Thursday, April 21, 2011

Have you ever wanted to be a Mystery Shopper?

Well here is your chance! I have for several years been a mystery shopper in my "spare" time which isn't really so "spare" anymore. I love to be able to visit restaurants and stores and get free food and clothes and yet give honest evaluations of their service. Also being able to earn a little extra money helps! The one thing about mystery shopping is there are a lot of scams out there on the web so you have to be careful to choose legitimate companies. There are some instructions about mystery shopping here. But I would like to share with you my favorite company--I think they have the most variety and there are quite often many shops available close by me when I look. So here is my favorite company. If you have any questions I am happy to help. Mystery shopping is not for everyone, it does take a good eye for details and there is paperwork. But it isn't hard and I think it is a lot of fun!

Article on Cloth Diapering

I wrote an article about our experience cloth diapering in Guyana, South America and it was published on the blog Cloth Diaper Whisperer...go and check it out! I LOVE my cloth diapers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Camera

So I finally got to replace my old Canon Powershot camera with a new one. I am so super thrilled! We got it are a couple pictures!

New System

I've been trying to get a new system to help me be more organized up and running and I think I finally have it done. I took a bulletin board and covered it and put it up in the kitchen. Then I placed notecards on it with my meal ideas for the week and my chores for the day, week and month. Just having everything written up helps and I needed something that was flexible and that I could move around. I like printing a menu plan but it seems so set in "print". I wanted something that if I didn't want to fix a certain meal that day I could just move the card to another day and pick something else. I also took the time to put monthly chores together so I could get some things done that I mean to do every month but can't always remember. I'm feeling way more organized now!

First Haircut with the Clippers

Since our last try with cutting Gideon's hair with scissors didn't go so well Joshua decided to give the clippers a chance when he was doing his own hair. And we had success. Gideon wasn't quite sure what to think so he sat quite still. He looks much better now!

A Gideon Update

Gideon is now a big 18 months! And he weighs all of 20 pounds. However it is no wonder since he never stops moving from the time he wakes up till he goes to sleep. He is quite the busy little boy. He is also starting the adventure of potty training. He has had one success but he has a hard time sitting still so we'll continue to work on it over time. I don't know if I have mentioned it but he now recognizes the letter "o"--I guess those leapfrog magnets really paid off. And he is getting better at other letters. He loves trucks and airplanes and is constantly pointing to the sky to locate airplanes and to the road to show me cars passing. And he is quite adorable with his pushing cars around and saying "vroom"! He is quite the little boy!

Tirzah Update

Well, my little girl is now a whopping 12.5 pounds. I find that quite impressive! She loves to be talked to and to talk back. She coos and smiles. And she adores her big brother!

Bible Study on Friday Night

Friday night was Bible study at the Mitchell's house. Joshua is leading the study on the book of Leviticus. I used to join him in the study but now I stay upstairs and keep an eye on Tirzah and Gideon as they play with the younger Mitchells. Here are a few pictures from Friday...Gideon is holding his Mimi's puppy. He loved it! Bible study night is always late and Friday we were out till after eleven which made for all of us being very tired. Gabe I have to say is quite amazing--he has a cell phone and ipod that are ready for child use at any time. When Gideon wanted his cell phone he immediately handed it to him on toddler lock where he could push buttons and it would show shapes and make cute sounds. And he handed off his ipod to one of the twins ready to play the piano. I was very impressed!

Bethany, Cheyenne and Kelsey

Christopher, Bethany and Tirzah

Gideon and Mimi's puppy

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

First Try on Making a Cloth Diaper

Well I am in desperate need of a few extra cloth diapers to add to my stash since I have two in them at this time. So I have made my first one as a trial to see how it worked out. And it was a success! I bought a pattern and used it to cut out my fabric but that is pretty much it. I made up my own directions and added some pieces to make it a pocket diaper because those are my favorite! So it is a fully functional pocket diaper. The funny thing is that I bought blue and green fabric before Tirzah was born because I didn't know what I was having and those are the colors I already she isn't getting any girly colors. :-) But that's okay those are my favorite colors anyway...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Amazing Cookbook

So last week I got the most amazing cookbook! I had heard about it on their blog (Our Best bites) and was interested but decided that I had some birthday money and should use it on something I would enjoy. So I bought this cookbook and have enjoyed reading through it and trying new recipes. They have a picture for each recipe--which always makes it more appealing--and they have tutorials: like how to roast fresh garlic, or cut an artichoke, etc. I have tried three recipes so far and have LOVED each of them...and so has Joshua. I tried their homemade tortillas recipes and they have been the best I've made yet! Then I made the baked creamy chicken taquitos (which by the way I used turkey because I had a little left over) and they were simply amazing. And last night I made the pecan bars...which is like lemon bars and pecan pie combined into wonderful goodness! I also like that most of the recipes use ingredients I have readily on hand. I wrote up the recipe for the pecan bars so you can try it out...but be forewarned they are addicting! The recipe book can be bought on Amazon for a very reasonable price and don't forget they have a blog that has tons of recipes....

Pecan Bars:
6 T butter
6 T shortening
3/4C powdered sugar
1 1/2 C plus 2 T flour
2 eggs
1 c brown sugar
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 c chopped pecans

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 T butter, melted
3 T orange juice
1 t lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cream butter, shortening, and powdered sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix until combined. Press evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Bake for 13-14 minutes.
3. Mix remaining flour and the rest of the ingredients (except for the glaze) and spread over the hot crust. Return pan to oven and bake 20 minutes more.
4. Remove from oven. While still warm, spread with glaze. Cool completely and cut into bars.