Thursday, March 25, 2010

Show Us Your Life: Cleaning Tips

Kelly's Korner (see list of 'Friendlies') has a Show Us Your Life series each Friday, where anyone can link to a post on a certain topic. I haven't done many of them, and some I link to a past post that fits the topic. Today's post is new tips!

I love to clean! I've said before, "I get a possibly unhealthy high from cleaning and organizing." ;)

I guess I should clarify a little. I love to organize! I like to clean. =)

My mom has said before that it's easier for her to relax at home when it is clean. I didn't understand that AT ALL when I was younger, but now...I totally get it! Even right now, as I type this post, I'm looking around the room at:

~ the old purse I cleaned out when switching purses, but didn't get put away

~ several pairs of shoes that were kicked off when I walked in the door

~ grad school work that is sitting on the coffee table waiting for me to do
~ and mail that I collected, but haven't sorted through yet

It's not that I can't relax when there's clutter, but it's easier to relax when there isn't!

But all that is a little beside the point! (My friends all know, I like a rabbit trail!)

My best tips for cleaning:
1. Being organized makes it easier to be clean.
~ If the papers have a place to go, it's easier to put them there than it is trying to figure out a place for them to go.

~ Have a file drawer with manila folders or hanging files and LABEL them! =)
~ Another little tip is sort through them at the end of the year and shred all papers for the last year. (I'm a little more cautionary and keep that quarter's papers...but shred all others.)

~ Try to not have a junk drawer. It's really easy for all those little things to pile up. Do you really need them? If not, chunk them! If yes, can they have an actual place to go? If not...see previous question! :) If yes, make one and then put them there!

~ Install more shelving if needed! Home Depot sells wire shelving for a reasonable price. They'll even cut it to your specifications for free! I (ahem, meaning friends of mine) installed these shelves for me in several closets (and several apartments) over the years. They're wonderful at creating additional storage space!

~ Label those boxes of decorations! I have three of these purple bins.

I just did some organizing over Spring Break and (for the first time) labeled them. Now I know what I'm getting out before pulling it down. Also, before this cleaning frenzy, I thought all of them were Christmas decor. Now I know one has sports equipment in it! (So THAT'S where the racquets were! ;)

2. Vinegar and water is a wonder
~ My kitchen faucet and shower head have both had a water pressure issue over the last several months. Did you know you could soak them in vinegar and water to clean them? My shower head has a detachable head with a long cord, so I just let it hang into the bowl of vinegar/water mixture and soak for several hours. It is working MUCH better. I will probably let it soak again...and this time take a toothbrush to it afterwards. I heartily endorse using vinegar and water for cleaning!

Okay, those are my tips!

A Little Bilingual Flair

I love throwing out occasional Spanish comments to my students. It's hilarious to see the reactions.

For example:

On a rainy day, when we can't go outside and they're a little whiny about it, I might say, "Lo siento mucho."

Simultaneously the:

monolingual students will look at the Hispanic students and whisper/mutter, "What'd she say?"

Hispanic students will have a sheepish smile. LOVING that they can understand when their friends can't. (Especially since sometimes it's the other way around!)

a couple of girls will get a really confused look on their faces like, "Did I miss something? What were those words?"

It's hiLARious!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Am I the only one that makes sure something is finished when I know I'm going to be asked about it? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Mom is great about asking those little questions. You know the ones. The topics I mention in casual conversation...the things I need to take care of. Like renewing my passport....or that my car registration sticker had never come in, even though I'd mailed off the renewal form/check....those topics. Just the little everyday things that we adults have to take care of and sometimes get mentioned in know, casually. Yeah, those. Mom is great about bringing those up later.

Mom: "Did you get your passport renewed?"
Me: "I realized I can't currently find my passport. So I have to look for it first. I probably did something actually put it where it belongs, instead of where I usually keep it."

Two days just a regular conversation.

Mom: "Have you had a chance to find your passport?"
Me: "Nope. Haven't even looked for it. I'm sure it's somewhere."

A couple more days pass....

Mom: "So, where did you find your passport?"
Me: "I found the copy of it. But not the actual thing yet."

A week or so after that.

