Thursday, October 27, 2016

Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Month is continuing with another pumpkin recipe! We don't believe in letting things go to waste, so we're bringing you a recipe that you can use with the seeds that are leftover after you make homemade pumpkin puree. It's time to turn on the oven and start roasting some seeds!


Let's be honest - the hardest part of this recipe is separating the seeds from the rest of the pumpkin. Once you've done this, the recipe is super simple to follow and turns out delicious in the end! It also offers up a chance for you to get experimental with the spices in your kitchen, which is something we love doing!

Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Total Time: 45 minutes

Kitchen Items needed: spoon, oven, cookie sheet, storage container

Ingredients:
- pumpkin
- salt
- spices of choice

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. Cut pumpkin in half. Separate the pulp from the seeds. Use your hands if necessary.

3. Dust the seeds with salt.

4. Sprinkle spices of choice on the seeds. (Shaking them in a bag or container can help with this step.) 
     - cayenne, garlic, salt
     - cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, crushed cloves, salt
     - Make up your own combo!

5. Lay them out on the cookie sheet touching as little as possible.

6. Put in oven for 30 minutes or until seeds are dry.

7. Place in container and enjoy them for a snack!

There you go - an easy fall snack that you can enjoy anytime. Don't forget to download the printable version of this recipe by clicking on the image below!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-KDIjblJlxPV3k5ZV9zVW9wMmM/view?usp=sharing


What spice combination would you try on your pumpkin seeds? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Pin this recipe for later!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ten Essential Cleaning Supplies

As you may recall, we recently bought a house. It turns out that buying a house is a lot different from renting an apartment. When you rent, the previous tenants and the landlord but a little effort into making sure the place is clean and ready for move in. When you buy, the previous owners throw in the dirt and grime for free. Or at least they did in our case. There was a lot of cleaning involved before the movers came and that's what inspired this post.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. They help you find the items mentioned and they help us keep the blog running.*


Every house tends to have an arsenal of cleaning supplies at their disposal. Keeping a house clean is simply part of adulting and we often learn various techniques in childhood. Knowing was supplies to have on hand isn't always so easy. So, I'm bringing you our list of 10 cleaning supplies that you should always have on hand.


Gloves
I recommend keeping gloves on hand for two different reasons. They are super helpful if you're dealing with harsh chemicals. (I tend to avoid harsh chemicals for the most part but there are those extreme cases.) They are also handy if you run into a super dirty situation and don't want your hands getting messed up. There are two different ways to buy gloves for your cleaning stash. You can buy disposable gloves. These gloves are great if you plan to throw them away afterwards. You can also buy reuseable gloves. These typically come in fun designs, are thicker, and can be used over and over again which saves you money in the long run.

Bucket 
Water is essential to a good cleaning spree. However, most houses don't have a faucet in every room. This is where a bucket is important. A bucket can help us get water from room to room. It doesn't have to be fancy - any simple bucket will do. It just needs to be able to carry water. I also recommend picking one with a handle!

Cloths 
Cloths can be used for so many different things. In fact, you're probably going to want several different kinds of cloths for different cleaning tasks. Regular washcloths are great for tough jobs, including bathrooms and kitchens. I recommend using white cloth diapers for dusting and wiping down furniture. (Remember when I said we learn cleaning habits as a kid? Well this is a tip I picked up from my mom!)

Sponges
Sponges are another reusable cleaning tool! They can be used in many rooms for many jobs. Sponges come in many shapes and sizes. Make sure you pick the one that best suits your needs!

Dishwand 
I bet you think this one is to help with the dishes! Well, you're wrong. This is actually a great bathroom cleaning tool. I recommend buying a dishwand and filling it with dawn and vinegar. Then, keep it in the shower and use it to clean your tub. It makes the job much easier and you can do it more frequently to prevent a really messy cleaning job.

