Friday, January 30, 2015

Computers Dish Out Advice

In the old days, if you had a question, you tried to find someone who knew enough about the subject to give you an answer. And then you had to trust that the answer you got was correct.  Today things are different. You can just turn on your computer and type your question in.  You will get lots of links that will lead you to various answers, and you can decide which ones will work for you. I tend to trust answers that I find on reputable sites, or that that frequently, on a lot of different sites.

In the past I have turned to the computer to learn what to do with a diakon radish, and what to do when a small child is sick on the carpet. This time I needed to know how to clean eggs.

Earlier this week a lady dropped into my hubby's work place with several cartons of eggs. She had too many and needed to get rid of them, so she brought them to the guys at the garage she frequents.  The eggs were not washed, and my hubby made a point of telling me that when he brought them home.

I remember that long ago we were taught that eggshells are permeable so I knew I couldn't actually put them in water to soak the crap off them.  I thought I'd look up how to clean them correctly, since it's always good if I actually have an excuse to be on the computer instead of just playing with my friends on Facebook.

I discovered that it's not necessarily good to wash the eggs, as the eggshells come out of the chicken with a natural coating, or "bloom", that actually seals the eggshell pores and prevents bacteria from getting in. I started by using a sponge, with a scrubby side, and dry scrubbed most of the bits and pieces off, as suggested on one of the sites I found.

I still wasn't convinced I wouldn't contaminate the contents of the shells, when I broke them open, if I didn't do more to clean them. I decided to follow instructions on another site, and set up two bowls of water to wash them in. It was important, they explained, to make sure that the water was warmer than the eggs.  Cold water would just open up the pores in the shell and contaminate the contents. Warm water (not hot, but not tepid either) would expand the pores and prevent contamination.  I put a dash of dish detergent in one and a wee bit of bleach in the other.  I just dipped the eggs, one at a time, into the soapy water, rubbed any remaining dirt off with my fingers, and then did an equally quick dip in the bleach water. I set them all on a cookie rack, with paper towels to absorb the moisture, then dried the properly and put them in a clean egg carton.

The eggs are all brown, though various shades and sizes.  There were a few that I knew I wouldn't want to use in recipes, as they were either too big or too small.  I added the small one to another for an omelet for yesterday's lunch and I boiled the biggest one for breakfast this morning. And no, it did not fit into my largest egg cup.  It just sort of sat up on top.

I'm enjoying my farm fresh eggs. Even though they were supposed to be like a tip for my hubby, he has not had any yet. I'll fix that this weekend.

Friday, January 23, 2015

There is Always Something to Tidy

Last year I got involved in an online de-cluttering project where the blogging participants posted pictures and told about what they had de-cluttered the previous week. That was good for me as it forced me to clean up one little mess at a time within a basic week long deadline. As time wore on, the other participants fizzled out, until there were just two of us, and then the weather started to get better and we found other things to do.  I did get a lot of things done during the time it lasted though.

This year I discovered another of my favorite bloggers has come upon a year long project called 52 Weeks to an Organized Home.  And while the title suggests that you have one clean up job to do each week, it is really broken down so that you de-clutter something each and every day. They even tell you what to do that day, and none of these jobs should take very long to complete. I started out a little late, but it was easy to catch up, because, like I said, we are tackling supposedly small jobs, instead of big ones.  For instance, it's time to de-clutter the kitchen, but that has been broken down into little parts. The countertop (okay, so I know that's not a small task in some people's homes, but once done, it only takes seconds a day to maintain), the utensil drawer, the cutlery drawer, the dish cupboard, and now, today, the spice shelf.

I'm grateful for thus push to do the shelf on which my spices are stored, as it's overflowing, and have often had things fall out of the cupboard while reaching for something else. I admit that it was a mess, but I have now taken everything off that shelf, and washed the shelving and the shelf liner. There were all kinds of spilled spices mixed and mingled on that.  I have no idea how that happens as they are all in their own sealed containers and the containers don't get opened until they are on the counter top when I'm using them.  Gremlins, I guess.  No matter. It's clean now. My rotating spice rack is soaking in some hot water, and it's obvious I have not had that totally unloaded in years.  It will be very interesting to see if I can put everything back on it.  I also have a step type unit that is supposed to let me see what is behind the other stuff, if I don't stack too high.

But wait. I'm de-cluttering so I should throw out any really old stuff, or anything I simply don't use. I found a couple of things I didn' t know I had. I know there are some things in there that I very seldom use, but when I do, I don't want to have to go buy more, just for that one day.  I do have access to a Bulk Barn now though, so I wouldn't necessarily have to buy a full container of anything anymore.

This was a worthwhile job.  I even did the beverage shelf while I was at it.

