Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween is Tomorrow!

This fall has gone so fast already and with Halloween tomorrow it seems like it is almost over already. This year more than any other year, we have noticed in our community people turning this holiday into a giving event. People put as much effort into decorating their homes as they do for Christmas.





These same people are doing things for their communities as well. One local home is doing a Fright Hunger campaign (with the letter 'r' a different letter so it also reads 'fight hunger'. As they pass out candy each year they have large boxes to collect food for the local food pantry.













As we all get excited to dress up in our costumes, go to themed parties, and eat an abundance of candy it is great to be reminded that there are people in need all times of the year-not just at Thanksgiving and the holidays.

Does your community have a special way to give back themed around Halloween? Let us know if you do in our comment section!

Have a safe and spectacular Halloween :-)
With love from all your Stepford Sisters

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Obstacle Course

This would be great for a Halloween party with the kids!

you can have them...


Crawl under a table with dangling specters




Mix a batch of Witches Stew, each child can add one item and stir.



Try a Balancing Act


Set up a trunk with costume pieces and have them get dressed up in a Halloween costume (over their clothes)


Have them guess what "body part" they are touching in the  Mystery Bowls (do this at the end of the course so only those who have already completed the course hear the answers.)





Sunday, October 27, 2013

Quick Laundry tip - Get the most out of your fabric softner


Money Saving Tip:

Soak a hand towel in fabric softener. Squeeze out any remaining drops from the towel. Hang it over a chair (or outside on a clothes line) to dry. My house smelled super clean for the three days it took to dry completely - make sure it dries completely! After the towel dries you just throw it in your dryer along with clothes and use it as a dryer sheet for 40-50 loads before soaking again.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Repainting Rooms

I don't particularly love painting rooms, however I must say there is something very fulfilling when the job is done start to finish.

One of the hardest parts for some people is picking a color. This is one of the easier parts for me. The only catch is that my requirements are that I am not changing my furniture or decorations to match a new color and that I need to be able to tell a difference in color to feel like my efforts were not for nothing.


I repainted my living room and dining room in a span of two days, start to finish (including moving furniture and putting it all back).

My biggest regret is that I didn't take a full photo of my dining room before I started. My original purpose for taking photos of painting in progress was to prove that my colors were different from before and after...but the project ended up helping me reclaim my dining room for its intended purpose: dining!

The living room went from a light beige to a light yellow called 'bee's nectar'. Here are the before and after:


The adjoining room to this is my dining room. It started out with a light green on top and the same light beige as the living room on the bottom. The dining room got a darker shade of green on top (called bullfrog green) and the bee's nectar color on the bottom. As the paint dried the color difference from the brushed on cutting in and the rolled on color blended together much nicer than the picture appears.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

5 Amazing Oatmeal Recipes

As the air gets crisper and I start feeling chilly in the mornings, a hot breakfast becomes rather important to me, and one of my favorite breakfast foods in the colder months is oatmeal! This is something my mother finds difficult to believe since she literally had to chase me and hold me down, forcing the spoon into my mouth, in order to get me to try it as a child (I was a bit of a picky eater). Now however, I love oatmeal and so I wanted to share with you a few of the reasons why, as well as a couple of my favorite recipes!


Reasons I love oatmeal:

1. It is super healthy! Oatmeal lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, and is full of antioxidants. Plus it helps increase milk production, and as a breast feeding mom, that is a big plus!

2. It is so easy to make! Oatmeal is so quick and simple, anyone can do it. Even the non-instant kind is still pretty much instant and hardly adds anything to the steps.

3. Variety! You can mix in so many different flavors with your oatmeal that it never gets boring. Which is where these awesome recipes come in to play!

Coffee Shop Oatmeal by A Beautiful Mess


Five Minute Chocolate Oatmeal by Chocolate Covered Katie


Savory Oatmeal and Soft Cooked Egg by Martha Stewart


Oatmeal with Bacon and Maple Syrup by Real Simple

and Apple Pie Oatmeal by Channeling Contessa



For more breakfast ideas check out Breakfast Part OnePart Two, and Pumpkin for Breakfast


Monday, October 21, 2013

Training a Cat

There are people out there who have the misguided idea that dogs are smarter than cats because only they can be trained. This is simply not true. Cats can be trained, you just have to tweak your approach to training. Felines can be less eager to please than their canine counterparts and so you have to work with them a little differently.


The most important thing with training any pet is to always be consistent. A common blunder many pet owners make is to say "no" and pet the cat at the same time. This is very confusing to the cat. So for example, if you want your cat to go away, a firm "later" and gentle push, without showing affection, will let the cat know that her presence is not desired at this time. Most cats will try two to three times to invade a person's space, often from different directions. When saying "Later", be patient and consistent.


Your tone of voice is very important to training a cat. As mentioned in my post, Communicating with Your Cat, when you wish to show displeasure, never yell or lash out, simply speak in a low-toned firm voice.


