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Five Things To Clean

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It’s a new month and I have five more things for you to clean as part of Spring Cleaning.  Here they are:

  1. Cabinets in kitchen.  Wipe them inside and out.  This is a great opportunity to add shelf liners, rid yourself of extra plastic bins and other extras or one offs.  Be sure to wash the silverware organizer.
  2. Clean the backsplash, walls, and light fixtures in the kitchen.
  3. The floor and baseboards in the kitchen.
  4. The counters, and any additional small appliances or furniture in the kitchen.
  5. The linen closet.

Keep in mind this is a great time to downsize and declutter too.

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5 Things to Declutter

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Since the 5 things to clean article is about spring cleaning, I am coordinating the clutter cleaning list too.  So we will start in the kitchen.  Here is this months list:

1. Unused Tea/Coffee/Sweeteners- excess water enhancers, that tea you only had one packet of two years ago. Get it gone!

2. Excess Spices.  Treat them just like the tea above.

3. Mugs and Glasses.  Do you really use your collection of world’s greatest mom mugs?

4. Unused Kitchen Gadgets.  Never used the bread maker from you wedding gifts you got more then 10 years ago?  Send it to the island of under-used kitchen products!

5. Anything chipped or cracked.

Okay, at this point I have reached my 5.  However, I still have a few decluttering points.

6. Get rid of excess serving pieces.

7. Tupperware or plastic storage items.

Happy decluttering.

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5 Things To Clean

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Spring is here.  So that means Spring Cleaning.  You always have to stay on top the dirt and grime.  Here are five things to give a really good deep clean to.  Take some time and get that grime!

  1. Clean the microwave and oven.  Give the inside a good clean for each.  Make sure to cover the outsides, range, and all the buttons, knobs, and filters.
  2. The dishwasher.  Wipe down the outside and sides of the door.  You can use vinegar to clean the dishwasher on a hot cycle.  The dishwasher is made to handle the acid of vinegar.  DO NOT use vinegar in the clothes washer.  It is all over blogging and some women’s magazines.  It will ruin your clothes washer.  It will rust out the drum.  The previous owner had done them and the result was the drum looked like Swiss cheese and collapsed.  I had to buy a new washer!
  3. Clean out your pantry.  Wipe it out and throw away all expired food.
  4. The Fridge.  Just like the pantry, wipe it out, remove the drawers to clean.  Toss out unused and expired food.
  5. Finally clean the sink, soap dish, sponges and underneath the sink.

Nest month I’ll add 5 more items to the deep clean Spring clean.

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My Furry Alarm Clocks

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Mark this under getting to know your blogger.  Today, I’d like to tell you about my pets.  Or as I like to call them.  My furry alarm clocks.  All of my pets are rescue animals.  Our dog “Boo”, who was named by the shelter, was found on the side of the road.  It was in South-Eastern Kansas (USA). Apparently, a vet saw her starving and bitten by flies on the side of the road.  He opened his backseat and she jumped in without being asked.  Then two weeks later she was up here in Minnesota waiting to be adopted.

The adoptive agency had not even put her photo up on their site yet. We met her at a large adoption event at Pet Co.  There had to be over a hundred dogs and more people.  We met about 8 dogs but we couldn’t find the right one.  We were there for hours. Finally, my son who had just finished Kindergarten was restless.  So my husband took him next door to the toy store.  Then I went in search of another dog.  I asked one of the volunteers for a friendly dog that was good with children.  We have so many kids in our neighborhood, we wanted to be cautious.  The volunteer showed me several dogs many of which we had looked at.

Then the volunteer brought me to a cage with an Australian Shepard in it.  The dog appeared frightened, but wanted to come with me.  I brought it outside.  The dog really loved being petted and immediately rolled over for tummy rubs.  Then my son and husband came back.  My husband said “Who is this?” I told him that I think I found our dog.

My husband had liked another dog, but I wasn’t fond of it.  I preferred this one.  Then I went and sat down on a bench and my son sat on the other end. The dog immediately jumped up and sat between us.  Boo was the only dog that paid attention to my son and I.  Other dogs we looked at were more interested what was going on then us.

