...a God to serve...a family to love... a work to do...

Category: Titus 2 (Page 1 of 36)

Daily Kitchen Cleaning

If your kitchen is ready for a good heavy cleaning, Here is the link to the Kitchen Spring Cleaning Instructions.

However, if you need a good daily method for cleaning your kitchen, this is the page you need.

Our plan is simple. We want to get a clean kitchen that is as germ free as possible, has no obvious places for germs and vermin to live and is prepared for the next day.

Here are some recommendations for keeping your kitchen cleaner and more orderly throughout the day

Number oneThe kitchen is a work area. There’s nothing wrong with having decorations in one’s kitchen, but if those decorations take up valuable counter space or wall space, best to move them to another more appropriate room.

Set Yourself up to succeedEvery morning, start your day by drawing up a sink of hot soapy dish water. This sink of very hot soapy water will serve you all day long as you clean spills, wipe up after working and keeping the surface areas clean.  You may have to change it once during the day depending on how many dishes you usually do or how much cleaning your do with the soapy water.

Clean as You GoYou’ve heard it before and it’s true. You must clean as you go in order not to overwhelm yourself with cleaning at the end of the day. Teach yourself to wipe down and clean all day long while you are in the kitchen, to put dirty dishes in the sink immediately after using them, to pick up and keep areas clean all day. This is something that no one can do for you, you have to discipline yourself.

Don’t be haphazardYou don’t have to cook that way.  So many cooks have ingredients every where, tools slung here and there. Get all your ingredients out, measure them into small containers before you begin cooking and put away the ingredients as soon as you are finished with them. This will really help you to not only be an organized cook, but will keep your kitchen cleaner, longer and it will be easier to clean up after you’re finished cooking.

Now, let’s start the daily cleaning process. After you’ve cooked and used your kitchen all day long, it needs a good clean.

The first four items on this list are done all together. While you’re putting tools away, you’re putting away food and you’re putting things where they go.

*Take all items back to their place. Organizing and putting things away is probably 90% of cleaning the kitchen. Once everything is put where it belongs, you’ll be surprised how much better it looks.

*Store all food. While you’re putting things away be sure all your food items are stored properly.

*Put all tools that do not need to be washed in their proper places. 

*Pick up all paper trash, dispose of it.

*Place all food scraps in an appropriate container. I like to use a lidded container so that I can take the scraps to a compost bin. Non-compost food is put into a grocery bag or other disposable container and then in the trash. Some “food trash” is actually not trash. I save vegetable peels and trimmings in a container in the freezer to make vegetable broth and soups.

*Dust out dining area chairs and wipe crumbs off table.

*Wash all dishes or run the dish washer. I wash my dishes by hand and I like to give them a final rinse in a disinfectant solution of bleach and water. Dishes disinfected in this way should be allowed to air dry.

*While dishes dry or machine is running, make a pan of cleaning solution and hot water.
Use whichever cleaner you prefer. I have some natural homemade cleaner recipes here.

New Homemade Natural Cleaners

Homemade Anti-Bacterial Scouring Powder

Homemade Natural Cleaners

*Choose a clean rag and begin to wipe down the dirtiest areas first, such as stove tops and countertops. Rinse your rag well between cleaning the surfaces. Change your cleaning water as often as you need to.

*Next, move to the other appliances that you have used this day, such as microwave, toaster, refrigerator and mixers. Give everything a good wipe down.

*Using your cleaning solution, wipe down all tables and other work surfaces. Replace table decorations such as centerpieces or placemats. Don’t forget to wipe down the dining table and chairs, pay attention to the handles on the chairs.

*Put away clean dishes. Make sure that they are completely dry before storing them in cabinets. Moisture encourages bacteria growth and insects. Rinse out your dish drainer if you use one, dry it and put it away.

*Clean your sinks.  I use a scrub-type cleaner that won’t damage my stainless steel sinks.  I have a recipe for it here.

*Sweep the floor.

*Make a mopping solution. I suggest that you find a good container to use as a mop bucket, store it away and use it only for mopping. I like ammonia and water for mopping, but some floors will be damaged by ammonia, so use whatever cleaner you prefer. I mop my kitchen every day. It doesn’t take much time. But it helps me keep the floor clean and grease-free.