Some people recommend the squirt bottle technique of squirting your cat with water when they are misbehaving as a way to both distract the cat from the activity and eventually associate the activity with the unpleasant sensation of being squirted. I don't recommend this for one reason: it can only work if you are around all the time. Otherwise, the cat learns not to do it in your presence, but can go to town when you are gone. Instead, I recommend using apple bitter spray, which has an unpleasant taste, to discourage chewing, citrus scent, a smell most cats dislike, to keep them away from a certain areas, or tinfoil, which cats dislike touching with their claws, to discourage scratching. Another helpful item is Feliway, a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. It will reduce the general level of stress for your cat.


You can also train your cat to do tricks! Encouraging existing behaviors is the fastest and easiest way to get results, so try picking something your cat already does: if she sometimes sits on her hind legs to examine a toy, try saying “sit” or “up” and rewarding her each time; if he likes to paw your arm, make it a high five and say “gimme five.” It may take time, but with enough repetition the cat will associate your words and gestures with the trick you chose. Here are a couple of my favorites:














Shake
You can train your cat to shake using this technique:
  1. Let your cat sniff a treat then take it away form them.
  2. Give the command "shake". Lift up your cat's paw and then give it its treat.
  3. Repeat.
  4. After a few days of doing this about 10-15 times (total - not a day - don't give your cat too many treats) try to get the cat to lift its paw with the command. If it does, shake its paw while feeding it the treat and then reward it for doing so well with an extra teat afterwards.

Fetch



There is also a WikiHow on training your cat to use the toilet!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Quick Read: Cut Glass Bottles-Fact or Fiction?

I found an entry for how to cut a glass bottle "perfectly". I was very interested to see if it would work because it just sounded too good to be true.


Here are the instructions as I found them from a friend on Facebook.




With a little further investigating I came across these instructions for a similar technique:






There are so many great ideas with re-purposed bottles that I would love to try. I think this could be the perfect price-friendly solution to a large number of wedding decorations. It would just require planning ahead and having people save glass bottles for you! After I try this out, I will have to do a post to reveal the answer, Cut Glass Bottles- Fact or Fiction? Have you tried it? Let us know!

Friday, October 18, 2013

White Bean Chicken Chili Recipe

This is my favorite chili recipe, I make it all the time and it's always a big hit!

White Bean Chicken Chili
4-6 servings


Ingredients
1 can navy beans
1 can cannellini beans
2 cans great northern beans
1 cooked chicken breast cut into chunks
1 Lg onion
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (just one pepper not one whole can)
2 cloves of garlic
1TBS chili powder
1/2 TBS cumin
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups of chicken stock


Directions

  1. Open the cans of beans, drain and rinse. Put one can of great northern beans and half a cup of your chicken stock into a food processor and pulse until consistency is that of a thick paste.
  2. Put the remaining beans, chicken stock, chicken breast pieces, and chipotle pepper into your crockpot.
  3. Chop your onion and saute in butter on the stove top over medium heat until soft. Mince garlic and saute with onions in butter for 1 min.
  4. Add the onions and garlic to your crockpot and stir in the bean paste.
  5. Season with chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Animal Cracker Dip Recipe

I found a recipe Pinterest for an animal cracker dip that supposedly tasted just like Dunkaroos, something a 90's kid like me can't resist. I decided to try it out. The conclusion: pretty good. Not Dunkaroos, but still quite tasty!


Recipe:

1 (18.9 oz) box Funfetti cake mix
2 cups plain yogurt
1 cup Cool Whip
Animal Crackers or Teddy Grahams


In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, plain yogurt and Cool Whip until completely combined and you see no more lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for about 4 hours.  Garnish with additional sprinkles if desired and serve with animal crackers or Teddy Grahams!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Perfect Manicure



One of my little pleasures in life is to have my nails done. I'm not talking about slapping on a quick coat of paint and letting it do whatever...I love them to look like I went to a nail salon to have them painted.






I get so bothered by nail polish that gets bubbles, imperfections, or chips within the day or two of having them done. I just can't bring myself to pay for (and devote the time) to going to a nail salon so I have learned some tricks and hints along the way.


The first and most important thing is to have quality materials to start with. My absolute favorite and almost exclusive brand is OPI.

1. I use the natural nail base coat before ever painting my finger nail with color. This does, in my opinion, two things. The first is that it protects your nail from getting discolored and stained from pigments in polish. And the second is that it creates an invisible first coat to hide nail imperfections and provide a smooth bondable surface for the color.

2. I use the nail lacquer for my color. This type of polish is almost like if you would have someone paint your nails like a car is painted. Most colors can not be looked through because it is a solid cover when painted.

3. I use the top coat to protect the color from scraping, chipping, and nicking. The top coat also helps fill in any minor brush indents or other imperfections. This top coat is going to completely finish off the professional look to your manicure.

I have some additional tips for your manicure:

*Use as few brush strokes as possible when painting your nail and go quickly. The paint starts to try once spread out and it will not look smooth if you try manipulating it once it is drying.

*Never shake your polish, roll it between your hands. If you shake the polish you will incorporate small air bubbles into the polish and when it is on your fingernail you will end up with small bubbles.

*Take plenty of time between all coats. The longer you can wait, the less likely you are to damage them because a single layer at a time dries much faster than multiple layers needing to dry.

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