Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweepstakes: BHG Room Refresh

Enter the Better Homes & Gardens $5,000 Room Refresh Sweepstakes!! Hurry, the deadline to enter is April 30th!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recipe Review: Slow-Cooker Barbecue Chicken

This was my first attempt at a slow-cooker meal by myself. I consider myself to be a pretty good cook, but was wanting to branch out and try new recipes. I had a brand new slow-cooker that I received as a wedding gift a few years ago and decided to pick a simple recipe for my first attempt with it. My husband is a very picky eater and neither one of us particularly likes meat, with the exception of chicken. I figured this was a good recipe to try since it's not a typical chicken recipe, but more mimics a pulled pork sandwich (which neither one of us would ever eat). I have to say both my husband and I were very pleased with this one. It was SUPER easy to make and came out great. The original recipe can be found above but I modified mine slightly:

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I cut mine in half to fit better into the bottom of the slow cooker)
  • 1 cup Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing & Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Arrange chicken in bottom of slow cooker, cover with sauce.
  3. Cook on low for approximately 5 hours or until done.
  4. Remove chicken to cutting board or plate. Shred with forks.
  5. Return Chicken to slow-cooker and combine with sauce.
  6. Serve on bread of your choice.

I served mine on toasted Kaiser rolls. The recipe calls for the chicken to be cooked for 5 hours, however mine was done after about 3 1/2. This was probably because my slow-cooker was brand new. I also did not add the cornstarch and chicken broth at the end that the original recipe called for. Mine turned out fine without it but I would assume the cornstarch would simply thicken up the sauce. Super easy, super quick and super delicious!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Product Review: Swiffer Sweeper Vac

I have a slight obsession with cleaning products and an even bigger obsession with vacuums. The vacuum thing started during my first pregnancy, I suppose during the "nesting" phase, and it just never went away. My husband still steers my away from the vacuum aisle when we go to Walmart. He refuses to return any more that I have bought, tried, disliked and then sent him back to the store to exchange. We just recently had new wood flooring from Home Depot installed and I wanted something for every day use without having to drag out a bulky vacuum. Once I saw the commercial for the Swiffer Sweeper Vac, that was it, I had to have it. So I spent the $40 for it and was so excited to get it home to try it. It was super simple to put together, but had to be charged for at least 12 hours until the light turned from red to green. So I plugged it in that evening and let it charge overnight. The next afternoon I went to try it out.... and the light was still red. Talk about disappointing. But I couldn't resist, so I tried it out. It only lasted about 5 minutes but seemed to work well enough so I plugged it back in to let it finish charging. By this time it was Sunday evening. By Tuesday morning the stupid light STILL hadn't turned green so I called Swiffer. Apparently I received one of the few models that has a light that never turns green. Awesome. After about a week of charging though, it did eventually turn green but the battery life is horrible. At most it lasts about 10-15 minutes, which for me is barely enough time to vacuum all of the hardwood and tile areas of our house (about 1500 square feet). For my 9 year old stepson, it's nowhere near enough time when it's his turn to vacuum (mostly because he dawdles and vacuums in circles or figure 8's or whatever his heart desires that day). I like that it's lightweight and compact and easy for kids to use, but I should have listened to the reviews that complained about the battery life. To pay $40 for a product that takes 24 hours to charge and lasts about 10 minutes MAX is just ridiculous to me. Now I just use it for every day use of traffic areas (kitchen floor and entry way) and spot cleaning the rest of the floors. It's great for picking up pet hair and dirt but not so great at picking up larger items like pieces of cat food. I typically love Swiffer products but I am pretty disappointed in this particular one. If they found a way to improve the battery life I would be MUCH happier. Needless to say, if this one breaks I definitely won't be rushing out to pay $40 for another one.

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Cleaning Schedule

Here is a closer look at my cleaning schedule:

Daily Chores:
   -Make Beds
   -Empty Dishwasher
   -Laundry (I try to aim for at least 1 load per day)
   -Wipe Off Counters/Kitchen Table
   -Sweep Floors (At least the Kitchen and Traffic Areas)
   -Empty Trash
   -Plan for Next Day
   -Quick Pick Up/Straighten

Weekly Chores:

*Monday: I use this day as a "catch-up" day from my slacking over the weekend. I try to get chores finished during the week so that I have the weekend free for family time. I go from room to room putting items back in their place and getting the house in order so that it is easier to clean the rest of the week. I also use this day as my main laundry day. I try to do at least one load per day during the week, but somehow it still manages to pile up on me.

*Tuesday: Clean the Bathrooms. I wipe down the mirrors, counters, bathtubs/showers, toilets and sweep and mop the floors. My bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room floors are all ceramic tile so I mop these floors this day as well while I already have my wet jet mop out.

*Wednesday: Dust living areas, sweep and mop hardwood floors. It makes sense to me to dust a room and then clean the floor in that same room. I dust both living rooms and both dining rooms and then sweep and mop the hardwood floors in these same rooms along with the hallway and entry way.

*Thursday: Dust bedrooms, vacuum carpets. We have four bedrooms and they are the only rooms with carpet. I dust each bedroom, then go back and vacuum all of them. While I have the vacuum out, I vacuum the two area rugs in the living rooms.

*Friday: Since Friday is pay day for my husband, this is the day I use to pay bills. I also balance our bank accounts and file any papers, receipts etc. This is also usually my menu planning day.

*Saturday: FAMILY DAY! No chores unless something become messy. And with 2 young boys, something is bound to be messy. But if I can live with it for a few days then I try to let it go.

*Sunday: Another family day with the exception of clipping coupons.

Monthly/As Needed Chores:
   -Clean Windows
   -Dust Baseboards
   -Dust Blinds
   -Vacuum Along Edges of Bedrooms
   -Move & Sweep Under Furniture
   -Organize/Straighten Closets
   -Organize Kids Toys/Donate or Toss Unneeded Items
   -Change A/C Filter
   -Bathe dogs/Give Flea Meds
   -Wash Dog Beds
   -Organize Kitchen Cabinets/Pantry
   -Steam Mop Tile Floors
   -Clean Upholstery
   -Spot Clean Carpets
   -Dust A/C Vents
   -Dust Ceiling Fans
   -Clean Out Freezers
   -Vacuum Mattresses
   -Wash Area Rugs