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This Saturday my sister in law and I are doing a garage sale together.  We do them about twice a year.  Along the way I’ve learned a few tricks that help in the selling process. 

Some I think are just common sense, like CLEAN everything first!  Pet peeve of mine is when people just throw their stuff out in the yard and then complain that nothing sold.  Hello?! Who wants to buy a set of glasses that have water spots or a stroller that still has crumbs and grime plastered all over it?  Please everyone, a little time spent dusting and wiping down surfaces goes along way in getting more junk out of your house and bigger bucks in your wallet. 

One trick that I’ve learned recently has to do with sheets.  Before your garage sale, run your sale sheets one last time through your washer.  Then, instead of throwing them in the dryer, hang them up to line dry.  You don’t have to hang them outside.  (As I type this, I have three sets hanging all around my house, drying)  The “line” drying leaves the sheets with a more crisp feel than the dryer.   While softer is what you might want on your bed, to a prospective buyer, a crisper feel means that the sheets feel newer and less used. 

You can also apply the same concept to clothes.  

For more tips and ideas, go to We Are THAT Family.

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed from your recent trips to Target, Walmart, Kmart… who am I kidding?! If you’ve been in ANY kind of store recently, you’ll have noticed that Spring, and therefore PEEPS are in the air. 

An Army of Peeps by psilver.

Peeps are cute, colorful, and cheap.  However, and I realize I may offend some of you with this opinion but, well, they are a little lacking in tasty-goodness.  I’m sorry!  I’m just stating the facts, folks.  With just a dash of opinion thrown in. 

But I have a solution to your Peep woes.  It’s become a family favorite and this year, I’m even planning on stocking up on Peeps during the post-Peeps Spring/Easter sales.  One word:

S’meeps.

That’s what our family lovingly calls those cute little Peeps, whether they are chicks or bunnies or any other kind of brightly colored marshmallow critter you happen to find in the Peep family, after they have been brutally stabbed, roasted over a roaring fire and then cruelly smashed between two pieces of graham crackers and a chunk of chocolate.  (Get it?  S’meeps instead of S’mores?!)  The result?

A glorious conglomerate of crystallized sugar, gooey melted marshmallow, warm chocolate and crunchy graham crackers.  Sad for the Peep… delightful for my taste buds. 

So next time you find yourself staring at the pile of Peeps left all alone in the Spring Baskets of your home, all the other popular and actually tasty candy loonnngggg gone and already forming cavities in your children’s teeth…  Get a campfire roaring, sharpen those roasting tongs and get to work putting those Peeps out of their misery.

It’s what works for me.

For more tips and advice, go visit We Are THAT Family.

This week’s WFMW is all about our greatest hits/tips from past Works for Me Wednesdays.   This required a bit of researching to figure out which WFMW post received the most attention, both views and comments.  Without further ado, here’s the winner of the popularity contest, minus the spelling error that I missed the first time around.  Maybe that’s why it was so popular… were you all giggling and talking behind my back about it?  Well, it’s gone now and I’m going to try to cool off from my embarrassment.

I don’t know about you, but Saturday nights are hectic for us.  We go to Saturday Night Service at our Church because it works with Hubby’s schedule… Sunday mornings don’t.  And I love Saturday nights because of it.  But alas, we get home right around 6:30pm and the kids are needing dinner like 45 minutes ago at that point.  So we started implementing a tradition that my parents started with my sibs and I when we were kids, Popcorn Night.

Popcorn Night is pretty much just what it sounds like.  A dinner of air-popped popcorn (with scrumptious melted butter and salt added of course) served with whatever fruit we have on hand to help make it a tad more nutritious.  My kids love it.  We all sit around and watch a movie while we munch. 

It’s delightful. 

It’s a win-win. 

The kids love the treat, and the parents love the quick, easy dinner that, in my opinion, is still healthier than hitting the drive-thru even with the butter and salt. 

You can pick any night as Popcorn Night.  Growing up, our Popcorn Night was on Sunday as we always went to evening Church service (as well as morning. Yep, we were sooo holy. I’m totally kidding!!!), now it’s Saturday’s.  For you it might be Mondays.  Mondays are always rough… 

Popcorn Nights are one of the things that work for me.  Check out  We Are THAT Family for more fabulous ideas.