Me: "Hey, I found my passport! I've looked online and found out the details of renewal. I'll take care of it over Spring Break."

Mom comes to visit over Spring Break. We organize and clean out closets, separate the 'maintenance' items from the 'food' items in the pantry, do a little work in the garden, shop and run all over town. Mom grades papers and cooks meals for me for the next couple of weeks. I sort through clothes and make a bag for Goodwill. We talk and laugh and cry.

She leaves on Wednesday.

Thursday afternoon, we're chatting for a few minutes.
Mom: "Did you get your passport renewed?"

Me: *sigh* "Not yet, but I will!" =)

This is just one example. She asks about other things too.

PS: In all fairness, while sometimes I am annoyed by her questions and want to respond "I'm almost 30 and pay all my own bills. I can handle my errands and little odds and ends, too!" really, I do appreciate her asking. It shows she cares. Even about the little things. She listens when I talk. She wants to help. And I love her for it! (Shhh, but it really does make me gets those little things done a little faster, too. Because I want to be able to say, "Yep, finished!"

So today, I called AT&T and figured out my wireless internet problem, called the tax assessor to figure out how to handle my vehicle registration (since they'd never received the check I mailed in), AND called my complex office to figure out how to do DVR since the cable is billed in bulk.

Next time, she asks about a few things, I can say, "Yep, finished!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tax Return

I got my tax return back today! It's way lower than it's been in awhile, but I like money back, lower or not.

I'm putting some in savings and paying some towards my car payment. Hey, the faster it gets paid off, the faster I don't have a car payment. I'll probably allow myself a leeeetle bit of shopping with it, too. So very grown-up like, you know?

What about you? What plans do you have for your tax return this year?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

3 day weekend!

I'm off tomorrow!

I'm going to be doing some of this...

Thanks to my generous Paradigm friends, I'm getting one of these...

AND one of these...

Then I'm going to see this!

Our church is showing the premier. You should come!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Raking and Sewing

My patio area had been blown off by one of the complex maintenance workers. I had President's Day off and the men were in the alley and I fluttered my eyelashes and voila!

But the garden area still needed help. I assigned Angela the task while she was here and Dad decided to help her. =)

Over the last year, Mom and I have been working on monthly curtains for my classroom. We do one set at a time, since we're usually only together for a weekend. It makes for a good project to work on when they come visit, too. =) Mom is determined to get me to use the sewing machine. She's taught me before, and it wasn't that hard this time either. I'm just not all that interested. But I am glad I know how.

The last time we worked on curtains here in Houston, Mom made it clear that my 'over the door ironing board' wasn't even close to being acceptable and I would need to procure another one for that weekend. DJ was kind enough to loan me his. This time I took the initiative. =) (If Mama ain't happy...)

I've really liked this project. The fabric has been fun to find...and to coordinate with that particular month.

And these are the curtains we made! These will be my "May" curtains.

These are the March curtains. Very Spring! =)

We made the January curtains over Christmas 2008 and then Mom made the February curtains on her own.

So right now we have December-May finished. I have fabric for October so that will be our next project. It's been hard to find fabric that would work for August, September and November. Everything I've found is very primary, so I'll keep looking!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Apothecary Jars

Because they're fun...

I had this one looking...well, let's just say a little differently. Mom worked on it last weekend. I really like the outcome!

I was specifically looking for some of that coiled decorative wire stuff. (Don't you like my description?) I looked in several stores before finally finding it in Hobby Lobby. It wasn't with any of the Valentine's Day stuff though. It was by the register. Go figure.
I put the wire in the jar first, coiling it around the jar, so it would have enough to come out the top and kinda spray out. Then, I filled the jar with shredded red tissue paper.

This is just shredded red tissue paper. I know the pic is a little far away. Sorry!

I'm not sure what I'm doing for this month...I don't want to do anything for St. Patrick's Day. I may go ahead and do Easter. It's early in April and this way Spring can come. Because if I decorate for Spring...then it will come! Right?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Writing Together

We completed this fun activity in class last week!

I gave the class a prompt:

We brainstormed as a class and came up with our topic idea and the essential details.

Then we broke into 5 groups and each group wrote one paragraph.

It turned out really well!