Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pumpkin Muffins

My husband and I somehow managed to breed two little boys who are big breakfast eaters.  When I was a kid, eating breakfast meant I would be barfing on the bus (very susceptible to car sickness) and over the years, I guess my body got used to not eating first thing in the morning.
My daughter is the same way.
My husband doesn't eat breakfast either.  I'm not sure about the childhood trauma that explains his morning time eating issues, but I'm sure they're there.
So, for a loooong time, I didn't have to worry about what to fix for breakfast.
Then along came the savages.
They are asking for at least five or six different things to eat before their feet even hit the ground in the morning so I've had to come up with some options.
The recipe I'm sharing now, is my little guy's favorite 'fuffin'.  There's a little extra work at the beginning, but what with the worlds obsession with pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, I figured you wouldn't mind as long as it was worth it, and trust me, it's worth it.

Pumpkin Muffins

16 oz. can pumpkin (unsweetened, not pie filling)
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1-1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Cook pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thick and shiny (5-7 minutes).  Set aside.
Whisk flours, baking soda and baking powder together in a large bowl.
Add butter and vanilla to pumpkin mixture.  Stir a little of pumpkin mix into eggs to temper them so you don't end up with scrambled eggs, then add to pumpkin mixture.
Fold pumpkin mix into flour mix until just combined.  Batter will be very thick.
Divide batter into 12 muffin liners sprayed with nonstick spray and bake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out with just a few crumbs attached to it.
Let muffins cool on rack until they won't burn your face off.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Filthy Fridays

Friday's around here used to go under the name Fitness Friday.
Yeah.  That ship has sailed.
Now my exercise consists of running up and down the stairs with laundry baskets, keeping six acres of land weeded and mowed, and marathon writing sessions (You see what I did there?).  On top of all that, I'm kinda tired of moving all the crap laying all over my house around to make ya'll think I live in some semblance of a clean house.
I don't.
So I am starting a new Friday tradition.  Filthy Friday's.
I'm hoping it will make all you overworked, tired, frustrated parents who assume everyone's houses are meticulously kept and perfectly decorated, realize it's a lie.
Today's filth is brought to you by a month of moving, too many deadlines and too many kids.
And let's be honest.  I don't feel like tackling it.
That's my loft.  Believe it or not, it looks better than it did.  While we were waiting for the new carpet to go into the kids rooms it looked like a flop house.  Mattresses on the floor and empty snack bags everywhere they could stuff them.
Eventually, I have big plans for this space.  Just not today.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Plates a Plenty

A few years ago, the great people of Ikea chose our area to grace with their presence.  For about three years, my husband and I binge bought, filling our house with washable sofa's, expanding dining tables for our children to stab with forks and every paper covered floor lamp available.  Family friendly, affordable home goods in a fun shopping environment?  Best thing ever.
So far, I have not regretted a single purchase I've made from the business savvy Swedes.  Except one.  And even that one isn't their fault.
It's the Novogratz' fault.  (Is that how you make that name possessive?  I need to check my grammar book.  But not right now.  Maybe later.  Or not.  You might have to just deal with it.)
I'm not a dish set kind of girl.  Matching plates, cups and saucers in a lovely ivy design?  Not my thing, but we needed new plates and bowls desperately.  I think we were using my husband's stuff from when he moved out on his own in 1996 and took all the hand-me-down's he could get.  I'm also pretty sure we only had enough for like, four people.  Maybe five if one was okay with using a rogue salad plate.
I decided the only way to go was white.  Then I could buy anything that tickled my fancy, as long as it was white, and everything would coordinate without being matchy-matchy.  So, off we went to Ikea and bought dinner plates, salad plates and bowls for twelve people.  It was glorious and I loved the clean look of all white everything.  Life was good.
Then, I caught an episode featuring the Novogratz family on HGTV and it ruined everything.
In this particular episode, the family was at home getting ready for dinner.  One of the kids opened a drawer and pulled out their dinner plates.  I had instant buyers remorse.
Their dishes were different.  Each and every plate was a beautiful, unique design.  Nothing matched, yet somehow it worked perfectly.
I've thought about that show ever since and recently, decided I was being stupid.  I can find a new family for my white dishes.  Life is too short.
So last week, I started my collection. 

