Friday, July 31, 2009

Swiff Your Troubles Away

Last Cleaning Day, I wrote about some safe and natural cleaning solutions, made with products you might already have at home. Now, while these materials still have to be purchased every once in a while, they're much more inexpensive than the fancy name-brand-one-job supplies the big chemical companies sell.

 Creating these homemade recipes was a big step in my "independence from convenience". Was I ready to take the next big step? (Here's a hint. 99% of my house is tile or hardwood floor.) You guessed it. I need a bumper sticker that reads I HEART MY SWIFFER.

 I really do love it. If only I had invented that clever little dust-mop replacement! No more dust in the air! No more dog hair under the couch! Even my two-year old can use it safely! What's not to love? The fact that I had to buy a box of replacement pads every week, that's what.

 But a year or so ago, one of my friends shared a most clever (not to mention cute) craftie with me: a homemade Swiffer cover. You can knit or crochet it using inexpensive cotton yarn. Or, if you don't know how, buy one from an amazing woman who does. (Just drop her a line and she'll custom-make your cover!) I am not personally coordinated enough to knit, but can crochet just well enough to produce a cute swiffer cover! http://crafterella.blogspot.com/2008/12/knitted-swiffer-cover.html

Knitted Swiffer cover:

http://erica.brembos.googlepages.com/KPZoom.pdf

http://greenmountainmama.blogspot.com/2007/09/swiffer-cozy-pattern.html

Crocheted Swiffer Cover:

http://gherkinsbucket.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/biffershrug.pdf

http://www.tiffcrochets.com/patterns/SwifferCardi.pdf


 No money in the budget for this project, but love the idea of NOT spending more money on Swiffer cloths? Use old flannel diapers, thin fleece, flannel remnants with finished edges (hubby's old flannel boxer shorts work great!), old t-shirts, towels or baby receiving blankets. Just cut them to size, making sure to leave room to tuck the edges in, and you're ready to swiff! (The store-bought version is about 11" x 9").
Even an old, mismatched or holey sock will work...just pull in on one end, and hook the ankle around the other. Store-bought microfiber cloths work very well, too, but are, of course, more expensive.

Helpful hint: When washing homemade covers, rinse off residual yuck, then launder. This is especially important if you line dry. The dryer will pull any leftover hair or dust bunnies, but the breeze in your backyard won't!)

I know what you're all thinking:  "Come one, Heidi, is this really worth the effort?" Well, I'm big on not producing waste if I don't have to. And besides, I'm sure I can find SOMEWHERE to spend an extra $300 a year. :)

Have fun being clean and crafty!
Now get to work!!



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Thursday, July 30, 2009

F.A.Q.


"Heidi, I clicked on the "Buy the Book" link, but there was nothing available to buy. Where can I find your book?"


As my years in broadcasting have taught me to say, "The project's in post-production." And here's a tip: When a broadcaster says this, don't hold your breath. Just kidding. Kind of. But seriously, the book has been written, edited, lost to a computer crash, salvaged and re-laid out from an old .pdf file, tested by 25 families to see if it really works, edited again, and now the only thing that remains is the cover, which is, truly, in production and forthcoming.
I'm hoping against hope that the book will be in print and available for purchase at Lulu.com before the new homeschool year begins. Believe me, you'll be the first to know. ;)

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FROZEN ASSETS, Part 1

Wouldn't it be nice to spend one day in the kitchen a week, and prepare seven-days worth of meals? What about 14 days? 28? "That's crazy talk, Heidi!"
No, that's Kitchen Day talk, and it's what we're discussing today, in the first installment of a seven-part series: Once-a-month-cooking.

Once-a-month-cooking is, like so many things, circular. My Hazel Meyer's Freezer Cookbook - circa 1967 - tells me that batch cooking is "now quite popular among homemakers". And back in 2009, it's all the rage again. Busy moms are going to little dinner-prep stores with catchy names like "Super Suppers" and "Dream Dinners", preparing one or two week's worth of meals and feeling good about providing their families with nutritious food. Don't get me wrong, every family is different, and if this is what it takes to switch your kids from the "Golden Arches" diet to consuming the 4 basic food groups, then go for it. But with 6-person meals starting at $25 EACH, my grocery budget would be consumed faster than a Happy Meal on Town Day.

