Category Archives: Ramblings

Campfire – fire starters – DIY

I’ve known forever, that egg cartons, dryer lint and candle wax were the basic ingredients to creating ones own fire starters to take camping. I attempted once to melt the wax in the microwave inside the egg carton – note – don’t do that. After last summer of enjoying quite a bit of camping and using the walmart brand fire starters that turn your fingers colors and probably contain more chemicals than i want to know about I decided it was time to do our own thing.

So i started saving dryer lint, and candle remnants, and toilet paper rolls (not sure why except that are quite flammable and it’s kind of like recycling…) and egg cartons…

This Saturday it was snowing and i knew we weren’t going anywhere – so it was time – to create magic!

I looked on line and found a couple options of how to do it – the regular in the carton, the neat kind where you dip the whole thing in wax (too messy for me), one that was just toilet paper rolls, lint and paper and matches, and even one using used coffee grounds (that’s the next project!)

Step 1:

Prep the area. Setup an drip catcher for when you spill wax or your wax seeps through your egg carton, and for where you cut up your wax. In theory you should have 1 spot to cut up your wax to equivalent type chunks so they melt at the same speed.

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Note: Remove the front and back off the egg carton. And cut all the wax into similar sized pieces.  Also – just to be safe, wear some safety glasses or if you are lazy like me, slap on your own glasses, just gotta protect those eye balls!

Step 2:

Prep your egg carton

I decided to use my toilet paper rolls by cutting them in half and rolling them till they fit in the middle of each egg location, then stuffing the lint around and in them.

I”ve seen options of just doing a pine cone, just the lint, or the one on deck for next time is coffee grounds and some filter!

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Step 3:

Melt the wax. I didn’t realize was could be so deadly, and had bought a “disposable” pan at the goodwill during the summer for this experiment for $2! But as i read the others that had gone before me, i saw the error of my ways and obtained a glass jar to place in the middle of said disposable pan! I would probably go for the metal can instead of the glass (i also decided as it was bubbling and moving around the pan, safety glasses – a good plan!)

Having all the pieces of was the same size makes the melting go better. And once you think it is all melted, guaranteed, it isn’t, let it sit and melt longer!

And melting wax take a long time, well longer than i thought it would… here is my time lapse of the melt!

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Note: you might have to refill the water occasionally while the boiling is taking place!

P.S: really glad i cleaned my stove earlier so these pictures look ok!

Step 4:

Pour wax over the prepped egg carton!

Using your ove-glove pick up your bottle/can from the pan. (shut off the burner)

Carefully pour the amount of wax needed to cover the lint and cardboard and create a “hard” element that will be used as your fire starter later. As other have mentioned, the more wax your use, the more time it will take to burn…  Some of the lint and egg carton will be your “wick” to get the fire going in your starter!

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Step 5

Repeat the wax meting and pouring till all your egg carton cups are filled. Took me 3 melts. But i had a small bottle and small pan

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You can either store the whole thing or cut each cup from the main. Depends how many you like to or want to use to start your fire. They certainly look gross, but i’m very confident they will work fabulously! (We’ll try burning one soon and give you and update!)

Items of Note:

  • Ove-glove – was vital to being able to pour the molten wax
  • Safety glasses – just made me feel much safer
  • Wax – its takes alot, alot
  • Time – it took much longer than the hour i thought it would.
  • Location – make sure you have paper or something down to pick up the wax etc that might drip.

Tofurkey in the crockpot!

As a family unit, we don’t enjoy turkey, ham is ok, and snacking is what the gods made food for!

We had purchased a tofurkey for our “solo” thanksgiving which turned into a group thang of making Indian food – A-maz-ing! I’ll have to put the recipes up at some point – they still need tweaking tho…

So for Christmas, with our oven still out of commission…  we decided to go easy and yummy!

I re-created the southwest breakfast crockpot thang from craft day last year, with hotter options… Still not amazing, but makes a ton so great for brunch options for a crowd!

