Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WFMW: Quick Stain Remover for Work

Kristen at We Are THAT Family is the new host of Works For Me Wednesday (WFMW)... Thanks, Kristen for hosting this great carnival!!! Hop on over to catch a gazillion tips.

My tip is simple. I've improved on a tip that Oprah shared many, MANY years ago. I don't watch Oprah any more, so if she's shared this already, than I'm none the wiser... but for the sake of argument... let's say I'm the brilliant one here, okay?

Actually, a friend at work shared this tip with me. I can't take ANY credit for being brilliant.

Anyway - at one time, Oprah toted the MIRACLE! of BABY WIPES! for CLEANING STAINS! off of your clothing.

I disagree -- respectfully, of course... because after all, there IS a reason why Oprah is a self-made billionaire, and I ... well, I AM NOT. But the reason I disagree with Oprah is simple: The very ingredient that she claimed removed the stains (Glycerin) actually leaves a stain on the garment. Did you know that? Yep. A little greasy spot. I guess it might actually be one of the many other ingredients in baby wipes -- because glycerin is toted as a stain remover... anyhow... I'm just going off of personal experience of dozens of little baby-wipe stains.

A friend of mine brought to my attention the power of a wipe that has actually worked very, VERY well for me: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

Yep. You heard me! Clorox Wipes.

They do NOT contain bleach, and they do NOT contain glycerin. They do not discolor or stain. I wear a lot of "dry clean only" items to work. I also spill a lot of stuff on my "dry clean only" items. You know what I do? I wipe it lightly with the Clorox Wipe (or sometimes vigorously), and let it dry. It actually evaporates within minutes. Done. Clean. No stain.

I know cleaning stains off clothing is not an "approved" use of Clorox Wipes, and I know I'm not an expert on chemicals or natural "stuff" -- but it really works.

It's what works for me!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How My Work Schedule Works

This afternoon, Tina asked me how my work schedule of 9-80's works...

I actually work (8) 9-hour days and (1) 8-hour day. Our mandatory schedule starts at 7:30 and ends at 5:15. I'm at work for 10 hours total when you include lunch time. On busy days, my eyes are incredibly tired when I get home, because I am in front of a computer all day long, and reading small printouts... but other than that, it has proven to be awesome for me.

That one extra day every other week allows me to get a multitude of things done. I also am a person who has to be in bed by 9 or I can't function. I need a good 9 hours of sleep, but on the Thursday before my Friday off, I can actually stay up late (if I can keep my eyes open) and work on stuff like catching up on folding clothes, sorting stuff, organizing, etc., because I can sleep in past 5:30 or 6:00 on Friday. It totally rocks, and if your company offers it, TAKE THEM UP ON IT! Try it out and see if you like it.

Although -- I do have to add one disclaimer. My husband takes and picks Hunter up from day care. He gets off from work at 2:30 every afternoon, so this schedule works for US. He is home in the afternoon playing with Hunter, and usually fixing dinner (and serving it when I get home).

On the other hand, I have a couple friends at work who live about 35-45 minutes down the road, and this schedule did NOT work for them because the daycares each of them use close at 6:00. They couldn't guarantee that they would get there each and every day before 6:00 -- so this wasn't an option they could use.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Long Time Coming...

Recently, my job changed schedules on me. I now work 9-80's, and I get to enjoy every other Friday off.

DUDE! This schedule SO ROCKS. I have had a huge, enormous list of things to do in my house, and little-by-little... I've been KNOCKING THEM OUT, and having two Friday's off each month has been so tremendously helpful! Working full time is NOT conducive to maintaining an organized home.

Oh, my ... but I have gotten SOOO much done over the past few months!

Here's what I've done so far (on both my free Fridays and weekends)... are you ready for this?

1) I organized my coat closet. SO GROSS. There was street grit in every corner of that floor. Not, my coats are hanging, games are on the shelf, and I have repurposed an under-used vinyl over the door shoe thingie to hold all my scarfs, hats, mittens and gloves. Beautiful!

2) I organized Hunter's coat zone. This is an area I set up for Hunter to the left of our front door, across from our coat closet (we do not have a Mud Room). He has two hooks that I hung (I just used those wonderful, blessed, removable 3M hooks -- love them) where he hangs his jackets. I placed a bin underneath the hooks for him to place his shoes in. Folks, this really works. He may not do it every single time he walks through that front door, but all I have to say is: "Honey, hang your coat on your hook and put your shoes in your bin." And guess what? He does it! Marvelous!

3) I organized my pantry. Oh, how necessary this was. It had gotten to the point where there was absolutely no rhyme or reason to how things were getting thrown in there, and it was simply driving me batty! I pulled everything out, tossed all things we will never eat because we hate it with a passion (not much there) or expired things (or things close to expiration that I would not be able to use -- like a half a box of powdered milk), and regrouped our stuff the way I like it. You'd be amazed at all the expired stuff (or close to) that might be lurking in your pantry... like 2 full trashbags in my case! So nice!

