5 minutes. 1 drawer. and a kapoosh.

Still applying my long time practice of microactions to tackle deep cleaning my kitchen. Today, I had 5 minutes, so I completely emptied and cleaned out the knife drawer.

“BEFORE” photos:

If THAT photo doesn’t show how bad it really was, THIS one surely does:

I followed the same steps as yesterday’s 5 minute drawer cleanup: emptied the drawer, cleaned the bottom, scrubbed and dried the drawer organizers and put everything back. This time, I didn’t get rid of anything. It may have been dirty, but it’s stayed organized like this since we had the kitchen redone in November of 2000.

“AFTER” photo:

2000. I wonder if that’s when I last cleaned the bottom of this drawer. no . . . NO. I’ve definitely cleaned it since then. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

What can YOU clean in 5 minutes?

But that was only the knife DRAWER. My favorite knives live in my Kapoosh (Amazon link) And I know I clean THAT multiple times per year. because it’s fun. and easy. and it takes less than FIVE MINUTES to clean it.

5 minutes. 1 drawer: would you like chocolate sprinkles with that?

As usual, I don’t have time to devote a full day (or 7) to concentrated spring cleaning, so I’m applying my long time practice of microactions to tackle deep cleaning my kitchen. Today, I had 5 minutes, so I completely emptied and cleaned out the flatware drawer. I forgot to include a clock in the picture to prove that it only took 5 minutes, so you’re just gonna have to trust me.

FIVE minutes.

Includes emptying out the drawer, cleaning the drawer bottom, scrubbing and drying the drawer organizers and reloading the drawer – leaving out the flatware we don’t really use anymore.

What can you clean in 5 minutes?

“AFTER” photo: (“BEFORE” photo below)

Me, to PinkGirl: “Hey, take a look at this silverware drawer. See anything different?”

PinkGirl, crinkling brow, silently stares at the drawer.

Me: “It’s totally clean.”

PinkGirl: “ohhhhhh.”

Me: “So. I have a question. Why was the bottom of this drawer full of chocolate sprinkles?

PinkGirl, grinning: “Funny story….”

ummm hmmm.

(I had already gotten some of the sprinkles out before I remembered to take the photo.)

“BEFORE” photo:

what’s your frog?

“We can always find all kinds of small, dead-end projects to work on, but getting a lot done is not the same as getting the most important things done. If you start work by jumping right into the hardest task for the day, you’ll get bigger and better results and feel better, too. Often things we’ve dreaded, dodged and evaded forever take less than half an hour when we finally face up to them.”

Get Organized, Get Published!: 225 Ways to Make Time for Success
by Don Aslett

We’ve adopted a saying in our house: “eat the frog.”

What does that mean? If the hardest and worst thing on your to-do list is to eat a live frog, just get it over with. With that nagging burden gone, you’ll feel re-energized and the momentum will carry over into everything else you do. Because after eating a live frog, your day has nowhere else to go but up. (http://www.eatthatfrogmovie.com)

I need to work on invoices today. HATE doing it. But it’s my frog.

What’s your frog?

“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.”
Proverbs 12:11

WFMW: office chairs at the kitchen table.

We’ve made a big change here at Casa Aqua (the name Casa Aqua is a long story. Suffice it to say we are no strangers to dehumidifiers and industrial carpet fans). We ditched our straight backed wooden slat chairs (as comfy as they were) and have purchased four office desk chairs for our kitchen table. Take a look:

kitchen chairs before1

kitchen chairs before2

kitchen chairs after

Last year we experienced a shift in homework time-continuum as FavoriteSon tried different locations to complete his homework. Neither of my kids likes to be isolated during homework time. Neither of them want a desk in their room to do said homework. I’m sure it’s because they just can’t bear to be apart from me.

(convincing and heartfelt pause)


But seriously, this is a good thing. Because they both tend to “daydream” (code word for mild ADD) and I find myself asking “Are you distracted?” “Whatcha doing?” and “Status report, please.” when I see them doing anything BUT homework.

By the end of last year, FavoriteSon’s homework location of choice was MY reading spot:

Reading Spot
Reading Spot

He complained that the chairs at both our kitchen table and our dining table made his back hurt. I couldn’t disagree with him. So, we sometimes let him do his homework while sitting here. By the end of these evenings, he was sprawled across the loveseat, eyes drooping, pretty much useless. We would send him to bed and wake him up early to finish in the morning. On the days we forced him to sit at a table, the whining was frequent and escalating, extending the time he spent doing the homework in the chairs of pain. (physical pain for him, a whole NUTHER kind of pain for us.)

