Sunday, June 11, 2017
I'm on a role with reading books this year! I set a goal to read 50 books this year and this book makes my 31st this year so far. I might be able to reach my goal! I've been tracking my goal and stats on Goodreads. It's fun to see how many books I've read, on there. I've even had some of the authors comment on my reviews!
My own love of the National Parks and as an avid visitor with our vintage Airstream, I intrigued by "The Road to Paradise, (Shadows of the Wilderness #1) To my joy, this book did not disappoint my high expectations of being able to learn more about Mt. Rainier, and come to appreciate it's splendor as well!
In 1927, Margaret (Margie) Lane, a wealthy senator's daughter, escapes to Mt. Rainier, much to her mother's disapproval to study God's creation and learn from a real Park Ranger. Ford Brayden, the ranger charged with making sure that Margie's stay is both enjoyable and profitable for the National Forest Service, is more interested in the mountain life than in taking care of a pampered debutante. Will Margie stick out her new job as a "naturalist" for the park or will she run home to her glamorous life? Can Ford keep her safe, and keep his own guard up from other people as he has for the last two years, following the untimely death of his father?
This story was a true page turner for me. I finished the book in less than 24 hours, because I just had to find out how the story would unfold. The descriptions of the mountains, the flora, the beauty from Margie's perspective gave me a feeling of sitting right there in the meadows and mountains with Margie! I can't wait for my next visit to Mt. Rainier National Park to enjoy it's beauty from a new perspective!
I did receive a copy of this book from Multnomah Publishers in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, however!
Friday, June 9, 2017
Trey Walker Stafford, a country music star takes a break from his exciting and star struck music life to return home to face his past. Although he struggles with his relationship with his rich uncle Sam Stafford, Trey knows he owes his life to Sam for rescuing him as an young orphan after his parents passed away.
Cowboy and rancher, Sam Stafford didn't approve of Trey's country music career when he left the family home, the Double S Ranch to pursue his dreams as a singer. This rift didn't stop Trey from striking out on his own to follow his passion, but left the two at odds for years. After achieving country music fame and fortune, Trey is now returning to the home ranch, to save Sam's life and return the favor. As the only match for a liver transplant for Sam, Trey is needs to face his past and give his liver for the man he owes his life too.
While waiting for the transplant to take place, Sam assigns Trey to make amends for the Stafford family to a neighboring single mother, Lucy Carlton by helping put her ranch in order. Lucy, on the other hand trusts no one and is used to life being difficult, so doesn't trust the help that is suddenly being rained on her by the legendary Sam Stafford and family. Trey will gladly do anything that Sam asks, but will Lucy set her pride aside and trust Stafford family's help as genuine? Will Trey Stafford, forgive his hurts from his past and find the peace he's seeking?
"Peace in the Valley" is the third book in the Double S. Ranch Series by Ruth Logan Herne. Although the story line sounds cliché, from start to finish, this book was well written and kept me engaged. I had a hard time putting this book down, because I wanted to find out how it turned out. I've not read the first two books in this series, but I didn't feel like I couldn't understand the plot. In fact, "Peace in the Valley" has definitely convinced me that I need to read the rest of the series! I highly recommend this Christian Fiction book as an engoyable read!
Disclosure: I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for this review. I make a very small amount of compensation from Amazon when items are purchased from my links. Thank you for supporting my little reading habit!
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
This is our second year of raising pigs for the fair. We've had some bumps along the way, one of them was our homemade feeder of last year. I tend to have ideas, and then Mr. Right gets the pleasure of trying to execute my ideas. Most of the time it works out, but last year, our feeder was a fail.
This year, we need a feeder that can go a long period of time, since our pigs are not on our property where we live. Our neighbor made a complaint about the smell of the pigs last year to our landlord, so the landlord told us no more pigs. (Keep in mind, there are only 2 pigs on 6 acres and they are only here for 5 months and then go to the 4-H fair and livestock auction) Thankfully, another neighbor graciously allowed us to pen up a corner of her horse pen, to put our pigs in.
This year, I wanted to be sure that Mr. Right did a quality version of the pig feeder that would make it through the entire five months, and hopefully into the next few years! We agreed on using a 50 gallon barrel in some way, shape or form.
We bought this one at North 40 for $35. Then of course, we both combed the internet to find a version of a feeder that we both thought would work. We finally decided on this version from a YouTube video.
He makes this from scraps and things found around his homestead, but then uses some pretty expensive equipment to make it - which makes me smile! But we loved this idea and ran with it!
