Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Cake

The kids and I had a couple hours to waster the other day, so I thought that we would make a cake. I thought it would be a great way to show the kids what our garden will look like in the Summer. It also allowed us to talk about fruits and veggies.

The kids and I had a blast making this. I think that we did an awesome job, don't you?

Can you believe how good it looks. The cake took about two hours to make.
It cost about $4.00 to make
But playing this April Fools joke on you is PRICELESS!!
Now go play a joke on somebody, just not me!!!!!!!!

Spring Cleaning

Image from Martha Stewart

I am happy to report that my Spring Cleaning is done.
I broke it down into three days.
Monday I spent the morning cleaning the downstairs.
Tuesday I cleaned the upstairs bedrooms.
Today I cleaned the bathrooms. (My least favorite job)!!!
The only thing that I have to do is wash all the windows. I need help doing that, because I'm short.
Laundry Detergent Update: Despite the fact that I can't stand the smell of Ivory Soap my homemade detergent works well. You don't smell the soap once it's washed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Yup you are reading that right. I made my own laundry detergent. I have been waiting for several months to do this.

I usually buy a lot of laundry detergent when it's on sale. I just ran out today. Lucky for me I bought all the ingredients to make my own on Sunday.

It's just three ingredients. I'm not too sure about the Ivory Soap. I don't care for the smell of it. We'll see how it cleans the clothes.

You have to grate the Ivory soap. I had this grater that was rusty so now I'll us it to grate soap for the laundry detergent.
Each batch yields 16 ounces.
1 bar of shaved bar soap (
Ivory, ZOTE, Fels-Naptha)
1/2 cup of
1/2 cup of
washing soda
Thoroughly stir together for 5 minutes and enjoy the results! That’s it folks…seems too good to be true, but it is true indeed!
I tripled the recipe.
I always have borax around the house to help boost my towels and linens.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Passover

Passover began at sundown tonight!! As a young girl I always dreamed of having a big Passover Seder. Since I have been married, I've had one Seder. Passover has started during the week for a couple of years and it also falls during Easter week, which makes it hard for my family to get together. I know that my brothers aren't Jewish but, it's still important to remember where we came from. My hope is that someday to share our Jewish holidays and traditions with everyone in our family (Walters and Nieman). It's important to take time out for family.

It's important to Tommy and I to have traditions with our kids. So even though it was just the four of us we still had a Seder. It was short and sweet, but we still prayed and had all the yummy food.

I looked through these two books to share stories and traditions with the kids.

I usually start off with gelfite fish, but I am the only one who will eat it, so instead we had herring. Which is what Tommy prefers.

Everyone's favorite Matzoh ball soup. I always like to add some carrot, celery, parsley, and dill. Next year I want to make it from scratch.

This is our Seder plate (I always say I am going to buy one after Passover, but I usually forget.) So every year I compromise by making my own. I actually forgot to pick up the symbols so I had to use what we had around the house.
The egg is the symbol of birth, and it reminds us that on Passover the Jewish nation was born.
Charoset is thick and mushy; just like the cement the Jewish slaves were forced to mix. (It's apples, nuts, cinnamon, and red wine) My little guy's favorite!!
Shank bone (Well I didn't have this so I used a dog bone~Please forgive me) is a reminder of the first Passover celebrated in Egypt.
Parsley and Lettuce is on the plate because Passover is a springtime holiday. At the beginning of the meal the lettuce s dipped into salty water, just like the salty tears of the Jewish slaves.
Bitter herbs is eaten to remind those of the bitterness of slavery. (I used horseradish sauce)

Our Passover table. I used some Easter decorations, but to me they symbolize Spring.

The kiddish cup!! This cup is from our wedding. We use it at Passover for Elijah. Elijah is the miracle maker among the prophets. He visits all the Jewish homes to drink wine from his own cup. This concept freaked the kids out. My little girl was really freaked out when she realized that Elijah came and drank from his glass. It was placed right next to her. She was also a little upset because she wanted to talk to him and show him some pictures. My little guy thought that there was a man in his cup that he could talk to. I have to say this was the highlight of my day.

