11 Fascinating Facts About Me: Liebster Award 2.0

Liebster-Award

I participated in the Liebster Award back in September, but I thought it would be fun to do it again because the questions are different, and I was just so honored that Kristin nominated me. It’s typically given to newer blogs/bloggers, and while I’m more like a fifth year senior rather than a fresh new blogger, I decided to participate anyway!

How did you decide on the name of your blog? The name, The Daily Whisk is two-part. It’s about navigating my busy life and sharing tips and tricks to save time (especially in the kitchen) and save money. The money and frugality part was a topic area that came about later after I discovered Personal Finance blogs.

Where does your blogging inspiration come from? I get my best ideas while out running or taking a long solo drive.

What is it that you love most about blogging? Connecting with other bloggers!

What is your favorite food? Pizza. Always.

What is your favorite thing to drink (alcoholic or not)? Alcoholic: margarita Non-alcoholic: water or iced tea

What is an item you cannot live without? My keys? I don’t know – they get me in my house and car!

What are eleven random facts about yourself?

  1. I gave myself one hour to put this entire post together.
  2. I’m working on improving efficiency if you couldn’t tell.
  3. I ate an ENTIRE box of Mike and Ikes yesterday. The movie sized box…
  4. I’m not even that ashamed about it.
  5. I’m 33 and still do flips on our backyard trampoline.
  6. Although, after about three I’m toast!
  7. The other day I was jumping on the trampoline and somehow messed my ear up. It’s hard to explain, but it feels like I have water in my ear now.
  8. I think and dream ridiculously big.
  9. I’m also a little bit lazy.
  10. I like making lists of 10.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Same place, Vermont! Although probably on the lake.

If you could meet anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be? Tim Gunn. I think he’d appreciate my capsule-d wardrobe.

What is your favorite outdoor activity? Playing outside in our backyard.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I’m very happy with my life as it is now, but in the next five years. 1. My blog will grow bigger and better 2. I’ll find work that I love and 3. We’ll reach our emergency fund goal.

I’d like to nominate Crystal, Christina, and Chela to participate! 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEW NOMINEES OF THE LIEBSTER AWARD:

If you choose to accept the award, please do the following:

  • Write a post about the fact that you’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award.
  • In this post, link back to and show some love to the person who nominated you as well as nominate other new blogs that would not have more than 1000 followers.  Let these nominated bloggers know that you have nominated them and provide a link back to your page to ensure that they are familiar with the Award.
  • Display the Award in your post and in your side bar.
  • Answer the questions about yourself.
  • Put your post with your nominated blogs for the Liebster Award on social media. Spread the love!

Here are your questions:

  1. How did you decide on the name of your blog?
  2. Where does your blogging inspiration come from?
  3. What is it that you love most about blogging?
  4. What is your favorite food?
  5. What is your favorite thing to drink (alcoholic or not)?
  6. What is an item you cannot live without?
  7. What are eleven random facts about yourself?
  8. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
  9. If you could meet anyone from history, alive or dead, who would it be?
  10. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
  11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Thanks again, Kristin!!

Hand Me Down Bonanza

I’ve been the recipient of some awesome hand me downs lately. In addition I’ve been doing a little hand-me-downing of my own. And you know what? It’s awesome! Hand me downs are the best! Let us count the ways.

1) They are free. You can’t beat free!

2) Reusing items is environmentally friendly.

3) Giving and receiving feels good.

Here are a few of my recent hand-me-down gems.

  • Two big bags of clothes for Brynn, including a few serendipitous items I was about to go out and buy (pajamas & swimsuit).
  • Shoes for both kids
  • This table from my Nana by way of my mother, which successfully replaced a corner shelf stand that put me in a bad mood whenever I looked at it. Also, lilacs from our neighbor (hand me down flowers?)

table, lilacs

Vegetable and flower plants from my brother, the garden guru. One of those people who can successfully grow everything from seed.

plants

Your turn! Tell me about the last hand me down you received or share the last item you handed down.

