Conserving Energy

on May 1st, 2010 by

In an effort to find out where our electricity is being spent, we purchased a Power Monitor by Black & Decker. It displays the electricity use in the home. It looks like a huge headset but for an electric meter. It has a wireless sensor reader that can be placed just about anywhere in the home, so energy consumption can be seen at anytime. We are hoping to learn about where we use electricity and how we can decrease the use and save money. I installed it today, so it will be really interesting to see what we find out.


on April 5th, 2010 by

I have issues taking pills – I have for a long time – but I really like taking daily vitamins. I was determined to find a solution this time.

Since I exhausted all of my options at GNC, or at least all of the options from a few months ago, I went to Vitamin Shoppe to see if they had an alternative. I even talked to the girl behind the counter. She helped a lot and told me she had the same problem. She showed me what she uses and told me some hints & tips other customers have told her too. I ended up buying the Vitamin Shoppe Multi Vitamin & Mineral Powder to mix with water, milk, juice, or a liquid of my choosing. She also recommended a product called Perfect Food Berry that adds even more good stuff to the vitamin shake and said that it really helps mask the taste of the multivitamin powder. I bought that too.

The result. I have taken my vitamins all week and with no issue or stress. The little extra money is so worth it to have that stress lifted. I just have to gradually increase my intake over the next few weeks to coincide with my weight and all should be good. I mix the vitamin powder with Simply Apple Juice and it actually tastes good. My bamboo whisk that we got with our DoMatcha tea also has a second purpose now – to mix my vitamins.

To me, the look doesn’t even make it unappealing either…

Crab Soup

on February 12th, 2010 by

I made crab soup for the first time ever. I found a recipe and tried to follow what I could and then add replacement items for stuff I didn’t have. I purchased crab meat in the grocery store about a week or so ago in hopes to make something with crab and all of the cold weather made soup seem like the perfect option.

Substitutions (that worked well) since we didn’t have certain items :

  • Edamame for the lima beans
  • Lemon juice and ground pepper for the lemon-pepper seasoning

Maryland Crab Soup Recipe

It was awesome. A little spicy and good flavor. And it made about 8 2cup servings.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider

on September 13th, 2009 by

A few weeks ago we had a cool looking spider make a web in the corner of our deck. I took a picture but never got around to researching before hard rains came and wiped out the web.

Today, as I am in the living room watching my husband play video games while I blog, I noticed out the window what I thought to be the spider – it was back! I grabbed my camera and took a closer look, however, upon close examination, I found it to be the same type of spider but a little different in length of torso and legs.

After some researching this afternoon, I found out that both spiders are female due to their size (the first one was just a little longer than the new one). They are both Black and Yellow Garden Spiders (Argiope aurantia) (Wikipedia has a really nice article too). I’ve never seen spiders like this before even though research tells me they are quite common. He is now our garden variety visitor for a little while.

Female Black and Yellow Garden Spider (top of torso)Female Black and Yellow Garden Spider (bottom of torso)Female Black and Yellow Garden Spider (top of torso)


on June 10th, 2009 by

The article about Dots has been moved to our new Interior Design & Organization blog.

Swine Flu Update

on May 1st, 2009 by

If you haven’t heard yet, on April 29th, the level of influenza pandemic alert raised from phase 4 to phase 5 due to the spread of the swine influenza A (H1N1). It started in Mexico and has moved to the US and 14 other countries. On Friday, Wor-Wic Community College posted an alert on their website – there are 4 confirmed cases in Delaware which is one of the reasons for concern along with the duties of government organizations when the pandemic alert level is raised to phase 5.

Here are some good places to visit for up-to-date information:

Some of the best recommendations I have read to prevent infection:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Any flu is never something to take lightly. The young, the elderly, and those with decreased immune systems are most at risk when it comes to the deadliness of the flu, but anyone can get it and get very sick. Airborne diseases can be contained easily with just staying home from work or school when you are sick and not passing it on to others and also staying away from those that are sick. Be preventative and prepared.

Scalloped Potatoes

on April 22nd, 2009 by

I had never made scalloped potatoes before today. I looked at over 5 recipes and wasn’t happy with any of them. So, I took bits and pieces of different recipes and added an idea of my own. Below is the result of the concoction. It is not the typical scalloped potatoes but all of the major ingredients are there and it tastes great. Plus, 4 out of the 5 ingredients are organic. The only ingredient I haven’t found in an organic variety is cream cheese… one day.