This is probably going to break my record for shortest WFMW.Wfmwbanner  Heck, it’s probably going to be my shortest post period.

What works for me?  Grab a pen and paper.   While you’re at it, grab a refill on your cup o Java too.  Aww, might as well grab a blanket for your lap to make sure you stay nice and toasty and put a movie on for the kids… umm, an educational?   What you are about to see will keep you at the computer for a while.  Just trust me on this one.  Ready?

www.allrecipes.com

It is my absolute favorite recipe site.  I know I’ve posted about it in my regular cooking posts before but it bears repeating .  You can see what each recipe is rated and read what the reviewers (common folk like us gals) have to say about the recipe and what changes they made.  All my favorite and most requested recipes come from this website. 

Okay that’s not entirely true… some are Ree’s too.  She’s another fantastic recipe source.  She’s just doesn’t have quite as big a recipe selection.  =0)

You can also create your own recipe “box” at www.allrecipes.comto save all your recipes to.  That way you don’t have keep going back and searching for that recipe you tried last month that was so delish.

Alright.  There you have it.  I leave you to peruse the website in peace. 

While you are at it, check Rocks In My Dryer for more great WFMW’s.

Lists… they are essential to my well-being.  Wfmwbanner

Seriously.

So why it took me this long to come with an RV packing list, I have no idea.  But I finally had the brilliant idea of creating a packing list that included EVERYTHING I might possibly need to pack for the family.   Rain or shine, long trip or short, Summer or Fall, it’s all there on The List. 

I was so tired of forgetting to pack things.  Sometimes they are minor details, sometimes they are huge catastrophes.  Like the two week trip we took and I left my make-up/skin care bag on the bathroom counter at home.  YES!  That is completely true!  Who DOES that?!  Not just a chapstick folks.  The whole stinkin kit and caboodle!  I ended up having to buy a whole new set of the bare essentials (cleanser, moisturizer, cover-up, powder, blush and mascara) at the first drug store we came to after arriving at our destination.  The upside to that is, I keep it all in the RV and don’t have to worry about packing those items anymore. 

Now, the RV List is long to be sure but all I have to do is cross out everything I don’t need and then check off the ones I do need as I get them packed.  Little to no thinking required!  And that’s my kind of list my bloggy friends.  I keep a hard copy of the list on the computer so that as the kids get older and our needs change, I can go and make corrections without having to completely re-do the whole list. 

As a side note, I also keep a pad of paper and pen in the RV so that during out trips, as we run low or use up items that we keep in the RV (cleansers, paper goods, bathroom products, etc.), I can make a list and take it out of the RV with me upon our return home.   Then I restock those items as sales or opportunities come up so that it’s not all left for the last moment, when we’re gearing up to head out again.

We love RV-ing as a family.  And my RV Packing List has lessened my stress in the packing process and therefore makes it that much more fun to just GO.

Packing Lists work for me.  Check out Rocks In My Dryer for more tips and advice.

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I didn’t think I’d even have a WFMW this week BUT it turns out that my Tuesday’s activities make a perfect Wednesday tip.

Tuesday morning I got the news that Monday evening the kids and I had been cavorting with the flu bug.  Oh YES!  You all know the feeling of hearing that news.  Of course, it was completely accidental… no purposeful releasing of Mr. Flu germs… but the result is still the same.

WE.. HUNG.. OUT.. WITH.. MR.. FLU.. 

WE..SHARED..A..BOWLING..BALL..WITH..MR..FLU..

WE..HIGH-FIVED..MR..FLU

WE..WRESTLED..WITH..MR..FLU..

Course, I’m still praying for a miracle.  We’re already fighting a nasty chest cold so having to puke through the coughing would just be icing I don’t want on a cake I want to kick to the curb to be hauled far, far, FAR away with the trash.

Tuesday morning I crawled into a dark corner to suck my thumb after hearing the news regarding Mr. Flu.  If it weren’t for four hacking munchkins dragging me out of my fetal position 5 minutes after I got there, I’d still be there.  That’s just what I do when I hear Mr. Flu’s name.  But after being drug by my toes back to reality, I decided to use the day to my advantage.  As moms, we all know how fun it is to be sick ourselves and have sick kids and/or a sick husband to care for too.  It takes weeks to reclaim the house, the laundry, the pantry and fridge, the dishes.  Every inch of your life is affected somehow. 

