..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Good Post About Doing Laundry

I hope you will check out this quick post on laundry.
Coming Clean

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do It Once...

There are things that we do repetitively and they waste our time. Sometimes we can streamline something and save time. The goal is to manage your time and make your time more productive.

For instance, if you have multiple email accounts and you spend too much time going to the different email services to check your email you are wasting time. It's inefficient. Get a program that will show you all your email in one place or filter by individual accounts. Or can you forward incoming emails to one central email account? I do this. I have 3 email accounts and I have two forward incoming email to my main email account.

Another automation that I do with my email: I set up some folders and after I check the email, I go ahead and drag it to the correct folder or delete it. I have my email account set up to daily permanently delete any emails in the Delete folder that are over 2 days old. I never have to worry about cleaning out the "Delete" folder.

Are there other things you can automate? If you can think of ways to stop duplicating and start automating, you can save time.

Here are some suggestions:

* Don't write a check, spend money on postage and walk to the mailbox to pay your bills. Your bank will have a bill paying feature online. Or you can use Quicken and pay your bills within your Quicken software. Using Quicken allows you to enter the transaction one time and it will not only schedule your bank to pay the bill but enter it into your checking account. You can even schedule bills to come out every month and you don't have to do anything (except work to make the money to PAY those bills, LOL!)

* Record your TV shows on DVR so you avoid commercials and you are watching only the shows you are interested in and not channel surfing.

* Maximize your car time. Pray. Take your mp3 player with you so you can listen to praise and worship music, or listen to a book (including the Bible) on mp3 or CD. You can be learning as you drive.

* Maximize your waiting time. If you know you are going to be waiting somewhere like a doctor's office or for little Suzy's dance class to be over, you can make that time productive. Take a book, write a letter, pull out your Bible, update your schedule, etc.

* Always put things back where they belong. Don't waste time looking for your pocketbook or car keys because you always put them in the same spot when you come in. Don't waste time looking for the scissors or the duct tape because you always put it back where it belongs. Have a place for everything and keep everything in it's place. People spend, on average, 6 minutes looking for their keys in the morning. Don't waste that time!

I hope I've given you some ideas. Time management is the key to efficiency. Getting more done in the same 24 hours. It means making choices, being open to new ideas, planning ahead, automating repetitive tasks, discipline. If an Efficiency Expert came into your life, how would they advise you? Are there things you can cut out of your life? Are there better ways of doing things? Can you learn new behaviors? Can you tighten up your daily activities?

Think about it and see what you come up with!

By the way, there is one task that is repetitive and it's driving me crazy! When I go to the grocery store I have to pick up the item from the shelf and put it in my cart (1). Then I have to pick up the item and place it on the checkout counter (2). Then I have to put the items in the cart to go out to the car (3). I have to place the bags in the car (4). Then I have to unload the items and take them to the kitchen (5) and then I have to unpack and put them up (6). I'm handlng these items 6 times and I keep thinking there has to be a better way. If you have a suggestion, please comment!

David and Preston

My cousin, David, with his son, Preston, at the beach. The photo files are too small for good quality. But I love these photos and I wanted to try a different technique. So these beach photos are in a sort of collage using Adobe Photobrushes. I like the result.

Tea With Tucker!

Elaine did this video with her Pomeranian, Tucker. Tea with Tucker is hilarious!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving Away

Jenny (our niece), Kyle and Brett moved away. I did this scrapbook page about their moving away. They moved 16 hours away, close to his parents but too far away from us. Boo Hoo! I used the cloud and rain to indicate our sadness to see them go.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Butter

We forget that butter used to be made by hand in every kitchen. We are so used to going to the grocery store and picking up nice, neat boxes of butter wrapped in their little 4 oz quarters.

But making butter was a regular kitchen chore that our ancestors had to do. Every morning they milked their cows and then processed their milk into milk, butter, cream, cheese, etc. In making butter they used what is, today, obsolete technology. Butter churns, butter paddles, butter molds (or presses), butter dishes... all are obsolete now.

Have you ever wondered why old butter dishes were usually round or large deep rectangles? We are used to our modern butter dishes.

That's because we usually use butter quarters. But, in the old days, they made their butter and then used butter paddles to scrape it out of the butter churns.

Then they filled butter molds with the butter...




...and popped the butter out into butter dishes. These butter molds were usually round or large rectangles. So the butter dishes needed to be round.




Butter churns came in many types and sizes. Depending on how much milk you wanted to process into butter. If you had a small family, then a jar type churn is all you would need. If you had a large family, you needed a larger church. If you were making butter for sale in the local general store, you wanted an even larger churn. Here are some butter churns.




































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Today, making butter is simple and easy (with modern appliances). You can churn the butter from cream in a blender, food processor, or mixer.









All you need is a machine or device that will agitate the cream so that the fat globules in the cream are destabilized. This causes the fat globules to start to clump. This clumping first enables tiny air bubbles to be trapped in the cream forming a relatively stable foam that we know of as whipped cream. When the agitation continues, the fat globules begin to clump so much that the air and fluid being help in place cannot be contained any longer. The foam seizes and the fat network begins to break down into large fat clusters that we call butter. In this example, I'll use a standing mixer to produce almost a pound of butter.

Start by pouring heavy cream into the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer, blender or a food processor. 1-2 cups heavy whipping cream for food processor or blender up to 2 quarts in Kitchenaid mixer.

