Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to survive the cold and flu season

The Cold by Norman Rockwell
The Cold

We've had a jump start on the cold and flu season around here. Everyone in the family but Mike and Marcia have been sick. The whole town seems to have the same thing.

Over the years, I've learned a few things about dealing with those little bugs that go around.

1) Stock up the medicine cabinet. I'm so glad I already had cold and flu medicine, cough drops, tissues, and Vicks Vapo-Rub on hand.

2) Keep hand sanitizer and disinfectant handy. This will at least slow the spread of germs between family members. Remember to disinfect doorknobs, light switches, telephones, and computer keyboards. Those areas can be super germy.

3) Keep some easy meals on hand that hubby or the kids can make without help in case Mom gets sick. It won't hurt them to eat something warmed up in the microwave every now and then. I keep canned soup and frozen chicken nuggets for "emergencies" like this. The last thing I want to worry about when I'm sick is cooking dinner.

4) Set aside some "sick day" entertainment for the kids. I sometimes buy those DVDs for a dollar at the dollar store. They are usually old black and white movies and they are a fun treat. Another good idea is a new box of crayons and a coloring book. Even though my girls are probably too big for coloring they still think it's fun if they are sick.

5) Have an "emergency housekeeping plan". Realize that when you or someone in the family is sick, the usual housekeeping just won't get done. Try to do only the things that will take longer if you let them go, like laundry and dishes (or delegate them). The rest can wait. The dusting won't take any longer if it's been awhile since you last dusted. Just dim the lights a little. :) It's also a good idea if Mom gets sick to have some disposable plates and cups on hand. It's worth spending an extra dollar or two for you to have less to wash when you don't feel well.

I'm hoping you're all healthy and none of you will need this advice this year! :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Small Project

I'm finally feeling better. Not well, but better. I'm still coughing, especially at night (which is driving the entire family crazy I'm sure). Hopefully that won't last much longer. Otherwise I might have to sleep in the garage. :)

I wanted to get a little organizing done, but didn't have the energy to tackle anything too big, so I decided to organize our living room bookshelf. It always looks so sloppy and cluttered. So I took everything off of it, gave it a good dusting, and put most everything back, hopefully in better order.



I think it looks a little more orderly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Enormous Produce!

First of all, I want to let y'all know that we are fine. We are not in coastal Texas. We have had some weather issues, but nothing like those poor folks in Galveston are facing.

Now, on to today's post! :) My mom has a lovely garden at her ranch, and she grows the most enormous produce! I don't know what it is about her garden... Last year, she had to pick her zucchini right away or it would grow to the size of baseball bats!

This week she came to town and brought me a watermelon and a pumpkin. The watermelon is HUGE! I couldn't get over it! I got out my bathroom scale and weighed it...35 pounds! Can you believe that? Our little watermelons are puny in comparison. I told her that our watermelons are "apartment size" and hers are "big house with a pool" size. :)

Here's the pumpkin which is very large too.

Here's the watermelon. I put an apple in the picture to give you an idea of how big it is. The apple is a fairly large red delicious.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Love Tomatoes!

If you were my neighbor, I would take some tomatoes and peppers to you. :) We are over run!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Caring for your front loading washing machine

Servis Washing Machine
Servis Washing Machine

I am LOVING my new front loading washing machine! I can put lots of clothes in it and it is SO quiet. The clothes spin so well they are nearly dry when they come out of the washer. I'm also looking forward to big savings on my water and electric bills. I can't believe that our clothes are getting clean with so little water.

I've found, however, that a front loader is much different than a top loader. It seems that it is quite common to have problems with odors. I've talked to friends and researched and I think I've figured out how to keep the odors away.

1) ALWAYS use HE detergents (they are low sudsing) and use as little as you can get by with. From what I hear, liquid HE detergents work better. That's all I've used so far.

2) Wash in warm or hot water. This seems to keep the inside of the machine cleaner. I do this anyway, because our clothes just don't come clean in cold water whether in a top loader or a front loader.

3)Run the "basket clean" cycle at least twice a month.

4)After your last load of the day, dry the rubber seal and leave the door cracked open.

5)Occasionally take off the little front panel in the lower corner and drain. Make sure nothing is clogged in it. It is made to catch small items that are left in pockets, etc. and it can start to smell if left too long.

6) Don't use liquid fabric softeners. They leave a "scum" on the inside of the washer that is hard to get off with so little water coming through. Just use dryer sheets if you need to.

I'm hoping that my washing machine will last for many years with a little preventative maintenance.