Friday, July 31, 2015

How to Use A Slow Cooker

During the school year, my slow cooker is my best friend.  I joke that my family wouldn't eat dinner without it, but it's true!  I love that I can make dinner in the early afternoon and have a meal waiting for me when I get home from after school activities.

Choosing a Slow Cooker

When I got married, we got a Crock Pot slow cooker as a wedding gift. I loved it and used it several times a week until the handles broke.  There was a recall on several models, but mine wasn't one of them.  I called them to see if they would replace it, but they wouldn't.  I used to make cheese dip in my slow cooker for pot lucks, so the thought of the handle breaking on me while it was in transport was more than a little scary!   Someone gave me another Crock Pot as a gift, so I stayed with that brand.  Again, the handles broke off.  And again, it wasn't covered under their warranty.  That was enough for me to switch.  I did some research, and I decided on a Hamilton Beach model.

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The Hamilton Beach here isn't the exact one I have because mine is seven or eight years old, but it has the same features.  My favorite feature is the lid.  It has a spoon rest, which is handy, but look at the sides.  It securely holds the lid in place for less heat loss.  This means I can start it on high for an hour and then switch to low for several hours. You can also leave it on high and cook for less time for some foods.  Soups and chicken do well cooked on high for less time, but I don't like to cook roasts on high for too long.

I also have another slow cooker that has a digital display like the one pictured above.  You can set it to turn on or off or even change from high to low at a certain time.  I don't need this because I work from home, but if you use it while you are working, it could be a great feature for you.

Like I said, I've had this slow cooker for seven to eight years.  Crock Pots were lasting about a year, so it was definitely worth the extra cost.  My crock cracked, so I picked up a spare at a thrift store for $1.50!  The crock has been cracked for about two years, but it doesn't leak, so I've kept using it.

Here are some more great tips to help you get the most out of your slow cooker.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Best Summer Reads for Adults and Kids

My favorite part of summer is that I actually have time to read!  The kids and I join the summer book club at the library, and we devour several books a week.  I also read while they swim in the back yard, and I stay up late reading because I don't have to get up in the mornings.  I love summer reading!  Here's a list of some great summer reads for kids and adults.

Circling the Sun: A Novel

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The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

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The English Spy

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Bull Mountain

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Driving Hungry: A Memoir

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Painted Blossoms: Creating Expressive Flower Art with Mixed Media

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Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

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The Noisy Paint Box

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Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus

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Fish in a Tree

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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A Court of Thorns and Roses

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Have you read any of these?  Which ones are your favorites?
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Group Everest VBS Decorating Ideas

Two weeks ago, my church did the Everest VBS kit from Group.  As always, Group did not disappoint.  It was a great kit, and the kids had a blast!  We really loved the songs on the CD, and the kids had fun dancing and singing.  For decorations, we went with the mountain hiking and snow theme.  I took some photos the weekend before VBS, but we did add more through the week.  I'm not sure there was a square foot of wall or ceiling that wasn't covered.  We used blue plastic table covers on the ceilings and added a balloon arch in one hallway that aren't shown here.

Here are our Everest VBS decorations!

The milk jug igloo was definitely a labor of love.  We started with about 10 of us working with regular glue guns, but then someone borrowed an industrial glue gun to finish it.  

This is the entrance to the sanctuary.  These were all borrowed from people in the church.  We used large cardboard tubes for the columns and a large piece of cardboard for the roof.  The snow was felt from someone's stash.

This is the entrance to Mountaintop Treats. We used cardboard for the roof and just added brown paper to the doors and drew lines to make it look like a cabin.

This is in one of our long hallways.  The base is PVC pipe with plastic table clothes on top.  She added some hanging snowflakes and LED Christmas lights.

This is our youth wing where we had the opening and closing.  The banners are from Oriental Trading Company.  They fit with the mountain theme, but I think they could be used with nearly any VBS kit.  On the stage, there's a mural and we cut mountains out of cardboard for more depth.  The poles are numbered for crews.  There's a bag hanging from one side of the T and an attendence sheet on the other.

Here's a better shot of the stage.  We just hung posters from OTC and Group around to fill in the gaps.  

This is one of our long hallways.  This was a tent I took in to fill a large area.  You can see some of the items hanging on the ceiling.  The blue things on the ceiling 

This is the sanctuary.  We used more of the banners from OTC and posters from Group and OTC.  We had Bible Adventures in here, so it was decorated differently each day.  

I hope you enjoyed my Everest VBS decorations!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Review New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick

It's summer, which means I can stay up late reading again!  Usually I have a long list of books to read, but this summer I've just been browsing the new books at the library.  The cover of New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick caught my eye, and the back cover looked good, so I took a chance.  I'm so glad I did because this was a great read.

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.  

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Lila Alders grew up in a well-off home in Black Dog Bay.  When she moved to the city to get married and pursue her dream of being on television, she got a job on a late-night show selling clothes and other items to those who called in.  

But then her world is upended when her husband divorces her and she must return home to her newly widowed mother in Black Dog Bay.  When her father died, his money was all but gone, leaving only a spectacular house that her mother had decorated herself.  Her mother is in denial about not having any money, so she's still spending money like they have an unlimited supply.

When Lila returns home, she meets her high school boyfriend, and everyone expects them to get back together.  She also meets Malcolm, who she went on one date with...a date that she can't even remember!

Lila knows that she can't save her mother's house unless she comes up with an amazing plan.  She takes a big risk and opens a vintage clothing boutique in the city.  While she is buy finding a new purpose for outdated clothing, she finds a new purpose for herself.  And new uses for old boyfriends.  

Lila's been gone for 10 years.  The town has changed, and so has she.  Lila's always had someone to save her, but now she needs to save herself and her mother.  Can she do it?

This was a really cute, light novel.  Perfect for late night reading or beach reading.  It was well written, and the author has a great voice.  I'll definitely be looking for her other books this summer.  Look for New Uses for Old Boyfriends on Barnes & Noble or Amazon
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Poise is Better for LBL

I know it's a personal topic, but it's one that affects many mothers.  Light bladder leakage affects one in three women, so chances are if it doesn't affect you, it affects a close friend.  Most women reach for period pads for LBL, but there's a better option.  

Poise Thin-Shape pads are made just for LBL, so they work better than period pads for LBL.  They keep you drier, which we all know is very important!  Thanks to Poise, you can continue to do all of your favorite summer activities without worry about an accident or a bulky pad under your shorts.

Now what should you do with your stash of period pads since you have Poise?  I find that they make excellent anti-theft devices!  

Now my purse and iPad are protected from teenage boys and husbands.  I wonder if this will work at the beach too?  Okay, maybe I wouldn't set a pad on my purse or iPad at the beach, but I'd bet it would save your spot when you lay a towel down at the perfect stop on the beach.

Koti Beth is not responsible for lost or stolen items while using this anti-theft device.

Ladies, period pads are for your period.  For LBL, look for something made just for LBL, like Poise.  

Want to try it for yourself or a friend?  Click here for a free sample of Poise Thin-Shaped Pads.
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