I found them all at the thrift store down the street and only paid $4 for all three.  It's going to take a while, but I think it's going to be a fun process.  I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Camper Part 2

A few years ago, my husband and I bought our first camper.  We loved traveling and spending uninterrupted time with our kids and it seemed like the right thing to do, and in a certain sense, it was.
Unfortunately, we did not do enough research before dropping more than a few thousand bucks on what turned out to be a pretty hot mess. 
We spent more money and a bunch of time doing our best to get her back in good order, but the more we worked, the more problems and damage we found.  It sucked.  I did a post about the first step we took to stop her from leaking at the seams (it's a real thing and ALL campers will do it if not taken care of properly).  If you want to see what we did, check it out here.
At the end of that post, I said I would tell you how we went a step further to protect against future leaks.  Then...  well...  Sorry.
So, here I am, three years later, giving you the 411 on stopping camper leaks step two.  Let me preface this by saying this is not for all campers.  This is not something you want to do unless you absolutely HAVE TO.  This will NEVER COME OFF.  It is supposed to be permanent and prevent all future leaks and I can say so far it has, but I would NEVER put this on a camper in good or even decent shape.  Our camper walls were already so rotten at the corners some of our screws had nothing to grab on to, compromising the seal during step one so we felt we had nothing to lose.
I found this product online and it sounded pretty awesome.  We bought the webbed version for it's flexibility and the UV protector required and started taping.
We ran the tape up each corner of the trailer as well as on the roof where there was a rip in the rubber.  Once we rolled over all the tape with a roller/our hands to make sure it was well adhered, I pained on the UV protector.
Since we did this, I don't think we have had any more leakage from the areas we taped.  Unfortunately, we figured out the windows were leaking terribly and the guy we bought it from, used builders caulk to try to seal them up (that's a terrible idea).  The leaking windows had caused a huge amount of damage on their own to the interior of the walls.  On top of that, the outside storage hatch at the front passenger side had been leaking for so long before we bought it that the floor of it was rotting out.  That doesn't sound too bad since it's only a storage area, but it's also where the leveling jack is attached, so the last time we used it, the jack crunched up through the floor.
Anyway, the point of this post.  Camper sealing part 2.  Eternabond.  My thoughts.
  • Only use Eternabond as a last resort.  It's not coming off.  Ever.  It will be stuck to your camper for eternity.  Hence the name.
  • Eternabond will look best on white campers.  The UV coting is like white paint so that's what your seams will be.  Big white stripes.
  • I was very happy with the Eternabond and don't have a bad thing to say about it, my issue was lack of knowledge when buying our first RV.
So, where does this leave you?
My first suggestion is to be VERY, VERY careful if you are in the market for an RV.  I'm working up a post on some suggestions when shopping based on our experience to help ya'll out.
My second suggestion is if you, like us, already have a leaky damaged RV on your hands and have nothing lest to loose, Eternabond might be a good option to consider.
I hope this helps all of you out there in camperland!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The One I Left Behind

I'm deep in the throes of moving.  I have half my stuff at one place and half my crap at another and it's a little tiring.  And chaotic.  And overwhelming.
It's made me realize I've stretched myself a little thin lately and I need to simmer down.  So this morning, I pushed back the release of my next book by almost a month.
I rushed my last book release and hated every minute of it.  I had to spend every free moment writing and re-writing and it not only took a lot of the fun out of it, it also took away from the fun I was able to have with my people.
Lesson learned.
But that's not the point of this post.  The point of this post is to show you the end product of the house we've inhabited for the past half decade.
The house we worked our butts off on.  The house that will make another family as happy as it's made us.
I'm not one to get emotionally attached to a building.  For me, a home is about the people and experiences you have in a house, not the house itself, so I am happy to move my home to a new location.  I will share some before pictures of the new house soon, until then, here is the beauty I am passing on to her new people.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Morning Pancakes

I have long been on the search for the perfect pancake.  I wanted a light and fluffy pancake with great flavor and some height.  One would not think this was much to ask, but considering most restaurant breakfasts feature gummy, wet and flat versions, I figured it might take a while.  If they do it like it's their job (which it is) using a commercial griddle and still can't make a good pancake, me in my  unprofessional grade kitchen might be screwed.  And screwed I was.  I have made pancakes upon pancakes, upon pancakes.  I have tried Amish recipes (I always go there first because I figure if anyone can do something right it's the Amish... not true... they don't make good pancakes either.) I have separated eggs and whipped egg whites, I have even made sourdough pancakes (the worst of the bunch AND the most work).
So when I sat down to look for yet another pancake recipe, I didn't hold much hope.  I can across a recipe that made enough pancakes to feed an army and seemed to have less liquid than most other recipes.  I thought at least maybe these would not spread as thin so maybe it would be a good start.  I reduced the recipe to a third of it's size and adjusted the measurements ( I am NOT measuring 3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. of flour---that became 1 even cup) and made a batch up.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I had actually found the pancake of my dreams.  Tall and tender with a light and airy center AND since they use only buttermilk, they have a yummy, rich flavor.
So, if you have long been searching for the perfect pancake, rest easy, the quest is over!

