Home Maid Simple: September 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Flour Tortillas {Foodie Friday}


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Flour Tortillas
Print Recipe
I really enjoy making tortillas from scratch! They taste so good. It took me all of summer and into the fall, but I have finally perfected them. All my previous tries ended with mini tortillas, but this time I got full size 12 inchers!
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup warm water (possibly a little more)
Combine flour and salt in a small mixing bowl.
Cut in the shortening.
Add water a little at a time, while stirring it in. You want the dough to be smooth and elastic. So don't over do the water, but add enough it holds together.
Form into approximately 18 balls (just depends on the size, I got 14 this time around).  Cover with a towel. This step is very important.  If you don't cover the dough part of it will dry and when you go to roll them, they won't stretch as far.
Begin heating a griddle (I use my cast iron skillet) on medium to low heat.
Roll out the balls fairly thin, or to a desired size. Like I said, I've had some pretty small ones, but they still tasted great. While rolling, keep the balls covered still!
Place dough on the griddle. When bubbles begin appearing, flip dough to cook other side. It takes about a minute or two per side.
Remove from griddle and enjoy!
~Last week's Features~
I can tell Fall is in the air with all the apple recipes linked up last week. Time to warm up with these comfort and filling foods.
Spiced Cider
I can't enjoy Fall without a good wassail
Warm up with this Zucchini, Tomato and Chickpea Stew
Apple Cinnamon Cereal Treats are going to be a must try with any kid!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paper Coterie Memory Keepers {Sale}

Paper Coterie has just introduced a new size of their Memory Keeper - the 10X10.  These boxes look so cute, and perfect for holding momentos. In a book I recently read (Twelve Months) the main character has a shoe box he keeps in his closet, with things that meant the most to him throughout his life. These boxes take the shoebox to a new level of style, and protection for your memories.

The boxes come in either a 10X10 or 10X13.  Normally $36 and $42, right now if you enter the code MIXANDMATCH at checkout, you can pick either size for only $20. That's a great discount!  The boxes can be personalize with photos to really make it yours.

*Code is valid through 10/7. Cannot be combined with other offers or gift card. Standard shipping rates apply.

Fall vs Autumn - Think About It!

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This weeks Topic
Fall vs Autumn
What do you call it? Is it fall or is it Autumn? 
Me, I intermingle the two. Neither of them really sound right to me. I feel if I call it Fall, I'm being laid back, and not educated enough. However, when I say Autumn, I feel like maybe I'm being a bit snooty.
Can't we find some inbetween name to call this beautiful season?  I'm thinking something like Fling...Ya know because we have Winter and Summer, we should have Spring and Fling.
Ok maybe not. That sounds a bit funny. So here is what I learned on my quest to figure out why the two names for one season.
  • It was originally called Harvest, because it is when the crops are harvested.
  • Around the 16th and 17th centuries, more people began living in cities, so Harvest had less meaning
  • Fall possibly came from the middle english term "Fall of the Leaf"
  • Autumn came from the Latin term autumnus
  • Both Fall and Autumn have origins meaning to fall from a great height.
So basically, our neighbors across the pond like to use their high class Autumn, while us colonizers over here were just content with the simple Fall. 
So all this to tell you how much I love this season! Fall, Autumn, or Harvest - whatever you call it, is the best season of the year! It's this time of year, I dearly miss my beloved New England. The trees out here in the west just don't compare. I won't complain too much though. We still get the perfect chill in the air here. Allowing for the season change to bring a change not only outside, but inside the home as well. Blankets are pulled out, fireplaces prepped, and comfort foods planned.  
As some take the time to slow down in the spring and smell the flowers, I'm inviting you to slow down and get cozy around your front room with your family. 
Welcome Harvest!

PS I'm totally going to start calling it Harvest now, because I live in a small farming town, and Harvest has meaning here!  
Next Week's Topic
As a Child, What was one of your biggest Fears?
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 via GFC and/or Facebook! (Mumfection, Home Maid Simple)
  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! Don't forget to let people know which hop your visiting from!
  6. Suggest a topic, this is not mandatory, but we would love your input and we will definitely consider it for future meme's!! If your topic is chosen you could end up receiving an e-mail giving you a chance to be one of the co-host's!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph the bad guy that's tired of being bad!

Ever feel bad for the bad guy? I do a lot. Maybe I have a thing for bad guys...no, no that's not it. I just want them to make better choices!
I was so excited to see a preview for Wreck it Ralph the last time we went to the movies. I turned to Mark and nodded my head (our signal that we want to see that one during previews...), and I got a weird look in response.  I think it will be a fun one to take the kids to.

