Month: March 2012

Torturers could learn a thing or two from 2 year olds

  G is officially in the terrible twos.  We have morning battles about which glass he’s going to drink his milk out of (obviously it should be in any glass but the one it’s in…asking before I pour does NOT help), afternoon battles about him taking his nap and evening battles about dinner, bath time, who is going to read him his story and which pair of pjs he’s going to wear.  He screams when I leave and he screams when I stay.  There just isn’t any winning with this kid lately.

  And he’s not the only one.
  I hosted Mom’s group here yesterday and we had a pack of two year olds.  I think the first thing each of us moms said as we greeted each other was “sorry, we’ve been having a morning…”.  At one point there were at least 3 two year olds simultaneously screaming “No!  Mine!”.
  We’re all exhausted.  It’s emotionally taxing when you never know if your child is going to behave like this:
or this:
  …especially because whoa buddy does that second picture not capture the levels of pissed off that come with the down-swings (I wouldn’t put my camera at risk by trying to take a picture of a full on rager).
  I know, I know…all the moms out there who have made it through having a 2 year old are laughing and shaking their heads a little…what did we expect, right?
  Obviously that our kids were gonna be different.  Silly us.
  I’m sure I’ll survive.  As far as I know, no one has died of frustration with a toddler.  But it does make me feel a bit like I’m walking around in a state of shock most of the day.  I never know if offering to take him to the park is going to set off another anger landmine…if trying to give him lunch will be tantamount to amputating his arm.
  Which is all to say; fellow mothers of two year olds, I’m in the trenches with you.  Duck and cover, they’re headed this way!

How to sew your own nursing cover

  Before we start today I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to one of my favorite readers.  Kate works crazy hard, and just bought a house with her hubby, so she might not get this for a few days, but Happy Birthday darlin!  Can’t wait to see you guys and the new place soon!
  Today’s post is mostly going to appeal to my readers who are pregnant, new moms or friends with the former two.  Single guys?  If you really want a nursing cover…well…I’m just not entirely sure what to say.  Read on I guess?
  There are a lot of different options available for purchase if you want to just buy a nursing cover, but they tend to be expensive, and you can’t be guaranteed you’ll find a fabric you like.  By making your own you can find the perfect fabric and control your costs.  Plus, it’s easy!
  Here’s what you need:
3/4 yd 45″ or wider fabric (I recommend cotton)
18″ plastic boning (with casing or without)
2 D-rings
coordinating thread
  First off, I’m recommending cotton because when I made my own (not the one that is shown) I didn’t use cotton.  I had a pretty equestrian themed plaid polyester that I hadn’t put to use for anything else and I thought it would be perfect.  Well, it would have been perfect, if I hadn’t nursed G through a long, very warm summer.  Polyester doesn’t breathe.  We were both sweating, and let me say before you even have to ask, if your baby gets too warm under there, they WILL swipe the blanket off from on top of themselves and all the sudden your cover stops doing its job.  Do yourself a favor and use something breathable.
  The first step to making your cover is to cut the fabric for your neck strap.  Ok, wait a minute, we are working with cotton, so the very first step is to wash your fabric.  Once it’s washed though, the first step is to cut a strip around 2″ wide (wider is ok, narrower isn’t so hot) from the bottom of your fabric.  When I say the bottom, I mean along the 45″ (or wider) edge that they cut at the fabric store, not the selvage.  Fold the whole thing in half (hotdog) with right sides together and sew into a long skinny tube.  Turn the tube right side out, press it flat and set it aside.
  Next, finish 3 of your 4 edges, leaving one of your long (45″ or more) sides unfinished.  I typically run mine through the serger, fold them under once and then stitch them down.  If you don’t have a serger, fold the edges over on themselves twice before stitching.
  Working with our neck strap again, start by cutting around 7 inches off of one end.  The exact measurement of this strap doesn’t matter, but if you’re going to fudge it, go longer rather than shorter.  You’re going to fold this strap in half and put it into the neckline seam, which means around 2″ of each side of the strap will be used inside of the cover, leaving only around 1.5″ of a 7″ strap above the top edge.  I’ll get more into how all the folding in is going to work in a minute, but for now, just cut the strap, fold it in half with the two D-rings in the crease and run a line of stitching as close to the rings as possible.  I find that using a zipper foot for this process helps immensely.
  Set your strap pieces aside and fold your main piece in half (hamburger).  Mark the center point on your unfinished edge.  Now fold your boning in half.  Don’t crease it, but get a general idea of the middle.  Line the middle of your boning up with the center of your unfinished fabric edge, the boning ends should be bowing up towards you with the center down on the wrong side of the fabric.  Here comes the only tricky part.  Fold your fabric edge down an inch.  Flip your boning over with it, so it is now shaped like an arch with the ends on the ground and the center bowing up.  Fold the whole thing over another inch.  Your boning should be back to arching into the table with the ends in the air and you will have formed a casing around it.  Using your fingers, skootch the boning to the top edge line (inside the pocket you just made).  Trap it there by pinning the pocket down with your pins going into the fabric on the bottom edge and coming out directly below the boning.
  At each end of the boning (approximately 9″ from the center on either side) you are going to attach your straps.  Tuck the end of the strap under the folded pocket you created for the boning and pin it into place.  Don’t worry that the strap without the D-rings is really long, we’ll adjust it later.
  Stitch along the bottom edge of the pocket you’ve created to seal it shut.  Make sure when you come to the straps that they are folded up towards the neckline that we are currently finishing.  You should be sewing through the straps two times at once (one part folded under the pocket, one on top) while you do this.  When your bottom seam is sealed, push your boning as tightly against the line of stitching you just created as possible and repeat the process along the top edge.  This makes a narrower pocket for the boning and makes for a more finished look.  Finally, stitch vertical lines along the edges of your straps in between the two seams to create a square of stitching securing your strap to the cover.  This re-enforces the strap and traps the boning so it can’t shift within the pocket.
  Finally, shorten the strap without the D-rings.  I’ve found that the best way to determine the appropriate length is to put the cover on, thread the strap through the D-rings and then leave 5-6″ of tail beyond where you have threaded them.  You may have to remove almost of foot of extra fabric!
  When your cover is on and tightened properly, the straps should pull the boning into an arch that will hold the fabric away from your neck.  This will allow you to see your child while you nurse, without other people seeing what’s going on.
  If you happen to be making a cover for a shower gift, please keep in mind when you’re making your fabric choices that this is for the mom.  Sweet pink pastels and baby blues may be darling for her little bundle of joy, but the idea of a nursing cover is to blend in while taking care of feeding your little one.  Unless your mom-to-be is the kind who loves to be the center of attention, stick to neutrals in simple, elegant, scarf-like patterns (geomet
rics are great) and that will work with her normal outfits.
  As always, if you have any questions or specific sewing tricks or tips you’d like to have explained, leave me a message or send me an email.  And please! Like me on Facebook to get a sneak-peek of what I’m doing for the next few posts or to chat with me.

