Sunday, January 29, 2012

Plant Profile: Burpee's Fordhook Zucchini

Name: Burpee's Fordhook Zuccinni

Botanical Name: Family: Cucurbitaceae Genus: Cucurbita Species: pepo

Zone: 3-12

When to Plant: Plant after last frost

Sun: Full

Sow: Direct Sow

Planting Depth: 1inch

Spacing: 36 inches

Germination: 4 - 11 days

Maturity: 57 Days

Height: 34- 40 inches

Spread: 18 inches

pH Range: 5.6 - 7.5

Yield: High yielding plant

Description: Hybrid developed by Burpee which produces black/green stripped zucchini. This bush plant produces broad dark green leaves.

Harvest: For full flavor harvest when the fruit is 7 to 10 inches long.

Seed Saving: Seed saving is not recommended because this plant is a hybrid so seeds saved may not produce plant with the same quality as the parent plant.

Growing Tips: Add fertilizer just as the plant starts to produce fruit to increase production.

Problems: Squash bugs, aphids, squash vine bores, powdery mildew

Author's Notes: This is a must have for new vegetable gardeners or anyone looking for an easy high yielding summer squash. This was one of the first vegetables that I ever grew, which is odd since at that time I hated zucchini. But I grew it and I was determined to eat it. And boy was I surprised! I now officially love zucchini and this plant proves the old vegetable gardener's saying "If you haven't grown it, then you haven't really tasted it." Store bought zucchini has nothing on this supper tough plant.

Back then I figured you just stick seeds in the ground, add water, then watch it grow.  When every thing else died, had stunted growth, and didn't even produce anything; this guy marched on. It grew even in poor soil, no fertilizer, as well as ofte forgetting to weed and water. Even though I did everything wrong my three hardy plants produced enough fruit for one to two meals a week until the frost killed them.


Sauteed Zucchini

Zucchini loaf bread

Grilled Zucchini

References/Recommended Sites: Fordhook Zucchini Summer Squash

Saturday, January 28, 2012

52 Week Challenge - Week 5 Chest Freezer

Ok, to keep from repeating myself too much please refer to my last 52 Week Challenge post for how to defrost a freezer.

Here I'm going to work on a chest freezer.

So as you may be asking yourself. Do I really need to defrost the darn thing? Apparently yes, according to various manuals and manufacture websites they need defrosting every one to two years. Why? It's actually an efficient issue. When it's caked up in ice inefficient and uses more energy.

During this time it would also be a good idea to remove the dust from the coils in the back. The hose attachment part of the vacuum can be used for this. MAKE SURE THE FREEZER IS UNPLUGGED FIRST. Don't want any accidents now do we?

Anyone who owns a stand alone freezer knows that it is nearly impossible to organize and keep it that way unless you're an overly detailed & organized person. Which I am obviously not. Part of what makes it such a pain is that you have to reach down deep to get what you want sometimes. Then when things get shifted around until something gets buried. Then your left with that odd question of "Exactly how long has that been in there? I don't even remember buying it."

Many of the newer ones come with baskets but your still left with the task of removing the top ones then bending over the edge because what you really want is always on the bottom.

Another option that's all over the Internet forums is using bags. Here's one that has some good ideas. Some say thick trash bags work good and others recommend those recyclable shopping bags. With this system you can easily lift out the bag without having to needlessly submerge yourself into the freezer to get what you want.

Another pretty good idea what to rotate what you have in there. Its easy, just put all the stuff that was on the bottom on top.

Some claim keeping an inventory works for them. I don't think this is something that would personally work for me but it might for you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blog Review- Hyperbole and a Half

Blog Review: Hyperbole and a Half
That's Allie the blogger, she likes cake --->

Hands down this is one of my favorite blogs of all time. I love it so much that I'm actually a little depressed that she hasn't updated in a while. Last we heard from her she was working on her book.

Allie's blog is a combination comic strip + personal blog. Her random outbursts of humor brings an unexpected child-like glee. Her blog brings back youthful humor and imagination that sadly many of us almost lost. It's like a rain of sunshine over our weary adult lives filled with confused dogs, unicorn killing boyfriends, paranoia, rabid pack of children, and personal stories that anyone else would be too embarrassed to tell. Anytime I need a pick me up I scroll over to Hyperbole and a Half. Hope to see you blogging soon Allie! <3

Warning: This blog is addictive!

If you ever need an inspiration  to open up your imagination or maybe just a smile visit Hyperbole and a Half. You won't regret it.

I was not asked to review this blog. I just love it so much that I felt a cult like need to share it will you .... that's all.

Pictures are property of Allie Brosh owner of Hyperbole and a Half!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

52 week challenge: Week 4 - Freezer

Enter week 4 of my 52 week challenge!

So if you have read the post on my refrigerator you have a good idea of what my freezer would look like. Ya, I'm not even going to deny it.

