Monday, October 22, 2012

Holiday Cranberry Sauce

I'm not a fan of cranberries (although I do love to decorate with cranberries!)   :), but this recipe.... this I love! 

This recipe has been in the family for years, and it comes down through my mom's side of the family.  

It's quick, simple, and delicious.

Holiday Cranberry Sauce

2 tbsp Butter
4 large Apples
1/4 tsp Cardamon
1/4 tsp Allspice
1 bag Cranberries
1 cup Sugar
1-1/4 cup Water

Peal, core, and dice apples.

Melt butter over medium heat, add apples & allspice.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Increase heat to medium-high and stir in cranberries, sugar, and water.  Heat to boiling.

Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered 6-8 minutes, until cranberries pop and mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. 

Bon Appetit!!!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Home made Laundry Detergent

Way back in October, I made my own laundry detergent.  It cost me about $20 to buy all of the ingredients and it has lasted seven months.  I do approximately 6-10 full loads of laundry a week.  And I haven't run out yet... I still have about two months worth of detergent left.

I used this recipe found on the blog Being Creative.  It uses five ingredients, all of which you can find at Walmart.  We mixed all the ingredients together in a 5 gallon bucket that was lined with a garbage bag (that way the bucket doesn't have to be super clean).  Took about 15 minutes total.

$20 and 15 minutes of work = months and months of laundry detergent.  That's a winner in my book!  It doesn't get "sudsy", so don't think it's not working just because there are not a lot of suds!  This also makes it good to use in HE washers.

Another laundry trick of mine.... Instead of using liquid fabric softener during the rinse cycle, I use vinegar.  I put in about a 1/2 cup of vinegar during the final rinse.  It's cheaper, it's easier on the washing machine, and it's more environmentally friendly than standard fabric softener.  And before you ask, no, the clothes do not come out of the machine smelling like vinegar.  Read more vinegar tips and tricks here!


Friday, April 20, 2012


Stop what you're doing.  Stop.  Right now.  You need to rush out and buy this book:

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected - A Memoir

This was such a bittersweet book for me... I read it through many tears and much laughter. It's a beautiful story of love and celebration that EVERYONE should read, whether you have a loved one with Down syndrome or not.

"Bloom takes readers on a wondrous journey through Nella's first year of life—a gripping, hilarious, and intensely poignant trip of transformation in which a mother learns that perfection comes in all different shapes. It is a story about embracing life and really living it, of being fearless and accepting difference, of going beyond constricting definitions of beauty, and of the awesome power of perspective."

I saw it featured in People magazine, and purchased it from Amazon that same night. I curled up in bed last night and started Bloom, and I almost made it through the entire book in one sitting. But by 3am I had to put it down and save the rest for tonight.

I sobbed during some parts, knowing EXACTLY what the author was feeling and experiencing... it took me back to those early days and I relived many of my own memories. And then I would laugh so hard at the very next sentence, I'd wake Dave up who was sleeping peacefully next to me. 
The author had a whole safety net of people to lean on and support her.  We had nobody to lean on... we had just moved to San Diego 4 short weeks before hand and had no family, no friends, no family priest, no family doctor.... NOBODY.  I look back at those days and wonder how I ever made it through. But thankfully, I DID. *WE* did. We made it through. And it's been good. :) 

But seriously, stop reading my blog and run out and go get this book!!!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Pink" Dessert

I made this dessert for Easter Sunday.  It's SO SIMPLE to make.  Best part??? ....  Everyone seemed to really like it!  YEAH for easy, delicious desserts!

Pink Strawberry Cake, bake according to box directions
Let cake cool completely
Top with Vanilla Instant Pudding
Spread a can of Crushed Pineapple (drained) over the pudding
Top it off with a tub of Whipped Cream (I make mine pink with food coloring)
Garnish with strawberries or pineapple rings
Refrigerate until ready to serve (and any left overs, if there *are* any!)

I have to thank my girlfriend Debra for this delicious (& EASY!) dessert!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

* * * Bedroom Re-Do * * *

This is what our bedroom has looked like for the past 9 months...  blah, bland, the walls have been spackled and it's been waiting for a fresh coat of paint, and I wanted to do "something" on the window wall.

Then I saw this picture on  Pinterest a couple of months ago.  I had to think about it for a few weeks, make sure that this is what I really wanted... I kept looking at it, looking for different ideas that I like better.  And finally decided that this was it.  Let's do it!!  So, I talked to my dad...

And this is what he came up with.  He made it to my specifications, and asked me a lot of questions as to shelf depth, spacing of shelves, size of the header, etc.  For now I've left the bottom area open, but I might have him put in a couple of drawers there.  I'm going to live with it as is for now, and just kind of "wait and see".  

My friend Candice made these little green felted flower balls for me.  She does a lot of crafts and hand made items, you can check out her talents at her her blog or on this auction site.  I've bought numerous things from her over the years.  I especially like her "Magic Slippers".  :)

You can find more of my dad's work online at Ken's Creations.  
Please contact him if you'd like something custom built.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My dad, the Woodworker

You want some custom woodwork done?  Just ask my dad.  He has put together a nice wood shop over the years, and I think he can build just about anything.  Seriously.

I was on the Pottery Barn website, and found a living room table that I really liked.  So I printed a picture of it, handed it to dad, and asked him to build it for me.  I had it tweaked to my specifications, and this is what we ended up with.

This was the original table from Pottery Barn:

Here is my table in the "build" phase (unfortunately, I took these with my cell phone so they're  not the best quality)

I also needed a bench, shoe storage, blanket storage, and hooks for the entryway.  I explained my vision to Dad, gave him the dimensions I was looking for, and this is what he made for me:

Now I want to add a shelf above the coat hooks so that I can put some baskets up there
to hold our mittens, hats, scarves, etc.  

Would you like my Dad to do some work for you?
You can find him on Facebook at Ken's Creations.  Check him out!


Monday, January 23, 2012


I've set up a CaringBridge site for mom... you can read about her fight with cancer at
Sue Garske's CaringBridge site.

This definitely isn't what I thought I'd be dealing with when we moved back home.  But I am SO glad that it is happening now.  I would be a worried, stressed-out mess if we were still stationed somewhere on the other side of the country right now.

Over the past 6 months I've been questioning if we made the right decision... maybe Dave should have stayed in the Marines?  Should we have moved back to Wisconsin?  Should we have moved in with mom and dad?  Did we make the right decisions??????  But now I know that God was in control and He put us EXACTLY were we needed to be.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  

I've been toying with going back to school, or finally getting a job.  But, thankfully, I hadn't done either of those yet.  Right now I have the free time to help mom.  I don't have anything else tieing me down...  no job, no little kids at home, no other obligations.  God saw fit that mom would have cancer just at the right time.  Yes, it totally and completely sucks that she has cancer... but it is such a blessing to me that He made sure that we were back home first.

"The secret of learning to be sick is this: 
Illness doesn't make you less of what you were.  You are still you."  
~Tony Snow