Saturday, April 3, 2010

unfinished business

I still have yet to do any sort of craft or home projects. I'm taking a break from the sewing machine for the weekend, and just hanging out around the house, watching movies with my girls and relaxing. Tomorrow we'll be off to a potluck and egg hunt for Easter. I did spring clean one bathroom, as I said I would be, and its all ready to be painted whenever I can get around to it. It seems like I'm saying that a lot lately....

We have a lot of unfinished projects around here, things that need doing. I'm trying to organize a to-do list with these projects, but I have yet to find the oomph to get it going. There is just so very much to do, and I'm only one little person.

The first thing we need to finish is our oldest daughter's bedroom. We ripped all the built-ins out, and now we have an empty wall, waiting to be patched and painted. That's the big hold up. I am perfectly capable of patching the holes and painting myself, but my husband wants to do it with special stuff that I have no clue how to use. I'm half tempted to go in there and use plain old patch tape and spackle just so I can get it finished. She's sort of bummed she isn't in there yet...and so am I. I'm itching to get in there and decorate it. I can't wait to go shopping for all the little accessories!

All right, here are my spring cleaning tips for the bathroom, as promised. Its a very short list and it takes an hour to accomplish.

*First, as with any room, sweep down the ceiling and walls, shelves and alcoves to displace the dust.
*Spray the inside of your shower or bath with soap scum remover and let sit.
*Empty out your medicine and under the sink cabinets. Stick it all in a box and go through it all after you have cleaned.
*Fill a bucket with hot soapy water and wash out the cabinets.
*Using a paintbrush, sweep out the window sills and vacuum the screens. Wash the windows.
*Next step is washing down the walls, trim, and switches. 
*Take an old toothbrush and scrub the grout in the tiles and around the tub and toilet with a solution of baking soda, vinegar and water. Rinse with a clean rag and plain water.
*Wash the baseboards down.
*Clean the base of the toilet.
*Finally scrub out the bath tub and shower and rinse well.
*Last, sweep and scrub the floors with a clean rag.
*Give everything a wipe down with your favorite bathroom cleaner, shine the faucets and let dry while you go through the box of stuff you took out.
*Get rid of any expired medications or cosmetics, things that aren't used and broken electronics like blow dryers and curling irons. Clean the caps of bottles and wipe them down. Don't forget to clean your accessories like pictures, candles and vases, and the soap dispensers and such. Hang fresh linens.
*Put everything back in an organized fashion, using baskets or buckets to hold things. Then step back and admire the sparkle.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Its raining, its pouring, the old man is snoring!!!

Well, no old men here, but it is raining again. Woke up this morning to a freezing house and am currently bundled in sweats and socks until the heater warms this old house, and these bones, up. I love the rain when I don't have to drive in it, and I love to bundle up when its cold out. I love the cold. Its invigorating and there is nothing like snuggling under a blanket on a cold rainy day and reading a good book. I bake more when its cold out, which my family loves. We drink loads of cocoa and cider.  I spend all summer longing for that first cold front to hit, the first leaves to turn and fall, the harvesting of the vegetables, our breath fogging the air with the stinging morning cold, the fall and winter holidays....

However, I especially love spring rain; when all the flowers and trees are blooming, its quite a sight to watch the water drip off the opening buds. There is a different feel to spring rain, a wakening of the earth. The smells are different, the air is different, the earth is different. I can open the windows with a spring rain, and smell the newness in the air. There is a new optimism with spring rain.

Im sure youre all wondering why I am going on and on about the spring rain. Well, I live in Southern California, where until this past winter rain isnt really something that happens very often. We had a lot of hard rain this past winter, and it was very cold and dreary. I can look out the windows of our home and see the effect all the rain we had on the mountains, they are still covered in snow, almost all the way down. And they are going to get more with this new, shorter wave of rain. And thats good for us. I welcome every winter with the hopes of rain like we had,  but Im glad winter is over, so we have a little more sunlight and a little more warmth, so that I can throw open our windows and watch nature do its thing.

When youre a homemaker, being able to let in fresh air is like buying new shoes. Almost anyway!

I know that I havent posted a whole lot, so Im going to make it up by posting a quick and easy recipe for banana nut muffins. And I promise to share some crafting at some point in the near future; the humane society's blankets go in tomorrow, so Im all done with that project. And Im going to be spring cleaning the bathrooms so Ill make a short post on the ins and outs of spring cleaning a bathroom very soon.

The recipe: Quick and easy banana nut muffins (is also fantastic as a bread!)

Preheat your oven to 350*
Grease or paper a cupcake tin, or a loaf pan with cooking spray.

You will need:
4 very ripe (this allows you to use less sugar) bananas, mashed
1/3 c. melted butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2- 1 c. coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans are great in banana bread/muffins), optional

In a large bowl, combine bananas and melted butter, mix together with a wooden spoon. Add in the sugar, vanilla, and egg, mix together. Sprinkle salt, baking soda and  half the nuts over top of mix, mix in. Add in flour and mix, being careful not to over mix. You dont want tough dough. Fill your pan, top with remaining nuts and bake 20-22 minutes, until wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with a pat of butter and a cold glass of milk.

And enjoy!!