Tag Archives: keeper of the home

DIY: Quick Counter Top Update

Check out what I did this weekend! Like and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already done so!

How To Properly Set a Table

I have been working on a Home Ec class for my kids. (Its printed and waiting to be bound and/or laminated.) One of the activities is setting the table. When I came across this post on my Facebook feed I felt I should share it as many of us do get confused and some of us really don’t care.

Continue reading How To Properly Set a Table

Baking Soda Drain Cleaner And Freshener

In my post about the wonky smell I mentioned that I cleaned my kitchen drains with a baking soda and vinegar mixture. However I have come to realize that some people don’t know how to do this. It’s really quite simple and I’ll explain it here. (I’ll try to take pics or maybe a video to post along with this the next time I do it.)

Not only is this easy it’s also a cheap way to clean and maintain your drains and garbage disposal. These ingredients are environmentally friendly as well. I have also used this method to clear drain clogs as well as toilet clogs.

Baking Soda Drain Cleaner And Freshener

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. baking soda
  • 1 c. white vinegar (or some people use salt)
  • 2 quarts of boiling water

Directions:

Pour baking soda down the drain.

Pour the vinegar or salt down the drain.

If using vinegar you should wait about 5-10 minutes and then flush with the boiling water being careful not to burn yourself.

If using the salt it would be best to wait a bit longer or even overnight, if possible, before flushing with boiling water.

The drain should smell fresher and if it was clogged it will begin to unclog itself. Stubborn clogs may take a bit of time to clear and you can repeat with boiling water every 10 minutes or so until it is running smooth.

What Is That Wonky Smell?

Oh my goodness! My kitchen smelled so funky yesterday…. ughhhh! I couldn’t locate where the smell was coming from as my smeller still isn’t working very well. But every so often I caught a whiff of something… and it was STINKY!Ever had that happen?

I tried to narrow down the area as the house is pretty small and definitely decided it was coming from the kitchen. Maybe it’s the bag of trash DD18 left inside? Out with the trash. Still there.

Maybe it’s the ripened bananas? None of them looked too terribly bad so I got rid of them by making Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (I will link to the recipe soon) and washed out the bowl. Nope, the smell was still there.

I cleaned out the dish drainer and wiped the counters. Still stinky.

Sighhhh…. next came the drain. I poured some baking soda, vinegar, and hot water down it. Still smelled stinky up in here. (Read about how I do this here.)

Then I noticed water in the floor. Uh oh! It was coming from the fridge. (I plan on doing a YouTube video soon on fixing that problem.) I cleaned that up but it wasn’t where the smell was coming from either.

By that time though my nose was definitely not working and I didn’t notice the smell anymore. No one else was saying anything so I thought maybe I had gotten to the source.

Nope. I had to rearrange some things under the kitchen sink this morning and the smell hit me again! It was a bit stronger, or maybe my nose was working better, this time. I checked under the sink for leaks or anything that could be the source with no luck!

Ok, I hate smelly things and this was driving me bonkers. I started in one corner of the kitchen and sniffed until I worked my way around to my ‘workstation’. Aha! The smell was way stronger but what oh what could it be?

That question in itself can be a scary thought with so many youngsters running around here. I tried to stay optimistic about finding it quickly.

After searching the bins behind the chair I found the culprit.

Yep, it was a rotten potato. 🤢 Normally I take them out of the plastic bag when I put them in the bin as that seems to help prevent this kind of smelly situation but no one is perfect and I forgot. Lesson learned…. until the next time.

Well, my kitchen has gotten a good cleaning through the process of elimination and I’ve gotten rid of the problem. Now to fire up the griddle and make some breakfast! 🥞 🥞

Hope you have a less stinky day!

Freezer Board

I think I mentioned here that I was planning to hang a dry erase board to keep track of where I had stored all of our refrigerated/frozen foods as we have 2 freezers and 2 refrigerators that we are currently using.

