Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grandson . Amazing . Everyday

He calls me grandson Drew! 
My daughter's first child captured my heart moments after being born.

  All ready smiling it is easy to see he would be a happy baby!

And does he smile...a charmer who lives a charmed life on the beach in Florida...

The mayor he is as he makes his busy rounds...

and doesn't miss the chance to laugh as he scares the birds...

and build castles up to the sky...

and takes a spin with Uncle Clint...

But what amazes me most is he never forgets me even with a thousand miles between us. He is thrilled when he picks me up at the airport...

and gets mad at me when I leave...

Today is his birthday and he is turning 3...

and of course...Drew decided it will be Pirates Day too!

My birthday wish for my grandson is simple....I wish he never forgets how much I love him and he continues to dance when he hears the music and not worry who is watching....

and knows he has 2 crazy aunts who love him...

I know my daughter will keep us in his heart.

So ARR Matey & Happy Birthday Drew!

Love Nonnie

Clean . Amazing . Everyday

Much has changed for women since the 50's 60's and 70's and I am proud of being apart of the generation of women who burned our bras and knocked our heads against the glass ceiling in the corporate world. Saddens me a little to know many young women today do not even know who Gloria Steinem is..but that is a story for another day.

What hasn't changed is women are still the keepers of their castles. Along with demanding careers and  kids with multiple activities that require both chauffeurs and cheerleaders. If by chance an unexpected guest drops by your house and everything is not in order they would never blame the male of the house. Yes, it is us who they secretly judge. And if that's not bad enough...

Open any ladies magazine's March edition and you will be reminded it is time for spring cleaning. These magazines are filled with all sorts of wonderful ideas from what to use to clean, to how to clean, but they never seem to addresses how you are supposed to find the time to clean.

What I know for sure (borrowed from Oprah) is when my house is messy or, God Forbid, an appliance breaks down, my karma and positive energy go right out the door. I have been late for meetings because I could not find both shoes I wanted to wear. So, I am sure you will agree a clean home fosters inner peace and happiness. 

Going back to my corporate days... If we had a task to accomplish, or goals to reach we gathered around a table to knock out the best solutions. So, join my virtual table and listen to a list of "tactics" to get our Project Clean House done.

Project Clean House Tactics
  • Professional Cleaners If you budget allows it... Hire a professional cleaning company to routinely clean for you. No need to read the blog any further. Just make sure the company you hire is fully insured and bonded.
  • Seasonal Cleans - Many companies offer seasonal cleans. They will come in 2 or 3 times a year and do a thorough deep clean. Average cost depending on where you live for a 2500 square foot home would be $200 -$300 depending on several factors. Most companies supply their own cleaning products. But be sure to ask in advance.
Having your home professionally cleaned is the ultimate in pampering yourself. There is nothing like opening your front door to the sweet smell of "clean." I would love all women, especially single mothers, to be able to experience this feeling but understand  that this is not in everyone's budget. So I have another tactic which I think will be fun.

 Progressive Cleaning Party 
  • Invite 2 girlfriends to the party! Three women can clean 3 houses from top to bottom in one day. Each clean will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Pool your funds and purchase the supplies to use at each home. 
Fill 2 buckets with the products most used by professional cleaning companies to get the job done quickly.
  • Microfiber Rags - They clean and shine all surfaces since they are lint free no streaks are left behind.
  • 409 DeGreaser -  I would not clean a kitchen or bathroom without it. Clean microwave, stove top, glass shower doors and kitchen cabinets.
  • Stainless Steel Polish - Quickly removes finger prints and helps keep them away for use on  all stainless steel appliances.
  • Polish - There are quite a few products out there designed to work on all solid surfaces. So you can use on granite, wood and laminate surfaces and it keeps the expense down.
  • Invisible Glass Cleaner - Say no more.. this stuff does not leave streaks on windows or mirrors.
  • Floor Cleaner - Depending on everyone's flooring there are several products to choose from. A floor steam is ideal but if you do not have one at your disposal, I recommend Bono's Hardwood and Laminate Cleaners for floors.
  • Bar Keepers Friend - It is a cleanser and removes all the rust and mysterious gunk that shows up in bathrooms.
BAM! That is all you need so let get to making it fun.
  • Invite everyone to kick off the day a 1/2 hour before you plan to start and have coffee and bagels ready for everyone. Decide who will clean kitchens, bathrooms and who will dust, vacuum and do the floors. Time management is key so start cleaning at the agreed upon time.
  • Everyone should bring their own lunch. Prior to arriving at the second house stop by a local park and enjoy a lunch and more girl time. Switch up who cleans which room to keep it interesting.
  • Now after the second house is cleaned you will be feeling a little  very tired and we have to punch up everyone's energy level. So pull out your IPODs and dance around to this little ditty...
Christina Aguilera - Tough Lover

  • Now your ready to attack the 3rd and final house.
You maybe thinking... I could clean my house myself in one day but I guarantee you will not have as much fun as doing it your best girlfriends, you will have no excuses and not get side track from cleaning because you won't let your friends down.  That is just how we are! Women are awesome and work well in teams.