Here's what we gathered:
- 50 Gallon Food Grade Barrel
- Plywood for bottom and for flaps over feed - free from last year's sheep feeders
- 6 - 2x4's
- 4 Hinges
- Tin roofing - recycled
- Wood screws
- Skill saw
- Electric screw driver
We purchased everything except the plywood and tin roof. It cost about $70 total for our costs. We live in a remote, mountain town, with really high prices, so this could've all been done for a lot less if you could price out your wood.
Here's the base that Mr. Right build. The idea is that you cut holes in the bottom of the barrel on either side, so the feed uses gravity to slide down into the boxes on the right and left of this base. We put a shorter board across the front of the boxes (far right and left), so the lids would be slanted downwards and any rain will slide off. The pigs are able to lift the lids with their snouts to stick their noses in.
The four posts in this picture sticking up are for stability for the barrel, to keep it from falling over.
Here's the lids with the hinges. Make sure your lids hang over the edge, so the pigs have a lip to stick their snouts under.
Mr. Right then built a structure around the corners for the roof to attach. This is a simple rectangle with one side higher for the roof to pitch off. The higher side is for on the fence side, so we can fill it with feed without going thru the pig pen. Mr. Right built it high enough to lift the barrel out with the roof on with ease. (really technical way of building here!)
Here's a look at the lid of the barrel. Mr. Right cut a rectangle between the two holes. He used some nuts and bolts to make a nob on it so it would be easy to lift. This isn't air tight, but at least it keeps the feed safe from birds and such.
Here's the tin roof added. We have panels of old ones of these on our property, so we used one. It had to be cut in half to fit side by side and still have the water run the correct direction.
Here's our happy pigs with the feeder in their pen! Just a note, this barrel can hold about six 50 pound bags of feed in it, which is far too big for just 2 pigs! We could really be in the pig business with this feeder. We placed the feeder on a pallet so that it was up off the ground. Pig pens get pretty moist and messy, so we want this off the ground.
I'd love to hear if you had an opportunity to make one of these, or even what you do for your own DIY pig feeders!
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Summer piano (or any instrument) lessons are important. I have a pretty strong opinion on this and spend the month of May urging my piano student parents that they should try to continue their child's lessons over the summer. Here are my reasons:
- Summer is 1/4th of the year! That's a lot of the year to miss.
- Lessons are a huge investment, why lose the momentum?
- Students digress, a lot! Most students will take at least 3 months to return to where they left off in the spring - so now, you've really lost 6 months or 1/2 of the year!
- Because of number 3, you don't save money by taking the lessons off. You will pay for 9 months and only get 6 months of progress.
- Often, children that take the summer off, lose their enthusiasm in the fall, and struggle to stay with it. In my experience, these students don't come back, or they try and get frustrated with their backward movement, and end up quitting in the middle of the semester.
- In my studio, students who stay the summer, get first pick in the fall for lessons time slots!
I'm sure there are a lot of other reasons to continue piano lessons in the summer, but these are my top 6! My summer schedule is much lighter and I try to make it more fun! We do 3 lessons in June, 3 in July and then a Piano Party in August. I add a lots of games and a piano lab for the summer.During those 6 lessons, this summer, I'm doing an Ice Cream theme for an incentive this summer.
I printed off the Ice Cream Cones and Scoops from the Summer Ice Cream Challenge. I was pretty excited to find this resource for free! My plan is to keep it simple - for each piece that my students check off to be "recital ready", they get a scoop of ice cream to add to their cone.
Unlike Layton Music's suggestion to laminate the ice cream cones, I decided that we are only doing this for 6 weeks, and then I can just give each of my students their long ice cream cone to keep. I plan to write all their pieces on the scoops as the pass, so they have a record of all they learned this summer.
I've offered a special prize to the student who gets the most scoops in the 6 weeks of summer lessons! We have a snow cone stand in town, so I'm going to see if I can get a certificate from them, or an Icee certificate from the local gas station.
In addition to the most scoops, I'm ordering this set of Erasers to give out to all my students for participating:
I will hand out both at my Summer Piano Pop Party - where we will play lots of piano and music games and of course, eat ice cream sundaes!
That's it! Nothing more complicated. Basically, if kids want to compete for the most scoops of ice cream, they will have to have meaningful practice throughout the week to pass their pieces! I have quite a few students who are very competitive, so they will just thrive on this incentive.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
I had the pleasure of reading this third book in "The Quilted Heart" series by Mona Hodgson. Generally, I don't care for reading books in a series without first reading the books before (what can I say, I like things in order!), but this book captivated me right from the start! I definitely want to catch up and read the first two, but I was hooked right from the first few paragraphs!
