That Sinking Feeling

Now that the holidays are over, we are ready to settle into our homes and begin the new year. For many, that means attention to neglected areas. Let me introduce you to my kitchen sink!

I don’t know why, but the area under the kitchen sink seems to be one of the least favourite areas in the house. Maybe because of the sink pipes? Or maybe because that’s where all the cleaning stuff gets stored? This is certainly a problem the Proverbs 31 woman didn’t have to think about, as she fetched her water from a nearby well.

I have never considered it to be an unpleasant area, although until a year ago I did have my cleaning products under the sink. Since then, I have moved them to a cupboard in the laundry room, which is right next to the kitchen, so it’s still convenient — the advantages to living in a condo!

I still have my kitchen garbage container hanging on one of the cupboard doors, because that is one of the things I can’t stand to see sitting in a kitchen. On the other door I have a small acrylic container that holds my sponge/scrubbers and also a selection of cloths that I can grab quickly when I need one (part of my commitment to use fewer paper towels.) Sitting on the floor of the cupboard I have dish soap, a bottle brush, extra garbage bags, and dishwasher powder. I keep it in a brass and glass container from India, and I enjoy using a heart-shaped spoon to add it to the dishwasher. 

The rest of the space is used to store my baking sheets with their silicone liners, and pizza stones. They stand up in a file folder holder. On the other side I keep my Quick Cooker from Pampered Chef. It is a pressure cooker/slow cooker all in one, so it gets a lot of use year-round, but especially in the winter, when soups, stews, and chilis are on the lunch menu! Rolled up in the back corner is Epicure’s rolling rack, which fits perfectly onto one side of my sink.

Oh, and let’s not forget to replace the shelf liner whenever it looks like it needs to be refreshed. Finish up with a polish of your sink. I clean mine every day and polish once a week.

And that’s it! An under the sink area that might even become your favourite spot in the kitchen!

Why I Have a Set of Dishes for 12

I am starting the New Year with a confession, and yes, you read that title right! I – the one who preaches on getting rid of excess – I have set of dishes for 12 people! But let me explain:

  • This set is made by Lagostina. It has simple, yet elegant design, which is equally at home at breakfast or on our most formal tablescapes. 
  • It also coordinates well with a small set of Blue Willow I acquired a few years ago. In that way, it replaces the Royal Albert that I sold years ago.
  • It is white, so it can be used in any room, and combined with any accessory. We don’t need the matching cream and sugar, salt and pepper, or teapot. It looks just as  good with our crystal salt and pepper shakers as with our pepper grinder.
  • It is made of porcelain, not likely to chip, and is safe in the dishwasher and the microwave. Something my Royal Albert could not do.
  • We don’t have to eat off unmatched dishes.
  • It takes no more space to stack 12 dinner plates than it would to stack 6.
  • There are only two of us, yet we want to be careful with the water and electricity we use. We are always able to run the dishwasher with a full load.
  • Because we are saving for a full load, a smaller set would mean unexpected company would have to wait until we run the dishwasher. With our larger set, we always have at least six place settings in the cupboard – and we can seat six at our dining room table!

New Year’s Eve… it’s almost 2022!

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Happy New Year’s Eve day!

Tonight, Dave and I will be celebrating with pizza, champagne, and An Affair to Remember on the PVR. We’ll switch to Times Square in time to see the ball drop.

It is still mid-morning, and I am about to begin my New Year’s Eve tradition – cleaning completely. Everything! If you know me, you know what a clean freak am, but this is the day I like to live up to the expression “out with the old, in with the new.” My last act before settling in to our romantic evening in front of the fireplace will be to take out the kitchen trash bag, into which I will empty the contents of the Dyson, and to put a load of microfibre cloths into the laundry – the clothes I will use all day to polish and shine. 

Seriously, I like to keep our home clean enough that company would have been able to drop in unexpectedly – were it not for the pandemic. But today begin the end of 2021, I will do through my weekly routine all in one day: dusting, vacuuming, moping, and shining every surface.

Thinking back, this time last year I had not yet discovered the cleaning products of Norwex and I did not yet have my collection of microfibre cloths for every use. Nor did I have my Norwex mop, which has changed the way I do my floors. I now literally use just water to clean everything in our home, which is not only better for the environment, it’s also better for us, and closer to how the Proverbs 31 woman would have cleaned her home. 

Tonight’s pizza will be take-out, complete with garlic bread, so it will also be tomorrow’s dinner. Half veggie for me, half meat for Dave, and such a treat! We are ordering from Papa John’s, which has the best garlic bread on the planet! We don’t order pizza often, but it’s our New Year’s Eve tradition, and since it is infrequent, we look forward to it all the more. The firelight, of course, will be electric, but our fireplace has a heater so it feels as real as it looks!

Tablecloths for Everyday

Tomorrow is the second Monday of October, and here in Canada that means Thanksgiving. We will be driving up to spend the afternoon and early evening with my daughter and her family, but today — Sunday — our condo is filled with the aroma of turkey, stuffing, and apple pie.

Dave and I always cook a full turkey dinner on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. It gives us a festive meal, turkey pot pies, a couple of casseroles, soup, and sandwiches for Dave to take for lunches. It also gives us a chance to package up complete turkey dinners (including dessert) to share with neighbours who are alone and unable to risk being exposed to Covid.

But I digress…

Even though it will be just the two of us for dinner, I decided to use place our harvest centrepiece on our best white tablecloth. And then I thought, why not use it every day? Our condo doesn’t have an eat-in kitchen, so we eat at the dining table with placemats and napkins. It is no extra work to wash a tablecloth than it is placemats, but what a special feeling it brings to every day meals, even breakfast!

Right now I am feeling like my grandmother, and proud of it! Are tablecloths old fashioned? Perhaps, but so am I!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fifteen Home Projects to do While in Quarantine

The best thing about being in quarantine is that we are all safe in our own homes! And what better opportunity to work on our homes, now that we suddenly “have the time?”

Many of you will be tackling the jobs that have been waiting for awhile, such as painting or even installing new toilets. But the rest of you will want something a little less time or energy consuming, so here is a list of home projects that can be done all in one day:

  • Deep cleaning — more important right now than ever! Start with the kitchen one day, the bathrooms the next, and keep going on a different room each day, until the whole house is disinfected and sparkling
  • Do something about your stereo or computer wires
  • Wash the windows, inside and out
  • Tackle one closet each day. Remove everything, purge what you don’t need, and replace the rest
  • Do the same with your kitchen cupboards
  • Completely organize your basement (this might take more than one day.)
  • Ditto for your garage
  • Go through the family’s clothes and handle anything that needs to be mended buttons replaced, etc
  • Organize your filing cabinet and shred any documents you no longer need
  • Get creative with using up perishables in your fridge
  • Try a new recipe each day
  • Clean your oven
  • Rearrange the furniture — it’s like getting a new home for free
  • Do some gardening
  • Organize your pantry — no doubt your shopping habits have changed a little lately