First eleven tips for Hawaii (or other locations that require you to fly)

My family finally got to go on a much needed vacation.  We have been home for just over 24 hours and I am happy that I have gotten two loads of laundry already.  I figured I would post some tips that came in really handy for us (in no special order).

  1. Carry on luggage – Each family member was able to travel with one carry on suitcase and a backpack.  Unless you have fancy events planned you will find that you will spend most of your time in your swimsuits and shorts anyways.  But, at the same time you will sometimes find that the airlines will gate check your suitcases to your final destination (that happened to us each way).  (We even had space in our bags to bring home new beach towels and a few other new items.)
  2. Roll your clothes – If you aren’t on Pinterest you might not have seen the posts that by rolling your clothes you can store more in a drawer, etc.  It really does work so I would suggest you try it next time.
  3. Detangler spray & TSA liquid rules – Each person is able to take a quart-sized bag with your liquids/creams as long as each original container is less than 3 oz.  The humidity and salt water makes it so we get more knots in our hair so this time I put some detangler spray in a small bottle and took some with us.
  4. Bug spray – We usually go hiking when travel and this trip wasn’t any different.  So, we bought a small container of bug spray and took it with us (in the quart-sized bag with our other liquids).
  5. Breakfast in the room – The hotel we stayed at this time had a Keurig coffee maker and a mini fridge (no microwave).   We bought instant oatmeal at the grocery store and made it for breakfast most mornings.  (See #6, #7 and #11)
  6. Metal fork and spoon – I packed one for each family member.  These came in very handy.  Note: You are not able to take sharp knives in the carry on luggage so I took a couple of plastic knives.
  7. Plastic bowls – Since we had room in our suitcases (by not taking too many clothes and rolling what I did take) I was able to pack plastic bowls for each family member.  These came in very handy for breakfast and for eating pie, etc (see #11).
  8. Plastic Ziploc bags – I took a few new quart-sized ones and a couple of gallon-sized ones.  These were very useful!  (One thing we did daily was put ice in a bag and used it as an ice pack in our ice chest.)
  9. Plastic, see-through water bottle – You can take an empty water bottle through security.  We filled it with water at the airports and put ice inside of it when we traveled and it helped keep our snack foods and drinks cold.
  10. Ice chest – The last few trips we have been able to put a collapsible ice chest in one of the suitcases.  We used this to keep our drinks and snacks cold for when we went to the beach or driving around the island.
  11. Grocery store – Usually when we arrive we look for a grocery store so we can buy some food.  This time we lucked upon a local grocery store chain (Tamura’s Market) which definitely had cheaper prices than the big mainland chain that we found the first day.  We were even able to find locally made (Ted’s Bakery) pie.  The Macadamia Nut Cream Pie was really good!

So, hopefully these help you out and they will come in handy the next time we fly somewhere on vacation.

Later – H

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replacement Scunci mop cover

My Scunci mop came with one cover.  So after seeing this pin on Pinterest:

http://creeklinehouse.com/2013/01/make-your-own-reusable-swiffer-cloths.html

I decided I needed to make something similar for my Scunci mop head.

Items I used:

Scunci mop head as a general pattern, leftover piece of terry cloth and a left over scrap of microfleece type material.

DIY, sewing, mop head

 

 

 

 

DIY, sewing, mop head

 

 

 

 

It worked so great I created a second one and they have got multiple uses already.

Later – H

Thumbprint Wedding guest sign

One of the presents we did for Chris and Naomi’s wedding was a Thumbprint sign.  I had seen similar ideas on Pinterest (yes, one of my favorite places on the internet), but the niece asked for a custom ‘Up House’ (with thumbprint ‘balloons’ lifting off the house).  So, the daughter helped create the Up House board.

At the wedding we used permanent Ink and tried to suggest that people put their thumbprints in the general area that the balloons would be.  Well, as you can see from the end result that didn’t always happen (I know most of the stray balloons happened after we were manning the guest signature / thumbprint table).

