Aprons-The Comeback Kid

Do you remember your mother wearing an apron? I don’t remember mine ever wearing one but then again, she wasn’t much for cooking or cleaning. I do remember both of my grandmothers wearing an apron all the time. At least while they were in the house.

I think when most people think of aprons, they think of the typical 1950′s housewife donning an apron (kind of like my gal in my logo above). I always think of June Cleaver in her high heels, pearls and nice dress wearing an apron to do her every day cooking and cleaning.

Back in the day, women had aprons they used specifically for cooking, and then they had prettier ones they would put on when they sat down to the table to eat. They also had ones they used only when cleaning. These women often had more aprons than they did dresses.

Aprons were around for hundreds, maybe thousands of years before the 1950′s though. They were just so practical. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty too.

What I love is in the past few years, they have been making a comeback. The retro thing, and all. Check out this cutie below:

I love this cute cherry themed apron from Flirty Aprons. Click on the picture to find out more about it. Flirty Aprons is also having a sale for a few days.  Their Single Layer Sassy Black Aprons Under $10, valid 8/29 – 9/5  So check that out if you are reading this between those dates.

I thinking of getting my daughters a Flirty Apron for Christmas. I’m afraid they won’t work well for me though since I’m plus sized. For me, I would like to get the apron below:

Black Embroidered Apron Never Trust a Skinny Cook
If you can’t read it, it says “Never Trust a Skinny Cook”. Love it! Hear that daughters of mine? Here’s a cool gift you can get your ol’mom! Click on the picture for more information or to buy.

I have seen men wear aprons too. Usually when they are grilling something. They tend to like the funny aprons. I found some great ones for men on Amazon, but some of them are kind of raunchy. If you want to check them out, click here: Men’s Aprons.  I will show you my favorite one for men below:

Be Nice to me Apron As with the other pictures, just click on this apron picture to find out more info or to buy it.

So before you buy an apron, what should you look for? It all depends on you, really. Your size, your gender, your style.

But the few things I feel all good aprons must have are:

  • Pockets. They come in so handy whether you are using an apron to cook or clean.
  • Easy Care. They must be able to be machine washed and dried, and not wrinkle easily.
  • Comfort. They should feel comfortable to wear or you won’t wear them.
  • Quality. The material should hold up for the cooking and cleaning chores you will be throwing at it. It also should be well made so it won’t wear out for a long time.

Right now, I have an old Ortega Taco Sauce apron that my dad used when he did demonstrations in grocery stores. It works fine but isn’t very attractive and other than advertising for Ortega, it does not make a statement. So I plan on investing in an apron or two (assuming I don’t get one from my kids for Christmas).

Do you wear aprons? Why or why not?

Cathy

 

Tips For Avoiding Food Poisoning

food poisoning Years ago when I was about 17, my friend and I stopped by a fast food restaurant for lunch. We both had a roast beef sandwich.

I remember that the roast beef looked a little “off” to me. It was just a tad grey around the edges. But it smelled okay and it tasted okay so we ate it.

By late that night and throughout the next couple of days, I had what I thought was the worst stomach virus of my life. Continuous vomiting and diarrhea for 2 days.  It was not a fun time.

Once I felt well enough to go back to school, I got a chance to talk to my friend who I had gone to lunch with. Turns out, she had been sick with the same symptoms for the past several days too.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. More likely, what we had was not a stomach virus at all but was food poisoning.

Food poisoning is much more common than you think. In fact I had a doctor tell me that most of the cases of what people think are stomach viruses are actually food poisoning.

There are millions of cases of food related illness in the US every year. A lot of them could have been avoided.

Germs like Salmonella and Ecoli are the most prevalent offenders for food poisoning. Most people will get the symptoms like I had for a day or two and then recover. Some people will die from being contaminated from these bad bugs.

Below are some things you can do to avoid food poisoning. Most are common sense but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of them once in awhile.

  • Make sure your hands are clean before handling food. Wash them thoroughly first to kill any bacteria that is living on your skin or nails.
  • Make sure you use a clean surface to cut or prepare your foods. Wash all cutting boards, the counter tops and anything else that comes in contact with raw meat. Use hot water and an antibacterial cleaner.
  • Make sure your food is thoroughly cooked.
  • Do not eat raw eggs or anything that has raw eggs in it. When cooking with eggs, throw away dirty eggs and cracked eggs.
  • Drink juices that are pasteurized.
  • Thaw frozen food in the fridge.
  • Canned goods should not look swollen. That’s a sure sign of botulism which is deadly.
  • Make sure that lids are not loose when you buy jarred foods. The lids should also not look swollen.
  • Be aware of the “use by” and “sell by” dates. Don’t buy or eat food past those dates.
  • Refrigerate food as soon as possible after purchasing.
  • And don’t leave cooked food out on the table longer than 2 hours.
  • Label leftovers with dates so you don’t forget to use them up before they go bad.
  • If you have any doubts about the food, such as the smell, color, taste or if you aren’t sure how old it is; just throw it out.
  • Wash fruits and vegetable really well before eating.

Let’s eat safe out there folks!

Cathy

 

Make Your Own Natural Mosquito Repellent

Got Mosquitoes? Don’t Want to Use Chemicals? Make Your Own!

mosquito Over the years, I have developed a sensitivity to commercial insect repellents. I guess it’s the DEET in them. I don’t know. Whatever it is, it seems to affect my breathing and I get nauseous.

