Friday, February 21, 2014

Abnormal Winter Happenings

This winter has proved to have so many things different than we can remember in the last half dozen or so winters we have experienced.

So far, this year alone we have seen negative temperatures almost thirty degrees below with wind chill.

I tried an experiment I had heard of people doing much further north: taking hot water and throwing it up in the air while outside. I tried this during daylight and at night and the results were amazing. Of course I couldn't take a video while I was also throwing water in the air so I found a similar looking photo to show you. It even makes a sound as you do it-the water goes straight from a liquid to a gas and leaves a cloud suspended for a short time.

Another thing that happened this year was during a time of snow, high winds, and low temperatures. The local media referred to them as snow-rollers. Think of something like a tumble weed in the west but with snow across wide open fields. There were none in my neighborhood but on fields that had room for wind to gust they were seen everywhere.

The last abnormal winter happening was something that was heard, not seen-a cryoseism (aka ice quakes or frost quakes). When the temperatures got very low, there was some water that went into the ground and froze.

It sounded as if a large tree fell straight down onto the ground in our back yard. I had no idea what the noises were until the next day on the news. So silly me, once it was daylight out, I tried to see if there were large cracks in the yard where the ground had split apart. Well, I guess it happens under ground because the yard was completely intact!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Balloons-Some great Ideas and Tips

I used to love balloons-that is until I developed an allergy to latex and can no longer blow them up or touch them. I realized over the last few months that there are certainly perks to avoiding balloons (not getting light headed blowing them!) but there are still a few things I miss.

Did you know....

If you need to pop many balloons and you hate the loud sound of them popping or hate trying to go find all the pieces that exploded away there is a  much simpler solution! If you place a piece of clear tape on part of the balloon you can poke the balloon with a needle and it will not break apart or make a loud noise. If you have small children or pets this can save their lives because they won't find a small piece of rubber that they can choke on.

If you place water inside them and add food coloring you can place them outside during very cold winters and then remove the balloon once frozen and they will look like large marbles outside in the yard.

 You can also make crafts with balloons, including wreaths like this one below:

If you are having a balloon themed party you can use Dum-Dum suckers to make balloon cupcakes as well.

And if you have a lot of creative energy and time with balloons, you can add balloons and create a pattern.

Monday, February 17, 2014

We're Still Around...

Hi Stepford-Sister Blog Followers!

You might have noticed that our regularly anticipated and very dependable posts have been scarce and thinning over the last month or two. Between the three of us Stepford women, we have all started new (and full-time) jobs, along with the continued responsibility of caring for our families.

We still very much love blogging, and the audience we have worked so hard to build over the last few years. It is our hope and anticipation that as we start to become more familiar with our new routines that we will be able to go back to the regularly scheduled posts you have grown to love!

So, just a hunch here- you can bet we will be posting about quicker and easier things to help get us all through this roller coaster we call life!

With all our love,
Jairica, Stephanie, and Sara!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quick Tip: Changing the Time on a Clock or Watch

Another thing in February I want to share about that I love are clocks-especially those from the 40's and 50's. I have an entire wall of different clocks in my house and it is important to know the proper way to take care of them. Especially when the time changes or a clock needs to be wound and the proper time adjusted. No one had ever told me before-and it is a huge deal now that I know! When you need to change the time on a clock (or a watch)  you should always go clockwise.

The gears and interworkings of a clock are meant to be turned in only one direction to keep everything going the right way and keep accuracy

Also, if it is a clock that requires manually moving the hands to change the time (as opposed to a watch with a knob to twist) you should always move it with the minute hand NEVER the hour hand. Again, this is about the gears and relationship between all of hte parts.

If your clock has a chime at top bottom (and sometimes every quarter hour) ALWAYS take the time to let it go through the chimes. I recommend stoping at right before the minute it will chime, you can often hear or feel the hand click as it is activating the mechanisims inside for the chiming.

