Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

no more stinky scrubbies

I buy Scotch Brite scouring pads in in a big block from Sam’s Club. We call them “scrubbies.” They work great and last for weeks! But they can get kinda stanky.

So, I throw them into the top rack of the dishwasher every once in a while!


I don’t use sponges, but this should work for them also!

Tina’s comment prompted a little research:

“The results showed that two minutes in the microwave at full power killed or inactivated more than 99% of all the living germs and the bacterial spores in the sponges and pads, including E. coli.

After an additional two minutes — a total of four — none of the bacterial spores survived.

Before you zap your sponges in the microwave, researchers offer the following advice:

* Microwave only sponges or plastic scrubbers that do not contain steel or other metals.
* Make sure the sponge or scrubber is wet, not dry.
* Two minutes should be enough to kill most disease-causing germs.
* Be careful in removing the sponge from the microwave because it will be hot and should not be handled immediately after zapping.

Bitton recommends that people microwave their sponges according to how often they cook, with every other day being a good rule of thumb.”

Thanks for the idea Tina! (See Tina’s comment below for a link to the original article.)

Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes! Check out MY past Kitchen Tip Tuesday posts HERE

July 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Then Sings My Soul Saturday: Trading My Sorrows

I get to sing this tomorrow! I am SO happy we are doing this arrangement instead of the original. So much better! Who IS this woman anyway? She makes it look so easy. This song is not easy.

For more Saturday music, check out Then Sings My Soul Saturday every Saturday hosted by Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | christian living, music, youtube | , , | 3 Comments

7 quick takes: 07.24.09

1. Chimney Update. That noise I heard in the chimney on Monday? I said I was going up on the roof and (routinely) dropping a rope down the chimney (again) so the squirrel (so we think) could climb out? Well . . . FirstHusband had the rope in his truck. Which was parked at the airport. Because he was out of town. Since I didn’t have a rope, I connected two long outdoor extension cords. I left them hanging in the chimney for about 2 hours. But I got bored watching to see if anybody climbed out. Since I didn’t hear anything for the rest of the day, I figured our little friend had left the building.

Tuesday, I heard nothing. All day. Until around 9:00 p.m. Then I heard the scratching on sheet metal noise again, but only once. Must have been my imagination. umm hmm, just my imagination.

Wednesday? Quiet. Wednesday night, around 7:30 p.m., LOTS of scratching noises. FirstHusband and his rope were home, so he and PinkGirl climbed out our second story bedroom window and hung out on the roof for a while. Nothing. No happy escaping critter. More scratching through the evening.

Thursday. I don’t know. I wasn’t home much of the day. Thursday night, while I was at praise team rehearsal, FirstHusband began taking apart the fireplace from the inside. The mini-demolition openings he’s managed to make didn’t provide the access we need. No critter.

fireplace demo

Friday. Quiet all day. Then a torrential downpour. Then a LOT of scratching noises. I watched the rope for more than a few minutes. No escaping critters.

Tomorrow? FirstHusband is cutting into the fireplace. We want to be pro-active and get into the chimney BEFORE the smell, right? I’m hoping we find a live critter. In perfect health. Which we release. And don’t have to nurse back to health. I don’t want to think about what PinkGirl will do if we find an injured critter.

2. They Don’t Call it Armor for Nuthin. It only took us 4 years to figure this out. We used to buy FavoriteSon backpacks for less than $30. Up until 3rd grade, they were fine. In 4th grade, the homework picked up, along with the load home every day. The backpacks fell apart by mid year and we had to buy another. During Christmas break 2007, we found ourselves once again shopping for a new backpack. But THIS time, we bought an Under Armor backpack. For $75. ouch.

But it lasted a year and a half before suffering two full blowouts – one on each side. It’s been stuffed and over stuffed, dragged, tossed, and generally abused under the care of a teenage boy. We bought a new one yesterday for $65, thanks to a $15 Sports Authority coupon. Here’s hoping for two years.

backpack old new

3. Ewww. There’s just no other way to describe this one.

peanut butter pickles

peanut butter pickle2

4. And Ewww Again. It appears Bob the cat was mad at us for going on vacation. This is what he left us as a Welcome Home present.

spotbot before

Say hello to my little friend.

spotbot during

This little baby is amazing! I set him down, (what? you don’t refer to your robot like appliances using personal pronouns?) push the button and he cleans the carpet for me. Either 3 or 6 minutes, depending on the how bad the stain is. For this little yellow carpet road, I ran 6 minute cycles over and over and over again, emptying the output tank 5 times. Keep in mind, I didn’t do ANYTHING but reposition him and push a button to get FIVE tanks of this yucky stuff out of the carpet.

spotbot output tank

When the cycles were done, I went back over the entire area manually using Spot Shot too. I just sprayed the Spot Shot and used the hand tool to suction it up. You can’t see it too well, but the yuck in the output tank is significantly darker than in the automatic cycles. Spotbot and Spot Shot. Amaz Zah Zing.

spotbot output2

5. Speaking of Vacation. When we arrived at the hotel, our coffee maker was sans carafe.

coffee maker

After FirstHusband called the front desk, they brought us this:

cuisinart coffee maker

A brand new Cuisinart automatic coffee maker. How COOL is that?

