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Posts Tagged ‘household stuff’

Busy week

Not much time for blogging this week.

We were gone most of the day yesterday, having meetings for Maeve Designs, (which is actually Maeve Bridal now). We met with a woman who will probably do some seamstress work for us. Pretty exciting. She currently works doing alterations for a bridal shop, but said she would much rather work for us and will quit her other job when we have enough work. It was great that she seemed as excited about it as we are.

I made cookies last night. Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Spicy Ginger Cookies. The ginger cookies are still in the freezer because I haven’t done dishes yet and therefore I don’t have room to bake them yet, but the chocolate chip turned out PERFECT. I sweetened both with maple syrup so I had to make minor changes to the recipes to make the dough the right consistency. I also have to add an extra egg to make them work at our altitude of 7000 feet. I’m starting to learn which ingredients to play with though. Now, to avoid eating 10 cookies today…

We have a couple more Christmas presents to buy and then we’re done. I bought Christmas cards, and then got bogged down in the process because I wanted to actually include a picture or a letter or something that meant something more than a plain, generically signed card. I have neither picture nor letter, so my cards are still sitting in a stack here, partially addressed. Oh well. At least I bought them at the dollar store. 🙂

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Good morning!

This post really spoke to me this morning, especially the end of it. (And by the way, the homeschooler in me LOVES this entire blog.) I do pursue excellence in my home, but I want it to give life to all who come in contact with me. My sincere hope is that my home can be a place of comfort, rest and encouragement to all who come here.

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8 Random Things About My Kitchen

I’ve been tagged by Flo. I have to confess, even though I talk about my home on this blog all the time, when I get tagged I get nervous trying to come up with anything interesting to share. Here goes…

1. We drink exclusively bottled water at home. We use those big polycarbonate bottles that you buy at the health food store (they don’t leach plastic into the water). We have not tested our well water, and in town the water has nasty stuff like chlorine and fluoride in it. We also add a calcium supplement to our water.

2. My computer is in my kitchen. Although it is a terrible distraction at times, it is also the best cookbook ever. You can find recipes for anything on the internet. One of my favorite sites is Cooks.com.

3. I have acquired quite the collection of gluten-free baking supplies since we figured out Hannah’s gluten intolerance. Flours: brown rice, white rice, sweet rice, tapioca, sorghum, potato, buckwheat (and I’d like some teff, coconut, almond and amaranth). Xanthan or guar gum is another weird thing used to hold together baked goods. All the different flours have different flavors and textures, suited to different kinds of baking. Really, this makes more sense to me than the all-purpose flour concept. Match the flour to the texture of product you want.

4. I have so little counter space that the only gadget I keep on the counter is the toaster. Well, the microwave too, I guess, although I’ve been dreaming up a way to move that too.

5. I always have a wall calender. This is one organizational thing I learned from my mom. We don’t plan a ton of things, but appointments and out of town guests and birthdays and playdates are kept in a place where Nick and I will both see them.

6. I use all-natural dish soap, dishwasher soap, hand soap and disinfectant. At this point I often buy them pre-made because I am lazy, but since our Dave Ramsey plan is cracking down on this part of our budget, I may start making them. Some of the dishwasher soap doesn’t work at all, but I like the Ecover tablets and Citridish. 7th Generation stuff leaves scrum on the silverware. Yuck.

7. The past two weeks I have tried meal planning again. I have done this on and off because I know it is a good way to save money on groceries, but it takes time. Anyway, it has been a complete success, and we have actually decreased our food budget by…more than I care to admit. I also like not having to think, “what are we having for dinner tonight?” I just look at my pre-thought-out-according-to-our-schedule list, and start getting things out.

8. Not in the kitchen, but kitchen related: we sit down at the table at almost all meals. At dinner, we require the girls to sit with us for a reasonable period of time, usually 10-20 minutes. I feel that it is important for them to know how to do this, we get time to interact as a family, and it’s better for their digestion anyway. We are very able to take our kids to restaurants because they have learned how to sit for a little while. Of course, we can’t stay for hours, but we can usually have a pleasant short experience.

So, there ya go. I tag Christina, Saraw, LizT, and Laura
How come so many of you guys don’t blog, or blog where people can’t read it? 🙂

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California Bans Phthalates in toys

For years, people very concerned about the chemicals in plastic have bought expensive wooden toys for their kids and used glass baby bottles. They were thought of as a bit excessive. However, now California has banned the use of a chemical widely used to soften plastic. Other states are also considering bans.

