Show and Tell @ Mike and Molly’s House | Dogs

Rumor has it there’s a new trend among the upper class folks in China.  It has to do with their dogs and transforming them into…well, you just have to see…

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Show and Tell @ Mike and Molly’s House | Vacations and Cabins

In New Mexico the kids get out of school really early- the week before Memorial day weekend.  Most years there is still a nip in the morning air.  Mike and I spent the last few days tightening down our family vacation plans along with the girls’ semi-complex schedules with their other parents.  Sharing the girls with two other sets of parents plus all the grandparents/step-grandparents can get complicated over the summer!  Our next thoughts led us to gardening projects, which we worked on all weekend.

The physical work seems to get us going.  The next thing I knew Mike was building a tool shed in the back and we were both dreaming of building a guest rental cabin on our property.  Inspiration is only ever a few clicks away on the computer. Coincidentally Mike came across this post on The Improvised Life last week that got our brain cells broiling…

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Homemade Skin Care Cleanser

There are a few reasons that I am a convert to making my own skin care cleansers and products:

  • I know what every ingredient is and can pronounce it.  (not that there is anything wrong with a chemical too complicated for me to pronounce, I’m just kind of controlling)
  • No animal testing was done. (Well…I might have slathered a few of my homemade recipes over the dogs but nothing on chicken, I swear!…oh actually…)
  • There’s no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
  • The packaging is reusable
  • They are inexpensive

Along with all the accurate information on skin care out there in magazines and the internet there are also a lot of myths.  Wading through the information is a formidable task.   When looking for a good skin cleanser I look at the big picture- how can I clean my pores from smoke, dust, toxins, sunscreen and the occasional dab of make up I may stick on my face.   But wait!  I also don’t want to over clean and create a war on my skin.

Here’s the guide I use:

“Ideally, an effective facial cleanse washes the daily amount of dirt, oxidized sebum, and dead skin cells off your face while leaving behind enough of the skin’s own oil (sebum) to naturally moisturize your skin.  If a cleanser, used alone or in a double-cleansing ritual, leaves your skin feeling dry, it is removing too much of this natural moisturizer.  If it leaves your skin feeling greasy and sticky, either it isn’removing enough oil or it contains heavy emollient and film-forming ingredients that clog pores.”

The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel

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‘The’ Chocolate Cupcake of Chocolate Cupcakes

I think one thing I make clear around here is that I am a lover of  baked goods.  My second love is chocolate.  That said, I don’t eat cake all that much. It’s a little to heavy for me so I hold eating cake to special occassions.  I’m a cake snob; I will pass over a cheap grocery store sheet cake at a graduation event.  I do this with ice cream too.

Mike: Not me, I can’t help it.  Even when I know it will be bad I’m still lining up for a piece of crappy cake.  It’s been happening a lot lately as we reach the end of the school year.

I love making cupcakes.  They are just a small piece of cake.  I can make a batch and toss them in the freezer (yes, icing and all) and have one when I get a hankering.  My all time favorite cupcake is this recipe I came across in America’s Test Kitchen years ago and have been tinkering with ever since.  The cake is moist and doesn’t crumble.  When you take a bite the frosting is light and fluffy then suddenly you discover a dense chocolaty surprise of a spot of ganache in the middle.  You don’t eat this cupcake, you experience it!

A chocola-tie experience!

A chocola-tie experience!

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Lame Marriage Proposals (yes plural)

This story was inspired after reading Lori Dyans post on getting engaged to her husband.  If you don’t read her already go check her out.  She is a LAUGH-A-RIOT!

I’ve been around the block once or twice or probably maybe a third or fourth time-but who’s really counting, and yes,  Mom and Dad you did not hear that from me.  I just finished up the 50 Shades of Grey series (stop laughing!!! I love good soft mommy-porn!) and ever since I started the first book I can’t stop thinking about my romantic life from the age of 19- 25 yrs old….When I think of it in one entire lump I realize what a mess it (I) was.  I was not the prettiest girl but I excelled at personality and I could (Mike: can) flirt like nobodies business.  It’s like a gift from the ‘not the prettiest’ goddess from above.  The end result was I had options…I went out with a string of men guys boys. » » »

Show and Tell @ Mike and Molly’s House | The Chicken & the Egg

I was reading my Backyard Poultry Magazine this week and stopped dead when I saw this picture:

Diagram for building a chicken egg cleaner

Diagram for building a chicken egg cleaner

To say this picture was the answers to all of my dreams would have been an understatement.  Why?  I have a lot of eggs to clean.  A LOT!!