Clocks can be very expensive to have repaired and worked on, so making sure you take care of it the way it was designed to be will save you money down the road.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Quick Thoughts on Love

It is the beginning of February and it is a month traditionally thought of with regards to love. We have Valentine's Day half way through the month so everything is hearts, pink, red, white (sometimes purple) and significant others.

Well, newsflash! The three of us Stepford Sisters have learned that we have MANY different types of love: family, religion, friendships, food, activities, and many others.

So we would like to invite you to join us all month as we share about things we love. It might be projects, recipes, activities, or just about a person. As we have all grown and started living adults lives we have learned one crucial thing: that we must love ourselves! So the first trio of posts you will have the pleasure of reading this month is a post from each of us about why we love ourselves. It has taken many hardships, tears, triumphs, and victories for us to learn why we love ourselves but it is healthy to take a look at our inner selves every once in a while!

We love all of our blog followers and love that our thoughts, ideas, and posts are interesting to at least another person in the world.

Have a great day and don't forget to not only love others, but love yourself!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tomorrow is National Kazoo Day So Let's Make a Kazoo!

Since tomorrow is national Kazoo Day, I thought I would share with you some fun ways to celebrate!

A Brief History of the Kazoo:

Here is a video on how to make your own Kazoo:

Tip: You don't blow into a kazoo, you HUM into it!

Have a musical day!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Quick Juicing Recipe

I typically use my juicer for two (not just myself). But during the winter I like to have fruits more than any other time of the year for a few reasons: vitamin C to help boost my immune system and fruit makes me feel like it is summer.

There are all kinds of juicing (from mostly all vegetable all the way to fruit juice). My most recent favorite was just a collection of fruits I already had in the kitchen that turned out well.

What you need:
1 large grapefruit (no rind)
1/3 pineapple (outter skin cut off)
1 pear
2 apples
2 oranges (no rind)

Get all of these preped and cut down enough to fit in the juicer shoot. I typically do my apple and pear first, followed by pineapple, ending with grapefruit and orange. My purpose is that I adjust the speed (highest speeds first, then decreasing with softness of food). Plus, the juicier fruits last help push out any juice the previous fruits had that just didn't make it all the way to the juice pitcher!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Corn Souffle

Around the holidays I was looking for an easy dish that I could make in my crock pot so that I could have it ready right after work and head to my holiday party. I found a very simple and absolutely delicious recipe, corn souffle!

Almost all of the ingredients, minus the sour cream and cheddar cheese will keep in your pantry for a long time.

What you need:
two cans of golden whole kernel corn
two cans of creamed corn
two boxes of jiffy cornbread mix
two sticks of butter
16 oz. of sour cream
two cups of shredded cheddar cheese*

*If you like a little kick, try using some hot (fire alarm) cheddar cheese in the dish as you mix the ingredientrs before it is baked.

Mix all together and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. The time seems to vary each time I make it.

You want the corn bread to be cooked and not still uncooked batter. The dish itself is going to be very moist and not solid like cornbread though.

This is a great side dish with many meats and warms back up very well.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Quick Tip: Cheap Ways to 'Bling' Scarves

My post from Friday shared several ways I love to wear my scarves, but there are more ways you can add accessories and bling to your look. I have a few examples that will help you get more punch from your scarf. I have learned over time that wearing a necklace under my scarf is typically pointless because the scarf covers it up and no one can see it (except me at the end of the day when I take off my scarf!)

Add necklace pendants, scarf accessories, or decorative napkin rings, or bracelets to your scarf:

fancy napkin rings

 beaded bracelets

 decorative napkin ring

 necklace pendant

If you are familiar with Lia Sophia jewelery, many of the necklace pendants have larger loop that goes around a necklace chain. For silk scarves, this opening is plenty large enough to wear with your scarf.

You can also attach broaches and pins to your scarf just as you would your sweater or outfit.

If you are feeling really adventurous, you can try adding some glow in the dark bracelets to your scarf for a night-time glow and excitement!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Scarves, scarves, everywhere I look!