So here are my cleaning tips on cleaning a freezer. I know I'm so friggen awesome!

*Tips* How to clean your freezer!

Most newer refrigerator/freezer combos do not need to defrost but if yours does plan and give yourself plenty of time.

Remove all the food and toss out anything that has been in there longer than a few months. Even in the freezer food can lose flavor and get freezer burn. Use your best judgement on this.

Place all the good food in either the refrigerator or a cooler.

Bring up the temperature for the freezer or unplug it if you don't have that option. If it needs to defrost then your better off turning it off and wait for the built up ice to melt.

Start off my cleaning the drawers in the sink with warm water and dish soap. Even if you have a freezer that doesn't need to defrost I recommend to clean the drawers first and allow the freezer to defrost because sponges and cloth with stick the frost on the walls.

Wipe down the walls with a cleaning solution then wipe down with a dry paper towel to dry.

Make sure that the drawers are dry before putting them back to prevent frost built up.

Once you're done set the temperature back. Keep in mind that the colder the food the longer it will keep. According to, set it to 0F.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saving Money With Gift Cards?

I've heard people buy discounted gift cards to save money. Ok, ... but does it really work? Like for everyday life not just on splurging every once in a while. But more importantly is it easy? I'm not one of those coupon crazed people who somehow find ways to get free food and shop at multiple stores. I'm too lazy, unorganized and un-devoted for that stuff.

So far my husband is iffy about it. Last month I bought a Micheal's gift card about $4 off. It wasn't much but I bought my kids extra paint out of it. So with a fresh start at a new year I'm thinking what the heck? Maybe a lazy procrastinator can save a few bucks! Lord knows I need to.

This past Friday I bought a $100 gift card to Walmart for $98. $2 off, not much but hey it's something. If you didn't know, Walmart cards are usable at Sam's Club (where I plan on using it).

I will also be adding a whole page dedicated to this giving tips, links, and what not. Click here to see it! So what am I trying to say about this? If it works for me, it'll work for you. I shall be your test dummy for this =)

F.Y.I. I am not being paid to advertise for any of this. I think that this might be a good way to save money and I wanted to share it with everyone.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

52 Week Challenge - Week 3: Refrigerator

I am now entering week 3 of my 52 Week challenge and so far I am on a roll!

Cleaning out the refrigerator is one of the most important places to clean. But if your anything like me it just ends up a heaping mess before it actually gets cleaned. It's amazing how it just builds up like that! I swear I cleaned out a month ago. I don't know why but I dread cleaning anything in my kitchen. It's my no-go zone. I swear that there is some sort of force field that as soon as I hit with in a certain range suddenly my brain gets hit with a thought laser that make me remember 'hey wasn't I supposed to finish that over there in the other room?" or "Oh what's in the pantry?" or "I can always do this later." or "Why I am I even in here? I'm not even hungry - oh look cookies!"

So here is the result of my procrastination.

Here is close up of the disaster.

Any hoo, the best way to clean out a mess like that it take everything out and clean the whole thing out. Place anything that can spoil quickly like meats and milk in a cooler. Turn off the light and raise the temperature to get started. Instead of cleaning around everything it's best to remove all the shelves and clean them in the sink (especially if you can't remember the last time it was cleaned like this). Dish detergent works pretty well at getting everything cleaned. Remember to clean the insides and not just the shelves. Once everything is cleaned wipe down everything again a second time with a clean cloth or a sanitizing solution. Once it's done turn the light back on, lower the temperature and place all the (good, non-expired) food back in.

So from now on I pledge to clean out my fridge once a week,hopefully.


To prevent odors leave a small box of baking soda open inside.

Keep the temperature between 35F to 45F, but ideally it should be kept at 40F.

Leave a marker (non-permanent) in the kitchen to date when left overs are placed inside.
Cooked meat and chicken will last about 3 to 4 days. However, if it's fresh it will only last about 2 days.
Remember if it smells funny, throw it out!

If you're looking for a general guideline one how long food will last in the refrigerator go to

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mommy Tips: Diaper Rash

Need to know what to put on a diaper rash? Of course there is a mountain of creams and powders available but there are also other options that work just as well and sometimes even better. So if either creams aren't working or you don't have any on hand try one of these tried and true tricks.

1.) Cornstarch Baby Powder: For preventive measure I recommend using baby powder that is pure cornstarch. It absorbs well and actually helps heal broken skin. It is important to remember not to pour it into the diapers near the baby. I usually pour a little it into an open diaper before changing the baby. If you don't have the baby powder version plain old regular pure cornstarch will do.

BUT if the baby has a yeast infection the rash will get worse. If it does get worse try using an anti fungal cream a.k.a. jock itch cream (no joke) with an active ingredient of miconazole. This is what my doctor recommend and is available over the counter. If it doesn't start working with in 1-2 days take your kid to their pediatrician. Here is what a yeast infection looks like on a baby (don't worry it is not graphic and doesn't show a baby's private area, it just shows a patch of skin) scroll down to see the picture.