"Ripples Along the Shore" was a finely knit fictional novel about not only the sorrow and recovery of just one Civil War widow, Caroline Milburn, but of a whole community of Americans, set on rebuilding their lives following the divide of a country in war. Destined to return to Saint Charles, Missouri after her spinster aunt passes away, to stay with her sister and bitter brother-in-law and family, Caroline struggles with the grief she feels with the loss of her husband to the war.
Will she find peace and purpose in what she should do now that she doesn't have a husband? After hearing of a wagon train to the West, she feels sure that God is calling her there, to begin anew. She finds the wagon master, Garrett Cowlishaw to be the one thing that stands in her way of a new beginning for herself. Her faith in God's ability to care for all matters is challenged, when her fellow quilting circle friends find comfort in the quote: "Life's changing seasons are as persistent as the ripples along the shore."
This book has me on the edge of my seat for the next in the series, and I'm sure that Mona Hodgson will deliver as Caroline's new unfolds as she travels west in the next series: Hearts Seeking Home. I'm adding this to my list of must reads, for sure!
Disclosure: I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for this review. I make a very small amount of compensation from Amazon when items are purchased from my links. Thank you for supporting my little reading habit!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
What are you making slow progress on right now? Keep chugging along!
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Today, we are going to clean the carpets in the living room. If you own your own carpet cleaner, you can just focus on the living room today. If you have to rent a carpet cleaner and you are anything like me, this will create a frenzy of 24 hours of cleaning all the carpets in the entire house! Either way, you may want to save this job for when you can work on this for an entire day.
What you will need:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Carpet Cleaner - after getting a new puppy at Christmas, this is the one I ordered online and LOVE!!!
What to do:
- Remove as much of the furniture from the room as you can.
- Vacuum the entire room, taking special care to get the edges around the room.
- Spray the Carpet Stain Buster on all visable stains throughout the room. You can also use the Envirocloth with just water to remove as many stains as possible, too.
- Fill the tank of you carpet cleaner with one scoop of Ultra Power Plus Laundry detergent and hot water to the fill line. (If you are concerned with the color steadfastness of your carpet, try this in a small out of the way area first. This Bissell is so great, because it has a small hose that you can do a small area first.)
- Clean the carpet! This is the fun part! (I know, sick!) I usually start on the far end and work in squares across the room, ending at the entryway of the room, so I don't have to keep walking over the clean area.
- Now is the tricky part - stay off the carpet for at least 12 hours!
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Today, we are going to do a clean-up of all the electronics in the living room.
You will need:
- Optic Cloth
- Dust Mitt
- Container to coral all of those chords - I like this one: Double Duty Caddy
- Zip ties
What to clean today:
- Start off by cleaning all of the screens in the living room with the Optic Cloth. Using a cloth that is not approved for this job can scratch you screens! The Optic Cloth is approved and works great at not only cleaning, but repelling future dust. Here's a list that I came up with:
- IPads & Tablets
- Smart Phones
- Small Gaming devices
- Once the screen is cleaned, you'll want to go all the way around your electronic and dust off the backs and the cords with the Dust Mitt. In fact, if you have two of those Dust Mitts, put one on each hand, so you can pick everything up and dust as you go.
- As long as you're fussing with the chords, go ahead and coral all those cords. I don't know why, but in our house, the cords need to be rebunched and tied up with zip ties. You can get all sorts of fancy items to bunch your cords together, but I find that zip ties are not too expensive and readily available at your local hardware store or on Amazon.
- Next, you will gather all of those chords and small electronic devices into one place. I know eventually they get loose and go all over the house, but at least to have a place to put all of your devices in one place is a great start to keeping the clutter down. Here's a look at my favorite electronic collector - the Double Duty Caddy that I found on Pinterest! You can even personalize it to say "Cords & Charges". I love that!
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Happy Valentine's Day!
Here's a happy mail that I sent out to the customer on my Facebook VIP page that won a drawing for the Superbowl. The winner happened to be my mom, so it made it extra fun to send some Happy Mail.
I bought a Valentine's Candy Heart box and put my message on the front with an address sticker, and then put an address label on the back with the addresses. I took the whole thing down to the post office to mail. It cost around $3 to ship! Not bad!
It's so fun to get odd items in the mail! You could do this for a college student (which I also did) or for a past hostess to tell them how much you love them or their business.
Here's my message:
"Mom - I LOVE that you played along for my Superbowl party! Customers are the HEART of my business! Thanks!"
Even though today is Valentine's Day, you could still do this for past hostesses or special customers! Go out tomorrow, the day after and buy up heart candy boxes and send them out to say "thanks for being the HEART of my business!" It would catch their attention and make you stand out in their minds as a business person they want to go with in the future! Plus, who doesn't love chocolate?