Hope you enjoyed my Passover story!!


My Blessing

They say that blessings come in many shapes and forms. I agree!!!

My blessing comes in this shape.

My blessing is my husband and best friend. He came into my life over 18 years ago!!! He is the best thing that has EVER happened to me. He is truly my night and shining armor, my prince charming, and the man of my dreams.

Tommy is such a gentle soul, he would do anything for anyone that he loves or cares about. He would give you the shirt off his back and his last dollar. I often worry about that because I know that he would risk his life to save someone else's life. That would leave me without the best thing in my life.

Tommy makes so many sacrifices for our family. He gets up early in the morning (4am) to study for certifications so he can hopefully advance more in his career. He goes to work very early and comes home in time to put the kids to bed. I know that is the last thing that he probably wants to do, but he does it so I can get a break. Tommy is the best father (next to my dad ~actually it's a tie.) (I know that my father would be proud and honored to share this title with Tommy). Tommy really wants to be there for the kids. He enjoys teaching and playing with our bundles of joy.

Nothing infuriates me more then when I feel that my husband/best friend is taken for granted or over looked. Tommy would never say anything to me or to the person who is hurting him, because he just wants everyone to be happy, healthy, and everyone to be at peace. He is such a great man, how could anyone not treat him with the greatest respect that he deserves?

Maybe I am feeling so grateful, because it's springtime, Passover, things happening in people's lives, or maybe it's because he gave me the morning off yesterday so I could get some alone time. Whatever it is...I KNOW HOW LUCKY I AM. I often wonder what I ever did to deserve such a great man in my life!!!!

I love you Tommy with all my heart and soul!!! I wanted to share with the world how great you are!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Big Reveal

I have worked so hard on this room. I still have a few more projects to do before it's finished. Tommy and I will be working on some art work for over the dresser. I am looking for the perfect idea for headboards. I'm also on the look out for a surf board.

Paradise is out the door!! The picture is of the kids in Maine on the Beach. I had this shadow box and I added some stickers and a starfish. We added coat hooks for beach bags a great place to store light toys.

I don't really love the night table, but it will have to do for now. The Adirondack chair is a light, $7.00 at Christmas Tree Shop. I found the light the day after I decided to do a beach theme room. I knew it was a sign!!

The beds are all dressed. The bed spreads were a clearance item at Wal-Mart. I didn't want anything too nice or expensive because they are kids. The other items on the bed are from my favorite store Target. The blankets are actually towels. Yes there is a naked baby on the bed. The dress that I wanted to put on her is in the other room. The kids are napping.

The buckets are holding the kids toys. They were allowed to pick a few toys to keep in their room.

Some of the decorations in their room. I saw a similar light in Pottery Barn for Kids. It was expensive, but I found mine for $5.00 at Christmas Tree Shop. The wooden truck was made by Great Grandpa Nieman. I am looking for a ice cream truck sticker. The starfish was a purchase many years ago. I've had the bambo placemats. It think I bought them from Pier One. I had three of them so it looks like a runner.

I painted the light white and added some yellow ribbon to the shade to have it coordinate with the other lamp shades. I've had the directors chair for several years and thought it would work great in the room. The suit case is holding all of their puzzles. The hat boxes have vintage beach pictures on it, a Home Goods find. It's also added storage. We've had the bambo bulletin board for a long time.

The pictures above are from some of our family vacations. The table has been in our basement and I thought it would be a nice touch to the room. There's a message in the bottle on one of the shelves. I wrote the kids a letter telling them about all the fun I had doing their room. It is glued shut.