This year, we had a plan. We took the kids to Staples and Office Depot to pick out chairs. FavoriteSon settled right into a $90 chair. A little steep, but we agreed with the condition that he N E V E R complain about the seating for homework again. And that he MUST A L W A Y S sit at the kitchen table to do his homework.

PinkGirl kept picking out cushy velour chairs FirstHusband and I vetoed every one, envisioning a daily task of removing crusty food from an increasingly hard and stained surface. ewww.

We finally found a $70 chair for her that was COMPLETELY adjustable. The seat goes up and down and tilts forward and backward. The back goes forward and backward as well as up and down. The entire chair moves up and down. And the arms are adjustable.

Of course, it didn’t match FavoriteSon’s chair. And while I’m not opposed to the quirkiness of this “office chairs in the kitchen” idea, I DO have some sense of aesthetics (aka decorating), so we opted to get two and two. FavoriteSon and I have the same chair and FirstHusband and PinkGirl have the same chair. (So what do you think? Do I need a more contemporary table now? I can’t decide.)

Two evenings of homework and so far, so good.

And yes. I am sure I see scratches on the floor already. But I do not care. This floor has had “character” for years now. When my kids are grown and have moved out, I will have a beautiful kitchen floor. But in the words Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen): “It is not THIS day!

And I’m okay with that. This works for me – and my family.

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.

sometimes free just isn’t worth it.

My newspaper subscription ran out. I know this because last week someone called to ask if I would like to renew it. Considering the labor intensive household task of carrying the newspaper from the driveway directly to the recycling bin has lost its appeal, I said “No thank you.”

The nice lady told me I would need to call another number and actually cancel the paper, she was just in sales.

okay, then.

So this week, another nice lady called to again tell me my newspaper subscription was expired. FirstHusband and I had talked a bit between these two “courtesy calls” and decided we really don’t mind getting the Sunday paper. It actually gets taken out of the bag and sifted through before laying around the house for a few days – BEFORE it goes into the recycling bin. Sometimes I even take Thursday’s paper out of the plastic bag to peruse the food section. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: We don’t really want so many papers per week. Just Sunday is good.

Her: Well, you actually only pay for Sunday’s paper, the rest of your papers are free. It’s a really good deal. If you only get Sunday’s paper, you’ll still be paying the same amount.

Me: I realize that, but at this point, our free papers are causing us extra work on a daily basis. We have two soaking wet papers in the driveway right now.

Her: Oh.


Her: Do you have any pets in the house?


Me: You mean the kind of pets who might need shredded newspaper? . . . No.

Wait. Did the newspaper sales person just suggest that I use the newspaper for the direct purpose of letting my pet pee on it?

The newspaper industry is in serious trouble. I feel compelled to lend some assistance. If you don’t need any newspaper to soak up pet urine either, here are some more reasons to subscribe:

Maybe you could make this for your pet at Christmas. So festive!

ch ch ch changes.

I’ve decided to make some changes here at Pragmatic Compendium. I’m going to make it more of a compendium. Here are the changes:

1. I’m going to be republishing existing content from my other blogs into Compendium, so that this will be a one stop shop for all my posts. I’m doing this for a few reasons. First, I frequently can’t find my own posts because I can’t remember where I put them. Secondly, the stats from the other blogs don’t show much traffic from Compendium, so my readers are missing my posts. Compendium is only part of who I am. There’s more!

2. I’m going to keep the other blogs too and continue to publish in them. Every time I post in one of my other blogs, I will publish the exact same content in Compendium too.

Why not just put everything in Compendium and do away with the other blogs?
– The other blogs do get traffic, just not much from Compendium. Most traffic comes from subscription services/readers and search strings.
Pragmatic Communion is JUST for devotions. By still publishing in Communion, readers who only want to read the devotions don’t have to wade through everything else to find them.
Pragmatic Commotion is JUST for family stuff. Kid stories and quotes, photos, stuff like that. By still publishing in Commotion, friends and family who want to keep up with my family life don’t have to wade through everything else to find things only related to my family. I might not publish all the kid/family photos on Compendium. I’m not sure yet.
Pragmatic Communication is JUST about communication: talking, writing, reading, and listening. I’m revamping my business website and will be linking to communication “articles” in Pragmatic Communication. My communication clients want to read about communication tips without wading through recipes, my favorite youtube clips and everything else unrelated to communication.
Pragmatic Computing (my first blog, by the way) is JUST for computer tips and troubleshooting. It is also linked from my business website and my computer clients like to find computer tips without (again) wading through everything else.

