Monthly Archives: March 2013

Progress: day 3

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The new and improved entryway to our home.

A dear friend from my childhood came back into my life a couple years ago after being apart for nearly 25 years. That is the magic of Facebook. She and her family came back to town to visit for Christmas over a year ago¬†(Apparently Kansas is COLD that time of year! Florida… not so much. ūüôā ) and she had her husband make this sign for us. I love it, but hadn’t really found the perfect home for it yet… until yesterday. All along, I had kinda planned on putting it outside on the front of the house above the garage, but when I cleaned this spot right next to our front door, it seemed like the perfect place.

That shelf had all manner of stuff, and since I couldn’t really see the top of it I ignored it. OH the dust bunnies! Shopping cards for stores that have been out of business a while, an expired museum pass, a gift certificate for Bob Evans – our Bob’s closed probably 5 years ago. I’m not even sure where another one is, but I have $5 for it! There were tools, coupons… it was a mess. I put away the stuff I could, threw away the stuff I could, and cleaned the shelf.

There were a few things that I wanted to keep up there, like a little flashlight (with dead batteries by the way!), and some id cards we rarely need and I don’t want to store in my wallet. That is where the wooden bowl came in. My husband’s uncle makes these amazing bowls, and we literally have probably a dozen hanging around the house. They are beautiful little pieces of art. Some have lids, some are shiny, some dull, some lidless. All different sizes from a 2″ diameter goblet (I use it to hold pens on my desk) to a covered bowl 9″ across in Sean’s room that went from holding Desitin and hand sanitizer to holding lost socks and hand sanitizer during the years its spent in there.

As for other progress yesterday… there really wasn’t much. I went to the grocery store and got some big meat packages. I broke down 2 meals worth of stew beef, and cooked 2 meals worth of chicken thigh and breast mixture for pot pie. We ate one yesterday, the other went into the freezer, along with one package of Italian marinated chicken breast cubes, and two packages of plain,¬†whole breasts. We love pot pie, but I am forever forgetting that I have to cook the meat first, and that always delays eating! I still have 2 big packages of chicken leg quarters to divide up, and I’ll be set for chicken for a while.

I also made the beds, met a friend for a couple hours in the afternoon, finished making a friendship bracelet, and washed the mashed potato pot from the night before.

I had big plans to clean all of the flat surfaces in the house, but that didn’t really pan out because my lazy got in the way! Hopefully today will be better. NO trips to the store! NO meeting friends! NO television!! I also need to clean the master bathroom. I gotta make a list.

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Lunchtime progress: day 2

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I had very good intentions to get a bunch done, but I have had an attack of the lazys.
Before lunch, I had done exactly 1.5 loads of laundry and dealt with 1 phone call to the Unemployment people.
I made the decision then to get more of my list done this afternoon.
While my pasta water was heating up, I did the first 2 steps of the bathroom list. In the 12 minutes the pasta was cooking, I finished the list. Perfect timing… I was washing my hands when the timer dinged!!

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Lunchtime progress: day 1

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I’m sitting down to eat and I wanted to give an account of what has been done… And what hasn’t. I also want to show a quickie Dollar Tree project.

I am trying to decide if I want to hang on to a bunch of tasks for One Little Things, because I actually plan to do a bunch this week, or show them off as they get done. Kinda feels like that defeats the whole purpose though, don’t it?

My very good plan to start with regular weekly cleaning didn’t work out so hot. I swear I had very good intentions, but got sidetracked eleventy seven times, and here we are. Don’t judge!

My Done List:
* Cleaned and redecorated the coat rack/shelf by our front door
*Committed mass bugicide in our sideboard (as an aside, there was an albino roach – apparently they’ve started to evolve. It’s been over a year and everything I’ve tried has failed. Once I’m working again I’m hiring an exterminator!!)
* stripped the sheets and used the magic urine stain remover from Pinterest on the nasty sweat stains. Then FauxBreezed the mattress and pillows.
* cleaned the glass on the front window, front door and china cabinet
* vacuumed the dining room and made another attempt at getting the old kitty stains out of the carpet
* went to the grocery store and Dollar Tree
* while my frozen pizza was in the oven, did the gift wrap project
* while eating, made this post. Finished eating and kept typing. Whoopsie.

Now on to the gift wrap project.
I found 4 bags in 3 locations in 2 different rooms of the house filled with stuff to wrap presents. While I was at the Dollar Tree, I purchased a hanging suit bag, and decided it would be the new home of the wrapping stuff. Now I’ve seen this done all over Pinterest, but today it was my turn!