I bought these Adirondack chairs at K-Mart I thought it would be nice to make a little reading area. Amelia got this doll for Hanukkah from Grandma and Brad. She is usually dressed in a ballet outfit. I thought she should fit with the beach theme. I made the yellow pillow out of a hand towel. I'm looking for a rug to put in the area.

Here is the reading area. I ordered a book rack. I am waiting for it to come in. For now I am using an old drying rack.

Here is my old dresser. It's all white and has new hardware. I like it. I am waiting for my father to get better to come help me distress it. Yes we have a TV in there. Sometimes I need a little help with the kids. Plus it has kept me company while working in the room all week.

Here is the toy bucket up close. I added chalk paint so I could right their names on the bucket.

Here is my $4.00 poster. I wish I was there. I added some of the kid's baby bathing suits on a clothesline. I thought it would be a cute valance. You see bathing suits on a clothes line down at the shore.

I'm not sure if I am going to keep the bathing suits up. I will have to keep them up for a few days and then decide. I embellished some of the clothes pins with shells.

I think that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures. I am truly impressed with myself. Don't mean to toot my own horn. I realized looking at these photos, I really need a new camera!! That's next on my list.

Stayed tuned for how I transform the old bedroom to a farm retreat. Should be fun!!!



The Beds are Here

Knock, knock, we are here to deliver your beds. The kids were so excited to see their beds come through the door.

I told the kids that they could jump on the beds for a few minutes, but once I put the sheets on... No jumping on the beds.

Amelia on her bed. Don't ask me what she is wearing. She accessorized herself today.

Of course my little man has to have his glasses on while he is testing out his bed.

I am so excited for them. The room is all decorated and we are waiting for Daddy to come home for the "Big Reveal"

Stay Tuned!!!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Big Change

I have been painting for three days now. I am covered in paint. I am happy to say that I am done with painting for this project.

Today, I spent the day sanding, priming, and painting my dresser. This dresser has been with me for over 30 years. I have loved this dresser and I have hated it too. As a little girl I loved it, I had a lot of storage for all my knick knacks. Then as I got older (teenager) I hated it because I felt that it took up most of my room. Thinking about it now, my parents probably planned it that way so I wouldn't have posters plastered on my wall. I'll have to remember that trick!! HAHA!!!!

When I moved out after college I took the dresser with me because Tommy and I couldn't afford a new dresser. When we moved into our house I still took the dresser with me and put it into the guest room. (Still not having the money).

I have now past it down to the kids. We can afford to buy furniture, but lets face it...they don't make furniture like they use to. So I decided to give the dresser new life.

Here is a picture of the dresser before. You will have to wait till the weekend to see the after photo.

You shouldn't be able to see them before the kiddies!! The kids are so excited for their new room and big boy and big girl beds.

If you guessed Beach theme you are correct!! The kids don't know yet. They see me working on projects and keep asking what are you doing and I tell them "you have to wait till Friday."
I am super excited to go in their room and decorate!! I don't know if I will be able to sleep Thursday night. I know I'm a dork!!
Stay tuned for the big reveal!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Room

Image from Country Living Website

This past weekend Tommy and I took the kids to Sleepy's to pick out their new big boy and big girl beds. The kids had a blast trying out all the beds. After much bouncing around, laying down, and singing their songs they finally found a perfect bed in our price range. We ordered the beds and they will be delivered on Friday.

We decided that they kids are getting too big for their room. We weren't sure if two twins beds would fit into the room. We thought about separating them but they did not seem happy about the idea. So the solution is to move them into the guest room aka Amelia's room and the play room.

So I have till Friday to get their new room painted, cleaned, and organized. I also decided that their furniture needed to be painted, more on that another day!!

I like to plan rooms around a theme. Can you guess what my theme is? It's a place the kids love to go to!!

Monday, March 22, 2010


The weather has been so wonderful, I kind of feel like I've been on Spring Break. So, when I saw Giada making this tropical drink and dinner I decided I needed to make it for dinner on Sunday.