*Wash out your kitchen rags with dish soap and rinse them in a bleach/water solution. Just 2 qts of water and 1 tablespoon of bleach will give you a disinfecting solution. Squeeze the solution though the cloths several times. Wring out your rags and cleaning cloths and hang to dry. Or wash your cloths in the washing machine with detergent and bleach.

After you have tweaked this routine to fit you and your kitchen, it will go fast and you can do it every day after your evening meal. it will keep your kitchen cleaner, longer.

May God bless you as you serve Him in your home!

It Happens

Buying things online is a blessing and a curse. If it goes well, it’s great and when it doesn’t….. it can be a real bummer.

I ordered spring and summer clothing from Full Beauty which includes stores like Jessica London, Roamans, WomanWithin and others. It was a lot of money for me, my entire clothes budget for spring and summer. For the store it was too much to loose but they aren’t concerned with me for sure.

Any way, I got an email telling me that my package had been delivered. Nope. I waited all day because sometimes delivery services like Fed Ex in this case, mark their packages “delivered” before they actually deliver them. But it never showed up.

The next day I tried to contact Fed Ex, nope you have to contact the seller. So I contacted Jessica London/Full Beauty.  They said they’d send me an affidavit to fill out and return. It came in my email the next day.

The affidavit also required a police report!  Even though no crime had been committed, the package wasn’t stolen. Guess how I knew?? The photo the delivery person left was not of my porch. No where near.

My Porch

The porch where the package was left

So I filled it out and I called the local police, non-emergency line. Nope, they won’t file a crime report unless a crime has been committed. I knew that. I put that on the affidavit.

Just when I was resigned to having to send the thing today, my neighbor came walking down the road with my package! They had left it at his back door, I couldn’t see that porch from the road so I didn’t know! I did go looking all over the neighborhood for “The Porch”.

I’m so thankful for honest neighbors. Its so nice to know that there are still kind people in my neighborhood. I’m so thankful to have my work clothes finally.

But I still feel a caution about ordering online. I really prefer using Paypal or other service like that because then, you have recourse if something goes afoul. Your number can’t be stolen and you can remove businesses and people from your auto payments at places like Paypal. The business I used this time didn’t have that option.

I had my credit card number stolen a few years ago and used at a Nordstroms.  When the bank called I told them, ‘Uh, I’ve never shopped at a Nordstroms, I can’t afford to go inside a Nordstroms.” She laughed and said her too. The bank refunded my money.

I have never had much trouble at Amazon and I order most everything from them except groceries and the occasional piece of clothing. I once had a cup and saucer come as a gift from a relative and it was broken but it was replaced quickly and no questions asked.

The main trouble I have is with DELIVERY. Wrong address, merchandise never showing up or showing up days and days later after an email says it was delivered. That has happened a LOT.  Never with Amazon though.

Do you shop online much? What have been your experiences with it?

Is there somewhere we should avoid shopping online?? Delivery services to avoid?

And I Helped!

Remember that commercial for Shake and Bake? The little girl with the big Tennessee/Kentucky accent saying, “And I helped!” But it was more like “In ah hayelped!” I loved that commercial. I sounded just like her.

I have always liked Shake and Bake.  I bought it for quite a while. I used it on chicken and pork. Then I started making my own. You can find recipes all across the internet, but this is how I make it.  I think it’s really tasty.

Here’s my recipe for homemade shake and bake to use for pork. This is actually enough for 4 or 5 big pork chops so I’ll use some and store the rest in in a jar. You can double or triple your shake and bake and store it, too.

1 – 1/2 cups plain, dry breadcrumbs

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed, I crush it using a mortar and pestle

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

If you want to, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage. It’s very good with pork but I didn’t add it this time.

Mix it well and store it in an air tight container if you’re doubling or tripling the recipe and want to use it later.

To use it for pork chops:

You’ll need about 1/8 cup of cooking oil of your choice, I use avocado oil. You’ll need 2 big pork chops, I use bone-in chops that are thick. Heat your oven to 425*F.

