The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2010-11-28

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making Flavored Coffee Creamer

Yesterday I was out of creamer which isn't that odd because I'm always out of coffee creamer.  I  go through that stuff like crazy and if it wasn't so expensive it wouldn't be such a problem but man, if I can't find it on sale a 32 ounce container goes for about five bucks which makes it more expensive then a hundred feet times seventy-five feet of things I won't buy because of price.

So I did a web search for do it yourself liquid coffee creamers never thinking there were any but I should have known better, there are. 

I found one basic recipe all over the place:

1 can sweetened condensed milk (regular or low fat)
1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

The instructions say it's best stored in a glass mason jar but I don't have one so I used plastic and that it will keep for two weeks which I don't believe for a second.  It might be true but I don't think anything but salad dressing and mustard keeps that long.

Mix all the ingredients in your container and shake (and shake and shake and shake).  Oh, and shake before using because the condensed milk settles.

You can customize the flavors by adding flavors, for example.
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract for chocolate mint.

1 teaspoon almond extract and 1/2 teaspoon orange extract for cappuccino.
Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon almond extract for Amaretto.

My feeling after trying it is this:

1.  It's good but not as thick, sweet, or whitening  as commercial creamers. This is not necessarily a negative.

2.  I just used 3 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and it's a lot like chocolate milk actually, although strangely, chocolate milk never worked in my coffee and this does.

3.  I'm not sure the best option is the extracts.  I have a feeling coffee syrups are better for this but I don't have any so I can't test this.

4.  Whether or not this is cheaper depends on how much condensed milk costs.  I paid two dollars for a can which when you think about adding the rest almost negates any savings.  Shop rite had a sale on creamers last week; ninety- nine cents for the 16 ounce size.  That's really, really low, lower then I've ever seen it.  But it's frequently on sale for $2 which makes it less expensive then the make it yourself version.

*An aside on price there is a low-fat  sweetened condensed milk which was not on sale and cost $2.69 because what? Fat chicks  have more money or are just (desperate) willing to pay more?  Shame on you, Carnation and all the makers of 2% American Cheese who do the exact same thing.*

5.  There are a lot of  ingredients in creamers; I assume thickeners and whiteners, and if you don't like that thought this might be a good more natural solution.

6.  But I do have to wonder if a tablespoon of condensed milk and a splash of regular wouldn't produce the same effect with more options for customization.

So would I do this again?   Well, yes because I think I want to play with the recipe a little and also I think I would keep the ingredients around because I am forever going out during a snow storm for coffee creamer.  
Even if I can't find a way to improve the recipe, the way it is now if fine and  good enough for mornings that I'm snowed in or days I'm too lazy to go out.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stocking stuffers you may not have considered

Stocking stuffers tend to be throwaways; trial size hand sanitizer, shampoo - etc.  Not that it's all like that because it's a great place for gift cards and every year I get my kid a metric-butt load of Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles and really nothing says 'The Holidays' around here like eating chocolate till  you're sick.

But a stocking stuffer can be lots more.  And I'm pretty sure no one thought of this one, I only thought of it this morning - 10 minutes ago on my way home as I was swerving to avoid some woman riding on wrong side of the road.  Took the ho, ho, ho right out of going ho,ho, home, I tell ya.

 Click to go to site

I don't know if anyone else knows this but you can take an ONLINE driver safety course for $19.95 given by AARP (and no you don't have to be AARP age - my son took it) and not only might you get a few tips to save you from lunatic suburban woman on cell phones driving on the wrong side of a divided highway...

Give me strength on New Jersey roads, please.

But in a lot of states you can save money on the cost of your car insurance. And the savings can be substantial; ours was FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS A YEAR!  And it's good for three years.  Granted the cost of car insurance in NJ is ridiculous and your saving will no doubt be lower but extrapolate.

The test is long, about six hours and you can't 'speed it up' by forwarding.  You have to sit through the whole thing which is good.  Because it's done by AARP there are a lot of tips for older drivers but there are also tips for people with parents who are older drivers and stuff your kid needs to know like:

Having the RIGHT OF WAY is..

*Not part of The Bill of Rights..
*It is not akin to the pursuit of happiness...
*It just might be more dangerous then the right to bear arms because people are stupid in cars...
*Having it means nothing to any other driver driving on the road because...
*They all think they have it too.

One point the drivers course drove home frequently is to "be prepared to yield your right of way"  As in yes, you might be right but how much does that matter if you are getting jaw-of-lifed out of your car?

The information is HERE and it's well worth having everyone in your family take it.  Print out the info and stick it in their stocking, rolled up with a bow... and maybe a key chain to make it at least a little fun.  Cause this gift is probably worse then your mom buying you socks.

And one more today

I got my family some new holiday music because - Okay I'm sick of the stuff they pull out every year.  I mean I get it but twenty five years already.  Enough.  Did you know you can search Amazon for Christmas Album Downloads AND some are way cheap AND some are way cool.  How 'bout Christmas with the Rat Pack?

Five Bucks

Or this one, too smooth..

