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Moose tracks and Tater stacks: 1/30/11 - 2/6/11

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Crochet with Plastic Bags

{How to Crochet With Plastic Bags}

Crocheting with plastic bags is a way to reuse the bags that you no longer have a need for. This is a great way to reuse your bags! You can make so many things with this “yarn” and all of them will last a really long time!

{What You Need}

  • The crochet hook that your pattern calls for
  • Get all of your old grocery bags; you will need a few dozen. Make sure that they are clean; using bags that contained meats or liquids that may have leaked is not a good idea.
  • A crochet pattern, which you can find online for free or you can purchase one

{How to Prepare the Bags}

  • Lay the bag out in front of you, it should go length wise.

  • Cut off the bag handles
  • Cut the bag the width wise, the short way so that the cuts make a loop of the plastic bag. Cut in two inch increments.

  •  Loop the bags together by putting one loops end inside the other loops end.

  • Hold onto both sides of the loop that you put into the other loop and put one end through the other to form a knot. 

This sounds really complicated but hopefully the pictures will help!

  •             Do this until you are out of bags or until it is the length that you want.
  •      Roll into a ball, the same way that you would do with yarn


    Now you have your “yarn” to create your reusable bag or whatever you decide to make.

    To add a bit of fun you can add in colored bags, it can be anything plastic that you have around. You can use colored store bags, bread or tortilla bags, garbage bags, etc. 

    Have fun and save the Earth at the same time! 

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    Things to do with Old Plastic Grocery Bags

    {Things to do with Old Plastic Grocery Bags}

    I love the idea of reusing the bags that you don’t need but if they are just going in the trash anyway it may defeat the purpose. I think recycling them somehow is the best way to use them.

    I have seen some amazing crafting ideas about making your own reusable grocery bags out of the plastic bags. Can you imagine how long a bag made of plastic bags woven together would last?

    You can tie them together to make a rope to keep in your car to tie your trunk shut when you are transporting large items.

    If you decide that making a crochet bag or craft with your bags is not for you; check with your local grocery store to see if they recycle the bags. I know at my store they have a big barrel to throw your old bags in. If they don’t you could always just take them back into the store with you a couple of times and get your groceries bagged in them.

    Check with your local recycling center or your recycling pick up people (if you are so lucky to have it picked up at your home!) they might be able to take them off your hands.

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    Friday, February 4, 2011

    The Bachelor

    {The Bachelor}

    Now here is one of my guiltiest little pleasures! In the past 3 years I have gotten really into this show, I never even watched it until Jason Mesnicks season (season 13) and as soon as I saw it I was hooked! I adore this show, even though it doesn’t always turn out the way I had hoped. This season is going well, I like it so far and most of the ladies are great!

    So, this season (season 15) started out with the bachelor being announced. He is a former bachelor on the show, although I didn’t see his season, he made most of America pretty angry by turning down both women at the end. Since I didn’t see his season, I hold no harsh feelings toward him and I think he is very nice and he is very handsome which doesn’t hurt. He is Brad Womack.

    I love Emily! She is my pick for him at this point, but only if he is going to be nice and respect her! She seems so friendly, a little closed off, but really nice under it all. I also really like Ashley H. but of course my picks change weekly depending on the ladies’ behaviors and how Brad reacts to them.

    Here is a list of the bachelorettes that Brad has to choose from, who is your pick for him? Watch Monday nights on ABC!

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    Go Green! Opting Out of Your Phone Book Delivery!

    {Go Green! Opt-out of Your Phone Book Delivery!}

    I am sure you have heard about this already but if you haven’t heard or you just haven’t bothered to do it, you should! I mean really, how often do you use the actual phonebook now days? Whenever I need a number I just go to my good friend Google and type in whatever I need, it is way faster and more efficient!

    The phonebooks just pile up in the dump and take forever to decompose because they are so thick! If each home in your city gets only 1 phonebook per year and throws it in the trash can you imagine the pile that would create?

    Opting out of receiving a phone book is really simple; it only takes a minute or two and keeps you from struggling with what to do with that giant phone book when it shows up on your doorstep.

    • Go to
    • Register to the site- You will have to hit send twice
    • They will send you an e-mail with a password and also a onetime use link to avoid logging in.
    • Go to the site and opt out of getting phone books!

