Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To Anyone Who has ever LOVED a BOOK...

Book Lovers DREAM Come True!

I love books and I read and read and read when I can force the time in for it. I have loved reading since childhood when my mother chose books and booksets for every gift giving occasion. Many times, I didn’t catch the gold in what she was doing and I wondered what her hang up with books was. Now I know. Now, my hang up with books is even greater than hers.

Over the years, much of the spare money, extra, gift money, gift cards and on it goes would greedily go for books. Bookstores, Christian gifts shops, thrift stores, antique malls, used book stores, yardsales and online shopping led me to more and more books.

Yes, you can have too many. I’ve tried extremely hard to be diligent over the years and have given boxes and boxes and boxes reluctantly away.

I tried one of the book programs supposedly just like Netflix is with movies but I was very much NOT impressed with the price involved.

Somehow, through a blog or something? I landed on the AWESOME SITE I’m sharing about now and it is amazingly FREE to join and participate in! IF you ship books out, you pay small shipping fees but you can “order” books yourself and pay none!

You send books out and get credits for them and you can get books sent to you in a matter of days. I have waited to share more on this until I saw if I liked it and the deal is : I LOVE IT!

IF YOU SIGN UP, PLEASE use me as a referral! My email name is --- I’ve been sharing and sharing with people around me about this and didn’t know YOU get CREDITS for sharing with others! Very fun thing and there are so many cool features.

Just a few:
· Message boards. You can ask questions, read feedbacks, chat or whatever with other members all over.
· You get assigned someone to help you through as a new member and I’ve been helped instantly with my questions from the start. Amazing to get all this for free.
· You can add a facebook app and share the news that way and there are all kinds of website banners, email signatures, and more. I am freaking out over all of these.
· Everything is kept up for y ou. What books you send/sent, what books you receive. I recently found out you can email the person you are sending the book to and email the one sending you a book.
· The process is SO EASY! I am the world’s WORSE mail things out person. I really don’t know if anyone on this planet could come close to my wretched record. Things are changing… this place lets you PRINT the label straight from the website and you can wrap the book in it or slip it in a bubble envelope and tape the label there.

· There are several mailing options AND instruction sheets for wrapping paperbacks, hardcovers and more.

I cannot say enough about this wonderful deal. I do hope more and more will join the thousands of members already participating because the more of us there … the wider our book inventory and resources will be! My sister (THANK YOU, SISTA!) gave me a stack of books to start me off sending and three were asked for immediately. I now can browse for homemaking, cookbooks, Christian, fiction, drama, classics, biographies, college books, kids books, and just about any other book you can think of!

Please check it out if you get a few minutes!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

[I love the picture here. Found it at or]

Today hasn’t been as productive. My glasses got broken and I was huddled around this computer screen making sure I could still read. I have an appointment on Monday to have my eyes checked and will PRAY to find affordable and wonderful glasses all in one piece.

I did get a problematic cupboard brought back to order. It is big and is on top of a small double wall oven. Once you open the doors, it has one shelf in the back and I keep our tea pitcher, glass storage containers, white Corningware (we’ve had it 15 or 20 years) set , a Spirulina (to make ribbons or zoodles out of vegetables) and Lauren’s lunch supplies. It was a big mess!

I didn’t get it cleared out, wiped down and buffed dry as I planned but I did neatly stack everything and it looks much better now.

I also wiped down the top and front of the stove …again… did several loads of laundry, wipe down the counters and work table, swept, and did all the dishes.
Another big thing on my to do list has been business paperwork and I spent a great deal of time on that today. Love having a handle on that because it can be out of hand so quickly! I really can’t wait until we save up for Quick Books software one day!

Yesterday, a lot of house work got done. The cookie sheet area was cleared, wiped down and everything put neatly back in. The counters, worktable, dishes, some of the appliances and some other things were done by Lauren and I.

Braxton put the blankets on the couch, picked up all the toys in the living room, picked up all the trash, swept the floor and vacuumed.

Lauren cleaned the bathroom.

