Cleaning a Turkey Baster

A turkey baster is near the top of things that are a pain to clean but the other day I had an idea...

The other night I made meatloaf for dinner and there was greasy juice in the bottom of the pan. I grabbed the turkey baster and sucked out the juice but I was left with a filthy turkey baster. I tried washing it in my usual way - dishrag poked down into it with the handle of a wooden fork - but there was still a glob of goo congealed at the bottom that wouldn't give. The dishrag/wooden fork handle couldn't reach it; very hot water, dish detergent and shaking the thing wouldn't work. I finally gave up and set it aside and ignored it. 
But then came Thanksgiving. I went into the kitchen and looked at the turkey baster and thought, "Now I have to figure out how to clean this dang thing!" 
I put it in hot, soapy dishwater and then it dawned on me - a Q-Tip! I grabbed a Q-Tip and it fit perfectly into the small end of the turkey baster and up far enough to cover the areas the dishrag/wooden fork combo wouldn't reach! I scrubbed out the goo with one end of the Q-Tip wet with hot dishwater and then used the other end of the Q-Tip just for good measure and it was as clean as a whistle! 
I went online later to see if I could find out how other people tackle - I mean, clean - their turkey basters and suggestions included pipe cleaners and bottle brushes. Those would be great if one has a pipe cleaner or a bottle brush lying around, but how many people do? But most people have Q-Tips handy - they are great for cleaning other things, too. 
So, if you are tackling the small, grimy end of your turkey baster, just grab a Q-Tip and a little hot, soapy water! 

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and your clean-up a breeze!  

Raising Bread Dough in A Cold House

It was cold yesterday morning - a chilly fingers, dig the fuzzy slippers out of the closet kind of morning, and my thoughts turned to hot, homemade bread. 

Baking bread on a cold day is delicious in itself; kneading the pleasantly warm dough, inhaling the mouth-watering aroma of the baking loaves and rolls. But, when the days turn colder, finding the perfect spot to raise bread dough is a daunting task. Top of the fridge? Nope, that felt too cold. In the oven with the pilot light on? Nope, I don't have a pilot light. Run the cat out of the sun beam shining through the window and put the dough there? Nope, she wouldn't hear of it.

A Great Idea!
Curious how other people raised their bread dough in their cold houses, I searched online and found a great idea - raise your bread dough on top of the clothes dryer. I loved that idea! I hadn't thought about that spot and hadn't really given much thought to how much heat the top of the dryer gives off. 

I'd been doing laundry and had a load of clothes ready to go into the dryer so I piled them in, turned it on, gave it a few minutes to heat up and then touched the top of the dryer to see how warm it was - it was wonderful! I knew the clothes would be drying for a while because they were my hubby's heavy work pants, sweatshirts and quilted flannel shirts, so I thought the dryer top would be perfect to use for raising the bread dough. 

I put the bowl of dough on the dryer and waited. And waited. And grew impatient. So, I decided to improve on the idea and make a cozy, warm place for my dough to raise. 
I poked around in my cardboard box collection (you have one of those, don't you?) and found one about 16" by 12" by 12" and cut one side off of it. What I had left was a three-sided box with three flaps. 
I then put a dish towel on the warmest area of the top of the dryer, put the bowl of dough on top of the dish towel, placed the box over top of the dough and closed the flaps. It was wonderful! The dough raised perfectly while the laundry was drying!

I shaped and readied the dough for it's second raising, then tossed my second load of laundry of the day into the dryer, turned it on, placed my pans into the cardboard dough raising box. By the time the laundry was dry, the dough was raised and the loaves were ready to bake! Perfect!
I am thrilled with this idea! I enjoy baking bread on cold, autumn and winter days and I, like most people, have extra laundry to do during the colder months so this will work out wonderfully! 

So, to raise bread dough in a cold house:
*Plan to make bread on the days you have at least two loads of laundry to do. 
*Get your dough ready while the first load of laundry is washing.
*Find a clean, cardboard box - the one I used was about 16"by12"by12" - and cut one side off of it, leaving a three-sided box with three flaps.
*Toss your laundry into the dryer.
*Place a dish towel on the warmest place on top of the dryer and place your bowl of bread dough on the towel. 
*Cover with the box and wait for the dough to raise.
*After the dough has raised, shape it and get it ready for the second raising.
*Toss your second load of laundry in the dryer.
*Place your pans of dough on the dish towel on top of the dryer.
*Cover with the box. 