Brown sugar and maple slow cooker ham

  Today’s recipe came about because I screwed up.  Yaaaay me.  I was planning on making slow cooker thai pork stew…but I made the mistake of assuming we had the pork for it.  You see, last fall we got half a pig, so assuming we had pork on hand was beyond safe for most of the winter. 
 And we actually did have some pork left downstairs…but all of it was smoked.  I grabbed a package of smoked steaks that I thought would be around 2 pounds and started it thawing.  The closer the pork got to thawed though, the more I found myself thinking that using smoked ham for that recipe would be a waste…and possibly horrible on top of that.
  So I changed directions entirely and made this:
Yummy, sweet, brown sugar glazed ham.
  Here’s what you need:
~2 lbs smoked ham
2 c. dark brown sugar
3 Tbs maple syrup
1/2 c. water
  Chop your ham into chunks (so your sweet stuff can coat more sides of it) and place into your slow cooker.  Top with brown sugar and maple syrup and pour water in.  Cook on low for 6 hrs.  Serve with a sprinkle of kosher salt.
  This turned out really well.  Well enough that I’m considering purposely screwing up my grocery shopping next week just to give myself a push to try my hand at making something up again.  I may just be starting to get the hang of this whole “cooking” thing.  Or maybe I just love brown sugar enough that I could do anything with it and love the results.
  Either way, everybody liked it and we had enough that I got to have leftovers the next day (which were also wonderful).  Try it out and see what you think!  We’ll be back to “on the books” recipes next week, but I want to know if you have had any “oh why not just dump this all in” successes.  Let me know in the comments!

Spring cleaning, “oops, I missed that” edition

  Last week we talked about getting our windows cleaned so we could throw them open and let the fresh spring air in.  This week, I’m going to horrify you by showing you the parts of my house I shamefully ignore during the winter.

