The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

WFMW: Make ahead recipes

So this week’s theme for WFMW is about what works for us during the holidays.

Last year was the first year I was in charge of Thanksgiving and I decided I didn’t want to kill myself on the day and be too exhausted to enjoy the meal. As I was searching for recipes on the best recipe site in the world, Recipezaar, I found a couple of make ahead recipes.

The first is for make ahead mashed potatoes. Nothing saps my will to live like dealing with piles of potatoes!! I made these ahead of time and just baked them on Thanksgiving. And thanks to this video, peeling them will be easier than ever this year!

AND it’s possible to make real gravy ahead of time, too. I am horrible at making gravy – just plain awful. And gravy from a jar? C’mon, let’s get serious. Anyway, I found this recipe and it was hands down the best gravy I’ve ever made. Okay, it was the second time in my life I had made gravy from scratch that was edible. It was a good day for me.

You do end up with excess food hanging around for a couple of days before, but I broke out the cooler and set it on the back porch. Everything stayed nice and cool.

This certainly works for me! Check out more WFMW fun at Kristen’s site.

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Works For Me Wednesday – Dinner Prep at Lunchtime

This tip I’m about to share I *think* I got from the Happy Housewife’s website. I’m about 99 9/10th’s sure I got it from her. Anyway, most of you probably already do this and you’re thinking, “Girl, time to get on the reality train!” But hey, some of us are slow learners.

What she said she does is do as much prep work for dinner at lunchtime. Lunchtime around our house is usually pretty laid back. . . . . meaning that I might have extra time on my hands. And since I have a monthly meal plan, most of the time I know what’s for dinner.

Yesterday I decided to give it a whirl. I started out first by shucking corn. On a side note, thank the good Lord above for side burners on gas grills. I was able to cook the corn outside on a VERY hot day and not steam up the inside of the house.

Next, I peeled the garlic, cut up the onions, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams for dinner. You can see it here with the 3 ring binder I keep all my menus in.

And here’s what time I got it all done:

It was really great to have all of the prep work down before dinner. I tend to not be the best time manager in the late afternoons {ahem, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter} and this was a great way to ensure a bit more peacefulness at dinner.

The peacefulness was short lived. The grill that I was boiling the corn on and heating up the garlic bread in decided to run out of propane before anything was done. But, my amazing hubby always makes sure there’s a second, completely full tank at my disposal. So while it wasn’t convenient, it was able to get done!!!

For more WFMW tips, head on over to We Are THAT Family’s blog.

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Works for Me Wednesday: Kitchen Organization Tip

Watching all those years of HGTV finally paid off for me a few years ago. After sooooooooo many projects on there that I:

  1. Couldn’t afford
  2. Didn’t have the space
  3. Didn’t have the time
  4. Didn’t have the talent
  5. All of the above

I finally found something that would work for me!! On some episode about organizing something, the professional told the peon that all she needed to organize her storage containers was plastic baskets. WHAT??? I was in shock. The cabinet my storage containers were in was in a constant state of “just been hit by a tornado.” It was embarrassing.

Well, I took the professionals advice. I broke out the measuring tape and made myself a little trip to K-Mart. {Yes, they still exist.} And here’s what I came up with. It’s the BEST organization idea because it seems to be the only one I can stick to.

Join the “Works For Me Wednesday” fun over at We Are THAT Family.

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WFMW: Goody Ouchless Updo Barrette

I haven’t had long hair in a very, very long time. And I have never had shoulder length hair in this hotter climate I now call my home. So this summer, I’ve needed a way to get my hair off my neck. Typical elastic bands hurt. The big clip things are just that – big. And I have to hunch over all funny if I don’t want to hit my head on the headrest in my car. I also tried EZ Combs. EZ combs are okay – they stay in your hair by pulling on each other. Which means it’s really easy to get them too tight on your head.

I was at the store one day and saw the Goody Ouchless Updo Barrettes. (I wear mine like the picture on the link.) I figured I really had nothing to lose so I bought one. Oh my gravy! These things are amazing. When they say ouchless, they really mean ouchless. I love them and they work flawlessly on my thick, curly hair.

Another good thing about them is that since they’re plastic, you can use them when you go swimming. You might have to readjust them a time or two if you get your hair wet, but they still work great.

The Ouchless Updo Barrettes work for me!! See what else works for other bloggers at We Are THAT Family.

