Thursday, May 30, 2013

Intentional dressing, during the summer & swim season...

Since I went swimsuit shopping yesterday and it's all fresh in my mind, I thought I'd share this article.  I thought there were some good points.  I feel "appropriate-ness" in regards to dress is largely not talked about, for whatever reason.  I'm not wanting to start a big Internet argument about modestly, but I thought the article was good.  I've also been more aware of being intentional (and I didn't say perfect) in this area because I have a little girl who is learning from ME!

Hope it makes you think, consider, and make wise decisions...

Have a great Thursday!!

****Question from Leisel:
I am just curious...what do you do for swim-wear? Do you know of a company that makes modest swimsuits, that don't look "frumpy"? :)

Well...I went shopping at a mall on Wednesday, and had GREAT success right off.  I went to Bergners (found quite a few there), JC Penny, and Sears.  (I usually check online 1st, to see what's available and which stores to look at--saves me time! And, swimsuits are 1 of those purchases that I have to try on before I buy) All of the stores had styles that I was looking for. I was shocked!  I know what you mean by "frumpy"--yeah, not into that! 
A few years ago I settled for a tankini--but the top didn't have as much coverage as I wanted, but after shopping forever, I bought it because it was the most modest one I could find that day.  It was also the 1st time I bought the skirt bottoms.  Yes, I feel way more comfortable in a skirt vs. bikini.  Nothing is worse that feeling uncomfortable in what you're wearing!  Also, for me, I would perhaps not care as much if I was in a big city and didn't know anyone at the local swimming pool.  But, I live in a town of 1,000 and we do have a nice, local swimming pool.  I know pretty much everyone there and I'm far more conscious about what I wear there, verses if we're on the beach in FL and I don't know anyone.  (maybe that sounds strange, oh well ;)
The other day, there were WAY more "full coverage" styles.  Plus, I like the skirts or shorts instead of the bikini bottoms.  I bought 1 tankini top that looks sporty--kinda like a running tank--super cute, green, black, & pink patterned.  I also got another black and white tankini top that had a high neckline and was super cute.  I'm super-picky on swimwear: high in the front, long enough top, skirt that hits mid-thigh (finger-tip length)--if it's too short, the look is WIDE (ew!), patterned not plain, & and built in bra, preferably with pads.
There was a 3rd tankini that I loved: shirred on the side, black and white polka-dot, magnificant bra, modest, and really nice thick quality, and very feminine.  The other 2 were 40% off...and that one was $80, just for the, I had to decline.  I have other things besides a 3rd tankini to spend $80, like groceries, LOL!! 
Oh!  And, I've always kinda laughed at "swimdresses", right or wrong.  HOWEVER, I found an adorable one at was a Nautica brand, simple and sporty style, navy, white with a yellow stripe.  Super Cute!  But, they only had size 10 & 12, and I thought I needed a size or 2 smaller.  Bummer...I'm going to keep checking online, to see if there are any other sizes available.  I never thought I'd try on, much less buy a swimdress, but it was SO cute!
Oh, and one more thing....for me, at this stage, I'm a lot more "pool side" than I am swimming in the water.  On swimming lesson days, I wear my one piece.  It's much easier to deal with in the water!  Tankini's are more modest, but there's more fabric, 2 pieces (watch out, if you go off the diving board!), and they tend to balloon up in the water. 
~~Hope that helps!~~Check JCPenny, Bergners, and might find somethin'!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Recipes You've Always Wanted...

Here are a few recipes that I use, instead of buying them from the store:

1.  Basic White Sauce Recipe:
(substituted for canned Cream of Mushroom/Chicken Soup, gravy mix, or cheese sauce)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
Whole Milk
Salt and Pepper

~Melt 1 stick of butter in pan over medium heat.  After it's melted, add 1/2 c. flour (resist the urge to add more!  It'll affect the overall texture later on, otherwise).   Stir constantly till bubbly.  Pour milk in 1-2 cups at a time, till desired consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If adding cheese, cube and melt into the sauce mixture till melted.

~I use this recipe for hamburger or sausage gravy (no cheese), mac-n-cheese, cheese sauce for cauliflower, and any recipe I would use cream of mushroom soup for.~~
Thank you, Grandma Bobbie, for teaching me and my mom how to make this!  Yum!

2. Trail Mix:
1 Large container of mixed nuts
Plenty of chocolate chips (milk, dark, and butterscotch)
Coarsely chipped unsweetened coconut
Pumpkin Seeds
Dried Mango &/or pineapple
~Mix in large container and store at room temperature.
Say goodbye to too many raisens or banana chips & anonymous family members who pick out all of the "good stuff" 

3. Fail-Proof Homemade Yogurt
(I've had SO many "flops", but I've found that the key is the candy thermometer!)
2 Qts Skimmed Milk
1/4 c. yogurt starter (I use Dannon or Stonyfield, plain)
Candy thermometer
~Heat milk to 185 degrees, then cool to 110 degrees in cold water bath in the sink.  (I just put cold water and a few ice packs in my sink, and nestle my pot of hot milk down in it.  It makes the cooling process fast!)  Now, add 1/4 c. yogurt starter and wisk in well.
~Pour into quart jars, then set in a warm place for 7 hours. (set the timer!)  I put my quart jars in my oven on a towel with the pilot light on.
~Place in fridge after 7 hours. 

