Oct 22

Cleaning House and Saving Money

Hello all!  I’m writing this quickly while my little guy is taking a bath, so I apologize for any spelling errors.  There hasn’t been a lot going on in the Pleasantly Poor house lately.  Although, my hubby and I spent a good chunk of Saturday working on getting our house really deep cleaned. I found this great site through Pinterest that offers free printable lists for seasonal deep cleanings.  It gave me the inspiration I needed to motivate myself into some much needed cleaning.  We swept, mopped, dusted, washed base boards, and I even got my little one involved by handing him a magic eraser and telling him to wash the walls, it was great.  When I started checking tasks off the list I printed, I was dismayed to learn that I had accomplished less than half the tasks!  There is still a LOT of work to be done.

I was also sent this great link by one of my Google+ communities.  It lists several money saving apps that find coupons and deals, or even give you money back for the things you buy.  I’m trying out a couple of them, and will let you know what I think in a couple of weeks.

My little guy is yelling to get out of the tub, so I have to cut this post short.  Sorry, I don’t have more to say, but I hope that you find these links useful!

 

 

Oct 10

Closets and Cabinets … Organized!

I’ve been on a bit of an organizing kick lately.  Largely because I have done very little organizing over the past few months, and things are getting a little out of control.  After successfully organizing our linen closet, which didn’t take me nearly as long as I had feared, I decided that it was time to stop putting off the other areas of need.  One of those areas of need is our bathroom closet.  We have been doing some renovation, a little at a time, over the last few months.  Most recently, we took out our vanity, and put in a pedestal sink.  It looks great, but that means that we have considerably less storage space.  After the pedestal sink was installed, my husband politely informed me that since he had done the heavy lifting, figuring how to store our stuff in less space was my job.  My reply was just as polite, but marital bliss aside, he was right of course.  So I took on the task of purging anything that we didn’t need, or for that matter, use.

When I was a kid I had a book on how to clean your room.  I can’t remember the actual name or author, so I can’t reference it.  But I remember that the first step was to pick up EVERYTHING that was not in it’s proper place and put it on your bed, so that you had to put it where it belonged…or sleep on top of it.  I still use the direction I got from that book for cleaning my room, and for organizing my spaces.  So when I started organizing the bathroom closet, I took everything out of the closet and put it in inconvenient places in the bathroom, on top of the toilet and in the sink or bathtub, for example.  That way I was committed and had to finish what I started.  The next thing I did was grab two trash bags.  One was for trash, and the other was for unopened products that I knew we didn’t need and weren’t going to use anytime soon.  I plan on taking that bag to the St. Francis House, the local homeless shelter, so that they can be used by people who need them. Then I had to make a plan for how I wanted the closet to be organized. I decided that the bottom two shelves would be used for towels.  Next I needed a shelf for cleaning products, and above that I put bath products, perfumes, colognes, etc. I separated mine and my hubby’s into these nifty bins, and if it didn’t fit in the bins, we didn’t keep it.  I made a few exceptions, but not very many.  I put first aid supplies, hair ties & accessories, and other little do-dads in my Mary Kay travel bag, which I can hang on the wall of the closet, so it doesn’t take up any shelf space.  The top shelf is for stuff that we need to keep, but we don’t use regularly, like my hair dryer.  There is still work to be done, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far.

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I took the same approach with my tupperware cabinet.  We have so many tupperware containers with no lids, and lids with no containers.  Our cabinet was just overflowing with mis-matched plastic lids and containers.  I took my crazy tupperware out of the cabinet and began matching the pieces with the lids.  When I was done, I had a small, but complete collection of tupperware.  Everything that didn’t have a match was tossed.

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I have a friend that I met while working in the tourist industry here in St. Augustine.  I’m glad that our work brought us together, because I doubt we ever would have met otherwise.  We have never spent much time together outside of work, but we keep up with each other on Facebook.  Rather than driving, she rides a bicycle, by choice I believe.  So when she travels, which she does pretty often by my standards, she takes her bike or the bus, and often depends on the kindness of others.  Most recently she decided to take a trip to Tennessee, which she chronicled on Facebook.  With her permission, I’ve decided to share her posts with you, one post at a time.  If you enjoy her writing as much as I do, I’ll got back in time a bit and share some of her other stories with you.  Happy Reading!

 

Posted on September 30th at 12:00 pm:

 

The Statue of Liberty stands in the South.

Well, kind of.

Down here, she is known as Lady Liberation, and she graces the front of World Overcomers Outreach Ministries, in Memphis. Meant to remind church-goers and passerby alike of our country’s Christian heritage, Lady Liberation holds the Ten Commandments in her left arm, and hoists a huge golden cross high above her head. The seven points of her crown represent Jehovah. When the statue was erected eight years ago, public uproar was deafening. According to a member of the church that I spoke to, people urged a boycott of World Overcomers, pickets were held outside the main grounds, and vicious articles peppered the media. According to the World Overcomers website:

”Our Lady Liberation’s…message is clear and simple:
America come back to God. America belongs to God. Jesus Christ is the true source of liberty in every area of life: spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, and relationally. Lady Liberation is only a prophetic symbol that proclaims to America that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man can come unto the Father (God) but by Him.”

