Posts Tagged ‘Advice’

The Ten Golden Rules for Houseplants

13 January, 2008

Everyone in my family has a green thumb, except me!  But with a little bit of help from this info I actually am getting better at it.  Hope you all find it as useful as I do.
 I don’t know where we got this info from but it is a keeper that is for sure.   1.     Don’t drown them! Roots need air as well as water; keeping the compost soaked at all times means certain death for most plants. Try to learn how to water your plants; watch them carefully to see how they respond.
Plants will fit four groups into concerning watering.
A)  Dry in winter plants. Desert cacti and succulents should be treated as Moist/Dry plants during the active growth season from spring to autumn. During the winter, the compost should be allowed to dry out almost completely.
B)  Moist/Dry plants. Most foliage houseplants belong to this group. The standard recommendation is to water thoroughly and frequently between spring and autumn, and to water sparingly in winter, letting the top 1/2-inch of compost dry out each time between watering. This drying out of the surface between watering is especially important during the resting period from late autumn to mid spring.
C)  Moist at all times plants. Most flowering plants are in this group. The compost is kept moist, but not wet, at all times. The standard recommendation is to water carefully each time the surface of the compost becomes dry, but never frequently enough to keep the compost permanently saturated.
D)  Wet at all times plants. Very few plants belong to this group. Water thoroughly and frequently enough to keep the compost wet, but not merely moist. Examples are Acorus, Azalea and Cyperuc. Always check the label on the plants that you buy to see what there own watering requirements are. 2.     Give them a rest. Beginners are often surprised to learn that nearly all plants need a rest in winter, which means less water, less feeding and less heat than in the active growing period. Nearly all-indoor plants need a dormant or resting period during the year, and this generally takes place in the winter. Some plant give unmistakable signs that they are at the end of there growing period and even absolute beginners can tell that the usual maintenance routine will have to change. The top growth of bulbous and tuberous plants such as (Hyacinth, Cyclamen, Gloxinia, etc.) dies down; the leaves of deciduous woody plants (Punica, Poinsettia, etc.) drop off. This is how you see the dormant period has arrived. But evergreen plant unfortunately give little to no signs as to when there period of rest is ended, but as mid winter approaches the duration of natural light is to short to support active growth. This is when they have there resting period and watering and feed should be reduced, the temperature should also be reduced otherwise the plant will suffer.
The appearance of fresh new growth in the spring is a sure sign that their resting period is over.
Always respect your plants needs for a resting period.
Accept the loss of temporary plants. Some popular gift plants, such as Cylamem, Chrysanthemum and Gloxinia will die down in a mater of weeks. You have done nothing wrong – these types are flowering pot plants that are only temporary residents in the house.
A lot of temporary plant life can continue either in the garden or by following a set resting pattern.
4.     Give them extra humidity. The atmosphere of a centrally heated room in winter is as dry as desert air. Learn how to increase the air humidity. Two simple method are, either to place a bowl of water on or very near the radiator so that it evaporates creating humidity or to fine spray the plants every day or so, but be careful not to over wet the plants. 5.     Treat trouble promptly. For experts or beginners trouble will strike at some time. One or two scale insects or mealy bugs are easily picked off; but an infestation may be incurable. Over watering, is not fatal at first, but kills when prolonged. Learn how to recognize the early signs of trouble. 6.    
Group them together. Nearly all plants look better and grow better when grouped together. Try out different arrangements of your plants and make note of which plants enhance the beauty of others, bearing in mind that in different rooms there will be different amounts of light and each plant may have different needs. Remember to take into account the needs of each plant especially if planting them together in a tub, make sure they are needs compatible, i.e. water, light and feed. 7.     Learn to repot. After a year or two, most plants will need to be repotted, signs are that they are simply too big for the current pot or they begin to look very sick and struggling to grow. If there is no other, reason for them to be unwell it very likely that they just need to be repotted. We will cover this as a topic in its own right a little later on. 8.     Choose wisely. The plant must be able to flourish in the home you provide for it. Even the expert cannot make a shade loving plant survive in a sunny window. 9.     Have the proper tools. Buy a watering can with a long, narrow spout and a mister for increasing humidity, reducing dust and controlling pests. You will need a reputable brand of compost and a collection of pots, plus stakes and plant ties or string. Drip trays to keep water off furniture, a bottle of liquid fertilizer and a safe pest killer will help keep the plants looking healthy. To compliment your tool kit, include a soft sponge, an old kitchen spoon or fork, a leaf gloss aerosol and a pair of small sized sectors. 10. Check the plant’s specific needs.  Always check the labels on the plants you buy.  Ask at the garden shop to see if that plant you want will go where you want it to go.  Buy a small reference book to help you learn about the plants you want.

Egg Substitues

13 January, 2008

We have a nephew that is allergic to eggs and the store bought egg substitues.  This is what his mother uses. 

For scrambling and making omelets


tofu (This works best with crumbled firm or extra firm tofu. It helps to add lots of seasonings like onions, mushrooms, nutritional yeast or cheese, and herbs.) 


For baking

 gelatin To replace each egg: Dissolve 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water, then add 2 tablespoons boiling water. Beat vigorously until frothy.)

cornstarch Substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe.


bananas Substitute 1/2 of a mashed ripe banana plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for each egg.


