Friday, September 30, 2011

Cleaning Chart

Before kids, and when I worked full time, Saturday mornings were a time of laundry and frenzied cleaning. I spent several hours racing around trying to get everything back in shape. Now, I do cleaning in short bursts when I have time, or at least before company comes over.

I just read an article that affirmed my experience, saying it's more productive and less stressful to break things down into small jobs throughout the week. I never really timed these projects until I planned to write this post, but it is true that you can do a lot in 20 minutes.

When breaking up the tasks, I worry that I'll miss something.One of my friends told me she has a set day for dusting, another for vacuuming, etc. I'm not sure I can hold myself to such a high standard.

Because I believe that good organization means developing a system that actually works (not just sounds or looks good in a magazine), I came up with this cleaning chart to help me personally cover the basics. I'm sure it will require some adaptation after a few weeks.

As an example, I only scheduled myself to vacuum upstairs every other week. Maybe you think that's gross, but let me say that it's better that I do it every other week than procrastinate and have it go far longer in between.  Yes, even though I like to clean, some jobs just require more effort to start.

I'd love to hear how you make your chores fit into your schedule. Until then, happy cleaning!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Too Soon for Colds!

Oh bother. My son has a runny nose and I am starting with a sore throat tonight. Just in time for me to do a lot of public speaking this weekend.

Before pregnancy and nursing, I would have poured myself a glass of red wine to try and head off the impending cold. However, an online friend introduced me to an even more potent remedy that's safe anytime. It's just not for everyone, though I've tried it several times and stand by it's success.

Here's the recipe:
  • One cup of hot black tea, brewed (I suggest nothing too flavorful)
  • Honey, to taste
  • Lemon juice
  • And the secret ingredient--as much cayenne (red) pepper as you can stand
Some of the pepper will probably float to the surface, but do your best to mix it in. I am probably using about a half teaspoon tonight, because I got a bit heavy handed with pouring. This is definitely a sipping tea!

I also really like that this requires no extra ingredients to keep on hand. I don't have to think about running to the drug store when I feel less than my best.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Look What I Found!

Here's a nifty tip that you might not have known about...but someone at the factory has been thinking!

Did you know there's a cool little panel on each side that you can press in to keep your foil roll from always popping out of the box?

There's also a pair of tabs on the front that (at least in theory) hold the box top down.

I checked, and this is true for the foil, the cling wrap, wax paper, and parchment paper that I have. Maybe I really can store these in a stack inside my cabinet, without it constantly falling over!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pregnant, Barefoot and in the Kitchen

This description may not always be the most flattering, but this is exactly how I found myself today. I spent the entire day making soup to freeze for quick and easy meals after the baby is born. Call it nesting or call it crazy, I now have 29 quarts (more than seven gallons!) of soup put away.

This was the first time that I spent the better part of a day in the kitchen cooking (aside from making applesauce). It also took a few hours of planning and shopping before the cooking. I pulled out the recipes and made my list, then checked it twice. Here's a picture of my canned goods stacked alongside their recipes, just to be sure I had enough beans, tomatoes, etc.

Since I had five types of soup to make, I borrowed a pot from my neighbor (thanks, Jen!) in addition to my dutch oven and stockpot so that I could keep the process going. I was able to chop vegetables, clean up, or package a cooled batch while the current pot was simmering. Of course, the kitchen didn't always look so organized...

It must have smelled pretty good wafting out into the backyard. Look who showed up!

Here is what my soup looked like as it finished freezing solid. The goal is to have nice, firm rectangles that can stand up on their own in the freezer. I debated on what might be the most eco-friendly storage solution and determined that reusable containers are great, but also take up more space in the freezer. And of course, I can't afford to buy all glass containers. So, I feel pretty justified in using less freezer capacity/energy even though the bags will only be reused once or twice at best.

I guess you can imagine one of my next projects is organizing the freezers to make room for applesauce!

Here's what I made:

A very special thanks to Nana for watching my boy while I worked. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Found Money

This is my second full week working as a Domestic Engineer (stay-at-home-mom) and I'm enjoying it quite a bit more than I might have anticipated. As one of my friends has commented, it does tend to make you a bit more OCD about the house!

As you might imagine, I like making lists. I've developed a full-page list of things that I'd like to do before baby #2 arrives November 4. This includes making meals ahead and freezing them, deep cleaning most of the rooms in the house, and prepping the nursery. I hope I can get it all done, considering the number of naps I seem to need right now.

Since we are operating on one income, there's a renewed frugality in me. I'm finding myself interested in evaluating the house to find items I don't use much and can sell. I have a few items up on eBay and was thrilled to find a new consignment shop with adult clothing just opened up a few miles from my house. I'm already planning to rent a table at a Mother's Mart when we're ready to pass on some of the larger baby items.

Flipping through the channels last night, I found a show with people trying to do the same exact thing, only the items are much bigger ticket. It's called Buried Treasure and it's sort of like door-to-door Antiques Roadshow. Very cool, though I kidded my husband that I don't keep anything around long enough to let it become an antique!

Have you found a particularly effective way to recoup some value from items that you are no longer using? I'd love to hear it!