion, and Disability are my big no's. They just shouldn't happen. I remember my brother saying some racist jokes when we were kids. At the time, it was funny. I have since learned better. It is rude and tears others down.  When one of my other brothers was in middle school he was often taken advantage of. Kids could get him to do just about anything if he thought they would be his friends for doing it. Because of this, he highly offended someones religion and lifestyle by saying something someone else told him to. I won't repeat it, because it's in the past, and it was just wrong. These kids took advantage of my brothers need for friends to belittle someone else.  Mark was accused at one point of making fun of a kid with a disability. We don't know why this accusation was thrown out there, but it wasn't true. Mark's dad has Parkinsons, so he knows especially how hard those who have physical limitations fight to do the best they can.
Right now, however the biggest issue I am personally facing is my religion. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Commonly referred to as a Mormon.  With the upcoming elections here in the USA, and Mitt Romney running, my faith has been brought quite center stage. If you didn't know it yet, Mitt Romney is a member of my faith as well. Sadly, I have seen my church drug through the mud.  We get attacked on all sides almost constantly. Actually ever since our church was established we've been persecuted.  There have been quite a few shows with little references to Mormon culture.  Some are horribly inaccurate and insensitive. But, some are extremely funny. Take this clip from the show Cheers. I find it quite hilarious.
Where do I draw the line?  When something I hold very sacred is made fun of, is called names, and thrown around like a piece of meat. You hurt me when you do that. Please respect me. Respect that I have a faith in something I believe is the truth.  I will respect you. You can worship as you please, and I will not make fun of you. I just ask the same in return.
I find it intriguing that Catholics wear a cross to remind them of the Crucifixion.  I think the little hats those of the Jewish faith wear are a wonderful outward symbol of their faith. 
You don't have to agree with what I believe. Just please respect me. Respect my faith, and please don't make fun of something that someone else holds very sacred.

Now it's your turn! We'd love to hear your opinion on the topic, or anything else! Below are the rules for this linky.
The ground rules:
1) No Giveaways or reviews please, we want to stick to our topic or whatever thought provoking topic you have decided on your own. We want to get to know you personally not what you like or give out right?
2) Make sure that you follow all the hosts! (Mumfection, Home Maid Simple, Tim and Angi's). Pop in and let them know you're following via GFC and/or Facebook (or whatever your following method is).
3) Only thought provoking posts, which is why we always have a great topic for you prepared in case you are just having a blank day.
4) Make sure your post has our Think About it Thursday button!
5) Have fun, make some friends, follow, comment thoughtfully and above all else be respectful!

6) Lastly, we would love it if you suggest some topics for us to discuss! Who knows if we pick your topic, we may feature your blog!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ec-o-nom-ics by Kersten L. Kelly {Book Review}

a simple twist on normalcy
By Kersten L. Kelly

About the Book: Professional football players, corporate tobacco advertisers, volatile gasoline prices, and the Cold War all share an undetected commonalityĆ¢€”each is an intrinsic part of economics. Though not obvious to the naked eye, each entity shares a pattern with the others. This book helps to shed light on these mutual characteristics. It is an extensive compilation of theories interpreted using supportive examples. Economics is an enthralling science that encompasses our actions, thoughts, and emotional rationality every day in the unconscious. This book dissects economic theory into bite-size, entertaining snippets that anyone can understand and apply to their routines. It is a compelling depiction of history, pop culture, and social movements intertwined with relevant economic trends. Economics is part of daily life, and this book challenges readers to question how and why people make decisions by adding a simple twist on normalcy.

About the Author:  Kersten L. Kelly is a self-published author of narrative non-fiction and semi-fiction books. She grew up in Munster, Indiana, and currently works in a sales role based out of Chicago, Illinois. She started writing at an early age and graduated from Indiana University with a dual Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Communication & Culture. She then went on to earn a Master's in Business Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She has a passion for learning, teaching, and writing as well as international travel in her spare time. This book is her first piece of published work.
My Thoughts: This is a book worth reading. Although at first I couldn't relate very well to the examples (football games and cigarette marketing), eventually there were some situations discussed I could relate to. That's what ec-o-nom-ics is all about. Setting out real life examples to help everyone understand the theory of economics.
I think at this time in our country it is very important for us all to understand how the economy works. We're always hearing how the economy is bad, but how many of us truly understand what that means, and how we can make it better?  Kersten helped me see the theory of economics in my daily life.  I remember taking economics in college, and having everyone tell me good luck; as if economics was the class of everyone dreaded taking, but had to, because they didn't understand it. I went in to that class worried it would be tough. It turned out to be one of my more enjoyable classes, because I actually understood it. Sadly, after that class I didn't continue to pursue learning about economics. I was really glad to be able to read Ec-o-nom-ics.
I really enjoyed the last chapter "Why Does Comparing 3 Goods Change Perspective?".  Just after reading this chapter, Mark and I drove down to find a house near his new job (yay, he got a job!).  While Mark was in the area interviewing, he found a house he fell in love with. So of course I had to check it out, and I wanted some perspective with other homes in the area. We got a realtor to show us some homes within our parameters.  We saw 2 that "fit us". After this realtor took us around (who by the way looked and sounded just like Don Knots!!), Mark took me out to the home he had found. It was a sold by owner home.  Here is a little set up I did, with comparisons similar to what Kersten shows in her book.