Meal Planning

11 January, 2008

What’s for Super? That’s an easy enough question if you are organized enough to have a meal ready to go or in the crock pot. If not, then one agonizes over the question. If you are like me, you hit the closest “Fast Food” joint on the way home. This is not only bad for our waist lines, it is also hard on the wallet.

What’s a mother to do? Meal Planning!

Things you will need to accomplish this task:

notebook paper



On page 1 of your paper write down every main meal you and your family likes.

example: Beef brisket, Beef Roast, Beef Stew, Beef Stroganoff, Enchiladas, Chicken & Noodles, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Salad, Chili, Corned Beef Hash, Egg Salad, Fish, Fried Chicken, Ham and Beans, Ham Steaks, Lasagna, etc…

Page 2 Vegetables: This can include your green salads, and cold salads.

example: Asparagus, Baked Beans, Broccoli, Broccoli Casserole, Cheesey Potatoes, Green Beans, Green Salad, Macaroii Salad , etc…

Page 3 Desserts.

example: Cake, Pie, Jello, Pudding, Cookies, Fruit cup, etc…

Page 4 Breads & Rolls

example: Hard Rolls, Loaf Bread, Soda Bread, Potato Bread, Corn Bread, Garlic/Texas Toast, etc…


Now comes the fun part! On a sepratete sheet of paper start mixing and matching your main meals, to your vegetables, deserts & breads. Remeberber not all meals need to have a dessert!

Now that we have our lists of foods our families love, here comes the work! Grab your favorite beverage, and the following:

Your Family Food List

Your family Calender


Blank Calender Page

There are some folks that plan their meals around grocery flyers and what is on sale. In all honesty that just isn’t my thing. I plan around our schedules and the time of year. Yes, I still look at what is on sale, and use my cupons but having a well stocked freezer and pantry is my key to meal planning.

Step One:


Looking at your family Calender what is going on this month? I know that every 2nd and 4th Wed. there is a meeting for DH and me, so I will need a quick meal on those days. I grab my blank calender and up in the corner of the box for those Weds. I put q.m. (quick meal). Now look at the rest of the month. Any other q.m.’s needed? Are you going to be later than usual and need a crock pot nite? Initial those places on your blank calender as well.  Now this is up to you, but I do a whole months worth of meal planning at a time. If you want to do 1 or 2 weeks thats fine nothing is set in stone.



Grab your food list and start filling in the blanks on your calender. 

The Well Stocked Pantry

11 January, 2008
Ever wonder what a well stocked, organized  pantry should contain? Well, here is my list. Add or subtract from it to suit your family.
Aluminum foil, waxed paper, plastic wrap, freezer bags, sandwich bags and snack bags.
Bakers chocolate
Baking soda and powder
Bouillon cubes or granules
Bread crumbs, plain and Itallian
Brownie, Cake, Cookie and Muffin Mixes
Canned and dried beans
Canned fruit
Canned pie fillings
Canned soups and dried soup mixes
Canned vegetables
Chocolate Chips
Corn syrup, corn meal, and Cornstarch
Crackers, saltine, ritz, and party 
Crushed, diced, whole and seasoned tomatoes
Evaporated, powdered and sweetend condised milk
Gelatin and pudding mixes
Jam & jelly
Ketchup, mustard and mayo
Non stick cooking sparay
Nuts: walnuts, pecans, almonds
Olives black and green
Pancake mix
Paper towels and napkins
Pasta: fettucini, linguine, lasagna, macaroni, penne, rotelle, rigatoni, & spaghetti
Peanut butter
Pickles: sweet, dill, & bread and butter
Relish: hot dog and sweet
Prepared pie shells
Ready-made pasta sauces
Salad dressing
Seasoning mixes
Soy sauce
spices and extracts (including salt and pepper)
Sugar: granulated, brown, and confectioners
Syrup: Chocolate, Carmel, maple
Tomato sauce and paste
Vegetable oil and shortening

Substitution Chart

11 January, 2008

When you need

Baking Powder

1 teaspoon


1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Buttermilk 1 cup 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar + enough milk to measure 1 cup
Cake Flour 1 cup 2 tablespoons cornstarch + enough all-purpose flour to equal 1 cup
Cornstarch 1 tablespoon 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cracker Crumbs 3/4 cup 1 cup bread crumbs
Dark corn syrup 1 cup 3/4 cup light corn syrup + 1/4 cup molasses or 1 cup light corn syrup
Garlic 1 clove, minced 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Garlic salt 1 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder + 7/8 teaspoon salt
Half-and-half cream 1 cup 1 tablespoon melted butter + enough whole milk to equal 1 cup
Honey 1/2 cup 2/3 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons liquid
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar
Lemon peel 1 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Light corn syrup 1 cup 1 cup sugar + 1 cup liquid
Molasses 1/2 cup 1/2 cup honey
Onion 1 small, chopped 1 teaspoon onion powder or 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
Prepared Mustard 1 tablespoon 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard + 2 teaspoons vinegar
Semisweet chocolate 1 square (1 ounce) 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips or 1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate + 1 tablespoon sugar
Sour cream 1 cup 1 cup plain yogurt
Sugar 1 cup 1 cup packed brown sugar or 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Tapioca 2 teaspoons 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Tomato juice 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce + 1/2 cup water
Tomato sauce 2 cups 3/4 cup tomato paste + 1 cup water
Unsweet chocolate 1 square (1 ounce) 3 tablespoons cocoa + 1 tablespoon shortening or oil
Whole Milk 1 cup 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water