It’s a strange sight to behold an iconic figure, shrunk down to size and standing in the middle of a grass field, the glint off her golden cross blinding patrons coming out of the nearby McDonald’s. Always a glutten for kitsch, I went inside the church, hoping to find a mini replica for sale. No such luck, but the woman working in the church bookstore was so delighted that I’d come all the way from Florida to see Lady Liberation that she handed me several postcards, literature, and a “America Return to God” poster.

***

The original Statue of Liberty, according to Wikipedia, represents “…Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom…[and] bears a tabula ansata upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence…The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.”

The Statue of Liberation seems to evoke a darker message, that we have been granted too much freedom and now is the time for salvation.

As far as I know, World Overcomers’ statuesque message has reluctantly been accepted into the scenery as yet another overly-lavish piece of religious paraphernalia.

— at World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church.

 

And here’s a small bonus post from September 29th at 6:00 pm:

 

The fountain in Memphis’ famous Peabody Hotel is home to several mallard ducks!

The legend goes that in the 1930s, then-General Manager Frank Schutt and a friend of his, both returned from a hunting trip, paid a visit to the hotel’s bar, to reminisce on their exploits. The two had a little too much to drink, and amid the cacophony of their celebrating, decided it would be HILARIOUS to put some of their live duck decoys in the Peabody fountain.

Next morning, despite the London Fog hanging heavy in his head, Schutt remembered what he’d done and rushed down into the lobby to remove the ducks. To his surprise, the Peabody guests loved the new arrivals, and a crowd had gathered to watch them paddle around the fountain.

80 years later, descendants of the Peabody Ducks remain, splashing around the lobby’s marble fountain to the enjoyment and wonder and old and young alike. The Ducks march from the fountain to their roof-top home every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

[Photo from BlissTree]

— at Peabody Duck March.

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Oct 06

Don’t be Intimidated by Homemade Pizza Dough

When I was a kid my mom would occasionally make homemade pizza.  I’d get up in the morning and there’d be this giant yellow mixing bowl, a towel draped over it, sitting in some random spot, like the hallway or laundry room, and I’d know that pizza was on the menu for that evening.  It was pretty good too.  Was it as good as restaurant pizza?  Well that depends on if you’re asking the adult me or the kid me.  The kid me thought restaurant pizza was better because it was round, whereas my mom’s homemade pizza was a strange shape (you know, like a rectangle) and the crust was a little lumpy.  But when I think back on it now, I remember it tasting pretty awesome.  In fact, I’ve been wanting to make my own homemade pizza for a while, largely because of the memories I have of eating my mom’s pizza.  It took me a long time to actually do it, though, because I was so intimidated by the prospect.  See, I remember the process taking forever when I was a kid.  I remember walking by the mixing bowl in the hallway for days on end, waiting for it to finally be finished rising so we could eat!  I’m exaggerating, of course, but time moves more slowly when you’re a kid.  So the hour or two that it took for the pizza dough to rise, felt like an eternity.

Last week I decided that it was time to stop procrastinating and face my fears.  I turned to Pinterest to help me find a pizza dough recipe that was easy to understand and execute.  My search led me to this fantastic pin, from crunchy creamy sweet.  Not only was the recipe super simple, but it has pictures to illustrate each and every step.  The best part, I already had everything I needed on hand. BONUS!

I dissolved a package of yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water, with 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.  Once the yeast start bubbling, letting me know that it was “activated”, I added 3 cups of flour, and stirred it well.  Then I added a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon of oil.  Next I moved it onto some floured wax paper and began to flatten and punch the dough.  Once I had played Rocky with the dough for a few minutes, I rolled it into a ball, put it in a large mixing bowl, and draped a towel over it.

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Rather than stand in the kitchen, staring anxiously at my dough, I got myself and my little one out of the house for a while.

When we returned, an hour and a half or so later, the dough had risen nicely.  I didn’t get out my measuring tape, but I’m pretty sure it doubled in size like it was suppose to.  I set the oven to preheat to 425 degrees, and moved the dough back onto the floured wax paper and began kneading it.  I let my little guy help at this point, and he had a great time.

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After a few minutes of messy fun I rolled it into a log and cut it into thirds.

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I put 2 of the thirds into the freezer.  The 3rd I rolled out, with some help from the little guy, and tried to make it as round as I could.  Once that was done, I greased my pizza pan and moved my dough onto the pan.  I pressed and stretched until it covered the whole pan.   Then it was time to put the toppings on.

I still had some pizza sauce from the last time that we made pizzadillas. So I poured some sauce on my dough and used the back of large soup spoon to spread the sauce out in a circular fashion.  Then, I did something really sneaky.  I cut up squash and zucchini really thin, put it on the pizza and covered with more sauce.  After that bit of skulduggery, I added shredded cheese, black olives, mushrooms, ham, and more cheese.

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Then I popped it into the oven for about 15 minutes and Voila! Homemade pizza.

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I took a few pictures along the way, but if you want a lot of illustration and step by step instructions, visit Crunchy Creamy Sweet.

I was thrilled by how easy the process was.  And I have two more balls of dough in the freezer for the next time I want to make pizza. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to cut the dough in half, rather than into thirds.  Cutting the dough into thirds made for some super thin pizza crust.  In fact, it was too thin to support all the toppings.  It sure was good, though!

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