Monday, 31 October 2011

10 Tips for Halloween Safety!

Happy Halloween! It is hard to believe October is almost over!  Tonight is the night when all the little ghosts, goblins and Harry Potter's will be out and about; not to mention the cute dragons, tigers and princesses. It is so exciting for the kids today.

With the Trick or Treat festivities, it is also important to keep safety in mind.

  1. Wear a costume that doesn't inhibit the ability to see properly. A painted face is better than a mask which blocks vision. Also be sure it fits properly and isn't going to trip you as you walk.
  2. Do not cross back and forth across the street; walk up one side, then cross at the corner and walk down the other. Not all motorists drive safely, so be sure to be extra careful.
  3. Do not go inside stranger's homes. If they ask you to come inside, politely refuse. If it means no treat, then that's okay. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Do not eat any homemade treats or apples; there have been far too many injuries from pins and other things being in them. Not everyone gets in the Halloween spirit; they would just as soon cause harm as do good.
  5. Parents, please go through the candy before the kids eat it. If they want a treat along the way, give them something they can have from home.
  6. Carry a flashlight. Not all homes will be well lit; safety wise it is best to avoid those that do not appear to be welcoming.
  7. Leave your pets at home. The little doggie costumes are cute, but even the cutest dog can bite. With all the activity, pets can become stressed. 
  8. Keep in contact with each other; have a route mapped out and carry a cell phone or two-way radio. This is especially important in bigger centers, but don't let the small town atmosphere fool you. 
  9. Travel with a group rather than alone. Safety in numbers!
  10. If you are the one behind the wheel driving your little ghosts and goblins about, be careful. Not all kids will remember to look before crossing the street.
Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!


Friday, 28 October 2011

Winterizing Your Home

As the weather in my part of the world gets cooler, it is time to start winterizing. We live in an older house right now, and the windows are 1940's and 1950's originals. I say 40's and 50's because the house was built in two parts. The original construction has 10 foot ceilings, while the addition has 8 foot ceilings. The windows however, are not the latest in energy efficiency.

The first winter we lived here we put plastic on the inside of the windows, but quickly learned it would have been good to have it on the outside as well. When the northwest winds blow, our kitchen and living room are cool; when the southeast winds blow it is the bedrooms and bathroom that feel the chill. To avoid paying a $500.00 gas bill each month, we take measures to keep the wind from blowing through the house. The biggest places we lose our heat is the windows.

The inside windows will get their new layer of shrink wrap this weekend; possibly even this afternoon. I think this is one of the best inventions anyone in a cold climate can utilize. It is available in almost any hardware or department store, and is easy to apply. Be sure your window frames are clean and free of dirt, dust or grease otherwise the double sided tape won't stick and the plastic won't stay in place. When you are ready to install the plastic, carefully place the tape on the window frame first. Do not remove the paper on the topside of the tape until you are ready to put on the plastic.

When you are ready for the plastic, remove the paper from the tape. Ensure your plastic is cut at least 2" larger than your area to be covered; this will allow for any minor miscalculations (and believe me, it does happen). Apply the plastic film as evenly as possible. There is no need to stretch it at this point, just be sure it will cover the area. Once it is secured to the tape, use a hair dryer to shrink it so you have a clear view of the outside. The shrinking also helps with the insulating qualities by not allowing drafts to stretch the plastic. If in any event the wind blows hard enough to stretch the plastic you can always reapply the hairdryer.

Along with the windows doors are also a prime spot for drafts to come in, especially in older homes. Now is the time to replace weatherstripping that has cracked or peeled off. Also be sure the door sweeps aren't cracked or broken so drafts can't get in. Sometimes it is difficult to prevent 100% of the drafts getting in under the door, so you can easily make a draft stopper.

To make your own draft stopper measure the width of your door, and add 4". Cut a piece of fabric (this can be any type; denim or corduroy work best) the length of your measurement by 8". Fold it in half right sides together, then stitch along three sides using a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn the tube right side out and stuff with fiberfill, fleece scraps or bits of quilt batting. Stitch the end and place at the base of your door. This will help keep the heat in and the cold out.

An old but simple trick to finding out where your drafts are is to hold a candle near the window and door frames. You must be very careful doing this so you don't accidentally get too close to curtains or blinds. The last thing you want is a fire! It is best to remove them before doing your draft check. Also check around outlets, as they are another source of drafts. Outlet insulation is available at your local hardware store.

I am off to winterize my about you?

Have a great day!


New Survey

Good morning! I have a new survey available. The results will help me provide better content for upcoming newsletters and blog posts. I encourage everyone to take it; it's only 5 questions.