  Now, I don’t want you guys to think my house is a horribly un-sanitary pigsty,  but with a curious toddler who usually is smeared in peanut butter, running full tilt from room to room, there is only so much housekeeping I can do if I want to still sleep at night.  So without further ado, here are a few “hot spots” I tend to let slide:
Light switches
  Before you run screaming, I did mess with this picture in photoshop to emphasize the dirt on this switch.  And this is a really old switch plate, so some of that is tarnish and what not, but remember those peanut butter covered fingers I was talking about earlier?  G loves helping turn the lights on and off.  There are an AWFUL lot of smudgy fingerprints on all my switch plates.
  These don’t take a whole lot of work to clean, but I can guarantee you’ll feel a lot better once you’ve scrubbed them all down.  You may even find yourself looking at other things that get touched a lot but not looked at closely (door handles and cabinet knobs) too!
Out of season clutter
  This year we haven’t had a whole lot of a transition between the cold weather and the warm.  With temperatures moving straight from freezing to the 80s around here it seems like we shot straight from winter coats to tank tops.  Usually it’s a little more gradual transition, but either way, spring in Michigan is never predictable.  That means it can be hard to convince yourself to put away your winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves long after you won’t need them.
  My Mr. thinks it’s a weird comparison, but I see messes as kind of like flocks of pigeons.  Your space is cleared and clean, and you think to yourself, I’ll just set/hang/drop this here for a few minutes and take care of it later.  Next thing you know you’ve set another item down, then two, then three.  You stop noticing when another item gets added, until one day, oh hell, you have an entire flock of pigeons/bottles/coats in your way, glaring at you like, “I’m a pigeon, coo, whaddya gonna do about it?”
Don’t let your winter gear turn into pigeons.
Put it away.  I swear to god you can take it back out if it gets that cold again.
  Curtains are another great thing to hit during a spring cleaning frenzy, especially if you have dust allergies like I do.  Pull them down, throw them in the washer* with water as hot as you can get it and get the dust out of them before the spring breeze blows it all off your curtains and into your face.
* Make sure you check that your curtains and throws are washable before you do this of course.  If not, throw them over a line or a railing outside and beat them down with a stick to shake the dust out.
  Wash your blankets too.  Blankets on beds usually get taken care of, but when is the last time your couch throw* went through the laundry?  Since the last bout of runny noses came through your house?  Uh HUH, mine either.  In the wash they go.
Dead parts of houseplants
  Houseplants are wonderful things.  They help improve the quality of air in your home, they add moisture in the dry months and they bring a touch of life and warmth inside.  Thing is though, because they are alive, they tend to do messy things like flowering…and then having those flowers die.  If dead parts of your plant have fallen off and onto the area around, they’re really causing a mess, but even if the dead part is still connected to the plant, it is visually junking up your house.  Trim off the dead parts.  Even houseplants deserve a fresh spring look.
  These are some of the less obvious things I do as part of my spring cleaning.  What are you cleaning this week?

Wooden stacking blocks

  Today I’m taking a break from showing you guys what I’ve been doing to do a little bit of bragging about something my Mr. has been working on.
  Check out these beauties. 
  G has gotten really into building things (and knocking them down) lately, and while I’m still on my “get rid of stuff” kick, I’d much rather have a set of simple, organic looking blocks kicking around than the technicolor plastic nonsense that comes from the store.
  Before G was born, we’d gotten a set of wooden blocks much like these from Etsy as a gift.  G loved them, I loved that they’re natural and not horrendously garish, and everybody was happy.  Okay, almost everybody was happy.
  My Mr. decided we didn’t have enough blocks for proper building, nor were there big enough blocks.  The ones we had were about 1″ cubed.  So he took it upon himself to make G a set of 3″ blocks and a set of 2.5″.  I wish I could walk you through the process, but they’re a project he’s still perfecting.  We’re currently testing to see how well mineral oil works for conditioning the wood, but they’re all so pretty!
  For those who are curious, the blocks in back (the bigger ones) are fir and the ones in front are ash from a tree we helped our neighbors to cut down.  If you have any other questions, let me know and I’ll see if I can wheedle the secrets outta my man!