4. Salad Dressing-
a. Balsamic:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic
1 t. honey
1 t. dijon mustard
1 shallot (or sm. onion)
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
-Put in blender and blend.  Voila!  Super fast, easy, and healthy!  Make a double batch and store in fridge. Use within a week- 10 days.

b. Vinegar & Oil
(this is the one I use all the time-so fast, healthy, and yummy!)
White Wine Vinegar (love the Trader Joe's kind!  But, I also found it at at Walmart too)
Olive Oil
~Shake some w.w.vinegar on salad, drizzle olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste.  Delish!!

c. Abby's Dressing
2 2/3 c. olive oil
1 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. parmesan
2 T. sugar
4 t. salt
1 t. white pepper
1 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. paprika
2 cloves garlic

d. Ranch!  (I almost forgot to post my Ranch dressing recipe.  This is for all the mid-western guys who aren't "into" the above dressing know, the ones who only eat the salad so they can have the Ranch. :)
1 c. Mayo
1/2 c. Sour Cream
1/4-1/2 c. milk
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 t. Paprika
1-2 dashes Hot Sauce
1/8 t. Cayenne
2 T. fresh Dill or less, if using dried
1/4 c. fresh Parsley
1 T. chives
1/2 t. white vinegar
1/2 t. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 t. Pepper
1 t. Salt

5. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies--(freezes very well!)
1/2 c. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. br. sugar (I always cut back on the sugars...just sayin')
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. peanut butter
6 c. oatmeal
1 c. chocolate chips (I always add more)
2 1/2 t. soda
Bake at 350 till done!
(I make a double batch and freeze 1/2 of the dough.  Voila!  Homemade "Slice N' Bakes")

6. Kid Friendly No Bake Cookies:
1 1/2 c. sugar (I cut it back)
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter or coconut oil
(Boil 1 minute)
Then add:
3 c. oatmeal
1/4 c. chunky peanut butter

Make into balls and refrigerate till set.

7. Gluten-Free Brownies
1/2 c. cocoa
2 T. butter
3 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. cooked black beans
2 t. vanilla
1 t. coffee
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Mix in food processor and press into 8x8 pan.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

8.Peanut Butter Playdough
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. milk powder
1/3 c. honey
(Just use equal amounts...if you want more or less playdough)
School-time fun + a yummy snack!!

9. Homemade Toothpaste
2-3 Tb. coconut oil
3 T. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
10-15 drops Peppermint oil
~Mix together and store in a jar~

10. Playdough
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. salt
3 c. water
2 T. oil
1 T. Cream of Tartar
1 pkg Kool Aid
~Mix in sauce pan and cook over low heat.  It'll get super thick and hard to stir.  At that point, have your hubby stir.  Ha,ha!  Or turn out onto counter and knead.  Keeps well!  Add food coloring for fun colors~

11. Homemade Deoderant
(I know, I know...just give it a try!  And, also, research the health concerns of regular deoderant--it'll give you incentive to try this recipe.  Oh, and it works far better than the health food store kinds...)
a. Plain Virgin Coconut Oil: Works as deoderant, as a gentle moisturizing sunscreen and also shaving cream/after shave lotion.  Try it!!

b. Homemade Deoderant...(and this is not an anti-persperant--you will still sweat)
1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. arrowroot powder ( or cornstarch...but some people are sensitive to cornstarch...)
5 T coconut oil
A few drops of essential oil- lavendar, tea tree oil, or peppermint
~Mix together, put in old deoderant stick, and put in fridge
~I just saw a recipe for splitting the coconut oil and doing part shea butter--it helps it not to melt at room temperature
Here's the link for more info:

12. Onion Soup Mix
1/4 c. dried onions
2 T. beef boullion
1/2 t. onion powder

13. Goff Granola
(I don't generally buy boxed cereal, but sometimes this is a nice treat, to substitute)
4 c. oats
1 c. cornflakes or bran flakes
1-2 c. rice krispies
1/2 c. ground flax seeds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or any other seeds
1 c. nuts: walnuts, slivered almonds, pecans
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. chipped, unsweetend coconut
~And any other additions, in your pantry. :)
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. br. sugar
1/4 c. corn syrup (it helps the texture...can omit)
1 t. vanilla
1/2-1 c. butter, olive oil, or coconut oil
~Melt sauce in pan, then pour over dry mixture and stir.
~Pour mixture onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 300 degrees. Do not stir till toasted, if you like "chunky" granola.  Cool and serve with milk or on top of yogurt.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cloth Diapers...

Here's the link for the cloth diapers:

My sister said it's a Christian family business out in Vermont.