I love scarves. No, let me try again.... I. LOVE. SCARVES!!!!!

Admittedly, I am a crazy scarf fan. Be it spring, summer, fall, or the obvious winter. I have quite a collection (about 60) and it grows when I see the deal of a lifetime at the end of season mark-downs. I have a top five ways to wear scarves, as well as some tips on how to pick a scarf.

Top five ways to tie a scarf:

 5. Infinity scarf (all three ways are super easy: first is doubled around your neck, second is just around your neck, and for the third way see favorite #1 at the end of the post)

 4. The fancy loop

 3. The twisted Braid
I like to have scarves of all different lengths, weights, patterns and size. This keeps my scarf wearing fresh and interesting. I have learned over time that your scarf does not have to match exactly what you are wearing. If you are wearing a pattern on your clothing, go with a solid or minimally busy pattern in your scarf. If you are wearing solid clothing you have a much larger opportunity for colors, patterns, and textures.
Another tip I have with scarves is adding an additional element to them. If you have bangles (bracelets) or necklace charms with a large loop, you can link them onto your scarf and create a jewelry focal point on the scarf.
 2. Scarves with accessories
Another tip is that if you have a decorative napkin holder, these (depending on how they look) can be used on your scarf instead of a more expensive official scarf accessory!
Now, finally to my last and most favorite way to wear a scarf:
1. Go-To Traditional (non-infinity scarf)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Flower Pot Pens Made Yourself

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a mysterious phenomenon that occurs wherever I go-a case of the missing pen. I can be at home, work, or riffling through my car and purse and the pen I know I had not-so-long ago is missing. It could be that the pens have grown legs and walked away, or just an innocent pen-borrower forgot it wasn't theirs. But, this problem has been a big enough hassle and aggravation that I decided to make my own flower pens. I have seen this idea in doctors offices before and thought, "oh, that's a pretty cute idea" then never thought about it again.

So here are my tips for deciding what materials to use for your flower pot of pens. First you want to pick out quality pens. Really, I'm totally serious. Think about it like this: you are going to put time and money into materials to make these pens look nice, so you do not want the pen to stop working or work at any lesser quality than necessary. It is worth the extra expense up front for decent pens. The second consideration are flowers that will get you through the entire year or at least most of it (seasonally speaking). If you find flowers that match the decor in which they will sit this is the most efficient use of flowers. However, some people like to add pens seasonally. Either way, pick something you enjoy seeing!

The last part is pretty easy, and I recommend going to a dollar store or an inexpensive store, and that is to find the container to display your pens in. You can use a vase, pot, seasonal container, candle holder, or any other container that you can fit your pens in. I have seen people use marbles, sand, coffee beans, small pebbles, or even nothing to fill the pots. My suggestion is if you can see through the container fill it, if not don't worry!

When you go out shopping don't forget to make sure you have the following materials:
scissors (to cut the flowers off the artificial stems) or wire cutters
floral tape (to wrap around the pen keeping the flower attached to the top)
quality pens
quality artificial flowers
container to display the pens in

I was very surprised how difficult it was to cut my flowers off the artificial bouquet. They had thick wire under the green plastic of the stem so I had to wiggle the wire back and forth some to weaken it. Make sure you leave about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of stem right under the flower so your floral tape has something to fasten to the length of your pen. Some people leave several inches and wrap the entire length of the pen. I personally only like to wrap my pen 1/3 of the length down so when people hold the pen they are touching the actual pen. The tape can get gummy and dirty if touched where fingers traditionally grip it.

When using the floral tape know that it doesn't feel sticky on its own but it sticks to itself once you start wrapping it. Be generous in your wrapping because you want to make sure it doesn't start uncurling once people start touching and using the pens.

Once you have made all of your pens place them inside the display container you chose and watch how infrequently (if ever) your pens disappear!
My original inspiration was this simple yet classy pot by cafemom:

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