We had hummus from costco – the one with the mixins (mmm), a cheese menagerie from sprouts, summer sausage (ala walmart – so much cheaper than target), and the bell of the ball – the tofurkey. The first year we cooked one, we did an olive oil, balsamic basting option. This year we decided to mix i up.. So we doubled the normal temphe/tilapia marinade and hoped for the best. I made the marinade/basting mixture in the morning and let the ball “relax” in the stuff for most of the morning… We put it in the crockpot on low for 3 hours for “dinner” later in the afternoon.

Results:

Since it’s not a real meat we were able to obtain the “drippings” from the marinade to use as a gravy over the sliced ball for dinner. IT was yummy!

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The whole kit and kaboodle

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(Sliced tofu with asian marinade gravy on the right)

 

for some other more traditional options

  1. onion mix
  2. From the tofurkey peeps

8 years ago today!

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Eight years ago today, I said I do!

Over the summer I came across the toast i said at our wedding and thought it bared repeating!

MeReadingToast-Wedding

Because I love you truly,

Because you love me, too

My very greatest happiness

Is sharing life with you!

Let us toast the health of the bride

Let us toast the health of the groom

Let us toast the person that tied

Let us toast every guest in the room

May you all live to be present at our Golden Wedding

———-

Cheers to many more!

Cleaning the Water Reservoir

Ages ago i would fill my camel back with crystal light. Double the water, but still, well i needed to have flavor…

Oy, eventually I got over that! My camel back backpack is still stained red from a mis-hap with the valve getting squished…

It turns out that even filtered water has “something” in it that will mold if left in your camel back too long. Yuck! I have also learned the hard way, more than once that 70 ounces of water is not enough for me and the pups to share. So i upgraded, but then also needed an new holder…  I wasn’t feeling wealthy – so i went with this store near REI called GoLite- and got a 120 ounce bladder, and supporting backpack  (holds the boys baby bjorn as well)- same price as just a bigger bladder, different type of sealer, with built in valve closer and it’s been working well.

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But the reason behind this story is that, i’m now paranoid about the water now and need to clean them (well talk the hubby into cleaning them) and I either don’t have a cleaning tablet or can’t be bothered to pay the price! So i went on line and low and behold camel back has a how to clean it page! Go figure!

Baking Soda – Check!

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Someplace to hang the reservoir high: check!

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Draining well

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Some place to let reservoir dry: check!

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Cleaning complete!

Basics:

The best way to care for your reservoir is to clean and dry it after every use, especially if you fill the reservoir with anything other than water.  However, theoretically, if someone didn’t clean it after every single use, and mold or discoloration happens to develop…

  • Use hot water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda or bleach.  Mix the solution inside your reservoir and hold it up above your head while you pinch the bite valve, allowing the bleached water to run through the tube.  You can also use CamelBak Cleaning Tabs.
  • Let the reservoir and cleaning solution sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Wash the reservoir with hot water and mild soap. Be sure to completely rinse away any bleach or cleaning solution before using again.  You can also use CamelBak brushes from our Cleaning Kit to scrub your reservoir and tube.  Brushes are the best way to ensure you are scrubbing all of the areas of the reservoir clean.
  • Once the reservoir is clean, be sure to air dry the reservoir so no moisture is trapped inside, which can cause mold to grow.

Weekend at Cow Creek South Campground

This past weekend, the hubby, the boys and I spent out first family weekend out camping!

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This campground was on the Green River Resivour , I managed to book us a site right on the water, and oh was it pretty!

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The sites were huge! Next time we can bring a bunch of our friends with us! We saw the weather, it was a 50% chance of rain, but it was so warm! High 70’s even at night! We had a new toy with this trip – a queen blow up mattress. That was a very nice way to sleep vs our small tiny hiking mattresses.  They boys were pretty excited too!

But after we went to bed, the real fun began! The wind whipped up like no-bodies business, it snapped the pole of our shade, and nearly blew us, tent, sleeping bags, pups and all into the water!! We made it thru the night, but it seems that location was definitely storm ridden and a bit windy – so if you go – tie down your tent really well and don’t leave anything out!

