Okay... I think I've finally come up with a schedule that will really works for my Lil' Man and I!  Let me first say that where I've gone wrong in the past I think is being too detailed.  Don't get me wrong... you'll notice my homemaker's schedule is quite detailed but it's not hour by hour... it's more by time blocks.  I found that if I scheduled out sections of the day it would be easier to follow.  For example... for the morning block, I know it starts with breakfast and whatever we do afterwards just has to be done and ready for the next block of time by 10:30.

I've also scheduled days of the week for certain activities or outings... leaving two days of the week free for any outings that come up such as playgroups or last minute errands.  I've also listed my night time routine which includes my shower.  I've found that if I shower at night, I can "prep" my hair in a way that makes it already styled when I wake up in the morning... Sometimes I put my hair in rollers and when I'm really feeling adventurous I'll do pin curls, but the easiest thing I do, which gives me great results is the sock bun

Something else I want to point out are the Ten Minute Cleanups... out of all the things that I've seen regarding cleaning schedules this one REALLY works for me.  I set my timer for ten minutes and I do everything as quickly as I can.  In order for this to work well for you... it might be necessary to do one real good deep clean on the house.  That way... the three ten minute cleanups a day will keep things tidy!  I'm still using FlyLady but I'm tweaking it a bit by adding the daily missions into my Ten Minute Cleanups... That way different parts of my house get their cleanups without me having to figure it out. 

Keep in mind... Even though I laid this out in detail... nothing is set in stone.  As a homemaker with children you have to do what you have to do when you have to do it.  For me... this is extremely helpful because I am a blue print type of gal and I need a schedule like this to look at and follow on a daily basis in order to be productive.  Otherwise I'll find myself sitting on the couch letting my Lil' Man watch tv as I surf the internet... yeah bad I know.  So it's necessary for me... but that doesn't mean if a day comes where things need to be switched up a bit that I say no way because I have a schedule to follow... no not at all.  I go with the flow and do what needs to be done... but for the typical, non-eventful, every day sort of day...it's the perfect guideline for me.  Not to mention I'm sure as time goes by I'll be switching a few things around... for example I'm planning on fitting going to the gym in there somewhere but I need to figure out more details on classes I want to take etc and figure out how to work those times into the schedule. 

When I first became a homemaker shortly after my son was born I was sort of left clueless on how to balance my day.  I searched and searched for a routine or schedule like this and was never able to find anything... So I hope that this helps someone.  You do not need to follow it to a T but if it helps you to organize your thoughts and create the perfect schedule for yourself then that will make me happy.  So here ya go... check out my Homemakers Daily Schedule and take what you need!
These empanadas that you see here... well... they're perfect.  They are mouth watering, can't have just one, made to perfection.  And I have my mother to thank for them and their recipe.  There's a long story behind the effort we took in perfecting this recipe and in order to fully appreciate these delicious empanadas you need to hear it...

It all started when I was about... ten years old.  We lived in Tucson, Arizona and every once in a while my mom and I liked to go exploring... just driving around to places within town we've never been before and seeing what shops we could find.  Well one day we decided to trickle into the South Side of Tucson... from a distance we saw the steeple of a beautiful church and wanted to take a closer look.  So we drove closer and closer and finally arrived right in front of the church.  Down the road from that church we noticed a tiny strip mall... and I mean tiny... maybe I shouldn't even call it a strip mall... it was only three shops all connected.  The largest of the three shops was a butcher of some sort with the words Meat Factory right in front... I can't remember exactly what the shop was in the middle... for some reason I want to say it was some type of hair salon... and on the left was a bakery.  My mother LOVES bakeries and likes to see what they all have... so of course we park and go in. 

This was a Mexican bakery... and I remember they had large cakes for every occasion which was probably their biggest selling item.  They had these Mexican breads that my mother loved that almost look like buns in the shape of sea shells.  Then we saw the empanadas... now we had empanadas before from several different bakeries and they were all just okay... in fact... I didn't really like empanadas all that much.  They had cherry and pumpkin I believe and my mother bought a pumpkin one for each of us... we went and sat in the car and ate our empanadas.  Oh... My... Goodness... they were the most delicious pumpkin empanadas we had ever had in our lives!  My mom went back in and bought a dozen to take home with us!  We went home and everyone agreed that they were as delicious as we thought and we knew we'd be returning to that bakery. 