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WFMW: Another dumb thing . . . .**Revised**

**I revised this today for WFMW. Overall, I like Assets/Spanx and think everyone should have a pair – unless you’re uberskinny. And if you’re that skinny, shut up. **

A few months back I posted a blog about various dumb things I’ve done over the years. It was FAR from a comprehensive list. And of course, I’ve managed to add to the list since the post. This is me we’re talking about people. So here’s the most recent. Or not. Yesterday I mistakenly thought SPF 45 would keep me from getting sunburned. Nope. I look really embarrassed today AND I showed the guy at Hollywood Video the sunburn on my back.** ‘Cuz I’m classy like that.

Anyway on Saturday I was getting ready for church and wasn’t really “feeling” my overall appearance. Especially the midriff – or lack thereof – section. It was then I remembered I bought a pair of Assets a couple of weeks ago. The white trash Target version of Spanx. So I got all hot and sweaty forcing myself into donned my Assets and was kind of happy with the results.

Until I sat down in the car.

According to their false advertising, there won’t be any signs of your oh-let’s-just-call-it-what-it-is girdle. Nope. You could clearly see my Assets holding on for dear life by digging their self into my ample thigh flesh. Yeah, maybe if I had more muscles in my thighs, you wouldn’t see so much, but if I had rock hard thighs, would I really need these things? No amount of shifting or groping or pinching or prodding or pulling or shifting on my part could make the lines disappear. Great.

Then I stepped out of the car. My friends, when it’s 90+ degrees, do NOT wear your Assets with denim capris and two shirts. Don’t. do it. You will immediately want to wilt. I lumbered into church and made a vow to not sit down, no matter what. I was just teaching my class, so it shouldn’t be so hard, right? After 45 minutes of standing, I had to sit. Thankfully we were watching a movie in class so none of the kids could see me uncomfortably covering the line on my thighs.

When I got home all I could think of was getting those things off. Then Amber says, “Remember when you said we could go to the store and I could spend my money and I really want to go after dinner.”

AAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! I didn’t get the stupid things off for 2 more hours.

I don’t know if I’ll wear them again.

Who are we kidding. Of course I will.

**Don’t worry, I had on a spaghetti strap tank top so I only had to turn around for him to see my sunburn.***

***Crap. Wearing spaghetti strap tank tops in public definitely earns a spot on the dumb things list. And so it goes on and on and on and on . . . . . .

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Works For Me Wednesday: Book Giveaway!

Welcome to the “Mooooooooooooooooooom, I’m bored” edition of Works For Me Wednesday. And I have two books to giveaway on that very subject!!

Many moons ago I was perusing a bookstore and these two books by Steve and Ruth Bennett caught my eye (prepare to ignore the mom jeans, big hair and yellow boy shorts on the covers. Let’s admit it, we were all guilty):

365 T.V. Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child was JUST what I was looking for at that time in my life. I think the thing that is really great about these books is that the vast majority of the activities takes very simple things you can find around your house. I’m not talking, “very simple if you’re the queen of all craft supplies,” or “very simple if you save everything you ever use.” I’m talking twigs, pebbles, pencil, paper, cotton balls, or nothing at all but your time!

Obviously, these are more geared towards the toddler and pre-school set. I don’t think my 13 and 11 year old would appreciate going on a walk and counting things you’ve never noticed before, like cracks in the sidewalk or how many branches a tree has. The activities are really fun for the little ones! I remember one activity was staging an obstacle course in your living room. THAT one was a hit.

So now for the exciting part of my blog. If you leave a comment, you will automatically be entered to win one of the two books. Yes, they’re my original copies, but they’re in almost new condition. So I’ll close my comments on Saturday @ 12:00 noon Pacific and choose two winners at that time and post who they are!!! (If you don’t have a Blogger account, make sure you check back Saturday afternoon when I post the winners.)

And if you don’t want to take your chances in the drawing, has the original 365 T.V. Free Activities book for a really good price.

Join the “Mom, I’m Bored” edition of Works For Me Wednesday HERE.

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Works For Me Wednesday: Using Scrap Fabric for a Good Cause

Okay, I haven’t done this yet, but I’m going to. I pinky swear.

For the life of me, I can’t remember how I stumbled across Craft Hope’s website today. In a nutshell, This Vintage Chica has been going to Nicaragua for a few years and ministering in orphanages. She’s going back this summer and Craft Hope is helping stock her up with dolls for the children in the orphanages.

One Crafty Place has a TON of simple and cute doll patterns we can make for the orphans. I’m going to make this one. It’s a nice scrappy pattern and I have ALL the supplies thanks to my fabric stashing ways.