1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes (to yield about 3 cups)
I used 1 (20oz can of chunk pineapple)
1 1/4 cups light rum
(I omitted this so kiddies could have some)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 large limes)
2 cups ice
1 (1 liter) bottle ginger ale
Garnish: 2 limes, cut into wedges
Special equipment: a 60-ounce pitcher
In a blender, combine the pineapple, rum, agave nectar, and lime juice. Blend until the pineapple is almost pureed. Pour the pineapple mixture into a large pitcher. Add the ice and stir. Slowly pour in the ginger ale.
Pour the cocktail into glasses and garnish with lime wedges

I'm always looking for meat that Amelia will eat so I thought that this would be sweet and she would eat it. She loved the chicken and even asked for seconds!! I didn't add the red pepper flakes. I imagine you could use chicken breast. I used drumsticks because kids love drumsticks.


3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/4 packed cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 pounds chicken drumettes
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground arrowroot powder or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, Marsala wine, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, chili powder, and red pepper flakes until the sugar is dissolved. Put the chicken drumettes in a 1-gallon size, resealable plastic bag. Add the pineapple liquid to the chicken and seal removing as much air as possible from the bag. Marinate the chicken for 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it liberally with vegetable cooking spray.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange in a single layer on the prepared pan. Season the chicken with salt, to taste, and bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the marinade into a small saucepan. Whisk in the arrowroot or cornstarch, if using, and bring to a boil over medium heat (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
Using a pastry brush, brush some of the cooked marinade over the chicken or pour it into a small bowl and serve on the side. Arrange the chicken on a platter, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

Giada is one of my favorite chefs and her recipes never let me down. I know that if I want something good I should go right to her recipes!! Thanks Giada, for making me look like a rock star on Sunday.

I hope you all had a great weekend.


Friday, March 19, 2010

What a Week

It's early Friday morning and I am sitting here catching up on Blog Land. I have been so disconnected from cyber world all week.
It's been a very draining week for me. I spent most of the week down in South Jersey for my dad's knee replacement surgery. The replacement seems to have gone well, but there's something else going on with him. There are some other things going on with people that I love and I hate seeing people hurt or sick!

As I was looking around on the Internet, I found this very pretty picture that made me sit and realize that I need to stop and smells the flowers. Of course I can't smell these flowers. I did however just sit here and look at these beauties.

Don't you feel a little better after looking at the picture?!?! I LOVE tulips and I like how they look in the green glass jar. I found this picture on "Country Living" web-site.

Remember as you start to see things bloom or even if you are at the food store stop to smell the flowers.

Beauty is everywhere.

Stay tuned for:

Starting my garden.

Decorating the kid's bedroom.

Getting the kids big boy and big girl beds.

Getting the kids a new bike


Moving the kids into their new bedroom.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Some of the Many Projects I Did This Week

They say when the Cats away the mice will play and that's what happened here this week. Tommy traveled to Texas and that left me alone with the kids. At night when the kids were sleeping I would keep myself busy organizing, crafting, and exploring Blog land.

Several weeks ago the kids and I stopped by the Christmas Tree shop. I saw these porcelain egg holder, and for two weeks I have been thinking and kicking myself for not buying them.

Since, the kids and I were in NJ yesterday I thought we would stop off and see if they still have them left. And they did!!

As you can see I bought a few and I know you are thinking, Janine you are Jewish and you are going to confuse the kids with these Easter decorations. I laugh because I am not using them for decorations!! Silly Rabbit!!! See picture below to see what I am using them for:

I am holding most of my earrings in them. Each container was $1.69, what a Bargain. I'm keeping them organized and I can see what I have to wear without sorting through every pair.

I also organized my China Cabinet and sorted through all my linen napkins. I made the decision that instead of always using paper napkins we will be using linen napkins. This is good for the environment and gives me more ironing to do.

I also re-organized our kitchen drawers and made a little craft area in the basement for making jewelry, sewing, and other craft projects.