Like Wreck-It Ralph on Facebook
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Decorating for Fall {Wordless Wednesday}

I love Fall/Autumn
I bought my scarecrow girl on sale a couple years ago...to Mark's head shaking....
The corn we grew ourselves, but when we moved, it got left behind. We went and picked the stalks over the weekend. I love the look!
The Pumpkin came from Princess V's first ever field trip! We'll add some more when we go as a family.
Join us tomorrow on Think About it Thursday, as we talk about Fall vs Autumn.
What do you call it? Why the two names? Is there a right term?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twelve Months by Steven Manchester {Book Review}

Twelve Months
by Steven Manchester
About the Book: What would you do if you only had 12 months left to live? For Don DiMarco this was the case. Diagnosed with colon cancer, Don wasn't ready to go. There was so much life to live still, that he realized he hadn't really lived life yet.
"Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full."
About the Author: Steven Manchester is the published author of Twelve Months, Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. He is a husband and father to four.
My thoughts: Loved loved loved Twelve Months! In fact I loved it so much, I told my mom twice about it. There were times while reading Twelve Months I forgot it was a work of fiction. It read almost like an autobiography - First person perspective from Don, with flashbacks to his childhood days. Twelve Months is an inspiring story of a life well lived. It makes you reflect on your own life. Really, what would you do if you were told you only had 12 months left to live? How would you spend that time? I know for me, I'd let the dishes go undone and spend more time on the floor with my kids. I'd stop dreaming of things, and start doing them. I would work as hard as I could to leave my family and friends with memories instead of heartache.
Aside from the deep meanings behind Twelve Months, Steven has added a little humor and culture into his book. I thoroughly enjoyed the small references to New England life (blowing raspberries at those Yankees, lol!). The inside look of a veteran and what they must deal with internally while their loved ones try to help and support. These small touches bring more depth and real life to Twelve Months.
You can purchase a copy from Amazon
Visit Steven on his website www.StevenManchester.com

*I received a copy of Twelve Months for my honest review. All opinion are 100% honest. Thank you Steven for letting me enjoy this book!

Dreamworks Lincoln - I'm geeking out!

Have I mentioned that I'm a history lover? I am. I love it. I could eat up history! Back a couple years ago, I decided each year I was going to pick a time period, and read all I could about it.  It was a grand old plan. I decided to start with the Civil War. It quickly turned into Abraham Lincoln. I was picking up books right and left about him and John Wilkes Booth. A year came and went, and I was still reading Lincoln stuff. In fact, I never did move on to another time/person.
You can see a snippet of the books I've read and still want to read about Lincoln on goodreads (go ahead and follow me there too!)

So when Dreamworks decided to make a movie about the last few months of Lincoln's presidency, I got pretty excited. You can bet this is a date night worthy movie for me!

In exclusive theaters November 9th, and everywhere November 16th
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Spider Earrings from Avon {Review and a Giveaway}

Did you all know that Avon sells more than just makeup?  I didn't!  I've known about Avon since I was a kid and one of our neighbors had a yard sign advertising it. When I asked my mom what Avon was, she told me they sell makeup. Since my mom never wore makeup, I never did either. So I had no need to look into Avon and what they sold. It just wasn't for me.

Guess what I learned this month? Avon sells much much more than just makeup!  They've got Halloween items, clothes, shoes, jewelery, and of course makeup!  I seriously couldn't believe it. 

My friend Kim recently started selling Avon, and she is the one who got me out of my "Avon only sells makeup" bubble. She graciously sent me a pair of the Spiderweb hoop earrings, and some of the brand new Super Drama Mascara.  Like I said, I don't wear makeup, but sometimes I do. And when I do, it is mascara. I love the pop it gives my eyes, so date nights often get an application of mascara.

The Super Drama Mascara is awesome! It goes on smoothly, no clumps, and for me gives me just the right amount of touch up. I was worried it would be really thick, and too dark, but it wasn't. Just see how my eyes pop? I love it No other makeup needed, but the right mascara can make a striking difference.

I am rocking these Spiderweb Hoop earrings! I wasn't sure what to be for Halloween this year, but these earrings made my choice for me. Wednesday Adams! Now to find my black dress....
I do have a problem with the way the earrings sit on my ears. They either face backwards, or into my head. Maybe it's just my ears, but I wish they faced more outwards, or were double sided.

To help Kim get her Avon business off the ground, she's offering a giveaway right here on Home Maid Simple! 
The prize: 1 Super Drama Mascara in black (on sale for $5.99) and 2 Avon Naturals Kids Bath Finger Paints in Outgoing Orange and Wacky Watermelon (on sale for $2.99 each)
Rules: Enter on the Rafflecopter below. Open to US residents.