 

 

8 Simple Ways to Transform Boxed Brownies

brownie

When it comes to brownies, I’m a boxed mix gal nine times out of 10. That’s right! There is no shame in brownies from a box. That’s because 1) It’s easier. 2) I don’t have a homemade recipe I like better (although they exist I’m sure!), and 3) I can usually find a brownie mix for a dollar or less. I mean, cheap AND convenient? Winner!

Most of the time a plain brownie is the perfect dessert, however every once and awhile I feel like adding a little something extra to make the treat even more special. So today, I’m sharing eight different ways to give your boxed brownies a boost using simple additions.

Nuts – Let’s get traditional! Now, I’m personally not a fan of nuts in brownies, but we can’t deny their nostalgic presence. Both of my grandmothers would put nuts in every single dessert they made. Seven year old me was always so disappointed. 33 year old me still gets disappointed.

Candy – Now we’re talking! Mixing candy into brownie batter can really transform a basic brownie. Plus, the options are endless. My favorite candy add-ins are rolos, snickers, twix, peanut butter cups, peppermint patties, jelly beans – kidding! I just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention.

Cookies – Like candy, cookies (crushed, pieces, whole) are a fun way to elevate brownies to a new level. Oreos are my favorite, but I think adding thin mints would be good, too.

Chips – No, not potato chips (although that’s an idea…). I mean chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips. You could even combine the different type of chips. Wild!

Caramel or Chocolate Sauce – Take a break from pouring chocolate syrup straight into your mouth and pour syrup over batter. Then, swirl with a knife before baking and enjoy.

Cream Cheese – Pour most of the brownie batter into the baking pan. Then, spread cream cheese over brownie batter. Finish by pouring remaining brownie batter and swirl with a knife.

Pretzels – Here’s a fun one! Pour half the brownie batter into the pan. Line pretzels on top of mix. Pour in remaining batter, and top with caramel sauce and a touch of sea salt. Hello, salted caramel brownies!

Fruit – Although this one isn’t for me, I know plenty of people who like the combination of chocolate and fruit. Simply add dried or fresh fruit to brownie batter before baking.

Reader survey – Brownies: box or homemade?

What is your favorite brownie addition?

Who Are Your Joneses?

Who are your Joneses

Last week a friend and I were having a conversation about “Keeping up with the Joneses”. You know, comparing yourself to others as the standard for your social group, and even living outside your means because you feel like you need to keep up.

The phrase originated to illustrate an one upping of sorts between neighbors, but sadly “keeping up” has extended past our neighborhoods and social circles. We’re now trying to keep up with siblings and other family members, coworkers, and even the parents we meet at the ice hockey rink at 5am on a Saturday (because you know, if your child even wants a shot at making the varsity team they need to start playing hockey when they are three, right?)

My Joneses

Even more depressing than the thought of going into an ice rink at 5am was the realization that I have Joneses! This surprised me because I typically pride myself on not feeling the pressure to keep up with anyone. We drive used cars, we take one (essentially free) vacation a year, and I consider Gap a high end brand (outlet of course!) But, the truth is that I have my own set of Joneses, and I suspect many of you do too. When I really got to thinking about who I perceive the need to keep up with, a bunch of examples came to mind.

Let me tell you how inferior I felt when I saw that Mom at preschool pick-up waltz by with a tray full of flower pots for teacher appreciation week. Let’s talk about the pressure to keep up when I read about how some PF Bloggers are able to max out their retirement or live on one income. And more than once I’ve compared my paltry wardrobe to that of my most stylish coworker friends.

Luckily, I don’t (always) act on my feelings of inferiority, but it’s easy to see how it can be an automatic response to such a negative feeling, right?!
Who are your Joneses? What have you done in the past to keep up with your social circle?

7 Solutions for a Small Kitchen

kitchen tips

Last week I told you about how I wanted to organize my kitchen top to bottom, and guess what? I did it! I thought it would take a lot longer than it did, but because I had bulldozed through about six months earlier, it didn’t take much time at all.