Why not take one Kitchen Day a month and transform your own kitchen into a Super Suppers? It's easier than you might think!

But isn't freezer cooking HARD?

It's a lot of work...for one day. But in the end, you'll end up saving time. If your home is anything like mine, the hour before dad gets home is the witching hour...kids bouncing off walls, baby screaming, steam coming out my ears. Something in their internal mechanism tells them that mom NEEDS to get dinner into the oven, so they NEED to act like wild banshees. (Am I the only one?) One day of hard work and you'll have a hot, home-cooked meal each night, simply by thawing and baking. (One of my boy's daily chores is bringing up "dinner" from the deep freeze...right after breakfast! So really, my only job is turning on the oven. Not too bad, eh?) Is a true freezer frolic easy? No. Worth it? Oh, yes!

I don't have a big freezer. Where am I going to put all this food?

First of all, if you have no deep freeze or second freezer, you may do better by only making 2 weeks of meals at a time, instead of a month. Even one week is better than nothing at all. But then again, one freezer cooking session and you might just be amazed at how much food your little freezer can store! Freezer meals don't have to take up as much room as you think. If you store your entrees in gallon-sized zipper food freezer bags, and freeze those bags on a cookie sheet (so they'll lay thin and flat), you can store a LOT of meals in very little space! Besides, this undertaking will give you a great excuse to clean out your freezer, and whose freezer couldn't use a little cleaning out?

Do I have to use one of those Once-A-Month-Cooking Cookbooks?

No. Those cookbooks are simply there to help you do the math, give you a list of meals that are known to freeze well, and provide you with a ready-made shopping list. You probably already have meals in your arsenal that you know your family loves, and that you know freeze well. Then it's simply a matter of multiplying and organizing your shopping and preparation lists (we'll cover these matters later!)
Perusing those cookbooks can be fun, however. Your library is a great place to start, and a Google search is sure to produce at least 17 O's as well.

I've never done this before. Where's the best place to start?

As the song says..."Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start." Before you go to the store, before you open up that freezer, before you heat up that stove, you'll need to plan your freezer cooking session.

That's just what we'll do....next Kitchen Day!


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Link List-makers will Love!

Today's Tasklet is for Gmail users, but getting an account is easy and free! Even if you use another email server, it would be worth it to become a Gmailer simply for the use of Google Tasks!

Using Tasks in Gmail

To get started, just click the Tasks link under Contacts, on the left side of the screen.

To enter tasks, just click in the Tasks window and start typing just like you would in a word processor. Once you've typed in a task, press Enter to create another one, or use the + button at the bottom of your list.

Here are some of the options available to you in Tasks:

  • Create a task about a Gmail message using the keyboard shortcut Shift + T, or by choosing Add to Tasks from the More options menu in your Gmail conversation.
  • Switch between existing lists or create new ones using the List icon in the bottom right corner.
  • Create "subtasks" by using Tab to indent them, and Shift + Tab to move them back.
  • Move tasks by grabbing them to the left of the check mark and dragging them up and down.
  • Add new tasks to the middle of a list by clicking at the beginning or end of an existing task and pressing Enter.
  • Check off Tasks when you're done, and use Actions > Clear completed to hide them. Don't worry, you can still view them later!
  • Print your tasks by clicking Actions and selecting Print task list.
 
Store any information you want! Tasks is designed to help you keep track of things you need to do, but you can still use it for any listing actions you want, such as making a grocery list or outlining a paper. You can create as many lists as you need to organize your information.




___________________________________________________________________


How can this work for Bootcampers? SO EASY!
Because creating new tasklists is as simple as clicking a button, you can have one for each Daily Focus Block. Then just list that day's tasks in your list! As you go about your work, click on each task and it will be crossed off your list. Ahhhh....satisfaction.

Using Google Tasks is so easy, I have lists for everything: ongoing projects, homeschooling, homemaking...even a list of blog ideas! (Have some to share? Please do! I'll add it to my list!)
Like taking your lists with you? Printing off your list is simple.
Have a task with a deadline? Adding it to your calendar is just a click away. 
The best part? My kids LOVE Google Tasks...I leave the Day's list on the screen and they rush to complete the tasks so they can be the one to click it through. (Listmaniacs in the making!!)