So finally it came time to choose.  My husband had his favorite, I had mine.  So our six year old son would have to break the tie.  He choose the Australian Shepard “Boo”. She was about a one year old female.  We don’t think she is a pure breed.  We don’t care about that.  We filled out our paperwork, had her get chipped and took her home.

She was so frighted at first. She got physically ill all over our carpet.  We had the white builders carpet that so many home builders put in new homes.  The previous owners had not ripped it out.  Why is white carpet a thing?  Anyway, she was so ashamed when that happened.  She crawled over to me as if to say “Don’t hurt me.”  We had to reassure her she was not in trouble.  We gave her rubbed her head and spoke to her in that high pitched baby voice only dog owners know.

In the beginning she was my shadow. Actually, she still is my shadow.  It’s a trait of her breed.  They call Australian Shepherds the “Velcro” dog.  They follow you everywhere.  When I say everywhere I mean everywhere too.  It’s like having a toddler.  For once I would like to go to the bathroom without company.

She wasn’t as keen on my husband though.  She seemed scared of him.  My husband was confused as to what he had done.  I had to reassure him she liked him.  We just didn’t know her background.  I felt that she had been abused by males in her previous home(s) and that is why she was so fearful.  When my husband would grab a leash to take her for a walk she would cower behind me.  While we cannot say for certain, I feel whoever abandoned her used a rope to hurt her somehow.  For about a year after we adopted her she was skittish over ropes, and leashes if they were held by my husband.

Over time she warmed up to my husband and loves it when he takes her on walks.  It’s the only time she leaves me.  The minute my husband says the “W” word or grabs the leash she is right there by his side. Happy as a calm. She also waits for him in the window. When she sees his car she runs to the garage door waiting for him to come in.

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She also loves my son.  Her relationship is a little different with him.  She has always checked on him every night since we got her.  She also had to walk him to the bus stop and pick him up from the bus stop in elementary school.  If she felt that I was going to be late getting him she would bark at me to make sure I didn’t miss the bus dropping him off.

She loves the kids at the bus stop so much that one time she got out of her collar and ran onto the bus just as the door closed.  The bus started to pull away with her, and I had to run next to it and bang on the side.  Fortunately, the bus driver heard me and stopped.  He thought someone forgot something.  “No,” I told him.  “You have my dog.”  He gave me an odd look and I pointed to Boo laying in the middle of the aisle on the bus.  Happy as can be. All the kids thought it was hilarious.

After my son went to junior high school, she would still sit in the window and watch the elementary kids get on the bus.  When the bus pulls away, she gets down.  She really doesn’t care about the parents who are left, just that the kids got on safely.  Today, she runs out the door whenever I leave to drop off or get my son.  She wants to come along.  I’ve tried to say no. She just ignores me and jumps over, or around me and runs out.  Once I tried to tell her no and walked over to get her.  She ran away from me.  I wound up chasing her around the car four or five times.  Now I know how Wylie Coyote felt chasing the Road Runner in cartoons. Finally, I gave in.

Sometimes I have tried to fool her with treats.  She has endless hunger.  My dog trainer said since she was a stray food would most likely always be an issue for her.  She cannot be fooled.  Once okay.  Twice, not on your life.  She gives me this look like “I know that trick.”  The one where I throw the treat towards the back door and run out the front.  Then she gives me another look as if to say “Those treats suck too”.

The vet wants me to keep her weight down. Because of this the treats have been massively reduced in size and quality. Can’t make them too tasty.

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She rides very well.  When we took our first long car trip as a family, we found out another fear of hers.  I think whoever previously owned her took her on a long car trip, removed her collar and  left her.  About an hour into our first long car trip she jumped from the backseat to my lap in the front seat and just shook.  At least I was not driving at the time. She would not leave no matter how much I reassured her.

At the half-way point we took her out to get a walk and she wouldn’t take a step without me.  She kept her eye on me at all times.  Finally, she agreed to get in the backseat again.  We even took her collar off thinking it would make her more comfortable.  Wrong.  She got so upset and began to nudge the collar in our hands to get it back on.  We never take her collar off anymore.

Boo will always be by you when you are sick.  When we sleep at night she curls up in her bed at the foot of ours or jumps up on the bed to wedge herself between us.  She is so loving I can’t imagine not having her.  We love her to bits our furry alarm clock.