It was so relaxing to watch a wonderful movie I just might buy:
The Christmas Cottage… I’ve told someone about it and wrote about twice now. I made a big cup of Earl Grey tea, stirred in a dripping spoon of local honey and swirled half-n-half in that.

Just keeping up with homemaking on here until I have more time to write more cozily . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kitchen Help

This picture shows things in mid progress. I have to finish hanging a few things (two rolling pins go above the pots and pans and some more things on the hooks) but I wanted to show how there are no grease stains!
I am not advanced in photography (I know, gasp for air and great shock) and I chose between this one and the version with a flash. It was TOO bright.

I have been working on my kitchen for days. Some I have spent HOURS scrubbing, organizing, stacking, de-cluttering and wiping clean. Others, I have forced myself through the daily basics and added a very relaxed couple of hours of work just to keep me going until I get it all done. And to think I used to do my entire HOME in one hour .

Anyway, today's kitchen work was trying to clean the grease and find the original paint, silver, and appliances. Ha Ha.

Seriously, I rarely fry ANYthing but I do cook a LOT and I guess the grease accumulates in some places worse than others.

I have used a dish cloth swished in hot, soapy water and wrung out. Couldn't even tell a difference. I tried a cleaner here and there and just coughed over the "fumes". tried wiping down with almost boiling water and barely could tell I even tried.

Today, I got the dishes done after lunch and the laundry has been done since this morning and decided to finish as much of the stainless steel cleaning as I could. I cleaned and polished the two stainless steel shelves on the wall and the ss work table using a stray (and old) can of Stainless Steel cleaner I got whenever ago from Sam's. I wish I had bought a case because my stainless steel hasn't been so gleamy since it was new!

It all looked so good that I started moving around the kitchen and tackling walls and more affected by at least one layer of grease. It wasn't so noticeable until I started getting an area clean and it was WHITE compared to NOT WHITE. Smiles.

I could NOT get an area clean above my stove top where a previous pressure cooker spewed out a gasket and shot a powerful and greasy mess to stay for too long. When it happened, I immediately set to work grabbing all the skillets and took turns with a little girl spending time in our home trying to remedy to damage. We never could get the worst parts/places.

That has ALL changed!

I asked my husband to try cleaning an area to see if maybe I just wasn't using enough muscle in tackling this bad looking problem. He scrubbed a bit using a damp cloth, used one of my own cleaners, tried a strong solution of Simple Green and then jumped down saying he knew exactly what to use. He came back from the bathroom carrying a can of Scrubbing Bubbles.

"Those are specifically for the bathroom and I don't think they will work on something that hard to clean." This is what I told my husband so he wouldn't waste his time on something that so obviously wouldn't work.

He sprayed a small area. He wiped it and told me to look where the grease HAD been! It wiped RIGHT OFF! He started spraying more and do you know that in a matter of MINUTES . the entire white beam was white again and so was the wall behind it!

When he stopped to finish what he had been doing before giving me a helping hand. I set about testing these bubbles. The only reason we even HAVE them is because one of my daughter's daily chores is cleaning the bathroom. Her list includes spraying down the sink and wiping it clean, spraying down the toilet handle and outside of toilet and cleaning the inside of it. Also, the floor, trash and so on.

Having a little brother makes this job detestable for her (I'll spare you the reasons why --- he has to clean up after himself but even when he does, we want a bit more assurance of sanitation) so when she begged for Scrubbing Bubbles (her favorite since she was little) . I gave in. On our last trip to Sam's, I bought her a three pack.

I make ALL of our cleaners so this kind of goes against what we are doing in order to save money, the earth and ourselves from dangerous chemicals. There are exceptions to that and this is one in our home!

My vent hood has been such a challenge to clean but I got it clean with one spray of the Scrubbing Bubbles foam and a quick wipe down! I did the same for the black side of our fridge and the top of it --- wiped as clean as new.

I am not recommending anyone try this though BECAUSE I don't know if it is actually safe on appliances, painted surfaces and even walls. I just had to share that it DID make a huge difference in my cleaning today! I got about half of the kitchen scrubbed and polished clean and will try to finish the few areas of wall I didn't get to today, cabinet fronts, and the other stainless steel cart tomorrow.

