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Hopping to School

Posted by casey on March 28, 2013 in Holiday Fun, Home, Tips and Tricks

As Easter approaches Caden will be hopping to school this week to celebrate with his friends and most importantly teachers.  My former teacher’s heart can’t miss an opportunity to tell his teachers that they are appreciated.

Anyway I can show them that I am grateful for their time being patient with little ones, keeping my son safe and giving him loads of attention is worth it to me.

So, for just a little something to help them know they are thought of, they will be getting a mini Easter basket from Caden at the end of this week, just in time for the Easter Bunny to begin making his rounds.  Nothing extravagant – cute socks, gum, fun patterned tissues, hand sanitizer, sweet treats hidden in the back and chapstick all tucked away in a festive berry basket.  Practical, price sensitive yet purposeful.

A little bit of love can go a long way, especially to a teacher.
Caden is always so excited to take his teachers their surprises and I am sure these along with a batch of Bunny Bait will be another fun delivery for him to make.

Courtesy of Darci from The Good Life’s Easter Basket Blog Hop

 
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12 Days of Christmas Treats & Eats II Day 4 {Stovetop Potpourri}

Posted by casey on December 15, 2012 in In The Kitchen, Tips and Tricks

Before I share another holiday treat, I have to share the truth with you.  In my home there is an almost three year old, a one year old, two dogs and two adults.  That means there is food stuck under chairs and in places I didn’t know it was hiding, a dirty diaper that my darling husband forgot to bring downstairs left in a room,  and the yard brought in by my dogs fur.  Yes, I clean.  Yes, I vacuum. Yes, I pick up.  However, because there is an almost three year old, a one year old, two dogs and two adults a “just cleaned” sparkling smell is not always what I walk into.  Yuck.

The last thing I want is for someone, even the delivery man is to walk in and think “Oh my, what is that smell?  Something just isn’t right in there.”  So, I bring to you day four.

On the 4th day of Christmas Treats & Eats my mess of a kitchen gave to me…

Holiday Stovetop Potpourri, Chewy Ginger Cookies, Bailey’s Brownies and Butterscotch Toffee Shortbread

Day Four – Stovetop Holiday Potpourri

  • one whole orange or just the orange peel (I have even used several  Clementines)
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (as in the real thing…not dried)
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon or a small handful of small pieces of cinnamon
  • a bit of grated nutmeg if desired

Are you ready? It is really tricky.

Quarter the orange.  Put all the other ingredients into a medium saucepan.
Fill your pan with water (as much as you want really).
Place on the stove on the smallest burner, on the lowest simmering setting.
Refill your water as needed.

Yup. that easy.  Dump it in, turn it on, and your house will magically smell like Christmas.  Great for when company is coming over or when you just need a cozy day at home with your kiddos.  Some recipes for this say you can use the same batch for weeks and weeks.  I used mine for a few days because it started to weird me out that is was just sitting there even though it still smelled good!

(it does turn brown from the heat)

Don’t forget to relive our first go at Twelve Days of Christmas Holiday Treats & Eats from 2010!

 
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Tips & Tricks {Spices}

Posted by casey on June 6, 2012 in In The Kitchen, Tips and Tricks

Most of us grew up with some form of a spice rack in our home.  A tiered “organizer” of some sort, an over the door hanger or a cabinet crammed full of jars.  So, every time you went to get out a spice you had to dig around, stack and re-stack, and push through half of them to find the one you wanted.  No matter how many times that spice rack was reorganized so you could see them it would inevitably become a mash of jars you couldn’t see.  Upon moving into our home five years ago I just couldn’t stand our spice cabinet for very long.  It took entirely too long (a year or so) for me to get it in gear and decide upon a solution.  Let me present to you the solution that has been in play in the Kazmann household and I think it might change your life.  Okay, maybe not your life but it might alleviate some kitchen frustration!

Presenting…

The spice drawers.

I know, I know. You don’t have enough drawers to begin with right?  Well, the utensils that were in these drawers actually fit well in the cabinets and being able to see all of the spices and know they are alphabetically organized (left to right, bottom to top) makes it easy peasy to cook.  Time savers are huge in this house.

Best part?  It only took me paper towel rolls (or cut up wrapping paper rolls) and come cutesy wrapping paper (if you choose) and the drawers were separated and ready to go.  I had plain rolls at first but a certain toddler emptied an entire jar of cayenne pepper (of all the spices)into my drawers so after cleaning them out the wrapping paper brightness was added for some fun.  Second best part?  If they get gross or ruined, big deal.  Toss them and put some new ones in without an investment.

My sister in law adopted these drawers when they moved into their newly built house a year and a half ago and has loved the change. I think you will too.

I decided to share my solution with you because my college roommate Jordy is doing a series called “Organizing Life” on her blog and her first project was a drawer.  While I didn’t have to start over I thought this was a great time to pass along the idea!