The next day we attempted to do a hike..  But it turns out that this place was mosquito ridden. We didn’t think to bring spray with us on the hike, so after a bout a mile we gave up and went back to the campsite and enjoyed the afternoon relaxing – with the hillbillies that arrived in the campsite next door with their 6 ski doos, 10 friends, a motor boat, 3 dogs and other stuff… Eventually it all calmed down and we had a great afternoon and evening!

We definitely enjoyed the weekend, got in some good resting, some good together time!

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Food fit for a party!

We had a gathering over the weekend to kick off summer!

Figured i’d put together my list of offerings as far as food goes, and then tell you how the left overs ended up moving forward!

Main Dishes:

Louisiana Hotlinks (basted with Famous Dave’ Spit Fire BBQ Sauce)

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You can find these hot links at Costco – they are a staple in the this house! We usually separate the package into sets of 3’s for personal use, but for the party – the package was able to remain whole!

Beer Can Chicken

I use a brine recipe that a friend gave me, I take the frozen chicken out Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, and brine till Saturday. Takes a couple days to defrost in the fridge anyway and as it does, it’s in all that goodness!

Then i use Love Rub, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours prior to cooking.

Check all the info on a previous post!

Usually i take all the bones from the chicken, and my “left over veggie nubs” and make some stock. Alas with a party, things sat for waaay to long, so it got tossed, oh the sadness… (Hint: i learned this from the 365 crock pot lady, when you cut up veggies (carrots, celery, onions, garlic etc) wash everything, including the skin, as you cut those pieces off, save them in the freezer, when you need stuff to make a broth, you are all set! I also throw in jalapeno and green pepper pieces)

Black Bean Burgers

I just get the big old box from Costco – it’s our favorite, they don’t stick to the grill and they taste great! Only 2 minutes or a side, or until you remember about them!

 

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For my appetizers:

I went will almost all 365 crock pot lady recipes!

Since i have my triple dipper (more info on my crock pot love here)

Pizza Dip (i freeze shredded cheese in 1/2 cup or 1 cup portions for easy creation of this dip!)

Brie with Apricots (i was able to freeze a wheel of brie with no adverse affects when i made this, even easier to cut off the rind when frozen)

Mommy Crack (for this recipe i pre-cook all the sausage when i buy a whole bunch, then i’ll freeze the pork with a box of cream cheese in a food saver bag, so when I’m ready, whala, all dumped into the crock pot and good to go!)

Reuben Dip (i get brisket on sale, cook it up, de-fat it, chop it up, and freezer it till i’m ready. Again freeze the cheese in correct portions, then everything is pretty much plop and go)

Desert:

This was thanks to RR magazine and a long plane ride! We experiemented with it at easter, and decided, it a fabulous desert to bring for a crowd! It does indeed rival Liquor cake!

Peanut Butter Bowl

The rest was mostly thanks to costco

Stacy’s Pita Chip, a giant back of tortilla chips, french baguette and french loaf of bread (safeway, day of) but costco’s little baby baguettes re-constitute rather well, and a bag of asian cracker mix!

Left over uses!

You can make sandwiches with the Reuben spread

I used the pizza dip in my polenta lasagna  (now i don’t bother with the pre-made polenta, i just do quick grits, and smooth it between the levels) I used the left over pasta sauce from the pizza dip at the bottom level, put the veggies, then smoothed the pizza dip, then more polenta, veggies and the dip and a little bit of the left over sauce

Brie if pretty tasty just warmed and cut into chunks

There is never any left over mom crack…

Never any left over chicken

And the peanut butter bowl only had the bottom, so it was tossed, so it didn’t become breakfast!

Easter Egg Coloring 2013

HAPPY EASTER!

 

Another year, another 60+ eggs!

This year, we banished  the boys and luckily they had other things to do – they just aren’t as colorful or creative as us ladies!
I all starts with a trip to costco – yup – the big pack – i got a 60 pack and an extra 18 in case we had some casualties

The Eggs

Then to boiling the eggs. I use the Better Home – New Cookbook (i assure you is nothing close to being new!)

