a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Creative "Chores" for the Microwave

Supposedly, the #1 use of the microwave is popping corn!

If this is the major use of your microwave -- or maybe defrosting -- you are not taking advantage of this versatile workhorse.


  • Disinfecting and deodorizing sponges -- Soak a dirty sponge in water and white vinegar or lemon juice. Without wringing it out, place it on a microwave safe plate and zap it on high for one minute.
  • Disinfecting plastic cutting boards -- Wash the board well, rub it with the cut side of a lemon and then heat it for one minute.
  • Making s'mores -- Put the marshmallow on a graham cracker, zap it until puffy (watch carefully). Immediately top it with chocolate squares and a second cracker, smoosh it down and enjoy! (Instead of expensive Hershey bars, I often make chocolate frosting and frost the graham cracker instead.)
  • Watch a "Cheep" expand -- A silly but popular pastime when the traditionally yellow addictive chicks fill the candy shelves in Spring.
  • Toasting nuts, bread crumbs or coconut -- Spread them out on a plate and heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Watch carefully, usually they will continue to toast for another minute after removing them from the microwave. 
  • Roasting Garlic -- Slice off the top of the head of garlic to reveal all the cloves. Place the head in a small, deep dish, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of water into the bottom of the dish, cover with plastic wrap and cook at medium power for 7 to 7-1/2 minutes. It takes 45 minutes to roast small garlic in the big oven!
  •  Getting more juice from citrus fruits -- If you need lemon, lime or orange juice and your fruit has been in the refrigerator, microwave the piece for 20 seconds before squeezing the juice out. More juice is released from room temperature or slightly warm citrus fruits. 
  • De-crystallizing honey -- If your honey has solidified, it can be restored to its liquid state by uncovering the jar and heating on medium power for 30 seconds to one minute. (Note: If it is in a plastic container that is not microwaveable, transfer it to an appropriate container before doing this.)
  • Steaming vegetables -- frozen vegetables can be steamed without adding any water. Fresh vegetables can be steamed with just the little remaining water that clings to them after rinsing them. Simply place them, as much as possible, in one layer in a dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap and cook on high. Timing will vary so watch and check. Tender items (spinach, mushrooms, snow peas, etc.) should be checked after 30 seconds. Crunchy items like carrots, after 4 minutes.
  • Partially cooking vegetables you are going to grill on the barbecue to save cooking time -- Prick new potatoes so steam can escape and heat them for 2 minutes, bell peppers for 1 minute.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What If . . . your first aid cupboard is bare

Someday the situation may need more
than a kiss to make it better!
 Being ready "just in case" brings
peace of mind.
when there
is an emergency? 
Maybe this blog will spur you on in this important area of preparedness. Don't let the length of the list scare you off.
The items  can be acquired over time
and divided among a group.

Several years ago our women's church group began making plans to assemble simple but  comprehensive first aid kits                                       
to have at the ready for emergencies---not the type you would use (or break into) for minor day-to-day scrapes and scratches.                                               

We decided on an assembly date three months in the future, had
sign-up sheets for those interested in participating, and asked everyone to begin setting aside a few dollars whenever they could, so money would not be a burden at assembly time.

A local pharmacist helped us by compiling a list of basic needs, and also offered a discount on the supplies he could. We decided the entire kit needed to fit in a 5-gallon plastic bucket---waterproof and portable.

There is nothing exotic nor extravagant ----  basics you would find in medicine cabinets of long ago. 

We included instructions for use as necessary, as will as expiration dates when applicable.

Note: The "vials" listed are small pill containers/bottles from the pharmacy. 

First Aid booklet
1 pencil
2 plastic spoons
1 tweezers
1 scissors
1 eye dropper
3 medicine measures
3 paper cups
3 paper bags
8 tongue depressors
1 roll toilet paper
1 flashlight with batteries 
1 box strike anywhere matches
1 spool white thread
2 needles
4 safety pins
1 single edge razor blade
1 bar hand soap/bottle hand sanitizer
1 vial household bleach
2 surgical gloves
1 rectal thermometer
1 vial baking soda
1 vial table salt
1 bottle Paregoric
1 bottle rubbing alcohol
1 bottle hydrogen peroxide
1 bottle betadine
1 bottle aspirin
1 jar vaseline
1 bottle caladryl
1 vial oil of cloves
1 bottle Milk of Magnesia
1 tube Neosporin
1 Jar Mentholatum
1 pkg. Boric Acid Powder
1 bottle coke syrup
1 botttle Spirits of Ammonia
1 box Epsom Salts
1 bottle Ipecac
1 box assorted band-aids
4 Kerlix sponges
1 roll @" gauze bandage
1 roll 1" adhesive tape
1 4" elastic bandage
2 plastic trash bags

"When the hour of need arrives, the hour of preparation is past!"