Well, I did manage to get the board hung up on Saturday but the sticky hooks weren’t strong enough and it soon fell down. Today I went to Walmart and picked up a couple of command hooks:

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And a pack of small sawtooth hangers:

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The plan was to attach the hangers to the back of the dry erase board and then use the hooks to hang it on the wall. First problem was getting those hangers attached because the nails were so darn tiny!

Then I remembered a trick I had seen somewhere before:

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The picture is a little blurry but I used a comb to hold the nail in place so I could hammer it in without smashing my fingers.

Voila! A few minutes later I had them both attached.

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Next was to place the hooks on the wall. I just eyeballed this… sometimes my OCD kicks in and I will spend a few hours measuring and checking the level but not this time.

I then used some alcohol to prep the area.

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While I was in the bathroom grabbing the alcohol and cotton balls Mr. Coffee Connoisseur decided he would ‘fix’ himself a hot chocolate but luckily he can’t reach the power button. He insisted he was ‘just getting it ready’ so Momma could finish it.

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We talked about how the new coffee maker was not a toy and then I told him we would all enjoy a nice hot chocolate after we finished this project.

Then I got the hooks ready:

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The hooks came with three sticky pieces. Each side is labeled so it makes it pretty easy. (They also remove very easily, if needed.) Once the hooks were ready I put them on the wall:

Once the second one was attached I hung up the dry erase board:

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I attached some sticky back velcro to the board and to my dry erase marker. (I thought about attaching the eraser too but I would probably use my finger anyway.)

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And the board was complete. Well almost….

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Mr. Coffee, who loves to practice writing his name, had added his own little touches to the board while I was attaching the hooks… never a dull moment here. Then I let my OCD have its way, just a little, when I rewrote the bottom half of the board.

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I wrote the items in order as you can find them in the porch freezer. The other freezer is a chest freezer and it is fairly organized as well as the outside fridge.

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Now the board is finished… I am still thinking of a catchy name for it other than ‘Freezer Board’ though. I am hoping this will be a handy addition to help with managing our grocery shopping and meal planning. This allows not only me but my oldest daughter to be able see what we have on hand, where to find it, and what we may need to get or add to the grocery list.

Mr. Coffee was happy to see it finished and he asked if he could write his name on it again but I explained to him that this was Momma’s board and reminded him that he has his own. Then we made some hot cocoa, (Momma had some Twinings Earl Grey tea) and had some powdered donuts for a snack. (A special little treat, Just Because.)

 

 

Keeper of The Home: Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Sink

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here.

As you all probably know we moved into a smaller cozier, older home. This home is indeed very cozy.

As I’ve said in other posts I believe that part of being a Keeper of the Home is taking care of what you have. Sometimes we want newer things but there is really no reason to replace things that are working just fine. Even if you do replace them you will need to provide general maintenance and upkeep on your items to keep them looking nice and in working order. Continue reading Keeper of The Home: Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Sink

Blessings Unexpected

I was crying a little bit ago, not because I was sad or happy, but from slicing and chopping so many onions! This past week I have really pushed myself to complete a few things on my checklist like cleaning the bathroom and working on the porch. The kids are finally getting over this bug/cold thing they’ve had but I’ve been feeling a bit puny myself. I was so exhausted yesterday and looking forward to a peaceful, restful weekend.

Yesterday someone came to visit and he brought along a huge box of bananas along with a couple of grocery bags of things he had picked up at the produce market. Well, as it turned out the whole box of bananas was super ripe as well as the squash, peppers, and mushroom he had brought.

Yesterday was a super busy day and I felt overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with all of those bananas and vegetables. I admit that I didn’t really see it as a blessing. Part of that is because my upright freezer that I normally use was still sitting on the front porch, unplugged, and in dire need of a deep cleaning. It seemed like it was going to be a never ending chore to clean and prep everything in the house and then tote it out to the chest freezer in the wash shed. I just wanted to cry but I carried the vegetables out to the shed and put them in the second fridge so they wouldn’t spoil before I could deal with them.

