Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Tips—How To Make Your Clothes Dryer Run More Efficiently

We decided to add a new topic to our blog, Thursday Tips. Here we hope to share general tips for making your life a little easier, a little greener, and just generally better.

The first set of tips concerns something most of us use weekly, some of us daily—the clothes dryer. The clothes dryer is one of the biggest users of electricity in your home, so learning to use it efficiently can save you lots of money.

Tip #1

Clean your lint filter, clean your lint filter, clean your lint filter! It is SO important to keep the lint filter clean, and it is so easy to do. A clogged lint filter causes your dryer to run longer which costs more money. A clogged lint filter can also be a safety hazard and cause a fire. So just clean your lint filter! I clean mine after each use.

Tip #2

When loading your dryer, make sure your dryer isn’t overloaded. If air can’t circulate between the clothes, then they take much longer to dry. Also, make sure you shake your articles of clothing out before putting them in the dryer. A towel in a ball takes a lot longer to dry than a flat towel.

Tip #3

Make sure the dryer vent hose is clean and unobstructed. Here is a good article on cleaning and maintaining a washer and dryer.

Tip #4

Make sure to use the fastest spin cycle possible when using your washer. The less water in the clothes means less drying time which saves money. Some delicate clothing can’t be spun out at the highest speed so use your own judgment and match the spin cycle to the type of clothing being washed.

Tip #5

Use only one dryer sheet at a time. Extra dryer sheets can block the lint filter which restricts air flow.

We hope you find these tips useful and hope they will save you some money.

Happy Drying! Smile

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What We Like (or Don't Like) Wednesdays—WE LOVE IKEA!

Recently hubby and I had to take a quick trip to Orlando. He had a business meeting he had to attend, so that left me with some free time. We ate lunch at The Mall at Millenia, and I just stayed there while he drove to where his meeting was being held. Well, I started walking around the mall, and to say the least, I wasn't impressed. I am just not a mall shopper, and The Mall at Millenia is basically a really big Cordova Mall (our mall here in Pensacola, FL). Now don't get me wrong, The Mall at Millenia is the most beautiful mall I have ever been in, and I did enjoy all the beautiful fountains and awesome decorations. However, I got bored rather quickly. Now, Beth had mentioned that there was an IKEA nearby, and that’s where I went. It was a short walk through the parking lot and was well worth it.


Ikea Store

Here is a picture of the storefront. (Courtesy of Natalie C. at There are other pictures here of the Orlando IKEA.)

When I walked in, there was an escalator in front of me. I was a little overwhelmed and wondered where I should go. So, I picked up one of their maps. On the first floor is their Marketplace and on the second floor is their Showroom. I decided to check out their Showroom. Wow, what an amazing setup. They have six different sections: Living Rooms, Wall Units & Media Storage, Kitchens & Dining, Work Ikea, Bedrooms, and the Children’s Area. I didn’t take any pictures, and Ikea has too many rules concerning using their pictures, so I will provide some links to Ikea for “Ideas & Inspiration” and “Room Ideas.”

Living Room



Children’s IKEA


Happy browsing!

After following the walkway (with arrows so you don’t get lost) through the second floor (it was like following the yellow brick road), I made my way to the first floor which is their marketplace (also has a walkway with arrows). Everything you saw upstairs is available to buy downstairs. The sections downstairs are as follows: Cooking & Eating, Textiles & Rugs, Bath Shop, Home Organization, Lighting, Prints & Frames, Home Decoration, Greenroom, and the Self-Serve Furniture Area. I have never seen so many unique items with such amazing low prices. Their furniture is amazing! Their lighting is amazing! Their framed pictures are amazing! I could go on and on.

The store really is amazing, and I wish we had an IKEA closer to us here. If you get the chance to visit an IKEA store, do it! You won’t be sorry you did. There is no way for me to really describe it and have you understand. You have to go see it for yourself. Make sure you have LOTS of time because it takes a while to see the store, the whole store. I actually went through several times and saw new items each time I went through. Here is a link to IKEA. You can order some of their items online; however, most of their products are only available in their stores. If you would like, you can request an IKEA catalog here.

Hope you enjoy my information about IKEA and hope you enjoy browsing their website.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Treats—Carnation Five-Minute Fudge

This is the easiest fudge to make and the best fudge to eat, hands down, that I have ever made and eaten.