    Even if you don’t recycle or do anything else for the environment, you can do this and it will make a big difference in the world! Take the time to do it, please.

    Thank you so much!

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    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    How to Moisturize Your Lips

    {10 Tips to Moisturize Those Luscious Lips}

    1.     Keep hydrated; drinking plenty of water each day will keep your skin and lips moist from the inside out, which will help them stay soft.

    2.     Don’t lick your lips; licking your lips provides much needed moisture in the short run and can feel like a great relief. The problem is that your saliva contains enzymes that help break down your food, so when you put that  enzyme on your fragile little lips it can really dry them out.

    3.     Always carry a moisturizing lip balm with you, apply it multiple times during the day. Try using Bert’s Beeswax or Carmex, they tend to work better than the cheap kinds and also stay on longer. Keeping lip balm or chapstick on your lips can help to keep you from licking them.
    4.     Brush your lips; every morning and night when you brush your teeth you should also brush your lips! Sounds silly, I know, but it removes the dead skin and helps lips to have a better color and look smoother.  Another tip is that you can take a little bit of sugar  and olive oil (equal parts) and rub it on your lips, it is a great for exfoliating, do this gently.

    5.     Choose a chapstick or lip balm that is fragrance and flavor free. The fragrances can irritate your lips and make them more dry, also the flavors may cause you to lick your lips more without realizing it and licking your lips dries them out.

    6.     Use a tea bag; don’t throw away that used tea bag, after you make your tea just place the bag on your lips for a few minutes and *BAM* soft, lucious lips!

    7.     Put on some lip moisturizer, chapstick or lip balm before bed; doing this allows the moisturizer to sit on your lips for long periods which can help to let it soak in and work better.

    8.     Avoid the sun; if you are going to be in the sun make sure that you have a lip moisturizer with sunscreen in it and keep it with you, apply it liberally and frequently.  Remember that the sun is dangerous in the winter too, so make sure to have your SPF lip moisturizer year round!

    9.  Get some B vitamins; chapped lips can be a sign of low B vitamins in your diet. In order to get some more you can try eating;  poultry, seafood, bananas, leafy greens and potatoes. There are many foods that can help you get your B vitamin intake back on track which can help to rehydrate those dry lips!

    10.  Try to avoid getting your face products, washes, soap, etc. on your lips;  these products can dry your face and your lips are much more sensitive so they dry them even more. I usually tuck my lips in while I wash my face. 

    Enjoy those soft, beautiful lips!

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    Camping Fanatic

    {Camping Fanatic}

    Growing up I loved camping; I loved everything that had anything to do with camping! For a while in my teens I forgot about the outdoors and how lovely it is out there, it fell to the wayside because my friends and boyfriends were more important. When I hit my early 20’s I remembered my true love and longed to go again but at that point I couldn’t afford to go; then we had our boys and we didn’t want to take babies camping because we were afraid that it was too cold.

    In 2008 we decided that we should start camping, at that point Tater was 4 and Moose was 2. That year we went camping just a handful of times and we stayed in a tent.

    In 2009 we tried using my brother’s camper, which was a clunky, old aluminum side camper. It worked perfectly and we were camping at least once a month. It stayed much warmer, so the kids were able to sleep more comfortably.

    In 2010 we decided that we really want to get a camper of our own and we started looking at pop-up trailers. Something small enough to pull and store, something with a heater but I really want to feel like we are camping. To me having a big RV defeats the purpose; especially with kids, then they want to be inside watching movies all day and that is not what camping is about.

    We found this little camper and fell in love!

    We spent almost every weekend last year camping and we intend to do even more camping this year! 

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    Thinking About Gardening

    {Thinking About Gardening}

    Last year I started to think about growing a garden but I never really got around to it. I remembered seeing something about a book called Square Foot Gardening and I had heard that it was the best book to get before starting a garden. So that is exactly what I did! I went out and got a copy of this book and I am so happy that I did. I actually ended up with the all new version of this book which is a revision of the first edition. The All New Square Foot Garden offers information that the author himself didn't realize when he wrote the first book; things that he learned over the years between the two editions. 