  House 1 House 2 House 3
sq feet 4000 + 2000+ 2000+
Price 115000 120000 120000
Parking On Street 1 car garage 3 car garage

We went with house 3. Why? Well the parking was a big deal. House 1 had absolutely no where to park. So even though the square footage was amazing for the price, we really needed a place to park. House 2 had some parking, but for the same amount we were able to get triple the parking! 

To learn more about the book you can visit the website http://theeconomicsbook.com/

Monday, July 23, 2012

Flash Giveaway - Coupns!

Life got suddenly very busy! We have two weeks to pack up and move and get our house to sell!  As such, I didn''t plan a menu for the week. Instead, enjoy these coupons for 60 cents OFF Mott's Fruit Snacks!  I got to try these and I loved them (the kids did too). 
5 winners
2 coupons each
48 hours!!!
Open to US residents only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 20, 2012

Foodie Friday - Cherry Gelatin Dessert


Hosted by

When we bought our current home, we were lucky to find a great realtor! It's been over a year since we bought this home, and every month we get a newsletter from our agent. They contain fun random facts, information on home upkeep, and usually a recipe. I just got July's newsletter, and decided I had to make this months recipe. It couldn't wait!  I didn't have the same ingredients, so like always I improvised and used what I had on hand.

Cherry Gelatin Dessert
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter

Soften the butter and mix all the ingredients together. Press into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes, or until just lightly golden brown. Let cool. Crumble the crust. If you wish to make small servings crumble the crust into 8 10 oz bowls. Otherwise just keep it in the 9x13 pan.  Reserve about 1/2 cup for topping

16 oz cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (I prefer Rodelle brand)
1 tub whipped topping

Soften the Cream Cheese. MIx in the powdered sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and whipped topping and mix well. Pour over crumbled crust. 

Cherry Topping
1 cup water
1 cup sugar (divided)
12 oz Frozen Sweet Dark Cherries
3 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs Black Cherry gelatin

Mix all but 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a full boil, and let boil 1-2 minutes. Stir continuously or it will scorch the bottom!  Turn off the heat, and add remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Let cool, and it will thicken.  Once cooled, pour on top of the filling.  Top off with more crumbled crust. Refridgerate until ready to serve. Then Enjoy!

Features from Last weeks link up -

Love Bakes Good Cakes shared her Tomato Spinach Alfredo Pizza

Potholes and Pantyholes shared her recipe for Homemade Butter
Healthy Mommy Healthy Baby shared a Strawberry Kiwi Lemonade with a surprising ingredient!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Should kids share a room? - Think About It!


Welcome to the first ever Think About it Thursday!
Your hosts for this weekly meme are

Each week on Thursday's we will be discussing a different thought provoking topic. We would love for anyone to join with us. We will give out a pre-chosen topic a week in advance that you are welcome to blog about. BUT don't feel you have to stick to that topic. Anything that's on your mind that you want to share is welcome! We just offer the topic for those weeks where your mind is blank.
Alright with that out of the way, here is this weeks topic!

Children sharing a room Vs. Having their own room
Next week's topic - What things/topics are too serious to be joked about?

This has been on my mind for a bit now. I don't remember how long ago it was now, but within the last year, we put Princess V (our oldest) in her own room. We felt it would make bedtime smoother. So far it has actually worked pretty well. The younger two girls still share their own room, and of course Prince L has his own room. I like the set up. When we first decided to put Princess V in her own room, Mark wanted to put one Princess C in her own room, and keep Princess V with Princess R. It was really a hard decision. We ended going with Princess V because as the oldest we can trust her to go to sleep on her own, while we help the others.
Why not Princess C? Because I know she would get scared frequently, and we would have to still help her fall asleep.
Why not Princess R? We've been there done that, and we still end up needing one adult in each room to keep the kids settled down and in bed.
So we went with Princess V, and really it has made for some better nights. Princess V can put herself to bed with a hug and kiss from us, then I can take care of getting Prince L in bed while Mark reads to the other 2 or sings to them with the ukulele.