Stay tuned for “My Furry Alarm Clock, Part 2- Cat Edition” coming up soon.  How does your dog make itself part of the family?

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5 Things to Do to Help the Environment

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There are always so many ways to help the environment. Where do you start?  Some things seem to take a long time to do, cost so much money, or require a major life shift.  There are some things that are little things that can make a big difference.  In fact, many of these smaller things are a great way to get young children into caring for the environment.  Indirectly, many of these tips can help you save money or be more minimalistic.  It’s a win win for everyone.  Here are 5 tips you can use to up your environmental quotient.

  1. Add plants to your living space.  Plants are nature’s detoxifer.  They can help purify the air and bring the outside in.  Just adding a couple of plants to each room will help purify the air.  Then relax and enjoy.
  2. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth.  If you brush your teeth after every meal you can use up to as much as 45 gallons of water.  Way to much waste.  Speaking of faucets, also get a leaky faucet or running toilet fixed.  It will use less water and not annoy you as much.
  3. Support politicians, musicians, companies and websites that are devoted to helping the environment.  Your support matters.
  4. Join an organization that supports environmental causes near to your heart.  It could be an international, local, state or national organization.  There are so many out there from conservative groups to radical ones.  Some are long established others address newer concerns.  Just make sure they work within the law.
  5. Share.  One of the things that I have done to help the environment and share is giving toys to other kids in the neighborhood when my son outgrows them.  They enjoy them and they continue to get use out of them.  See if you can set up a sharing circle with some of your neighbors?  It’s a great way to get new items and not have to pay new prices.  Then they don’t end up in the landfill either.

What ideas do you do to help take care of the environment?

 

 

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Vintage vs Antique vs Retro

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Vintage, antique, retro, words we hear constantly.  We see them in store windows, on online postings and when grandma tells us about her candy dish from the world’s fair.  What does it all mean?  Many use the definitions as interchangeable words.  But are they?  Can misuse represent fraud?  It may not rise to that level hopefully, but it can create confusion.  So after looking at multiple sources and speaking with several people I hope the following can help you to know what you are looking at and what you should look for when shopping.

Vintage is the most common word that gets used for a variety of meanings.  Vintage is actually supposed to be used for wine only.  Yup, vintage refers to the year a wine is made.  It is not supposed to apply to anything else.  However, like everything in society, somethings don’t always follow what they are supposed to.  When the word vintage is used in conjunction with anything other than wine it is meaningless.  You will hear many people say that vintage means from 50 to 100 year old but not less than 20 years.  Having read in many chat rooms that this is the “common” usage.

What is antique?  An antique item is anything over 100 years old.  This is an industry standard.  Easy, and straightforward.

Then, that leaves retro.  What does retro mean?  Retro is imitative of a style, fashion, or design from the recent past.  Something that is outdated but becomes fashionable again. Remember bell bottoms?  They became popular again for a brief time in the 1990’s.  Retro can also apply to furniture, art and other forms of design and art.

I hope this brief tutorial helps you when shopping at your local flea market or on ebay.

 

 

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5 Quick Ways to Help the Environment

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We are all so busy right?  We want to do a lot of things but never seem to have the time.  Once of these things is helping out the environment.   How can we be more sustainable without spending all of our time.  Below, find 5 quick ideas to help the planet be a better place.

  1. Use biodegradable poop bags for your dog.  Yes, they exist.   Keep plastic out of the landfills.
  2. Reuse gift bags.  We have all got them for birthdays and holidays.  Too nice to throw away right?  Cut off the address tag and reuse them.  You can give gifts in them, use them to carry things, cut them up for a decoration.
  3. Buy Bamboo when possible. Bamboo is durable and fast growing. It’s renewable and sustainable. It can also be used for a variety of things from interior design and clothing, do bowls, and utensils.
  4. Volunteer for a river or park clean up.  Spend a few hours one weekend a year to help get trash out of our water supply. It will not only help keep our drinking water clean, but also keep animals from eating garbage or getting trapped in trash,
  5. Support an animal.  Volunteer or donate items to  a shelter.  Adopt through a wildlife organization or zoo your favorite animal.  I’ve sponsored endangered species  before. It’s also a great gift for others!  Christmas is coming!

What quick ways do you know that help the environment.  Share them with me.