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Monday, July 27, 2009

On Pins and Needles

Doing a little sewing on this fine Laundry Day? (Remember, Laundry Day is for all clothes-related tasks, including ironing, mending, sewing and organizing cabinets and drawers!) Check out the tutorial for this cute and easy pin cushion, created by my friend Chautona at Ecletivity.
It may be just the inspiration you need to get back behind the pedal!




While you're there, don't hesitate to check out her other beautiful projects and tutorials. But don't stay too long...you've got laundry to do!
Here's wishing you sunny skies and stiff breezes today.

Now get to work!


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Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Lord Is Faithful

A Song of Praise. Of David.

I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of(H) the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
 
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.
The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he alsohears their cry and saves them.
The LORD preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.


Psalm 145

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Simple Compost Bin

So you've got a basic garden*, and you're producing your own food. How liberating! You're eating fresh, healthy food and saving your family money. You're on your way to provident living**!

It's time to move on to the next big backyard gardening step: A compost bin.
We researched a lot of compost bin and pile designs and were overwhelmed by either the cost of ready-made crank bins or the amount of sheer physical work the piles involved.
Then my husband came across this instructional video for the Easiest Compost Bin Ever (capitalized ala Winnie-The-Pooh!).

Watch this and smile. Composting can be easy!





My husband made this bin's creation even easier - He watched the video and apparently said to himself, "Hammer and nails... that's soooo last millenium." A cordless drill got through that plastic quickly and with no busted thumbs!










One more note: How do you store the yucky compostables in your kitchen? All you need is a small plastic pail with locking lid -even a plastic ice cream bucket (with the lid) would work! Of course, kichen compost pails with fancy filters can be purchased, but keep your eyes open at garage sales - that's where I found one for $1 that sells online for $45! As always, assign the daily task of dumping from the small pail to the big bin to one of your cheerful, able-bodied children.


*New to gardening? Want to give it a try? I highly recommend Momma's Guide to Growing Your Groceries by Kimberly Eddy. In this ebook, she tackles the subject of kitchen gardening in a way that speaks to stay-at-home, money-saving moms, not master gardeners with hours of free-time and big bucks to spend. For those with smaller spaces, I also recommend Square-Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. This method uses less space, less water, and less labor! Wahoo! (Check out more gardening blogs under the Inspiration tab to your right.)

**Provident living is a term coined by the Mormons, who believe that an essential part of spiritual life is preparing for unknown crises, local or global. While I do not espouse the beliefs of the Mormon church, I do believe that the key points of provident living (which include attempting whatever level of self-sufficiency in means you are comfortable with (yet avoiding pride and daily depending on God for your bread), becoming  more independent from big government and more dependent on your church family, and living within your means) are wonderful goals for Christians, as well. Now I'll jump off my soapbox. :)

Now get to work and have fun in the garden!


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Better Basics for Your Abode

Have you noticed that everywhere you look these days you see little tidbits on how to save money? If you read the newspaper, scroll the web, or watch the news, it appears that most of the country is just waking up, due to the recession, to the fact that not every purchase needs to be spontaneous, "convenient", and costly. There are cheaper ways to eat, clothe your family, have fun, and even clean your home.
Of course, we one-income-family homemakers have always known that.
But a little review never hurts!

Today let's talk about some basic -VERY basic - supplies you can stock in your cleaning cabinet, that are cheap, multi-purpose, and probably better for your family's well-being and the planet's health than the toxic one-job chemicals most folks buy. Why keep 20 bottles of expensive cleaning solutions in your home when just a few will do?

Baking Soda  This is not just for fridges anymore, Bootcampers! It works great as a non-abrasive powder cleanser on countertops and ovens, sinks and tubs. Add some to your laundry load to get rid of summer stink! It even rids carpets of that wet-dog  (or wet-kid) smell - just sprinkle a little on, let it sit for a bit, and vacuum it up.

Want a little more oomph in a ready-made version? Try Bon Ami, which contains no chlorine, perfume, or dyes. It contains feldspar and calcite, and will not scratch. You can even use it on those delicate glass-top stoves instead of the expensive creams they say you need.