As I continue with my book series, I come across more to write about. There are aspects of homemaking I hadn't even considered when I started, but see the opportunity rising to share what I learn. When a person is a homemaker (man or woman) there is so much more to their job description than most people realize. They are partner, friend, parent, chef, maid, bookkeeper, nurse, vet, plumber, electrician, and the list goes on. Granted not all homemakers have the same circumstances; some have children, some do not; some live alone and work from home, others have a spouse.

The skills needed to maintain a smooth running household are also not just for homemakers; they are for anyone living under their own roof. Many are skills they have learned while growing up. In some circumstances however, caregivers have not taught children all of the skills they will need when they are on their own. Many parents take it for granted their children will just "know" what to do. As my son gets older (graduating this year) I fill him in on things he will need to know. He knows how to cook basic meals, can do dishes (when he chooses to), knows how to operate a washing machine, and is well aware of the responsibility associated with having a license and a vehicle. There are also the other tasks he will be responsible for once he is off to college and living on his own, such as the grocery shopping, paying his bills, keeping his car maintained, and keeping his apartment clean. It will be a whole new experience for him, and I wish him the best.

There are also those young adults who have not had the role models in their lives to shape who they are. They have not had loving parents or a safe environment to come home to. That is sad but realistic. My goal as an author, homemaker and mom is to help those who need some guidance in the right direction. My books will cover all aspects of homemaking; whether it is done full time or part time. I realize not everyone can stay at home, as we need cashiers, doctors, dentists, postal workers, restaurant employees, etc. I am very interested to help those who could use that extra little push in the right direction. The best part is, no matter how old you are you can always learn something new.

As the saying goes, "A little guidance goes a long way."

Have a great day!


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Question Day

Good afternoon! Today is question day! Ask your questions about cooking, cleaning, laundry, pet care etc and I will do my best to answer them. If you want to know something about home-based business, I can help with that as well.

Yesterday my question on Facebook was "What is your least favorite household task?" I got answers such as dishes, laundry (because it's never-ending) and cleaning toilets. Someone even posted they disliked cleaning in general; all household tasks are their least favorite.

I agree cleaning the house can be daunting, especially when you spend hours cleaning; then turn around and it doesn't look like you did anything all day. This is especially true of families with small children. I can recall when my two were younger; I'd vacuum the living room, they'd pull out the toy box and it would be wall to wall toys. It can be very frustrating!

I found designating their rooms as play area worked for a little while, but they wanted to be where I was. The toys would eventually make their way out to the living room and kitchen, and I'd be back to square one. Instead of fighting it I let them have a few toys to play with in the kitchen and living room; on the condition they put them back when they were finished playing with them. If I tripped over a toy, then it got taken away for a little while. It may seem mean but it was a strategy that worked, especially with their favorites.

Now, what would you like to know about the art of homemaking?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Household Tasks

We all have household tasks we don't care to do. It may be the dishes, the laundry or taking out the trash. No matter what it is it still needs to be done. Why not make it fun (or as fun as chores can be)?

I find turning up the music puts me in the right mode to get some of the least favorite chores done. When a person is doing something other than thinking about how bad the chore is, it doesn't take long to complete it. I mostly listen to country, but when I need some motivation it's Darude (Techno) all the way.

What are your least favorite chores, and what gets you motivated to do them?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

New Poll

As the time draws near for the second book to be released, I am interested to know what my readers would like to see next. On the right I have a poll; please cast your vote. Please share so others may cast their vote as well!

Thanks and have a great afternoon!


Thursday, 20 October 2011

6 Weeks Left

Good morning! In six short weeks book number two of The Homemaker Helper Series will be available. I am very excited about this one, and have been enjoying testing the recipes I am including. My family is also enjoying the extra cooking and baking taking place.

Last night it was Honey Garlic Chicken Wings served with rice and vegetables. A fairly simple supper, but very good. I have adjusted the recipe to make extra sauce, as it is great for adding to the rice. It is better to have more sauce than not enough.

As the days get cooler it is perfect baking weather. I am an outside person, but only when the weather is nice. When the temperatures start dropping, my outdoor activity also drops. It is then time to experiment with different recipes and feed my family my creations. It is also when I learn what works and what doesn't. I have often had to modify recipes to make them better.

I am not a person to write in books, but I have found writing in cookbooks to be beneficial. For those who don't, may I suggest you start? I have made the mistake of making a dish only to realize I had made it before; and didn't like it then either. My cookbooks are filled with little notes and modifications; some recipes have "very good" written beside them, while a few have "never again". It is a good reference point for me, as well as anyone else in my family when they are picking a recipe. I will occasionally decide what to make (chicken, steak, etc.) but will ask one of my children or my partner to find a recipe to prepare. Without the little notes, they could easily pick something that isn't great. Having a reference point eliminates wasted time and wasted food (although, our dogs do enjoy a treat every now and again).

