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A Letter to Heather Solos, Author of Home Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living

Dear Heather Solos, I know I agreed to review your new book, Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living – Cook it, Clean it, Fix it, Wash it, but I can’t. It’s not that I don’t like it. I do like it, actually. I like it a lot. I like your writing style, your sarcasm, and your wit. Some parts of the book have really pierced my heart, like If no one who visits your home is ever hungry or thirsty, it may be time to take a hard, unbiased look at your cleaning habits. Um, ouch. But that’s not why … Read more

10 Ways to Clean with Vinegar in the Kitchen

There is no need to buy fancy chemical-based cleaners for most jobs.  In fact, vinegar is the best all-around cleaner that I know of. Here are some of the ways that I use it: 10 Uses for Vinegar De-stink your kitchen towels. Tammy’s Kitchen has a great solution for getting rid of the sour stink. Trap fruit flies. I learned this tip from Tammy’s Kitchen, too. I set out a dish of red wine vinegar to trap fruit flies, and it worked really well. Remove soap scum and hard water spots. Our glasses, plates, and bowls get coated in soap … Read more

Grace’s New Bedroom: Done (For the Moment)

All three coats of hot pink paint on Grace’s walls are dry (and they have been for more than a week). We put her beloved race car bed into storage and hauled out her crib to convert into a toddler day bed. Never having used them as a baby, Grace thought the bumpers that came with her bedding were just so cool. She insisted they be tied onto the sides and back of her day bed. In a moment of temporary brilliance, I tied the remaining bumper on to act as a soft bed rail. It’s not terribly sturdy, but … Read more

The ghost of Thanksgiving past

Joe’s car broke down on Friday, and he decided to try to fix it himself. Despite his many strengths and the fact that he worked in apartment maintenance for six years, my husband is not a handy bloke. He just isn’t. While he was working on his car outside, in the drizzly rain, Grace and I baked pies for our Sunday dinner. Truthfully, though, Grace pretended to feed her Baby and played with her magnetic farm while I baked two pies. Since she didn’t seem to want to chat, I had plenty of time to reflect on this year’s Thanksgiving … Read more

The toilet is clogged

Have you missed me, Dear Reader? Joe, Gracie, and I spent the weekend at my Grandma’s house. My Grandma is an interesting lady. She lives in a farmhouse that is almost two hundred years old, and it requires constant repair. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, but her second husband thought buying a farm was a nice idea. They bought nearly a hundred-fifty acres in Clarion County in 1958, and she’s never liked the house that came on it. She’s lived in a house that she dislikes for fifty years. There’s a lot she doesn’t like about the house; … Read more

Homemade cleaning products

It’s important to me to keep the house looking nice, but more important that the concoctions I use to do the job not be poisonous to the toddler playing next to me or the cats scurrying around. So, what’s a girl to do? She’s to make her own concoctions. It’s easy, and they work pretty well. Don’t get me wrong – they aren’t going to erase the dirt with the wave of a wand. You’re going to have to scrub a bit more than you would if you were using the super powerful, toxic goo from the store. It’s a … Read more