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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Old candles...new jars!

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If you're like me, then you have a bunch of glass candles left over, with less than a quarter inch of wax left.  You don't want to throw them out...but what do you do with them?  I finally came up with the best way to clean them of the leftover wax, without making a huge mess.  Time to show you how!

First, I gathered up all of the old candles that I had, there were a bunch...
 I laid them all out on the stove top, filled the kettle with water, and started boiling.  Once I had boiling water, I poured it into each of my candles.  Immediately you could see the wax starting to bubble and melt...
 As the wax melted, it would bubble and rise to the top of the water.  So...I walked away.  Actually, let's be honest.  The football game was on, so I took a 2 hour nap, then came back to check on the progress...
By then, the water had cooled, the wax was still warm and pliant, but definitely solid.  So, I got out a plastic knife, and cut my way through the wax, removing it from the top layer.
 I dumped the wax in the trash (I'm sure that you could remelt it into new candles!) and poured the non-waxy water down the drain.  This did it for 95% of my candles.  The other 5% needed one more soaking with boiling water to get the rest of the wax removed.  Here's what I ended up with:
 I then washed them with warm soapy water, and a sponge I didn't need to keep.  Removed the label... and ta-da!
Practically brand new mini glass vases.  What will I do with them?

A couple of tips...as hard as it is, wait for the wax to solidify!  Even if the wax has already rose to the top of the water, if you try to pour it out while it is still liquid, it just re-coats itself on the glass walls.  Take the extra hour to go do something else, when you come back it will be ready!

Also, DO NOT pour the wax down your sink drain!  If the water still has wax in it, just dump it in the trash!  The last thing you want is to be spending all your time scraping wax out of your sink...

I haven't decided yet what to do with mine, but I'm sure you'll see a new project down the line...

Save all your old candles!




Monday, October 15, 2012

The Smells of Fall

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Fall is one of my favorite times of year!  During our Fellowship Hour at Church one of these past Sundays, we had an Apple Theme.  So to get in the spirit, I decided to contribute some hot apple cider.  I soaked the apple cider with some orange slices the night before.
By the morning it already had a nice citrus-y flavor.  I then made a little "spice packet" with some cheese cloth and kitchen string.  I added cinnamon sticks and cloves to the packet.
Once I got to church, I added the cider and oranges with the "spice packet" to the crock pot and just cooked on high for 2 hours.  I made sure to remove the spices before serving, so that no one got an unpleasant surprise in their cup!  It was delicious, and you could equally taste the oranges and spice, they made the perfect balance!  The cider was a huge hit, and there were no left overs to bring home!

Since I was already in the Fall Spice mood, I decided to make a stove top Potpourri.  I added all the ingredients, and just simmered on the stove top for the day to make the house smell absolutely delicious!  Our apartment is fairly small, but I was surprised at how aromatic it really was, and stayed even after the heat was turned off!

For my Potpourri I just used what I already had around the house:
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1 mini can of pineapple juice
1 cup of orange juice (squeeze from the leftover oranges from my apple cider)
1 lemon sliced (I used half a lemon, and used the other half to stuff a chicken that night!)
4 cinnamon sticks (left over from apple cider)
1 TBS. cloves (left over from apple cider)

The smell was a wonderful warm spice.  I went for a walk in the cold, just so I could come home and enjoy the lovely scent that it was giving off.  I would highly recommend this, if the liquid gets low, just add more water or OJ.  Simple as that!
On the days that I don't feel like coming home and using the electric stove...I have an Apple Cider candle going from Yankee Candle.  Sure smells like fall...



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Football Food!

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Football season is upon us.  Brian couldn't be happier...

Typically for Sunday football, he heads to a friends house, and I stay home doing my own thing, checking in on the score every once and a while.  But this Sunday was the Patriots first game of the season...and his friends were busy.  So, we decided to make a day of it!
I happily headed off to Pinterest in search of some football food recipes, and was psyched with what I found!  Not to mention fall is officially here (well, unofficially, but you know...back to school and all that, it's fall) and I've been dying to get the crock pot cranking more regularly.

First off, I found a potato soup recipe that looked simple, easy, and delicious, so I added that to the top of the menu.  Dumped all the ingredients into the crock pot, and got that baby cooking!
Next on the list was appetizers for during the game.  Brian had suggested pizza, so I searched around and found a really nice white pizza dip.  We added some turkey pepperoni, which hit the spot!  It was pretty soupy and messy, but man, it was good.  And, wouldn't you know it...I never saved the recipe. For shame!
Finally, to go with the soup, I decided to try some of the really yummy looking pull breads I've seen all over the place.  So we picked up a nice loaf of uncut sour dough bread, and I searched for the best looking recipe.  Once again, surprise surprise, pinterest for the win!  Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls?  I think so!  Ours came out slightly too ranch flavored, but otherwise was really good.  We used shredded cheese rather than slices, and it worked just fine.  Love using what we already have in the fridge...
Pair that with the finished soup, and it was a dinner for champions!  Not to mention that the Pats won their game, Brian was a happy man.
I added some cheese and fresh chives...he added some extra bacon from the bread.  Delish!  The soup alone would have been good, it was very filling, and extremely easy.  Check out her link and recipe, I promise you won't regret it!

