Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Swagbucks- Wise shopping

Have I told you I love swagbucks?  Yes, I do.  It's easy to use- just another search browser that earns you points then you can redeem them for free $!  My favorite is the $5 Amazon gift card  for 450 points.  Easily earned in 2-3 week, we use these all the time to buy college books and sports sock on Amazon.  Can we hear a woot woot?!

So really, what is the big deal!  Yes, this is a big deal, because I calculated that I 'make' about $120 a year just through swagbucks.  How?  When I open up my laptap- I click on Chrome.  I don't search through Chrome though.  I search through Swagbucks.  It takes a few searches for the points to pop up.  Then over the course of the day with all my searches, my kids, and my husbands searches, we get extra points.  It's like a game- who doesn't like playing games!

So if you click on my link above, I get a few points when you start searching.  When you add your friends to swagbucks you get points.  And on and on it goes.  It's free- read about other ways to earn points at  Or click on the Swagbucks ad on the sidebar to your right here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hamburger Buns made EASY!

photo by SMW

I must be losing it, losing my mind that is.  A month ago I, gasp, left my purse in the cart at the grocery store.  Today I left all my purchased groceries in the store.  Uhuh, I just walked out of the store purse in hand all happy that I had paid for bags of food and then left them there!

What's in my brain?  Straw?

That's not all.  I forgot to buy hamburger buns.  This has become a given- I always forget 1-2 items on my list, usually the most essential parts of a meal.  Yep, I'm good that way.

Since I refuse to retrace my tracks back to the store, I decided to make buns from scratch- the bread kind.  I have made whole wheat ones before, which are just as easy as these pure white ones.  Today we wanted white and fluffy hamburger buns.

photo by SMW

I only had a little crumb (I'm gluten free, rats!), man, are they good?!  Almost melt-in-your-mouth-bread-good! These would work for sliders at a football party just perfect.

Can I impress upon you that it was EASY? As in baby easy.  Five min. of assembly and stirring and then leave it, shape it, leave it, bake.  While you pick up kids from school, let the dough rise.  Then unpack backpacks.  Interrupt that for a second with shaping the dough into little buns, then go back to backpack and lunch bag duty.  By that time, the oven has pre-heated and you're ready to bake.  This is the perfect time to start frying up the hamburgers themselves.  See, no time at all is involved in these buns.  And they cost pennies!  Like change in your pocket, my friends. Enjoy some yummy rolls, and maybe add some hamburger meat to them :)

 Beautiful Burger Buns
   adapted from a King Arthur flour recipe
     yield: 8 buns

1 c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1 t. salt
1 egg
2 T. butter, melted
3 1/4 c. flour
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the sugar & yeast over the warm water; let sit for 5 minutes. Add the salt, egg, and melted butter.
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly stir in the flour, a cup at a time until a soft dough is formed. Knead the dough in the mixer for several minutes.
  • With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a rough ball. Coat the inside of the mixing bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough ball back into the bowl, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. Divide into 8 pieces and form into rolls or buns.
  • Let rise on a greased baking sheet for 30-40 minutes. If desired, brush with melted butter or egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds or dried onion flakes.
  • Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until light brown on the tops. Cool on a rack.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Music Moment Monday

photo by

Who doesn't love a little bit of France in their life?  Since I lived there, went to school there, and speak it, I sometimes go crazy that I can't participate in that way of life.

Ah, thanks to Youtube you can participate, even if it's a bit silly. Check out the Music Moment for today.  It's mostly giberish.  (And for Austenland fans, that is the Mr. Wickham!)

In harmony,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Amazon Running Shoes

I've been looking for new running shoes (not that I'm advertising that I'm a runner, haha- I'm a great walker!).  I found these shoes on Amazon for $29.98.  Thought I'd share this excellent buy!

Have a great day!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Garden 2014

photo by SMW

My tomatoes are exploding.  Yipee!  This is truly the first time in 17 years in Washington that I've had a real tomato crop.  I'm so excited I could pinch myself.  Now, if we can have enough heat so all of them will ripen.

Does anyone know what to do to make them ripen when they are still green?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

DIY- A renovated bathroom

all photos by SMW

This is a bathroom from circa 1980.  It's been sitting like this, a little shabby, worn, and understyled for awhile now.  I should have gotten a full on photo shot of the teeny,tiny, dwarf-like vanity- but I was so anxious to rip everything out, I didn't.  My bad.

