improv quilting

5 things I’m loving right now

Trim Healthy Mama menu planning
Saturday morning menu planning.

The holidays are headed right for us, have you noticed? Before all the holiday preparations, excitement, and let’s face it, dread, fully envelope us, I thought it would be nice to pause and think about what I’m loving–what is working for me right now, in ordinary time.

  1. Going sugar-free. Yup. I did it. It’s been a couple of months now since I started the Trim Healthy Mama (let’s just call it THM, shall we?) eating plan to get my blood sugar issues under control. It has helped me get  out of pre-diabetes territory, which I find a huge relief.  The plan is simultaneously easy and hard to do. But the one thing that is definitely working is getting off of sugar,  with all its ups and downs and cravings. I do use stevia-based sweeteners, which I used to lump in with all other “fake sugars”, but in fact, after lots of research I have found that stevia is a natural sweetener, and thank goodness for that! I made it through my first Halloween ever eating no candy, and feel like I am free!
  2. All things British TV. I just binged-watched Poldark Season 3 and loved every minute of it. One day I am definitely going to need to read the books that started it all.  Other recent favorites include Victoria and To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters. Long hours of sewing are even more enjoyable when streaming some lovely British TV.
  3. FlyLady. Have you done FlyLady? This one deserves its own post. I have started and abandoned FlyLady half a dozen times in my life. But I keep going back to it, not because I need help getting my house clean each week. I have that down. What I need help with is the deep cleaning. Making space in my schedule for all the little (or not so little) things that I don’t clean on a weekly basis. I’m talking about moving the furniture to vacuum, cleaning out the drawers and cupboards, cleaning the ceiling fans–stuff like that. And her Zone system, tackling one area of your home per week and knocking these tasks off 15 minutes at a time makes a lot of sense to me. I’m still struggling to implement it, but I will keep pushing forward.
  4. Morning Pages. I carry a lot in my head. I’m always thinking, thinking, thinking. And taking time every morning (or even just some mornings–no perfectionism here) to get what is in my head out on paper really helps me make sense of it all. Or at least it get it out of my head. I’m hoping to go into the holidays this with some clarity, purpose, and intention.
  5. The Next Right Thing podcast. I am no stranger to Emily P. Freeman’s writing–but her podcast resonates with me on a different level.  From her podcast intro: The Next Right Thing “is for the second-guessers, the chronically hesitant or anyone who suffers from decision fatigue.” Yes, yes, and yes. At less than twenty minutes per episode, it is just the kick-in-the-pants I need some days.

So that’s it for me. What are you loving right now?

improv quilting

how to clean your stove hood filter

A nasty bout of the stomach flu made its way through our family last week. After a couple of days of doing nothing but lay on the couch, I started feeling restless and started puttering around the house, freshening up different corners. I remembered a not-so-fun chore of cleaning the stove hood filters that I had been meaning to get around do for quite a while.  This was the day!

I thought I remembered that the last time I cleaned them I had read about putting them through the dishwasher. So I started googling. I kept coming across this blog post, which actually references this post on cleaning them by immersing the filters in boiling water mixed with baking soda. It worked well, was quick, but a bit smelly.

Here’s how to do it:

Remove your stove hood filters and marvel at how disgustingly gross and greasy they are (the last part is optional).IMG_1933

Next, find your largest pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil.IMG_1938

Measure out 1/2 cup of baking soda and slowly add it to the boiling water. If you add it too fast it will immediately boil over and make a mess of your stovetop, creating another chore for you once this one is over (ahem).

IMG_1942Carefully drop the filters into the boiling water.

IMG_1945Boil for 5 minutes, all the while amusing yourself with watching the disgusting amount a grease coming out of the filters. Flip them over about halfway through if your pot is not big enough to submerge them completely.IMG_1951

After 5 minutes, take them out and give them a good rinse with hot water to get them completely clean. I put mine outside to dry for a little while.

IMG_1955I’m not sure if you can tell, but there is quite a difference between the before and after. The whole thing only took 10-15 minutes and leaves me with that smug homemaker feeling.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.