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Snowman Oreo Pops – Failure Can Be Fun

As I’ve said before, I have certain unhealthy foods that can really make me lose my self-control. One of those is Oreos. I think they must have cocaine in them.

My daughter and I wanted a fun and easy winter treat. This pin seemed to fit the bill, and incorporated my addiction. What could be better?!


It’s from the Idea Room.

The recipe only calls for a few ingredients:Double-Stuff Oreos (yum!), white chocolate candy melt, mini-chocolate chips and candy corn.


The first thing you do sounds deceiving simple. You insert the Popsicle sticks into the Oreos.

Sounds easy, right? But when we tried it, the outer cookies popped apart almost every time. No matter what my daughter and I tried, how we held the Oreo – gently, firmly, from one side or the other, it popped apart or one side of the cookie cracked at least a little.

We finally did get a number of them in but, barely, and boy, it wasn’t easy!)

Next, you melt the candy melts and dip the Oreos in the melted candy. Sounds easy, too, right? Wrong!

When I dipped the Oreos in the candy, the sides of the cookie came apart and fell off the Popsicle sticks or broke into pieces. It just got worse with each dip.

Survey the devastation:


The good news is that though they were a mess, that made it more fun. The worse they came out of the chocolate, the more we laughed. The more atrocious the battlefield of Oreo pops looked, the funnier it was. We had a great time.

The other good news: As ugly as they were, they tasted great! I wondered what the combination of Oreos, mini chocolate chips, white chocolate candy melt and candy corn would taste like. One word: Awesome! My family devoured the mutant snowmen laughing all the way to gastric heaven.

On a skill level, this project would be categorized as high. On a fun level, this project is high, also.

In the end, I gave up on the Popsicle sticks and dipped the Oreos by themselves. That was a little easier.


He’s not a pop but he’s still cute, right?

Until next time, happy pinning!


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Oven Window Cleaner – Works When Nothing Else Will!

Well, now that my oven racks are clean and the inside of my oven is clean, it’s time to do something about that oven window. I mean the thing is practically worthless now because it is so dirty from years of cooking. My door might as well be solid.

I’ve tried detergents and scrubbing with gentle scratchy pads, but that hasn’t worked.

Pinterest offers a number of solutions, but this pin seems to be the most popular.


It comes from the One Butt Kitchen blog. (Don’t ask me about the name; I have no idea!)

Here’s what I was up against.


I took this picture immediately after I cleaned my oven, which was also supposed to clean my oven window. Obviously that did not work, and it needs some major help. Yuck!!

The instructions are to mix a quarter cup of baking soda with enough water to make a paste and then smear it on the window.


Simple enough. I waited the 20 minutes, as instructed and rinsed off a small section with warm water and a sponge, as instructed. But it looked exactly like it did before I started, so I scrubbed it with a gentle plastic scrubber sponge and tried again. No good.

I rinsed it all off, and I thought I was doomed, until my husband gave me a fantastic idea. He found a tool that we’ve used for scraping paint from windows and suggested I use it.

It was a miracle. All of the grime came off easily and in a matter of minutes.

Here is the final result.


The tool in the picture is what we used. As you can see, it’s seen better days at our house. The tool is called a safety scraper, and you can buy the one below for $3 at Home Depot.


My oven is finally looking good from top to bottom! What to tackle next? Any ideas?

Until next time, happy pinning!


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Clean Your Oven – Easy and with No Harsh Chemicals

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I have some newly clean oven racks. But, my oven itself is a mess. I needed a way to clean it while staying true to my credo of not using harsh chemicals in my home. This pin held hope.


This pin comes from

Could this really work for my oven? My son’s favorite food is pizza. (He makes a mean homemade pizza.) But pizzas drip and cause a mess in the oven.


That’s a nasty before shot of my oven bottom with all the pizza droppings. Here’s the door.


First I gently scraped the bottom of the oven with a metal spatula. I used a paper towel to gather the scraped off pieces of charred food.

