Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tried and True Tuesday: Good Sense Laundry

If you read here often, you know I love www.flylady.net.  Though I don't read all of her emails, a few have made major impact on my life.  This one was from a tip from another of her followers.  Wish I could shake her hand.
If you are very particular about how your laundry's sorted, either you're gonna need a paradigm shift (which is what I had), or this might not be for you.  But it has simplified my life so much.  One of those "Why didn't I think of that?!" ideas.  Parents, give it a chance; those who don't have families, file it away for future reference.
Here it goes...  Rather than collecting all the laundry and sorting it, when one person has enough laundry for a load, you wash it.  While you're gathering those clothes, strip the sheets off that person's bed.  You've skipped sorting before washing AND after.  Another plus is that my children, who will be washing their own laundry in a few years, see me do their individual laundry--not some drawn out process of separation.  It is easy enough for them to do when they're ready.  My one exception to this habit is whites.  They still get their own load, and obviously towels are a separate load. 
Fly Lady always advocates doing a load of laundry a day.  This took me a while to get used to.  But, if you often feel chained to your washing machine on laundry day, this is the solution.  When Ivy, the fourth family member, was born, I found I needed to do two loads a day to stay on top of it.  Do what works for you.  It is such a life saver when you have an emergency and can't do laundry for a couple of days.  You were never behind.  Blessings!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate Goes the Distance

The Ultimate Chocolate Martini

As if chocolate weren't wonderful enough already, I learned a neat little fact on the Nate Berkus Show the other day that has me sooo excited.  Please allow me to back up a bit.

The summer following my sophmore year of college, I was blessed to have the opportunity to live here in Trujillo, Honduras for almost three months.  Beach + mountains = some of God's most beautiful creation.  photo source

While there, we built cinderblock houses and a church building like the crew above (photo source).  I actually did a lot of the pre-assembly work back in camp, like building wooden doors, windows, and trusses.  The Honduran people were so kind and hospitable.  And while I loved being there so much, one thought really ate away at my conscience.  We are building homes for these people, but we are leaving them without any trade or means of earning income.  This thought made it very difficult to leave when the summer was up, but I had no solution.  The land seemed very dry and difficult to plant.

So, now twelve (twelve?!) years later, I saw guest Paul A. Young featured on the Nate Berkus Show.  He is a world famous gormet chocolatier.  More exciting than his cooking feature was news of his new project:  investing in Honduran grown/made chocolate.  AND, the profits go back to the native farmers!  When I researched Honduran chocolate to find out more, it seems this is a new industry.  Those who are investing are a bit tight lipped, most likely in attempts to be the first on the scene.  Young claims it will change the way we eat chocolate.
Cocoa nursery
Honduras struggles both to have enough water supply and to have clean water.  The organic chocolate being grown there ensures their economy is supported by production that isn't poluting what water is available.  Also, the cocoa farms themselves have altered the environmental water table so that rainfall has increased! Information and photo source

I am ecstatic for Honduras to have this opportunity and for businesses with a social conscience.  Wouldn't it be amazing if all businesses had a little more of that?  Wouldn't it be awesome if Christians could somehow help and get involved?

One thing's for sure!  I will certainly be consuming large amounts financially supporting these businesses when the chocolate is readily available.  Blessings!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Take Time to Smell the Lilies

I have missed this place.  The blog, I mean.  Life has been so crazy.  Everyone we know is getting married or having a baby right NOW.  I am now a professional shower goer.  I am so ecstatic for all our friends and family as they cross these milestones, not to mention grateful to share in their lives.

I have also been away because we were a one computer family.  Were.  And my husband was definitely attached to his, so I felt badly to take it over.  But, no more!  Thank God for the blessing of a netbook.  The best part is being able to carry it around the house while I go into hiding take a break.

image source
Here's a savvy chic idea I've wanted to share...  Don't fresh flowers make you feel so good?  In my younger days, I thought they were overrated.  Now I realize how naive that was.  Recently The Husband has (twice!) brought home stargazer lilies.  That was a new awakening for me.  If I bought flowers, I'd pick up a mixed bouquet or roses, and I'm not knocking them.  But, if you want to have a home that smells like a florist's shop, pick up stargazer lilies.  Also, they keep their beauty for over a week.  My Valentines flowers are now going on day 10.  While they may cost a bit more than some other flowers, their longevity makes them worth the extra in the long run.  Get a vase of them and see if you don't smile a little more.