Now this side of town and this bakery were EXTREMELY far from where we lived... so it ended up being a couple of months before we couldn't handle it any longer and needed to go and get some more.  Well guess what.... we had NO IDEA where it was!!!  We obviously knew how to get to the south side, but the south side was fairly large and of course we had no idea even what the name of that bakery was!  So we're driving around where we THINK it might be and we're having no luck whatsoever in finding it.  Then all of the sudden guess what we see off in the distance... THE CHURCH STEEPLE!!!!  We remembered that we had gone to that church and that it was just down the road from it!!  I'm actually laughing out loud right now as I remember this because of how excited we got and we're shouting to each other... "The church! The church!!" LOL!!!!! As though we had found buried treasure... well to us... it was!  So we make our way to the church and take the same path we took that very first time and there it was... those three little buildings all connected... the meat factory, the salon, and the bakery.  No wonder we didn't remember the name of the bakery there WAS no name on the building!!  We must had just looked through the windows the first time and noticed they had baked goods.

So we walked in and bought another dozen so satisfied that we had found it.  We might have asked at that point what the name of the bakery was but I don't remember and neither does my mom it was so long ago.  We wouldn't go often, again because of the distance, but we always found it because of that church.  My mother ended up moving across the country to Atlanta and I stayed in Arizona and went to the University of Arizona.  I think once or twice I went by myself since being at school placed me closer to that side of town and came home with half a dozen pumpkin empanadas that I enjoyed all by myself :).  After about five years my mother moved back home and we decided it was time to make another run for our delicious treats.  As we turned onto the street where the three little shops sat, something didn't seem right... as we got closer our hearts sank... they had closed... for good.  We didn't know what to do!  We had even went into the meat factory (the salon or whatever it was never seemed to be open when we were there) and asked them if they had just switched locations and they knew nothing.  Not for many long years would we ever taste as delicious pumpkin empanadas as we did from that bakery.

We would go and try some out from different bakeries over the years and I went back to "not liking" them... they just didn't even compare anywhere else.  Until now... My mom came to stay with us while my husband traveled out of town for a long period of time and when she got here she said... "I'm going to perfect empanadas for us"... So she got started... day after day she'd have another batch ready and I was the taster.  They were all good but batch after batch I'd say "Nope too crisp", "Nope too chewy", "Nope, nope, nope"... She had the filling down pat right from the get go... it was just the dough we were figuring out.  Then one day... I knew it just by looking at them... "THOSE are going to be it!!" I said.  Just like she always does she raised one questionable eyebrow saying "How do you know you haven't even tried them yet..." Oh but I was right... They... Were... PERFECT!!!    It took her about four batches to get there... going through tons of different cookbooks combining different ingredients from different books mix matching all of them and finally coming up with her own.... of course not measuring a SINGLE ingredient except by the palm of her hand (just like her tortillas). 

So I grabbed a pen and paper and said "Hurry!  Tell me the ingredients at least so you don't forget!" and we listed everything down and then she made another batch and we dissected it measuring out each ingredient after she threw it in the bowl.  LOL.... Now that I think about it I could only imagine how strange we must look... My mom pouring an ingredient into the palm of her hand and throwing it into and bowl and me scooping it all out of the bowl putting it into a measuring to see how much it is.  Ay ay ay!  We're crazy! LOL!