Next, I put about a cup of baking soda on the bottom and door of my oven per the instructions, and then sprayed vinegar from a squirt bottle onto the baking soda. I attempted to mix the baking soda and vinegar on the bottom of the oven as best I could and take some of that mixture and smear it onto the sides.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I think it would have been easier to use the second option given and mix the ingredients together outside the oven and then apply it as a paste.

I let it sit for 20 minutes.


After sitting, I scrubbed with a Brillo steel wool pad in a circular motion (except, of course, for the window!). My oven looks pretty good.


Some baked on grime still existed, but the majority was gone.

The one thing that didn’t come clean was the oven window. Yuck! Now I know what I’m working on next week!


Do you have cleaning jobs planned this week?

Until next time, happy pinning!


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Sunday Funnies

Some days I think my children are going to kill me. Literally, certain days I think my children are going to put me through so much stress that I am going to have a heart attack or stroke.

So, I’ve used some creative tactics to survive, like this father.


I love the creativity!

Child-raising always takes creativity and getting them to behave does, too. Boy, do I wish they had this idea when my kids where young.


Hmmmm…. Maybe if I get an XXXXL shirt?

There’s always the terrorize them into submission option.


I guess we as parents actually are responsible for our share of torturing them. We make them dress up in outfits they don’t like.


We make them get their picture taken even when they don’t want their picture taken.


But without them, life would not be nearly as entertaining.


If only they were nice to our pets!


Animals? Now, they are funny! Stay tuned for more on that next week.

Did your kids made you laugh this week? Please share!

Until next time, happy pinning!


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Boys with controllers from funpixels
I hate my life from 9gag
Rule the world from
Yeti from imgfave
Get-along shirt from rarelypins
Get adopted from MetaPicture

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Rainbow Swirl Cookies

This week I am heading up to Michigan for a meeting, and I am going to freeze!! It’s going to be in the single digits at night, so I will be bundling up!

I’ll be seeing my terrific employee Jim. He has an adorable preschool-aged son, and I wanted to take up something special for him. When I saw this pin, I knew his son would love these:


The original is from Souders Cookery.

Believe it or not, they’re not too difficult, either.

I normally like to make things from scratch, but sometimes, when you’re in a hurry, convenience is great. This recipe uses Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix, Betty Crocker neon gel food coloring and sprinkles. Yep, that’s it.


You make the mix using the instructions for the cut-out cookies. Then you separate the dough into five equal sections and add a different colored food coloring to each one. To really get the colors that pop, you need to add quite a bit of food coloring.

Next, you take small balls of each color of dough. The original recipe says grape-sized balls. To make sure the cookies are big enough, the balls of dough should be large grape-sized. If they aren’t large enough, the cookies will fall apart.

Then, you need to roll the dough between your hands until you start to have a log formed. Place it on the counter or a cutting board and carefully roll it between the counter and your hands until it is approximately 12” long. Do NOT use flour on the counter. If you don’t have enough dough, the log will start to come apart. Just add more dough to the dough balls next time.

Take the finished cookies and roll the edges in sprinkles. If you haven’t made the dough balls big enough, again, the cookie will start to fall apart.


It can be a bit difficult to make these at first, but once you get the hang of it, they are really not that difficult.

These cookies would be great for a tie-dye party, Dr. Seuss party, circus party, or carnival party.

rainbowcookies copy

Not only do they look good, but they taste good. Now if I can stop myself from eating too many, so I can stay on my diet!!

Until next time, happy pinning!



Product Reviews: Lose It! App

Yes, I am trying to lose some weight. If you are one of my regular readers you already know that. (And are also probably asking, so what’s with all the brownie and cupcake recipes, huh?)

So, this pin caught my eye:


I have been using this smart phone app Lose It for two weeks. My goal has been to lose a pound a week, and so far I have lost four pounds. Yes, I’m ahead of schedule!

