Saturday, December 16, 2006

Soak Those Dishes!

My dirty dishes seem to multiply exponentially this time of year. Between extra baking and extra company there seems to be a never-ending pile to tackle. I prefer to soak dishes before washing them because who wants to spend extra time scrubbing? A quick soak makes everything easier to wash. The problem is the size of my sink. With all the exponentially multiplied dishes I don't have room for all of them in the sink. My solution? Extra wash tubs - the kind people often put in sink basins. I set a few of them on the counter, fill them with soapy water, and put the dirty dishes in. (In case you're wondering, I do separate dishes by type. Not necessary, I know, but I find it easier to wash all the plates at once, all the bowls at once, etc.) If I need extra drying space I spread towels on the table and use cooling racks! I love being able to wash several loads of dishes at once.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kitchen Extension Cord

Here's a "why didn't I think of that years ago?" idea I had a few months ago. On a wall in the kitchen (near an outlet) I mounted two hooks. I plugged in an extension cord and now keep it wrapped around the hooks. This has been so convenient! Our kitchen is central to the house and the kitchen table is used for much more than just eating. With an extension cord conveniently ready to be used we can now use small appliances, our laptops, and my sewing machine at the kitchen table without going through the hassle of finding available outlets. This idea could actually work anywhere in the house but for me it's the most beneficial in the kitchen!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vegetarian High IQ?

Alright, I acknowledge that many people use logic to come up with decisions and solutions that are the opposite of my (logical, in my opinion) decisions and solutions. That being said, I enjoyed reading this article!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

All Those Cards

In addition to the overuse of wrapping paper this time of year, there is an overuse of paper cards. I have no problem with the exchange of greetings, but many cards are used once and then recycled (or, worse, thrown away.) For years I kept my cards, sorted by year, in a designated box. When my box started overflowing I finally started doing what my wonderful great-aunt had been doing for years:

Turn your old cards into new cards by cutting out pictures or phrases that you like and gluing them together. Use the back of old cards as the cardstock base for your new cards. This is a great family project and a fun way of making new cards. Now I keep cards with particular sentimental value and reuse the rest.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All That Wrapping Paper

Following my post on wrapping presents in fabric, I thought I would share a few other earth-friendly things I do around the holidays. Here are some tips for reusing pieces of wrapping paper that are too small to re-wrap gifts with:
  • Origami - and by this I don't mean complicated paper creations. Make your own 3D stars, jumping frogs, or anything else that crosses your mind. If you don't know how to do patterns yourself, there are plenty of online resources.
  • Scrapbooking - if you're a scrapbooker and plan to organize your holiday photos why not use wrapping paper to set the visual scene?
  • Confetti - I personally don't like confetti at all, but if your family participates in that particular New Year's tradition, make some of your own out of wrapping paper.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I really do love my cats...

What could make me love my cat more than when he stays in the house because all his favorite outdoor spots are covered in snow, ignores the lovely enclosed litterbox that the other cats have no problem using, and turns my perfectly good bathmat into his new litterbox? How could I not love that?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Vitamins and Medicines

I'm curious how other people store their vitamins and medicines. In the past we've had the traditional medicine cabinet in the bathroom and vitamins on a shelf or in a cupboard in the kitchen. I recently reorganized and tried to come up with a better solution. I started with a large wooden basket on top of the fridge with all of our vitamins and medicines in it. For more convenience I switched to two baskets - one with our everyday vitamins and one with our medicines (Vitamin C, herbal teas, etc.) I think I like the new system so far. It took me awhile to get there, though. Does anyone else have a better (or different) solution? Or am I the only one who spends time contemplating the organization of pills? Hmmm...that's a distinct possibility.