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Today is your chance to clean out any drawers or shelves in the Living Room! There's nothing really complicated about this day, but if you are like me, it's a much needed day!
Wipe off/out drawers with the EnviroCloth and apply that Oil/Vinegar mix as mentioned before to any wood that you are cleaning.
I love everyone else's shelves! I love to peruse Pinterest for all kinds of ideas on how to make my living room shelves look like a magazine. What am drawn to? Well, simplified shelves!
Here's what I like for my shelves:
- Simple, small collections, grouped together
- Books in order of size, tallest to shortest, or visa versa.
- If function is needed (i.e. videos, or remotes, etc.), use baskets or bins to organize clutter
- Pick a 3-4 items of interest to "decorate" (this could be a globe, a vase, an antique camera, whatever)
I love how this shelving unit, although it's for an office, has the bins to reign in the clutter, yet has a few decorations as well as some books to add! The order makes me happy. Let's face it, most people don't have the luxury of having shelves that don't need to function for storage in their living room.
For me, I homeschool in the living room, and have only one shelf available in our small living room - so it's where all the homeschool books live. Pretty bags are where the daily school books are kept on my living room shelf, and then the rest of the shelf is just books and bibles. Not fancy, but the clutter does get crazy regularly!
So that's it! Today you just clean and simplify your shelves so it feels clean!
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
What you will need to wash the walls:
How to clean the walls:
- I start on one wall, and then methodically work my way around the room.
- For each section of wall, take the pictures off the wall. Wipe them down.
- Lock the Mop head into position and attach the dust pad (the yellow pad) to the mop. Wipe down the wall with the Mop (yes you saw that right! This Mop works so well on the walls, I actually get excited to wash the walls!)
- Next, replace the dust pad with a wet (with water only) mop pad. The wet pad is the blue one. Wash the wall.
- Be sure to get the baseboards clean while washing the walls. Depending on the size of your baseboards, you may have to go back with the EnviroCloth and wipe them down, but I always try to get that Mop to work on them first! (I'm a lazy cleaner!)
- Use the EnviroCloth to clean up any spots, stains or corners that the Mop misses. (Not usually very many things, but just in case.)
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
To see more details on how this process works, go to my posting this day. Are you sticking with me on this far in your deep cleaning? For me, focusing on just one area at a time, or even just one chore each day, makes the entire process of Deep Cleaning seem doable.
Friday, February 3, 2017
What you will need to clean your Living Room Chairs & Couches:
- Leather Shine
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Spray Bottle with 1/4 teaspoon of Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent and water
- Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent
- Mattress Cleaner (optional)
What to do:
- If you have any covers on your couches or chairs, before removing the cover, spray the UPP/water spray bottle on any stains, to pre-treat them.
- Throw the covers into the washing machine with a scoop of UPP. They'll be all ready and clean after you're done cleaning everything up!
- Next, determine what kind of fabric your couch is made of. Here is what the tags may mean:
W: OK to use water for cleaning.
S: Only use a solvent-based cleaner on fabric.
SW: Either water or a solvent cleaner is safe to use.
X: Only use a vacuum for cleaning.
- If water is safe, go over all of the fabric, or microfiber couches with a wet (with only water) Envirocloth, wiping any of the stains or spots clean. This Envirocloth, is not just any rag or cleaning cloth, it really works to clean stains as well as 99% of the bacteria! This should take care of most stains on the couches.
- For any tough stains, spray a small amount of the UPP/water mix onto the stain, and wipe clean with the Envirocloth.
- If you have any leather chairs, the Leather Shine with do wonders for those pieces of furniture.
- Treat any of the wooden legs of the couches and chairs with the vinegar/oil treatment from the kitchen cupboards.
- Next, take all those cushions out of the couch and use the vacuum cleaner to clean all of the crevices of the couch.
- If you have fabric couches, you may want to treat all of the cushions and couches with the Mattress Cleaner. This will get ride of more stains and the ever present dust mites! I have allergies, so this is a must for me!
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Sunday, January 29, 2017
What you will need today to clean:
What to clean:
- If you have laundry cabinets, empty them out from top to bottom, wipe them down with the Envirocloth. If these cupboards need to be cleaned and oiled on the outside, see my post HERE about how I used vinegar and oil for this.
- Dust the walls down. This is something, I'm not sure I've ever done before owning the Superior Mop System, but now, I love to dust and wash the walls! You'll want to lock the Mop head into place, put the dust pad on the mop and wipe down all the walls with the mop. After the walls are dusted, clean up the floors and space under the washer and dryer.