4) I organized my laundry closet. I took out anything that DIDN'T BELONG -- and trust me -- there was a LOT, and got rid of it (either repurposing, trashing, or putting in the right place). I placed an over the door ironing board hanger up and put my ironing board there, and cleaned the shelves and organized the soaps and softeners and dryer sheets, etc. Beauty, mate!

5) I organized my cabinet where I store all my glasses. All the old plastic crap came out. I made a section for Hunter's cups, organized the glasses, etc. Lovely!

6) I organized the family room. I took out like 3 bags full of toys for Goodwill, and surprisingly (not!), getting rid of all those toys really opened up the area. I'm getting ready to move a bookshelf around to make the room look more open. I'm also putting pictures in new frames and getting ready to hang them up on a blank wall this weekend. By the way... I got the picture frames at Joann's for 50% off!

7) I organized my den/craft room. It was nasty. Now it isn't. Enough said.

8) I swapped out my winter clothes with my spring/summer stuff.

9) I selected the colors for my kitchen and bought two small cans of paint to try it out. My husband wanted a tomato-orangish color. I wanted pear green. I won. I think we'll be test-painting this weekend.

10) I have started to de-clutter my kitchen with the anticipation of newly painted walls and new window treatments.

11) I organized my bedroom! I cleaned it! I threw away trash and old papers and magazines! Lots of it! I gave away lots of stuff to Goodwill! I made new window treatments! I made a new spread and pillows for my bed! Simple! Clean! Beautiful! Wonderful! It makes me want to end everything with an exclamation point! I used the new Christie Brinkley fabric collection which was 50% off at Joann Fabrics (and will be until May 2!). Some of the fabrics are organic, most of them are easy-care (washing machine safe), and can be found in the decorator fabric section.

I leave you with a picture of one side of my room ... (ignore the temporary plastic bin being used as a night table on my side of the bed -- it's ugly, but no money to replace it right now!)

I am ON A MISSION to organize my home... little by little, by little, by little. Don't mess with me!

My mom would be so proud.

Quick things I've always known (drilled into my head by my mom), but didn't really "get" until just now: 1) If everything has a place, it is easier to find -- but ONLY if you put it BACK in its place. 2) Less is better. 3) Decorate your home in a way YOU will LOVE, because it is an incentive to keep it clean and organized! 4) Once you clean and organize, keep it up -- even daily in some instances. 5) Refolding stuff to make it look nice and neat and removing clutter and knick knacks is free and makes your house look nicer!

In the next few weeks, I'll share some inexpensive decorating ideas I got from surfing around the internet.

For more tips, you simply MUST go to I'm An Organizing Junkie. She's awesome!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garden News

It's time for an update on the garden, and a picture or two.

I'm SOOOO excited about my garden this year. As you may recall, I've already commented on how BAD my garden did last year. This weekend, we were at a friend's house for an impromptu cookout, and I found out that EVERYONE'S tomatoes and peppers did poorley in our neighborhood, but HOT PEPPERS rocked.

Last year, my sweet father-in-law and my overly-enthusiastic son planted our veggie plants in our garden strip before we had a chance to correct the soil. I suspect some of the clay choked nutrients out of the tender plants and that may be why they failed. It was our first garden, and we learned quite a bit.

THIS year, my wonderful, awesome husband built me a raised garden bed. It is a vision of beauty. And over the last month, we've filled it with a nice soil mixed with leaf compost, added some soil corrector (peat moss and manure), and finally -- planted, planted, planted. Then, I covered the tender plants with beautiful mulch to protect them from the sun and retain moisture. This weekend, we'll be putting up bunny-corrective measures.

I was NOT going to invest so much money into a garden only to have it fail again! You can bet that I'm praying over that garden. In fact, with each plant I put in the ground, I said a little prayer over it, asking God to bless this plant and have it provide abundantly for our little family.

Hunter got into the act, too. He prayed over the whole garden: "Jesus bless garden. Provide food. Amen." How sweet is that?

So, here is what I planted in my cold weather garden so far: 7 loose leaf lettuce plants (we originally planted 8 but lost one to a rabbit); 6 head lettuce plants; 4 arugula plants; 6 broccoli plants; 1 Greek basil plant; 2 sweet basil plants; 2 flat leaf parsley plants; 1 dill plant; 1 rosemary plant. We will build one more raised bed to plant 'hot weather' veggies this weekend.

I have NO idea how much produce that will churn out, but it sounds like a lot!!! We threw in the herbs for good measure. Next year, I may add a third bed and plant even more lettuce.

