Friday, May 30, 2014

Homemaking Tips & Ideas

Here is an idea of a recipe for this frozen dessert. I wanted to call it a "sorbet" but it isn't a proper sorbet, as it has whipped cream in it, and I believe sorbets are dairy-free, so if falls into the Sherbet category (maybe). It should be named "leftover sherbet" only that isn't a very appetizing name, is it? I was trying to clear out some space in the refrigerator, and combined thing and froze them to get this dessert!

From the refrigerator, take all the near-empty juice jugs that only have an inch of juice in them and combine. Add leftover sliced fruit. Puree. Fold in leftover whipped cream.

Here's what was in mine:
Orange juice
Grape juice
Grapefruit juice (this may or may not have been a mistake, depending on your family's feelings towards grapefruit!)
Sliced strawberries (which made it a luscious pink!)
Honey-sweetened whipped cream

You could combine canned fruits with juice, or puree fresh fruit. The whipped cream folded in at the last is what really makes it special.

Freeze in a pan such as a cake pan or loaf pan. STIR EVERY 10-15 MINUTES until desired consistency is reached. This is a project for an afternoon at home!

If for some reason you have leftovers, and it freezes solid overnight, let it spend some time in the refrigerator the next day, and it will be scoop-able.


It is good to have routines, to look ahead, to be conscience of what comes next or what needs to be done in your housework. But it is also good to ditch all your plans on a sunny day and play games on the lawn with the children, and make root beer floats when it is hot outside, and create a few family memories.

Here's a good tip to help with the above: about 20 minutes before the bedtime routine starts, gather your children to you, give them instructions on tidying up a room, and set a timer: yes, this is on of the variations of the FlyLady's 5 minute room rescue. It really works! With your children helping, you can get your living room toy-and -paper-and-clothing-free and straightened in less than five minutes, because racing against the timer is fun! Add in any other rooms that contain family clutter, or have them a quick pick-up in their own rooms. 20 minutes can get a big chunk of the house looking quite nice and give a good start to the next day.


If you are an overwhelmed mother and you want to keep a clean house, don't give toddlers trash to play with... paper packaging, boxes, sales postcards, junk mail etc. It is tempting to keep the little one quiet and occupied, but if you are having housecleaning problems, don't do it! 


I understand the plight of mothers of newborns who have trouble keeping the clutter down. When you are expecting a baby, or have a baby in your arms all the time (or in a sling) it is next to impossible to bend over and get all the things that fall to the floor, rolled under furniture or have been left by another child. You have to wait until the time comes when you can get down to the floor and clean it all up, and maybe in the meantime for safety's sake you have to use your foot to clear paths and scoot stuff out of the way. If you have a toddler around, remember that they are closer to the floor-- train them to pick up all that stuff and hand it to you when you sweetly ask them! If you do not have a short person around, or any other help for that matter, remember to pick stuff up when you have free hands! Not being able to bend over for a month or two can get you in the habit of ignoring what is down there under the furniture.  


Here is an interesting link on the different curtain terms.
Here is a link on the different styles of English antiques.


Girl Sweeping  by  William McGregor Paxton

How to make your yard look bigger
mow, trim all the tall grasses around trees, fences, etc.

How to make your house look cleaner, even when cluttered:
Sweep and vacuum floors. It is amazing what a difference clean floors will make.

How to make your house look brighter
dust the walls and vacuum the cobwebs from walls and ceilings. Wash the curtains.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the above-mentioned cobweb removal:

I like to use the vacuum cleaner. I'd rather not clean a broom or duster of sticky cobwebs. Get all the extensions you can on the hose of the vacuum cleaner for longest reach. I have a lightweight vacuum cleaner, so I was able to lift it by the handle on the back to aid in reaching the ceiling (The handle on the back is not the handle used to push the vacuum with-- some cheaper models will break apart if you lift them the wrong way!)

This isn't dusting-- this is cobweb removal. Therefore, keep the vacuum hose well away from glass, teapots on shelves, etc!

Walls and ceilings are easily scratched-- be careful not to scrape your vacuum hose along.

Turn on all the lights and open the curtains so you can see everywhere. Look at the room from different areas/angles to make sure you got everything.