Badly stained porcelain sinks or tubs? Bar Keeper's Friend is inexpensive, and can be used on almost any surface. It's made from oxalic acid, which is derived from rhubarb, so it's non-toxic and biodegradeable.

Salt Yes, salt. Team it up with baking soda, and it is a wonderful abrasive that adds more power to your elbow grease. It's perfect for scouring pots and scrubbing Sharpie stains off the kitchen table. Ask me how I know.

Washing Soda  Also known as sodium carbonate, washing soda is a caustic cleaner that is far safer than other solvents. (It's still recommended that you wear gloves while using it, though!) It cuts grease, gets stains out of clothing, whitens whites, brightens brights, and neutralizes odors. You can find washing soda in the laundry aisle of your grocery or big-box store.

Lemon Juice  The acid in lemon juice neutralizes hard water deposits, dissolves greasy fingerprints and dirt buildup on wood, and cleans silver as well as commercial silver cleaner. (For really dirty silver, make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice, scrub, and rinse well.)

White vinegar  White vinegar is the mother of all multi-purpose cleaning products, and can be used in place of lemon juice. The great news: It's dirt-cheap. The even greater news: It can be used safely in every room of your house. Use it in place of toxic ammonia-based cleaners (like Windex) to clean glass and mirrors.(Just combine 1/4 cup undiluted white vinegar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, and 1 quart warm water. Divide into spray bottles.)
Use vinegar as a degreaser on counters and table-tops. Mix vinegar and baking soda in your toilet for a fizzy bowl-cleaning extravaganza. (Remember those fun papier-mache volcanoes from grade school? Same concept, sans the red dye.) You can even use it as a simple mop solution for hard-wood floors, when something stronger isn't necessary. The infamous strong smell dissipates as the vinegar dries, but if you can't stand the smell, or like your cleaning supplies to smell, well, good, consider adding...


Grapefruit seed extract or essential oils such as lavender, clove, and tea tree oil. Not only do they smell good, but they have antiseptic properties and operate as natural fungicides (These products hush that little germophobe in you...you know he's there!)
They work great by themselves (diluted in water) as well. To keep mold at bay in the shower, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of essential oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, or 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 1 quart of water.

Still prefer something without vinegar?

Liquid Organic Soap Concentrate (natural biodegradable castile soap), such as that from Dr. Bronner's or Ballard Organics, can be diluted as needed and used to clean EVERYTHING. We use it on counters, walls, dirty tile and hardwood floors, mirrors, dishes, hands, bodies, and even the baby's hair. Sure, it's more expensive than vinegar, but it takes only a tablespoonful, diluted in one quart of warm water, to clean our house for a week or more.(Use more to clean your home, less to clean your family.) Because it is organic and non-toxic, I trust my children, as young as four-years old, to use it unsupervised in their cleaning chores (after training, of course.) By the way, the bar form of these soaps are great for use in the bathtub, as stain removers, and to grate into homemade laundry soap. (Recipes coming on a future Laundry Day post!)

These concentrates come in a host of yummy scents, such as lavender, orange, grapefruit, lemongrass, peppermint, tangerine, almond and tea tree. Your home will smell delicious!

"This is too much!" you say. Actually, it's really quite simple. Just buy a few spray bottles (or better yet, clean well and re-use the bottles from supplies you already have as you use them up), create your solutions, LABEL THEM CLEARLY, and you're all set. The CLEAR LABELS are especially important in case a child or pet ever ingests the solutions - - in a moment of severe stress you do not want to have to remember your recipe, or worse yet, have another caregiver assume that the Windex bottle is filled with Windex when it is really just white vinegar.

So the next time your run out of Lysol or Mr. Clean, don't run to Stuff-Mart - - Run to your pantry and clean the cheap, safe, and natural way!

Looking for more great recipes? Look for Natural Cleaning for Your Home by Casey Kellar and Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond at your local library.