Lose It has you log the food you eat every day. You can search a database of foods. It is impressively thorough, and includes most restaurants and brands of foods you find in the grocery store. It also has a “My Food” section where it stores foods you have already added so you can easily get to foods that you eat frequently. You can also enter recipes, and it will calculate the calories for you. It even lets you scan a barcode. Cool, huh?

You also log your exercise, and you get extra calories to eat for the day based on the type of exercise you do and how long you do it.

The app even tells you the percentage of certain nutrients, like sodium, protein and fat, that you have taken in for the day.

The program has more features online that allow you to connect with others. For example, you can take on challenges. My current challenges are the Downton Abbey Hobbledehoy Loggers, where you see who can log their food the most days during the entire season of Downton Abbey (I LOVE Downton Abbey!) and the Green Giant Vegetable Challenge which gives you one point for every 30 calories of vegetables you eat every day.

I sincerely hope that these challenges and the interactive features will win out over my chocoholic, sweets-loving side. So far, I really like it.

Until next time, happy pinning!


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Chocolate Chip Brownie Gift in a Jar – Inexpensive and Delicious

I love my friends, and I’d love to have unlimited funds to shower them in gifts. But I work for a non-profit, my husband is disabled, and I have two kids. So, not much in the way of funds to throw around.

If you are a Pinterest fan, you’ll notice all types of inexpensive homemade gifts. My favorites are the food gifts, especially the ones where you give them the ingredients for a yummy baked good layered in a glass jar with cute little tags and ribbons.

My concern is that when my friends bake up whatever I’ve sent them, it won’t taste that great. So, as a public service to all my faithful readers, I’m going to try out a number of the homemade gifts featured on Pinterest and let you know how they taste, so you can send them to your friends and family, confident that they’ll enjoy it.

Here is the pin I try this week:


The recipe comes from the Fake It Frugal blog.(This blog is a terrific source of knock-offs of name brand mixes.)

This recipe isn’t technically a homemade gift, but I thought it could be easily adapted to be one. And I like the price – 30 cents!

The instructions from the blog are:

1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Mix all these ingredients together with a whisk and dump them into a zipper bag. On the bag, add the following instructions: Add: 2 Eggs, 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil, 1 teaspoon Vanilla. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

The ingredients were ones I already had on hand and, as mentioned on the blog, they’re inexpensive.


The mixed together ingredients had an interesting texture and stayed together in a blob when transferred to a pan. To add a little pizzazz, I added a third of a cup of chocolate chips sprinkled on top.


The final product was a thin but delicious brownie. The fam loved them, and so did the chocoholic in me. They were gooey brownies with a deep chocolate taste. I knew anyone who received these as a gift from me and made them would be thrilled!


Now that I knew they were delicious it was time to package them. I found some adorable printable baked good labels to download from TomKat Studio and matched them with pre-cut labels.


Aren’t they cute? I wrote the following instructions on them:

Whisk together dry ingredients. Add 2 eggs, ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp. vanilla. Spray cooking spray on 8” x 8” pan. Add mixture and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Most of these gifts in a jar have more ingredients that are aesthetically pleasing for layering. So, to make up for that, you mix all the dry ingredients except for the cocoa. Then put half the dry ingredients in a pint-sized mason jar, next the cocoa, them the rest of the dry ingredients. Tap the jar on the counter between each addition to level it out. Put the chocolate chips in a snack sized bag and place them on top and put the lid on. Attach the label with a ribbon.

Here is the finished product.


My daughter gave this one to a teacher of hers, and she loved it.

What do you think?

All told, this gift cost around $2.00. The value is in the time, effort and love that goes into the gift. That’s what I value in a gift.

Until next week, happy pinning!


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Time to Clean My Nasty Oven Racks

My entire oven is in serious need of cleaning. But I don’t like to use harsh cleaners, and last time we used our oven’s self-cleaning setting, we had to replace the heating element. So, I turned to Pinterest for help.

