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SOME FORGET ME NOT SPRING CLEANING MULTI-TASKERS

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Though it hasn’t been feeling very spring-like in the North, today is the first day of spring…YEAH! And, as part of my ongoing crusade to make housework less work so we have more free time, I’ve put together a few of my favorite spring cleaning store-bought multi-tasking products.  And,  I’ve partnered with  some companies to share their new twists on these staples which will help save us time, money and our manicure this spring cleaning season or any other day of the year!

 

ALLERGEN FIGHTER ‘n  AIR FRESHENER:  Spring cleaning usually means we focus on cleaning  windows, curtains and our bedding.  But we often overlook the areas that harbor dust and dust mites like on our bookshelves, plants and lampshades.  Introducing the latest and greatest my savior:

Swiffer 180 Duster with Gain:  It has fluffy fibers to help trap ‘n lock the dust instead of the old-fashioned feather duster which I feel just move dust from one place to another.  It can get in tight places like underneath furniture, nooks in your coffee table and corners of picture frames!  PLUS this new Swiffer freshens the room by leaving behind the joyful scent of Gain for all we Gainiacs!!!

 

GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:  For years, I’ve been soooo frustrated by the fact that I know there’s more spray left in my cleaning products but no matter what I do to access the remaining liquid I either spill it on a surface-wasting it or I just chuck it.  Well no more!  Thanks to the brilliant peeps at Clorox they’ve come to my (our rescue!) with SMART TUBE (R) TECHNOLOGY! It’s a built in tube that reaches all the way to the bottom of spray bottles, allowing you to spray every drop. It’s available on bottles of Clorox® Clean Up®, Tilex® and Formula 409® Cleaners.  Hmmm now if a wine maker could invent similar technology for that lil bit of wine left at the bottom of the bottle that would really be grape to the last drop!

 

NEVER HALF BAKED: NUMERO UNO MULTI-TASKER: If I was left alone on a deserted island the one thing I’d want with me is baking soda…It’s so useful for so many things around the house from cleaning, to fixing drains to stain removal to odor absorption and all else betwixt n between. And now Arm & Hammer has answered my dreams with a laundry product that has an incredibly strong cleaning power aptly enough named Arm & Hammer Ultra Power 4X liquid laundry. It’s super concentrated so you need less to get more. It costs about 50% less than the leading detergent per load, so you have more money to get that manicure! And with the small bottle, it’s easier to carry around and pour!

 

LIGHTENING THE LOAD:  I love anything that saves me time as you know particularly when it’s a chore I abhor and do far too much of like laundry.  But alas having a teenage son this is my fate, which is why I love, love this LG Washer.   It will save your health, time and energy!  It has steam technology, with cleaning options like an allergen reduction cycle that will get rid of 95% of common household allergies. Great timing with those spring allergies in the air! The Turbowash technology will save up to 20 minutes per load, and you can fit an entire set of king size bedding, including the comforter, in a single load. And this model has earned ENERGY STAR “most Efficient” designation, meaning that this washer falls in the top 5% in its class! That’s lightening the load on all fronts!

 

A MANI-CURE’S TWO BEST FRIENDS: 

 1. HABIT BREAKER-MANICURE SAVER: Old habits are hard to break but this one my friends you should run don’t walk to do!!  Usually I pre-wash my dishes and during spring cleaning I wash those party plates, platters and glassware that lay in my cabinets collecting dust.  Forget that! New Cascade Platinum that is a manicure’s best friend since it requires NO PRE-WASHING.  Simply scrape off large food pieces and place those babies right into the dishwasher.  You can even leave them there for 24 hours and they’ll come out sparkling clean…my martini glass never shined so!  And, it’s another multi-tasker since it will help prevent filming on the walls of your dishwasher machine.