Paper Towels
Up to this point, I've mostly recommend reuseable supplies. This is because I'm slowly trying to work towards cutting down on waste. (We've actually made a lot of progress already through recycling, composting, and burning.) There are jobs from time to time that call for a paper towel though. That's the reason they're included on this list. I also like paper towels the best for washing windows. This could change in the future as I experiment with different textured cloths.

Mop 
If you have tile, hardwood, or laminate floors, then I recommend getting a mop. My favorite is the Swiffer Wetjet. I like that I don't have to deal with a dirty bucket of mop water. I'm on the search for a pattern to make reuseable cloths though to save money and waste. If you have any recommendations, please send them my way!

Broom 
This is another cleaning tool that comes in handy with tile, hardwood, and laminate. It can also help with the outside chores as well. (We're not really discussing those today though.) We picked up a basic broom and dustpan set but you can get fancy with these. It's a matter of preference. I also recommend picking up a hand broom for small spills or if you have little hands that might be helping you while you clean. (My students used to love helping with the hand broom!)

Vacuum 
Do you have carpets? Then you're going to want a vacuum cleaner! We recently picked up a new one since I wanted to clean before our household goods arrived. (Yes, we now own two - one is in the basement.) We picked out an upright, bagless design that would be good for pet hair. I love that I can see how full it is. Our other vacuum has a bag and I never know how full it is until it's time to change it!

Cleaning Products
Cleaning wouldn't be complete without cleaning products! I'm not going to offer up a lot of recommendations for this category because everyone has different tastes and needs when it comes to cleaning supplies I am going to recommend that you keep water, vinegar, dawn, and lemon essential oil on hand though. These four items can clean just about anything in your house!


If you had to pick a cleaning product to recommend to others, which one would it be? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Don't forget to pin this list to reference later!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins! I don't know about you but I've been seeing pumpkins everywhere! Since they are so readily available right now, it's also the perfect time to use them in delicious recipes. That's part of why we've decided to nickname October as Pumpkin Month and share our favorite recipes with you. You're going to love today's recipe - it's the ever classic Homemade Pumpkin Pie!


This recipe calls for pumpkin puree as a major ingredient. We recommend making it yourself but if that's not an option, you can use store bought puree. We can't guarantee the taste if you use store bought since we used our own Homemade Pumpkin Puree in this recipe. All of the steps are listed below for your enjoyment but we've also created an easy to print PDF version that you can find at the end of this post. It's perfect for downloading to use later or for printing out and adding to your cookbook!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Kitchen Items needed: large bowl, pie tin, spoon, aluminum foil, oven, cookie sheet (optional)

Ingredients:
- 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree (or one can of store bought)
- 2 eggs
- 3 ground cloves
- ¾ cup of brown sugar
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 14oz can of condensed milk
- pinch of salt
- pie crust (premade or homemade – your choice!)


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

3. Press pie crust into pie tin following directions for the crust.

4. Fill the crust with pumpkin mixture.

5. Place in oven for 1 hour. (Halfway through, cover the exposed crust with aluminum foil to avoid burning.) Tip: Place the pie tin on a cookie sheet for added support.

 
6. Insert knife or toothpick into pie. If it comes away clean, it’s done. If not, bake a little longer.

7. Let cool for an hour before serving.

P.S. You can always have a little fun and create a smiley face on the top of your pie using a knife!


Are you a pie fan? We'd love to hear about your favorite ones in the comments below!

Don't forget to grab your printable version of the recipe by clicking on the picture below!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-KDIjblJlxPY3VHd045ZVNTUjA/view?usp=sharing




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Deployment Survival Kit for Military Spouses

Deployments are hard. They're difficult for the people who leave and for those that stay behind. That's why I'm bringing you a few things that you should have in your "survival kit" if you're a military spouse going through a deployment.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. Don't worry - they don't bite! They do help us keep this blog running by helping us with all the behind the scenes costs.*


Are you facing a deployment? Know a friend that's facing a deployment? Then it's time to create a personal deployment survival kit to help them through the tough time!