Just one thing left to do...Pop open the bubbly! Sit back and admire your beautifully cleaned homes and thank your girlfriends.

"A movement is only composed of people moving. To feel it's warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means."   Gloria Steinem

Monday, February 20, 2012

White . Amazing . Everyday

Family Photo 2009
I have a thing for "White"! Look at how it pops even against the almost white sandy beach in Florida. Ironic that I am the person wearing the blue top but I swear my skirt was white. Guess I missed the memo about wearing a white top. My love affair with the color "white" sometimes battles with my love affair for black but I do love .....

 the look of a crisp white shirt on women

and a man in a white shirt

the perfect pair of white jeans in the summer

 little girl in white party dresses

little boys in white canvas sneakers

any table dressed in white linens, white dishes and white flowers

and the elegance of a white living room.

Like all good romances spills and drips occur. My knight in shinning armor begins to yellow and take on a grayish hue. But this time I know it will work out because of a little advice I read in a woman's magazine years ago...

Cascade Dishwasher Detergent removes most any stain from fabric. Easy enough, just soak item in  hot water and one ActionPac.

Really! I successfully removed mustard, coffee, grass, blood and more stains from my whites. Recently, my daughter treated the cushion covers on her couch and removed everyday dirt marks a professional cleaner was not able to remove. 

So now you know my secret to keeping my love alive with the color "white". 

Inspiration for this blog came from @lynneknowton & @gimletstyle images are from our family photo, Pinterest, County Living Magazine, Crewcut Kids and Google Images

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Olive Oil . Amazing . Everyday

Olive Oil especially Extra Virgin variety, now commonly known as EVOO,  can now be found in most family’s pantries today. When I was growing up it was not the case unless you were Italian or Greek.

Our grandparents were immigrants from Sicily. Olive oil was always in the kitchen, on hand, ready to fry meatballs or cutlets, drizzle on salad; vegetable oil was not in the pantry. My grandmother often used olive oil for other purposes. If we had earaches she got out the olive oil. Stomach ache? Nothing a couple of teaspoons of olive oil couldn’t fix! I am embarrassed to say as children it sounded crazy!

After doing a little research I learned my Grandmother was correct! Olive Oil is more than food staple it is tremendously useful and has many applications. Seems olive oil does it all.

Olive Oil as a Moisturizer

It was stated, beautiful Sophia Loren baths in olive oil once a week! I imagine Sophia knows olive contains 4 different antioxidants which minimizes wrinkles going deep into the skin and reverses skin damage.  She is still fabulous today! So if it worked for her who am I to say otherwise.

Use it as bath oil or moisturizer. Here is a recipe to make it a little more special… infuse the olive oil with flowers from your garden. Fill a glass jar with fresh flower petals or buds, pierce 6 Vitamin E Capsules and squeeze the oil into the jar. Heat 1 ¾ cups of EVOO in micro wave and then pour over petals. Seal and shake jar gently to mix. Place jar in sunny location and turn it over daily for 2 weeks. Then strain to remove all petals and pour in a sterilized container. Lavender, Marigolds, Rose Petals are good choices however do not use flowers that have been sprayed with chemical.

Olive Oil for Hair – Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil in micro wave for 30 seconds and then rub into your scalp and hair. Wrap in a towel for 30 minutes and then shampoo as normal to reveal a beautiful mane of hair.

Olive Oil for Earache – I know…Grandma! Some folks swear by this natural remedy. Very carefully use a cotton swab to apply the olive oil to the outside of the ear cavity to help earaches and excess wax.
 Olive Oil for Diaper Rash – Gently wipe olive oil on your baby’s bottom to relieve diaper rash.

Olive Oil for Polishing Furniture – It helps remove dust and gives a nice shine. Add a teaspoon to a quarter cup of lemon juice, and you have a non-toxic, petroleum free polish to gently clean wood surfaces.

Olive Oil for Polishing Hardwood Floors – You can bring hardwood floors to a shine with a little bit of olive oil and lemon. Use a ¼ cup of olive oil 2 TBS cider vinegar and 3 TBS of vodka. Or 1 TBS of olive oil mixed with 1 TSP of lemon juice. Apply to clean dry mop and wipe on floors. 

Polishing Stainless Steel and Brass – Simply pour a small amount on a soft cloth and wipe in a circular motion to restore a shine to stainless steel or brass.

 Lemon Chocolate Olive Oil Cakeby

Oil For Cakes - Baking with olive oil has been done for centuries. It gives cakes and cookies a light texture and can be used in lieu of butter. 1 Cup of butter converts to ¾ cup of EVOO. It does not convert if the recipe calls for a solid form like icing.

Olive Oil for Lanterns – Don’t you love these little lanterns? I can just see them in the backyard on a summer’s evening.