Early this morning I went to the flea market to pick up a vegetable order. (This was the first time I had done this but I was really impressed and will probably start incorporating this into my normal grocery budget when they start the new season next year.) As I was putting the veggies into the chest freezer I realized that it was going to be difficult for me to really do anything with them because it is so hard for me to reach anything. I knew I definitely needed to get that other freezer in working order.

That in itself just seemed like so much work and all I wanted to do was rest. I knew it needed a thorough cleaning but I was tired. I really wanted it moved to a different spot but that spot is still occupied with moving boxes. Deep sigh… I probably had a million reasons why I just couldn’t clean it out. But then there were several reasons why it just needed to be done like the bags of veggies I had placed in the fridge yesterday and that big box of overripe bananas sitting in the kitchen floor.

So after thinking about it I decided that the best time to clean out the freezer was now.

While the kids were down for quiet time I grabbed a water hose, a scrub brush, and a bottle of water and vinegar. After rinsing the freezer out I sprayed it well with the vinegar spray and then got to work with the scrub brush. A few minutes later I gave it a good rinsing and left it to dry for a bit.

After drying, I plugged it up right where it stands. Is it the best place for it? Probably not. Is it where I had intended it to be? Definitely not. Is it easily accessible? Definitely! Will it make my life easier? Yes!

While the freezer was drying I went to work in the kitchen. I pulled out a knife, a cutting board, some Ziploc freezer bags, and my KitchenAid Food Processor. I bought this food processor a few months ago and it has definitely come in handy for food prep and I love the fact that it is so big! It made the slicing and chopping go so much faster. Too bad it couldn’t peel bananas too.

I started with the veggies in the bags as I was really not looking forward to doing the bananas. (Bananas are definitely not my favorite fruit.) First were the sweet peppers which got washed and then I cut the bad spots out. I sliced them thinly and placed them into a thin layer in a gallon size bag.

Then we had some mushrooms that I had no idea were in the bags. I washed them well and sliced them thinly. Next I placed them in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the newly cleaned freezer which was starting to cool by this time. I made another cookie sheet up with some store bought mushrooms and placed them in the freezer as well. Once they are frozen I will place them into Ziploc bags. This method makes it easier to separate what you need from the bag without thawing out the whole bag.

Next came some corn on the cob that I didn’t know was in the bag either. I washed them and then cut them in half. We will be eating the corn with dinner tonight.

After the corn I tackled the yellow squash. I washed them one small bag at a time and then cut the ends and the bad spots off. I then placed them into the food processor and sliced 2 batches on the thick side so that they can be used for squash casserole and such. One batch I sliced thin so I can saute it up to go with dinner tonight.

Once the squash was bagged I rinsed out the food processor and went to work on some onions that I had. I managed to fill one gallon size bag with sliced onions and one quart size bag with chopped onions. I also did a small bag of green onions, thinly sliced. Normally I like to use the cookie sheet method for the onions but I just didn’t have the room to do this today but I’m hoping I will be able to separate the frozen sliced onions without much effort thought.

After cleaning up this mess and carrying everything out to the freezer it was time to tackle those bananas!

I grabbed a couple of plastic grocery bags to put the banana peels in and then got to work. One bunch at a time. Peel, bag, peel, bag, peel, bag and so on. We put 6-7 bananas in each bag. This should be enough for a double batch of Banana Crumb Muffins , banana bread, banana smoothies, or some other banana treat we may think up.

I then carried these bags out to the freezer which is starting to look a bit fuller now. Later this evening or maybe tomorrow I will start moving and organizing some of the items from the chest freezer into the upright freezer too.

This project took me longer than quiet time lasted so I did end up enlisting a little help. As they say many hands make light work… I laugh because I don’t think whoever said that had as many little ones running underfoot as I do… but it did make the kids feel important.

