Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thankful Thursday



I'm thankful for a few days this week with my husband home and my dad around. It has been a good week.

I'm thankful for new beginnings, even if they're tied to old starts.

I'm thankful for public libraries and all the amazing things they're able to accomplish.

I'm thankful for a beautiful daughter that sings Easter hymns by heart.

I'm thankful for hard working teammates that get the job done with style.

I'm thankful that sometimes I can make wrong things right before they go too wrong to be turned back.

What are you thankful for?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

FYI

It's Holy Week, I'm giving myself permission to not be here for a week, maybe even two weeks. But I've also got a plan. When I come back, we're going to do a Veg Bad challenge! Dust off your veggie recipes, it's about to get awesome!


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thankful Thursday



I'm thankful for the gray rainy day that we seem to have in front of us.

I'm also thankful for a warm cozy house to look at the rain.

I'm thankful for leftovers.

I'm thankful for warm beverages and people to share them with.

I'm thankful that even when hugs are no longer wanted, kisses can still be given. (Yes, my tween has officially grown out of hugs for the time being. I'm hoping that's short lived.)

I'm thankful for libraries that have things like Wii video games that we can play as a family.

I'm thankful for snail mail and postal collection boxes that are on the way to where I'm going.

I'm thankful for y'all. I'm glad that I'm not just writing to myself.

I'm thankful for new spiritual practices. Last night, we did a meditation using a self-selected picture of a door as our starting point. Lots of great things bubbled up, but I think there are even more that can be discovered. Hanging out with God is always fun.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark



To be clear, I read the version released in 2007 in 2010. The latest copy was updated in 2013. Now that the dates are out of the way, let me tell you about living in a house that cleans itself for the past 7 years. Actually, two houses.

You can check my archives for some before and after pictures of when this whole thing started. Our house was obviously a mess most of the time. We lived in our home full time, meaning that it was never alone because we were homeschooling or relaxing and only one person was working full-time. You would think that would make it easier to keep a clean home, but it doesn't because you're making more meals, creating more art, and enjoying your space. There's stuff everywhere. It was bad when we first got started. It took well over a year and never even got to the yard which at that point was a courtyard that we never went into except to grill. But once it got to the place that it was cleaning itself, things pretty much stayed that way. We would clean once a week, pick up when needed and things were tidy. And we liked it! We liked not having our stuff everywhere in untidy piles. Go figure.

Some of the main things I remember from that period is that emotions and cleaning shouldn't mix. Cleaning is not an emotional event, it's just part of home maintenance. The other is that you shouldn't try to eliminate messes but find solutions for them where they happen. If clothes end up in an untidy pile in your bedroom, give them a butler's chair and hide it behind your dresser so it's not in sight when you enter the room. If shoes are everywhere when you come in the door, give them a box to land in. Use things that hide the mess and look nice instead.

The real benefit that I received from this book is that when we moved, we were able to pack the entire house in under a month. That's under a month from when we found out we were moving to the moment we left the keys. And it wasn't overly stressful. I did discover a couple of areas I should have been paying more attention to, but overall, I was pleased with the ability to get all my stuff packed away without crying and wondering if I was going to have to call my mom to come help me. Which  I have done before even though she lives over a thousand miles away because she's awesome like that.

Enter the second house that I've tried to set up the same system with. It had new messes and new problem areas and we're still working on it. My biggest downfall is that I don't get the donation pile out the door nearly as often and we seem to always have cardboard boxes piling up. Those things somehow live in the same area and it's right by my back door. I hate it and I always try to go in there and fix it, but it persists. Fortunately, the rest of the house has not been nearly as difficult.

So is this really a review of the book? No, it's a review of the system. It works for me. I like not having my stuff everywhere, even if that means that I ultimately had to have less stuff. The system does work if you want it to. Go grab a copy and see if it can work for you!


I was not compensated for this review in any way, just decided to share my thoughts on it because it's spring cleaning week over on my facebook page. Come check it out if you're interested in talking about cleaning! www.facebook.com/tinathestoryteller

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Strawberry Jam



Normally, when I make strawberry jam, there is no recipe. This is the close as you're going to get for a recipe from me. Here's the deal though, this stuff is delicious, like don't underestimate the power of a fresh strawberry cooked down with some sugar and a splash of lemon juice.

Step 1: Get some strawberries. Local if possible, if not then as close to local as you can get.

Step 2: Trim the tops and rinse. 

step 2a: Stop take pictures because pretty red berries.

Step 3: Throw berries in a large pot, and a dash of lemon juice, and some sugar. How much depends on how sweet your berries are. You can also do this with honey, though I wouldn't suggest it, because honey is precious and it's best drizzled over the top of fresh berries instead of used to cook with in this situation. 

Step 4: Turn the heat on Medium Low. Once it starts to form a liquid get out your masher and do some mashing, not too much, you want folks to find a whole strawberry and feel like a real winner. 
Step 5: Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until it gets thick enough. There are several ways that you can tell if it's thick enough. One is the freezer plate method. Another is a thermometer up to about 220 F. And the last is to eyeball it. This article right here, is the best one that I've ever found on the topic of done. http://foodinjars.com/2010/07/canning-101-how-to-ensure-that-your-jam-sets/

Step 6: I do not can my jam. I just don't make enough of it to make it worthwhile. So what I do is take a clean mason jar, fill it with warm jam, put on a new seal and a ring. Then I put them in the fridge. We pull them out as we need them. 





Monday, April 3, 2017

Simplify your bathroom cleaning

What if I told you that your bathroom could get squeaky clean without the use of harsh chemicals? Would you believe me? Check out the video to see how. Drop me a line if you want to get rid of the chemicals in your bathroom.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

You're invited!


Head on over to my Facebook page and join in the squeaky clean fun that we're having this week! I'll be sharing a new video here on the blog on Monday, but tons of other things going on over on Facebook, so don't miss out!