Creamy avocado pasta

  Today’s recipe is a perfect warm weather dish.  It has the perfect combination of light, green flavors for sitting out on the porch watching the sun set.
  We made this for the first time before the weather turned for the better, and it wasn’t quite hearty enough for my tastes when the wind was howling and I was curled up in a sweater, but I can’t wait to make it again come June or July.
  I made a couple of changes to the recipe (as usual), so if you want the original, click through the link above.  Otherwise….
  Here’s what you need:
1 ripe avocado
1 lime to zest and juice
3 garlic cloves
1/2 jalapeno pepper
1/4 c. fresh basil
2 c. baby spinach
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 c. parmesan, grated
1 large tomato, diced
  Start by cooking your pasta until al dente.  If you want to try what the original recipe calls for, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water when you drain it.  If you’re a distracted flake like me, dump out all the water, remember you were supposed to save some of it, swear loudly and use plain water from the tap when we get to that part.  Put 1 cup of your spinach into the bottom of your pot and top with the hot pasta.  The idea is that this will wilt the spinach.  …I found that mine didn’t really wilt for me, so I eventually put the whole thing back on the stove.
  Now (or while your pasta is cooking if you’re more talented in the kitchen than I am), place your avocado (scooped out of the skin and ridded of the seed of course) into a food processor along with the jalapeno, basil, juice and zest from the lime, garlic, remaining spinach, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Blend everything until a nice, smooth paste forms.
  Add the paste to your pasta, along with your diced tomato and stir to coat the pasta.  Use your water (from the pot or from the tap) to thin the sauce as needed.  This is when I put mine back on the stove top over low heat.  I found the heat helped to stir the sauce in as well.
  Ladle your pasta into serving bowls, top with grated parmesan and garnish with basil.  Tossing a few sunflower seeds or pine nuts on top of this would be heavenly as well.  Light up a citronella candle and enjoy your meal outdoors!

Things I’ve tried on Pinterest- the good smellin’ home edition

  If you’re already on Pinterest, you know that while it can be an awesome resource for finding ideas, it can also be a terrifyingly bad time suck.  The joke is “look at all these great projects I could get done, if only I could get myself to step away from Pinterest!”.

  I’m certainly not immune to the ‘pin a billion things, do 3″ syndrome, but I at least attempt to regularly try things I’ve pinned.  I have a “things I’ve actually done” board that keeps me at least a little accountable.  I make no promises that I don’t update it in giant waves when I realize I’ve been forgetting for 3 months.
  I thought that today I would share some of the things I’ve tried, and figured “ways to make your house smell nice” was a good place to start.
  Most of these tricks use essential oils (or other scented oils).  That means no purchasing new supplies for me, since I always have perfume and essential oils on hand.  I stopped wearing alcohol based perfumes when I discovered Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (incredible perfume, be warned some of their artwork is somewhat NSFW) and I keep essential oils on hand for their health and beauty uses (as well as the fact they smell wonderful).
  If you’re buying essential oils for the first time, be aware that with high quality oils, each will cost a different amount.  Certain herbs and plants are harder to get large quantities of oil from, or take longer to grow than others.  Eucalyptus and peppermint plants are fairly easy to grow quickly in large quantities, so those essential oils are cheap.  Rose essential oil on the other hand is not.  That being said, even if an essential oil is somewhat expensive, keep in mind that it will go a long way.  None of these ideas use more than a tsp of oil, so you should be able to get several batches of room spray (the most oil heavy idea) out of one small bottle of essential oil.
  To make my own room spray I used the information I found through this pin.  I actually used a perfume oil instead of essential oils and it worked perfectly well.  I use this spray when I’m making beds.  After I lay down the sheets, I mist this over it and it cuts down on the static when I put the blankets on top.  Plus, when you spray this in a guest bedroom the day or so before guests arrive it gives your sheets a subtle, floral scent.  Win win!
  The next idea I tried using essential oils was this pin for putting a few drops inside your toilet paper roll.  The idea is that every time you use the toilet paper it will release the scent of the essential oil into the air.  What I found was that this made my bathroom (and the room just outside of it) smell wonderful for the first day.  After that, the scent was incredibly faint, and while you could maybe pick it up faintly while you were actually grabbing the toilet paper, it most certainly wasn’t a “room freshening burst”.  This would be a great way to make sure your bathroom smells good for a party, but other than that, eh, I’m not sure I’d bother.  We’ll call this a quasi-win.
  The final scent related pin I tried out was this one.  “Makes your house smell like Williams Sonoma!” it says.  “Yeah okay…” I thought.  I can’t say I’d noticed the smell of Williams Sonoma, but then, I’m a non-cooking heathen, so maybe I’d just blocked out the joy of their store’s scent like I’ve clearly blocked the joy that a good pan can bring.  Whatever the case, I figured it was worth a try.
  Before I say what I thought about this, I want to preface it by saying I may have jacked it up myself.  The pin calls for a sliced up lemon.  I used a sliced up lemon, but my lemon was pretty old and dried up and decrepit looking.  Maybe a young, healthy, non-geriatric lemon would smell better, but I wasn’t about to let my still technically a lemon perfectly good lemon go to waste.
  I was not a fan.  It didn’t smell bad per say, just not what I would consider good either.  There was a kind of warm, funky undertone to the smell that I just couldn’t get past.  We’re going to call this pin a fail, but I did discover that I love the smell of just plain ol’ fresh herbs being simmered on the stove top…so perhaps it can be written off as a learning experience.
  Have you tried any “make your home smell great” pins on Pinterest?  Have any of them worked for you?  I’d love to hear!