Part of the reason I’m so nuts about keeping our kitchen organized is because it is super small. Some would consider it a galley kitchen, but I think closet kitchen is a better description. Let’s just say if I’m unloading the dishwasher, and you want to get into the fridge, it ain’t happening!

Over the last few years I’ve discovered a few solutions that help with organizing a small kitchen, and I thought it would be fun to share those here.

1. The only items in your kitchen should be kitchen-related.

What I’m saying is that if you’re tight on kitchen space, maybe it’s not a good idea to keep board games or tools or your handbag collection in your kitchen. I realize these examples are strange, but I don’t keep non-kitchen related items in my kitchen, so I can’t think of any good examples. You know what I’m saying!

2. Only keep what you need in the kitchen.

This one builds off the last tip. Do you really need three sets of pyrex casserole dishes, eighteen mixing bowls, and two rolling pins in your kitchen? I actually own two rolling pins; I guess I need to take my own advice!

3. Add an island, microwave cart, etc. for extra counter space and storage.

At the far end of our kitchen is an open area for an eat-in kitchen. Rather than use it for such, we bought an inexpensive island that functions as storage and counter space.

microwave, kitchen island
4. Use wall space for additional storage.

Spice racks are an obvious one here, but I’ve also seen wire baskets fastened to the wall for extra storage. Genius!

5. Find an alternate space for rarely used items.

If you have a kitchen item you only use a few times a year and it’s taking up too much room in your kitchen, consider finding a new home for it. Maybe in a hallway closet or a storage tub in the basement. But, seriously, if you’re not using it that much do you really need it? Just saying :-)

6. To maximize your counter space, keep them clear!

7. Use a system that works for you!

There are hundreds of kitchen organization ideas, and some of them are ridiculously clever, but they aren’t worth employing if they don’t work for you personally. The key to keeping yourself organized is having a system that meets your needs and matches your personal organization style. For example, nesting things pretty much drives me insane! So, if I can find a storage solution that doesn’t include nesting I’m thrilled. Below is my solution for storing baking pans.

baking pans

 

What is one thing you would change about your kitchen? What are your best kitchen organization tips?

10 Home, Life, and Organization Projects I’m Tackling

Spring has arrived in Vermont, and with that has come the undeniable urge to clean, sort, and organize every single thing in my life. Nothing is safe!

However, I live in the real world and realize that I probably won’t get to all of these projects as soon as I’d like. But, a girl can dream, right?

These are the 10 projects at the top of my list, in no particular order. (Wow, I really like making lists of 10, don’t I?)

1. Organize the kid’s art supplies – Well, I guess this one is listed first because I’m in the middle of this project. I just need to label the boxes and we’re good to go!

paint

2. Put away all our cold weather gear. GOODBYE winter!

3. Sort through each kid’s clothing, and deal with the emotional turmoil that comes along with my kids getting older.

4. Reorganize and declutter kitchen cabinets – I do this about twice a year. I pull everything out of the kitchen and rearrange it with the goal of having a super efficient and streamlined kitchen. Then, Matt can’t find anything for a few weeks, so naturally he loves it when I take on this project.

5. Sell unused furniture on Craigslist – We have a few pieces we no longer use, and they are cramping my style!

6. Offload baby gear we no longer need – Also cramping my style.

7. Sort and purge toys – It’s an embarrassment of riches in our toy room.

8. Paint our dining room – So much for refraining from home improvement projects, right? But, painting is a pretty inexpensive home improvement project, and I predict getting rid of the green accent wall in our dining room will quench all my home project cravings for at least six months.

9. Clean our home office – It’s not good, people. It’s really just not good. I can’t even go in there right now!

10. Lose those last 5 lbs – Just had to throw this one in there! I’m about 5 lbs away from my pre-baby weight and the “baby” is two in June. My deadline for this project is her birthday in mid-June.

What type of home or personal projects do you have the urge to tackle right now?

 

10 Reasons to Love Carnations

carnation

I’ve always been a fan of carnations, but it wasn’t until recently that I developed a deeper appreciation for them. Carnations sometimes get a bad rap as cheap or tacky, but I completely disagree! I mean, is it tacky to be versatile, long lasting, and budget friendly?

