Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Stinky Clothes

Thursday note: Here is my belated Tuesday Tip for the week. I still can't figure out what happened to the original. Sorry. This tip has saved me so many times! I always seem to have the good intentions to start the laundry but then forget to put it in the dryer and it turns stinky.

Have you ever washed clothes only to pull it out of the dryer and notice a stink? Rancid. Usually it is from not taking clothes out of the wash and putting it in the dryer soon enough. Re-wash and add a small splash of bleach to the bleach tray. It won't change colors of your clothes and removes the stink. On occasion Jim will work with diesel or an herbicide that will permeate everything he is wearing. I use this little bleach trick his mom taught me and the smell is gone!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I had several posts all lined up; written with pictures and everything. Somehow they disappeared. Some days I feel like tossing my computer out the window. Nate reminded me that it would break so I'm not going to do that. I hope to have everything caught up soon.

On a funny note, Nate said that I smelled " peanut butter with a teaspoon of salt." Boy, does that kiddo have a way with words!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Microwaved Corn

Previously, I wrote about how to cook the perfect corn. I recently discovered a new way to cook corn: in the microwave! It's not perfect but tasty and is a lot easier to do as there is no pot of boiling water needed.
Place corn in the microwave and cook on high heat for 6 to 8 minutes.
When done cooking, carefully remove the corn. It is one hot steamy package of corn! Cut the bottom section off.
It should be a nice cross-segment.
Grasp the corn by the silks at the top and shake vigorously. (Nate took this picture and complained I was moving too much, that's why the picture is blurry.)
After a couple of good shakes the corn should slide right out of the husks. The silks will stay in the husks leaving you a beautiful cob of cooked corn.
Voila! No silks. It's cooked, though not perfectly even. There were a couple of raw-ish spots but it was tasty and there was no pot to clean!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Cutting Corn

Cutting corn off of the cob can be messy. Kernels flying everywhere. I learned a nifty trick to keeping the kernels contained: a bundt pan. Place the end of the corn into the center hole of the bundt pan. With a sharp knife cut the kernels off, they should fall directly into the pan.
Note: I tried this method once before with a newer bundt pan and the center whole was too small. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Play Dough

Play dough is one of those childhood play-things that you never forget. The plastic yellow tubs. The endless fun of rolling, cutting, and shaping. The smell. Although play dough isn't very expensive I needed a few large batches for a preschool event. Instead of buying the play dough Nate and I decided to make it. It's really quite easy!
Start by putting all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Put your wet ingredients in a measuring cup. The food coloring will likely sink to the bottom.
Whisk the wet ingredients together so the food coloring becomes blended into the rest of the liquid.
Pour liquids into the flour mixture and mix. It will be quite shaggy at first. Don't give up! Mix away! Note, use a spoon at first since you put in boiling water and you don't want to burn yourself.
Once cool enough to handle, knead with your hands.
Our play dough was a bit dry so we added in several tablespoons of water. (photo credit - Nate)

When the play dough is a consistency you like it is time to play!

Play Dough


2 c. flour
3 T. cream of tartar
1/2 c. salt
4 T. oil
1/2 c. boiling water
food coloring


Mix dry ingredients together. Mix oil, food coloring and boiling water in a separate container. Stir liquid mixture until cool enough to knead. Knead until smooth.

If play-dough is too dry, add more water, a little at a time. If play-dough is too crumbly, knead in a small amount of oil. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


We've had a non-stop fun filled week and the entire family is exhausted. It started with a tamale making party at our friends' the Okerstroms on Saturday, a combined 80th-80th & 50th birthday party on Sunday, float decorating and potluck Monday, parade and the fair Tuesday, peach and nectarine picking Wednesday and a work review and 8-gazillion loads of laundry today. I'm hoping to not do much over the weekend. Though we always seem to fill up our days. Where have the relaxing lazy Summer days gone?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Glue