What about sharing a room?  Personally I love the idea of kids sharing a room. I think it teaches them how to share a space, but still be their own person. I actually grew up sharing not only a room with my 2 sisters, but for awhile my sister just younger than me, and I shared a queen bed.  Eventually I got my own bed, and my younger 2 sisters shared the queen. It wasn't until I was in high school and a senior that I actually got my own room. My very first room all to myself, was in the laundry room! There were some nights my mom had to do laundry late, and I just had to sleep with the dryer pounding away. I missed my sisters, but it also felt freeing to have my own room. I could keep the light on and read as long as I wanted without bothering anyone else. I could set an alarm and not worry it would wake anyone else. 

So should kids share a room, or have separate rooms? Why is this really on my mind right now? Well, as we look for a new job for Mark, we also have to look for a new house. Mark would love for all the kids to have their own room. I think they should share. It's just good for them and creating a lasting bond as siblings. If we happen to buy a house with enough rooms for each to have their own, well I wouldn't oppose it. Having a room to go to for quiet, and "alone time" as we call it, could be nice. The problem we're running into right now though, is Princess V will often slam her door shut and yell at her sisters to get out of her room. I feel she has become too detached from her sisters, and she's only 5! So even if we get a house with that many rooms, I may still have them share for awhile (and then I'll get a craft room!), just for the sake of learning to bond and work things out.

I would really just love to have some awesome bunk beds like these too:

Now it's your turn! We'd love to hear your opinion on the topic, or anything else! Below are the rules for this linky.
The ground rules:
1) No Giveaways or reviews please, we want to stick to our topic or whatever thought provoking topic you have decided on your own. We want to get to know you personally not what you like or give out right?
2) Make sure that you follow all the hosts! (Mumfection, Home Maid Simple, Tim and Angi's). Pop in and let them know you're following via GFC and/or Facebook (or whatever your following method is).
3) Only thought provoking posts, which is why we always have a great topic for you prepared in case you are just having a blank day.
4) Make sure your post has our Think About it Thursday button!
5) Have fun, make some friends, follow, comment thoughtfully and above all else be respectful!

6) Lastly, we would love it if you suggest some topics for us to discuss! Who knows if we pick your topic, we may feature your blog!

At the end of a long trip...

Give your kids some Glow Sticks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

We're going on Vacation and I'm bringing...

Princess V packing for the trip. She is such a little fashionista.
Ever play that road trip game? I'm going on vacation and I'm bringing an..Apple! Then the next person says something that starts with the letter B, and repeats the letter a. So on until you get to the letter z and you have to remember all 26 items that have been said.
I have some fun memories of going on vacation it's my family. So when we had the opportunity to go with Mark to an interview, I thought it would be a lot of fun! Boy was I mistaken in how easy I thought it would be. Within the first 3 hours 2 of the princesses had thrown up. I'm guessing car sickness brought on by too much sugar and lack of sleep.
I digress from my real intent of sharing this post with you though. I wanted to tell you about how even while staying in a hotel, you can make it home. I was lucky enough to have a friend who had lived in Spokane. So she told me about the hotels. We were able to get a 2 room suite for an amazing deal! Full kitchen included!
Having 2 rooms has really given us the gift of sanity after our 15 hour car drive. The Princesses shared one queen bed together, while Mark and I had a bed in a separate room with Lincoln. This really helped when Lincoln woke in the night and wouldn't go back to sleep. The separate space allowed the girls to continue sleeping through his midnight play.
When planning the trip we decided to bring the princesses pillow pets. It's what they sleep with at home, so it provided a comforting object in a strange place. Thank goodness for hotels with on site laundry services though, since one pillow had been the victim of car sickness.
To save money we brought a lot of food with us. 2 coolers actually. 1 was solely for drinks, and the other for food. When we got to the hotel the first thing the Princesses wanted to do was stock the fridge. They opened thse coolers and got everything put away. It was so fun to see them working together on a chore, and one so similar to putting the groceries away at home.
So despite the craziness if taking 4 kids on a 15 hour car ride in one day, holing them up in a hotel room for 7 hours, and no regular naps for the baby, it's still been a lot of fun. We've made some memories that I hope the kids remember. We were planning in making our return trip last 2 days, but Mark got anther interview a little closer to home, so we're getting ready for another 15 hour car ride in one day. Wish us luck!
I think I just might try and teach the kids the trip game. Or the alphabet game, since they know all their letters. Perhaps we'll just play a bunch of I spy with my little eye. Of course 20 questions is always fun too. Maybe we'll get lucky though and they'll just decide to sleep the whole way.

Menu Plan Monday 7/16

Menu Plan Monday!
Monday - What's good in Spokane? We're on vacation and will need a fun (but cheap) place to eat.