Hope you all have a great Friday. Stayed tuned to see how we are celebrating St. Patty's Day!!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Springfest 2010

What a great way to spend a morning. The kids and I ventured to the Sussex County Fairgrounds for the Springfest.

After the beautiful weather we have been having and looking at all these gorgeous flowers I am most certainly ready for SPRING!!!

Here is the program that the ushers were not going to give me. I guess they thought maybe I had my hands full!!

Here's my little toots looking at the flowers. She got more compliments about the way she was dressed then I think the flowers.

"Look a duck," is what a lady behind me said. The kids and I got so excited we were looking all around for the duck and then I asked her where, and she pointed out the flower arrangements in the water. DUH!!! Silly us!!

I love these orchids, one day I will buy myself one, but they are so expensive and and high maintenance. I have enough high maintenance things in my life. LOL :0)

The kids thought that the plant growing out of the head was funny!! Me to, it kind of reminds me of a Chia Head.

The kids got to plant some flowers and vegetables. They had such a great time.

The kids looking at some of the animals found in the Skylands Area. They were able to name everything!! Thank you "Wonder Pets"

Toots looking at all the spring bulbs. See why everyone was saying she is so cute!!
Flower in her hair, flower on her lapel and this cute scarf.

My cutie pies looking at the fountain. I wonder if my wonderful hubby could make me this kind of fountain!!

Pussy Willows. I bought a bunch. It came in handy on the way home. I used it to wake Amelia up when she was falling asleep.

This was the first display when you walk into the festival. It got me so excited to be there.

Cherry Blossoms- I love these trees!! Nothing like seeing them in bloom. My goal is to get to DC one year to see them. I hope to take the kids to see them at Branch Brook Park. If you have never been there it worth driving into Newark.

The hummingbird had me dreaming of sitting on my deck with a glass of wine with my favorite person right at dusk when they usually come to our garden.
Sorry so long but hopefully you see why I am so excited for Spring!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Playing Outside

I was so excited that the weather was nice again. I love this weather!!! I wish that the whole month of March was just like today. When I asked the kids if they wanted to go outside they started screaming "Yes, yes, yes." I guess we've been held up in the house a lot this winter. I told the kids they could only take out one bike because we usually have about 6 bikes outside.

My little guy pedaling his bike. He is excited because now Daddy has to buy him a new bike.

My little girl asked me to play hop-scotch with her. She didn't want to share her rock, so I used a cork. Every adult should use a wine cork to play hop-scotch. LOL!!

I thought I would surprise the kids with lunch outside. They were so disappointed when I said lunch-time, but got excited when I said we could eat outside.

My little girl riding her bike. Yes she is wearing shorts, but she has on tights.

While we were outside I was able to take pictures of what I keep in my front seat organizer. I bought this organizer a few years ago.
Here's what I keep inside:
  1. Lint brush-because I never know if I will find lint or dog hair on me.
  2. Tissue- for the runny nose
  3. Disposable Camera in case of an accident I can take pictures for the insurance company. (Bite my tongue)
  4. Lavender water in a spray bottle to relax me if the kids are behaving badly or if I'm stuck in traffic.
  5. Pens and scissors- because you never know if you are going to need one.
  6. Hand Sanitizer to clean our hands after being in a store or someplace with a lot of germs.
  7. Hand Cream to keep my hands from getting dry.
  8. Remote for the DVR- so I don't have to stop driving to hit the play button.
  9. Hat and Gloves in case one of us gets cold.
  10. Magazine- in case I am stuck someplace.
  11. Upbeat Music- in case I am tired or need a little pep.
  12. Snacks- Goldfish, pretzels, and dried cranberries
  13. Happy Meal prizes and Reese's Pieces just in case I need to bribe the kids. (You gotta do what you gotta do.)

Hope you have a chance to enjoy this early spring weather!!!



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