As we head into the weekend, it is the perfect time to start planning the holiday menu. We have our traditional courses, but each year we add something new. I am not sure what it will be this year...

Have a great day!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Walk for Wishes Update

Yesterday we participated in the Walk for Wishes in Lloydminster, AB to help support the Children's Wish Foundation. It was a chilly day but to see the impact it has on so many lives was more than worth it. For those who know me, you are aware of our Wish Story; we met a couple other families yesterday who had their own story to tell.

I am proud to say my our team raised over $1700.00 for the Foundation, which was very impressive indeed. I am very impressed with my children and the initiative they took to get classmates to join our team and help out. Well done! A total of over $12,000.00 was collected yesterday at walk time (that amount equals about one Wish, as they average around $10,000.00 each). It was over double the amount anyone expected them to raise, especially since the location had never held a Walk there before. It goes to show that a community can pull together and do wonders when necessary. The local businesses provided prizes for walkers based on amounts raised, for door prizes, and some just for fun. Many thanks to the businesses who sponsored the walk!

And please remember; just because the Walk is over for the year it doesn't mean donations have to stop. Three children with life threatening illnesses are granted their wish each and every day. As the announcer pointed out yesterday; each time we sit down for a meal, a child and their family is being granted a wish. We will continue to participate in the Walk to help raise money so other families receive their wishes, just like we received ours.

As we enter into the second half of October I can't help but count down the days to the release of The Homemaker Helper Series: Cooking 101. In 49 days the second book in the series will be available! I am anxious to finish it so you, my customers, will be able to try many of the recipes for the holiday festivities. Keep in mind it is not only meant for the holidays; it is written with daily cooking and baking in mind. And for a limited time, anyone pre-ordering will receive the ebook version of The Homemaker Helper Series: Crafts.

I will also be starting a Newsletter this month with tips and ideas for all aspects of Homemaking. These will eventually become a part of the books in the series, but it is your chance to see them first hand. Please subscribe to my Blog and you will also receive the newsletter each and every month for as long as you wish. I look forward to helping you become the homemaker you want to be. As for those who have chosen other career paths, that is okay too; I encourage you to join as well. Everyone has a place to live, so homemaking skills are beneficial whether or not you work outside your home.

I wish you all a great day!


Friday, 14 October 2011

Walk for Wishes and more

It's hard to believe another week has come and gone! Time flies, doesn't it? I can recall being a child and thinking time just dragged on, but the older I get the faster it seems to go by. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done I would like to, and I'm told I have to sleep sometime.

Tomorrow my children and I will be participating in the Walk for Wishes in Lloydminster, AB. The Walk raises money for the Wish Foundation so children with life-threatening illnesses may get their wish. The Walk is approaching quickly, but the donations may continue for weeks after the event. I encourage anyone and everyone to make a donation; every little bit helps.

The reason we are walking is because my son received a Wish in 2008. He was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in September of 2007 and underwent chemotherapy treatment for 9 months, plus had part of the bone in his lower leg removed. The surgery went well and he has been cancer-free for three years now. There is nothing scarier then being told your child has cancer; we were fortunate as he is still with us. Many families aren't that fortunate.

Lives are changed forever when cancer strikes. When I chose to spend my time with my son instead of going to work I was criticized by my employers for doing so. Their belief was work came first, then my family. It was at that point I made a decision; I would work from home. It wasn't until after his treatment was complete that I was able to make the transition, but it was a decision I do not regret. I did bookkeeping from home, but then the clients I had wanted me to go to their offices. That defeated the purpose of working from home, so I chose a different path.

In January of 2010 I started writing and submitting articles online. The pay varies and depends on views, company, and several other factors. I enjoy writing and it was then I decided to write a book. My original plan was one book, but as I worked on it I realized a series would be much better. The entire book might not appeal to everyone, but each in the series would have a different target audience.

Being a Homemaker has given me the experience and knowledge to write from my perspective. I have been on my own since I was 16, so have many years of cooking, cleaning, baking and doing all of the other household chores. Plus, I have worked outside the home at different times through the years and have gained experience in other fields as well. At this point the pay isn't great, but it is worth the sacrifices I have made. I have to say it is not for everyone, but for me I wouldn't have it any other way.

Please support us in our Walk tomorrow and please support a good cause. One never knows when the tables can turn and they are the people on the receiving end of a very crappy hand. I firmly believe what goes around comes around, and those who condemn others for their choices get bit in the rear-end eventually. I also believe those who do good for others will be rewarded; perhaps not monetarily but in other ways.