3. I’ll be changing the sidebar widgets to remove the links to the last three posts on each of my other blogs. Since the content will already be within Compendium, readers don’t need to see the last three entries on those blogs. I will instead have a single link to each of the other blogs in the sidebar, in case readers want to JUST see devotions, or family stuff, or communication articles, or computer tips.

4. I think I will be removing links TO Compendium which currently appear in my other blogs. That means there will be no clear path BACK to Compendium when someone clicks over to one of the other blogs from here. However, ALL links from Compendium to the other blogs will open in a new window or tab, leaving the Compendium page open. My reasoning for this one?
– Communication and Computing? Clients don’t need to read such personal stuff about me. It makes things awkward for them. When I get to know a client better, I tell them about Compendium. I got a new client last week. A 64 year old man. He really doesn’t want to stumble upon my hysterectomy woes. Neither do I want him to. Talk about awkward.
– Communion – I haven’t decided whether to link back to Compendium yet. I think I’ll leave that two way clicking path available.
– Commotion? I will set all comments on Commotion to be approved before they appear.

5. I’m beefing up the categories and tags on all the blogs to, hopefully, make it easier for me readers to find posts about certain topics.

6. I haven’t decided how my menu bar at the top will change, but it will. (I’m open to suggestions.)

I LOVE my template, so it will NOT change.

So here’s a call for feedback! What else should I consider? What other changes should I make? What changes should I NOT make?

PDA Cookbook

Check out my recent purchase! $29.99 for both the desktop and mobile platform! And the license allows me to load the desktop software on both my laptop and desktop computer.


I’m a LONG time Palm girl, so the mobile version, on my Centro, looks like this:



There’s also a Windows mobile version.

It even has an interactive shopping list and menu planner! My favorite part? Adjustable serving sizes that modify ingredient amounts! I can edit ingredients, add photos, assign and filter by multiple food categories and search by up to three ingredients.


It comes with over 1200 recipes. Most look pretty good (and easy), but I’ve already deleted 60+ I knew I would NEVER make. Like “Potted Tongue.” This software has everything I can think of, in an intuitive and clean interface. I’m already loving it! Check out some more reviews

I get most of my PDA software from http://www.handango.com and they almost always have an active promo code. If the ones below are expired, search for “handango promotion” and you’ll probably find one.

“APPSWELIKE” expires tonight at midnight and saves you 15%
“SAVE20NOW” saves you 20%, but I’m not sure when it expires.

Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Need more? Head over to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Kim at Forever . . . Wherever!

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

Don’t File Paper. Revisited & Modified.

It’s January, time to shred 2001. At the advice of my accountant, I keep documents 7 years. As I rotate 2008 into storage, I’m reminded of a three part series I wrote entitled “Don’t File Paper at Home Anymore.”

If you are SICK of managing the paper in your house, check it out.

Don’t File Paper at Home Anymore, Part 1
Don’t File Paper at Home Anymore, Part 2
Don’t File Paper at Home Anymore, Part 3

We’ve made one modification to the process this year.

We now throw away all the receipts we don’t need. Why were we keeping grocery store and restaurant receipts? Why were we keeping receipts for household cleaning products and stuff we weren’t going to return?

Many of the expenses we need to track are on our bank statement. We now only keep business receipts. We don’t even need to shred many of them because they don’t show our account numbers.

ahhh. I love getting rid of paper.

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

knife kapoosh

About three years ago, I mentioned to a few people that I needed some good kitchen knives. The next Christmas was . . . very sharp. I got knives from my dad, my in-laws and FirstHusband.


Great knives – every one. Especially my favorite – the ceramic knife FirstHusband got me. (second from the left). The problem was that they didn’t match.

Then, walking through Bed, Bath & Beyond one day, FirstHusband found THIS:


Looks like a plain old knife block. Look closer.


It’s called a “Kapoosh ” (amazon product link) and it holds any knife, no matter the size.


To clean it, you just remove all the knives, turn it upside down and the plastic part comes completely out. I just wipe it down, fan it out and pop it back in. Kapoosh!


Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

kids today . . .

You’ve heard it. Older people (older than ME, of course), talking about how undisciplined kids are today.

umm hmm.

In case you don’t feel like zooming in on the first photo, the 1953 library book plate reads:






And THIS is why it takes me so long to purge excess stuff from my house. I get a little distracted.

Years ago, I bought old books for decorating purposes. I didn’t really care about the title or author, I just wanted vintage books on the shelf. I’m over it. I’m purging. I kept the titles and authors which interest me, but this is one that didn’t. Well, it doesn’t NOW. I’m finished looking at it, so I’ll pass it on to someone else now. Along with all this stuff:


Except the cat. I’m keeping the cat.