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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Paper Precipice

What is usually a relaxing early Sunday morning ritual quickly turned into a dramatic moment of shock and awe last weekend: I opened the paper to find Back-To-School ads in the newspaper…"ALREADY?"
Is it possible that the local schoolchildren will be returning to their classrooms in less than a month? Don't get me wrong. I love this time of year...the squeak of new shoes, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. But it seems like summer is just flying by!
Whether or not your children will be “going back” to school this fall or simply resuming – or continuing - their studies at home, Back-To-School time is a wonderful time to find deals on school and organizational supplies. Back to School time also means that our houses are about to be overrun with papers…schedules, worksheets, cheerful drawings, permission forms, library receipts. What do we do with all this paper?

Aliki McElreath over at familyeducation.com has some great tips for dealing with the paper chase.

"If you don’t want your kitchen table layered in papers, take advantage of the back-to-school sales and buy a stack of colored folders and one of those slotted folder stands.
Label each folder according to a system that works for you:"
You might consider labeling the folders by the day of the week, by the subject, or by the student. If you deal with a LOT of papers, you might consider giving each child their own folder stand, to be kept on YOUR DESK. For moms with students in school away from home, it is important to train your children to hand you the day’s papers as soon as they are carried through the door: You might have a folder for papers to be signed and returned, a folder for school information, a folder for ongoing at-home school projects, etc.
Moms, you might like using a folder stand as well: These work great with simple folders labeled, “Bills” and “School”, or verb it up: “To Go”, “To Do”, “To Pay”, “To File”.

"If you don’t have a family wall calendar yet, get one immediately. You can keep the dates on your own personal calendar, as well, but life will be oh-so-much easier if you have a central family calendar in the kitchen. This way you and your spouse won’t be cross-scheduling things, and you won’t mistakenly double-book a day"
I keep a personal calendar in my purse, and a master calendar at Google Calendars, but a permanent family calendar on the fridge or message center is important so that everyone has access to it when the phone rings. On Office Day each week, I take a few minutes to sync my calendars to each other. If you are completing this task weekly, it should be a cinch. Feeling technological? Consider using a digital device, like a Palm or Blackberry, which can sync automatically to a Google Calendar or similar application. It makes the task even quicker. But make sure and back up your digital files often.

"When your child brings home handouts from school or co-op, write any important dates or deadlines onto your family calendar immediately; then toss the sheets. Or, better yet, put them in a box or bin marked 'scrap paper.'" Having a bin of scrap paper next to the crayon bucket keeps your littles out of the nice copy paper you save for to-be-archived homeschool tests.

"Buy a long, flat, under-the-bed-bin and write the school year on the lid in a permanent marker. Be merciless. Save the art work that makes you melt inside and be brave and toss the rest. Rest assured—that bin will be filled up in no time at all, and you’ll still have plenty of wonderful creative examples of your child’s work to look at when he’s gone off to college."
What about the big projects we homeschoolers tend to collect? Salt map after salt map, dioramas, and scale-model sculpy submarines? Scan the artwork and take pictures of the projects, along with the happy children who created them Then create a digital album with software such as Creative Memories Storybook Creator 2 or Picaboo Photo Books, and a year’s worth of beautiful work will fit neatly on the living room bookshelf, where it can be enjoyed, instead of in an attic collecting dust.

Have fun getting organized!
Now get to work!


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kitchen Day Kraftie

If you're a foodie like me, you find recipes EVERYWHERE: In the newspaper, in magazines, online, even on the back of product boxes ....and they all look soooo good! But getting them written down onto proper recipe cards is a time-consuming project...perhaps one I'll tackle when I have both arms back. (No, there hasn't been a tragic accident - - It just seems that one is always full of cute baby these days!)
Until that time comes, however, I have to have a proper way to deal with the cut-out, printed-off recipes. There are lots of fabulous binder systems available to make and buy, but the easiest one I've found is simply labeling and filling a magnetic photo album.

Supplies needed:

Photobucket-A 3-ring magnetic photo album. These are the kind where the page protector sticks to the page itself. They are lately out-of-style because they discolor and damage photos, and can't be journaled on. For this reason, they are ABOUNDING at garage sales. They are also cheaply bought at your local big-box store or craft store. Have a few, full of photos, at home? Get those photos safely out of there, and recycle your album into a cute recipe binder.


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-One pack of Post-it Durable Tabs. These are like Post-it flags, only longer, and attached horizontally.