But not THIS time!  I decided to take charge before Mr. Flu takes over.  I cycled all the laundry through; washed, dryed, folded AND put away.  I swept and mopped the floors.  It was time anyway and a few more days tacked on because of sickness would have felt like a foot of grime to scrub off post-Mr. Flu.  I also had a bunch of meat in the fridge that I’d bought on sale Monday and was waiting to be bagged and put in the freezer.  Guess what?  It’s duuhhhhnnnn!  I also made two dinners for the freezer (Baked Bean Soup and Sloppy Joes) for post-recovery meals.  Today, as long as everyone is still fine, I plan on attacking the bathrooms and making some chicken stock to use for chicken soup later. 

Eliminating as many details ahead of time as possible when it comes to being sick… it’s what works for me.  Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more tips and advice.

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Four munchkins birthdays + budget = homemade cakes 

 It’s an equation that is a fact of life here in the Runningamuck household.  Every birthday I’d slave over the cake, staying up all hours the night before the big event, cramming to get it all done.  I wanted that cake to knock the socks off that birthday child.  Socks are flying off feet all the time in my house, so the least they could do is fly off in awe and wonder at my labor of love. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that my cake decorating days are over – in a good way.   Because this year I discovered Hello Cupcake:

Hello, Cupcake!

It is seriously the best cupcake book EVER!  Just don’t ask how many I’ve actually read because then I’d have to confess it’s the only one. 

But that’s neither here nor there…

I made the pup-cakes that are on the cover for my 2 year old’s birthday and he LOVED them.  The amazing part is they actually looked just like the picture!  There are cupcakes for all themes and holidays and they will seriously blow you away.  

The best part for me is that all the “recipes” call for pre-made items.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m a firm believer in making things from scratch to drop unnecessary preservatives and chemicals and also the price!  Scratch is almost always cheaper.  That being said, birthday parties are a whole other ballgame.  There is so much to plan, bake, prepare, clean, create (almost everything is homemade at our parties to save moolah) that when it comes to the cake/cupcakes, if it saves me time, I’m willing to fork over a few more dimes.  It means I actually get a whole night of sleep the night before the billions of  10  2 year olds invade my house.  That’s the difference between sanity and a padded cell in my world.   “Hello Cupcake” calls for store-bought icing (regular ol Betty Crocker or Pillsbury or The-Cheapest-Icing-On-The-Shelf) and candy.  Yep. Candy.  You seriously have to check out the book just to see the amazing things you can do with candy. 

And something I just discovered?  They have a blog.  A BLOG everybody.  That means even more ideas, creations and help just a mouse click away!  And you can submit your own photos and ideas too.  Check out cupcake blog in all it’s glory here.

Cupcakes vs. cake?  Well, when you have younger munchkins, the whole idea of having a slobbery, germ-filled, possible snot-flaked candle blower is enough to turn even the strongest sweet tooth from the dessert table.   To be able to restrict the candle blowing to his/her own cupcake means I get to eat a cupcake, without having to worry about what nastiness is crawling around in my icing.  AND it means I can send the extra cupcakes home with the guests and not have a fridge full of cake for the next week that I whittle away at it in the evenings… gaining 10 lbs in the process. 

Cupcakes are a win-win. 

For more great tips and advice, check out Rocks In My Dryer.

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Hey WFMW-ers! It’s been awhile since I’ve contributed.  And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure what I’m sharing today really qualifies as a contribution.   But what the heck, I’m going to pretend that the information I am about to type will leave you astounded and amazed. 

So hold on, I’m about to knock your socks off.

Crisco. 

crisco

Yep, I’m sharing about Crisco today.  Now, Crisco has many glorious uses.  One of them being my delish biscuit recipe.   But today’s tidbit of Crisco knowledge has nothing to do with food.  Can you guess?

It’s eczema.

Yep.  Crisco is your ingredient to eczema relief. 