Wine
You can easily substitute the wine with tea, coffee, or another favorite drink. The point is to have some sort of "comfort drink" available for hard days. (I highly recommend drinking your chosen drink in moderation! I do not encourage getting wasted.) Make it a bit more special by picking out a special glass just for those rough days.

Stuffed Companion
This one is super important! Your bed is going to get a bit lonely with your spouse away. Fill it up a little with a comforting stuffed companion. Pick out one that's unique to you! We picked out a stuffed pig named Porkchop for my mom when my dad went away. I have a stuffed Razorback pillow pet named Razor for my companion. He even accompanies me on my travels!

Chick Flicks
Deployments are the perfect time to enjoy those movies that your husband doesn't like! I love indulging in chick flicks when the husband is gone. (Here's a few of my favorites!) If you're not a fan of chick flicks, then I recommend finding a favorite new series on Netflix to spend your time watching.

Epsom Salts
I love my weekly Epsom salt baths! Bubble baths and special body lotions can be good as well. Take a little time for yourself and practice a little self care while your husband is away. Indulge in something special!

Camera
A lot is going to happen while your apart. Make sure that you have a good camera to help capture those moments. Let's face it - not all phone cameras produce high quality pictures. I loved emailing some of my favorite moments to my husband while he was deployed. It's a great way to stay connected.

Calendar
There is going to be a point in the deployment when you start counting down to his return. A calendar will become your best friend during this time! I recommend investing in a whiteboard calendar so that you can adjust dates as needed. Remember, dates are never definite with the military!

So there you have it - a few simple items that can help make your next deployment a little more bearable! Are there any items you would add to the list?


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Roll a Date Night

Date nights can be an important part of a happy marriage. They can also be stressful to plan and put together. We smetimes opt for simple dates when we choose to have a night focused on the two of us. There's something special about just spending time together in a low key way. Today, we thought we'd bring you a fun way to pick future date nights. It's a method that will even work last minute!


Sometimes the hardest part about date night is simply making a decision. There are so many things to consider - location, activity, money, etc. We get so caught up in the details that we forget to actually enjoy the night. And what about those random last minute moments when you suddenly have a date night opportunity? How can you decide on something quickly?

We have a fun and simple way to make a decision and all you need is dice! (You decide how many you want to use.)

The only forethought involved in this method is the list we're going to tell you to create right now. This list will save you problems later and can evolve over time. What needs to be on the list? Any date night ideas you can think of!

We've started the list for you with six dates that you can do at home. In fact, you can just use this list if you're too busy to create your own!

1. Board Game Date
2. Movie Date
3. Dinner Date
4. Video Game Date
5. Spa/Relaxing Date
6. Outdoor Date

After you have your list, you'll need dice. For this initial example, we're going to use one die and the list above. How many dice you use will depend on the length of your list. (Bonus Tip: You can always make lots of smaller lists to keep things even more interesting.)

First, make sure you assign a number to each date on the list. Now, you're going roll the die to see what your date night is going to be. For example, if we rolled a three, then we would be planning a nice dinner at home for the two of us.

It's really that simple! Essentially, this method makes it easier and more fun to pick out a date night because you never know what chance is going to pick out for you!

What's your favorite date night idea? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

It's October, which means it's Pumpkin Month! At least that's what we're calling it around here. Pumpkins are everywhere! Since we officially have a kitchen big enough to experiment in, we thought we'd bring you some new recipes. To add a fun twist, we've themed them all around pumpkins this month! Check back every Thursday for a new one!


Many pumpkin recipes call for pumpkin puree. You have two choices - use the canned version or create your own from scratch! We're big fans of doing things from scratch whenever you can. Things are fresher this way, you know exactly where they came from, and you produce less waste in the process.

We're including lots of pictures with this recipe for those that are visual. In addition, we're adding a new bonus to all of our recipes and that's an easy to print PDF that you can use as a reference or add to your cookbook for later. (You'll find that link at the bottom!)