Carnation Five-Minute Fudge

(Photo courtesy of Carnation Milk in Canada)

I have had this recipe for years and really didn’t know where I had gotten it. I just did a Google search, and the recipe matches the Carnation recipe perfectly. My ingredients are in a different order and my instructions are a bit different, but it’s all the same in the end. Here’s a link to the Carnation recipe.

And here’s my recipe.

Five-Minute Fudge

2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups marshmallows

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine butter, milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Cook 4 to 5 minutes (start timing when the mixture starts to boil), stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla, and nuts (if using). Stir until marshmallows and chocolate are melted and mixture is blended.

Pour mixture into buttered 8-inch square dish (I use glass) and chill in the refrigerator until set. Cut into squares when set and store in the refrigerator.

Note: Carnation says to line an 8-inch square baking pan with waxed paper.

Here’s a link for the recipe from another site. They offer some variations for making it—Milk Chocolate Fudge, Butterscotch Fudge, and Peanut-Chocolate Fudge.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.

Now, I’m wanting fudge. Guess fudge will be making an appearance around here soon.

Chocolate Fudge

(Photo courtesy of What’s Cooking America)

Hope you have a Happy Fudge Day!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Made on Mondays—Quirky T-Shirt Scarf

Hobby Lobby posts show up on our Facebook wall, and the other day they posted the cutest scarf, this Quirky T-Shirt Scarf.

Hobby Lobby T-shirt Scarf

I thought how cute is this and decided I wanted to share it with everyone in our Made for Mondays post. It’s super simple to make (Yes! we’re going to make one or two!). Also if you get your T-shirts or T-shirt material on sale, it should be a fairly inexpensive scarf to make. I think we will probably just buy T-shirt material to make ours unless we find that buying T-shirts will save us money in the long run.

Click here to find the instructions. Clicking on the pictures will also take you to the instructions.

Hobby Lobby Scarf (1)

Hobby Lobby Scarf (2)

The instructions are in a PDF file as seen above.

Be sure and check out Hobby Lobby’s home page. For more ideas and inspiration, click on the Project: Inspiration tab. Hobby Lobby has an awesome store with TONS of stuff you won’t find anywhere else. Beth and I LOVE Hobby Lobby! Guess that needs to be our topic for this coming Wednesday. Smile

Also, be looking for these cute scarves in our shop. Ours will be a little different, so you’ll have to check us out to see our take on the T-Shirt Scarf.

Happy Monday!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Whatever Saturdays—Meet Mildred

We have been wanting to introduce you to the third member of our team.



We don’t know what we would do without her. She is very patient and sits very still for pictures. She never talks, thank goodness! Beth and I talk enough for 100 people (ask Adam and Terry!). She doesn’t even complain when we forget and leave her outside. Smile


Here is her close-up shot. She doesn’t like this picture, but we told her she looks great! Don’t you think so too?

We love her and think she is a great addition to our team!

Hope you enjoyed meeting Mildred. Smile

Friday, June 24, 2011

Feature Fridays—Gussy Sews

Today we are featuring a great new blog and shop that Beth discovered—Gussy Sews. Here is her blog! Here is her shop! This girl, Gussy, is the cutest thing I have ever seen! She just literally glows with happiness. Look at her pictures!

Gussy (1)

Click the picture above to go directly to Gussy’s shop.

Gussy (2)

Click the picture above to go directly to Gussy’s blog.

Isn’t she a cutie! Smile

Anyway, she makes the cutest accessories—Tote and Laptop Bags, Headbands, Clutches, Wristlets, Makeup Bags, iPad cases…The list goes on. Here are some examples of her work.

Gussy (3)

Sweet Alabama diaper/wipe wristlet (above)

Gussy (4)

nook/kindle case - Orange Floral (above)

Gussy (5)

Spring Blue headband (above)

Gussy (6)

Doll Blanket - choose your color (above)

You can click each picture and you will be taken directly to the info page for that item. Please take some time to check out her blog and shop. She has LOTS more to look at. Her work is awesome, and she is SO creative! AND on her blog, she is doing a giveaway! A $50 SHOP CREDIT! FOR FOUR WINNERS! How awesome is that!

Gussy (7)

Click the “Give Away!” picture to enter! Scroll down just a bit on the page and you will see it. She is offering several ways to enter, and it ends in a few days so don’t wait. Good luck!

Hope you enjoy Gussy Sews as much as we do.