It is EXCITING to find something so instantly effective!

Do you have a favorite cleaner? An amazing discovery with something surprising you with how well it worked? Please share!

I've been trying to get my kitchen totally done so I can do some batch baking so MAYBE I'll get to that soon.


Friday, January 9, 2009

One Drawer at a Time...

One Drawer at a Time, Sweet Jesus

My mom spent many years humming, singing, or saying the words to the song… “One Day at a Time” … and she brought this up during a recent conversation.

When hard times pressed her down as a single, working mother of four daughters, I’d hear parts of that song.
One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking of You” and so on. When her Daddy was in a hospital bed the last hours of his life, he couldn’t sleep unless she held his hand. She was tired already because she was in nursing school full time and spending every other available moment with Grandaddy. She grew so tired at one point, she grew fearful that she wouldn’t be able to keep it up.
She thought to the Lord… “One moment at a time, sweet Jesus” and He gave her the strength to not let go.

My first year of homeschooling four children from 5 years up to high school years, I wore myself out in a matter of weeks. A mentor, friend, and our Pastor’s wife (all one lady) exhorted me to only focus on one day at a time. “We can handle one day” , she shared. It served me well.

Most of the time, there is a touching story to go with one whatever at a time but I’ve found myself thinking of it in simple homemaking!

It is easy reach a point where you don’t feel strong enough for the task. The dishes, laundry, muddy floors, spotty windows and what feel like decades of dust can seem to be bigger than one person. They usually are and for those of us with kids --- we shouldn’t be doing it alone in the first place.
Regardless, even though my kids have chore list, rooms to take on daily, dinner and after meal clean up duties and so on… a lot order ends up on me. Sometimes I do better than others… smiles.

Anyway, things need to be done for thousands of reasons and jobs can only be put off for so long. I am back to tackling an area or room a day until the whole house is shining again… or at least offering a gleam or glow.

Today it was my little writing room here along with some of the kitchen cabinets. I worked most of the day and into the evening and tackled it one drawer, one shelf, one area at a time. I covered a great deal more than I realized I would and hope to pick it back up tomorrow.

I removed everything from four shelving areas and gave the tops, sides and bottoms a good scrubbing. I then organized and changed some things around for better functioning. The sweet and sticky things (smaller containers of honey, molasses, corn syrup, agave nectar and so on) fit nicely in one of my less often used baking dishes. All spices are together, baking basics are gathered, and food storage items grouped together.

I managed six drawers, too! One wide drawer has held my dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, Mason jar lids and biscuit/cookie cutters. It has always been hard to keep orderly. Today, I found Christmas cookie tins that fit perfectly in my drawer in rows of three! I have six small "dividers" and a large tin along with two round. Blake even loved this idea:)

How are you doing on homekeeping? Are there duties you have put off and been too overwhelmed to tackle? Ask the Lord to get you through one piece of it at a time and see what a difference it makes!

I’m going after the addictively vintage saying of everything having a place and everything being in its place. This is one of my New Year’s goals --- to find a place for every single thing or send it to another loving home.

Book recommendation: 15-Minute Home and Family Organizer by Emilie Barnes. This was one of the first homemaking books I read from start to finish and I still love it.

One Day At A Time

I'm only human--
I'm just a woman.
Help me believe in what I believe
and all that I am.
Show me the stairway
that I have to climb,
Lord, for my sake,
teach me to take,
One day At A time.

One Day at a time, sweet Jesus,
that's all I'm asking of you.
Teach me today, to do all the things
that I have to do.
Yesterdays gone, Sweet Jesus,
and tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord, for my sake,
teach me to take,
One day At A time.

Do you remember,
when you walked among men?
Well, Jesus you know, if you're looking below,
It's worse now than then.
There's cheating and stealing--
violence and crime.
So for my sake -
teach me to take
One day At A time.
Marijohn Wilkins and Kris Kristofferson