 

2. HABIT BREAKER-MANICURE SAVER: Betwixt the New Cascade ‘n this LG TrueStream technology dishwasher is so powerful that you practically eliminate pre-washing for all your dishwasher safe dishes, glassware, pots and pans will be a rarity in your life — OMG!!!  There is also a sanitary rinse option that rinses your dishes with 160 degree water, for an optimal clean. It is also Energy Star qualified and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year vs. hand-washing. With the EasyRack Plus adjustable rack system, it minimizes the frustration of fitting everything that you eat, drink, serve or cook on in there. And BTW if you really want to multi-task tightly wrap a salmon filet with a lil bit of butter, white wine, and mustard in piece of aluminum; run it full cycle with a dishwashing load and viola you’ve also got some Clean Cuisine!  Bubbly optional…as in champagne J

And, BTW here are a few tips on the best way to load your dishwasher to insure the best results!

      • Place forks and spoons facing up and knives down – this ensures that you get the most detergent interaction, but keeps things safe!
      • Glasses mugs, plastics and bowls go on the top rack at an angle to allow water to properly drain off.
      • Plates, bowls, cookware go on the bottom rack and must be spaced out to allow the water and detergent to clean everything.
      • Before starting your machine, run the sink in your kitchen until the water is hot.  This helps ensure the water that enters your

machine is at the optimal temperature.

 

TRIED ‘N TRUE ‘N SOMETHING BOU-QUET:  Though I wish I could put everything in my dishwasher certain items are a no no like my fine crystal.  That’s why I always use the classic uber grease-fighting Dawn Ultra which has 2x the grease-fighting ingredient vs the leading non-concentrated dish soap which means your suds last longer and you save money cause you use less. WIN WIN!  I also use it to wash my microwave plate which sports those coffee overheats and spills!  And, with spring in the air, it’s a no brainer for cleaning my vases and then filling them with a beautiful bouquet of flowers…Aahhh tra la tra la…spring is in the air!

HALLOWEEN TIPS ‘N TREATS TO SATISFY ANY BOY’S OR GHOUL’S SWEET TOOTH

Halloween is a holiday packed with scary goblins, spook-tacular activities and lots of our child’s favorite treats (and ours too!).  And, half the fun of the day is the time spent going door to door seeing how many treats they can collect. The trick as parents is making sure that our children wait until they get home to go through and enjoy their bounty.  Allowing your children to enjoy their candy in moderation is ok and don’t get too concerned with the type of sugar in the candy (sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup) as experts agree i’ve learned from research and partnering with the Corn Refiner’s Association, that it’s all about balance and moderation as sugar is sugar and all sugars are nutritionally the same.

So here are a few tips and treats to help you balance the sweets they eat and satisfy their sweet tooth:

TIPS

  • Don’t send them out hungry
  • Satisfy their ‘sweet tooth’ pre trick or treating
  • Instruct them not to eat ANY items before they arrive home
  • Compromise ‘n remember you were a child once too and Halloween was a day  for eating a few more candies then usual J

TREATS

YUMMY MUMMY Makes 4

What You Need:

  • 1 8 oz. can of refrigerated crescent roll, seamless if available
  • Cookie sheet
  • Aluminum foil to fit sheet
  • 4 slices of American or cheddar cheese
  • Plastic knife
  • 4 Pre-cooked sausages
  • 1 raw egg, scrambled or cooking spray
  • Mustard

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Unroll dough on tin foil
  3. Use knife to cut 4 even sized squares
    1. If not seamless dough connect two crescents together to create four mummies
    2. Place cheese slices on dough before cutting ‘wrapping’ strips and cut at same time as ‘dough’.
  4. Place cheese slices on dough before cutting ‘wrapping’ SP from center
  5. Place ‘mummy’ i.e. sausage in center and wrap strip over strip
  6. Brush with egg or cooking spray
  7. Bake per dough package instructions or until brown:  approx. 10-12 minutes
  8. Use mustard to make the eyes and mouth

TRICK OR TEETH:

What You Need:

Pear or Apple cored and sliced in approx. 1/4 inch slices width-wise

How to Make Them:

  1. Cover the ‘jaw’ i.e. fruit slice with a thin layer of ‘gum glue’ i.e. peanut butter or Nutella
  2. Place the ‘teeth’ i.e. mini marshmallows around the edge of the ‘jaw’ (fruit)
  3. Open your mouth wide and enjoy!
  4. Optional:
    1. Make an upper ‘jaw with teeth’ and place on top
    2. Dye one or several of the teeth using food dye

i.     Red for blood

ii.     Black or blue for rotten

 SPOOK-TACULAR SPICED TEA-Makes a Quart

What you need

Gummie worms

Ice cup trays

2 cups water, boiled

2 caffeine free, apple cinnamon spice tea bags

8 ozs. Apple cider

8 ozs. Ginger ale

4 tsp. sugar

How to make it:

Put a gummy worm in each ice cube compartment and cover with water.  Freeze 2-3 hours.