In defense of the lovely carnation I came up with 10 reasons to love them. Oh, you’re welcome! 

10 Reasons to Love Carnations

  1. They are long lasting! Carnations can stay fresh and beautiful looking for weeks.
  2. Carnations are reasonably priced, especially compared to other flowers.
  3. Carnations come in a variety of colors and types. The most common types are large flower carnations, spray carnations (mini carnations), and dwarf flowered carnations.
  4. The different colors are said to have different meanings. White carnations mean pure love and good luck, dark red carnations mean deep love and affection, and purple carnations mean capriciousness (which I’m still trying to wrap my head around).
  5. The story goes that carnations first appeared when Jesus carried the Cross, and pink carnations sprang up from the ground where Mary’s tears fell as she cried. This is why it is believed that pink carnations means a mothers love.
  6. On the subject of mothers, the founder of Mother’s Day (Anna Jarvis) used carnations at the first Mother’s Day. This is why carnations have become symbolic of mother’s love and Mother’s Day.
  7. Carnations are the first anniversary flower, too.
  8. You can color your own carnations by soaking the stem in colored water. #science
  9. They are effortlessly simple and classic.
  10. Because now you know more than you ever thought you would about carnations, right?!

How do you feel about carnations? Love them or leave them? Do you consider them cheap and tacky? 

 

Back, Better, and Re-balanced

I’m back! I’m feeling better (thanks for the nice comments by the way), and I’m happy to report I’m now putting some much needed focus on re-balancing. My brief, albeit awful experience with the stomach bug pushed me to realize I’m spending too much time on things that I don’t enjoy, and not enough time on the things that bring me meaning and happiness. So, I’m changing it up.

 

Easter flower

Even my flowers are unbalanced!

I’m really excited to breathe some new life and energy into this blog! If there are any specific topics you’d like to hear more about, let me know!

Oh, Hai!

image

 

I’m here! I figured a few of you may be wondering. Some things have gotten in the way of posting lately, including a little run in with the stomach bug. Stomach bug – 4 – TDW family – 0.

Hope to chat/read/comment REAL soon.

Spring-fluenza and Chow on the Cheap #3: Lemon & Honey Water

Honey Lemon Water

If you’ve begun to wonder if I only post about food now, fear not! I’ve just been stricken with some sort of something. I’m unfocused, unmotivated, and lack general interest in just about anything! I’m calling it Spring-fluenza, and I’m giving it a week to clear up before I take additional measures. I described it to Matt as “I’m not unhappy, I’m just not sparkly about anything”.

In an effort to increase not just sparkly feelings, but also my overall health, Matt has been making me a drink of lemon and honey water every single morning. There has been some buzz about lemon honey water recently, and proponents affirm that drinking warm water with honey and lemon is said to aid digestive health, curb cravings, improve hydration, and boost your energy. Sounds good, right?

I’ve been on the lemon honey water regime for almost a month, and while I can’t say I’ve noticed a distinct effect, I have started to really enjoy my morning beverage. Stay tuned for further insights!

So, for this week’s Chow on the Cheap I’m sharing our recipe for lemon and honey water. It comes in at $0.50 per serving.

Lemon & Honey Water

Ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces warm water $0.00*
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon $0.25
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw honey $0.25 per tablespoon

A note about honey: I’m not an expert in all things honey, but it’s my understanding that all honey is not created equal. I’ve been advised that maximum benefits come from raw honey, therefore we use Nature Nate’s Raw and Unfiltered Honey. It’s available at our local Costco (score!)

*We do pay for our water consumption on a quarterly basis, but I really have no idea how to calculate the cost of 8-10 ounces of water.

Directions

  1. Pour water into mug.
  2. Stir in lemon juice and honey.
  3.  Wait until preferred temperature and enjoy!

Do you drink lemon and honey water? What about honey and lemon water? Anyone else have a case of Spring-fluenza?