Friday, November 23, 2012

Gobble Gobble

After just over a year in our first house, we decided to host our first Thanksgiving dinner. I always help my mom cook for holidays, so I wasn't super unfamiliar with cooking a big holiday dinner.

We had homemade green bean casserole, six cheese mashed potatoes, honey and bourbon glazed apples and sweet potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, challah rolls, and of course turkey and gravy. For dessert were mini pumpkin pies and mini apple pie cheesecakes.

That hardest part of the entire day, was trying to get everything cooked and done (and hot) at the same time. I actually had a surprising amount of down time that I was not too fond of having. It's hard to sit around when you know there is so much left to do.

But everything seemed to come together. And everyone said the food was delicious (who knows if they were really telling the truth...).

Our first turkey!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now it's time to put up all the Christmas and Hanukah decorations. The bitter cold and flurries definitely make it feel a bit more like the holiday season.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Favorite Things: Clean Freak Edition

Yes. I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a clean freak. So in today's post I'm going to share a few of my favorite things.

First is our scooba. I've named ours Henry (I figure if it's going to clean my house, it should at least have a name). Now you're all going "what in the world is a scooba?" Well it's from iRobot, the makers of the roomba. Only unlike the roomba which is a vacuum, the scooba is essentially a robot mop. It is meant for hard surfaces, like our wood floors. You fill it up with a bit of floor cleaner (specific to your type of floor) and water, press a button, and off it goes. We have the 230 model, but there is a new 390 model that also vacuums small particles while mopping (so you don't even have to sweep before!) Best part, it makes a pretty amusing dog toy while it cleans your floors. 

My next new favorite cleaning thing is our washer/dryer. We have an all in one washer and dryer. Meaning you toss in the load of laundry, set the wash, set the dry, and let it go. I'm the type of person that puts a load of laundry into the wash and then start doing other things, and completely forget to move it to the dryer. An all in one machine is by far the best laundry invention for someone like myself. Not to mention it is amazing for those who work all day. The LG machine we have allows for you to set a delay and also has a cool down cycle after drying. When I worked full time, this was a life saver. It allowed me to throw in a load before going to work (or even the night before) and set it to go on about 2 in the afternoon. It would then wash and dry the load and be ready for folding when I walked in the door. And even if traffic was bad, the 4 hour cool down cycle kept the clothes from wrinkling. It even sings to you when it's done.

Now if you're not looking to spend a lot of money, here are some of my quick clean freak loves. 

I keep one of those Oxo squirt dish cleaners with a mixture of dish soap (like Dawn or Palmolive or whatever you like) and vinegar in my shower at all time. Before getting out of the shower, I real quick wipe the shower with the cleaner. It adds maybe 30 seconds to each shower, but it eliminates having to scrub the shower clean each week (or month or year, depending on your cleaning habits). And it actually keeps my shower looking cleaner than it ever did with weekly scrubbings. I keep a container of premixed dish soap and vinegar in my linen closet upstairs, and refill the cleaner once a week when I clean the rest of the bathroom.

Dryer sheets. I use these to dust everything. They leave a small film on surfaces which helps to prevent the dust from sticking (at least from what I've noticed). Meaning less dusting, which I'm sure everyone would like (really, who likes to dust?) It's the best for electronics that are basically magnets for dust. You can even rub dyer sheets on baseboards to help prevent dust build up on those. And if you own the wonderful washer dryer combo I talked about before, you might be like me and have an abundance of dryer sheets since they were bought at Sam's club that you'll never use again (no need for dryer sheets with that machine). Best part, no sprays or anything needed. And you get that great fresh laundry smell around your entire place!

And of course, what clean freak post would be complete without a cleaning wish list.

I'm slightly obsessed with finding the perfect vacuum for my house. I have a big upright vacuum. It works well. But it's a huge hassle to carry it up and down the stairs every week (or to get my husband to do). I also bought myself a stick vacuum (basically a dust buster attached to a stick so you can stand while using it). Which is fine for the hardwood floors, but doesn't work well for the rugs. But I think I found my perfect match. It is a handheld vacuum, but has the suction of an upright along with a spinning brush. It combines the best of both of my current vacuums. Light enough to go up and down stairs easily, but powerful enough to get those rugs clean. I know "they" always say you're not supposed to give women vacuums as gifts, but I would be pretty excited to get this one. 

Interested in any of my clean freak items? Just click the pictures! The pictures will link you to where to buy them!