    In this book the author Mel Bartholomew tells you how to build a perfect garden. He teaches you how to build an above the ground box to put your garden in so that you don’t even have to worry about your soil being good enough for your plants to grow; there is a mixture recipe in the book that you put in your above ground planter box instead of your soil. This is great because it eliminates the need for digging up and mixing around your existing soil which can save you a ton of money.

    Mel (as he refers to himself in the book) teaches you how to save money on seeds by only planting what you need instead of using a whole packet. He also teaches you what to plant in each square of your SFG (Square Foot Garden) so that you maximize your crop without wasting any space or food, he also tells you what order to plant things in so that you can harvest from spring to the beginning of winter; can you imagine getting fruits and vegetables for 3 seasons of the year?
    So, I will be starting a garden this spring and I will definitely be using the SFG method because it is the best method that I have found. To do a single row traditional garden would be a mistake in my opinion, after reading this book I can see the many flaws in that technique.

    I will be taking pictures of my garden from beginning to end; now I just have to wait for this snow to disappear so I can get started! I am excited to do this garden as a family project; we are all four going to build, plant, work and harvest the garden together. We will be using the garden as one of our homeschooling projects and I think it will mean a lot to the kids to follow something like this from beginning to end.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who is going to start a garden and really if you already have a garden but you would like to improve your crops or your garden output. There are so many useful tips and tricks in this book, it is the ultimate gardeners handbook and every gardener should own it! 

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    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes

    {Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes}

    Today I made cherry cheesecake cupcakes for the first time! I found lots of recipes and decided to try to formulate my own little recipe. This made 10 cupcakes, now that they are done I see that I should have filled the cups fuller. If you fill the cups to the top this recipe should make 6 cupcakes. 
    • Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
    • Line a cupcake pan with cupcake papers

    • Crumbs from 20 vanilla wafer cookies (I use the food processor to crush them)
    • 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons of butter (melted) 
    • 8oz Cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 Teaspoon of vanilla
    • 1 Large egg
    • 1/4 Cup of plain yogurt
    • Can of cherry pie filling (or any pie filling that would be good on cheesecake!)

    Directions for crust-
    1.     Mix the crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl until combined. Take a tablespoon worth of the crust mixture and put it into each cupcake cup. 
    2.     Press the crust mixture down and pack it firmly.
    3.     Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove and let cool
    Directions for filling-
    1.     Beat the cream cheese until smooth
    2.     Add the yogurt, egg and vanilla
    3.     Bake for 15-20 minutes, until sides are set but the center should still wiggle around when you shake the cupcake pan. 

    Here they are in the cups!

    Finished product, yummy!

    To me this isn't really the cupcake I was hoping for, it is more of a mini cheesecake; that being said, it was delicious! I would make it again if I am ever looking for a individual serving cheesecake. It could be fun to make these for some kind of a house party and then have different fruit toppings for people to choose from to make their own little dessert!

    So here is my rating for this one- 

    I give this recipe 1 1/2 cupcakes because it while it wasn't what I would consider a real cupcake, it was good!

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    Amazing Tortilla Soup

    {Amazing Tortilla Soup}

    I love tortilla soup! I had never tasted it until about 7 years ago when I first got married and now I am addicted and so is Jason, he asks me to make it all the time. I found a recipe a long time ago and have made it into my own little version.

    Tortilla Soup-

    -16oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
    - 3 cloves of garlic
    -4 tablespoons of cilantro, if it is fresh cilantro I add a bit less
    - ½ teaspoon of sugar
    - 8 cups of chicken broth
    1 ½ pounds of chicken (I use boneless skinless breasts)
    2-3 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce
    Tortilla chips

    • Cook the chicken in a pan with a little bit of oil, I usually cook them in a little bit of olive oil in my stock pot (so I don’t dirty more pans than I need to) over medium heat for about 20 minutes but of course the cooking time will vary. Make sure that your chicken isn’t pink in the center and it is recommended that you cook it to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • While the chicken is cooking put the can of tomatoes (undrained), cilantro, sugar and garlic into the blender and blend it until it is smooth.
    • Once the chicken is cooked cut it into cubes and put it into the stock pot and pour in the ingredients from the blender.
    •  Add the 8 cups of broth to the stock pot
    • Put 2-3 chipotle peppers into the soup and add 1-2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce from the chipotle can, depending on how spicy you want your soup
    • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste

    {Optional Ingredients & Toppings}
    -       -  Mexican or Monterey Jack cheese
    -        - Avocado
    -         -Sour cream

    {Meal Assembly}
    • Do not eat the chipotle peppers, simply serve around them and leave them for the flavor. I usually leave them in the bowl in the fridge with the leftovers too. 
    •  Put a scoop of rice in the bottom of a bowl, top it with soup and then cheese. Add avocado and sour cream if you desire.
    • Use the tortilla chips like a spoon to eat the soup or put them on top
    • Enjoy!