Happy fall ya'll!




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time Flies!

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On the Jetty, just after the proposal!
Well hello there! I cannot believe how much time has passed...it has been a whirl wind of a summer.  I'm here for a life update!  Many things have happened since February.  One of the biggest and most exciting...Brian and I are engaged!  He proposed in April on our Cape Escape :)  We walked way out on one of the Jettys during sunset, and he dropped down on one knee.  It was beautiful and perfect, and we couldn't be happier!!
Back at the Hotel, ready to tell the world!
Shortly after, I was excited to come home and ask my girls to be in the wedding!  My older sister Katie, will be my Matron of Honor, and younger sister Becky is my Maid of Honor.  I also asked Brian's sister and my good friend to be Bridesmaids.  I put a cute little tag on a bottle of champagne, and the rest is history!
Will you be my Maid of Honor?
Now the real planning has begun!  We have set a date of 10/13/13.  So far, we have the church, venue, photographer, and I got my dress!  Major things out of the way, since we knew Brian would have no time during wrestling season, but those are also the most expensive!  Stress over money has already gone into full swing.  But, we know that the day will be perfect, and that's all that we can ask for!

This summer was also full of many more fun things.  We celebrated 4 years together!
Made it to Fenway, even though the Red Sox are not having the best year...
Visited the family in Maine for a short trip.  Even though the weather wasn't great, we went Kayaking, and made it to a fun Wine tasting.
On top of all the wedding planning, we still had time to relax and have fun.  Which is hard to do, when you're also working full time!  The summer felt like it flew by before I even blinked.  But I'm happy with all the memories we made and can't wait for the year to come!

I'm now into my second year of teaching Kindergarten.  They are such a great age, but surely keep me on my toes!  We started off the year with one of my all time favorite "first day of school" classics, The Kissing Hand.  We made cute little hand prints, with our heart stickers in the middle, and a little poem for moms and dads.

We are now into our first full week, and I'm home sick :(  I can't believe I'm sick already, but I've had some kind of nasty stomach bug.  I managed to make it through the day yesterday, but by 4:30 this morning I knew today would have to be a stay home and take it easy kind of day.  But I'm resting up and can't wait to get back tomorrow.  We are on a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme, and I have lots of fun stuff planned!
Hope that you all had great summers too!  Glad to be back checking in!



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Birthday, Pizza, and General Life Updates

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Today is Brian's 27th Birthday...and he's been gone since Friday morning :(  But he should be back late tonight/early early tomorrow morning.  And he has a balloon surprise waiting for him....
 27 balloons, one for each year, each with a reason why I love him tied on to the string.  Some how I managed to fit them all into my little car without any popping...and without the wind blowing me away.  But my hair was looking a static mess!!  I'm excited for him to read them :)
Since I knew he would be away we celebrated earlier in the week.  I cooked him one of his favorite dinners (we skipped the health train that night!) and gave him the new Kindle Fire.  I might have slight kindle envy....but I'm happy he liked it!

The weight loss challenge is still going right along.  I managed to shed 2 pounds this week, woot woot!  I had my mom and younger sister over, who are also participating in the challenge, and made a dinner that would help us get in those 3 servings of veggies!

We had a cold vegetable pizza and slightly soggy sweet potato chips.

I started with a dried ranch dressing and some other seasonings:
Added soft cream cheese, and greek yogurt (substituted the mayo for yogurt, healthier option and still tasted great!)  Once that was all stirred together I spread it onto a pre-made wheat pizza crust:
 Then came the veggies.  I added broccoli, carrots, and peppers.  Another time I might add some grape tomatoes as well.
Then I let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Added a sprinkle of cheese on top, and it was good to go!
Definitely a recipe I will save.  It was really tasty, filling, and I felt good about eating it!  The sweet potato chips could have used a little work.  They tasted great, but the texture was soggy for sure!  Next time I'll figure out what to change!
 In other news, my Kindergarteners just celebrated their 100th day at school.  I think that 1 day took more planning and preparation on my part than a regular week of curriculum!  But they had a blast, and were so excited to have been in school for 100 days!  We did all kinds of activities, here is a quick picture:
As you can see, we were busy!  The ice cream cones count by 10, the gumball machines (adorable!) have 100 gumballs, we colored in a 100's chart and found the Cat in the Hat, and we decorated our "We Are 100 Days Smarter!" sign.  And that's just what is hanging on the wall...We also made crowns, made books, made a necklace out of 100 fruit loops, did 100 jumping jacks, had an ice cream sundae party...oh the list goes on!  What a day!

What have you all been up to?