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-A permanent marker ("Sharpie")






How you do it:

1. Gather your recipes in one place.

2. Label the Post-it tabs according to type of food, meals, occasion....the only limit is your imagination!
3. Affix the tabs onto the pages. Don't worry too much about spacing. The great thing about a 3-ring binder is that pages can be added or removed as needed according to the number of recipes of each type that you have. (The tabs can be re-spaced, if needed, as well.) You're not bound to the categories chosen by the company, or limited by the amount of space between tabs.

4. Put your recipes in the pages within the categories you have assigned. Love to collect recipes? You may want to spread your collection over two or more binders. Personally, I can fit most of my everyday recipes within one binder, and then a second is for desserts, beverages, and canning recipes...things I don't use every week.
That's it! Your recipe binder is ready to use!

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As you can see, unlike commercially-produced recipe binders, you don't have to transfer differently-sized recipes onto uniform cards. (I happen to like looking at the lovely professionally-produced photographs of the meal, and it helps my hubby decide whether it's something he would eat or not!) And unlike homemade "pocket" binders, you don't have to use adhesives or worry about cards flying out when you take it off the shelf. The sticky backing of the magnetic album is perfect for holding your recipes safely until you take them out.
Another bonus for me is the personal touch: My album holds the printed e-mail my mother sent me with recipes (and humor) for my first married Thanksgiving, newspaper recipes on which my grandmother jotted special instructions, and recipe cards from friends in distant states. These mismatched scraps of paper transform a simple magnetic album into a living bit of history, right there on my kitchen shelf, one that I'm excited to share with my future little homemakers.

Have fun in the kitchen today, Bootcampers!
Now get to work!



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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Town Day Tasklets and Timesavers

First, a question: Why is it that adding the suffix "-let" to words makes them so very cute? Ah, but that's linguistic rhetoric, and keeps us from the bloglet at hand. (See, I did it again! *giggle*)
I've decided to dedicate Tuesdays to fun little objects or hints which may save you time and mental energy as you go about your homemaking duties.

Today's Tasklet: Google Calendar.

This won't be as helpful to those of you who are not Gmail users, but even if you are not, Google Calendar is a wonderfully simple, intuitive, interactive means of organizing your life.

Why will Google Calendar help you organize your life? Here are some great reasons, straight from the horse's Google's mouth. I've added my own commentary in pink (of course!)

7 reasons to use Google Calendar

Organizing your schedule shouldn't be a burden. With Google Calendar, it's easy to keep track of life's important events all in one place.

1. Share your schedule
Let your co-workers, family, and friends see your calendar, and view schedules that others have shared with you. When you know when everyone is free or busy, scheduling is a snap.





As you can see from my calendar above, each Google Calendar is actually a virtually limitless grouping of calendars, all linked together and visible in one place. I have a personal calendar, a church calendar, a household calendar, and of course, a Bootcamp calendar which simply lists my Daily Focus Blocks and keeps me on track. You can also download other people's calendars: Your husband, your children, your homeschool co-op, your best friend!You can also share your calendar between more than one Google account, if desired.


2. Get your calendar on the go
With two-way syncing to your mobile phone's built-in calendar or a mobile version of Google Calendar that's made for the small screen, you can access your calendar while you're away from your desk.

3. Never forget another event again
Customizable reminders help you stay on schedule. You can choose to be notified by email or get a text message sent right to your mobile phone.

This is the feature that makes Google Calendar my new favorite homemaking helper. I'm a fairly organized person, always quick to jot events and reminders on my calendar..... and then I'd forget to look at my calendar again for a week and miss the event. Or library due date. Sigh. Funny how I don't forget to check my email, huh? With this free program, I can easily tell my Calendar to email me 2 weeks, 2 days, or 2 hours before the event, so I never forget again. On the computer a lot? Google Calendar can also send you a pop-up reminder a few minutes or hours before the event, so you don't loose track of time while perusing this blog. ;)


4. Send invitations and track RSVPs
Invite other people to events on your calendar. Guests can RSVP to your events by email or via Google Calendar.

Made a lunch date with your hubby and don't want him to forget? Invite him to the event and it will go onto his Google Calendar, including an e-mail or pop-up reminder. Digital nagging...what's next?

5. Sync with your desktop applications
Access your calendar however and whenever you want by syncing events with Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird.