Dang dirty eggs!!

Dang dirty eggs!!

Check the article out in it’s entirety here.  It’s about a contest where a group of kids from the ages of 9-14 yrs old have to solve a problem.  These kids took on the task of how to clean an egg properly.  They had to learn about the egg and the protective ‘bloom’ that is on it, egg contamination and how using harsh chemicals to clean the egg can get inside.  And you thought cleaning an egg was easy! HA! » » »

Middle Class Girl

Kids on Carolina

Even with our ups and downs Mike and I make enough money to consider us middle class.  I grew up middle class and identify with money from a middle class point of view even when I have been very poor or had a decent job with lots of cash.  For our first two amazing years together Mike and I lived what we liked to call the lifestyle of the leisure middle class. Mike had a thriving business that after years of slaving at he was able to be there on a part-time basis and still make enough money for all of us to live on. I was trying to think of what to do next since my design business had tanked. » » »

Show and Tell @ Mike and Molly’s House | Photo Enhancement

Molly:  We are pretty photo heavy over here at Mike and Molly’s House and one way we have found to quickly spruce up our photos is to skip over photoshop and use a friendly (and free) online photo enhancement service.  Up until a few weeks ago you could use Picassa or Picnik.  Both services went over to Google +.  Fine, whatever….

Mike:  The first day I used the new Google+ image toolbox I got turned off.  I didn’t love the Google + way of doing things.  It was very connected to making a photo and letting the world see it.  We don’t need  yet another way to be social with our stuff.   I did a little research and found that some of the engineers from Picnik had gone off to start their own online photo enhancement service called PicMonkey» » »

Mini-farm Update

Lilacs from our garden

Lilacs from our garden

This spring has been absolutely magnificent!  Typically spring in New Mexico has weeks upon weeks of winds that gust up to 60mph along with warm days and really cold nights that can get down below freezing.  This year I could count on one hand the totally windy days and the temperatures have not been all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde like.  Our 15 year old lilac bushes that are still only two feet high bloomed for the first time.  Our peach, apple and plum trees were able to bloom without a freeze or the winds taking the blossoms out.  We’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll be getting fruit this year.  It’s a great start.  Mike and I have gotten a jump on cleaning out our gardens and he’s been working to expand them like a crazy guy.  If you missed his post last week on the garden go check it out here. » » »

All My Stuff

Three years ago Mike and I were in a very different picture financially.  We were entrenched in debt (about $45,000 down from $70,000 at that point) and slowly paying it down….very…slowly.  Our income was probably more than double what it will be this year and so was our spending. I’m bringing this up because I realize many of you don’t know this about Mike and I.  You just came on board and we don’t talk about it anymore since it isn’t news.  It was a real pivotal point in our lives.  We took drastic moves in the summer of 2009 to change our path around spending.  It changed us.  It made us happier… and not the kind of happy like we are skipping-down-the-lane-happy but a deep contentment.  It didn’t just happen though.  The transition was bumpy. I was really pissy about it.  Today I thought it would be interesting to revisit that transitional time so I’m reposting something I wrote back in November 2009.  At this point we had cut back on our spending for about 3 months.

After five years of paying on $70,000 of debt we still had $35,000 left. Mike, my husband, had sold me on the idea of paying off the rest as fast as we possible could rather than as slow as the credit card companies would allow us. We began planning how to implement this goal. In the last four years we have not taken on any more debt (good thing) but we have only been making the minimum payments on what we owed (not so good). We were on the right track but we needed to learn to live within our means rather than buying stuff on credit and borrowing from our future selves. Presently we’re pissed at our past selves for putting us in the position we are in now. Covering the minimum payments on our credit cards is a large burden on our monthly budget. » » »