My son, Monkey has eczema.  Well, psoriasis to be exact.  Thankfully it’s purely a season thing.  But this winter has been especially hard on his skin for some reason.  He hasn’t had just a few patches.  No, it’s got him covered from head to toe.  No joke.  So it goes without saying that during the last month we’ve gone through just about every treatment we can find in our research, just searching for some relief for him.  And the answer we’ve found is Crisco.

It’s cheap, it’s easy to find (I had to walk all the way to my kitchen pantry, phew!) and it works just as good as any of the other treatments.   Don’t worry, we keep a separate container for Monkey’s Crisco (I don’t want any of you worrying when you stop by for some eatin’ at my house).  He gets slathered up morning and night right now since he’s in a big break out. 

Now, let me just clarify.  We didn’t try the Crisco until Monkey was already in a full break out.  So it wasn’t that the Crisco didn’t prevent the break out.  We’ll be able to test that after this one gets cleared up and see if it’ll work well enough to nip any future beginning break out in the bud. 

So remember, when that dry, itching, winter eczema kicks in… just reach in the pantry for some Crisco.

                 Cover for a cookbook with all the recipes using Crisco. Free cookbook giveaways were a key part of getting housewives to trust using Crisco.                                     (Courtesy Crisco.com)

                               … and now for excema zapping!

Check out Rocks In My Dryer for more great tips and advice.

This week I’m afraid my WFMW is pretty simple… I’m okay with that. It’s just that “simple” lives very close to “lame”.  In fact, I think their apartments share a wall.  But here goes anyway.

I have a bad back.  I have scoliosis and my spine is in the shape of an “S”.  Yeah fun, right?  So needless to say, I struggle in the good posture department.  The realization of this fact is becoming more and more obvious to me each day.  So I’ve been trying to focus on it more and have come up with one way to help combat my lazy, I’m-too-busy-with-the-here-and-now-to-bother-worrying-about-being-permanently-bent-at-the-waste-when-I’m-65-ness.  And I think we as a culture suffer from bad posture so that’s why I’m passing along my little nugget of inspiration… or nugget of lameness…

Ready? 

When I get in my car, I sit as upright as comfortably possible, look in the review mirror, and adjust it so that I can see properly while in this position.  That’s it Folks.  Lame Simple, huh?!  But get this, because the mirror is already set up high, I’m conscious of every time I start to slouch or hunch over; I can’t see in my mirror!  I have to sit up straight again in order to drive properly. 

Simple… Lame, however you see it, it works for me and maybe it’ll work for you. 

Check out Rocks In My Dryer for less-lame, better ideas! =0)

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Winter is coming gals…

I feel it, despite the 102 degree heat that I’ve been experiencing for the past few days.  I KNOW it’s coming and it’s like a sweet, sweet song to my ears, or rather, an ice cube to my burning skin.  Yes, oh yes.  Sweet relief is on it’s way.

Course, right along with the thought of winter coming, came the thought on winter skin.  Ugh!  It is a drawback to be sure, there always has to be a drawback.  Winter brings many skin issues to surface but this week, I’m only going to tackle one because it’s one that a. used to plague me and b. no one talks about (at least that I’ve been within earshot of).

Skin bumps on your legs.

Now some bumps are caused by things like eczema.  I’m not talking those bumps.  I’m talking, little ingrown hair bumps (if you are unsure if yours are caused by ingrown hairs, just gently scratch the top of one and if it is, a fine, little hair should pop out).  Over the years I’ve realized that I only get these during the winter months and only on my thighs.  As my subconscious continued to work on this thought, I came to this conclusion (I’m sparing you the details because they involve my thighs and my brain. The two things I try not to talk about to much because they both leave a lot to be desired)

Ingrown hairs are caused by the irritation of pants and the lack of shaving. Come on now, admit it, the minute the weather dips below 60 degrees on a regular basis, you save shaving for Saturday nights only… or Sunday mornings.  No one likes seeing leg hair poking out between the silky threads of pantyhose at Church.  

So last year as an experiment, I kept up on my leg shaving.  Although it wasn’t daily it was every other day. And guess what?  Virtually NO LEG BUMPS!  My legs were as silky smooth as they could possibly be (no amount of shaving will rid yourself of the cellulite I’ve found out). 

I dare you, try it out this winter.  You thighs and pantyhose will thank you.

Go check out Rocks In My Dryer for more tips and advice.

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