2.) Water Instead of Wipes: After having my third baby a nurse recommended to clean the baby's bottom in the sink instead of using wipes. A baby's bottom is sensitive, especially after birth and baby wipes can actually cause irritation. After rinsing the baby's bottom just pat dry, put on any creams if necessarily and put on a fresh diaper. Do this until the irritation does away. If your comfortable handling the baby you can bring her right to the sink and rinse her bottom with luke warm water. If you're not comfortable doing this then either use a squirt bottle or a warm wet wash cloth.

3.) Go Nude: For persistent painful diaper rash it is best for a baby not to wear a diaper at all. Let the baby's bottom soak in shallow warm water. If the baby still has an umbilical cord just take extra care not to get it wet by keeping the water shallow and place a dry wash cloth on top to prevent it from getting wet. After letting the baby soak for a few minutes then allow the baby to stay bottomless. To prevent a mess use a water proof baby mat with a soft blanket.

4.) Cloth Diapers: If you need to place some sort of diaper then use a cloth diaper. The fancier ones are easier to put on but more expensive. The plain white basic cloth diapers work just as well without the water proof cover. Just remember to place the baby on top of a water-proof mat or thick blanket if you don't end up buying the water proof cover. To see a video on how to put on a cloth diaper click here. This is a great video that shows how to put on different types of cloth diapers. Keep in mind that a baby can still get diaper rash with a cloth diaper. But when a diaper rash is sensitive to the touch I have found that a cloth diaper helps.

5.) Baking Soda: Give your baby a soak in shallow water mixed baking soda. I haven't tried this one but so many moms swear by it that it is worth a try. The amount of baking soda needed will vary depending on whom you ask but most recommend using a generous amount.

6.) Limit the fruit! There are foods that cause diaper rash. Too much fruit, especially citrus, can pass through the intestines not completely digested and cause irritation. If the baby is old enough, keep giving her fruit, just cut back a little and change the diaper more often.

7.) Breast Milk: Again, this isn't something I have tried but many women swear that breast milk cures diaper rash. They recommend that you lather the breast milk on the irritated area after diaper changes.

If the diaper rash doesn't go away consult the baby's pediatrician to rule out a possible infection.

Friday, January 6, 2012

52 Week Challenge - Week 2: Small Pantry

Now I am in week two of my organize home challenge. I have a small pantry that I keep 'locked' (I'm renting so I use bungee cords so my kids can't get in). I do recommend keeping some sort of locked cabinet for strictly adult, work, or school foods. My two and five year-olds have no self-control when it comes to some things and so do many other kids their age. So I don't run out by the end of the week I keep sodas, coffee, Snapple and my daughter's juice drinks for school on lock down. I also keep all my baking items and stuff that needs to be put in containers in there as well (rice, beans, etc.). On the lower section I have all the baking stuff and the upper shelf has all the work/school stuff.

I've also set to organize my cleaning supplies cabinet that it located above it that it out of reach. I am slighty ashamed at how many empty spray bottle I had up there. So from now on I'm only buying the large gallon size cleaner so I can just reuse the spray bottles.

*Tip* I actually place all my cleaners on a highest cabinet. I know many people place the cleaners in the cabinets under the sink but I think that idea should be rethought. It makes it too easy for young kids to get into. Child safety locks can sometimes be misleading. So far my two oldest children have found a way around every single type I have bought so far. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weight Loss Challenge

These past few months I've found out that I like online challenges. I am doing the 52 week challenge but now I have decided to join another! It's called the iVillage Kick Start Your Weight Loss Community Challenge. It starts today so join up with me and let's get healthy together. It is a 6 week-long challenge to lose up to 15 pounds by Valentine's Day. After that I plan on going back to my pre-baby routine of working out 3-4 days a week.

*Just another tip* I don't know if it's just me but all those cardio work out DVDs showed very little results. BUT what worked wonders for me is yoga and Pilates. After having my first baby I took a yogalates class at a local community college. In only one semester 2 x's a week I lost all the post-baby weight. Not just that but I felt great both physically and mentally. That's something I never felt with other fad work outs. So if you don't like jumping around or get too tired to even finish a cardio work out try out yoga. Remember to start easy and don't worry of you can't do a position perfectly. That takes time and just do a modified version and only go as far as you can.

You don't really need all the fancy gear either. If you have a carpet area that will work fine. Also, a lot of work out videos are online on Youtube. Later on I'll start posting recommended beginner videos. Just as a little warning is that a lot of main stream 'beginner' yoga videos are actually really hard. So if you plan on buying a DVD look at online reviews first to get an idea of what you're buying.

Wishing you all the best on achieving your New Year's goals,