So that is the story of our perfect empanadas... If you decide to make these for yourselves please remember this story and remember how much love, time and effort was put into them.  Also as you measure out your ingredients, remember these aren't EXACT... In fact... if you want them as PERFECT as ours... I would make each measurement just a little below heaping.  Don't level off the flour, sugar, etc... make it all a little heaping.  I hope these empanadas are as enjoyable to you as they are for us.  These are truly from the heart.  So here it is... My Mother's Empanada Recipe.
Okay so I know I've made a few posts about my clothesline already but I've learned some things in the few weeks I've been using it and I want to share them in case anyone can benefit from them.  Now for those of you who have been doing this a while these might sound like obvious tips but for someone new, like I was just a few weeks ago, a list like this was exactly what I was hoping to find and didn't... So here we go!
  1. Wear an apron:  Or have some place to put your clothespins... I've seen the bags that hang on the line and I know some people pin them on their clothes they are wearing... but so far NOTHING has worked as well for me as my little half apron with a large pocket in the center to get a clothespin out or drop one in when I'm taking clothes off the line. 
  2. Hang clothes inside out:  Now I can see someone not wanting to do this if there are any stains they are hoping the sun will bleach out OR they might see it as too much work when it comes time to take the clothes down... having to turn them right side out again.  Well... you see... I have an issue with bugs.  Yes... I want a farm, farm animals, and a garden and I hate bugs!!  I can't help it... call me crazy!  So I found myself shaking out my clothes and turning them inside out giving another shake then back again just to triple check that there were no bugs!  Then I said "Ah ha!" I'll hang them to dry inside out then when I take them down I just give a shake, turn them right side out and voila! I'm satisfied!  Keep in mind too you may not have a spider/bug problem if you're using T poles but my clothesline is hung between two trees.
  3. Hang clothes upside down:  I don't think I hang a single piece of clothing right side up... it makes for better drying to let sleeves and waistbands and such fly in the wind.
  4. Fold Over: Every article of clothing I hang, I fold over the line just a wee bit for the clothespin to grasp... if you put the edge of the clothing flat against the line and pin it... a gust of wind could take it right down!
  5. For quicker drying: Pin the piece of clothing from end to end as wide as the article of clothing.
  6. For more room on the line: Drape the articles of clothing... pin each side of shirts closer together with the body of the shirt draping in the middle.  Remember doing this gives you more line but lessens the drying time.
  7. For soft towels: Hang them on a windy day!  I've noticed when my towels are out to dry on a windy day, they end up being as soft as they are when they come out of a dryer!
  8. Turn the towels: I've noticed that when I turn my towels they dry quicker... remember the "fold over" tip a few numbers up... well this makes for that part of the towel not to dry as quickly as the rest so when I feel that the hanging edge of the towel is dry I turn it upside down and re-pin it from the dry edge to let the damp edge fly in the wind and quicken the overall drying time!
  9. Play music:  Make hanging your clothes out to dry fun and relaxing!! There's nothing better to me than being outside on a beautiful day blasting some good 'ol county music while my son plays and I hang our clothes on the line!
Now I didn't list some of the MOST obvious tips such as using a laundry basket (and a cart if you have one)... but what I'd love is to have everyone add their own tips in the comments that maybe I didn't mention!  There are so few of us clothesline folk... we gotta stick together and help each other out!
This past October my husband and I celebrated our 4th anniversary... I know we've still got a long way to go but we've definitely seen our challenges and I'm starting to see how difficult marriage can be and how hard you must work at it... especially when children are involved.  As a homemaker who is able to stay home with our son I am so incredibly grateful for my husband who goes to work every day and works so hard to further his career to ensure that I can always have the position that I have at home.  

Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult to keep this at the forefront of my mind at all times and sometimes (like most wives I assume) I find myself nitpicking my husband's faults.  I could be wrong but I also think homemakers may be a little bit more prone to having "the grass is greener" and "what my life would have been if..." thoughts.  Now if I'm wrong... forgive me... you can just consider this somewhat of a confession post then LOL.  What I'm getting at here is I think it's very important to keep reminding ourselves of all the reasons we are grateful for the men who make it possible for us to have the wonderful gift of keeping house and caring for our children.  