A wonderful bread proofing box without the high cost! 

chocolate chip cookies with pretzels and potato chips

Hubby has been on a big ruffled potato chip kick - they have become his new favorite to take for lunch. But, like with most chips, there are always a ton of broken chip pieces in the bottom of the bag. I thought these broken pieces were great to use for a casserole topping or to add to my favorite meatloaf recipe but I found something even better to use them for - cookies! Yep, cookies. I found this recipe from Nestle called Sweet and Salty Nestle Toll House Cookies and omg! Yum! Chocolate chips, pretzel pieces and potato chips all in one cookie!

Usually when I bake cookies it's my hubby who wants them straight off the pan and I have to put a few aside just to make sure I get to taste a couple, but I baked a batch of these and I had to force myself to save some for him!
Image source
Sweet, and yet salty, (I did add the optional salt), these cookies satisfy a slew of taste buds. 
These were so good, I think I might have to crush a few potato chips on purpose! 

Find Sweet and Salty Toll House Cookies and more recipes here - Very Best Baking

Moneysaving hint - make sure to check the promotions and coupons section. You might find a coupon for chocolate chips! 

More Bluegrass Christmas Music

 I am already enjoying listening to some Christmas music and I love bluegrass Christmas music. Trying to find good bluegrass Christmas music can be tough, though. It seems there are a lot of banjo picking, dobro playing musicians out there who do Christmas music but the quality isn't always that great. I must have poked around Amazon for two hours trying to find some great bluegrass Christmas music and found a small collection.  It took some looking, but here are some songs that I found that you might also enjoy - ( if you click the link, you can listen to a preview and/or purchase the song as an MP3 download)

Oh Christmas Candle  by Doyle Lawson

It's Christmas Time also by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver and as beautiful as you would expect!

Jingle Bells by Earl Scruggs. A bouncy and fun tune!

Let It Snow by Rhonda Vincent. I had the chance to see her and her wonderful band at the Gettysburg Bluegrass festival a few years back. This is a nice version of this song!

Sleigh Ride by Tony Trischka. This is foot-tapping good!

Christmas Is Near by Ralph Stanley. Nice song. No one sings 'em like Ralph Stanley!

Go Tell It On The Mountain by Larry Sparks. Another singer with a distinctive voice. This is a wonderful song, it always makes me want to sway, clap my hands, and sing along.

Silent Night by The Seldom Scene. When I listen to this, I can hear their hearts in the song. It's just really nice.

The First Noel/It Came Upon a Midnight Clear/Joy to the World by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.The wonderful harmonies of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver makes this terrific medley of songs even more enjoyable!

Children Go by Ricky Skaggs. Not just a Christmas song, this is a catchy, easy-to-sing-along-to tune that will make you want to clap along with the music. The kids might really enjoy this one!

I hope that you find these songs enjoyable. If you discover some of your favorite Bluegrass Christmas songs, please feel free to post a comment and share!  

 A few more of my favorite bluegrass Christmas songs are in this post - "Favorite Bluegrass Christmas Songs" 

It's the Holiday Season... almost.

It's the Holiday Season... almost.

Time is flying and Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. I'm already enjoying some Christmas music, thinking about gift ideas and drooling at the thought of a holiday turkey with all the trimmings!
I've been reviewing and updating some of my previous holiday posts and decided to bump them up for anyone who might enjoy them -

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells.." I think everyone over the age of 4 probably knows the words to this song, but do you know the history of everyone's favorite holiday song? Check it out this post -
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Favorite Bluegrass Christmas Songs - I can't listen to "Christmas Time Back Home" by the Country Gentlemen without thinking about my childhood, Mom and Dad and the excited Christmas mood we always had at our home at Christmastime. Love this song! Check out this post -
Favorite Bluegrass Christmas Songs  

Oil Lamps as Holiday Gifts - This is my post about oil lamps- love, love, love them!  They do make wonderful holiday gifts - you can bring a little light into someones life! Check out this post - 
Oil Lamps as Holiday Gifts 

Looking for Gift ideas? Tools make great gifts -even for women! Check out this post to see why -
"Looking for Gift ideas? Why not tools?"

Learn a little about the history of Thanksgiving in my post "The Tale of Two Thanksgivings"

Poinsettias are a lovely addition to anyone's holiday decor, but Cyclamen are also beautiful and readily available to add color to anyone's home. Check out this post to learn about this delightful plant - "A Cyclamen Can Brighten Up Your Home"

Happy Holidays!  