Next, we'll plant hot peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer (heat-tolerant) lettuce. Then, in August, we'll clean out the cold-weather bed (except for the herbs) and we will plant more winter lettuce, mesclun mix, more lettuce, large-leaf sorrel (looks like spinach but has a sharp citrus flavor -- very yummy!), and brussels sprouts. Most if not all by seed. I hope to have sproutlings by early September (not sure), and harvest by mid to late September to October through the mild part of winter. How exciting!!!

The only disappointing thing... we did NOT ... AGAIN ... plant strawberries this year. And I am SOOO pouting about that. Can you tell? See? I'm pouting big time!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weird Stuff

Last week, I made a really weird purchase... and boy, do I have special plans for it, and I can't wait for it to arrive! These little goodies are vintage -- circa late 1800's to early 1900's. They are rusted. Pointy. Sharp. Beautiful. And odd. Very odd. Just the way I like it, baby!

And as a teaser ... just to rouse your curiosity... here is a picture of what I purchased -- you'll have to wait until my annual Homemade With Love to find out what I'm making with these babies!

Yee Haw!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I went... I shopped...

I left empty handed.

I didn't find ANY cute sandals. NONE. My heart was broken. I had to recycle a pair of 2-year old sandals... which is just fine, but there's just one problem. I already saw the others. My heart was set on one of them --any of them.

But Nooooooo. Evidently -- they don't make cute sandals in a gugomgatious boat-foot size.

I'm never shopping again.

Ok, that was a little white lie. I will shop again... eventually.

Sigh. Lord forgive me anyhow.

Saturday, we went shopping for sandals for Hunter in the pouring rain and SCORED! BIG TIME. My mom bought him a pair of Ecco sandals for $30 --normally priced $63. I got them so they would fit all summer. I love this style of sandals, because it keeps them looking like little boys -- not little men. That will come all too soon! Those are his dress sandals. I did get him a pair of rubber and velcro water sandals at Walmart to play in, and I'll probably get him a pair of Keen's in a little while. Gotta save up for those babies!!! I love them because they are all-terrain shoes for tough little kids that put a beating on their tootsies. That's my boy!!! Usually, though, he only gets shoes from JC Penny's, Kohls, Target or Walmart -- so he's been spoiled this weekend!

So what kind of cuteness did you see this weekend?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Who Turned the Lights Out?

Prepare yourself to possibly be asking this question one day, because evidently, the US Electrical Grid is not as safe as we might think.

Am I the only one who is in the slightest bit alarmed by headlines like this:

  • "Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies"
  • "U.S. Electrical Grid Breached By Cyber Spies"
  • "Chinese and Russian hackers 'could disable U.S. electrical grid at the flick of a switch'"
  • "Cyberspies Penetrate U.S. Power Grid, Leave Software That Could Disrupt System"
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday morning that the U.S. electrical grid (online) had been breached by Chinese and Russian hackers, and that they left behind software programs that acted as little "bombs." They are intended to completely take out and/or compromise our power system's infrastructure. Across the country. All power.

Imagine for one moment... life without power. All emergency and security systems -- down. Most phones -- down. No traffic lights. No heat or cool air. No refrigeration. No lights. No washers and dryers. No hair dryers. No NOTHING (that's technical terminology -- if it is over your head, let me know).

And get this... In early 2008, there was a CIA senior analyst who confirmed that online attackers had caused at least one blackout in a city outside the United States.

From the Wall Street Journal: "The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven't sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war."

Wonderful. But there's more.

"Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet." Just so you know... there are 6 operating commercial nuclear power plants close to my home. Not that I'm concerned or anything... but if there IS a war, and the Chinese or Russians have control of our power grid, and they can commit all kinds of harry-carry -- nuclear leaks come to mind -- I don't want to be anywhere CLOSE to a nuclear power plant... mainly because I look bad as a bald woman.

I'm just saying!

Although, it may help produce some really, REALLY green lettuce.

Cybersecurity. Is there really any?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I Fell In Love

Don't laugh ... I really did fall in love! I'm emotional like that. But then I realized... the source of my new found love could lead to me actually... falling -- as in -- more sprains.

And we're NOT about to do that, friends! Especially since I'm still in a walking cam.

But honestly... are these sandals not the most adorable, fun, go-with-everything sandals? Can you just SEE them with a pretty pedicure? On Easter morning?????

But if you look closely... you will see a THREE INCH HEEL. THREE. INCH. HEEL. I'm pretty sure that three inch heels don't bear well with sprained ankles.

So I found these... and they go with my outfit too. I'm hoping that the two-and-a-half inch heel isn't as high as it sounds.

Cute, huh?

Although, I believe I may have to settle for these modest one-and-a-half inch stacked heel ... which are cute too, but not AS cute. SOB. It's one of the crosses my kankles have to bear.