Sunday Morning Pancakes
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1 Tbsp. melted butter
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
Mix together remaining ingredients (I do this in a glass measuring cup starting with the buttermilk).
Pre-heat griddle to 300 degrees or heat skillet over medium heat.
When pan is hot, gently fold wet ingredients into dry being careful not to over mix, but being sure no large flour pockets remain.
Drop onto heated griddle or pan and cook until lightly browned and top looks dry.  Flip and brown on other side.
***This recipe will make 8-5" pancakes.  IF you want more DO NOT double the recipe, make it twice.  The chemical reaction that causes these pancakes to be so airy is very short lived.  If the batter sits too long, you will end up with gummy, flat pancakes.

She Was Number One

Can you guess which of my blog posts gets the most attention?  It's not a competition.  The winning post, gets the most looks by a long shot.
It is my post about re-sealing our first camper.  In case you don't remember, here it is.
I kinda think it's because of my husband's super sexy hands in one of the shots (Any of you other ladies have a thing for a man with nice hands?).
I feel a little bad about that being such a popular post because as some of you know, we bought a new RV and have tucked our first girl away in a storage lot.  Unfortunately, in addition to being a little small for our growing family, she was pretty neglected by her previous owner and fixing her was going to take more than just a simple resealing. 
The windows had leaked to the point the wallboard was crumbling which meant not only did they need to be removed and resealed, but the inner wall surfaces needed removed and replaced.  Once that started, chances were the insulation would also have to be replaced along with who knows what else.
It didn't seem right to sell her even knowing we would disclose what all was wrong.  Most people who buy campers don't really get what all can and does go wrong with them.  We certainly didn't.
So, she sat in a lot in a neighboring town just waiting for us to decide what in the heck to do with her.
Until know.
Our new house has the perfect spot for her to sit and hang out while I convince my husband to go along with my plan for her.
I want her to be a 'she-shed'.  It would be perfect.  She could have a bed and a kitchenette, making her a great guest house, and I a desk that overlooks the pond at the back of our property would make her a perfect get away for me when I need some peace and quiet to write my sexy time books...  I mean romance novels.
Cross your fingers I can talk him into it.  I think making a she-shed would be a great thing to share with you guys!

Friday, July 15, 2016

While I Was Away

So, I've told you why I'm back (mostly) and now I feel the need to explain what went on while I was gone.
First, I redid my current house.  Now I realize a good and friendly blogger would have taken pictures of all of the projects and shared it with you.
My bad.
I promise to do better next time.  Like, on the next house.

In a couple days I will share the pictures of our current home and give you the basics of our projects.  It made a huge difference when it came to selling.  All our custom touches helped us sell to the second people who looked at it, in under a day, for full price.  See, Pinterest isn't a waste of time after all.

Back to what else I did while on hiatus.  I wrote a book.  Or two.  Or three.

I'm not set on the cover for Regret, but it's okay for now.  RUN was released on April 15, 2016.  Out Bad came out TODAY!  Regret is set for release on October 14, 2016.  I will put links at the end of this post in case you're interested.
I think writing basically falls into the category of making things.  We all know I like to make stuff, and this is just an extension of that.
So, now you know what all I've been up to and I promise to keep you more in the loop from now on.

Monday, July 11, 2016

On the Move

Before I get to why I've been gone for so long, I thought I would tell you why I'm back. 
First, the savages are older and I'm a little less overwhelmed (most of the time).  The big one is six and the smaller, but ornerier one is three.  Now, they can handle themselves a little more and I have a little more free time.
The second, and biggest, reason is our family is on the move.  We've been searching for our next home for almost two years and we finally, finally found it.  But...
It's not real pretty.
The potential is there, but...
If 1994 called and wanted all their stuff back, I'd be screwed.
So, prepare for lots of home renovation and decorating stuff.
Did I mention it's on six acres?
Get ready to watch me figure out how to keep chickens.  I'm pretty sure most of you will stay tuned simply to watch how that works out for me.  I get it.

Friday, July 8, 2016

So, I suck.

I flaked.

Not really, I swear.  I just was really focused on a different sort of project, but.....

I think I'm back, but on a less strenuous schedule.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to blog here on a regular basis.  A VERY regular basis and it just got a little overwhelming, so...

I flaked.

I'm sorry.

I will make it up to you.  I promise.

Over the next few days, if you still love me and forgive my lapse, I will fill you in on what's going on and what is in store for The Modern Housewife.

It's exciting. 

I promise.  I know, promises, promises.