The Great Kitchen Clean-up (and we have a winner!)

I am happy to announce that my kitchen is clean and sparkly once again.  And I have to say, I think I had more fun cleaning it while timing myself and wondering who was going to be closest.

SOMEONE actually guessed exactly…

But I’m not going to tell you yet.  First, here’s what I did and the pictures to prove it.

First 25 Minutes

  • Unloaded and Loaded Dishwasher (And started it).
  • Bagged all trash, Rinsed and bagged all recycling
  • Filled Tupperware w/ warm water and soaked all groady silverware and utensils that needed a pre-soak.  Did the same for dishes and tupperware inside my Dutch Oven and largest tupperware in the sink *Note, none of my tupperware is actually tupperware, it’s mostly Glad and Rubbermaid.
  • Herded all lost pantry items back into their places in the pantry.  They were relieved to be home.

The dishes look so happy now that they’re about to be cleaned!

Here’s my silverware and utensils soaking in the non-tupperware tupperware.

LOOK! I can see the actual top of my island.  It no longer looks like someone adhered a free-form glass and plastic sculpture to it. (and in one spot, I do mean adhered…)

Getting rid of trash recyclables, and herding lost pantry items home has made a big difference on the counters already.

Second 25 Minutes

  • Washed all the pans(by hand) except for the grill pan (started scrubbing grill pan and then left it to soak).
  • Cleaned the counters on both sides of the stove
  • Washed all the wine glasses (by hand, using their rinse water to pre-soak the grill pan) and set them up to dry.
  • Cleaned the stove

The Crock pot I left out, only because I was about to put dinner in it, so it actually saved effort.  And what was the point of putting it away for the pictures, when clearly I have no compunctions about displaying my mess to the world.

And things are a little better over here as well. We just need an available dishwasher to fix the rest of this.

Extra 10 minutes

To round off the first hour, I dried the wine glasses, scrubbed some more on the grill pan, and then washed, dried, and mineral oiled our cutting boards and cheese board.

Random 7 minutes
.  Unloaded, loaded, and started another load of dishes. Dumped the scrap pail into the compost pile.

Final 25 Minute Block

  • Unloaded and loaded the dishwasher (again!)
  • Scrubbed the sink out with baking soda and rinsed it really well (baking soda is good for oh so much more than baking, I buy the huge box for cleaning, and the itsy boxes for baking, AND the refrigerator boxes for the fridge).
  • Scrubbed the final counter over the dishwasher
  • Threw my drying towels in the hamper, and folded the ones I’m going to use for hand towels tomorrow…

And here’s what it looks like clean!

LOOK! There’s dishes in my cabinets… all’s right with my world.

And… Extra 5 minutes
Unloaded the last load of dishes this morning

Which… adds up to one hour and thirty-seven minute or… drumroll please 97 minutes! Jess wins! Congrats, girl, I’ll be facebooking you here soon to tell you what info I need so you can collect our t-shirt.

Honorable mentions go to Mike who guessed a hour and a half, and Shari, who guessed an hour and forty-five (sorry guys, if I had more money, I’d send you t-shirts too!).

And here’s a gratuitous clean sink picture.  That one’s for you, Fly Lady.

Bite the Burrito (and win a free t-shirt!)

*NOTE: The contest is now over.  To be notified when next month’s contest is taking place, subscribe to the Wayfaring Artist Newsletter.

Life is like a burrito, a well hidden mess. I saw this quote at some burrito place I ate at (possibly a Moe’s) and it’s stuck with me.

Hang on, Anna, what’s up with the burrito sermon?

Well, it struck me that some of you are probably wondering what the heck this blog’s about and how it all fits together (some of you might not care, but if you don’t care, then why are you reading? hmmm?)

Basically, I think far too many of us, myself included, have a tendency to treat life like it’s Mr. Monk’s dinner plate. Everything in it’s neat little quadrants, and God forbid anything touches anything else.

I prefer the burrito approach. See, Mr. Monk would never eat a burrito because everything’s all jumbled up together. And as much as I liked Monk as a character, and as much as his hang-ups made us simultaneously squirm and laugh (we’re getting more British in our senses of humour btw, essential British humour is big big on squirm factor), we don’t really want to live like that, right? I mean I don’t. Don’t live like that.

Speaking of squirm factor, Monk wouldn’t walk into my house right now… for starters, I have almost no dished in my cabinets…

See, it looks almost like we just moved in! (just to confess a hang up, the pic above is my right upper cabinet and the one below is my left upper cabinet but the fact that I just inserted them backwards, at least from my western, things-go-from-left-to-right perspective, is bothering me… I… will… not… change them… *slaps fingers moving toward mouse).

Now, we have plates and such for 12 and there’s 2 of us and yet… I’ll give you one guess as to where my dishes are…

If you thought the counters, you’re right.

If you thought, the sink, you’re right.

And if you thought the island, you’re right too!