Scalloped Potatoes


  • 4 oz – Neufchâtel cheese (1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese)
  • 1/2 c – sour cream
  • 1 1/2 c – half and half
  • 3 lbs – red potatoes
  • 8 oz – shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix cream cheese, sour cream, and half and half in a bowl.
  3. Thinly slice potatoes, place in bowl with cheese mixture, and gently mix to coat potatoes.
  4. Spoon into 9″ x 13″ baking dish and scatter 2 oz of shredded cheddar cheese on top.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour until cooked through.

Nutritional Information
Serving size 8oz

  • Calories: 278
  • Fat: 15.7g
  • Cholesterol: 45mg
  • Sodium: 548mg
  • Carbohydrates: 26.6g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sugar: 4.7g
  • Protein: 11g

Makes 10 servings

Trail Mix Recipe Mod

on February 20th, 2009 by

Recently, we have been making our original Trail Mix recipe on the lighter granola side (maybe a winter thing) and since I make our granola from this blog every time, I thought I would update the recipe. There are only 2 modifications: double all of the non-granola ingredients (or cut the granola in half with respect to the other ingredients) and remove the dates (we were not enjoying them) and replace them with 1/2 raisins and 1/2 cranberries.

Trail mix

In a large bowl, mix the following ingredients:

  • Raisins (45 grams/1.6 oz/4.5 Tbsp)
  • Dried Cranberries (45 grams/1.6 oz/3.5 Tbsp)
  • Almonds (28 grams/1 oz/4 Tbsp)
  • Peanuts (28 grams/1 oz/4 Tbsp)
  • Cashews (22 grams/0.8 oz/4 Tbsp)
  • Walnuts (28 grams/1 oz/4 Tbsp)
  • Pepitas (aka. Pumpkins seeds without shells) (30 grams/1.1 oz/4 Tbsp)
  • Chocolate Chips (60 grams/2.1 oz/4 Tbsp)
  • Granola (110 grams/3.9 oz/1-1/3 cups)

Note: All ingredients are listed in grams, ounces, and measuring device depending on how specific you want to be and what your scale reads. If you want something more exact with a closer repeatability, use the grams/oz measurements. If you want something a little bit more random or want to put it together really fast, use the Tbsp/cup measurements.

Store in an air tight container and enjoy. We store the bulk of it in a large air tight container and then put small 30 g servings in small air tight containers that we can take to work or throw in our bags when we have to run out the door quickly. It gives a whole new meaning to fast food.

Nutritional Information… coming soon
Serving size 30 grams/1.1 oz

  • Calories: –
  • Fat: –
  • Carbohydrates: –
  • Protein: –

There are lots of substitutions that can be made. Some substitutions are:

  • use one type or other types of nuts
  • use one type or other types of fruit
  • use sunflower seeds or pretzels in place of pepitas
  • use M&M’s or peanut butter chips in place of chocolate chips

If there are any allergies, remove those foods and either add more of something already in the recipe or something else. The trick is to keep a preferred ratio of granola to the additional ingredients. If you like it more on the granola side, then add more of it and if you don’t, then add less. Trail mix is so easy to make and it relatively good for you in small quantities when not exercising; and, it is a great energy food when hiking or such. Just remember to write down what you do end up making so you can make it the same way or know what to increase or decrease next time. Just remember, trail mix is supposed to be an energy food not junk food.

B+S Challenge on hold

on February 13th, 2009 by

If you are wondering what happened and why I all of the sudden stopped my posts on only Day 4 of The Challege. I got in a little over my head. I needed to buy some items to continue the process. One lesson learned – read a week ahead so you always have all of the things you need!  Also, my face had bumps all over it and I had to figure out what the cause was – was it the detox or some food I ate… well, when I stopped eating the food I had prepared for the detox, the bumps started to go away. Almost exactly 1 week later after the bumps started and I stopped eating a certain food I made, they went away. Now I am just going to have to whittle it down to which food. I am really hoping it isn’t the quinoa, but I think it is going to be. Only one way to find out, but I just don’t want to do that right now. In another week or so I am going to start the Challenge again. When I do, I will resume where I left off and start posting from there. Until then…

More Peanut Butter Product Recalls

on February 6th, 2009 by

I received an email from today notifying me that there was an update to the “Peanut Butter and other Peanut Containing
Products Recall” that has been in the news for a little while now. The FDA has a new list of the foods. Please check it out. I don’t want anyone I know getting sick because another stupid company wasn’t careful with food.

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