After the wedding we brought the sign back home and the daughter used my scrapbooking chalk to make the faint extra balloons.  When it was all done I think it turned out great.  Now the happy couple have an art piece to remind them of their special day.

wedding, thumbprint, custom

Some hints if you decide to do one of these:

a) Make sure you use permanent ink (for the thumbprints and for the drawing)

b) Have baby wipes handy to get the ink off the guest’s hands (that was an after thought, but I am so glad I brought them)

c) Use blank paper, etc to block off the areas of the board you don’t want people to mark with their thumbs

What do you think?

Later – H

Gluten-Free Baked Fried Chicken

When I found the link to the Baked Fried Chicken (not gluten-free) on Pinterest:

http://thewondertwins.blogspot.com/2011/10/mondays-menu-baked-fried-chicken.html

I knew I had to figure out how to make it gluten-free for my family.  This recipe is a HIT with my family.  Up until now I had only done it with skinless/boneless chicken breast, but today I decided to do it with skinless chicken thighs.

I use my version of Season All (without the curry) – another one of my posts:       http://wp.me/p2CNE7-5O

Here are my revised instructions:

Place thawed chicken breast tenderloin (or I have used thighs) strips in a bowl of milk. Let soak for 20-30 min.
Mix in a Gallon Size Ziploc or Large Bowl:  
1 Tablespoon  Season All  – I used my version of this –        http://wp.me/p2CNE7-5O
3/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 cup Flour  (Gluten-free  with no xanthan gum)
2 teaspoon Paprika
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 1/2 stick of butter into a few pieces and place in a 9×13 pan. Melt butter in pre-heated oven.
Spread melted butter around the bottom of the pan. Lightly spray the pan, if needed, to make sure that there are no dry spots.
Shake excess milk off of chicken and completely coat each piece with the seasoning mix. You can either shake the chicken in the bag, until coated, or dip each piece in the bowl until coated.
Place each piece of chicken in the pan.
Cook for 20 min. Turn each piece of chicken and continue cooking for 20 more minutes, or until cooked through.
(I cooked the chicken thighs for 30 minutes, turned and then cooked for 30 additional minutes.)
Here is a photo of a piece that was reheat the next day:
   Enjoy! – Hgluten-free, gluten free, chicken

IKEA hacking – have you heard about this?

Until I started going on Pinterest I hadn’t really heard of IKEA (furniture) hacking, but now I know there are at least two websites that are totally about hacking IKEA furniture.

This last weekend we left the high desert of Nevada for Sacramento, CA.  It was nice to get away for the weekend.  We went to the Sacramento Zoo and then went to the IKEA store in West Sacramento.  We walked around all of the showrooms and now that I have seen how people have modified IKEA furniture I looked at everything in a different light.

One thing we have been looking for is a ‘structure’ to put on our kitchen counter so we could store the crockpot and some of the flour containers, etc in a way that we could gain some counter space.

While walking around we saw the birch colored Molger bench on sale for $29.99 (it is still available on the IKEA website at the regular price of $39.99).  We realized we could either change the lower shelf height and/or cut the legs off depending upon the crockpot height.  We got home and found out we could leave the shelf at the regular height and cut 5″ of off the lower legs to make it work for our needs.  That made it so the lower shelf sits just off the counter and the storage unit was not too high for the kitchen counter.  (We love it, but the only problem I have found is I can’t see the television if I am stirring a pot on the stove which I can live with.)

IKEA shelf

So, what projects have you been working on?    I added an email address on the ‘About’ page   acreativeengineerinnv@gmail.com     so send me a message!

Later – H

Brrrr and Pinterest Project that does not work for us

Hi, from FREEZING Nevada.  We have had highs that are below 32 degrees weather almost daily since before Christmas (the high today was actually 37 degrees today so it is ‘warm’).  Due to this our snow/ice is not melting.  We usually have snow for a few days and then the sun comes out and it all melts before it snows again, but not this year.  So, I decided to make a project I saw on Pinterest – a tray with rocks in it that we could put our boots on so I don’t keep finding melting snow on the laundry room floor with my socks 🙂

Well, the project itself was easy since I used a large baking pan we had sitting in the garage and pulled some small rocks out of our landscaping in the backyard.

