Friday, December 31, 2010

My Household Tips

Here are a few of my own household tips to make life a little easier for those of us who clean up the messes, even when it’s our own mess.

Ever had Blue Bunny ice cream? I’m a fan of it. Even the low calorie version is delicious. What’s even nicer is that it comes in an oval, resealable, plastic tub. I couldn’t bear to throw away such a valuable plastic container so I decided to use it as an indoor planter.
I took two clean Blue Bunny containers. (I have more because I eat a lot of ice cream) I punched a few drainage holes in the bottom.
Before all of my outdoor basil died, I rooted a few sprigs in water and planted them in dirt inside the empty Blue Bunny ice cream container. I sat the container of basil inside of another empty container to catch the water.
The oval shape fits perfectly in my windowsill where my basil gets just the right amount of light.

Shower and Tub Cleaning

I have the premade shower and tub surround. The good thing about it is that there is no grout to clean mold out of. The only thing I don’t like is having to clean it. Like most showers and tubs in the past, I had to use strong cleaners which required a mask and ventilation. There was always a lot of scrubbing and after all of that work, who wants to get back in the tub/shower and get it dirty again. The spray on shower cleaners have never worked for me. There’s still a lot of back breaking scrubbing

That is UNTIL…

Yes, that’s right folks, no fumes oven cleaner .
1. Spray the no fume oven cleaner over a small area of the shower wall, top to bottom. (It doesn’t make sense to start at the bottom. When you clean the top you’ll have to clean any drips from the bottom.)
2. Have a bucket of warm water and a sponge or rag. Wring the water out of your sponge and wipe it down.
3. That’s right, don’t scrub, don’t chisel, .......wiiiiipe....... itttt....... down.4. The grime comes off like melted butter. Just look at your rag and you’ll see it.   Update 11-18-2012.since this post I have been using Scrubbing Bubbles. It works well

5. Every now and then rinse your rag and go on to another spot. I usually do the tub after I’ve finished the walls.
NOTE: n I don’t wet the walls before applying the foam.
n I don’t know if this works with ceramic tile and grout but you could test it out on a spot.
n I don’t put any cleaner on the chrome fixtures or the drain.
n I ventilate even though the label says it’s fume free.

I can’t take credit for this cleaning tip. I saw it on the NET and was skeptical as to whether it would work or not. Now that I know it does I’ll keep using it.

Fast Food Plastic and Foam CupsI eat a lot of fast food. The workers know me and usually know what I want because I get the same thing every time. Most times my meal is a “to go” so I end up with a lot of plastic ware ,empty cups, rewashed, throwaway platters etc. I always tell myself I’ll use them again and then I end up with a lot of clutter.
Then I feel guilty. Taking the same clean cup or plate to the food establishment on my next visit sounds kind of crude. Besides I think it’s against health department rules to reuse these items.
I’ve used fast food cups for a little of everything. No doubt you have a few uses . My latest use is to soak tableware. Before I run the dishwasher I make sure I have a load. During the interim the food on cutlery has the opportunity to get as hard as cement. I end up having to handwash it.
Now I put a little dish soap and water in a foam cup. I place dirty eating utensils in the cup (business end down) which is kept inside the dishwasher. When it’s time to run a load I place the utensils in their appointed basket and let the dishwasher do the rest.
I’ve found that my tableware comes out cleaner without me having to rewash by hand.

Single Cuppa CoffeeI’ve been trying to cut back on my coffee consumption. I’m limiting myself to 2 cups a day. My coffee maker makes 10 cups.
Instead of buying a 2 cup model, I use the one I have.
I'm cheap. So what!?
1. I put enough coffee in a filter into the basket for one cup of coffee.
2. I pour a cup of water into the dispenser.
3. I set my ceramic mug or cup underneath the spout and turn it on. When the cup gets about ½ full, I turn off the coffee maker and let the rest drip in the cup.

If it looks as if my cup will run over, ( I couldn't resist) I remove the cup and place either a saucer or an empty cup there to catch the residue.
I’m not saying these tips are all my own but just among some of my favorites.
I’m open to new ones.
THAT'S IT*** Updated 11-18-2012

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Day in Birmingham, Alabama

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yes, Dear Reader, There is a Christmas Ornament In That Tree.

Decorated by the Charlie Brown Gang

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Orleans 2010

Amtrak Station New Orleans, LA
Boarded Amtrak’s Crescent along with my traveling companions for a visit to The Big Easy, New Orleans, Louisiana. I hadn’t been on a passenger train since I was a child. I was surprised at the roomy leg space and the ability to recline without my head ending up in some stranger’s lap.

I have to admit some things about it have changed. But, that’s to be expected after so many years. I really enjoyed it. Box lunches from Honeybaked Ham were distributed by our travel agent before boarding and they were delicious.

The following day we had a guided windshield tour of the “Paris of the Americas”. Since we didn’t leave the coach (bus) these pictures may have a bit of a reflection. Parade route taken during Mardi Gras. Numerous strands of beads still hang in the trees.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and a native New Orleanian giving us the history and the trivia of the sites seen. I won’t list all of the places we saw but here are some: This FEMA trailer was home for so many after the hurricane.
Though Fats Domino no longer lives here, this is his home and the production studio he had next to it. Our guide states that he lives elsewhere.

We saw the homes that Brad Pitt has been building through his Make It Right program After visiting the 9th Ward talking with its residents following Katrina, Pitt vowed to rebuild 150, green, storm resistant ,houses.

This home is designed to float if flood waters get too high. A new kind of ark.
The homes aren't free. Residents must pay for them but at a cost they can afford. Though stylishly built, they don't appear to be built for the handicapped. How is a person in a wheelchair supposed to mount those steps?

The cemeteries of New Orleans are a tour within themselves. There is magnanimous history and tradition behind New Orleans funerals.
One thing I do remember the guide saying is that a tomb can be rented. Families also reuse tombs. How’s that for recycling?

World War II MuseumVisiting a huge museum for real enthusiasts takes more than just an hour. Because of schedule and time restraints I couldn’t really drink it all in the way I like to when visiting a museum.
The Solomon Victory Theatre across from the museum presents an IMAX, 4D, surround sound interactive presentation of Beyond All Boundaries.The seats vibrate during tank and bomb simulations. Snow falls from the ceiling while a lonely soldier huddles next to a crackling fire in a snow drenched field. And you can hear the crackles and smell the smoke. There’s more but I won’t spoil it for you. This is the best interactive presentation I have ever seen.
From our lunch cruise on the Steamboat Natchez the captain pointed out several spots of interest. Among them:
Domino Sugar is manufactured in New Orleans.

are non mechanical storage containers on water. They can't be moved without the assistance of a ship's tow.
Ms. Harriett at the New Orleans School of Cooking dazzled us with cooking and conversation. She prepared a corn and crab bisque, Jambalaya, Bananas Foster(she even made it flame), and Pralines. Her presentation was similar to that of a cooking show on the Food Channel. The food was delicious.

Street Performers Human Statue. Uncle Louie
Street Musician

This Human Statue is similar to Robo-Tron.