Now I'm depressed. Especially since, with MY luck, my now ever-swollen feet won't fit into any of those shoes. AND... I'll only be able to wear ONE for a while. Waaaaaaa!

FYI -- You can pick up any of these babies at payless, but whatever you do, don't tell me if you get the first pair of sandals, as I may just flat out bawl my eyes out.

On the other hand... I may just buy them and keep them in my closet so I can gently caress the flowers. Ehem! Is that technically considered coveting? Even if I own them?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

This morning, I left for work in tears. Well... not REALLY... but I was close to it.

And it is for such a silly reason. It really is. In fact, when I called to tell my husband about it, he laughed. Not at me, mind you... but still. He laughed. Sigh.

You see, the source of my sorrow has a lot of my emotion invested in it, and my heart just broke.

I'm sure by now, you're wondering what in the world I'm talking about.


Remember the raised garden bed my wonderful, talented, loving and generous husband built me? It is a thing of beauty. And this weekend, he filled it with a wonderful combination of top soil and leaf compost. I'm telling you -- it was a vision of beauty! (I may even post some pics soon!!)

I love this man.

And Hunter helped. He loves to help. Although, sometimes, his help creates just a wee bit more work for us. Anyway...

Hunter and I planted one batch of lettuce plants on Sunday afternoon. They are just beautiful. Tender, young, vibrant green – perfect. And this weekend? We were going to plant FOUR more batches of various varieties of tender, succulent, sweet lettuce plants! I just couldn't wait.

And today? I come down the stairs to leave for work and the crack-o-dawn, peered out the window to make sure yesterday's spits of snow and the cold evening didn't ruin my lettuce plants... only to see RABBITS!!! EATING MY LETTUCE!!!

Silly Rabbits! Lettuce is for PEOPLE! At least ... in MY garden it is!!!

Now to most people, the word "rabbit" conjures up wonderful thoughts of sweet, soft, fluffy, adorable, brown-eyed, floppy-eared, cotton-tailed spring-time animals.

In MY mind... the word "rabbit" is CLOSE to a swear word. Not quite... but really, REALLY close. I love the thought of providing healthy, beautiful, organic, home-grown vegetables and salads for my family. It does me a world of good to know they are getting good stuff in them. It is almost a source of pride. But I know that pride is a very bad thing ... so I try to steer away from it. AHEM.

As I was saying, those bad, wascially wabbits – they are chowing down at my family"s expense, and man! That just burns me up. I feel like going all "Elmer Fudd" on them... Be vewy, vewy qwiet. I'm hunting wabbits!

My husband promised to bring home some "construction fabric" and some stakes to remedy this problem. I'm thinking more along the lines of barbed wire and a big ol' shotgun. But then, I'm sure my neighbors would complain to... someone... anyone. I'm not sure who, though. We'll see if my husband's idea helps.

Have I mentioned how much I love that man?

So... I'm open to any suggestions. If you have them, PLEASE ... SHARE!!!

(Except for hot pepper flakes. That didn't work last year on my flowers, and it probably won't work on these gourmet rabbits – they would look at it as a tasty seasoning atop their sweet, tender, lettuce).

"Pardon me, but you know,

you wook just wike a wabbit!"

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Who would have thought?

Just how hard do you think about that wonderful, glorious, perfect picture of yourself on that there driver's license of yours? Does it bother you each time you pull your license out at the bank? Do you NEVER think about it? Do you try to hide the picture with your finger?

I am willing to bet that like millions of other people... you hate your picture. Unless... you're one of the rare and few who actually like their driver's license picture, in which case I say... you're weird.

This past Friday, I had to go and renew my expired license. I had been putting it off because I had been so extremely, super, duper "busy." Actually, I just didn't want my picture taken. The lines were long. It was raining outside. I'm walking around in a walking Cam (gimping). I was NOT in the mood. But it needed to be done. And I just KNEW my hair wasn't gonna cooperate. And it didn't. Because it was RAINING. What was I thinking?

And if that isn't bad enough... when you FINALLY get called up to the counter (after 12 hours), they have everyone sit in front of the same colored curtain that looks awful with just about any color you wear ... so why bother? Then ... they make you tilt your head down... lower... lower... just a little bit lower. There. That's perfect. CLICK.

Guess what just happened? My double chin came out to wave its happy hand at the camera, and my eyes were looking up in an odd sort of angle.


I'm seriously thinking of "loosing" this driver's license.

But then... I'd have to go through all that AGAIN!

Yes. It's times like these... that special moment when the Motor Vehicle dude from heaven's knows where, who can barely speak a word of English and NO Spanish (oddly enough), hands you your new drivers license with a flourish, and as you glance down at the new picture, you realize ... with a profound sense of sorrow... that you really DID love that old picture after all.

Because this new one will frighten young children and old women.

The end.