I will be posting early next week and sharing what went on at the Walk for Wishes. It will be a fun day tomorrow, and I am proud to say my son will be one of the Wish Kids carrying the banner and leading the Walk!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

More than cooking and cleaning!

Being a homemaker is more than cooking and cleaning. It is also about taking care of your family, no matter how large or small. It is about spending sleepless nights with the crying baby and still being able to get the older children off to school in the morning. It is about showing your affection for your spouse and your children by hugs, kisses and "I love you's". I grew up in a home where affection was rarely shown; a trend I broke with my little family. My children and partner are told on a daily basis (several times over) how much I love them. They are also treated with respect and expected to respect others; a skill so many children lack in this day and age.

Kids remember the games played at the kitchen table and the home-baked birthday cakes more than the presents they received. Making good memories with your family is so important; and taking pictures and recording the fun in a scrapbook is priceless. I do have to admit I have been neglectful of my scrapbooking but the pictures are still being taken. I have hundreds of pictures on my computer; it will soon be time to print them out and add pages to my scrapbook.

My children have always had friends over for sleepovers; I feel honored as this shows me my parenting and homemaking skills are valued. Plus, the cookies don't hurt either. I would rather have my kids bringing their friends home than being out and about getting into mischief. Having things for them to do keeps them busy and entertained. Living in the country gives the town kids something new to see and do; my daughter's friends love going out to see the animals.

For those just starting out, take the pictures to preserve the memories. Don't stop there; invest in some scrapbook supplies and record the holidays, birthdays and even just some random things. The scrapbook may be as simple or elaborate as you wish; guys, this means you too. My favorite part of scrapbooking is journalling; I can tell my story while it is fresh in my mind so when I am older I just have to read to jog my memory of the day. For those who have children, get them involved in the process; it won't be long before they are on their own and making their own memories and traditions.

A final note: start a new tradition by having a family game night or a scrappy Saturday. Have a great day!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it. Today is a day filled with good food, laughter, often some over-indulging in alcohol and even a football game or two. We had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and today we are back to trying to finish the harvest. It is coming to a close, which will be a relief.

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays where the kitchen is filled with the smell of a turkey or ham cooking, as well as all the trimmings. My house didn't have those wonderful smells this year, as we celebrated at my Aunt and Uncle's farm. When dinner was finished, we moved equipment out to the field and continued with the harvest.

I love cooking for the holidays as there are so many things to eat; things we don't normally have. I make nachynka (cornmeal), nalysnyky (cheese rolls) and kycha (wheat) for Christmas dinner. This year I will get brave and try my hand at holopchi (cabbage rolls) and perishke (cheese buns). I also tend to go a little overboard on the dessert tray with brownies, almond squares, Rice Krispie squares, mincemeat tarts, fudge and cookies. I am sure I gain ten pounds just thinking about all the baking; not to mention eating it.

Aside from the meal, I enjoy spending time with family. It is a time when there are minimal other commitments and everyone can relax and enjoy the visit. My children and my niece are in their teens so they do not get as excited over the gifts; my nephews on the other hand - that is another story. It is so much fun to watch them tear open the wrapping paper to reveal the gift inside. We try to get them what they want without spending a bundle; with all of the toy commercials this time of year their lists are a mile long.

As the holiday season quickly approaches I will be busy in my kitchen and at my computer finishing Cooking 101. I reflect back on my early years as a homemaker and realize how much I didn't know. Time and experience, as well as mistakes, has shaped my culinary and homemaking skills. My purpose with each book in the series is to educate those just starting out, to include the basics and to make homemaking a positive experience. Granted it is not the path everyone chooses, but the skills are beneficial to have.

Friday, 7 October 2011

5 Entertaining Tips

As the holidays approach, you may be entertaining more often than usual. It is good to keep a few tips in mind (these will also be included in Cooking 101) for a safe and happy event.

1. Have a variety of food and snacks available for your guests. This is especially important if you will be serving alcohol.

2. Offer coffee, tea, soft drinks and juice in addition to any alcoholic beverages. You may also wish to provide virgin versions of drinks such as Caesars or Daquiries. This ensures your guests will have options should they choose not to consume any alcohol.

3. Inquire about any severe food allergies prior to planning your menu. Avoid serving dishes which could trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction. Nuts and seafood may need to be avoided depending on your guest list. It is best to take necessary precautions instead of a get-together ending in tragedy.