  1. Dunk the tea bags in the hot water (which should be in the measuring cup) until it turns dark.  About three minutes, and, then, throw them out.
  2. When the tea has cooled, pour it into the pitcher.
  3. Add the apple cider, ginger ale, and sugar.  Stir with the wooden spoon.  Pour over ice, and get ready to enjoy a spook-tacularly spiced drink.

BLACK CAT CUPCAKE CONES Makes 12

What you need:

1 box (1l.25 oz) cake mix

12 flat bottom ice cream cones

12 cup muffin pan

1 16 oz can vanilla frosting

Black gel coloring

Decorative icing tubes in assorted colors

Assorted Candies:  red gum drops, twizzlers, Reeses Pieces, Red and Black shoe laces; Candy cones; M & M’s

How to Make Cupcakes:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325
  2. Prepare batter per box instructions
  3. Fill each cup 3/4 way up with batter
  4. Stand cones straight in muffin pan
  5. Bake 25 mins on center rack…use toothpick to test doneness.. it should come out clean
  6. Cool for 10 min.

How to Make Cat’s Face:

  1. While cupcakes are baking make ‘black paint’ for face with frosting and adding black gel per instructions
  2. Spread on black paint with a plastic knife
  3. Suggestions on making CAT face:
  • Ears:  Candy cones
  • Eyes: White icing to draw slanted football shaped eyes and use colored M & M of choice for pupils
  • Nose:  Red round sugared gum drops
  • Whiskers:  Red shoe lace candy or icing color of choice
  • Mouth: Red icing or red twizzlers torn into 1 “ pieces.

 Goes purr-fect with big glass of milk! 

SCUZZA ME THAT ‘S AMORE: MOONSTRUCK IN LEWES, DE

WOW! Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s May 7th and in two days my baby boy is going to be 18….yikes…pictures to follow!! Today, though i’m finally getting back on the bloggin trail having been quite remiss due to an incredibly busy/whirlwindy kind of month…So let’s see, where doth this accidental one’s month retrospective start….

In Lewes, Deleware where on a unusually warm April Day my loving matey and I set sail on the Cape May/Lewes ferry with bubbly in hand to help calm the somewhat choppy Delaware Bay seas Arrrrrr 😉 We were on our way there for a few reasons:  1) we love Lewes.  2) we love Lewes 3) we love Lewes 🙂  It’s a quaint town that unless you take the ferry from Cape May might never stumble upon as it seems to be the forgotten sister to better known ReHoboth Beach, DE.  Lewe’s main street, Second Street,  is about 1/2 mile long but on it you’ll find just about everything one needs/wants…A great Mexican restaurant -Agave, a continental one- The Buttery; a fab jewelry store: Chatelaine’s and Doug and my fave place TOUCH OF ITALY http://www.touchofitaly.com/ which is owned by Joe and Bob the Builder (not to be confused with Bob of Nickolodeon fame!).  It’s a spot where we have spent much wine (and no that is NOT a typo!) and time.

We discovered it a couple of months ago as we were walking along Second Street and spotted what looked like those good ole fashion Italian delis you saw in The Sopranos, Moonstruck (one of my top ten movie faves)

or imagine in Italy.

So we went inside and if our eyes could eat we would have devoured everything in sight …Italian cheeses hanging from the ceiling, fresh mozz in the case, an array of heart don’t fail me after eating those fatty, yummy italian meats and sausages, marinated artichoke hearts on stems, seafood salad complete with squid that had their tentacles in tact (love them!), authentic Italian desserts and on and on..

Mama Mia…That’s Amore! Yum!!!

But our delight and surprise didn’t stop there when out of the corner of my eye I saw folks sitting at tables eating these incredible italian sandwiches and brick oven pizzas that i would soon forget watching my girlish figure for! And, it got even better:  set in the far back corner of this cozy epicurean oasis I saw a bar… now that’s amore!