Okay, I confess, those of you who thought the table are partially right when referring to the little table in the breakfast area, but I didn’t take a picture of it…

So on this blog then, I’m mushing everything together from spirituality to how I clean up my kitchen when it becomes a disaster area.

And I think it’ll be okay despite all those big-time bloggers out there that say I have to have a niche to blog. Just because they make money blogging and I don’t doesn’t mean they’re right (don’t check the logic, just go with it).

See, my friend and karate instructor, Billy, and I were talking about teaching methods the other day, especially with children. To keep them interested and to have them succeed, you don’t just teach them one technique and make them work and work and work till that one technique is perfect. You teach them multiple things at once, find the ones that their good at and praise them, and then polish the other ones, sort of balancing back and forth.

I’m trying to treat my life more like this. I used to try to get one area right, just one, and then I figured I’d get it right and then go on to the next (yeah, I’m a perfectionist, part of the reason my kitchen’s not clean is because I haven’t had time to do it “right”). But it doesn’t work. That technique is sort of like spinning plates and I’m never fast enough to keep them all going.

So I started multiple things at once in very small doses: exercise, gardening, cooking, blogging, regular cleaning, time with friends and so forth, and discovered that while I do over-balance and spend too much time in one area to the neglect of the others, I keep coming back to them and catching back up. Some of them are easier to keep up with, and I feel accomplished. And when I feel accomplished, I catch up on the ones I fall behind on faster instead of kicking myself that I didn’t do that one thing perfectly.

Now I kick a lot, just not me. mostly the air, and for exercise and flexibilty. Though, I did kick my karate instructor in the shin the other night at his house while he and I and his wife (who’s also the co-owner of their karate business) were sort of having a business meeting. But we were having issues staying to business, and he was in friend mode at the time. I’m sure he’ll get me back (have mercy, Billy, and don’t kill me when we spar, please. Remember, my husband is your pastor, and he’ll tell God on you… muahahahaha).

Does that make more sense now? No? Well, darn it! I guess I’ll just have to stop trying to make sense of things… maybe that’s not one of the things I’m good at. Now, I’m off to clean up my kitchen so I’ll have clean pictures to post tomorrow.


Free t-shirt? What’s that about a free t-shirt?

OH! you want the CONTEST rules, I get it.

Okay here’s how this works.  I’m going to time how long it takes me to clean up my kitchen today, actual time on job, not counting time waiting for the dishwasher to finish, only time while I’m scrubbing, loading, unloading, etc.  So to win the contest you must do 2 things:

1. Be the person who guesses the closest in minutes or hours and minutes (I’m rounding the seconds here people to the nearest minute :-P) how long it takes me to clean the kitchen up.

2. Tell your friends, because the contest only gets a winner if there’s at least 20 entries.

Comment must be on this post!  Multiple entries from one household okay only if you have different estimates 😉

Watch my twitter feed (follow me here if you don’t already) for updates.  And I’ll update facebook as well for those of you who are already my facebook pals.

The winner gets to choose from any t-shirt in my Skreened Shop, Purple Ducky Designs.  T-shirts only, but there are several options to choose from (okay if you want, you can put it on a tote bag or a onesie too!).  Any design can go on any product that Skreened offers, so don’t be put off by whether there’s a man or a woman in the picture!  I’ll e-mail the winner instructions for how to make their selection tomorrow.

This contest is on until 8:00am Central time, tomorrow (January 15th). At that time the contest will close, and I will look at the results.  If there are several answers that are all equally close somehow, I’ll plug the comment numbers of those answers into a random integer generator and let it pick the winner.

Life is a long conversation

I’ve had a couple people ask me recently how to build traffic and readers on their blogs.  So for some of you who are new-ish to the blogging world, and since this is something I’ve spent a pretty good amount of time on lately myself, here are two new blog and conversation tools I’ve discovered recently.

New favorite tool: from Stumble Upon (pronounced “super”).

This tool lets you update both your twitter and your facebook status with a shortened url that simultaneously pings Stumble Upon.  You can then “thumb up” your post and write a review so people know what it’s about.  This tool was designed by the Stumble developers to help people get more traffic.  And you can feed your blog feed to and it will update your twitter automatically.  Plus, you can schedule tweets and status updates based on the powerful analytics that places at your disposal that not only show you clicks in real time, but also recommended posting times based on traffic to your Stumbles.  Gotta love it right?

Click on the small screen shot of the dashboard below for a bigger version.

Cool new search engine: Topsy, powered by tweets.

Topsy’s about page says that they view the web not as a series of pages but as a series of conversations. (which makes me want to sing Josh Joplin “Life is a long conversation…”). Because of this view, they search your terms based on what people are linking to in their twitter statuses.  And they have a tweet plugin for wordpress and buttons for your website that will count tweets much like the TweetMeme button, but in my experience with both, Topsy’s button works better.  It has the ability to do an @ response to your twitter username when people click to tweet or retweet your post, and it trackback pings your post when there’s people talking about it on twitter, sending you to the page were you can see all the tweets. And to top it all off, you can change the colors of the button, right in the plugin settings.  How cool is that?