Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WFMW - Post-Easter Clean-Up

Works for Me Wednesday
Our first child's first Easter basket. If you look closely, you can see that the grass was immediately removed. Good thing it wasn't on my living room carpet!
Maybe I'm a party-pooper, but one of the things I hated about Easter, particularly when the kids were younger, was finding Easter basket "grass" all over the house for days. After a few years of dealing with clogged vacuums, I finally got smart and figured out a way to minimize the mess. That involves keeping strict control, but it was worth it to me, and hopefully it didn't ruin my children.

Easter baskets only appeared on the night before Easter, and before Easter Sunday was over, the candy the bunny left was in ziploc bags and the baskets were out of sight, along with the grass. (I know some families have the Easter Bunny come on Saturday, but it's the same principle.)

So, if this is something that bugs you too, next year you know what to do. Of course, I could always outlaw the grass totally, and I've discovered that the paper grass is less annoying than the plastic grass, but it's part of the tradition and brings back great memories of when I was a kid, so we'll keep pulling it out each year.

So, that's what Works for Me this Wednesday. Feel free to add an idea of your own in the comments.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WFMW - Eggs and Things

Works for Me Wednesday

In honor of Easter this week, I thought I'd share some things that work for us relating to that ubiquitous Easter symbol - the hard-boiled egg.
First, I've learned that you're not to call them hard-boiled eggs, but hard-cooked eggs. Apparently, boiling them is bad news. Maybe, maybe not; you decide. However, here's how I cook the eggs so that they're ready for Easter baskets and egg salad sandwiches:

Place the cold eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Put the uncovered pan on the stove over high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn off the stove, put on the lid, and set the timer for 17 minutes. When the timer buzzes, immediately pour off the water and run cold water over the eggs to stop further cooking. Since I've learned this method, I've had success every time.

Second, here's our method for coloring the Easter eggs. I know there are many, but over the years we've found that it's easiest just to collect a few mugs or bowls from the kitchen cupboard, put a tablespoon of vinegar in each one, then fill half-full with hot tap water. Then we pull out the food dyes and have fun. We start with a few drops and keep adding more. Many years ago we discovered that if you drip the dye on the egg itself while in the cup, it makes great swirly designs. What's your favorite way to color Easter eggs? A couple of years ago we tried a method with rice in a baggie; read about it here.

Third, I love my handy-dandy egg slicer, even though I don't use it very often. (You'll notice that it's been replaced since this post.) It's still kept in the "gadget basket" and because it's out of sight, when the only option at the store wasn't necessarily my style, I bought it anyway. And it does make me smile when I use it. After slicing the egg one direction, I rotate it 90° and slice it again, to have perfect chunks for egg salad. (My recipe for that is just simply adding Miracle Whip to the chopped egg, along with salt and pepper to taste, maybe some dry mustard. Nothing fancy but it tastes great.)

Fourth, in addition to plain egg salad toast or sandwiches, which is actually just fine with me, here are some of the recipes we also use to finish off the Easter eggs.
     Creamed Eggs on Toast
     as a condiment for Chicken or Lamb Curry
     Eggs Goldenrod (scroll to the end for that variation)

Finally, best wishes for a very Happy Easter weekend! Feel free to add your favorite tips and tricks and recipes for Easter eggs.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Works for Me Wednesday - the 2017 Edition

One of the New Year's Resolutions I considered was to bring back "Works for Me Wednesday" on this blog. I really enjoyed participating in that blog hop several years ago, and although it's now no longer in existence, I just liked the ring of "Works for Me Wednesday" and feel it's a good way to share with my readers ideas and habits that have been successful in our family.

I obviously didn't start this in January, but it's never to late to make changes and the beginning of the second quarter is a good starting place as well, don't you think? Although I don't necessarily believe in "Spring Cleaning" - it's NOT something that "works for me" - some of the first thoughts that came to mind are cleaning tips.

I've mentioned this before, but one of the things I wish I had known 30 years ago was how to properly clean a shower. I still wouldn't call myself an expert, but since we moved into this house six years ago, I haven't cringed when looking at the shower. I call that success!

So, here's my system. Every single day (right after my shower) I use a squeegee to wipe down the glass doors, then a small towel (kept hanging right next to my bath towel) to wipe the chrome fixture and door frame. That's the main key to keeping the glass clear. Once a week I spray the tile down, about ten minutes before my shower, alternating between Tilex "mold and mildew" remover and Tilex "soap scum" remover. (There might be other products, but we discovered these when Wayne was working for Clorox and they work.) Every couple of months I coat the glass with car wax, which makes the water bead up and helps the squeegee job go faster.

Basically, it took me 30 years to learn that taking a minute (or less) every day to wipe down the shower saves hours of scrubbing time later. I'm sharing this in the hope of saving you lots of scrubbing time.

Note: I'm assuming you're starting with a clean shower. This house was in pretty decent shape when we moved in, but before doing so, we did take the time to thoroughly scrub the tile, check the grout and re-do some spots, and re-caulk around the door frame. I also learned that re-caulking is something that just needs to be done every few years. It doesn't take too long, and makes everything look nice and new again.

If you're not starting with a clean shower, check this post where people gave me ideas and suggestions. 

So, that's what Works for Me this Wednesday. Feel free to add an idea of your own in the comments.