Doug and I immediately planted ourselves on two stools and per Henry’s suggestion (Henry runs the place and I am thinking of kidnapping him to take care of us) we ordered what he considered to be the best white wine in the world; a true antipast,  meatballs, then a bottle of red wine and 3 hours, 3 pounds, one major buzz and one pair of early anniversary diamond and sapphire earrings later  from my amore D we exito-d.  Now you know why we love, love, love Lewes. Spread the glove!

CELEBRATING ST. PADDY’S DAY ‘N YOUR FAVE BREWS MANY USES

Top of the morn ‘n Happy St. Paddy’s Day!  

Lucky's St. Paddy's Tip!

Another stellar day here in New Jersey for a parade, bike ride, finding a four leaf clover, and indulging in some corned beef ‘n cabbage, shepard’s pie, and/or beer of any shade! So in the spirit of the day, I wanted to share some unusual ‘n money-saving uses for that ole pint of brewsky should you not trade it as “Lucky’ has or have any left over tomorrow!

1. Brass Pot Cleaner- Use an old soft cloth and rub some onto the pot.  Let sit ‘no have a brewsky if you like then return, rinse and buff with another soft clean cloth.

2. Wood Furniture Polisher-Actually this is perfect for any flat beer you have left from celebrating. Dampen a microfiber cloth and gently rub some on your wood furnture to bring back the luster.

3. Gold Cleaner-If you were lucky enough to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or have some dull looking gold jewelry just put it in a bowl with enough beer to cover it.  Let sit for a bit, rinse then polish with a dry micro-fiber cloth. 

4. Red Wine Stain Remover: If red wine is your drink of choice and ye miss your mouth, first sop up as much as you can with some paper towels then dab with a light colored beer.  Steam clean when finito and then switch to white 🙂

5. Skin Softener: Rub a dub dub not as in have someone pour it over your head but in chilling and taking a real bath in your tub.  The yeast and other ingredients in beer are terrific for softening, exfoliating and cleansing your skin.

6. Hair Lightener  & Conditioner – Simply soak your hair in beer and lay in the sun to both lighten and condition…think of the money you’ll save vs going to your hairstylist!

7. Stuff the Bugs Us Trap-With springtime upon us and for those who love to garden just put some in an empty jar and ‘plant’ the jar leaving the open rims at ground level.  Slugs ‘n snails love the smell so they’ll ‘drop in’ for a cocktail 🙂  BTW also works to get trap mice who will simply get drunk and then you can set them free outside.  Roaches too, but you’ll have to put a thin coat of Vaseline around the rim so they so they can’t escape.

Spread the glove!

RACHAEL RAY, KHLOE KARDASHIAN, ‘N LIL OLE ME!

Happy Mardi Gras Day!  Did you know that Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday–certainly sounds lots better in French! It’s celebrated as the final day of feasting before Lent which is tomorrow Ash Wednesday. So time to paaaaar-teee!!

And, today is also the day before my appearance with Rachael Ray which i am over the top excited about!  I love Rach–she’s one of those truly genuine peeps and as you’ll see we had a blast as I answered some questions from the audience about spring cleaning ‘forget me nots!…I know can you believe it’s already spring cleaning time!

Be sure to tune in http://mee.bo/AaCRMu 

AND Khloe Kardashian Odom’s on too talking about Kim‘s divorce, baby rumors and gonna ‘pop the question’ too 🙂  Repandre le gant!  That’s French for ‘Spread the Glove” 🙂

ALL I WANNA DO IS NJOY SHERYL CROW, SURI, VUE ‘N BREWS

As moms, wives, working women or just over-scheduled and over-worked peeps in general, we rarely have the luxury or feeling that someone is there taking care of us.  I guess that’s why folks at Apple now feature Suri–our very own personal assistant on their new Apple 4S.  And, god knows we could all use someone to remind us of our kid’s dental appointment: call, email or text our significant other when we’re running late or maybe if I can find time sched a hair coloring appointment before those greys over populate! 