The list goes on to include polishing shoes, fixing squeaky door hinges, removing paint from hands, personal lubricant, treatment for head lice, cleaning up garden tools and exfoliating your skin with a mixture of olive oil and sea salt. With all the uses I have covered in this blog, I will let you in on a little secret… I have 2 favorites.  

Party Favors

Olive Oil as Party Favors - Absolutely love this idea! Plan to use at my next dinner party. Print your own labels to personalize.

Olive Oil Soap

Olive Oil Soap – This is a splurge item for me. I have used the soap and body lotion for the past two winters and at times I am surprised at how soft my skin feels. But I should not be because my grandmother skin was so soft to touch. Again…she knew something about olive oil.

Sources and inspiration from Huffington Post, The Daily Green, The Tip Nut, Olive Source, Pinterest and Google Images

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Snow. Amazing. Everyday.


There is something magical about snow…‘real’ snow. Not just the kind we tend to get here that soon turns to slush. We’re talking about pristine, brilliant white snow that glistens. The kind of snow that actually crunches underfoot!

 It is February 8th and we have not seen any measurable amount of snow in New Jersey.  I never thought I would say this… but I miss having at least 1 major snow storm.

When snow is falling and blanketing the earth it captures for a brief time a peaceful feeling. Everything is all right in the world as we nest in our amazing everyday homes.

And when wind stops howling and the snow stops falling you awake to a world covered in white. The contrast at times is breathe taking. I think I may paint my home this gorgeous color of deep yellow in preparation of any future snow storm.   Of course my house is made of brick so I will miss the pleasure of witnessing this scene.

Even the hustle and bustle in the City of Philadelphia is slowed during by snow. Everything moves a little slower.

Snow days are the best! Kids go wild when school is closed. Their excitement is contagious. Even adults wonder if work will close and they will have a snow day too.  One of my fondest memories is my kids coming in from a day of sledding with red cheeks, frozen toes and fingers and begging for hot chocolate.

I miss the snow…. Just look at the vintage sleds outside my front door. When I arrive home the sleds scream at me “put us away” it is not going to snow this year.  I am stubborn and think there has to be one snow storm so I can run to the grocery store to buy comfort food, check my rock salt supply, discuss the pending snow with everyone I meet, watch the local newscasters think of how many ways they can measure the snow, curl up with a book and smirk because I know my sleds look great in the falling snow.

Inspiration and photos from Google Images, Helen Dalaplane and  Adrienne Rise

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Superbowl Sunday!

Super Bowl Sunday is celebrated in most homes as a major holiday. I am not a diehard fan but do follow the Philadelphia Eagles. Super Bowl Sunday is different…it’s a party, the commercials are funny and the half times shows are great. The next day, conversation at work will be about everyone’s favorite commercial so you really have to watch the game.

Even if you are not a football fan, or your team did not make the championship game, chances are you will attend or host a viewing party.

Hosting can be a little stressful since emotions often run high during championship games.  Here are seven pre-party planning tips designed to help make the post party clean-up easy - even if your guest get a little rowdy.

Every television in the house should be on and broadcasting the game. Guests will be able to see all the action as they move about. For an extra special touch have the game playing on a radio in the bathroom.


Super Bowl menus are usually dips, pizza, meatball and pulled pork sandwiches and it seems the messier the better. Maybe because it is a man’s day. Spills and drips can ruin or stain so minimize the chances.


Super Bowl menus calls for paper plates and a ton of napkins! Spills and drips are all most certain so I use inexpensive plastic plate chargers with paper plates. They make it much easier for your guests to balance their food especially when eating in front of a TV.  For fun, you could use Giants and Patriot’s colors. This even helps with drips since the charger is larger than the plate.


I know it is tempting to use plastic cups but I never, never use plastic especially when I have company. Plastic is too light and easily knocked over making a mess and possibly staining your beautiful furniture. Opt for the new wine glasses without stems to avoid the accidental knock down. You can purchase inexpensive glassware at any dollar store for game day. Ecco-friendly too!

It’s a football game, and the only reason I am suggesting that you provide beer drinkers a Koozie. Trust me it will protect your tables from beer can ring marks.


I refer to these as mess makers. Kids love to play with them but they will end up spread out all over the floor and possible on your walls. You can save a lot of clean up time by hiding the toys you know will be a bear to pick up when guests leave.

Make sure you have emergency clean-up supplies for spills and drips handy. Windex Wet Wipes are great for spot cleaning drips on rugs and furniture. For tougher stains like red wine try use white wine. It will help neutralize red wine and make it easier to lift the color off. Simply poor white wine onto the stained area and gently blots the liquid up with a thick towel. Rubbing will force the stain into your carpet. If the stain is still visible, you can add salt or soda to continue to lifting out the pigment.

The import thing is to remember is just having a good time! Except for the New York and New England areas, to most of us, it is just a chance to eat things we usually don’t eat on a Sunday night, hang out with family and friends, and watch some great commercials! It’s also a great opportunity to chase away the mid-winter blues! ENJOY!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! 

Images and inspirations is from Google Images