Huge Photo Book Sale 9/24

Have you checked out Blurb yet? Right now they are offering 30% OFF photobooks!  This sale ends today though, so get in on it before it's gone!!

This is one of their biggest sales ever. These would make great Christmas presents for Grandparents, a sentimental gift for a spouse, or a fresh take on keeping those childhood memories.
*This post contains affiliate links. By using these links you help this blog grow. Thank you!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Rice with steamed zucchini and squash
Tuesday - Chili in bread bowls
Wednesday - Twice Baked Potatoes
Thursday - Chicken Parmesan
Friday - chicken fajitas
saturday - leftovers
Sunday - Meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Friday, September 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Munchies {Foodie Friday}

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So sorry this post is up late today everyone! I was up late last night canning tomatoes! 
Today I have a real yummy treat for you!
Peanut Butter Munchies

I'm not sure the origination of this recipe. I have it written down in one of my own cookbooks, but forgot to write where I copied it from. It is changed up a bit though, because when I wrote it, I missed an ingredient, that later crops up in the directions. So the following recipe is my adaptation of an original.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed Cocoa Powder (I enjoy Rodelle's cocoa)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 TBS brown sugar
1 egg
1 TBS milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
Vanilla Sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup Peanut Butter.  Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well. Form dough into balls approximately 1 1/4" in diameter. Place on a cookie sheet, and set aside.
Peanut Butter Filling
Combine powdered sugar and 1/2 cup peanut butter. Shape into approximately 3/4" balls.
Flatten the chocolate balls, place peanut butter ball inside, and fold chocolate ball around it.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies, and sprinkle with some vanilla sugar.
Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 minute, and then remove from pan to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
When Mark saw these Omelot's in a Ziploc from Love Bakes Good Cakes, I knew we would have to start making some.
Thanks to Diane, I have a new love for stuffed squash! I'm really excited about the Chicken Waldorf Stuffed Pattypan Squash from Little Kitchen Big Flavors.
Final Chicken Waldorf stuffed patty pan squash


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Halloween is Coming - Wholesale Costumes {Review}

I love Halloween time. It means fall has come and the holiday season has begun. It means pumpkins and apple cider and dressing up.

When I was a kid, I tended to go for most creative costume. Often times I was a witch, but when I branched out, it was really crazy!  One year I went as a shower. Yes you read that right, a shower. Man I wish I had pictures of that.  Another year my best friend and I went as Mom's - apron, duster, and head bandanna were our costumes.  There were also the years I was a crow and pack of pea seeds.

I kind of miss dressing up. I know I know, I still can, but I rarely do.  I do get to dress up the kids though. And that is so much fun!  I have let them decide their costumes, though, so the crazy creations I came up with won't embarrass them. 

With all three Princesses crowding around me, we went browsing for Halloween Costumes for the girls.  Princess V picked the last costume we got, so I really let Princess C take charge this time.  We decided to go with one of our favorite cartoon characters - Strawberry Shortcake. 

Our first impression was great! It comes packaged like any other Halloween Costume you buy at the store. Once opened though, I was a little concerned about the size. We ordered a small, after checking out the handy sizing chart offered on their site. I wanted to make sure it fit Princess C, and could then be passed to Princess R. After Princess C tried it on, we realized quickly, it was not going to fit her. She is on the upper size for her age, but I was still hoping. The leggings and hat, were actually perfect for her, but the dress itself was closer to the smallest size. 
So after I let her wear it for awhile, we handed it over to Princess R. Oh my heavens! I didn't think I'd ever get that dress off her. I think she wore it for a straight 48 hours, only taking it off to sleep.  This dress will last her a couple years!
We experienced a couple snags in the silky fabric, but I'm sure it's from Princess C stretching it out.  It has held up extremely well to the abuse Princess R puts it through pulling it on and off, and running all over the place.
You can check out more Wholesale Halloween Costumes, and find something fun before the holidays hit.
*As a Costume Reviewer affiliate I received a free product to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own and honest feelings.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mailboxes - Think About It!