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    How to Have a Successful Marriage

    {10 Tips For A Successful Marriage}

    I have been married for almost 7 years now and we are really, truly happy. There are a few things keys to happy marriages that I have learned from my own experience and from the experiences' of some of my friends' and I would love to share them with you. 

    1.     Pray together, or at least for each other. Obviously putting God first in your relationship will help to guide you and keep you together. 
    2.     Show your partner respect, even if you are angry with them you can be respectful. Respect is just basic consideration of their feelings. Don't insult them or say things that are hurtful just to make yourself feel better because later you will probably feel bad about having said it and they will feel even worse for having heard it. 
    3.     Apologize when you are wrong and sometimes when you aren't! A fight can usually be solved by someone just saying they are sorry, lay down your pride and admit when you are wrong. 
    4.     Try to satisfy your partners sexual needs, sometimes life can get in the way but you have to stop that from happening. Physical affection is really important to staying happy and it promotes good health too! Sometimes it is hard to feel like your partner still loves and adores you if they are constantly "too tired" or if they always have a headache, human touch is a very basic need, fulfill it. 
    5.     Hug and kiss each other when you get home or when you are together again after being apart for any reason, show how happy you are that the other person is there, let them feel how much you missed them. Anyway, you should spend time kissing; it is shown to be healthy, so do it for your health!
    6.     Leave a little love note now and then, it will make more of an impact than you could ever imagine. Both women and men love to hear some gushy stuff now and then. 
    7.     Try to talk things out instead of fighting it out. Choose your battles. When a situation gets a little heated you can try to lower your own voice and the other person may follow suit or you can leave the room for a few minutes and finish talking about the situation later. 
    8.     Don't sweat the small stuff, I know we have all heard that before but think about it, it is a helpful idea. If you don't worry about the little things that your spouse does you won't fight as much and that in itself will make life happier. 
    9.     Talk to each other, communication is key, not only when you are fighting but all the time! It is so nice to talk about your day or what your friends are doing or just to be able to talk about anything that is on your mind. You should give each other a chance to talk about whatever you need to every day, it is also a nice way to stay linked to each other based on knowing what is going on in the other persons' day to day life. 
    10.                       Be forgiving; humans make mistakes, they do things wrong, they forget, they lie, the break things and make you mad in general but you have to be willing to love them through it. Forgiving someone isn't always easy but if you are going to move forward in your relationship it is necessary, you can't hold anger inside forever. 

    Marriage isn't easy but if you just make sure that you are showing your partner how much you love them and that they can see through your actions that you really do, it should be easier. Understand that things will be rough sometimes but if you just stay strong and follow the tips above you will be able to get through almost anything. 

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    All About Me!

    {About Me}

    A brief overview-

    My name is Sarah, I have been very happily married for 7 years now. I am the mother of 2 adorable boys; Tater (Caden) who is 6 and Moose (Conlan) who is 4. We are living in beautiful Colorado, homeschooling our kids and loving every minute of it! 

    I am just one girl trying to change the world! My husband and I were foster parents for 7 years, we just recently retired so that we could focus on our little guys. I am a birth Doula who is obsessed with all things pregnancy, labor and birth and I could talk about it for days! I was a gestational surrogate in 2008, giving birth to twin girls who were not genetically related to me. Their parents are some of our very best friends. 

    I am the resident mom to everyone, there is rarely a person around me who doesn't think of me as their mother of sorts, even if we are the same age. I love giving advice and listening to people's problems, trying to help them solve whatever issue is bothering them. That is what inspired me to do this blog, people really trust me and I love helping anyone with anything (legal; don't call me to help you rob a bank, haha). Feel free to get in touch with me if you ever need anything or you just want to chat!