Have a great night!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Made on Mondays--A Special Surprise!

It's that time again! :) Today I'm sharing a very special handmade item! :) Hope you enjoy!!

While I was on etsy the other day, a new listing from one of my favorite shops caught my attention. It's a vintage baby quilt and it is ADORABLE! The reason I noticed it is because it looked really similar to mine that I had when I was little. My old blanket went everywhere with me when I was little. I was kind of like pigpen since I looked like a raggin' muffin. haha I had wild curly hair (that I didn't like to be brushed) and I didn't like to wear clothes either. I was slighty difficult to say the least. :) Anyways back to the blanket. It started out as a receiving blanket from Mary Hart (one of Grandma and Grandpa's close friends, who was like a Grandma to my Mom). They came down to Florida from Ohio when I was born, and she gave it to me then. I loved on it so much it started getting holes in it. So before it started getting too threadbare, my Grandma pieced a new one together for me to drag around using solid pink flannel and some pink rabbit printed flannel fabric along with my the receiving blanket.

When I was about 4, I accidentally left it at Zayre's on 9 Mile Road, and unfortunately we didn't know I had left it there for a few days. So by the time we called to see if they had found it, it had already been thrown away. :( I know, sad right? I wish I had a picture of the original blanket to put on here. But, Mom and I looked through a bunch of old pictures last night (while laughing hysterically at some of them; let's just say I was a very chunky child and looked like a boy for awhile haha), and we didn't find any pictures of that blanket. If we find one I'll be sure to add it! :)

Well ever since then I've always wanted to "replace" that blanket, and we've found some cute ones, but there never was one quite like "my" blanket. Fast forward to a few years ago, and my sweet Grandma (who was the best pack rat ever) gave my mom a little box with some scraps in it to take home one day. This was after she had had her stroke and was I think trying to go through certain things at her house to make sure they didn't get misplaced, thrown away or given to the wrong person. Anyways, these little scraps were the remnants from when she had made my first blanket. She had started piecing them back together for me so I could eventually have my blanket back!

Here they are! :)

Anyways, so Mom sent these to me last Monday so I could compare it to the blanket on etsy. It wasn't an exact match by any means, but it was cute and the color palette was close enough for me.

Well last Wednesday, Mom emailed me when I was headed to the tanning bed and Zumba and asked if I could stop by her house. She said she had made me something and was SUPER EXCITED to give it to me. I was thinking to myself, either she did something with those blanket scraps or she made something for Mildred. (haha, Mildred is our dress form that we use for our photos!) ;)

When I got there I was so excited to get this:

Here are some close-ups of the patches made with the leftover scraps from my first blanket.

And then here is the back of it! I LOVE how the stitching shows through on the back! :)

Mom worked on it all day last Wednesday and basically recreated my old blanket from those scraps Grandma had saved and some other baby fabric that she had saved to one day recreate it. How CUTE is it? I LOVE it so much more than any I could have ever bought because not only did my Mom put it together for me, but it also has my Mom's stitching on it, and all the pieces that my Grandma sewed as well. :) It's very special to me, and hopefully my future children won't be like me and leave it in a department store. ;)

Happy Monday Everyone!

We're linking up at:

freckled laundry

Friday, June 10, 2011

Feature Friday--Time for some Etsy LOVE!

Hi Everyone! It's Beth!! I've scored some great finds on etsy recently, and these stores I've come across are just plain AMAZING! :) Enjoy!!

First up is Simply Worn Vintage, where I found 2 cute owls!! They have tons of cute eclectic pieces and clothing!

This little green guy is actually a napkin holder, but I have plans to use him as a letter/bill holder in my new office once we get it reorganized!

And this cool guy is a vintage pendant! Can't wait to put him on a necklace and show him off! :)

They are on their way right now, and I can't wait to get them!!

Next is NYGStyle, who's shop features "an eclectic mix of vintage treasures"! I scored this beautiful milk glass cake plate and matching compote! She even gave me 10% off my purchase because I asked if her winter discount of 20% applied to the whole store instead of just winter outerwear. It didn't, but just because I messaged her she gave me 10% off. :) Nice right?

At Myra Melinda, I found this baby yellow owl! :) He found a place on my mantel just recently!! :) Her shop is full of one of a kind goodies!!

At Legacy & Linens I found this lot of handkerchiefs

and these fabulous buttons!