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Turned

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Into

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I had a couple bags I was saving but would never use – who uses a Vicky Secret bag to give non-Vicky Secret stuff? Nobody. So I repurposed that one into a holder of tape, ribbon, cards, and mini bags. I hung that on the hanger inside the bag. It’s perfect for that purpose. A few of the bags had to go, because they were beat to heck and back. Also, this is not my Christmas wrapping stuff – that lives in the attic in its own little wrapping paper timeshare.

I’m excited, so now I’m going to make a list of the other crap I want to finish today.

One Week Challenge

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This is my first week,¬†in almost a year, of unemployment. I have big plans for this week! It’s Spring Break, so¬†I have no school,¬†and the kiddos are in Day Care for their Spring Break (it was paid for well before I knew I wouldn’t be working)… so I have a house to myself for a whole week. I am going to attempt to get this place in some sembelence of order in that week, so I am going to do my very best to get as much deep cleaning as I can.

I think that my first step today is to do ALL of my normal weekly cleaning, so it’s done and I can concentrate on the NOT-normal cleaning that I need to do. I imagine that once the deep cleaning is done that the normal weekly cleaning will go so much smoother!

So, lets look at the goals for today.

1. Clean the Kitchen (counters, wipe appliances, sweep/mop the floor)

2. Clean the Bathrooms (Here’s my Orderly list to help!¬†Clean the Bathroom¬†)

3. Change all bedding (I’ll probably strip the beds and Fabreeze them first)

4. Tidy every room

5. Sweep/Mop/Vacuum every room

6. Shine glass & screens (computers, tvs, windows, glass doors, china cabinet)

7. Dust flat surfaces

8. Do some laundry

I plan to drop the boys off at 8 and¬†pick the boys up around 4. That gives me 8 hours to do all of the above and eat something. I think I can manage if I can stay away from the electronics!! As helpful as Pinterest is… it’s detrimental to my time-management skills!

Clean up the bathroom with this handy list!

Clean up the bathroom with this handy list!

One Little Thing… Time Change List

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Spring Forward!

Spring Forward!

Happy Spring Forward! Well, we lose an hour, so I’m not sure how happy it is, but it is a reminder to do a few things that are not Common Cleaning Occurances.

I have Eight things on my Time Change List, and I really try to spread them out over the course of the Time Change week so I am not running around crazy on a Sunday afternoon!

1. Clocks – Go around to all the clocks in the house and change the time. Don’t forget the ones in the car, too! Also check batteries, and dust it while you have it handy.

2. Change Smoke Detector Batteries – whether you need it or not! When you need it is not the best time to find out your Alarm batteries are dead!

3. Change Tooth brushes – Every 6 months, and the time change is a pretty good way to get that done. For the kids, Santa brings them one, so our other day is my oldest’s birthday¬†– June 19. However, I do ours now.

4. Deep Clean the Refrigerator – Take everything out, scrub the shelves, walls, doors, vents, coils, ice maker, dispenser tray (eewe), all of it. When you put stuff back, check the expiration date. You don’t really need Soy Sauce that expired 3 years ago because you might make that recipe everyone hated again. Toss it! Also, it’d be a great time to change your Frige Baking Soda.

5. Deep Clean the Oven – Apparently this includes pulling it out from the wall and cleaning behind and on the sides. I haven’t done this and I am terrified of the prospect!

6. Clean your Dryer Vents – I already did this one a few days ago, and it went splendidly. ( Read about it here)

7. Clean the Outside Windows – Spring and Fall are great times for many of us to clean the outside windows. It’s not too hot, not too cold (well, maybe my WI friends will have to wait!). It’s when I do this that I wish I had a front hose attachment that worked, instead of just a back one!

8. Get rid of your donate box – Or yardsale box. If it’s mild enough outside to clean your windows, it should be great yard sale weather!

The time change is a trigger for me to remember the few things that don’t get done very often. What do you do at the time change?

One Little Thing… Find local fun

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Ever had a day that made you reevaluate the way you do life?
For me, the most recent if these was Friday. I lost my job.

I am a full time Nursing Student, but I was working part time to supplement our income. I’ve been really overwhelmed recently, mostly because school is HARD! I have really been worrying that maybe I’ve made a mistake, and wouldn’t I be better off as a secretary somewhere?