What do you guys think of this? Is it “the sky is falling” alarmist stuff? Would you stop buying plastic toys, in spite of everything, if they were proven harmful? Do you think companies will change the way they manufacture toys as a result? How far do you think we should go to protect our kids?

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Cleaners and Asthma

This article says they found 1 in 7 cases of adult asthma are effected by use of spray cleaners. If they affect adults that badly, what about kids? All the more reason to use homemade stuff. Vinegar, castile soap, essential oils, baking soda, and citrus and enzyme-based cleaners you can find at any natural foods stores clean just as well (if not better), and do not leave chemicals in your house. Try it, you’ll like it. 🙂

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To do this week

-Replace burnt out lights on both cars
-Get new mascara
-Hang up curtains in Living Room (half off at Target!)
-Go to the Happy Apple Farm. Pick apples. Have fun.
-Hang out with friend Tara A, coming to see Dr P, all the way from CA.
-Paint bathroom
-Buy bird food and put up feeder
-Teach piano
-Have mom’s group at my house
-Grocery shop
-Organize closet space in our bedroom
-Go to sister Holly’s house to check out the wedding dress she designed and is sewing.
-Other boring things: pay bills, return stuff we decided we don’t want, install carpet tack strip between hall and bathroom, put door closer thingy on back screen door, take DishNetwork equipment to UPS, find a Pooh costume for Hannah (they’re going to be Tigger and Pooh)…

Got my work cut out for me, ya think?

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Clutter

This is a subject that is currently close to my heart. I thought I would offer some of the tips I’m using. Maybe they can be useful to you as well!

1. I read a Feng Shui article in a magazine once. Feng Shui is HUGE on decluttering. It said something like, “Go around your house, touching everything in it. Ask yourself about each item, “Do I love this, does it make me smile? If the answer is no, throw it away.” After having a good laugh about the way they said it, I have applied that principle ever since. If something makes me feel sad when I look at it, or if it was given to me and I have no use for it, or if I bought it and no longer need it, I throw it away. I DO NOT throw away things that have meaningful sentimental value. I have to be careful about this, because I tend to throw away too much and then I’m sorry later. You may lean in the opposite direction – be aware of how much you need to/want to get rid of.

There is no reason, for example, for me to have 3 sets of measuring cups. 2 of them I think I bought at the dollar store when I got my own apartment in college. I have Tupperware ones I got as a wedding present. There. 5 more square inches of cabinet space.

Note: Useful things do not necessarily have to make you smile for you to keep them. I do not advocate throwing away your dishwasher, no matter your feelings toward it.

2. Put same-sized objects together. They fit better and take up less space.

3. Utilize containers – glass bowls, baskets, lazy susans, vases – anything can be used to group things together and keep them looking neat

4. Keep your focus – what is important? For me, I love books. I also love to have people over. Therefore, I am not likely to get rid of many books, except on paperbackswap. I also want to keep most of my duplicate dishes because they will allow me to entertain. I do not spend a ton of time baking, so some of my baking stuff can go. We only have two bedrooms and therefore don’t need 5 sets of extra sheets in the linen closet. At the very least they can go into storage in the garage for the day we have a guest room (or when the girls want to build forts with them in a couple years!).

5. Clothing – they say if you haven’t worn it in a year, you never will again. Take it to Goodwill. Your kids will be mad in 20 years when you say, “I used to have one of those” about something they would DIE to have. But really, do you have space to store it for 20 years? The kids clothes should be packed away in boxes for future siblings or sold or taken to Goodwill once they are too small. Allowing them to stay in the drawer just complicates getting them dressed (and keeping the dresser drawers closed!).

6. Toys – Are there pieces that end up all over the floor, never used for their intended purpose? Are there things your kids are bored with? Pack them away for a month and begin rotating the toys. Every month when you bring out the old stuff, put away different ones. Voila’! New toys every month.

7. If you don’t know where to start, set your timer for 15 minutes and do SOMETHING, anything! If you are still overwhelmed when you’re done, set the timer for 15 minutes and rest. Then set it again and work for another 15 minutes. Or, just keep going. If I can get into cleaning mode, I can change the world in the course of an hour. 🙂

Alright. Gotta go use some more of my own advice! Happy decluttering!

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