Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Housekeeping epiphanies
In Sandra Felton's book, The Messies Manual, she says that one type of Messie is the Old-Fashioned Messie, who insists, for example, that floors must be cleaned on hands and knees with a scrub brush. Not that she ever gets around to actually cleaning her floors, it being such a difficult and time-consuming thing, but if she ever does clean it, by golly it'll be done right. Now I wouldn't call myself an Old-Fashioned Messy, but when I got married my idea of Cleaning the Bathroom was that you should remove every item from the bathroom and then start cleaning at the stop and work your way down to the floor, ending by cleaning all the items you'd removed earlier - soap dish, knick knacks - and putting them back in their proper places. Needless to say, this was such a daunting task that I only got around to it once a month or so, or more often if we were having company. Then, one day, after we'd been married a year and a half or two, Mike said to me, "You know, if you take a piece of a baby wipe, you can wipe off that part of the toilet behind the seat and it makes the whole bathroom look cleaner."

What? Wouldn't that be cheating? Trying to make the bathroom look cleaner without actually cleaning the whole thing?

I went along with it, including in my daily wipedown the toilet's seat, rim, and base, as well as the floor around the base, but I still felt badly that I wasn't doing it The Right Way, until I read a housecleaning newsletter that suggested something very similar to this. The idea was that, once you get your whole bathroom clean, you can use a spray-on-wipe-off cleaner on the sink and toilet every day to keep them clean, which only takes a few minutes each day, and then your monthly deep cleaning job won't be awful. Nowadays I use disposable sanitary bathroom cleaning wipes, and the kids generally take turns helping me look after the bathrooms. Even though this felt like a lowering of standards, my bathrooms are consistently cleaner than they were before.

The other day I had another one of these epiphanies. Baby Princess had spilt an abandoned cup of (very sugary) tea on the counter, and as it ran down her stool and onto the floor, the first thing I thought was, "Great. Now I have to sweep the whole floor, find the mop bucket, and mop the whole floor," which of course, is the right way to clean a kitchen floor. But then I remembered I'd just bought one of those quick mops with disposable cleaning wipes. Man, that made the job so much easier.

I'm learning to like these shortcuts that actually make the house cleaner.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is why I'm not a photoblogger
Three and a half days of food, fun, and fellowship, and here are all the pictures I took.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Friday afternoon: Princess Grace preparing for her crochet lesson with Miss Valerie.

Since I took a pic of the princesses, the little boys wanted their pictures taken, too.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Saturday afternoon: Elai receiving calligraphy lessons from Miss Valerie. All the other kids are present since everyone wanted to be where Miss Valerie was - except for Number One Son, who was outside with Daddy doing Manly Things.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

(I would say somthing sentimental and witty here, except that I'm too badgerly to be sentimental, and too sleep-deprived to be witty.)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

We are rednecks
Now you might think that we became rednecks during our four year sojurn on the backside of the desert in West Texas, but no... In San Angelo, we had Starbucks, and many of you will remember that Mike used to take me out for a frappucino on occasion. We have moved back to civilization - we now live within an hour of both the nation's capitol and the capitol of Virginia - so what do we do on date night now? Drive to town so we can shop at Wal-Mart, then stop by the Sheetz gas station to get a cup of coffee. Now we are rednecks.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thankful Thursday
1. Valerie's coming here today!

2. Valerie's coming here today!

3. Valerie's coming here today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Look what I found while I was uploading pictures of the house from my camera.

Mike took it when he was in Annapolis a couple of months ago for a job interview.

(Y'all do know who that is, don't you?)

Friday, August 19, 2005

More pix

This one is of the back porch and garage. The plants in the foreground are "Autum Joy" sedum, red-orange daylilies, and a red hibiscus. That bed also contains several peonies, which I'm quite excited about since I've never had one of these beauties before. The large trees there are walnuts, and the smallish one at the back corner of the garage is a redbud.

Eleanor, this one is especially for you. Behind Princess Grace is the old smokehouse which the last owner was using for a potting shed. Isn't it cute? It still smells nice and smoky inside.

And this is the view from the window over my kitchen sink, looking south. Of course, the handsome gentleman you see is not usually standing there while I'm washing dishes, but I think he improves the view. :-D

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thankful Thursday
First, I'm very thankful to Kristen who faithfully hosted Thankful Thursdays for several months, which was probably a lot longer than she bargained for.

Second, even though I sort of miss Texas' awe-inspiring thunderstorms, there's a lot to be said for Virginia's gentle rains. It has rained twice in the last two weeks and both times it's been a nice, sedate rain that allowed the children to splash in its puddles.

Third, I'm very thankful for the safe journey the Lord granted us.

What are y'all thankful for?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Finally, some pictures.
We haven't yet found the uploading cable thingie, but Mike showed me how I can stick my camera's card into a slot in the printer and upload them from there. It's exceedingly slow, but hey, it works. :-)

This picture was taken from about 60' up the driveway from the street, facing almost due east.

Now we're about half-way up the driveway to the front of the house. That's a real antique streetlight there, from 1890 they said, but I never got a chance to ask the previous owners to tell me its story. The dormer you see there is the attic where the boys sleep. Mwa ha ha ha haaaa!

For this next picture, I was standing about half-way between the Jenyoowine Antique 1890 Streetlight and the Biggest Boxwood in the World looking north. That's a weeping cherry there near the bench and to the left of it you can just make out an iron arch that marks the entrance to the Secret Garden.

Well, this took a lot longer than I figured on, so that's all for tonight.

Monday, August 15, 2005

This isn't actually indicative of my personality. It just means that Emma is the most recent Austen book I've read, and my favorite is always whichever one I'm reading at the time, or have just completed.

The Emma type: Friendly and outgoing, these are the
social butterflies of the Austenites. They are
forgiving of human nature, and believe that
anyone can change. "Pictures of perfection
make them sick and wicked"; they enjoy
watching the process of growth and maturation.
May be too fanciful and intelligent for their
own good.

Jane Austen novel quiz
brought to you by Quizilla

Found at Carmon's blog.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

So we have this crabapple tree and it's absolutely loaded with fruit. I'd really hate to let it all go to waste, but I have no idea how to make crabapple pickles. As a matter of fact, I've never pickled or canned anything. Any favorite recipes out there? Is there anything else to do with crabapples besides pickling them? Now that I think about it, I don't remember ever having a crabapple before!

Thursday, August 4, 2005

We're moved in and we're finally back online. Valerie was right about moving day - it didn't rain, but it was over 100 degrees that week!