I’ve been convicted lately about helping those in need more. But I’m not an ATM machine. It has been amazing to watch God show me how I can help those in need and only spend a small amount of money of my own.

Join more Works For Me Wednesday!!!

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Works For Me Wednesday: Menu Planning Saves $$

I originally posted this for Rocks In My Dryer’s WFMW in January . . . . here’s what I wrote then about my menu planning:

I sat down with all my recipes, cookbooks, scraps of paper, etc. and found our most favorite 28 recipes out there. On a side note, after looking at the array of recipes all I can say is wow! Do we love chicken or what? Anyway, I’m in the process of typing up all the recipes complete with a shopping list at the end of the recipes for that week. Then I print them up, put them in plastic page protectors, use tabbed dividers labeled 1-4 an viola! A month long menu plan is born.

This week we’re on week 2, and I’m in the process of typing up week 3 and 4. It’s taking a *bit* longer than I thought it would, but hey, I only have to do it once. I did a few days of the menu cycle before leaving for Alaska. Now that I’m home, I’m into it full swing and I LOVE it!!!! Tyler said he was so happy to have a home cooked meal when I came home that he didn’t care what it was. “It” just happened to be salmon chowder and I think I saw a glisten of a tear in his eye.

I hope this simplifies my dinner planning. So far, everyone seems to like the meals I’ve chosen. Well, everyone as long as that doesn’t include my son. He finds a way to complain about everything I make. Unless it’s pizza.

So here we are four months later. My menu planning has proved to not only save me time it has saved us a TON of money. We don’t need to eat out anymore. I can keep my eye out for sales because I pretty much know what I’m going to need. I only go to the grocery store once a week, so I even save money on gas!

I would encourage anyone to do this. I *love* to cook and simplifying has made my time in the kitchen even better.

Check out this week’s frugal tips at We Are THAT Family.

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Works for Me Wednesday: Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Last week my husband decided to join me on a trip to Costco. I usually have mixed feeling about the hubs joining me on Costco runs. The cons . . . . he is a very OCD shopper. He has the list and the coupons (if there are any) in order of how we will navigate the store. I’m much more lassiez-faire in my approach to shopping, which I’m SURE drives him nuts, too.

But the pro is that he’s much more willing to spend money than I am. I figure, “Hey, he makes the money and pays the bills . . . . .more power to him.” And this last trip was no exception.

He’s been having trouble sleeping and thought it was our bed. Great. We have a king size mattress . . . . those bad boys aren’t cheap, but I didn’t know what else to consider. In Costco we saw a memory foam mattress topper. He said a guy at work said it was the greatest thing ever, blah, blah, blah. Yes, it was expensive. BUT it’s cheaper than a new mattress. I wasn’t so sold, but the poor guy works very long hours and needs his sleep.

Let’s just say that after laying on it for, oh I don’t know, .23 seconds, I was sold. It’s like heaven, pure heaven. I was worried the foam would make me too hot, but it doesn’t. I thought it would be too hard. It isn’t. I thought a lot of things I was wrong about.

So if you need a new mattress, maybe a memory foam mattress topper is a cheaper solution for you, too!

Join in the Works for Me Wednesday fun at Kristen’s blog.

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Works For Me Wednesday: God Language

This book by Dr. Myra Perrine is amazing!!! It talks about the nine spiritual temperaments (as first defined by Gary Thomas in “Spiritual Pathways”), which one(s) is yours and how it can help you connect with God better.

The book asserts – and I wholeheartedly agree – that many Christians are frustrated with their walk with God because they *think* that in order to connect with Him, they have to do what everyone else is doing. So while some people might connect with God with in-depth Bible study, others might get frustrated because they don’t feel the same connection and fulfillment.

There are two inventories to take of yourself that helps point you in the right direction. I knew what two of my high areas were going to be (and they were), yet I was completely surprised by the third. Upon her description of the third, I knew it fit me like a glove.

I appreciate the way Dr. Perrine presents the information. None of it is given to you like doctrine. She doesn’t try to add to the Bible nor does she use “twisted Scripture” to prove her point. It just is what it is. And it’s beautiful. Now I understand why certain things in the Christian life appeal so much to me, and why certain things don’t.

I love God’s creation. I can see Him in nature, but it’s not one of the ways I connect to Him. For years I’ve wondered if there’s something wrong with me because I seem to be surrounded by people who just freak out over nature. Guess what? Nothing’s wrong with me!! It just isn’t one of my “God languages.”

For more WFMW fun, check out Kristen’s site: We are THAT Family.

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