Okay so now I feel like I'm starting to sound like one of those super religious, serve your husbands type bloggers and believe me... I am faaaaaaaaaaaaar from being one of those.  However... and maybe it's the part of me that feels I should have been born in a different era... I feel there is definitely something to that frame of mind.  Sure... my job as homemaker, wife and mother is way more difficult than I ever thought it'd be.  I don't get an hour lunch break nor do I get a 15 min smoke break whenever I feel the need if I were a smoker (which I'm not and neither is my husband.... that was just a weird example that I thought of because I remember my co-workers always going outside for smoking breaks when I worked outside the home).  It is a 24 hour, 7 day a week, 365 day a year job.  BUT.... because it is part of what I love about being a homemaker... I don't see why and frankly I see it as my duty to have the household clean and supper on the table for my husband when he gets home.  I want him to come home and be proud of the lifestyle he chose and not be secretly wishing he were the homemaker and I was the bread winner.... because frankly... between us... he'd probably be MUCH better at the cleaning part of my job than I am!

Okay so to the point of all this rambling... I'm adding a new feature to the sidebar of my blog and it's going to be called "I Love My Husband Because...".  Here I will list daily or as often as I think of them... all the reasons I love my husband and why he is the man I chose to marry.  I consider it almost a type of therapy for myself... If I make it a point daily to write (or type) something positive about my husband that I love... I imagine those thoughts will win the battle over any negative thoughts I may be thinking and will, in turn, make our relationship better and lessen my nagging.   

I hope this doesn't sound silly... but I feel it is something that will really be beneficial for us.  My husband tells me every day all day long why and how much he loves me.  I think it's my turn to do the same.  
"Well Traveled"... what does that mean exactly?  I looked it up and the definition I found online was... someone who is well travelled has been to many different countries and is familiar
 with their cultures.  Now I'm not arguing this meaning or the people it defines but can not a person be "well traveled" if their travels remain within the United States?  Now I understand staying within the United States does not give us the cultural differences traveling to other countries would... but are there not other opportunities to learn about different cultures?  I guess what I'm getting at here is if there is no desire to travel afar... are those people who choose to stay close to home at some sort of disadvantage to those who are "well traveled"?  I PERSONALLY do not believe this to be true...  I have known people who have been to the far off corners of the world but frankly lack in kindness and appreciation and I've known those who have never left their hometown who have more knowledge, love and gratitude for their lives and the people in them than anyone I've ever met.  

Don't get me wrong... traveling is a wonderful thing and when I hear about someone traveling and coming back exploding with excitement, talking all about the wonderful things they saw, and being very passionate about sharing their experiences with other... I simply love it!  What I don't like is when people use it as a measuring stick of how "well traveled" they are and acting as though they are "better" than those who have not done the same.  If the opportunity arises for us to travel abroad it's not like we wouldn't take it.  If I had to choose where to go, the list to choose from would consist of Italy, Germany, Costa Rica and Chile... The two places I see off that list being the most likely to happen are Costa Rica... because we almost went at one point but our trip got canceled... and Chile because my husband has friends there and he knows the area well from having spent a couple months there one summer.  However... the places that have been the most appealing to me as of late have been places right here in our own country.  Sometimes I wonder if we take advantage or simply aren't aware of the beautiful places America has to offer.  

I'm going to post a few pictures that I've found of gorgeous places that I would LOVE to visit right here in America... I guess my message to you today is... no matter where you've been, no matter who you know... if you are not kind, respectful and compassionate... it simply does not matter. 
Horseshoe Bend (Arizona)
Havasu Falls (Arizona)
Columbia River Gorge (Oregon)
Oregon Coast
Well... for those of you who didn't see my Facebook status update... Our dryer broke!  It broke once before last year and the amount of money it took to fix it combined with the amount it would take this time (because I'm pretty sure it's the same issue) would pay for most of the cost of a new dryer!  So... I'm holding out for a new one and I won't be calling anyone in to fix the one we have now.  

So with that said... I've sort of been thrown into the deep end with line drying our clothes.  All last week it rained... so we had to hang a line in our house! LOL... it worked quite well actually and that's how we dried our clothes when it rained for five days straight.  But today we have warmth and sunshine!  I've already hung a couple of loads outside on the line and they dried so quickly!!  In fact I told my mom (who is visiting right now) that I think line drying sheets might be faster and more effective that drying them in a dryer!  They don't wad up into balls keeping the center wet and no wrinkles!!  