The part that did not work was that Pepper decided to STEAL the rocks!  We heard weird noises from the laundry room and found her in there (with some ‘loose’ rocks on the floor in front of her) so I moved the tray to by the front door area and she immediately went over and pulled out a rock.  So, for now the tray is sitting outside the front door, but it is too cold to take our boots off out there (and they would never dry since it isn’t getting warm enough).

Oh, well.  Time to come up with another idea to try.  Maybe this idea will work when Pepper gets older (and hopefully stops chewing on rocks).

I debated whether to make a ‘dog shaming’ photo of Pepper with her rocks, but I don’t want encourage the rock stealing so you will have to just image her face when we caught her with the ‘loose’ rocks.

Later – H

2013 – what will it bring?

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a great New Year.  I have been thinking about where I want this blog to head in 2013.  Right now I know it will continue to have DIY projects, recipes I find and like, Pinterest project, bargains I find and updates on Pepper the Golden Retriever Puppy, but I am trying to decide what else or if I should start another blog (that has some good and bad parts – especially remembering to make more posts).

So, for now I think I will continue with what I have been doing and maybe throw something new in once in a while.

On the subject of Pinterest I realized today that I like the looks of ‘old’ kitchens/pantries.  Our house is 20+ years old (built brand new) so it definitely doesn’t classify as ‘old’ in comparison to houses on the East Coast, but it is ready for some items to be updated.  So, I guess I need to figure out if there is a way I can pull some of the ‘old’ features into our ‘semi-new’ kitchen/laundry room (which also has our pantry).

Somethings I like are the sliding barn doors / library ladders for the pantries.  I wonder if there is a way I could change our bi-fold doors (which I am usually unlucky and leave open when husband wants to come into the house from the garage) to sliding ‘barn’ doors or something similar.  Anyone done something similar?

So, when I ever decide how I want to update our house (and actually do it) I will include the before and after photos also.

Later – H

Menu planner

I mentally knew we had different foods we liked, but we had been in a rut lately.  So, using ideas off Pinterest, a bargain I found at Michael’s Arts & Crafts, the metal organizer (originally for a locker) I had gotten from Rummage Sale this summer that I had painted black, some magnetic ‘Days of the Week’ I was not using, colored envelopes from the Dollar Store and ‘labels’ printed using the online Avery program I created our list of main dishes.  (One day I will need to make a side dish and a dessert list also, but that is a project for the future.)

I started by using the Avery program and found that I could use the program to print on ‘labels’ (1×4 inches), but in my case I printed the main dishes on colored card stock  (white=chicken/turkey, blue=beef,  green= fish/seafood,  yellow = pork, orange = non-meat, pink=crock pot soup, and red = have not tried yet)

So, I collected the recipes I could think of and started adding the titles (with cookbook name and page, etc) to the colored card stock.  I was surprised to see we had about 40 main dishes.  Next, I cut the main dishes into strips and put them into the (mostly matching) colored envelopes I got from the Dollar Store.

The bargain I got from Michael’s was a Metal board with a giant ‘E’ on it for 50 cents (90% off).  I was not sure what I would do with the ‘E’, but I could see it would easily peel off and the board was decoratively painted.

The metal organizer holds the colored envelopes with the unused dishes (with the meat type written on the envelope), a colored envelope that contains the used main dishes (I am writing the Month/week number of the back as we use a main dish) and a colored envelope that contains blank strips so I can add dishes as we think of them.

The magnetic Days of the Week and the main dish strips are hung on the metal board.  If something comes up then I change out/remove that day’s main dish.

So, that is our Menu Planning setup.  It has helped us eat different meals and so far we have not repeated many meals.

If you make something similar I would love to hear about/see it.

Later – H

Pinterest projects

I have stated before that Pinterest can be addicting.  So, I figured I would start posting pins (recipes, crafts, etc) at least one idea a week stating whether it worked out for me.

So, the first project is Baked Fried Chicken that is a ‘KFC type’ chicken that is REALLY good!  The original post is from http://thewondertwins.blogspot.com    (look under recipes)

Since I mostly cook gluten-free I had to make some minor changes (changed the wheat flour to gluten-free) and since I didn’t have any ‘Season All’ so I had to find a copycat recipe and make the spice mixture (minus the curry since I didn’t have any).

If you try it out let me know what you think.

Later – H