This lady is such a sweetheart! Neither of us noticed there were only 6 handkerchiefs pictured in the listing; even though it stated it was for 7 total. So she sent me an extra one without me even asking! :) What a fantastic seller!!!

Last but certainly not least is Midwest Vintage Co. I scored some fabulous vintage sheet fabric and pillowcases! :) I've got something super fun planned for all my new fabric! I can't wait to find some time to get started!!

What have you found on etsy or anywhere else lately? We'd LOVE to hear all about your fabulous finds!!! Have a great weekend!! :)


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What We Like (or Don’t Like) Wednesdays—Targus Lap Chill Mat

Last January I got a new laptop (guess I need to review the laptop at some point). I wanted to be able to use my computer anywhere and not be stuck at a desk. I started sitting on the couch with my laptop on my lap, and I noticed that LOTS of heat was being generated under the laptop. Now, in January it was cold here (unseasonably COLD!), and the heat was kind of nice; however, I knew that summer was coming, and the heat would NOT be nice when temperatures were in the 90s or 100s. Also, that heat buildup is not healthy for your laptop either. So, I decided to start looking for a laptop pad. I always do research and read reviews before purchasing something so off to Amazon I went. (Amazon is great, by the way, for reading reviews!) There are so many laptop pads/mats to choose from. It is kind of overwhelming.

Targus Chill Mat (2)

Targus Lap Chill Mat

Beth and I had been to Target, and I had seen the Targus Lap Chill Mat there. I decided to start my search with this laptop mat. After much research, the Targus Lap Chill Mat is the one I ended up purchasing (at Amazon because it was cheaper there), and I LOVE it! I have a 16” laptop, and it fits perfectly. It connects to my laptop via a USB plug, and there are two little fans running inside the mat that keep air circulating under my laptop. A lot of people complained that the fans are noisy. Now I have GREAT hearing (ask my husband), and they don’t bother me. Some people have also commented about the flimsiness of the USB plug. I’m not sure what they are talking about because I haven’t had any problems with mine. I do keep mine plugged in all the time. When I power the computer down at night, the fans power down also. Other than that, they run the entire time the laptop is on which is usually all day from around 6:30 am until 10:00 pm.

Targus Chill Mat (1) 

I also like that the mat is slanted which makes using your laptop very comfortable. I even keep the mat under the laptop when I am sitting at my desk.

If you’re in the market for a laptop pad, this is an excellent choice. If your laptop is larger, it will probably hang over the edge of the mat, so check the dimensions and see if it will work for you. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them.

Have a great night!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Great Giveaway—Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Products

Betty Crocker is hosting its first-ever gluten-free recipe contest, the Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest, and they want you to be a part of it!

Betty Crocker Recipe Contest

To make this challenge a bit easier, Kimberly at Gluten-free is Life is hosting a giveaway that includes the Betty Crocker gluten-free mixes to get you started. I have tried the cake mix and Bisquick, and they both are great!

Betty Crocker Giveaway

The information that follows is directly from the Gluten-free is Life blog:

More information from MyBlogSpark & Betty Crocker:

We know baking in a gluten-free world poses its own challenges – as well as sweet rewards – so we want to give you a chance to show off the creative solutions and tasty treats that you’ve created for your family and friends.

Now through June 30th, visit for the chance to win a Grand Prize of $5,000. The grand prize winner will also have the chance to be featured on a Betty Crocker® Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick®Gluten Free baking mix package and/or be featured in a Betty Crocker publication! All you have to do is submit an original gluten free holiday-themed appetizer, bread or dessert recipe, using any Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix.
Recipes will be judged on five key categories: taste, creativity, ease of preparation, consumer appeal and appearance. Plus, we want you to keep baking deliciously, so if you’re one of 10 selected finalists, you will receive a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking gift basket filled with baking items and Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes. Even more exciting, finalists’ recipes will be featured on and voted on by the Gluten Freely community to determine the Grand Prize Winner!

For great recipe tips, ideas, and suggestions, visit to help get you started and learn more about the Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest.
In addition, through the end of June, you can save 20% on the purchase of any of the five Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes. Visit to buy yours today!