6. My Favorite Coffee Mug. It reads “What is Good to Know is Difficult to Learn.” Ain’t it the truth?

Favorite Mug

7. Did 50 Crunches Today. First time since surgery, nearly three months ago. Another follow-up doctor appointment on Tuesday, but everything is looking good and seems to be healing really well. At his request, I’m still wearing the medical binder. I went without it for a few hours each day on vacation, but I felt . . . unprotected. And I realized I still needed the support. I actually wanted to put it back on every day. Doc says the longer I can wear it the better. I went to praise team rehearsal last night and had to loosen it to get enough air to sing. First time I needed to do that, so I’m thinking I’m using my diaphragm more. That has to be good.

Join in with your own 7 Quick Take Friday post at Conversion Diary hosted by Jennifer!

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

a wooden leg named smith.

PinkGirl watched Mary Poppins tonight. She’s been a fan for years – even BEFORE she met Miss Practically Perfect herself.

mary poppins pose

She’s We’ve watched it enough to have memorized large chunks of dialog. These days, PinkGirl is actually able to watch it without pausing the DVD for multiple costume changes.

Sarah as Mary Poppins1Sarah as Mary Poppins3

One of my favorite parts is the laughing song. LOVE Ed Wynn as Uncle Albert. And Dick Van Dyke is just plain GENIUS. Betcha can’t watch him laugh without smiling.

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | flashback, laugh!, music, peace love mickey, youtube | , , , | 7 Comments

banana slicer for kids. and grown-ups.

PinkGirl: “Mom. I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?”

Me: “What fruit have you had today?”

My kids are getting tired of this question. I always ask this question when they say they’re hungry.

Yesterday, after I asked, I listed all the fresh fruit currently in the house and when I got to banana, PinkGirl asked if she could have a little chocolate syrup to dip it in. Sure. A couple of spoonfuls of chocolate to help the fruit go down without any grief? Sure.

AND PinkGirl fixed her own snack all by herself. A few years ago I bought this little gadget.

banana slicer before

banana slicer after

Perfectly uniform size slices without a knife, in just a few seconds! And it’s dishwasher safe. I keep it stored down low enough for her to get it anytime she wants.

(There are other designs for banana slicers, but I like this one because the wires go all the way through the banana into the grooves underneath, and I can use it for other things like mushrooms, boiled eggs and strawberries.Friendly advice – don’t use this for slicing strawberries.)

UPDATE 1/22/09: These have been discontinued, but I’ve had some luck finding them. Check out my follow-up post “Get Your Banana Slicer HERE

Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes! Check out MY past Kitchen Tip Tuesday posts HERE

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 11 Comments

Be careful what you pray for . . .

God’s a comedian today.

So. I’m writing in my prayer journal. My mind shoots to this post by Elle and I write:

I want to tell stories about how you work in my life, Lord.

And then.

I hear.

A strange noise.

Probably just the cat.

But. No. That doesn’t sound like the cat.

So I get up, walk into the family room and realize.

Squirrel in the Chimney.


Seriously! And I find this flippin hilarious!!! Because I’ve already TOLD this story. A LOT. I put it on YOUTUBE back in December. You want to hear it?

Meanwhile, I’ll be on the roof. Adding to the story. This should be fun. um. Thank you God?


July 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

shopping and waiting. with kids.

A few weeks ago, I was in the dressing room at Target. Across the way, in the “family” dressing room was a mom with two small children. She was doing her best, but those kids were seriously high maintenance – not misbehaved, just high maintenance. She was having difficult time trying on clothes with “mom. mommy? momma?” and all the questions, requests and care that goes with two toddlers in a dressing room.

She was frustrated.

She and I came out of our dressing rooms at the same time and I was compelled.

Me: “I don’t mean to intrude, but I’ve been in your shoes, trying to shop with little ones and I have an idea for you.”


Me: “When my kids were little, the first thing I always did when going into a store was head straight to the toy department and let them pick out a few toys to occupy them while I shopped. Usually something electronic gave me the most time in the store. The best part was that almost every time, they got BORED with that toy and didn’t even try to get me to buy it when we were finished. And when they DID still want something after playing with it, I knew they REALLY wanted it. I didn’t always buy it that day, but I had ideas for gifts.”

Her: “What a GREAT idea!”

Me: “It really works! They actually saw it as a treat.

Other times, when my daughter was tired, I’d find a throw pillow for the large part of the basket and a towel to drape over the top. I can’t tell you how many times I walked around a store with a kid sound asleep in the basket under a towel. It looked strange, but it worked! When I was finished shopping, I would just fold the towel back up and put the pillow back.”

Her: “Thank you so much! I’m going to the toy department.”

