Techy Tuesday

It's hard to believe that it is Tuesday again and time for me to get right to the Techy Tuesday highlight. This week's item is something I fought especially hard not to have. For some reason, I thought that it would be a complete nightmare. I don't know why. Seriously, I have no idea why I was so against it. I am totally rational like that.

This spring we, and by we--you know that I mean DH, painted our two side doors, which truly are our main doors) and changed out the hardware on both. You see, last fall we put in new screen/storm doors and the hardware on those was a brushed nickel. The existing hardware on the exterior door was brass. Certainly not my choice. It also helped that part of the dead bolt was starting to stick. I just couldn't stand it. And the doors needed to be painted. So, we painted the doors and put on new hardware. I gave into the whole electronic key pad and I am soooo happy. Again, why did I fight it so long? There are several different brands/types of keypads out there. The one that we selected is a Kwikset Smart Key. I love the way it looks and the super cool part is that you can easily rekey it yourself with their little tool. In fact DH rekeyed it upon installation so that the keys already on our key rings worked. (The old hardware was Kwikset as well.) Nice. Didn't even have to swap out keys.
Other features that I love:
  • It's beautiful. Beautiful.
  • I can lock it as I am leaving by just pushing the button. I don't have to fumble with keys while making sure the kids don't fall down the steps and juggling the diaper bag, my purse and whatever else I have in my hands. Quick. Easy. Push the button and I am on my way. So wishing that I would have had that while hauling that baby carrier/infant seat around. That would've made my life so much easier.
  • You can program it for a temporary code or rekey it instantly yourself so if there is contractor that is coming by or your neighbor is bringing in your mail while you are gone, you can give them access and then change the code or rekey it when they no longer need access.
  • The key pad is back lit with one touch so you can easily see it at night if you fail to leave the porch light on or if it is, ahem, burnt out. Not that I would know anything about that.
  • The interior has a little light that flashes red or green so you know immediately without even walking over to the door if it is locked or not.
  • Did I mention it's beautiful?
So, thank you, DH, for once again making my life easier. My apologies for not wanting a key pad earlier. I loovve it!


Sweet Summertime

Here's how I know summer is here:
1. Staying in jammies until mid morning or later.
2. The kids have had hot dogs off the grill for at least one meal nearly every day for the last week.
3. The purple kiddie pool has made it's way to the yard.
4. A pitcher of Kool-Aid in the fridge.
5. The peonies are in bloom. That is truly the signature of summer if you ask me.

How about you? How do you know it's summer? Are you enjoying it?
Publish Post


Things I Love Thursday--The Pampered Chef

A while back I did a post about my love for the smooth edge can opener by The Pampered Chef. Which got me thinking about how many of the kitchen utensils that I love and use frequently are actually items from The Pampered Chef. Let me say that I am not a demonstrator. I am not affiliated in any way with The Pampered Chef. I am simply a happy customer that is consistently pleased with the quality and utility of their products. That being said here are my "top 10" favorite items and most frequently used.

In no particular order:
smooth edge can opener
bamboo spoons
large batter bowl
small batter bowl
large serving spatula (the perfect spatula for cookies or lasagna)
mini serving spatula (the go-to for serving bars)
Measure-all measuring cup
Mix 'n scraper
small Mix 'n scraper
rotary grater

What it takes to make my list of favorites:
-These are hands down the items that I reach for with every recipe or meal that I make.
-Easy to clean--I run all these items through the dishwasher.
-With the exception of the rotary grater and can opener, I own multiples of all the rest. Seriously. I use them that often.
-Durability. I have owned similar utensils purchased through other venues. And replaced them with items from The Pampered Chef.

What is your favorite kitchen gadget or utensil (from The Pampered Chef or not)?

Go check out what other people are loving! Visit Jill over at The Diaper Diaries. You'll be glad you did!


What's Cooking? Wednesday

As you know, I am a little bit of a cook book/new recipe junkie. I love trying new recipes! Frequently when visiting some where, I'll fill a few quite minutes by flipping through the cookbooks that reside there. Of course, at my mom's or grandma's I'm usually digging through their recipe files--the tried and true that I have missed when digging on previous visits. The thing about the recipes I am most often drawn to, is the ingredient list. The ingredients need to be items that I frequently keep on hand, know I have on hand or that I can easily pick up at the local market here in the sticks.
When the kids and I were in Ohio to visit our sweets friends, I took time one afternoon to flip through a few of Jill's cookbooks. I found a few recipes that I am so anxious to try. The first one made it's debut on Monday night. It was quite tasty. I did a little improvising based on what I know our family likes and the ingredients on hand...