Drizzle a baking sheet with the oil.
Place the coating in a plastic bag.
Wash the chops and let some of the water drain off.
Put one chop at a time in the bag with the coating, shake it around til coated.
Put the coated chops on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 425* F for 15 minutes, turn the chops over and bake another 10 minutes or a little longer so that they’re nice and brown.

Be sure to discard the leftover coating mix after using it.

These chops were extra thick so I checked their temperature, that’s what that metal stick is in the photo. Cook pork to an internal temp of 145*F.

Here On The Hill

Some few days ago, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring for us.  I beat him by a week or more. Its just a prediction, a prognostication, if you will, but as I passed the front picture window in my house several days ago, there was a sign.

There was still some snow on the ground and it was cold but not frigid as it had been.  It was a balmy 35 degrees F and the snow was melting fast.

There in my front yard were not one, not two, but four American robin birds! These birds are not migratory but they are short-term migratory.  In other words, they go where the food is. The  song of the American Robin is my favorite of all the song bird songs. It is part of all my springs and summers since childhood.

When I see them return after winter, I know that spring is on the way.

Another sign are the rabbits coming to nibble on the new shoots in the yard and garden.  Once they have their babies, they’ll be out frequently and I may be able to get some pictures.

And finally, the most anticipated harbinger of spring here are the daffodil shoots coming up. Some came up while there was snow on the ground.  Now that the daily temperatures are in the 60s they’re coming up fast.

We’re 60 degrees today and I am headed for the deck with a cup of tea. Join me?

Winter Apple Tree


“You think I am dead,”
The apple tree said,
“Because I have never a leaf to show –
Because I stoop,
And my branches droop,
And the dull gray mosses over me grow!

“But I’m still alive in trunk and shoot;
The buds of next May
I fold away –
But I pity the withered grass at my root.”

“You think I am dead,”
The quick grass said,
“Because I have parted with stem and blade!
But under the ground,
I am safe and sound
With the snow’s thick blanket over me laid.

“I’m all alive, and ready to shoot,
Should the spring of the year
Come dancing here –
But I pity the flower without branch or root.”

“You think I am dead,”
A soft voice said,
“Because not a branch or root I own.
I never have died, but close I hide
In a plumy seed that the wind has sown.

“Patient I wait through the long winter hours;
You will see me again –
I shall laugh at you then,
Out of the eyes of a hundred flowers.

Edith Matilda Thomas (1854 – 1925)

Winter Weather in Middle Tennessee

Winter weather here in Middle Tennessee isn’t like winter weather in East or West Tennessee.  We don’t get much snow. So, when we do get it, it’s an exciting event.  Usually though we just get that dreaded ice. We’re right there where the Jet Stream dips down into the south.

When the Jet Stream dips very far into the south, the upper portions of Tennessee can get very cold and, if there is precipitation, we can have snow.

When it dips just a bit, and we have precipitation, we get ice. The colder it is the better because we like snow better than we like ice!

The forecast this coming week is precipitation Tuesday evening for 5 hours and they’re saying that the Jet Stream will dip down into Tennessee and cause it to be snow. I sure hope so. I like some snow. Especially now that I am not going as much as I was. I can stay indoors most of the time and look out at the snow instead of driving in it.

Ice causes so many problems. Not just with driving, but power outages. Power lines break, tree limbs break and fall and cause damage.  Roads are pretty much impassable.

Ice can cause those with animals to have to work extra hard to get them fed and watered.  We’re still pretty agrarian around here, lots of farms all around us even though we live in a city.

We live in an old neighborhood and the power goes out if the wind blows hard so ice will definitely be an issue. Thankfully we had all the big tree limbs cut back this past summer so if we have ice, it isn’t likely that limbs will fall on the house.

In 1994 we had an ice storm and limbs on trees were cracking and falling constantly for days. We were out of power for 11 days with 3 children at home and me very pregnant.  The scars on the landscape were evident for years in the neighborhoods and up and down the interstate.