Photobucket

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Walgreens Special Discount

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Ever get frustrated with the amount you have to pay these days for Prescriptions?  I know I sure do!  Walgreens is now offering a special discount on annual membership for it's  Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens.  What better time than the new year to start saving even more?
For only $35 a year, a family membership covers everyone in your immediate family, including a spouse, dependents 22 and younger and pets.  If you have a pet, then you know just how expensive they can be.  This program helps you save money on everyone in your family, not just the people!  Join and receive discount prices on your prescriptions. ($20 for individuals - so you don't have to have a huge family!)
One of the perks is being able to save on over 8,000 brand-name and generic medications.  You can even receive discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers, and diabetic supplies.  When shopping at Walgreens you even have the opportunity to receive benefits just from purchasing Walgreens brand products.
For anyone interested in supporting Walgreens and staying up to date on all promotions, like Walgreens on Facebook or start following Walgreens on Twitter.  I think you will be surprised with all the great things going on, and all the money you can be saving!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Spring Flowers

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done. for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Well, despite the fact that good old Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow the other day, it already feels like spring!  Even with the ridiculously mild winter we have been having, I have a sinking feeling we might be in for another April Fools blizzard this year!
The mild, almost spring like, weather has already got me in the mood to be enjoying the outdoors!  This year we actually have a really nice yard and patio to enjoy.  What would be more perfect than some beautiful and easy to manage flowers?  I've never done much planting other than from seed, but how easy would bulbs be?
I visited the website http://www.digdropdone.com/ and could hardly tear myself away!  The video library is full of inspiration, which had me pinning ideas and filing away thoughts in my head.  I already know what I want our patio looking like...and it's only February!
Another fantastic feature were the easy relate to ladies who offered all kinds of tips and words of wisdom.  I loved Marcy's tips about how to cover your bulbs with leaves in the fall, this helps give an extra layer of protection so that they will be ready to sprout again in the spring.  No need to plant new ones, it's the gift that keeps on giving!
Every Christmas my Dad gives my Mom Narcissus (or Paper White) Bulbs, which she plants on a bed of rocks, inside.  No need for a garden, or worrying that a late frost will kill of early sprouts.  And they smell fantastic, what a great gift!
If you're looking for information about bulbs, when and where to plant them, how to plant them, what flowers look good, and a host of other information, just be sure to   visit www.digdropdone.com to learn more  !Hand in hand with Dig, Drop, Done is another fantastic website.  Make sure to check out Curbside Chaos !  I gave their Garden Guru a go.  All you have to do is enter your Country, location within the Country, when you want your bulbs to bloom, what kind of bulb you want to grow, and boom...full directions on what you need to do!  So helpful!
As if that isn't enough, get ready for the incredible contest going on right now!  How does a $5,000 yard makeover and a visit from Taniya Nayak (@TaniyaNayak on Twitter) sound?!  Cause it sounds great to me...  She will offer you all kinds of tips on planting bulbs, updating your yard, and incorporating flowers into your landscape.  Win win win!  Interested?  (how could you not be?) Just submit a photo of your yard at CurbsideChaos.com!
Also, don't forget that Dig, Drop, Done is all about helping a cause!  For every share on Twitter, "Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done." will donate $1.00 to Rebuilding Together - the nation’s leading nonprofit, working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities.  If that isn't the easiest way to make you feel good about helping out our community, then what is!
Let's get ready for spring and bring some beautiful pops of color into the world!  Make sure to visit www.digdropdone.com to learn more.  Inside, or outside, bulbs are the way to go!  Happy planting!!
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 1 Challenge Complete!

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I'm embarrassed to say that I came in closer to the bottom than the top of our weight loss/fitness challenge.  I'm calling week 1 a wash, definitely need to step up my game this week!  Exercise is worth double points this week...and I barely got in any exercise last week, so that is my goal for sure!

Today I worked out with our new 6 point fitness program on the Play Station Move.  I was sweating for sure!  It definitely got my blood pumping, and my arms are already sore :)

A quick update on the Mason Jar Salads I posted about last week.  AMAZING.  They came out so good!  Putting the dressing on the bottom and leaves on the top is really key.  The mason jars kept everything sealed and fresh, they held up and lasted throughout the week.  None of the lettuce or spinach was wilted or bad, but if they were sitting in dressing it could have been a disaster.  My favorite was the clementine, strawberry, spinach and walnut salad with the honey balsamic dressing.  Plus it includes 2 fruit services and a veggie serving, which worked out in my favor!

Here is a quick snapshot of the food I packed for work tomorrow!

1/2 a sliced green pepper, strawberries, tortilla with peanut butter, banana, Chobani Greek Yogurt, and water with lime.  It's about as healthy as I get.  Drinking the water and staying away from the sweets is still hard for me!

Hope everyone is doing well out there.  Stay healthy!
All content, including text and original photos, are copyrighted and property of Jen Caffelle

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