Break out the martinis.  It's Lounge Christmas music, $6.85


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Drug Store Stocking Stuffer Picks

I decided to do some Holiday Gift Picks because a few people have emailed me a long the lines of, A sink?  You're asking for a sink?   Haven't you heard of say jewelry?

Here's the thing.  Everything I get that I need is one less thing to worry about every day next year.  And I know. Boring as all get out but it really it works for me.  As far as luxury items go, do you have any idea how much make-up I can buy if someone were to give me a Rite-Aid gift card for like, $25 but then I only use it when Wet n' Wild stuff is on sale for 50% off? Or Revlon and I have a coupon...

You get the idea. 

Drug store stuff is the best stocking stuffers, hands down so I want to list a few.

It's for flossing teeth.  I don't know if it works but I'm sure hoping because people floss around here and leave it, don't even get me started on that.  I'm hoping that this will clear up the floss I find around.   This is reusable after cleaning and you can carry it with you.

Okay, technically - I know this stuff is for kids but it's increDENTALLY fabulous.  I found out about this doing a review and I've purchased it since because everyone in my family (even my kid!) is using it and lets me know when they are out.  We used to us a very expensive mail order two bottle product as a breath rinse (that's it, no other benefit) that cost over $20 a month if we all used it.  

No more.  Smart Rinse isn't even minty, you just feel clean after.  I don't know what's in there but I want to bath in that stuff.

Tea Lights

I really like candles but I find the whole candle melt/tea light thing so much more economical.  I don't mind getting good quality melts but really - ten bucks for few Yankee Tea Lights just seems silly.  Yes I know they are scented but it seems like a waste to me.   Go to the drug store and get fifty or a hundred tea lights for a few bucks and spend your money on a great tea light holder and yummy smelling melts.

Technically called a pill fob but ya know...  I got this about ten years ago when my son was going on a field trip to a water-park and needed something water proof to keep his pills in.  It worked out well, he could wear it around his neck and it didn't matter if it got wet.  Since then it's become known as the xanax fob because that's the only thing that I would really want to hang on my key chain.  You can buy them in the stores or at that link online for $4.99

And speaking of Wet n Wild cosmetics...

There are a few of them I use every day like...

I like their brow kit way better then E.L.Fs

I have a few, my favorite is 904B Rosebud.  It is very similar to this gloss I had for years from Sephora.  Now this isn't glossy at all and you do have to wear a gloss but the color is dead on.  I loved that Sephora gloss and kept it long after it was probably growing deadly pathogens so I'm so glad I now have the color I love, germ free.

I don't wear it everyday but when I don't wear just powder, I usually wear this.  It's really nice and more coverage then most of the tinted moisturizers I've tried. 

A lot of their eye shadow is really (no, really) good.  This is the one I use a lot.  The middle left brown is fabulous - The bottom left brown is great.  The right middle yellow looking color goes on more a sheer gold.  It's very pretty.  It's really, really a fabulous combination of colors and even if you don't get it on sale it's only $4.99.

And because I can't leave out Ginger

Ginger's new muffin (bed)

Ginger's Muffin

CVS and Rite Aid both carry a great pet bed that goes on sale frequently for about $5 ($9.99 not on sale).  They don't last forever but that's okay.  They cost a quarter of pet store pet beds.  And Ginger loves them, they are all over the house.

This is getting long.  Maybe I'll do another one...


Who's floor will be cleaner with a brand new Libman broom...

and not looking like my before picture very, very soon?


The picks are picked and the people who will soon be sweeping have comments 14, 7, and 18.

That makes the winners:

Julie - Who wrote:  The broom I have now looks like its been around since World War 2-bristles are broken down .

I hear you, gal!

Lynette from Crazed Mind (and no, I'm not kidding) She just did the most fabulous new masthead and will soon be sweeping in pearls.

Melanie - Who wrote:  I would love a new broom. My kids took my old old broom out into the snow and the bottom got all frayed and it does not work at all now. I would definatly start in the kitchen... then the bathroom and my entry way.

Make those kids do the sweeping if they want the broom, honey!  LOL

Email me ladies with your addresses so I can forward them to Libman!

For anyone who didn't win here...

The LIBMAN Facebook sweepstakes is live! Like Libman on Facebook for a chance to win $500 or a mop a day for December!


Technically the coolest thing ever

About a week ago I reviewed the Creativa, my NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® machine  And I've noticed something funny.  People who know I have one and we're having a conversation outside my kitchen say, I hear it makes great coffee, but the people who see it say, That is the coolest looking thing ever!

 Yeah, it is but don't you want to try the coffee?

And they laugh and say of course and then realize Creativa...


Is more then just a pretty face.

Or pretty faces...

Check out all the flavors, too.  Coffee, tea - hot or iced.  Hot chocolate.  There's a lot to love here beyond the fact that the people who come to my house now think I'm the coolest thing ever.  

Okay, well, technically they think my Dolce Gusto is the coolest thing ever but I'll take upping my cool where I can even if it's a stretch.