We’re not expecting anything like that this week but I’ve been working on getting our act together for the cold weather. The gas tank on the cooker is filled, the Jeep is full of gas, we have plenty of blankets and clothes and we’re heading out today to get more kerosene for the heaters in case the power goes out.

I’ve got plenty of bread baked, lots of fruit, cans of soup and my ice chests are clean and ready to hold food out on the deck in case the power goes out and stays out very long, though our refrigerator stays cold a long time.

I’ve pulled out my big thermos. Did you know that you can cook in a thermos? Search for it here on my blog I have done it for years. I cook rice, pasta and keep coffee or tea hot for days.

I hope you’re prepared for cold weather and the possibility that your electricity will go out. Probably ought to make some plans.

One thing I’m not looking forward to is taking the short-legged dog out in the snow and I don’t think he is looking forward to it either.


It’s Been A While

I haven’t dropped off the ends of the earth. I’ve just been super busy. I don’t know when I won’t be busy so I made time today to come in here and write a bit.

Fall has arrived here in middle Tennessee. The mornings are cool and misty and the colors are gradually changing from greens to yellow, red and oranges.

Fall is my favorite season and it always has been, since I was a child. Even though school started and summer ended, I was that child who reveled in fall.

We started school the second week of September so it wasn’t long before the leaves started changing and the weather lost it’s hot temper.

I was the child who was ready for sweaters and boots, for walks in the woods and collecting leaves that I would put in albums. I drew pictures and painted pictures of the leaves and trees.

Later I acquired a camera and took most of my favorite pictures in the fall. I enjoyed visiting and talking to relatives and cooking something with Mother. I liked fuzzy hats and mittens.

Though my freckled face, brown skin and blonde hair told the story that I stayed out in the sun all day long, I didn’t miss summer at all. I waved goodbye to it over my shoulder and had my eyes set on fall.

Looking out my office doors today, I see a beautiful orange leaved tree and several that are red and different shades of yellow. Those colors make me happy and they are the ones I chose for our wedding and also for our first home.

Later, when I was ill, my Mother redecorated my kitchen and dining room with those ubiquitous geese with Cape Cod blue ribbons. And I liked it a lot but eventually I came back to the reds of fall.

And it isn’t too chilly yet to go barefoot, I’m still barefoot most of the day. I do wear my house shoes in the early mornings though.

My husband had a stroke in September, it was not a major stroke but enough that he can’t work right now and is in speech therapy. I knew in my heart it was coming and I told him so. But like so many people, he didn’t listen and didn’t change anything so here we are.

He is improving and I am very thankful for that. He’s sad that he can’t work but he is intent on improving as much as he possibly can.

Fall is a hard time to recover from anything, I think.  The weather often forces you indoors and the sun doesn’t shine with the same intensity. So it’s easier to feel down in the fall. I pray for my husband daily that he’ll stay chipper and focused on recovery and not succumb to the fall and winter doldrums.

Throughout all the events of September and October, God has been my ever present help and I lean on Him minute by minute. His strength and His grace is mine every day.  So much grace. I reach out daily and grab it and hold it to my heart and give thanks.

For now, I am preparing myself to enjoy the fall season with all my whole self.  We took a drive out into the country today and ate at a mom & pop place we like.

The weather was perfect and I drove just a little under the speed limit with the windows down so we could enjoy the air.  The leaves are beautiful out away from the city. However, there are some spots in our town where the leaves and old buildings are a glorious sight! Just look at this one:

My mind is already thinking of crafty items to make for gifts and warm, filling meals for the coming cold weather.

There have been falls and winters of late when I have felt alone and cold, where I mourned friendship and purpose.

I am determined not to mourn this year but to revel again like I did when I was a child, drawing, painting, walking, cooking, baking and talking to loved ones.

My Video Channel

Hi Friends

I have a new Vimeo Channel where you can come and hear me talk about this and that. I share  what’s going on in my life,  sometimes  a Bible teaching for women and what I’ve been studying.

I’d love it if you’d follow me, like and share my videos. I’m trying to get a little bit of a presence so I can continue to teach and encourage women online.

Here’s the link.  Sylvia’s Vimeo Channel


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