Image source & purchase  Blessings!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tried and True Tuesday

Here's a fun project for both kids and grownups.  I got the idea from Pinterest, but the picture did not have a web link.  So I'll not steal the image and repost here.  You can use any flat surface for a "to-do list" on which to put clothes pins.  The idea is to move the pins from one side to the other when tasks are completed.  I purchased these door hangers at the Dollar Tree, $1 for a pack of three.  I also purchased a pack of 36 clothes pins there also. 

I used a Sharpie to write down the tasks.  The reason we call it a schedule is because that is the lingo The Husband uses when talking about his work, and anything Dad does/likes/eats is the bee's knees.  I wanted to draw pictures for tasks, too, since my kids are not reading yet.

Each pin of Dash's has a cheering message on one side (which I read aloud to him), and a football sticker with "TOUCHDOWN" on the flip side.  Ivy's is a bit simpler.
And now for the "big kids"...

I made this a few years ago for my weekly tasks, but I may soon add one for daily tasks, too.  Here's the scoop...  these were made from days-of-the-week magnets purchased from the dollar bins at Michael's.  I then used my label maker to create stickers.  If you don't have a label maker, you could decopauge some.  And, just like the kids' schedules, I move the magnets from one side of the fridge to the other.  They can make good gifts if you believe the recipient wouldn't be offended (i.e. "You must think my house is a mess!").  They could also be adapted to a classroom schedule.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Today I'm Obsessed With...

I have sworn off new craft projects until my house is better organized.  And it is improving.  I'm still holding off for a bit longer...I think.  I have so many projects I'd like to tackle.  Right now I'd like to fix up a display area with twin openings.  And I started thinking about making a couple of lanterns.  They're so simple, clean-lined, uncluttered...un-me, actually.  But, I'm feeling them.

Here are some remarkable ones I've come across, though not all of them are in the contest for my particular need.  Any one of these might be awesome to light up your life!


DIY paper lanterns — flowers and pom-poms source



diy ribbon wallpaper lanterns  source



Although this site does not feature a DIY tutorial (I would choose the most difficult), this is the direction I would most like to take.  The Husband and I both love fish, and the living area already has a beachy feel.  Yes, I realize these are salmon, but you get the point. 

Hope you're inspired by these as much as I am!  Blessings!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Holy Practicality, Batman!

Wait, don't go anywhere, this is not an outdated post!  Santa wants you to know something.  Precious few times will I ever tell you that you must buy now, and this is one of them.  If you're ever in Cracker Barrel and they have these reusable shopping bags, don't even think about passing them up.  You'll go back tomorrow and they won't be there.  The fairly versitle sunflower pattern ones you saw will be replaced with, ahem, Mr. St. Nick.  Not that the design stopped me from carrying them over the past year and a half, even in the summer.  They are a large 17"x20"x7" and fairly sturdy.  The Santa ones weren't in stock long, either.

I was super delighted recently to find a new summer design.  When you live in Florida, it works year-round.  My days of out-of-place red and green are gone until November. Pick up your own at any point you see them in the store.  Read:  BUY NOW.  So worth it.
3 bags for $5!  Three will likely hold your week's worth of groceries.  Blessings!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tried and True Tuesday

Don'tcha just love a holiday?  With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, my (pre-haircut) son Dash and I were eager to try making our own Crayon Heart Valentines.  So many friends pinned it on Pinterest, it will be neat to see how many people show up with them.  I found my heart shaped silicone mold trays in the dollar bins at Target, getting two for $2.50.  This will make over two dozen hearts.  The label  says they are for ice cubes, but they worked fine for this project.

I preheated the oven to 200 degrees.  Then, Dash and I got busy peeling off crayon rappers.  It takes much longer than one might imagine.
Here's a helpful hint, if you decide to do this project:  Try to peel the rapper from its seam.  Sometimes they don't cooperate, but when you can peel from the seam, it's much easier.

Another tip:  Even though it feels as though the molds are full of the broken crayons, use as many pieces as you can make fit.  It's ok if the crayons are sticking up above the top since they will melt.

You could add even more crayons than I did.  Then, we put them in the oven until they were melted, about 20 minutes.
 Next, we popped them in the fridge for a couple of hours so they could harden.  Once removed from the molds, we created the cards.  You can use rubber cement on the back of the heart, allow it to dry.  Then loosely attach the paper.
Making these was fun for both of us, but I'd be lying if I said Dash hasn't been begging me to buy a pack of Thor valentines.  What?!  We not only made valentines, we made memories!  Kids.  Sheesh.  Blessings!