    The low down-
    • I will be baking up a storm this year and sharing some amazing recipes with all of you!
    • When I buy new stuff I will write a review so that you will have a "friends'" opinion of the product before you buy it. It helps to know what one of your peers thinks of a product before you buy it, the good and the bad!
    • We have so many cool things planned for school this year and I would love to pass on my ideas to you as well as hear some of your ideas!
    • I am on a mission to learn as many crafts as possible and I intend to share that adventure with you, right now my main focus is sewing but I also crochet and have learned the very basics of knitting. I love learning new things and I tend to dive in head first. 
    Contact information- surrosarah{at}gmail{dot}com

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    Bucket List

    {Bucket List}

    Here is my bucket list, just a few things that I want to do before I die. Some of them I have already done.

    Here are some things that could happen anytime, you never know!
    • Learn to scuba dive
    • Dive the Great Barrier Reef
    • Deliver (catch) a baby
    • Become a gestational surrogate
    • Invest in the stock market
    • Be a foster parent
    • Take up Yoga
    • Read the Bible
    • Attend a sweat lodge ceremony
    • Build a Habitat for Humanity home with my kids
    What I hope the future holds- 
    • Renew my wedding vows (after 10 years of wedded bliss) 
    • Own a house on a large plot of land
    • Have rental properties
    • Become a CASA (court appointed special advocate) 
    • Scuba dive with my boys
    Visit the following places- 
    • Israel
    • Australia
    • Europe, any part (Hopefully every part!)
    • Hawaii
    • Alaska
    • Niagara Falls
    • New Zealand 
    • Egypt
    • China
    • Brazil
    • New York
    • Disney World/Land with my boys

    The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss, but that it is too low and we reach it. -Michelangelo

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    Making Your Dryer More Effective

    {Making Your Dryer Run More Effectively}

    When I run my dryer I am always thinking of ideas about how to make it more cost effective and more efficient. It all started when I decided to run my dryer on low heat instead of high heat. Running it on high was great because the clothes were drying faster but they were also shrinking and wearing much faster.

    Here are a few other things that I have found that are helping me make my laundry days a little bit easier on me and also on my electric bill!

    1.          Clean the lint trap/filter; this can help your dryer so much! I had heard it a million times but didn't try it because I didn’t think it would really help much. Once I tried it, I realized how much of a difference it really made! My clothes dry much faster now and I also think it reduces the risk of fire. All that you have to do is pull the lint-trap out and wash it in your sink; I use my cleaning tooth brush and dish soap. You should do this once a month or whenever you remember.
    2.        Dry your delicates and light weight clothes first because they don’t need as much heat and it helps your dryer warm up so that when you get to your heavier clothes your dryer doesn't have to work hard to get warm and all of the energy will be focused to the actual drying.
    3.         Do your laundry back to back so that the dryer doesn't cool down between loads. Keeping the dryer warm will help save energy.
    4.          Make sure to do full loads, drying half a load will take just as much energy as drying a while load.
    5.      Don’t overload your dryer, loads that are too big will take twice as much time to try and it is really hard for the clothes to move around so the outer layer will dry and the middle will be wet still.
    6.            I found that throwing a tennis ball in with my drying clothes really helps the drying time, not only that but it also helps to keep your clothes fluffy after they dry. The tennis ball bouncing around will cause the clothes to shift around more and helping all of the clothes to dry.
    7.      One other thing that I found, it seems so bizarre but I *LOVE* it! I have a big problem with losing my hair and when I am folding and hanging my clothes I find tons of loose hair, which I hate! One day on accident one of these little toys ended up in my dryer.

      When I pulled it out of the dryer it was covered and wrapped in hair! Since then I have started just throwing one of these in with my clothes and it really does work to get most of the loose hair from the laundry. I dry my loads on low heat, as I mentioned above, so I don’t worry about the heat affecting the porcupine balls. I find these little gems on sale after holidays (since they have them in holiday colors for gifting) and they are around $1 for 8-10 of them and sometimes I use them multiple times. Try it, I swear by it now! They don't melt in my dryer but you should try it in yours first because every dryer is different and I only run mine on low heat so I have never had a problem, just test it first. 

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