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Kitchen Items needed: large bow, cookie sheet, spoon, potato masher, aluminum foil, oven

Ingredients:
- pumpkin
- olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wash the pumpkin and cut it in half.


3. Remove the insides (a spoon can help with this!) and scrape the insides until they are a uniform color. (Save the seeds for roasting! Check back next week for the recipe!)

 
4. Place inside down on a foil-lined cookie sheet.

 
5. Rub the outside of the pumpkin with olive oil.



6. Put in the oven for one hour. (Bigger pumpkins may take longer.)

 
7. Separate the skin from the meat.


8. Mash with a potato masher to create desired consistency. 


9. Use immediately in another recipe or freeze for use in the future.


And of course, don't forget that silly selfie with a pumpkin! (You can tell who the pumpkin lover is of the family...)


Grab the printable copy of this recipe right here!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-KDIjblJlxPUGdlRUZSRy1RWDQ/view?usp=sharing

What's your favorite pumpkin recipe? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Milso's Guide to Self Care

I never really understood the phrase "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" until I got older and started learning about the importance of self care. Self care can be easy when you live on your own and only have yourself to worry about. It gets a little more complicated when you start building a family and have multiple people on your list of responsibilities. I'm a firm believer that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. This means taking care of yourself as well. That's why I'm bringing you a new series called "The Milso's Guide to Self Care."


For the first post of this series, I want to share ten simple ways that you can practice self care. Future posts will talk about finding time, prioritizing, and various other aspects of self care. In fact, if there's something keeping you from taking care of yourself, let me know about it in the comments!

I know your time is valuable, so I'm going to keep these short, simple, and to the point. Here are ten easy ways to practice self care.

Take a bubble bath. 
Schedule 45 minutes when you can take a bubble bath surrounded by your favorite scents. Don't have 45 minutes? Pick out a new body wash to enjoy in the shower. You have to shower after all.

Enjoy a drink.
Everyone's drink of choice is different. Maybe yours is a cup of coffee while mine is a glass of wine. Take a few minutes and treat yourself to your favorite drink. It'll definitely bring a temporary smile to your lips as you sip away your worries.

Paint your nails.
If time allows, I'd highly recommend treating yourself to a pedicure. If time (and money) doesn't allow for this treat, then I recommend doing an at home mani or pedi. A little color on your nails can definitely help brighten your day!

Sign up for the Military Spouse Wellness Summit.
This is a free event that's happening online so that you can enjoy it from the comfort of your couch at your own pace. If you want a little more information on the summit, you can check out this post where I went into more detail or you can just trust me and sign up here. There's a free option, so you really have nothing to lose. (Don't forget to help a friend out and spread the word about the event!)

Watch your favorite show.
There are so many different ways to watch shows anymore and a lot of them can be done from anywhere with the help of streaming. Steal some time out of your day to watch one episode of your favorite television show. Need a recommendation? Check out a few of our favorites!

Use a special body product.
Pick out a new body product to try and allow yourself to actually enjoy it. This could include a new lotion, sugar scrub, or even a face mask.

Plan a girl's (or guy's) night.
This one might seem difficult if you have to worry about finding a sitter. It doesn't have to be though. Technology allows for a lot of flexibility. You could plan an online girls night through Facebook or texting. Get creative and a solution can appear!

Read a book.
I love reading, but I find that I don't always "have time" to read. As a result, I started including it as part of my bedtime routine. I recommend reading one chapter before bed to relax your mind and body.

Create a happy playlist.
Compile all of your favorite songs onto a single playlist or CD. Use this playlist anytime you need a pick me up - or when you want to make household chores a little more fun. You have my permission to sing and dance.

Take a nap.
This one seems so simple but it can do a lot for our bodies. Sometimes a little extra sleep is all we need to get the pep back in our step. 

Which of these tips will you be trying out in the near future? Is there another way that you put yourself first? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!