A Bargain I'm In No Hurry For...

I recently made a purchase at Walmart and decided to take a look at their return policy and discovered they had bargains that I am definitely in no hurry for - I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that the return policy didn't apply to "funeral supplies." Funeral Supplies! At Walmart!
Curiosity got the better of me and I had to go check out the selection of Walmart funeral supplies and yep, there they were - coffins, caskets and urns for both people and pets. I know that Walmart wants to be a one-stop shop but still...!

Caskets at Walmart

Urns at Walmart

Who knew?!

Caroline's Kids Cat Cam

As the delightful readers of my blog know, I am a webcam fan, and I especially enjoy streaming cat cams. Watching kitties sleep is kind of a zen thing,
and seeing their playful antics can make just about anyone smile, and so when my hubby mentioned he'd read about another live streaming cat cam, I had to check it out. The first day, the cam was a little blurry, but the kitties looked happy. This evening I took another look and a new cam had been installed that offered a better view of the action and what did I see but cats in little cribs! How cute is that?!?

The cam is located at a place called Caroline's Kids ( link to the "about" page). It is a no kill cat sanctuary devoted to helping old, sick and unwanted cats. 
So if you are searching for a streaming webcam featuring fantastic felines, make sure to check out Caroline's Kids! 

Caroline's Kids on Ustream!

Hooked on Coding but Too Old?

Am I hooked on coding? That was the question I asked myself as I completed yet another lesson at Codecademy . I had started learning a little html last year from a different online tutorial and I really enjoyed it. The possibility that someday I might be able to use what I was learning to find a job crossed my mind and so I decided to look at what kind of salary, etc., a web developer might make. I was thrilled with the idea - ever since I started blogging I'd found myself fascinated by how "it" all worked - how the pages were written, how the search engines find a page, the best part of a webpage to place certain things; all of it was interesting, maybe even more so than content writing! 
Then one day, I started to doubt the idea that coding was in my future - while looking through the classified ads, I found an ad for a web developer but what the company was looking for was "a young buck." I was shocked someone would actually place an ad searching for "a young buck" but it made me wonder if I was focusing on the wrong future second career. I'm not a "buck" nor am I "young." 
Maybe we all need more women in computer, math, and science careers? But then again, how many complaints would a company get if they advertised a position as being open to "a young doe"? The National Organization for Women would take them out behind the woodshed!

Months passed and other things took precedence over my learning html, but a couple of weeks ago, I took a look at Codecademy and I tried one lesson. And then another. The bit of html I had learned previously came back to me and I progressed quickly through the first lessons. I was hooked. Absolutely hooked! 

I wondered if there were other people who had gotten hooked on coding just as I had, and so I googled it. But I found a question on a page that made me stop and think - there was a young person questioning if they were too old to learn to code. The young person was in their twenties. "Too old?" they asked.  I could be that young person's mother! 
Another shock.
I wondered if people lose the ability to learn as they get older. I wondered if everyone starts to have brain fog when they hit midlife. I wondered... and wondered.... and went back and started learning CSS. 

But is the universe telling me to just accept that I am old? The whole "young buck" and "too old" in their twenties was bad enough but then, a couple of days ago, the dreaded envelope arrived - my invitation to join AARP. 
I thought they would start bugging me to join sooner, and at least that way, I could begin getting used to the idea of being older, but nope - they waited until days before my birthday so any happy anticipation of the momentous event could be replaced by a grumbly feeling of getting older. Gee, thanks.

Anyhow, that is life here at the drafty doublewide. 
I'm going to go take a few more CSS lessons.  And then some Javascript lessons. And Python.
And someday, maybe someone will start a group for Old Broads Who Rock Ruby. 

Been Gone...

Thank you to all the wonderful people out there in Blog land that have wondered what happened to me. 
I have been in mourning. 
My sister passed away after a long struggle with breast cancer. She fought bravely, and lived a lot longer than what the doctors thought she would, but in April, she passed away. I miss her.

Updating Blog And Removing Affiliate Links

I am in the process of updating my blog and removing my affiliate links. I just found out that is no longer going to be a Google affiliate. Oh, well - it's happened before. At least this time I received an email letting me know - I had been placing affiliate ads for another company a while back and when they ended their affiliation with Google Affiliates, I wasn't notified. Maybe they enjoyed the free advertising? Who knows. It's the internet - it's all here today and gone tomorrow anyway; someday one terrific solar flare will probably hit the earth and take out the power grids and we will be having to learn to communicate all over again. Texts fly easily through the air - messages chiseled on rocks not so much. 
Anyhow, I am almost finished removing my links but if any of you lovely readers find one I've missed, just ignore it. I will get to it. Thanks.