Tuesday - ROAD TRIP! 13+ hours in the car with 4 kiddos - why yes we'll more than likely be eating at McDonalds.

Wednesday - Macaroni Salad

Thursday - Hamburger Helper

Friday - Ham and Potato Bake

Saturday - Leftovers

Nature's Sleep Slipper {Review and Giveaway}


I am not a shoe person. My feet like the open air. Most days it is rare to see me putting on a shoe. For the most part I wear flip flops everywhere. Even in the winter, as long as I'm not tramping through snow, I prefer flip flops.
Nasty little poky guys!
So of course I love walking around the house barefoot. However with our recent renovations, and some nasty Goat Head prickers that keep finding their way inside, it's been slightly dangerous to walk around bare foot. I would wear my flip flops, but they are somewhat of a nuisance and not too comfortable for just around the house.

The solution? Slippers!  Despite my dislike of shoes in general, whenever I think of slippers, I think COMFORT! They make me think of snuggling up under a blanket with a cup of cocoa and a good book. I mean really, who doesn't want a nice comfy pair of slippers when they want to relax? I was thrilled to get to try out Nature's Sleep Slippers.  The slippers are made with a soft soft terry cloth, and the bottom of the sole is filled with visco-elastic Memory Foam! So the stuff they make their nice mattresses out of, are now in your slippers! It's really like taking your bed around the house with you.
These slippers really are comfy, and have done a nice job at protecting my feet from the messes we have made around our house. Eventually, probably before the summer is over, we'll be replacing the carpet in our entertainment room. We did a royal job of killing it. Our hope is to put down some hard wood floor. Since this particular room is also by the wood stove, I see many nights with the Nature's Sleep Slipper on, espeically during the winter when hardwood floors get cold, snuggled up by a warm fire.

1 Lucky Home Maid Simple Reader will win their own pair of slippers!
Open to US residents only
Enter on Rafflecopter form
Giveaway will end July 30th at midnight. Winner will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Foodie Friday - Stroganoff


Hosted by
Before I dive in to this weeks recipe, I want to mention a great opportunity all you cooks have to help raise some money for cancer research.  It's really simple! If you head over to Giveaway Overload, they are looking for Healthy, Whole Foods, and Gluten Free Recipes to add to a cookbook. All they're asking for are recipes. Once they compile the book they will begin selling it, and donating the proceeds to CureSearch. I hope you can take a moment to go and submit a recipe. Thanks!
Stroganoff. It's such a funny word.  While I was cooking some up for our dinner, I started wondering where the name came from. According to Dictionary.com Stroganoff was named by the French after the Russian Diplomat Paul Stroganov.
Cool! I love history, and finding the origin of things.
Mom's Stroganoff
Print Recipe
1 lb ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
16 oz Sour Cream
1/4 cup chopped onions (optional)
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1lb egg noodles (or any noodles you enjoy)
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and place in a bowl. Set aside.
Brown the ground beef in a medium pot. Add the onions and mushrooms when the meat is almost no longer pink, and saute it together. Drain the grease, and return pan to the heat. Add soup, sour cream and salt pepper. Cook until bubbling on top. Pour over the noodles and serve.
I always enjoy a side of green veggies with my stroganoff. Cooked green beans, or peas are really good!

We had another great week of link ups!  I thought I'd do it a little different this week, and feature the recipes that had the most clicks! Here are the fan favorites from last week's linky -

Carole's Chatter, Steak Diane

Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks, Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano Cheese
(I have to say that garlic bread looks pretty good too!)

The DIY Dreamer, Strawberry Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting!

Think About it - New Meme!

Last week I wrote an article about Toys vs Living Space. At the end of the post, I asked you to "Think About it". I got some great responses from you all. So much so, that I thought it would be fun to have a weekly meme titled
Think About It

Each Thursday I'll have a topic to talk about and get our thinking caps on. Some might be silly, others more serious. My buddy Eschelle from Mumfection has agreed to cohost this meme with me.  We would love for you all to join in! Whether by posting on your own blog, or leaving us comments.
Here's how it will work.
Each week Eschelle and I will be writing about a pre-established topic. We will announce the topic a week in advance for anyone that would like to join us.
HOWEVER, you do not have to write about that specific topic. We really just want to know what you are thinking about. What has your mind running? If nothing in particular is catching your fancy at the time, we invite you to post about our preset topic.
Next week, this goes live! We will have a button to grab for your post, and a linky to add your post to.

Next weeks topic
Children Sharing a Bedroom vs Having their own Room

I won't get into it right now, because I need something to talk about next week! But suffice it to say, I have a lot on my mind about this topic!  We hope to see you next week!