Here is what I did:
4 pints (2 qts, 64 oz) of heavy whipping cream
2 (4 tsp) Tbsp salt
2 gallons ice water for washing the butter



Using Food Processor: Fit food processor with plastic blade, whisk, or normal chopping blade. Fill food processor about 1/4 - 1/2 full. Blend. The cream will go through the following stages: Sloshy, frothy, soft whipped cream, firm whipped cream, coarse whipped cream. Then, suddenly, the cream will seize, its smooth shape will collapse, and the whirring will change to sloshing. The butter is now fine grained bits of butter in buttermilk, and a few seconds later, a glob of yellowish butter will separate from milky buttermilk. Drain the buttermilk. Add 1/2 cup (100 mL) of ice-cold water, and blend further. Discard wash water and repeat until the wash water is clear. Now, work butter to remove suspended water. Either place damp butter into a cool bowl and knead with a potato masher or two forks; or put in large covered jar, and shake or tumble. Continue working, pouring out the water occasionally, until most of the water is removed. The butter is now ready. Put butter in a butter crock, ramekins, or roll in waxy freezer paper.



Using Kitchenaid Mixer: Start the mixer with the whisk attachment on low speed (to avoid splatter) and progress to medium speed as the liquid begins to thicken. At this stage, the cream drips in long thick strings.

The heavier it gets, the more you can increase your speed to avoid splatters. Just a short while longer will bring the whipped cream to what is known as soft peaks. I.e. the peaks that form will have a drooping tip.

The next stage that the cream enters happens very quickly. The cream begins to form stiff peaks. The peaks that are forms will stand up straight without drooping. Just past the stiff peaks stage is where the cream just begins to crinkle up and stick to the sides of the bowl. The color of the cream also takes on a very pale yellow color. This is when the cream is about to seize and become butter. It's a good idea to put a dish towel over your mixer (even if you use the splash guard) because it happens quickly and will begin to sling the separated butter milk.

The mixer should churn the cream into butter. This happens quickly and rapidly - the cream suddenly seizes and buttermilk floods out while pellets of yellow butter form. You'll want to slow down your mixer at this point to prevent slashing the buttermilk all over your kitchen. The amount of liquid that is expelled as the butter begins to mash together into a larger lump is considerable. At this point, it's best to remove the buttermilk (you can reserve it for use in baking recipes - use as if it was whole milk, not buttermilk because it's not real buttermilk) and keep mixing a bit longer.

The butter should be washed to remove as much of the butter milk as possible. This can be done by placing the butter in a bowl with ice cold water and kneading the butter. When the water discolors, pour it out and more cold water. Not washing the butter will result in butter that will go rancid because of the buttermilk.

At this point, the butter can be wrapped and frozen or refrigerated for storage. But why not keep working it a little? Continuing to whisk the butter at high speed will start to beat in some air making the butter a little lighter and smoother.



Additional ingredients can be added to make new kinds of butter. Salted butter can be made by whipping 1/4 teaspoon table salt to every 4 ounces (115 g) of butter. Add herbs or honey, etc.



How to freeze: Keep the butter wrapped in it’s original packaging and freeze in sealed freezer bags (air removed). You could also wrap the blocks of butter in a layer of aluminum foil instead of using bags. The extra packaging probably isn’t absolutely necessary since the original foil wrapping does a great job of protecting the butter, but I prefer the extra step just-in-case.

To thaw: Take out a block of butter the night before you need it and allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. You’ll find better results this way.

How long can it be frozen for: Store it in the freezer for six to nine months, though I’ve found a few references stating freezing butter for up to a year still gives good results.

Tip: Make sure to freeze the butter as soon as possible rather than wait until it’s close to the expiration date.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hershey Kisses

Melinda made Brett a chocolate teddy bear to take with him when they moved to Illinois. Her handmade teddy bear was a hit! I wanted to scrapbook the moment she gave him his teddy bear. She named the teddy bear Hershey. So I used Hershey Kisses as my theme. I chose a chocolate colored paper and silver metallic matting or frames. I added a teddy bear element and some stitching and silver brads as embellishments. I used a label and a funny font for a caption. But I used a Photoshop brush to add some lines for Melinda to do her own journaling about the bear. I cut one photo of Brett and his bear into a heart and matted it with the silver metallic and gave it a shadow to make it look raised. I thought it symbolized the love she showed him in making him his special bear.

How To Store Potatoes And Onions

Potatoes and onions need to be stored separately and in a cool, dark place with plenty of air ciculation. They should not be stored together as the onions can put off a gas that affects the potatoes.

I did a look on the Internet for ideas on how to store potatoes and onions. A lot are baskets. I have used baskets in the past and there was a problem. When a potato or onion goes bad, it's really hard to clean a basket. A rotten potato really stinks and you have to be able to clean up the container. Wood and baskets are a little hard to clean. It will discolor them both too. If you use your root vegetables quickly then you won't have that problem. Root vegetables leave dirt and onion skins which can filter through a basket. I only buy a 5 lb bag of potatoes or a small bag of onions at a time but there is just the 2 of us. Here are the ideas I found.


These wooden boxes should have pegboard backs for air circulation.





I like the idea of getting the oldest potatoes (on the bottom) out first.




























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