Blogging Hint - If you have affiliate ads in your posts, please remember to mark them as "affiliate" in your labels - it makes the posts much easier to find if you need to remove the links!

Renting a Carpet Cleaner? Save Money with a Coupon!

One job on my Spring cleaning agenda this year is cleaning the carpets. While I was searching the web for local carpet cleaner rental sites and prices, I discovered that there were coupons and rebates to be had! Why pay full price if you don't have to?

I put in my location on one site and it brought up a list of places to rent their carpet cleaners; when I clicked a couple of them, I discovered they had different offers available - either coupons or rebates. I would have thought all the places were the same and would offer the same discount but they didn't. 

So, though I am waiting for warmer weather before I clean the carpets, I will definitely be checking out the websites for the latest coupon or rebate deal when I go to rent a carpet cleaner - and you should, too!

Rent a Bissell - look for special offers!

Rent a Rug Doctor - look for special offers!

It is Spring. I think.

The signs of Spring are all around us - it's just that the weather isn't cooperating!

My favorite ice cream stand has opened for the year and I partook of a hot fudge sundae - eaten in the car with the heater running of course

The seed displays are out in the stores: the lovely packages with pictures of green lettuce and bright tomatoes and colorful zinnias beg you to pick up a pack and try, one more time, to have a green thumb!

Here in the countryside the calves and lambs are beginning to appear in the fields, and I caught a glimpse of an Amish gentleman plowing his fields with an old fashioned plow and a team of horses.

The season has finally changed at a small, local hardware store - the outdoor display of snow shovels and sleds have been replaced with buckets, spades, and tillers. 

And as the seasons change, I revisit a series of blog posts and get ready for my "Spring Battles." 

It is Spring and the Battle Begins Part 1 - Mice

It is Spring and the Battle Begins Part 2 -  Ants

It is Spring and the Battle Begins Part 3 - Carpenter Bees 

It is Spring and the Battle Begins Part 4 - Yard work

It is Spring and the Battle Begins Part 5 - Mosquitoes

May your Spring be delightful, your zucchinis abundant and your mosquitoes be few. 

Where Have All The Bloggers Gone Revisited...

This post has been edited! 

I wrote a blog post a little more than a year ago called "Blogs Gone But Not Forgotten - Where Have All The Bloggers Gone?" in which I addressed the fact that so many blogs have been started but not updated for a long time. Alas, this blog had become one of those.

Why no updates? Priorities. Sometimes you have to step away from some things in order to deal with others - like my hubby getting laid off (yes, again) and my sister struggling with stage 4 breast cancer. With these things going on, I haven't felt much like writing about saving money on groceries, or how to use vinegar to clean your windows or easy to make recipes.

I do still pop in once in a while, mostly to moderate and delete the many, many "spam" comments I've been getting. For now, I've decided to turn off the comment feature - again, priorities. I don't really want to waste time deleting spam comments!

I am hoping to return to this blog sometime in the near future. What will I write about - The same kinds of things? Something different? How life evolves at The Drafty Doublewide? I'm not sure, yet. Life changes. People change. Circumstances change. Etc, etc, etc....

Want to help? 

You can click the pink "Breast Cancer Site" link located in the sidebar on my blog to help fund mammograms for women in need - it is free to click and you might save a life.

May you be blessed with prosperity, good health, and hope.

Monday Motivation

                                          You Are Responsible For Yourself

* You can strive to reach your goals, or sit and wait for someone to hand you something.

* You may not be able to control what happens, but you can control how you react - positively or negatively.

* You are responsible for your lifestyle - whether you choose to exercise or lay on the sofa all day; whether you eat 5 packages of Little Debbie Banana Twins or eat a healthy salad.

* Even Abraham Lincoln said "people are as happy as they choose to be" - you can be unhappy and mope, or you can think positive and decide to be happy.

I hope you choose happy.

                                                  Have an awesome week!

A Song For the New Year

I've had this song haunting my mind for several days and I thought it would be a great theme song for 2013.

I hope that you will find the music in you in the coming year!

"Feel funky, feel good" all year - buy the mp3 from Amazon for only 99 cents! 

Disclosure- Life At The Drafty Doublewide (Kathy!) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to