This is also teaching them important lessons about taking care of what we have and not letting things go to waste. They even offered suggestions for things we could make with all of those bags of bananas.

My five year old who is an aspiring time traveler /dinosaur explorer is now interested in becoming a chef also so he has been watching YouTube ‘Cooking for Kids’ videos. He asked me to write down ‘Frozen Banana Recipes for Kids’ in his notebook. When he gets on the computer Monday he will most likely be looking that up on YouTube as well. Y’all better be ready for some kid inspired banana recipes!

While preparing these veggies it started out feeling like a burden but that feeling changed as I realized just how blessed I am. It was a bit of work to get all of this stuff ready. This was work that I had not planned on doing today but it will benefit us for at least a couple of months and it will definitely make life a bit easier too.

So I challenge you to take a second look at things around you. Is there something in your life or your home that seems like a burden? Think of ways you can turn that around and make it a blessing for you!

Updated picture of our freezer:

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Those big bags of veggies came from our Southwestern Produce order that we picked up yesterday. Farm fresh veggies at a great deal! I’ll be doing a quick post about them in a few days so keep checking back!

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<a title=”Shop Amazon Warehouse Deals – Deep Discounts on Open-box and Used Kitchen Gadgets” href=”http://Shop Amazon Warehouse Deals – Deep Discounts on Open-box and Used Kitchen Gadgets” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Shop Amazon Warehouse Deals – Deep Discounts on Open-box and Used Kitchen Gadgets

Start Date: Jul 19 , 2013
End Date: Ongoing
Type: Evergreen
Categories: Kitchen & Housewares

Keeper of The Home: Getting Rid of Hard Water Stains

This is another post for my Keeper of The Home section. I know that it can be downright frustrating when you live in a home where you can clean, scrub, and it just doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Well our bathroom is one of those areas that just never seems to be clean enough. Granted I have not had the time to do a major, top to bottom, cleaning in this room since we moved in but I have been doing the basics. It is getting cleaner every time I do my daily and weekly cleanings but it is still aggravating to walk in and see those orange brown stains everywhere. Yuck!

You will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Pumice Stone
  • Gloves
  • Scrub sponge
  • Elbow grease (you may need more than you think)

This is what we are starting with:

 

For the shower:

Make a thick paste with the baking soda and vinegar. (I started with about 1/4 c. baking soda and just added a few drops of vinegar at a time to make the paste.)

Then spread the paste on the stain.

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Let it sit 10-15 minutes or longer and then use your scrub sponge to start cleaning it.

It actually came off rather easily where I had a good bit of paste spread on. Some of the other areas needed a bit more elbow grease but I managed to get most of it clean.

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There was still a bit of orange in the bottom of the shower… I guess I didn’t notice it as much before because of the stain on the wall. I sprinkled this with a bit of Comet and let it sit while I went to work on the toilet.

(A bit of bleach would probably work as well but this bathroom is very small with no fan so I didn’t want to be around the fumes while I cleaned the toilet.)

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After I finished the toilet I scrubbed some more…

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It isn’t perfect but it is so much better than it was when I started. I keep this squeegee from Dollar Tree in the shower as our shower has a low side and tends to keep water in one side.

Now for the toilet:

You probably want to put your gloves on if you haven’t already done so. Flush the toilet and turn the water supply off so that the water level stays low.

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Grab the pumice stone. (I had broken mine in half as I thought half would do but I ended up using the whole stick and need to get another one.)

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You need to get the stone wet first and then rub it back and forth on the stain. (I used it first on some stains on the sink.)

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Scrub a little at a time and make sure to get the stone wet to generate the paste.

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This may or may not take a lot of elbow grease depending on how bad the stain is.

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This is what was left of the stone when I finished. I will get another one when I go grocery shopping so I can finish this up.