I have been praying that God would light some sort of path for me, because I’m not doing so hot finding one on my own! Maybe this was the answer I was looking for. I had kinda hoped it would come in the form of a nice fat-paying county job, but okey dokey.

That being said, the Hub and I really need some stress relieving fun that didn’t cost any money. We are lucky to have some great natural beauty in our midst, so we took advantage. Our local Electric Company warms a hunk of Tampa Bay cooling its electricity-making doohickey, which really attracts the manatees when the water gets too cool. ( you can see it here-there’s a camera! http://www.tampaelectric.com/company/mvc/webcamwest/ ).

See what your community has to offer and take advantage of it!

We took the kiddos and went for a visit.

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One Little Thing… Make a plan

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I am a list person. I make lists for everything that needs to be remembered. If I don’t, my crap memory won’t let me get ANYTHING accomplished. I also tend to get sidetracked and very easily discouraged.
Because of said sidetrack-ed-ness, I sometimes don’t get the things on my list done, but do get completely unrelated other things done. Then I add them to my list, and feel somewhat better about my accomplishments!
That led me to create a sort of master list with all the stuff I need to get done in a specific timeframe. This kind of list helps me because even though I don’t need to, say, change the batteries in the smoke alarm every week, it helps to have it jotted down somewhere to remind me when it should be done (its coming this weekend… But that’ll be another post!).
I hope that others can use what I’ve done to help them stay on track. I could post this as a .docx if anyone wants to make some changes. Comment if ya want it!

Daily Weekly Monthly Time Change

One Little Thing… Clean your pots!

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I attempted to make braised ribs yesterday. I failed. I failed BIG!! My new (from Christmas) Wolfgang Puck skillet was horriblly caked with burnt on rib gunk. It was NASTY! Really nasty.

Even worse is that these pots are hard to clean on a good day.

I was able to use my wooden spoon to work up a lot of the gunk, and when that stopped working I got out the soap and scrubby sponge. Nothing at all came up with that. Nada.

SO… off to Pinterest I went. I found this post/pin: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-burnt-frying-pans-140547¬†and went to work Vinegar, water, baking soda. Got it! The magic that cleans (almost) all.

I put in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, and added some vinegar. I wasn’t going to wash a measuring cup, but it was maybe 3/4 – 1 cup. I put the stove on high and waited. I went back about 5 minutes later and noticed that even though it wasn’t boiling yet, little bubbles were coming through around the gunk, and not anyplace else. So I grabbed my wooden spoon…

and the gunk came up! Really! No baking soda required! Cool beans, I got to skip some steps. ūüôā

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After loosening up the gunk, I emptied the pan.

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Then I ran it under some water to wash out the vinegar; and there you go.

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I honestly think it’s cleaner than when I started the failed dinner. It’s pretty spanking clean.

Now… go look at your pots and pans and if you need to clean them up, do it. If you can’t – purge the ones that you won’t use.

If you have copper bottom pots, get some copper cleaning powder. My Grandmother has the same pots and pans she got when she and my Grandfather got married (a LONG time ago), and they are still bright and shiny because she does that every time she washes them. I was pretty amazed by that.

One little thing… Recipe binder

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binderbagRecipes

Holepunch a brown paper lunch bag for added storage in your binders.

In my household and recipe binders I have some hole-punched brown paper lunch bags to hold things that I’m not quite ready to file properly yet. This one is full of scraps of paper that I have jotted recipes on but haven’t tried yet. No sense putting forth actual effort if the family hates something (Calitots come to mind).

Today I am gathering up all of the loose bits of paper containing anything food-related and deciding if I am keeping it, tossing it, or wait-n-seeing it.

If I’m keeping it – I will write or type the recipe, or print it off from the source. Then holepunch it and file it in the appropriate place in my binder.

If I’m tossing it – then, um, I’ll toss it.

If I’m wait-n-seeing it – I’ll put in the Recipes to try bag and attempt to incorporate it into the menu planning. I try to add two new things each week – one main dish and one side dish or dessert. I don’t want to overwhelm the family, but I don’t want my Recipes To Try bag to be neglected either. There are so many wonderful recipes on the interweb and they will never become your favorite if you don’t make the effort to actually try them!!

Favorites that I’ve tried and loved:

Sandra Lee’s Salisbury Steak

Man Pleasing Chicken

Baked Tacos

Today, I’m trying this one: Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes ¬†(but 1/4 the recipe!). Fingers crossed!!