Alabama Style Pork Tenderloin
3 cups OJ
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons dried rosemary (I subbed a little thyme)
3 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
1 1/2-2 pound pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon flour (all purpose)
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced (I omitted this)

Combine OJ, soy sauce, garlic, rosemary and lemonade. Divide in half. Place half in a zippered bag, leave half in the bowl and set in fridge. Slice tenderloin into 1 inch pieces and place in bag with marinade (I used a 9x13 pan and just turned the meat every once in a while). Fridge for several hours or overnight.
Heat oil in a skillet. Place marinated meat in the skillet. Brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and drain. Place flour, onion, peeper and tenderloin in a plastic bag. Shake. Pour in to a 9x13 pan. Pour over remaining reserved marinade from fridge. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.
**I actually just browned on the stove and then baked it in the 9x13 on a 350 degree grill.


Techy Tuesday

DH is a bit of a tech geek. Not in a tape his glasses and wear a pocket protector kind of way, but in a super helpful, trying to make our life better sort of way. He has suggested many solutions over the years that I have not always gotten immediately on board with. Ahem. But he is persistent. In honor of his persistence, I intend over the next couple of weeks to high light a few of his suggestions and additions. In every instance, after installation, I have wondered how I lived with out it to this point. Why do I doubt him some times?
This week, I give you...The motion sensor light switch.
Do you have one of these? If not, you need one. It is so nice. DH installed one in the new pantry closet--which is perfect. Since nearly every time I open that door I either have my hands full going in or coming out and sometimes both. The switch is on a timer that you can adjust. Where ours is installed the motion of the door triggers it on so no frantic waving of your arms like many of the motion sensor switches in the public restrooms.
We had one in our old house in the laundry room--again a situation where most times my arms were full when I walked through the door way. Love it. You can buy one at most home improvement stores. Ours have all come from Home Depot.
What room in your house does the light tend to be left on or that you often are fumbling with the switch when you have your arms full?


Spring 2009

Sharing some random moments from around here this spring...
The Little Man was not so impressed with his first time swimming...
Ready to hit the Zoo...
Princess Pigtails up close and personal with the penguins...
Three generations:Some of the best pizza we've had in recent memory, Zio's Pizzeria in Omaha...The Little Man enjoying his slice at Zio's...Yum!Princess Pigtails with my grandparents at my niece and nephew's birthday party:
The Little Man and my cousin's son, Cason...On a jet plane, heading to Ohio...
Finally made it to Young's Dairy in Yellow Springs, OH...The Little Man, Our friend, K, and Princess Pigtails...Feeding the goats at Young's:Princess Pigtails and K...This picture just makes my heart happy...My friend Kari and her family stopped by this weekend...seriously, had it really been 8 years?Happy Father's Day, DH! You are a fantastic father to our kids...on a side note, I have no idea what Princess Pigtails is doing with her hand here, but this is the best of the pictures I got. She has her grandmother's innate ability to close her eyes every time the camera snaps. :)So there you have it, in pictures a bit of what we've been up to lately. Hope you had a great spring and that your summer is off to a good start!


Here I Am

Hard to believe that it has been well over a month since I last posted. I'm not really sure where this spring went, but it is gone. We've been busy the last month. Some highlights have been:
  • Mother's Day in the homeland with my parents (DH went to South Dakota hunting...that's a story for another day)
  • a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha with family over Memorial Day
  • birthday parties for family on both sides and for a family friend or Princess Pigtail's "best friend" (as she informed me yesterday)
  • a big trip (airplane and all) to Ohio last week for me and the kiddos to see some long time friends
  • early childhood community education classes this week for Princess Pigtails

Our favorite babysitter, Heather, is home from college (yeah!!) so we've had a sitter more the last month than in the last year. I've made a couple of kid-free trips to the grocery store (it's the little things, isn't it?) and DH and I even had a date night this week. Summer is off to a great start.
I have tons of pictures to sort through and when I get through those, I'll post a photo journal of spring and summer thus far. Until then, I'll leave you with a new recipe from Gooseberry Patch...it's perfect for these warm summer nights! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Fudge Pie
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
9 oz. graham cracker pie crust
1/2 cup cashews, chopped and divided
1/2 cup jar fudge topping, warmed
Garnish with whipped topping, additional warmed fudge topping and chopped cashews.

Combine PB and honey; stir in ice cream. Spoon half of ice-cream mixture into pie crust; sprinkle with half of cashews. Drizzle half of fudge topping over cashews; spoon remaining ice cream over top. Sprinkle with remaining cashews and drizzle with remaining fudge topping.
Freeze about 8 hours or until firm. Garnish with whipped topping, additional warmed fudge topping and chopped cashews. Serves 6-8.

Two things: pay attention to the amount of ice cream you are using. I completely spaced out and used a half gallon instead of 1 quart. Lucky for me, I had bought a second crust, so I ended up with two pies out of the deal. But really didn't intend to make two. Secondly, this says it serves 6-8, but it is really rich so I cut the pieces pretty small. More realistically, it probably serves 10-12.