 “I wrote this review while participating in a test drive campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto and received a coffee machine to facilitate my review.”


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grandma Anna's vintage buttons on Retro Tuesday

It's Retro Tuesday and it's all mine; no magazine ads today.  My father is redoing the basement and he found something I thought was long gone.

I don't remember this box.


Athough it's pretty cool.


But I remember these puppies.


They were Grandma Anna's and I played with them hundreds of times.  She was a seamstress.  Well, for her family and friends.  Her father was a taylor during the depression and I think my Great Grandmother took in side work and laundry.  My Grandmother just did what all woman of that time did; sewed for their family.

And not just to mend things.  My Grandmother could sew anything. And I mean coats.  Whole mens suits.  Gowns.  Now that I think of it, I believe she crocheted, too.

Grandma sewed for me  a long, long time ago.  People of her generation didn't sew because they wanted to; they did it out of necessity.  I think she loved the art of it but really, I don't know.  Making your family's clothes was just the thing to do; women didn't have a choice to sew or not to sew if they weren't wealthy.  

I never thought about whether Grandma Anna enjoyed sewing; going to pick out fabric and  buttons (sometimes she made them).  I don't know if having meticulously matched thread was important to her although it must have been because her thread matched like it was custom dyed.

She never knew I noticed her thread matched her garments, I wish I'd told her.  Knowing someone noticed would have been important to her.


Me, a lotta years ago

Last day to enter the Libman Broom Giveaway!

Retro Tuesday Friends!

Go visit Ms. V ( The Princess of Pyrex) at Vonlipi's Favorites!
Tara over at Scarborough Seashells
Colorado Lady


Mom, you're a cheese ball

A few weeks ago Mom Central asked if I wanted something from Hickory Farms and yes. Yes, I did.  See here's something about me you probably don't know although after blogging all this time  it's hard to imagine there's anything you don't know but here goes.


I love getting wrapped up food as a gift.  I don't know what it is but if I open something and see  little wrapped up salamis, mini boxes of crackers - cheese -  maybe those baby jelly jars - scattered candies.  I dunno.   I about clap my hands and scream like an eight year old girl with shiny new shoes.

Not that I don't like shiny new shoes, but that's a whole other post.

So when I got this in the mail I was all, Who wants summer sausage? And pretty much my family just stared, What the heck are you talking about? And right after I  got them all jazzed I decided to save my Party Planner Box for Thanksgiving.

 Ma. Why did you get us all excited and I just shrugged, it being mine and all, Well I'm sorry but that cheese ball is perfect for a party tray.  

And everyone mumbled something about me being the cheese ball, but you know what?


It was perfect!

I have been a Hickory Farms customer for years but this party platter thing never occurred to me.  I've spent more money making my own deli platters then this costs.  Have you seen the price of cheese lately?  

As a fabulous aside by buying a Party Planner Box you'll be joining Share Our Strength®, the leading non-profit organization working to end childhood hunger in America. This holiday, Hickory Farms will donate $5 to their No Kid Hungry Campaign for every Party Planner you order.

So it's a nice thing to do besides the joy you'll get opening a box of Nom! Although maybe the food gift thing is just me and for you it's in the eating and if it is, Nom! there too.  

And hearing my family refer to me as a cheese ball, well it doesn't get much better then that!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Hickory Farms and received a  gift box from Hickory Farms to thank me for taking the time to participate.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Popchips coming someones way, PointsPlus, Sinks, Oh! NO is that a tooth and Atomic Ranch....

1.  Winner of the Popchips Poppingly good giveaway is Babes Rockin Mami and I think I'll do an entry a day more often because that last entry was the charm Ms. Mami!

Email me you address (that new one, honey) so I can forward it to Pop Chips)

2.  The big news in flab today is Weight Watchers unveiled their new Points Plus program yesterday at meetings.  If you wanted to see it online you had to wait until today but as you can see:


There's not so much happening.

Speculation on the Weight Watcher boards yesterday was that at 12:01 in the A em the site would magically switch over with a bit of panache  and a little abracadabra, I suppose, but the reality is much more well, real. So at 5 it's still down.

I'm glad for the change.  I've been having trouble with my progress in fact - I've gained some weight back and I need a change like this to restart - to look over the program as if it were new again.  Technically, it is new.

I've seen the new written material and it looks good and I found my way to the mirror 'new' site yesterday just to look around.  It wasn't all functional but it looked good.

And they have made some real positive changes regarding fruits and veggies, as in - Go ahead.  No one ever got fat from bananas.

3. And in other random news,  I still feel bad that my aunt broke her bridge on my sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. 

4.  Things are looking up for a new sink by the way!  And who knew?  My family does read my blog!

5.  Some people emailed me and said they were having trouble finding Atomic Ranch magazine.


I'm not surprised; I only found it in the last few months and I'm in the NY metropolitan area  I decided to get a subscription yesterday since I want it so bad.  And I just want to support the magazine and atomic homes and okay, I just want to drool over it.  You can get a subscription though their website but I had an Amazon credit so I got mine there.


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