Eggs into pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Ice bath for 10 minutes. Always works great for me.

And the fancy spider wand mom gave me a couple years ago are great for getting them out of the water – i used to attempt tipping the pan over the sink…  that used “kill” a few!

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Then some one told me about “oven boiling”. Intrigued, i looked it up. Sounded more productive than my 14-16 at a time…

Heat the oven to 325, (in my house you definitely need to let the oven cycle at least 2 times once it gets to temp or you get nasty soft boiled like i did with my first 24…) But if you let it truly get to temp, then put in your eggs for at least 35, but 40 min is better…  Take them out, ice bath…  whala – eggs.

Definitely harder to get those hot little suckers out of the mini muffin pans…  I did squish one a little too hard… so another casualty! But now that i have the process down, definitely faster and less stressful since i do have a habit of forgetting that i am waiting for the water to boil and it needs to be turned down!

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The comes the fun part! Egg coloring!

A couple years ago i learned how to marble the eggs! (1 tsp vinegar, 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tablespoon veg/canola oil! The oil makes the color fun and marbled! We did learn this year that the wider bowls work a bit better as the water cools (hey it takes a long time to color 60 eggs!) We also had neon colors, regular colors and a tie die kit that my friend brought! We have a great time and made some great eggs! It kills me to break them open to make deviled eggs or egg salad – but i get over it!  :)

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Cheers and Happy Easter! Let’s eat!

My first mammogram!

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Hot diggity dog…  yup, i’ve hopped over a threshold that means, i can’t write off my foolishness to youth, i’m not yet eligible for courgarhood (if i wasn’t married), i’m supposed to know what I’m doing with my life and…  I’m old enough to run around topless and get my boobs squished – and not in a good way! Ugh!

I was a bit nervous about heading into the experience, i quickly made the appointment so i couldn’t change my mind..

I did my research – aka – asked my friends and family how they did…

My sister indicated it was painful, my well endowed friend said it hurt more than child birth (OOOFA), and another friend said it wasn’t awesome

Needless to say i was not very excited…

I arrived, full of apprehension and curiosity!

The main desk lady was terrible, i was like -awesome, it’s so going to be great…  But the gal that brought me back was great – i explained my trepidation and she said – oh, don’t worry, it’s not that bad…  And to start it off… they “warm” the “hospital gown” prior to giving it to you… and you don’t have to take off your pants etc.

Next step, sit in the half naked waiting room… The second waiting room where you have your fancy warm “shirt” on.

Then you get called into the room – they you get to feel like a peice of meat! You take of your fancy shirt, so you and all your muffin top-ness are hanging out, and your lady parts get to be man-handled and squished and pushed round and mooshed into just the right spot they they can take the x-rays. The cool part – seeing the x-rays pop up and see your book, inside out is super cool!

The super cool part – it didn’t really hurt all that much! I think it was the fact that i’m not as blessed as others in the area we were working on, so i think that made it thru with limited damage and thankfully my pain threshold is pretty darn high!

So if you might be heading in to get some boob squishing done, have faith – but going thinking the worst so it all turns out great!

 

 

Adding Business Days in Excel

Because i can never remember the cool stuff i learn in excel, i tend to just put it in as a blog post so i can find it later, and hopefully help osmeone else if they need the same thing in the future!

Latest Excel questions was – how do i add 7 business days to a date in excel…

According to plain old math and using my fingers and a calendar…

 

Start End Total Days
1/28/2013 2/6/2013 9
1/29/2013 2/7/2013 9
1/30/2013 2/8/2013 9
1/31/2013 2/11/2013 11
2/1/2013 2/12/2013 11

I started with a monday, and adding 7 business days for monday thru wednesday gives you 9 total days, for thursday and friday you end up with 11 total days.

The workday function in excel allows the you to enter the start date, the number of days to add, and if you happen to have holidays there is a list parameter to add them in there!

I used the function as follows:

=WORKDAY(A1,7)

A1 contains by date and i know i only need to know 7 business days for my current case!

Where i found my info was here