This is where and why technology is truly a good thing making me life easier, and not something that confuses the heck outta me since in addition to being known as The Accidental Housewife, I am also known as The Queen of Technological Darkness!  Nope Suri has made me feel special.  And, a few weeks back I shared another techy ‘good thing’: my new LG Hom-Bot which stays in its little charging station on call to vacuum my house without me lifting a finger.  Plus, it can bring me a martini or cup of coffee…Life is good!  

And, now I found my latest ‘make my life easier and tastier’ techy must have… 

Enjoying a cup of fresh VUE-brewed cappuccino with Michelle Stacy, Pres of Keurig!Mmmm Mmmm Yum!

See last eve I attended a launch party for the new Keurig VUE single cup coffee maker.  Now, i don’t know about you but my day just doesn’t quite start off right without that first cup of coffee which i generally have to reheat 2-3 times since i’m too busy focusing on getting my son up and fed for school.  Needless to say over-reheated coffee with the milk forming a thin waxy-like top isn’t exactly that yummy, ‘get my day going’ cup of java!  And, then if i’m running late which is just about every day, I  try to take a cup with me as I shuttle myself or my son in days gone by before he got his license (yeah chaufeur duties relieved!) and it be cold.  Yuk! 

But last nite I met Suri and Bot’s ‘new take care of Julie’ mate Vue…Now, please note i have tried several single cup coffee makers and generally have been disappointed since the coffee tastes weak, cools off too fast when i add my 1/2 and 1/2 and though I’m no Sheryl Crow  when it comes to being green (whom i love by the way as an artist and performer)–she had suggested we portion  toilet paper which for those of us with kids might save the forest but not the amount of laundry we’d be doing and thus not water nor energy conservation…The point here is I try to do what I can and if it fits into my everyday lifestyle all the better and the VUE pods  are recyclable so it’s mindless mother earth friendly! Love that!

So my fellow overworked, overscheduled housewives, check it out,  coffee, tea, hot, cold Keurig’s new VUE has a brew for you so as Sheryl sings “all i wanna do’ is enjoy a yummy cup of brew along with Suri and Bot! Happy weekend all…Spread the glove…

TWO THUMBS UP TO THE FONZ, MRS. C AND CAESAR SALAD

Happy Monday all!  Just a short blog this morn since I’m prepping for a segment I’m doing with Rachael Ray later this week! As you can imagine i’m totally psyched since it’s been a while since I spread the glove with her…will share details and air date as soon as I know more!

I also wanted to share a yummy salad topping that my son and I had this weekend…Mrs. Cubbison’s Croutons…See my son loves to make caesar salad and I love the fact that he does since it’s one less thing i have to prep!  That  saves me some time which is something i’ll take whenever i can get it!  Anyway, when it comes to croutons he’s VERY fussy since he believes they make or break his culinary specialty so finding the right crouton has been no easy task!

Now, as you may be beginning to notice my mind often goes off in strange directions as I blog and today’s no different since Mrs. Cubbison’s tasty croutons got me thinking about the Fonz from the 70’s hit TV show HAPPY DAYS.  Here’s a clip for your viewing pleasure:

Yes, another TV Land fave of mine! The show was about a middle class family called the Cunninghams who lived in Milwaukee during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. It starred Ron Howard as a typical teenage boy named Richie (whom we all know today as an incredibly talented and succesful movie director of The DaVinci Code, Splash, and Apollo 13 among mucho other hits); Marion Ross as his traditional mom/housewife, Tom Bosley as his dad and Henry Winkler.  Winkler played the Fonz-a neighborhood greasor whom lived in the garage above the Cunningham’s house and became both a cultural icon and was Richie’s unlikely but intuitive older brother-like advisor on just about everything in his life. 

Ok so why the link for me…Well Fonzie would call Mrs. Cunningham, Mrs. C and his signature pose was ‘two thumbs up’.  And, my son and i are giving two thumbs up too to our fave Mrs. C…as in Mrs. Cubbison’s….What can i say my mind works in strange and mysterious ways …try ’em and let me know what you think…Spread the glove! 

PS. Next time you’re in Milwaukee you might wanna visit the Bronze Fonz which has all the cast members inscribed on it! AYYY!