So what do I do? I live in an area where there are lots of mosquitoes, pretty much about 8 months out of the year.  I don’t want to stay inside all the time.  I have a toddler granddaughter who loves playing outside. I don’t want to be putting chemicals on her either. I also don’t want either of us to be dinner for a bunch of nasty insects.

I have found some natural mosquito repellents that I can make at home. I haven’t tested all of these but I have tried most of them and they do seem to work.

I’ll give you the recipes from easiest, to most difficult.

Dryer Sheets

I talked about this in my post about dryer sheets. Slip a fabric softener sheet into your pocket or in your bra. Let some of it stick out so the mosquitoes can get a good whiff.

Vanilla Extract

You have to use real vanilla extract for this. Not the imitation. Rub a few drops into your pulse points such as your neck, wrists, behind your knees, etc. The added benefit to this one is you will smell really good!

Lavender

This only works if you have a lavender plant available to you. If you do, take a few of the blossoms and rub them on your pulse points. Another good smelling solution.

Peppermint Oil

Put one part Peppermint oil to 5 parts vodka in a spray bottle and shake before using. Be careful when handling pure peppermint oil. It’s best to use gloves while you are making this stuff. And be sure to not spray this stuff in your eyes.

A little tip about peppermint oil. Rodents hate it too. So if you have a problem with mice, spray the areas where you think mice have been to keep them from coming back.

Clove Oil

Follow the same instructions as you did for the peppermint oil spray. Also be careful when handling the pure clove oil too.

Another hint: Clove oil is also great for relieving the pain of a toothache until you can get to a dentist.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

You will need Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Witch Hazel and a spray bottle. Mix one part lemon eucalyptus oil to ten parts witch hazel into a spray bottle. Shake up each time before you use it.

Garlic and Lemon

This one will make you smell like salad dressing. You need garlic cloves, lemon juice, mineral oil and a spray bottle. Chop up a couple of garlic cloves and put in a bowl. Cover with mineral oil and let it set for 24 hours. After 24 hours, take 1 teaspoon of the oil, without the chopped garlic cloves (use a strainer if you need to) and put in a spray bottle. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and a few cups of water. Shake before each use.

If you try any of these remedies for getting rid of mosquitoes, let me know how they work for you.

 

Easy Relaxation Tips for Busy Moms

woman reading Moms are a hard working bunch. We take care of everyone and are on call 24 hours a day. It’s a tough job with no pay. At least not the monetary kind.

With all the things we moms have to do in a day, it’s no wonder we are usually last on the list.

But that’s not healthy. And it’s not effective. Like the old saying “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. As human beings, we need to have time for ourselves. We aren’t robots.

As much as we are capable of loving and nurturing others, it does take it’s toll on us. We need to rejuvenate so we can continue to be that loving and nurturing woman.

If you ignore doing this, don’t be surprised if you develop some physical problems as well as emotional problems (I speak from the voice of experience here).

Here are some of my best tips for getting some Mom time:

  • Try to spend a little time, 15-30 minutes every day just doing nothing but relaxing. If it’s nice outdoors, go outside and breathe in that fresh air.
  • Read a book which is my favorite relaxation activity. Nothing like a good book to take you away to another world.
  • If you can handle getting up earlier, try getting up 30 minutes earlier than everyone else. Just give yourself enough time before your “Mom job” starts, to read, listen to music or a motivating podcast, sip your coffee, write in your journal, meditate, whatever. Giving yourself this time at the beginning of the day is a great way to start the day.
  • Make everything a fun, beautiful and special experience. Make an ordinary bath a spa experience by playing some soft music, using bath oils or bubble bath and a comfy inflatable bath pillow. I love doing this occasionally but have been known to fall asleep in the tub.
  • When watching TV, make it a theater experience by turning out the lights, pop up some popcorn and getting comfy under a big soft blanket on the couch.
  • Get a break a way from the kids once in awhile. Get their father to watch them or a relative or even hire a babysitter if you have to. I like the spending time with dad idea the best if possible. You could make it a weekly “time with dad” date for the kids where they do something fun. Kids need one on one time with their fathers.
  • While the kids are bonding with their father, you can do something for you. Go get a manicure, or go shopping or take a nap. This is also a great time to get together with your friends that you rarely have time to see anymore. Go to a movie with them or maybe just a coffee shop to catch up.
  • Try not to schedule too much in a week. It’s not good for you or your kids. When my kids were school aged, they could each have one extra curricular activity per school year. No one child needs to be in dance class, girl scouts, band and swim classes all in the same week. Or even year. All that will get you is an exhausted child and worn out mom.
  • In the same manner, try to do as much as you can ahead of time so you aren’t exhausted and frustrated. For example, when I cook dinner, I often make enough for two dinners and freeze one for another time. I also use my crock pot a lot so while I’m cooking dinner one night, at the same time I will prep the food, and stick it in the crock pot for the next day. Just stick the crock in the fridge and in the morning pull it out, stick it in the base and turn it on.
  • When my kids were in school, I would make their school lunches right before I cleaned up after dinner. Then I’d put them in the fridge and it was just one less thing I had to stress about the next morning.
  • Try to get some exercise in every day. It will release the built up stress, relax you and keep you healthier.
  • Take some time every day to laugh. I subscribe to some funny online blogs so when I need a pick up, I just go into my google reader and find something funny. You could also get one of those funny calenders to keep on your desk. Or watch a sit-com. Whoever said laughter is the best medicine, knew what they were talking about.

All these things sound like a lot but just try implementing one thing at a time. When that thing has become a habit, then add something else. It will make a real difference in your quality of life. You owe it to your family to be the happiest, well adjusted mom you can be.