- Follow the dust pad with the wet mop pad. You'll want to get that pad wet before putting it onto the mop. Wipe down the walls and floors with the wet Mop.
- Finish cleaning up any other areas of the laundry room that we missed. Comment below, if I missed something, so I can share that as well!
Since we've been talking a lot about the Superior Mop System lately, I do want to tell you a little bit about it. Here's what makes the Mop so special!
One thing you'll want to add to your Superior Mop System is the Rubber brush. This little brush will clean up that dust pad so quickly.
Now the kitchen and laundry room are finished. Are you hanging with me in Green Deep Cleaning your house? We'll be moving on next to the living room. Stay tuned.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
What you need to clean the washer and dryer:
- Window Cloth
- Envirowand with Sleeve
- White Vinegar
- Vacuum that blows air (only if you are able to take the panels off the dryer)
- If you are able, clean out all the traps internally. My front loading washing machine, doesn't really invite you to do this, but we discovered this about 8 years ago, when our washing machine stopped working and we didn't want to pay for an appliance person to come check it. Mr. Right took off the front panel, and found a trap (not mentioned in the instructions, or even specs of the machine!). It simply screws off and can be emptied. I get in there with my Envirocloth and really get out any mildew that has built up in there.
- Next, using the Envirocloth, clean ever surface, inside and out of all lint and mildew.
|Washer Detergent Drawer Removed|
- Run a cycle without clothes and fill the detergent cup with white vinegar. This will work on that mildew internally. Some people say that it will dry out the rubber components for your washing machine, but I've had my front loading machine for 10 years, and it's still working fine, with now notable damage. Do this at your own risk.
- Clean any shiny surfaces and windows on the washing machine with the Window Cloth.
- I don't have the ability to get under my machine because it's up on a platform, but I take that Envirowand, spritz it with water and wipe under and behind the machine where I can't reach with my hands or Mop.
- Pull machine out from the wall, and use the Superior Mop System to clean the wall and floor behind the machine.
- Mr. Right was forced to take off the panels off the dryer recently, because we burned up an electrical panel, but this offered a great opportunity to clean it all out. Mr. Right prefers to clean motors and electricals off with blowing air, instead of vacuum power. Our Vacuum, has the ability to do this , so that's what Mr. Right did, blow out the internals of the dryer. Warning: This makes a huge mess!!! Close the door and be prepared for a big blowout!
Dryer with Front panel off and cleaned by Mr. Right!
- The Envirowand can be bent to clean out the dryer vent! If things are stuck on, you can even spritz it with water to get those hard to clean places. This is so awesome! I love it!
- While that Envirowand is in your hand, go ahead and get all those places that you are unable to reach move the dryer away from.
- Take the Envirocloth to every surface you can reach and wipe it down with just water. Don't forget the inside of the dryer as well! I find stickers and things in there sometimes, you just never know!
- For shiny places and windows, use the Window Cloth to make them shine again.
Stay tuned for the rest of the laundry room on Day 9!
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
I just had to share with you that there's some sneak preview's and exclusive buys before one of my favorite company's release of their new catalog in February. Check it out! You can join my Facebook group to stay up to date on all of the new and upcoming products!
Stay posted on all the new stuff on my Private Facebook Page!
|So Cute Now!|
|So Cute Now!|
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
What we've deep cleaned in the kitchen so far:
- Day 1 - Refrigerator
- Day 2 - Oven
- Day 3 - Ceilings & Windows
- Day 4 - Sink
- Day 5 - Cupboards & Pantry
- Day 6 - Dishwasher & Microwave
- Day 7 - Woodwork
What you'll need to green deep clean the kitchen floor:Mop does a great job getting all the floors and baseboards clean (you can move the pad to one edge of the Velcro, and get a flap, that goes up all the baseboards to clean the baseboards, but to deep clean the floors today, here's what we're going to do just before a good mopping of the floor:
- Wipe down all of the tops of the baseboards. I tend to do this with a slightly wet Dusting Mitt, wiped across the top of the baseboards. You can use the Envirowand that is spritzed with water, so you don't have to clean on your hands and knees, but since the next item is going to require getting on the floor anyway, I prefer the hands on Dusting Mitt with a little water on it.
- Scrub that crack between the floor and the baseboards with the Scrubby Corner Cloth. I used a butter knife inside the corner to clean that crack up really well.
3. Scrub the corners really well, especially under the cabinets. (This is the worst in my kitchen, because all the corners have an unreachable corner. No broom or mop can reach these little corners!)
4. Finally - sweep and mop the entire floor!