Tomorrow, the food cupboard.  Next week, the refrigerator and freezer.  Yes, this is a very doable way to de-clutter.  Maybe you'd like to jump in.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pay It Forward

Fifteen years ago, a movie came out that held an idea that would promote a better world. In "Pay It Forward" a wise teacher assigned the members of his class to do three nice things for other people, and to have those people pay back their good deeds by doing three nice things for others. The idea was to build a chain of events where everyone was doing good in the world.  One student took the assignment very seriously, and through the movie we see how even the simplest good deed can grow into something major.

This idea is still around, and January 16th to 18th is Pay It Forward weekend.  I found the event on Facebook and signed up immediately. The idea is to do least one random act of kindness.  Do something for someone or some organization without expecting anything in return. You can get in on this too by sending someone a card, volunteering  some time, pay for some stranger's meal, or anything else that you can think of. This weekend does not have to be the only time to do something for someone. This organized event is just a time where we can all do it together.

I'm sure you have heard stories over the past couple of years of people discovering their coffee has been paid for at Tim Horton's, or someplace.  That kind of thing happens throughout the year in recent times, and certainly does seem to spread once it starts.

Facebook has another way to kick start the Pay It Forward initiative too. There is now an e-mail chain as well.  One of my cousins posted an e-mail saying she would send something to the first 5 people who agreed to follow her lead.  They just had to type "I'm in" in the comments.  I jumped on it.  I'll get something from her, and send out 5 things to other people. And now those 5 people will also be sending something to 5 more people. I don't know how many links in the chain there were before I saw my cousin's message, but you can see how easily and quickly all this kindness spreads.

I took part in this kind of chain a couple of years back, but it wasn't considered to be a Pay It Forward project at the time. It was all about spreading your talents by giving away personally made items then.  This time it may be easier, as I don't actually have to make something if I don't want to.  I will, however, take some time to try and figure out what each of my recipients might like. That can sometimes be a challenge if you don't personally know the one on the receiving end......which in several of these cases I don't. 

I guess I'm already in Pay It Forward mode, as I just offered my brand new Sima Ultimate International Travel Adapter to someone who is going on a trip soon.  Once the idea is in your head to find ways to help others, all kinds of opportunities pop up.  Find someone to do something nice for today, and just keep doing it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Not Better by Design

Last fall, in my husband's ongoing quest to protect me, he purchased a step stool.  He had, on numerous occasions, seen me climb up on a kitchen chair to reach things in my cupboards. In the old days, I guess I was deemed young enough to climb on anything, and my chairs were the old sturdy chrome style that could support me without problem.  But now I have wooden chairs, that sometimes get a little wobbly and need regluing from time to time. Apparently he didn't like to see me climbing on those as I may be getting a little wobbly from time to time myself.

My kitchen is green and white but the stool is red, so I don't store it in the kitchen.  Rather than go and get it, I still drag a chair over to do my climbing.  There was another reason that I didn't use it too. When caught on a chair, and confronted with the question of why I wasn't using the stool, I just said it didn't work for me. 

It was only after preparing for Christmas that I was able to explain that statement to my hubby.  I didn't want him thinking I was looking his gift horse in the mouth. I finally had an example of why it wouldn't work, and decided to demonstrate the problem.

My kitchen sink is built over the stairwell to the basement.  That means there is plenty of room between the sink and the window behind it for a shelf.  I wanted that shelf nice and clean, so I'd have someplace to put such things as pies and cookie platters for my guests, without them taking up all the working space on my countertop.  From the floor, I can reach about half way back, to wash and polish that shelf.  From a kitchen chair, I can reach all the way to the windowsill.  From the new step stool I can only reach as far as I can if I'm standing on the floor, with nothing to climb on.  The problem is in the design of he stool itself. 

The first problem is that the stool goes from it's flat storage state, to an A frame, so the back legs prevent you from putting the steps close enough to the cupboard. There is a cure for that, I know you are thinking, but I'll address that in a moment.  The second problem is that the stool has a handle that, centers itself over the top step, and keeps my knees from going beyond that.  My feet go under it just fine, but the handle holds me back away from what I'm trying to reach. 

Now, I'm sure you wonder why I don't just turn the stool around sideways, so that I can snuggle it up against the cupboard.  I tried that, and I also demonstrated it to my hubby when he suggested it.  Once he saw that the handle had me standing so that my outer foot was not only right on the edge of the step, but actually hanging over the edge, he agreed that he didn't want me doing that.  I'd get busy doing the job in front of me and slip right off that step, for sure! 

I'm sure there will be things this stool will come in handy for, but as something to climb on in my kitchen, I'm better off standing on my kitchen chairs.  If hubby thinks they are too wobbly to be trustworthy, I will remind him that I have a wild assortment of glues available in the basement.