I found this pin to get me started:


It’s from the One Good Thing by Jillee Blog (an excellent blog!).

Here are the instructions:

Buy a box of dryer sheets at the dollar store, put the oven racks in the bathtub, throw in about 6 or 8 dryer sheets, and cover them with hot water. For good measure, pour in about half a cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid as well. Let it all soak for about 18 hours. Then with the racks still in the tub scrub them with the dryer sheets. For the extra tough stuff, use a scrub brush.

My oven racks were bad. I mean really bad. My son makes lots of pizzas, and they tend to drip over the side. Here’s a before picture:


Here’s another:


Nasty, huh? To make it a little more palatable, here is a picture of my adorable assistant oven rack inspectors – my Scottish fold kittens Masie and Finn.



I placed the oven racks in my bathtub with six Bounce dryer sheets and a half cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid and let them sit overnight. I had to get a shower, so I had to take them out after twelve hours of soaking.

I scrubbed them with the dryer sheets, and a fair amount of the grime came off. To finish the job, I used SOS steel wool pads. This photo of the water after the cleaning shows how much dirt came off. Yuck!


The cleaning didn’t get off all of the dirt, but my racks are eleven years old. I can’t imagine that it’s possible to completely clean racks that old. The cleaning was effective though. Check out the after:


Not perfect, but remember how black in was in the before picture? Take a look at the entire length still glistening wet:


I had almost forgotten it was silver! Not half bad for eleven years old.

Now for the oven! Any ideas for cleaning it without using harsh chemicals?

Until next time, happy pinning!


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Sunday Funnies

I’ve put on a few extra pounds over the past couple of years, and I’ve decided that it’s finally time to do something about it. But it is SO hard!

You see, me and food have had a long love affair. Longer than my husband and I’s 26-year marriage. That’s why I can relate to this pin:


Yep, I can relate.

I love Italian food, French food, Polish, German, Mexican…


I love grilled food, sauteed food, broiled, fried, baked…


I love fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat…


Some foods are especially dangerous for me – like chocolate cake and oreos (*drooling*). I cannot control myself, so if someone in my family brings them home, I am half ecstatic joy and half this girl:


Another one of those incredibly irresistible-for-me foods is popcorn with lots of butter, like the kind you get at the movie theater. I can’t even go to the movies without buying some because of the wonderful aroma.

Yesterday, my kids and I went to see the Hobbit. We really enjoyed it. So in honor of the Hobbit and all the movie theater popcorn I ate – which sure didn’t help my diet – I leave you with this pin:


I hope you have lots of laughs this week. Until next week, happy pinning!


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Product Review: Smart Taste Pasta


I love pasta and I eat a bunch of it (probably way too much!), but I also like to eat whole grains and most pasta is not whole grain. That’s why I love Smart Taste pasta. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know I love to use this pasta in my recipes, like the Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni posted this Wednesday.

Smart Taste pasta is enriched with fiber, calcium and vitamin D. It has 2.5 times the fiber of regular pasta, but doesn’t taste any different.

I’ve tried whole wheat pasta in the past, but my kids Austin and Kaelin just didn’t like the grainy texture or the heavy, earthy taste. Smart Taste pasta has the same light texture and taste of regular pasta but with plenty of fiber.

Smart Taste comes in these varieties:

  • Elbows
  • Rotini
  • Spaghetti
  • Thin Spaghetti
  • Penne Rigate
  • Angel Hair
  • Extra Wide Noodles

So, you can use them in almost all of your favorite pasta recipes.

Ronzoni also has a pasta made from carrots, tomatoes and spinach called Garden Delight. Every portion gives you half a serving of vegetables. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds intriguing. Right now, in celebration of their Garden Delight pasta you can enter to win a $500 debit card.

Next time you’re cooking with pasta, try Smart Taste.

What is your favorite healthy substitution?

Until next time, happy pinning!


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