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The shower and the toilet may not be perfect but they are a lot better than they were to start with:

I made quite a bit of progress in here today and I am pleased with the way it turned out. I still have a lot of work to do but I will tackle it one day at a time.

 

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Start Date: Jan 20 , 2014
End Date: Ongoing
Type: Evergreen
Categories: Clothing & Accessories,Electronics,Home & Garden,Sports & Outdoors,Tools & Hardware

 

 

 

Keeper of the Home: Cleaning Your Smooth Top Stove

Today’s FlyLady mission was to check our stoves and ovens for things that shouldn’t be there. Once clearing off items that shouldn’t be there you should wipe down the stove.

Well, that kinda motivated me to give my stovetop (the oven will be a project for another day) a good cleaning. I’ve never had a smooth top stove so this is a new experience for me.

I did a little research on google and reading several posts and suggestions I decided on the following method. (I have another method linked below that I will try the next time around.) This is something you could get the kids involved in as this is one of those practical life skills that they will eventually need to know.

You will need:

  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • cleaning rags/paper towel
  • elbow grease

First off, this stove is not new and it did have some prior scratches and plenty of stuck on stuff. I also forgot to take a picture prior to beginning the process but this is a google image of what it resembled:

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My first step was to wipe the stove down with white vinegar. I then sprinkled baking soda on the stove and covered it with wet paper towels. I let this sit for 20 – 30 minutes. (You could also let this sit overnight and possibly not need to scrub as much as I did.)

During this time I filled my dishpan with hot soapy water and I took the knobs off of the stove. I let the knobs (and the spoons that were hanging above the stove) soak while the stovetop was being cleaned.

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During the time everything was sitting and soaking I was back and forth between helping the kids with school work, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, and other household tasks.

Once this part was cleaned to my satisfaction (not to perfection) I wiped the knobs down and dried them well. (If you have to scrub them be careful not to scrub the lettering off.) I then placed them back on the stove. So shiny! (A little wipe down with vinegar will give you this shine.)

Now to the stovetop. I started by taking up the paper towels and wiping most of the baking soda off.

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Next I took a purple rag with the grooved side down and used a bit of elbow grease to start scrubbing on the stuck on stuff.

Once it was cleaned to my satisfaction I got a clean rag and wiped it down again using the smooth side of the rag, making sure to get in the edges and cracks. You can use a little vinegar to get it nice and shiny too.

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It’s not perfect but it is way better than it was before I started. Here is a pic of what the area looks like after I completed the FlyLady mission (I moved some aprons I had near the stove as they could be a fire hazard).

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I think it is important to be a good steward of what we have been blessed with no matter how new or old it is. You don’t have to keep things spotless nor do you have to go on a frenzy and clean everything from top to bottom.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed! I know how easy it is to get that way and how easily being overwhelmed can cause you to just give up. Trust me, this recent move has almost had me ready to throw my hands up and cry a couple of times.

Just start on one thing at a time. Little by little you will get there. Today I just cleaned the stove top and I will do the oven on another day. Don’t stress over perfection either.

Each day you will make progress and if you get your routines set up you’ll be spending less and less time on cleaning. Ex: Get in the habit of clearing the stove of anything that doesn’t belong every night and give it a quick wipe. This will keep it clutter free so you can use it and will help to keep it cleaner.

Yesterday I cleaned out the trash can. Not that anyone really notices that I did it but I know I did and it made me feel that I had accomplished something. Regularly cleaning it out keeps it from getting stinky too.

I put it in the shower and sprayed it down with hot water. I did use a little bleach in it and let that sit while I cleaned the bathroom. I then rinsed it out well and let it dry before returning it to the kitchen.

Tomorrow will probably be the inside of the refrigerator. Here’s a peek of the before:

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Happy housekeeping!

Here is the link to method I will try the next time I clean my stove top.

Do It Yourself Glass Stove Top Cleaner! Only THREE Ingredients!