This tip is probably one that all of you will all say "duh" to. I, however, learned this lesson the hard way last night. When working on art projects with a bunch of preschoolers and that piece of art is going to be hung up immediately use glue sticks and not bottled glue (aka school glue). If you are asking "why?" pat yourself on the back. You're clueless like me. The reason you do not use school glue is that preschoolers use about 10 times more than they need and whatever they glued on will start to slide and drip onto the ground in a messy sticky puddle of glue. In our case it was a puddle of glue, googly eyes, and construction paper chicken beaks. It was a bit frightening looking.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blueberry Hand Pies

Blueberries are a favorite in the Simnitt household. Anytime I come across a recipe with blueberries I have to try it out. When I saw the recipe for Blueberry Hand Pies in the July issue of Bon Appetit Magazine I knew I had to make them. The recipe didn't disappoint. The crust is flaky and buttery, the filling sweet but not overly. It's the perfect grab and go breakfast or dessert!

Blueberry Hand Pies


Buttery Pie Crust
1 1/2 c. flour + more for dusting
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces

Blueberry Filling
2 c. blueberries
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. kosher salt
1 large egg, whisked with 1 t. water
1 T. raw sugar


For the Butter Pie Crust: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter; pulse until the texture is a very coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup ice water; pulse, adding more water if dry, until dough comes together in clumps. Form into a square, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

For the Blueberry Filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a 15x12" rectangle. Cut into 6 rectangles.

Toss blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Brush edges of rectangles with water; mound some blueberries in center of each. Fold dough over, and press edges to seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut slits in tops.

Bake hand pies, rotating sheet halfway through, until juices are bubbling and pastry is golden brown, 35-40 minutes (juices will run onto parchment). Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Storing Berries

It's berry season and we've been picking and buying and eating as many berries as possible. According to our amazing "Berry Lady" at the farmer's market, fresh berries (blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries, etc.) should be eaten the day they are picked. If you aren't going to eat them all the day you get them they can be kept fresh for one additional day. Here are her rules for storing fresh berries:
  1. Do NOT wash the berries until you plan on eating them.
  2. Place the berries on a paper-towel lined baking sheet or plate in a single layer.
  3. Store uncovered.
  4. Place sheet of berries on the top shelf of your refrigerator. Why the top shelf? It is the warmest part of the refrigerator but it is cold enough to keep the berries fresh without being too cold.
Eat up!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Round Up

I've been MIA for about a little over a week. I've been fighting a nasty phlegmy cough. I still went about my day-to-day activities but when it came to blogging or sleeping I chose sleep. Will you ever forgive me?

Here is a round up of the last couple of weeks. I made blueberry hand pies with my niece Maddie to take along on a white water rafting excursion. A-maz-ing! I'll post the how to later this week.
We went to the Mississippi Street Fair in Portland. Nate got a Hawaiian shave ice and did a little happy dance.
Said brother also made Gabby into a pillow pet. He literally took the velcro ties and strapped her into her lamb. Strangely, she loved it. This is an action shot of her. She was rolling all over the carpet making "Wooo" noises.
We picked 30 pounds of peaches. Nate attempted to find the largest peach in the orchard. Gabby managed to find the tiniest peach ever. It's smaller than a golf ball! We made pies and froze a bunch for baking and smoothies throughout the Winter months.
Gabs had her make-up done by her cousin Ellie while the rest of the girls in the family got pedicures. She sat still for the entire thing and kept fluttering her eye lashes at everyone to show off her make-up. I've definitely got a girly-girl on my hands!
I'm attempting to reorganize our garage. We've passed along most of our baby gear to expectant family and friends so can finally rearrange things how we would like. Along with that we are rediscovering toys that have been stored behind all of the baby gear. Above Nate and Gabby are drawing on their rediscovered easel.
The weeks ahead I'll be preparing for some preschool activities. Stay-tuned for some fun kid friendly crafts!