As it warmed up throughout the day today though I did take notice to little gnat like bugs on my baby's clothes when I went to take them off the line.  This doesn't really bug me (no pun intended)... just a few shakes and they came right off.  With bigger items like sheets I noticed it was a bit easier to shake them while they are still on the line to get anything off and then just a small shake once I take them off.  I will admit I was a bit paranoid about bringing bugs into the house that I turned all the clothes inside out and back again with a few shakes just to be sure they were all gone. :) 

So anyway... I'm loving it so far.  And not having a dryer hasn't been a problem whatsoever!  Maybe I'll get a new one just before winter rolls around!  Until then though... I'm having a great time hanging my clothes out to dry! 
Well... when you're the type of person who needs to make a real effort to schedule your days out so you stay organized and get things done... it makes it quite difficult to get back into the swing of things when you're thrown off that schedule for just a few days! 

The visit with my sister was wonderful and of course my mom is still hanging around for a couple of months which is awesome.  I have quite a few projects on my to do list but I'm happy to say that one of them can now be scratched off my list and my husband's honey-do list and that is hanging our clothesline!!!  I'm SOOOOO excited about this!!!  Being from the desert you would think that I would have experience drying my clothes outside but that would be a no and I can't wait to begin doing it this spring! 

I have a few reasons why I'm choosing to line dry this summer... It's going to save energy which means money, I can't stand static in my clothes and I choose not to use chemical dryer sheets to ward it off, It's going to get my son and I outdoors, and mainly... as silly as it may sound... I'm doing it for the fun of it!  For the beautiful nostalgic and vintage sentiment.  Hanging your clothes out to dry on a clothesline in more recent times has been associated with negativity and placed those who chose to do so in a certain socioeconomic class.  However go back just a few decades earlier than that and we are reminded of a simpler time where homemakers took great care of their belongings that were made of quality material made to last for generations. 

Yes it takes more time and effort... and in today's world of course it's easier to just throw the load into the dryer and rush on to the next order of business... but that's where I think some of the problems lie that we face today.  There's no attention to detail anymore... no before thoughts... only after thoughts.  Imagine the planning it took to prepare and wash laundry and then hang them out to dry.  One needed to be in tuned with their family and with themselves... needing to know exactly what was going on in each others lives, to make sure items were prepared and ready.  One needed to be in tune with Mother Earth... making themselves aware of what type of weather she would be bringing within the next week.  What a beautiful connection to have with your surroundings and I know I certainly want more of that connection within myself and within my home.  I couldn't imagine a more beautiful moment... being outside on a quiet sunny day with my son by my side... anxious to help by handing me clothespins one by one as I hang a load of laundry on the clothesline.  It hasn't even happened yet and it's a memory that will forever be in my heart. 

Remember... I'm never on the extreme side of anything and I'm not saying that I'll NEVER user my dryer this Spring and Summer.  I'm sure my husband will tell me at ten o'clock at night one night that he forgot that he needed some article of clothing for some function the next morning.  In fact that's exactly what I'm talking about... it will take a lot more awareness and communication to have what we need and I'll tell you what... I'm a BIG fan of awareness and communication.

So here's to hanging out with my son this season... it's gonna magickal!
Monday night we had a minor scary experience but it led me to a resolution that I think will be better for my entire family.  My husband and I had just put our son down for the night and we were sitting on the couch talking and watching TV.  Well suddenly we both realized that we smell what we at first thought was a candle burning... so we got up and started looking and sniffing around.  When we walked into the kitchen it became much stronger and we realized it was the smell of burning plastic that we were smelling.  Of course at this point I was getting scared and we were both slightly on panic mode trying to find the source of what we knew was something burning.  We're standing in the middle of the kitchen looking around so confused as to where it was coming from when my husband noticed smoke coming from the dishwasher!  I had just started it before we put our son down for bed.  So we very carefully opened the dishwasher and oh my gosh... horrific fumes and smoke bellowed out and we noticed that a plastic spatula had fallen to the bottom of the dishwasher and melted onto the heating element. 