I saw her a few minutes later and she was back in the women’s clothing department. Each kid had a toy.

It is SOOO much easier to engage and distract a child than to get them to sit still and be quiet.

At restaurants, we always brought in coloring books and crayons (we did it tonight, as a matter of fact), action figures, anything to keep them busy. We’ve been playing hangman at restaurant tables for years. When we wait in lines, we play I Spy and 20 Questions. We used to make up stories where each person continues a part of the story and we still love to play “Who Said It? from movies and TV.

I don’t know about you but, my kids can be high maintenance. And loud. They like to ask questions and laugh. And it’s sometimes very hard for them to sit still for long periods of time. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but these are a few strategies we’ve employed over the years.

What do you do with kids in similar situations?

*(To follow-up/clarify – I’m not talking about loud, misbehaving kids or tantrums, that’s a whole other topic altogether and I agree with my first two commenters completely! I’m just talking about normal volume talking and questions. We engage in conversations with grown-ups and don’t think twice about it, but we often make kids sit still and be quiet while waiting and shopping. It always seemed unnecessary to us. And I’m mostly talking about little kids – up to the time they can read – after that, hangman was always the game of choice for us!)

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. MY previous Works for Me Wednesday posts are HERE.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Rachel Barkey is Home.

Rachel Barkey went home to her Lord on July 2, 2009 at 37 years of age.

rachel barkey

I wrote about her before, in a posted entitled “55 minutes.” I linked to her testimony.

I challenge you, I encourage you, I beg you – to take 55 minutes out of the busyness and redundancy of daily life and think on these things.

Here’s minute 48:

“I am dying.

But so are you.

Neither of us knows if we will even see tomorrow. And perhaps the reason that I am suffering now, the reason that God is waiting to bring judgment against all the evil in this world is because he is waiting for you. For you to acknowledge your sin and to turn to him for forgiveness.

Maybe YOU are the one we are waiting for.

Jesus suffered. God did not spare him. Why would he spare me? If my suffering would result in good for you? If my suffering is the means that God would use to bring even one person to himself, it is an honor for me to suffer.

Does that seem strange?

I suppose it does.

But really, it is the only way that all of this makes any sense at all.

A God who sees my suffering but is is unable, or worse, unwilling to spare me? A God who sees my suffering but allows it? With no greater purpose or hope? My God is able to save me and he will. But save me from what?

From a life without him.

In the end, she stated that her goal was to “finish well.”

If you watch her testimony and it impacts your life as it did mine, it will be even more evidence that she achieved her goal.

Her funeral service will be held on Wednesday, July 8, at 1 p.m. at St. John’s Shaughnessy Church in Vancouver, BC. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Child of Mine ( or World Vision (

July 7, 2009 Posted by | apologetics, christian living, intentional living, suffering | , | 5 Comments

sunburn? vinegar.

My biggest use of vinegar is when I dye Easter eggs and make Good Season’s Italian dressing. But I almost always seem to have it in my pantry.

A few summers ago, a friend of mine called me while on vacation at the beach. Her young son had a painful sunburn on his back and shoulders. Solarcaine was not working. And it was nearing bedtime.

I don’t remember where I got this (ya know I probably read it somewhere), but I immediately remembered:


Best on clean dry skin (NO RUBBING – just pat or air dry). If you have a spray bottle, pour vinegar into it and lightly spray on sunburned skin. Let it evaporate. The sting (and the smell of vinegar) should be GONE. Reapply about 3 or 4 hours later, if needed.

She didn’t have a spray bottle, so I suggested a paper towel, saturated in vinegar, laid gently on his shoulders to apply the vinegar. It worked. He was able to get to sleep – and anyone who’s tried to get a sunburned kid to sleep, knows – that is a huge feat! (The paper towel application is better for faces too – it just stinks a little during application.)

NOTE: If there are ANY open wounds on the skin (bug bites, scratches, etc.) the vinegar will sting and burn in that spot, so DON’T do it!

For a more complete description of the process, check out this entry.

Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes! Check out MY past Kitchen Tip Tuesday posts HERE.

Find more ideas over at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Kristen at We Are THAT Family. MY previous Works for Me Wednesday posts are HERE.

Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | health, vacation | , , , | 4 Comments

waking kids.

I’m curled up on the loveseat in 14 year old FavoriteSon’s room, talking to him after his alarm has gone off this morning. I’ve prompted him to move from sleeping position to stretching, to sitting on the side of his bed, still stretching to get the blood moving.

Me: Come on bud. It’s 8:10. Are you ready?

FavoriteSon: In an alternate universe.

I’ve switched 8 year old PinkGirl’s music from peaceful instrumental to drive time Christian radio. I’ve kissed her head, and given her a “wake up” back rub.

Me: Come on sweetie. FavoriteBrother is already downstairs. Can you come?

PinkGirl, Stretching and in the Middle of a Yawn: “Mom, sleeping feels SOOOO good.”

Me: “I know it does.”

July 7, 2009 Posted by | laugh! | , | 2 Comments


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