This giveaway ends tonight at midnight, eastern time I think. So, you need to enter today! Go here to enter. Good luck and happy baking!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Made on Mondays--Super Easy (and Healthy!) Turkey Taco Salad

It's time again for Made on Mondays! I've got some craft projects in the works, but they aren't quite complete yet, so I thought I'd continue with the recipe theme for this week! :) We make taco salad all the time because it's super simple to make and healthy too! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Turkey Taco Salad


1 lb. extra lean ground turkey breast
1 Packet Taco Bell taco seasoning mix
shredded cheese (we use a 2% mexican blend)
salsa and/or fresh tomatoes
light sour cream
optional: frozen pepper stir fry mix
optional: Taco Bell Sauce Packets


1. Brown the lean ground turkey in a pan. Once it's cooked through, I like to use a paper towel to get all the water and little bit of grease out of it. After you do this, add the Taco Bell Taco Seasoning Mix and water. I use about 3/4 of the packet and add water until I like the consistency. Let that simmer. I also like to add some frozen pepper stir fry mix to add a few more veggies in!

2. While the turkey is simmering, you can start on making the salad. Layer lettuce (I like to use romaine), fresh tomatoes, salsa, and shredded cheese on your plate.

3. The last step is to add your turkey on top. Then I like to add some sour cream and a couple Taco Bell Mild Sauce packets to mine! (I always snag extras when we eat there!) :)

And that's it! It only takes about 20 minutes to get everything ready! Even quicker if you have the lean ground turkey already thawed!

Happy Monday! Hope everyone has a great week! :)


Hey this is Denise. I wanted to add that I can't use Taco Bell taco seasoning mixes because they contain gluten; however, I can use Old El Paso taco seasoning mixes. So, if you are gluten free, go ahead and make this awesome recipe. Just use Old El Paso in place of the Taco Bell seasoning. Happy Eating!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Feature Fridays—For the love of junk

For this Feature Friday, we wanted to feature a great blog, For the love of junk.


For the love of junk

I can’t even remember what I was searching for when I happened upon this blog. The first thing that caught my eye, or rather my ear, was Marta’s playlist. Everything from “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum to “Imagine” by John Lennon. Great songs! Then at the end of her blog I found this:

Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”--by Marianne Williamson

What an inspiration it was to read this and what a great way to live!

Then I started looking through Marta’s blog. I was amazed by her eclectic tastes. There’s something for everyone, so fun to look at. She runs her own little shop and has pictures of it on her blog. Check out the post on Sunday, May 22 for pictures of her shop. For some reason, I cannot post pictures from her blog here, so you’ll have to go to her blog to see for yourself what a great collection of “junk” she has.

We hope you all enjoy Marta’s blog as much as we do!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What We Like (or Don't Like) Wednesdays—Heartland Gluten-Free Pasta

This is a great gluten-free pasta. Check out Heartland Pasta and see all the different pastas they make.

Heartland Pasta

As you see they make Gluten-Free Fusilli, Penne, and Spaghetti. I have used all three (see my previous post where I used Heartland Gluten-Free Fusilli for Easy Chicken and Noodles). I honestly can’t tell any difference between this pasta and regular pasta. I do add about 1-2 minutes to the suggested cooking time of all three different pastas, and it cooks up great! My family eats it without any complaints. I have found Heartland Gluten-Free Products at Walmart and so far haven’t found it anywhere else locally. You can do a Product Locator search on their website to check your area.

Amazon does carry all three. Click the pictures to link to the product on Amazon.

Heartland Fusilli

Heartland Penne

Heartland Spaghetti

(Amazon is currently out of the spaghetti at the time of this posting, but they should be getting more in.)

I wanted to add that on the packaging there is this message: “Processed in a facility that uses wheat and egg.” People who have Celiac Disease have to be very careful about cross contamination from wheat, and I, of course, was concerned about this statement. So, I checked out their website and found their response regarding this issue. Here is what they say: “We follow the proposed rule in the Federal Register (72 FR 7295) that tests for gluten at the 20ppm level. While we do not have dedicated equipment for our Gluten Free pasta, we have a very detailed protocol in place to prevent cross contamination to ensure safety for consumption. Before we produce any Gluten Free pasta, a thorough cleaning of all equipment and surfaces occurs. In addition, several swab tests are done of primary surfaces to ensure the cleaning was done properly and safe to produce the Gluten Free pasta. The gluten level of the product is also verified to ensure that it does not exceed 20 ppm.” So, after reading that, I personally feel very safe eating this pasta.

If you need to eat gluten free and are looking for a great pasta, Heartland Gluten-Free Pastas can’t be beat.

Have a Happy Day!