No need to explain the sore state of this bathroom.  But the, ahem, interesting part of this story is when we started to pull up the vinyl squares.  I must preface this story first.  Let's talk about when I tried to pull up the vinyl in the main bathroom.  That vinyl didn't want to leave.  It had held that floor for over 25 years and wasn't going anywhere.  My dear friend badly hurt her finger using a utility knife trying to cut it off! Casualties of vinyl, sheesh! I ended up hiring someone to remove the blasted vinyl.  A girl has to bring in the big guns sometimes.

Before the demo of the basement bathroom I had a tad bit of angst about ripping up that vinyl- could we do it? would we have to hire someone to remove it? would my girlfriend have to get stitches? It was a hand wringer.

Well, would you believe it but those bad boys just lifted off like nothing to it.  As in, they were never glued down.   Yes you read that correctly, they had sat there for decades just hovering above of the concrete floor, unattached! So much for my worries!

Out with the weird vinyl, the dwarf-like vanity, and we're off to the races.

Gig and I put down the tile, while Boss Moss made the cuts, and Eden helped me grout.  Boss Moss installed the vanity (which I lovingly spray painted) and a new larger toilet.  In 2 and a half days we have a beautiful bathroom that I'd gladly sit in.

What do you think?  Purty isn't she? Ah, much better!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What to Bear Lake, ID/UT?

photos by SMW

See that azure water?  It really is that beautiful color at Bear Lake.  It's even bluer on a sunny day.  We happened to there when some storms rolled in over a few days.  We had moments of sunshine on those days, but it was intermittent.  Our last day there we had glorious full sunshine and heat!  Yahoo!

Here are some ideas of what to do when the weather doesn't cooperate with your vacation plans:

1. Make the most of your condo or vacation rental.  We stayed at Worldmark condos.  They usually have a pool, hot tub, and other facilities on site.  Ours had a volleyball court, outdoor/indoor pool and hot tub, tennis courts, and lots of lawn space to play football and frisbee.  When the rained stopped, we ran outside to enjoy all of these activities. Don't try what Gigi is doing here!  

2. Find the best local spots to eat. Bear Lake is known for raspberries.  For a Pacific Northwesterner this is no big deal.  But if you're from the intermountain west, having fresh, farm raspberries is a big deal.  So we enjoyed local raspberry shakes at 2 cute places.  One shake shack has been there for over 40 years and they make their shakes thick and tall with real ice cream.  The other is a super cute hang-out where you can sit in boats while you enjoy your shake.

3. Find an activity you don't mind doing if it does rain.  You can see there are no clouds in the sky.  But the night before it dumped rain and we decided we were going to ride no matter what.  It turned out to be a gorgeous day, but it was horribly muddy.  The horses were knee deep in mud. I wish had 5 hands so I could have taken pictures in the aspen groves we rode through.  It was breath-taking.

4. Find a tour that's inside. Again, it looks like the clouds are moving out, but on the way to this tour, it poured buckets.  Heavier than usual even in Washington.

This little town, Paris, Id, is about 15 minutes north of Bear Lake. The pioneers built this tabernacle in the 1880's.  Surprisingly, I learned that my great great great grandfather was on the committee to build this beautiful structure.  His name was on a plaque on the front of the church.  Cool beans!

Every day they have an organ recital at 11 am.  The tour takes you to all parts of the building and is very interesting.  

We found another 'indoor' tour at Minnetonka Cave which is 15 minutes north of Bear Lake, near St. Charles, Id.  Wow, what a tour!  We were in the enormous cave for over 90 minutes and it was so interesting.  Lots to learn about cave bacon, wedding stalagmites, pack rats, and more!  Hope you can get to this cave to know what I'm talking about.

5. Visit the beach. We did relax at the beach when the rain stopped and on the one day we enjoyed heat/total sun.  Can you see the shells?  We visited a part of the lake that the beach front was littered with shells.  Millions of tiny ones all over you could barely see any sand.  Oh, and that book I'm reading is fabulous.

Bear Lake has an fun little mystery going on...they have their own 'nessie'.  There are plaques or signs all over the lake telling you to call the mayor if you spot their own Bear Lake Monster.

6. Make use of local attractions. We had been cooped up in the condo playing card games- which we love- and everyone needed a break.  We found a local park.  It occupied even our teenagers and adult children for awhile when the clouds parted for 30 minutes that day.

7. Play in the water. That's what most people do when they go to Bear Lake on vacation.  We only had one day to do it.  We opted to use paddleboards than rent a boat.  It turned out to be a great choice for us.  Gigi went well over half way into the middle of the lake.  The water is so clear you can see straight down.  It's gorgeous out there!

8. Rent a Surrey. We needed to expend some steam and get out because it had rained all morning.  Renting a Surrey bike was really fun and cheap.

So there you have 8 things to do in Bear Lake, ID/UT when the weather isn't too hot or stellar.