We were able to get things cleaned up but I had a horrible headache and felt nauseous from inhaling what I could only imagine were toxic fumes from that melted plastic spatula.  I was scared that our son was inhaling the fumes but we checked all the bedrooms and they all had fresh air in them thank goodness.  But the toxicity of those fumes were still freaking me out... although it was freezing we opened all windows and doors and turned on the fan.  As we were trying to air out the house it dawned on me that even though I have made a point to make sure my son's dishes and utensils were all free from toxic chemicals... it was obvious from this little experience that my son's dishes is where I had stopped.  Obviously this spatula that I had and used all the time was FAR from being free of toxins.  I took a look around and noticed immediately the plastic cooking utensils I had sitting around the kitchen and I took them all and put them in the recycling bin.

This all lead to a research adventure of mine that took place most of yesterday... But I am so happy I did because I now know what the safe options are and our kitchen is slowly but surely going to get a plastic free makeover.  Now don't get me wrong... everything that I currently have for our son is BPA free which was a great start but I've read that there are still risks in the use of even BPA free plastic so I feel better just not using plastic at all... especially now that I've found some awesome alternatives that I will list below.  Don't get me wrong... BPA free plastic will probably be used where I have no control or other options such as a high chair tray... I looked at the bottom of my son's tray and it had an arrow pointing to that awful #7 which basically says that it is made of a combination of different plastics and ingredients and is more than likely NOT BPA free BUT it is possible that it is, so you have to search for the "BPA Free" label. Lucky #5 is what I was hoping for which is polypropylene and is BPA free.  I sent an email to First Years, the maker of the high chair we have, asking if the tray is in fact BPA free since it's possible.  Still waiting for a reply.  For now... we have stopped using his tray and we are using his high chair as a booster seat instead.  And yay!  I just ran over to my newly organized bathroom and looked at the bottom of those plastic bins and they are the lovely #5!! Whoo!!!

After all my research there are actually several things that will be replaced in our kitchen including our ceramic dishes and bakeware, all Teflon/Non Stick pots and pans, and of course plastic.  Some great alternatives that I discovered are silicone, an inert material that does not react with food and does not toxins... Sengware Tableware, 100% lead and cadmium free, stainless steel, cast iron, bamboo and of course glass.  This transition will not be immediate because frankly it's not affordable for us to do a complete overhaul but in the meantime I feel good about having gotten rid of the plastic material in our kitchen and I have ordered silicone tableware for our son which I feel is the biggest priority.  If you're inspired to give your kitchen a safer makeover remember that the length at which you choose to make changes are a personal decision.  Say you are totally comfortable with the idea of having BPA free plastics, that is GREAT, just take it maybe one step further by not putting them in the dishwasher or microwave which can further cause the plastic to leach toxic chemicals. 

Below is a list of resources that I found and some FABULOUS alternatives to consider... As soon as I get our son's silicone tableware I'll let you know how we like it!  Remember... do your research!  Make personal but educated decisions on how best to protect your family. 

Dangers of Teflon
All About Plastic
Dangers of Melamine (the very colorful hard plastic dishes usually made for children)

Is Silicone Safe?
Sengware (Lead and cadmium free ceramic tableware)
Le Creuset
Lunch Bots (Stainless steel tableware for children)
Kinder-Ville (Silicone tableware for children)
Wow... I feel like I've accomplished so much in these past couple of days... I took spring cleaning pretty seriously on February 2nd and did a lot in my house that day.  If you've been a reader of my blog for a while you know that one of my biggest faults is not being able to get on a proper cleaning schedule and keeping this house of mine clean.  I've always been one to rush and clean like mad for an entire day if someone was supposed to be coming over the next.  I'm the type of person who doesn't answer my doorbell because it might be someone who expects to come in... well I don't answer my door for safety reasons as well while my husband is not here but I'd be lying if I said it was the ONLY reason. 

So... I discovered today why it is such and EXCELLENT thing to have a clean household.  Here is my mini story of what happened today.  Well let me start with a few days ago... My husband and I had been noticing a strange noise coming from our heater and he suggested calling our landlord just to be sure everything was working properly.  I of course said no way because I would be too embarrassed for him to walk into our home with as messy as it was and I certainly did not have the time or energy to clean it up to par.  Well then came February 2nd and with all my research I had done, I became inspired and began cleaning my home.  Because I was doing it for more spiritual reasons... it felt good and became effortless... and what started out as a one room goal became the whole household.  I sat down at the end of the day, lit some candles, opened up all my windows and reveled in my accomplishments. 