Some places to look for spider webs:
The corners of the ceiling
The corners of the walls
Across the ceiling
Along the crown moulding
By light fixtures (be careful not to break the bulbs! And heaven help you if you break a CLE bulb.)
In the corners of doorways
Along the top of the doorway moulding
The door hinges (open all doors and check them out)
Along the tops of kitchen cupboards
Ceiling or wall-mounted heater vents
The tops of tall, little used book shelves
The tops of picture frames
Inside the stove vent hood
Inside/on the utility areas: heater closet, water heater, etc.
Anywhere you can imagine that a spider would be able to connect a web from one point to another.

Start at the top. Take the vacuum cleaner through the house and get ALL the cobwebs off of ALL the ceilings and corners in EVERY room. You will be impressed at how bright the rooms will become. If you wash the windows, it will probably get brighter, but that is a job for another day.

Now go and make a batch of cookies!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Being a Good Guest: Private Spaces

The Pleasant Times' Etiquette Lady

Sign Frame courtesy The Graphics Fairy. Feel free to print it if you think you need it after reading this article. 

 As the weather is warming up, and people are coming out of their winter hibernation, social events are cropping up on the calendars. Here is a little reminder on one facet of being a good guest.

 During large events, when the hostess is busy and the other guests are mingling, there are sometimes children (and the occasional grown-up) who will take off to roam the house unaccompanied and without permission, opening doors and poking their head into closets. These people are not lost; they just were not taught to control their curiosity. Children can cause mass destruction; adults can be just plain snoopy (though this sounds like crazy behavior for an adult, it is sadly common among people who no longer understand privacy or private property).

 There are private spaces in the home. Bedrooms come to mind, also home offices, utility rooms, storage areas, nurseries, closets, cupboards, drawers, and the like. Some homeowners like to keep all the upstairs rooms private, or maybe their basements. Some people will keep one room "company ready" and the rest closed off, in case they are not tidy enough to be seen by the public.*

 If you are invited to someone else's home, here's a tip to add to your company manners: unless you as a guest are invited to enter certain areas, it is best to consider them "off limits" and to be cautious about where you go in someone else's house. 

 The same philosophy belongs to the hosts' children, their pets, and their possessions.

 I have seen "please don't touch the baby" signs; this is a good idea for some situations. Babies can be made to fuss all day long when they have been passed from person to person, handled and bounced roughly when they object to being held by a stranger, or have their personal space invaded by people pinching their cheeks and poking their tummy. Please ask if you can hold the baby, and respect the mother's right to refuse you.

 Be cautious about your hosts' pets. Lots of hosts put their dogs in one room or one end of the house, to keep them from barking at guests. Sometimes the hostess will put a house cat in another room, to keep it from escaping out the front door. A wandering guest could cause trouble by opening doors and letting pets out. If you are an expert on birds, don't invite yourself to open the birdcage and handle the parakeets-- please ask first! Some pets do not want to be touched by strangers; be cautious before "loving" on someone else's animal!

 And lastly, respect your hosts' possessions. When the host and hostess say "make yourself at home," they mean "get that relaxed feeling, as if you were at home". They do not mean "pretend this is your house, and do what you want with it." Do not feel free to move their decor, put your feet on the furniture, snoop in drawers, open closets, go through their stack of mail, and the like.

 If you are a host or hostess, you can certainly let the guests know that they are free to explore the house, if that is what you want. If that is not the case, most of us are too shy to say "please sit in this room and don't leave it!" This is where placing a "private" sign on the doors may help. For children who cannot read, or don't care to pay attention, a polite word to the parents at the start of the visit may be in order: "The children may play in the living room and the porch area." You could just hope that your wishes will be respected, but personally, I think locking doorknobs (with keys in the possession of the hostess) may be the best idea for those who entertain frequently.

 So be a good guest, and respect the homeowner's privacy!

*I realize that in this day and age, keeping a messy room private does not jive with the "be honest, be vulnerable, let it all hang out" philosophy of the times. Blocking off a messy room is not snobbery, or trying to give a false view of your home. It may be that the hostess is embarrassed because she did not have time to clean the rest of the rooms; there are still people who believe in the old-fashioned concept of taking pride in your housework.  It could also be that you, as an honored guest, should be treated with the best that the hostess has to offer, be it the best food she can present, the most comfortable seat, and yes, the best rooms.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Alaska Lullaby

This is the song that accompanies a sweet board book that one of the children was given recently. 

I have more posts swirling around in my head, hope to get time to sit down post again soon!