4. Have enough seating for everyone. If having a more formal event, be sure there is a chair for everyone at the table. If casual, be sure everyone can be seated at the same time. Many community centers will often provide chairs and tables for a small fee, provided the facility is not being used at the time.

5. Arrange for alternate transportation for your guests if they have been drinking. Advise at the beginning of the evening there will be transportation as well as accommodations should they so choose. Many hosts will collect keys at the beginning of the evening in an attempt to prevent intoxicated guests from driving. Once again, this is a time which should not end in tragedy because someone made a bad decision.

These are just a few tips which will be included in The Homemaker Helper Series: Cooking 101

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cooking 101 Update

As it turns out, the rain didn't last the other day like I thought it would which means I did not get to stay home and write. I was back out helping my Dad and Uncle, and am proud to say I did two oil changes; one in a half ton and the other in a swather (which was out in the field). I do not consider the day to be wasted however, as it gave me some practical experience.

As the books in this series continue to be written, home and equipment repair and maintenance will be the topic for one of them. I do have a schedule in mind for the order of the books, and am anticipating that particular topic to be fourth or fifth in the series. Although I have performed some repairs around the home, I do want to do a few more so I can write from first-hand experience.

As I write more of Cooking 101, I keep thinking of more things I should include in it. It will easily be at least 120 pages; perhaps as many as 150. I am enjoying making different squares, cookies and meals - plus have been sorting through the items in my pantry to decide which are necessary and which are personal preference. Lists of what to have in your pantry and cupboards will be included in the book. Also included will be brief descriptions of appliances, cookware, serving and table ware. This is to give any person, whether they have cooked before or not, a baseline for their kitchen. Each person has individual tastes, but it is always nice to have a starting point.

Please remember, any comments on this page in the month of October entitles you to a copy of The Homemaker Helper Series: Crafts ebook. All you need to provide is an engaging comment and you will receive a free copy of the ebook. For anyone pre-ordering Cooking 101, a copy of the Crafts ebook will also be sent upon confirmation of payment.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Good Day to Write

Good morning! This is so unlike me to be writing before 6:30 AM; I'm usually not up until this time and my computer doesn't get turned on until after the kids leave for school. Today is an exception.

I will be working on my book again today as I don't anticipate helping with any harvesting due to the rain we are getting. It will be a good day to write! I am aiming for completing the section on appliances; which are necessary and which are a bonus in the kitchen. After cooking for so many years, I do have my favorites aside from the basics. One of those favorites is a slow cooker. I can put a frozen roast in it in the morning and by suppertime the roast is done. It also works well for ham, stew, chili and soups and chowders. I recommend a slow cooker for anyone who leads a busy life. For those who work outside the home, it is nice to come home to a hot meal; for those who stay home the meal can be cooking while other tasks are being taken care of.

After some thought, I have decided to accept pre-orders of my next book. It will contain a wealth of information which will be beneficial to anyone who does any meal preparation. The final page count is undetermined, but there will be no less than 120. The book will be released no later than December 5, 2011 which will allow time for holiday meal preparation as well as gift-giving. For those who pre-order before the release date, I will send you a free copy of The Homemaker Helper Series: Crafts ebook. Ebooks will be emailed to you upon confirmation of payment. For ordering information please visit my website or click on the PayPal button on the right side of this page.

Thank you and have a great day!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Excerpt from "The Homemaker Helper Series: Crafts"

Writing the first book in the series was very interesting. It brought up a lot of memories and has reinforced the fact crafts have always been a part of my life. The following is a project from the book which provides a place for all those plastic grocery bags.

Bag holders are another craft idea for fabric. They serve a utilitarian purpose by containing the plastic grocery bags that are brought home from the store on a regular basis. The nice thing about making your own is you can make one that matches your decor.


18”X22” piece of fabric
2 pieces of ½” elastic; one 6” long and one 8” long
5” piece of yarn or narrow binding (for the hanging loop)
Safety pins and straight pins
Sewing machine


1.    Make a 1” hem on each short end of the fabric piece. This will be your casing for the elastic.
2.    Thread the two pieces of elastic through; one at each end. One will be tighter than the other. Pin in place.
3.    Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together and pin to hold in place.
4.    Fold the yarn or binding in half and place it next to the elastic at the wider end. Be sure the loop part of it is in between the right sides of the fabric. Pin in place.
5.    Stitch along the seam line using a ¼” seam allowance. Be sure to secure elastic in the seam lines. Backstitch at both ends of seam to secure the stitching.
6.    Remove pins and turn right side out.
7.    Hang inside a cupboard or next to your trash can. Place plastic grocery bags in the top. When one is needed, pull it out through the bottom. Only keep as many bags as will fit in your holder; anything in excess of that can be made into other useful items.