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This week's topic
What? Seriously, mailboxes. I want to hear your thoughts on mailboxes. Do you love them, hate them. Are you a P.O box only kind of person, or a two timer?
This thought was provoked by my good friend Diane's post "I Have a Love Affair with my Mailbox" from last week.
I too have a love affair with my mailbox!  Sigh. As Diane said, it brings a lot of junk, but yet I keep hoping to open it and find more than just junk. Why? Because I love my mailbox. I love getting mail, even junk. Silly it may sound, but I feel even if I get junk mail, then somebody out in the world was thinking about me.  True right? 
The days I really get let down when I open my mailbox, are the ones that contain nothing. Not even junk. I start thinking negative thoughts. Mostly along the lines of....eh hem...."I just wasted time coming out to check you!" Come on, Adelina, it took all of 10 seconds to walk to the mailbox, and check it.
Maybe if I feed my mailbox more, I would get more out of it? What do you think? See I keep sending letters to my brother (serving a 2year LDS mission in Boston), but he hasn't written back yet. He's been gone 6months. I know he's busy, and honestly I'm not complaining. I enjoy sending him letters.   
Since that's the only mail I feed my mailbox, I should probably try giving it more. Maybe it will then give back some. It definitely couldn't hurt.
It's not just what's inside the mailbox that I like. I like the look of mailboxes. Something about them just screams Home to me. How can you have a home without a mailbox? It just wouldn't look right. My parents live in a neighborhood that shares a big box of mailboxes, all with keys, and then shared package slots. It's great for safety concerns, especially if you live in a well off neighborhood. With all the crazies out there you've got to keep mail safe. I wouldn't want one of those though. I prefer something more like this from bhg.com
Source: bhg.com via Bonnie on Pinterest
Or what about something sentimental like we see in Disney's movie UP

Next Week's Topic
Fall vs Autumn. What do you call it?
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 via GFC and/or Facebook! (Mumfection, Home Maid Simple, Tim and Angi's)
  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! Don't forget to let people know which hop your visiting from!
  6. Suggest a topic, this is not mandatory, but we would love your input and we will definitely consider it for future meme's!! If your topic is chosen you could end up receiving an e-mail giving you a chance to be one of the co-host's!!! 

My wee lil' Pirates {Wordless Wednesday}

It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

I've never seen my kids so excited as when I started saying Ahoy, Avast and Land Lubber this morning. I've got 3 Princesses, but don't let them fool you. They be Pirates at heart.

Ye may start callin' me Cap'n Mom now. Princess C has already taken to it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One copper vase - Many uses

To be honest I don't even know what to call this particular item. It's had many uses in our home. It's a piece that I love. If you've been around here awhile, you may remember when I picked it up. It was about 1 year ago, at a yard sale, for about 50 cents!  What a steal!!

Originally I used it as a flower vase. We had so many beautiful Irises, and I just love having fresh flowers in the house. Once winter hit though, there were no more flowers going in it, and it sat empty.
My design process-ees started going, and it ended up as a very stylish bathroom trash can.
(I won't share a picture of that....)
With our recent move, it has once again served another purpose
kids umbrella holder! I love how easy it is now for the kids to come in and place wet umbrellas in this "vase". It keeps the drips off the carpet, and they always know where their umbrella is.
We love playing in the rain, so this has been quite the helpful home made storage.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Plan 9/17 and Peach Honey


I was sitting here looking at the week, and realized I don't have to cook much! I'm pretty excited to have a slow week of cooking.

Monday - Work social. We're bringing Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
Tuesday - Lentil Soup
Wednesday - Breakfast for Dinner. Eggs, Hashbrowns, Pancakes
Thursday - Bacon Stuffed Squash
Friday - Dinner at my parents
Saturday - Princess V's birthday dinner at Applebee's

A sister from my church stopped by yesterday with a car full of tomatoes and some yellow squash.  I am really excited to try out Diane's Bacon Stuffed Squash, and can some tomatoes.  We're going to attempt some spaghetti sauce and salsa! 
I've really gotten into canning this last year, if you haven't noticed yet.  Having fresh produce al year long is always so nice!  A couple weeks ago I put up some peaches, while learning how to do that I found a recipe to make peach honey from the peels, so I did it!  It is absolutely wonderful, and pretty too.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Foodie Friday - Basil Chicken with Fresh Mango Salsa

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It's not often that I create something completely from scratch, with no recipe.  I was pretty proud of this creation, and I hope you will enjoy it as well!
Basil Chicken with Fresh Mango Salsa
2 chicken Breasts
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
3 Tbs chopped white onion
1 Tbs chopped green onion
Pull the Mango from the freezer to begin thawing.
Heat some Grapeseed Oil in a large frying pan (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Add the chiken and cook through.
While the chicken is cooking, chop mango into bite size pieces. It should still be slightly frozen, but not solidly frozen.  Mix the mango with the onions. 
Spread about 1-2 Tbs of the Sweet Onion Spread on 2 plates. Place the chicken on top of the spread, and top with the Mango salsa.
Enjoy! mmm, seriously this was oh so good! If you try this, I'd love to hear what you thought.
~Features from last weeks linky~
Chicken Bombs from Dishing with Leslie
Oh my goodness these look awesome!
Spinach Artichoke Lasagna from What's Cooking in the Burbs
I think Mark fell in love. Spinach and artichokes!
cookies cream cupcake allergy
Egg free Cookies and Cream Cupcakes from Transatlantic Blonde