6. Work offline
Know where you're supposed to be even when you don't have internet access. With offline access, you can view a read-only version of your calendar no matter where you are.

If you're a tried-and-true paper gal, or perhaps you like to stay up-to-date through both media, Google Calendar is printable! Just fill in your calendar, print it off and carry it with you.

7. All this is free?
Yep.

Sweet.


What about scheduling? If you are a block scheduler, ala Managers of Their Homes, Google Calendar can be easily used to block out periods of the day. Simply create a calendar for "Family Schedule", pick a color, fill in your events, and enter "M-F" on the "Repeats" pull-down tab.If you don't want your calendar cluttered with those repeating events, just click on the "Family Schedule" button on the left. They'll disappear from view for printing or scheduling events at a glance. Click again, and you've got an hourly guide to homemaking.
This works great with Bootcamp as well, of course. Enter each Daily Focus Block as an all-day event, repeat on that day for every week, and you'll never forget it's Kitchen Day again (as if you could!)


Next Tuesday, Google Tasks: For the list-maker in us all.


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Bootcamper's Blogroll

Are you a Bootcamper with a blog pertaining to Homemaking or Christian Womanhood/ Wifehood/Motherhood issues - whether practical, theoretical, beautiful, jocular, philosophical or theological?
Post your blog address in the comment section of this post and I'll be happy to add it to the Bootcamper's Blogroll here on the Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers Blog. I only ask that you save a Bootcamp Badge, add it to your blog, and link it to this page: http://bootcampforlousyhousekeepers.blogspot.com/2009/07/bootcamping-blogroll.html




Help us spread the word!

(I will visit each blog to check for appropriate content, and to get to know my Bootcampers better! And please be patient...I have a house to run, too!)

We're so glad to have you Bootcamping with us!

Now get to work!


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She Pegged It


Need something to think about while sorting, washing, hanging, folding and ironing today? (Believe me, those tasks are necessary and good...but not necessarily mind-expanding!) Chew on this heartfelt bloglet about Disposibility and the Modern Clothespin by my friend Carla at Disenfranchised Housewife.
Then get to work!


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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Praise, O servants of the LORD

Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the LORD is to be praised!

The LORD is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.


He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!



Psalm 113


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Homegrown Revolution

Feel like you could use a little inspiration before tackling all those weeds today? Watch this trailer and tell me if it doesn't make you want to go out and dig in the dirt.
Homegrown Revolution (2008) is a film short that gives a brief introduction to the Dervaes Family's urban homestead which they call "Path to Freedom." On this tiny city lot, a beautiful and productive oasis was created, producing 6,000 lbs of food annually and is a model of urban sustainability. Their goal is 10,000 lbs. That's POUNDS, Bootcampers. On 1/10th acre. Whoa. Those who know me know that we desperately want acreage. And there's nothing wrong with that! But contentment is about growing where you are planted. If I can't go to the country, how about bringing the country to me?







Homegrown Revolution (Trailer) from Path to Freedom on Vimeo.

For more inspiration, visit their family of websites and blogs: Little Homestead in the City, Path to Freedom, Freedom Gardens, Peddler's Wagon, and Dervaes Gardens.
And then get to work!


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Looking for a Few Good Fans

Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers now has a Fan Page over on Facebook! There's not much content there, but the point of a Facebook Fan Page is not content. It's FANS! So if you are a Facebooker, feel free to click on over and become a fan of the book today. (What book?)
Facebook has a rule that a group can't obtain its own individual username until it reaches a fan base of 100 members, so
help me get there, Bootcampers! Facebook is just one more way we can spread the Bootcamp message: You CAN transform your home from messed to blessed....to the Glory of God!

Find Bootcamp for Lousy Housekeepers on Facebook


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Friday, July 17, 2009

In the Vault


I'm now safe and sound with the blog back-up service recommended by the fine instructors over at Scrap In Style.
Here's hoping I don't ever have to experience that horrible nausea and panic again.

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Pardon Our Dust

Drill Sgt. Heidi is learning the ins and outs of Blogger, and to NEVER believe the Blogger promise, "Don't worry, you can always get your original template back."
The blog should be back to normal soon. I hope.

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