 
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Tips and Tricks – “Uncasing” Your Garlic

Posted by casey on August 3, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Tips and Tricks

It has come to my attention that many of you are still digging into your garlic cloves with your nails trying to peel that dang clove out.  A little peel here, a ton of garlic under the nails there, I think I have it here, dang it!  Don’t worry my friends, until my husband entered my life ten years ago, I was in your shoes.  You read it here, the hubs rocked my garlic peeling world and thanks to him my hands still smell like delicious lavender soap instead of garlic.

Step One.  Pull yourself a single clove off the the cluster there. No, stop don’t start peeling away the layers.  Leave it just like that.  There you go.

Step Two. Place your garlic clove onto your cutting board or counter top and place the flat side of a wide knife blade on top.

Step Three. Push down on the knife with your hand.  Not on the blade silly, on the flat part.  Just press your sweet little hand down on that knife that is laying on top of your garlic clove.  You will feel the clove give a little and then…..

The casing cracks right open and there is your garlic clove, nice and clean and ready to be plucked right out!

 
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Tips and Tricks #2 – Wrapping Presents

Posted by casey on December 16, 2009 in In The Kitchen, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized

dsc_1164_edited-1So this may not actually apply to the kitchen, but it is the second round of Tips and Tricks for your household tasks.  That was a mouthful.

You are either completely on top of it with all of  your holiday shopping complete, wrapped, tagged and delivered.  Or, you are planning on doing it all this weekend.  I personally prefer to avoid having to go to malls and shopping centers in the weeks leading up to the holidays at all costs.

Regardless, wrapping presents in my family has become as much fun as finding and exchanging the actuadsc_1159_edited-1l gifts themselves.  Years ago, my aunt began “dressing up” her packages with fancy ribbon and attaching some type of ornament or trinket to the top.  It has become a sort of tradition to look for holiday ornaments or extras that fit the recipient or continue to pass a few silly ones around the family.

Think of it as a twist on an ornament exchange that doesn’t add much cost, but does add a whole lot of flair.  Obviously the best time to look for these items is right after the holidays when they all go on sale and you can stock up, but if you peek in the stores you will be amazed.

So, if you are looking for a change in how to wrap your presents this year,  or just some insider tips, these are for you!

– Don’t use the same paper for every gift.  Yes, rolls of wrapping paper can add up, so look at places like Tuesday Morning for deals on quality paper. (Next year you should hit up the elementary kids in your neighborhood who are selling wrapping paper as a fundraiser.)

– If you are giving multiple gidsc_1160_edited-1fts to one person, also use different paper or coordinating paper.

– If the paper is tearing as you are trying to unroll it, chances are it is going to be a headache to wrap with and will tear with each fold and corner you make.  Find the thicker paper.

– Go to a craft store and buy a couple rolls of  “real ribbon”.  This too you can find deals on. Don’t just buy the holiday themed ones but find rolls you could use year round.  You won’t believe how much this ribbon will add to your packages!

– If you want to make big, fancy, fluffy bows…wire rimmed ribbon is your best bet.

– Unfortunately, the Scotch Tape labeled “gift wrap tape” does actually look better and work much better then the normal tape.  You wil use less and it will stick, this I promise.

– Make definite creases in your wrapping paper when you are folding the corners.  This will make it easier to place and tape and you won’t feel like you don’t have enough hands.

– Find a topper…or trinket…or ornament.  Trust me.dsc_1162_edited-1

dsc_1163_edited-1Now, I know what some of you are thinking…this sure is a lot of work for something they will just tear off and throw away/set aside.  That is the wonderful thing about it!  No, we aren’t the “carefully open your presents and save the paper” people, but we do save all of the ribbon and toppers.  Not only do you leave with thoughtful gifts and wonderful memories, but you will have great ribbon that is already cut to fit presents.

Happy Wrapping!

 
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Tips and Tricks # 1

Posted by casey on September 13, 2009 in In The Kitchen, Tips and Tricks

In August, I wrote you about Battling the Microwave which really had more to do with Baby Kaz than the microwave itself.  However, I decided (after some pressure from Leah) to share some tips and tricks I have with you….and this one goes perfectly if you too are battling your microwave.  Not only does the food you are cooking in it smell up the house, but so does whatever else has bubbled over and crusted in your microwave. Don’t act like yours is spotless, you may wipe it out when there is a spill but you know there is grossness in there.  What stinks is trying to spray random cleaners in there to soak it, or scrubbing until your arms feel like they have been shoveling snow all day. Let me help.

dsc_0355_edited-1  You will need a bowl of water, a lemon cut in half and well…..a microwave.  Now, get ready for the easiest cleaning of your life.

1. Squeeze the juice of one half of a lemon into the water. (Yes, it is fine if the seeds get in there.)

2. Put the bowl of lemon water into the microwave and microwave on high for 1 minute.  The steam of the water has acid from the lemon in it and it will coat the sides of your microwave. 

3. At the end of the minute, take a paper towel and wipe down the sides with ease.

4. Repeat the one minute process and squeeze more lemon juice in it, if it is really bad as many times as you need to keep wiping it down.  I promise you will not have to scrub and in the end you will have a shiny, lemony fresh microwave.

You Are Welcome.

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