Monday, January 31, 2011

Subs for Spices and Herbs

So, you find this great recipe and you start getting all of the ingredients together. Then you realize...aww crud...I don't have any more Oregano! And some spices are expensive, if you ask me. So, I have found this spice substitution chart most handy at times like these. This may be OLD NEWS to a lot of you awesome veteran cooks out there, but if you just started cooking a few years ago or are getting into it lately, this may help. You can copy/paste this into your browser and it should work...because I do not know how to link things yet. Sorry.

Spice Substitutions:

Herb Substitutions:

Here is a larger chart with more items on it. Yay! Enjoy the name of the site. (Sorry to whom it may offend) :

You can also go to and ask.

Happy Spice and Herb Substituting!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean"

You may have read this title and thought I was calling myself the Queen of Clean, but alas, I am not. And I promise I will not "talk dirty" either. Now, my hubby and I do like to keep our place tidy as possible when you have a toddler...but sometimes things get dirty and you need some special "how to" tips to figure out how to clean something.

My mom gave me the book "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean" by Linda Cobb a long time ago. Okay, maybe I stole it from her...I can't remember. But nevertheless I have the book, and use it from time to time for some really helpful cleaning tips.

One GREAT tip that I use over and over again is for the plastic shower curtain liners. You know...the fabulous things that grow stuff in the shower that you see whenever you take a shower, but you ignore it because the thought of cleaning it makes your stomach turn. Okay, so WHITE VINEGAR is the answer here. Here is what you do...

"To remove soap scum and mildew from plastic shower curtains and liners, fill the washing machine with warm water, 1 cup of white vinegar and your regular laundry detergent. Add the curtains, along with several old, light-colored towels. Run through complete cycle and rehang immediately." Oh yes. No more scrubbing your shower curtains with a sponge or buying a new one. I have been doing this for several years, and it works! When we had the top loader washer, I did this...and now that we are borrowing my parents' front loaders, I still put some vinegar in with the detergent, just with about a half a cup of vinegar since that's all that would fit.

Well, this is one tip I have used...and I haven't even dug through the entire book (all 162 pages of cleaning tips) but if you want to check it out, she has a lot of natural ingredients for cleaning, along with some essential non-natural ones.

Happy Cleaning!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Alina is TWO!?!?!

Okay, so when people tell you "it goes by SO fast...enjoy every moment!" and you are in the grocery store with a toddler who wants to stand up in the seat, or get out, or eat...or go think...."yah, sure....okay"...but....they are SO right!

Two days before Christmas this year, Alina turned the big T-W-O and we couldn't believe it. We, or should I say I (who are we do NOT plan for birthday parties) decided to go with Sesame Street theme....because Alina loves Elmo and because...let's face it, Sesame Street is awesome. So, I waited until the last minute to plan and decorate (as usual), and it didn't turn out professionally, but it turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.

There were decorations...

There were games...

There was dancing...

There were gifts...

There was homemade cake (made by her Auntie Heather)...

But most importantly, there was family & friends...

Of course, Alina was tired and overwhelmed at her own party, but she did have a good time with family, and friends...and so did we! Thank you to all who were a part of her special person or in spirit! Alina has been SO blessed by each and every one of you...and so have WE!

Wonder what shinanigans she will want for her party next year. Maybe I should start planning now! :o)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Well, sleep. It is something I would love more of. It is something I don't get enough of. It is something that is needed for good health...mind and body. I LOVE it. Now, of course once you have a child, you get used to the fact that you will never ever sleep in until 9am again...oh who am I will never sleep in until 8am again. For us, if we get to stay in bed until 7:30am, we are THRILLED! So, you either go to bed earlier in the evening to compensate, or you stay up until 9 or 10pm, watch the good TV shows, then go to bed, and are just tired 24/7 (a.k.a. what we do).

Anyways, once every few months, my body decides to shut down in the sleep department. I will never forget one year while I was working full time, (this was pre-child)...I couldn't sleep hardly at all for about 2 weeks. It was the worst 2 weeks EVER! I remember moving from room to room in the house at night since moving locations is supposed to help...I set up a bedtime routine...also supposed to help...I drank Sleepytime tea...all those things...but still cried every night, wishing I could sleep. I finally went to the doc and she put me on something to help me get back in the sleep mode. Sleep is if you are NOT sleeping, this can form a new ugly habit. It worked and I quit taking the medicine (thankfully it was not habit-forming).

Well, like I said...every few months or so this problem creeps up on me. It is weird, because sometimes Simply Sleep tablets work, sometimes they don't....sometimes vitamins work, sometimes they don't. Well, since Christmas break ended, I am back on the "difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep" train. It is probably due to the change in schedule. Haha. Anyways, the other night, or should I say MORNING since it was 2am, I was desperate and took Nyquil since that was all I had left (note to not take Nyquil at 2am if you have to teach children the next day). I was still "asleep" at noon. So, yesterday I went back to the Vitamin Shoppe. A guy there told me to use this "Advanced Sleep Formula." It's got Melatonin, Hops, Passion flower, Valerian root, and some other vitamins in it. I know Valerian Root works pretty well, so we shall see how this works. The nice thing about the Vitamin Shoppe, is that if it doesn't work, you can take it back and exchange it for something else within 30 days. :o)

Anyone else have a love-hate relationship with sleep? Have any tips? Sorry for rambling...but really...I am just tired....and non-sleepers are NOT supposed to nap during the day! So, I blogged instead.

Happy Snoozing!