Well today... of course my entire routine was flawless because of the cleaning I had done before.  There was no baby crying because I was focusing on washing dishes instead of paying attention to him, there was no annoyance or short temper due to not being able to find something or tripping over another, the day was going perfectly and I had set my timer for three separate ten minute tidy up sessions through out the day so I could stay on top of what was now a beautiful home.  Well... at about one o'clock pm... a loud and very dangerous noise came from our heater... even worse than before.  There was nothing that was going to stop me from calling our landlord and asking him to come check it out.  Once I did... I frantically looked around ready to battle whatever mess needed to be tackled in order for me to feel comfortable letting someone into the house... and you know what... I found nothing.  Even though I spent the ENTIRE day before cleaning I was shocked that I didn't need to do anything in preparation for someone coming over.  And it was right then and there that I felt something change inside of me... I truly do not think I will ever let my home get out of line ever again.  Don't get me wrong... there was a dirty glass and plate in the sink and the floor had a couple of muddy paw prints that needed to be wiped up from my pup... but the house was clean and presentable and ready to accept guests.  It felt AMAZING!

So this definitely a reflection that I needed and felt obligated to share... If you are currently like I was just a few days ago... unable to have someone come over... making up excuses because you knew your house wasn't presentable... stop everything you're doing and start cleaning now!  Throw things away, give things away, clean that kitchen!!!  It is just a matter of WILL and you have that will inside of you!  Not to mention it' could come down to safety!  Had I not called our landlord over today who completely repaired our heater, who knows what would have happened!  There are plenty of resources online, heck even email me if you want a few pointers and tips, although I am in no way a cleaning professional and I'm only in the beginning stages of this internal makeover myself.  But however you do it... it will be WORTH IT!!!  Spring Clean your home and you will be spring cleaning your soul as well!
One of my favorite childhood memories while growing up is my mother cooking.  She is a wonderful cook... whether following a recipe or conjuring up something on her own (which of course were always my favorite)... she just had a knack for it all.  Cooking, baking, entertaining.... Anything that had to do with her being in the kitchen she was great at.  One specific memory I have... and it's something that she still takes pride in... is the way she presented her dishes.  It's her favorite thing to do.  It didn't matter if it was just us kids and she had a long hard work week (she was a single mom and worked harder and longer than anyone I've ever known) she would still present us with meals delicately placed onto beautiful dishes with a garnish here and there.  ESPECIALLY breakfast... There is something about my mom and breakfast that makes her want to serve it as though she is running a Bed&Breakfast.  Even when she comes to visit... you can fully expect a gorgeous arrangement of treats when you wake up Sunday morning.

I have always enjoyed bringing a meal that I worked hard on to my husband or a guest and watching them taste and enjoy what I've prepared... but to present it in a beautiful way... On a tray, with a flower, a folded napkin... perhaps a miniature salt and pepper shaker for their own personal use... anything at all can bring magick to a meal and it gives me great delight to see the blissful satisfaction of the person eating that meal.  Even if it's just you... why not take the opportunity to dish up a simple meal into a delicious and adorable serving for one.  The other morning my son was napping, my husband was at work and I was ready for my typical breakfast of yogurt, granola and berries.  As I grabbed a little bowl I hesitated for a moment, put the bowl back and went to where I have the glasses and grabbed a little wine glass.  I layered the berries, granola yogurt and grabbed a cute little colorful bowl for my cashews.  What I would have devoured in a few minutes became a delectable parfait which inspired me to sit down and contently take pleasure in my breakfast. 

Take a moment and give this a try.  Whether it's for a dinner party or just for yourself... it could be as simple as serving something up in an unusual way, or even looking online to learn how to fold a napkin in an intricate way.  Consider grabbing some of those adorable ice cube trays that come in different shapes... perhaps hearts or stars.  Be creative and bring some magick into your meals so you can enjoy them with the gratitude and love!