Quick and easy faux cuff hem for shorts

  You guys gave me a lot of great feedback last week about my post on how to easily install a zipper, and I love feedback, so you get what you want.  MOAR SEWING TRICKS.

  Seriously, if there’s something in specific you want to see how to do, comment and I’ll do my best to make it happen.  Please stop by and like the E.C.B. Facebook page, I’d be happy to talk to you there!
  This week I’m going to show you how to do an incredibly easy hem for shorts.
I am not a leg model folks.
  Pretend these are on somebody 6′ tall who has seen the sun…uhm, ever.
  If you look closely at the bottom of the shorts (don’t let my legs blind you) you can see what appears to be a rolled up cuff that has been stitched down.  It’s actually a faux cuff, but it can be a great way to hem shorts to keep them from looking too stuffy.
  When you’re cutting your pieces, you shouldn’t have to add too much fabric to account for this method, but do keep in mind that you will need a seam allowance the same size as your “cuff” to avoid accidentally turning your shorts into hot pants.  If you purposely want to make hot pants, more power to you.  I wear short shorts too.
  Finishing the hem on your shorts should be done after the leg holes are completely sewn together.  This keeps you from having to worry about lining up wonky seams.  You can just fold everything to the right length and stitch in one nice, continuous circle around each leg.
  With this process, you can pin if you’d like to, but I strongly suggest letting the iron do the work for you.  Start by turning your shorts inside out so all the seams are exposed.  Fold the bottom of your short leg up into the inside of the shorts to the height you want your cuff to be, ironing the crease as you go.  I typically make a 1″ cuff.  Now fold the cuff over onto itself again, making sure the bottom edge of your pant leg is caught in the new crease your are forming.  When you are finished pressing your second crease, your shorts should look more or less like this:
  Without unfolding anything, stitch your cuff along what is currently the bottom edge of your shorts leg (as shown above).  This is where it’s going to show if you didn’t get your original edge up into that crease.  Make your stitching far enough away from the crease to ensure you’ll catch the original edge, but not so far in that it looks dopey.  I typically do around 1/4″ in.
  Once that edge is sewn, all you need to do is unfold the cuff and iron everything flat.  A nice, entirely enclosed raw edge, a cute cuff for your shorts, and way less time invested than trying to do anything by hand!
  Here’s hoping this will help you knock out a few pairs of shorts to celebrate this warm weather we’ve been having!  Please let me know if you need any clarifications about any of this, or if there are any particular techniques you’d like to see demonstrated!

Mediterranean Tacos

  On Monday I showed you guys how my Mr. makes pitas from scratch and promised I’d share our favorite way to use them for dinner.

  Here’s what we’re making:
Here’s what you need:
Pitas (store bought if you must)
Shredded cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Shredded lettuce or spinach
Olives (those are kalamata, but we usually use black olives)
  If you really are short on time you can get everything from the store and just assemble it like a taco.  I can guarantee it won’t be nearly as delicious as it will be if you make your own pitas and hummus though.
  Be warned, once you make it all from scratch, it will be extremely disappointing to have the store-bought version.  Besides, store bought hummus is crazy expensive.
  Making hummus is a taste-as-you-go kind of process.  Some people like their hummus lemony, some like it salty.  Some (me) like it to be so garlicky that it will melt the face off a vampire at 30 paces.  Start with this basic recipe and tweak it to your tastes.
  Here’s what you need:
2 cups garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini*
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs olive oil
*Tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds, most stores have it,
 but a lot of times it’s in a weird place.  Don’t be shy about asking.
  Put everything in a food processor and blend until creamy.  Taste and adjust as necessary.  
  I, for one, am a fan of garlic in any form it comes in.  I can be perfectly happy with my hummus being made with raw garlic, but if you find that it lends too sharp of a flavor for you and you’re missing the warm, mellow garlic flavor, try roasting or sauteing your garlic before processing it.
  When your hummus and pitas are ready, spread a layer of hummus on top of the pita and top with cheese and vegetables.  These are extremely filling, really good for you and incredibly delicious.  I hope you enjoy them!

Spring cleaning, windows edition-with bonus cheap, temporary skylight shades!

  Now that it’s spring, it’s time to air out our houses and get cleaning.  You know, so that the mud we track in during those summer storms shows up especially well.

  In my house, the windows get thrown open at the first hint of warm weather.  Our house is old and made out of mountains and boulders (somewhat literally, it’s a field stone house).  That means, with the windows shut, it keeps cold in like a refrigerator.  That’s awesome come the dead heat of summer, but not so great in spring.
  I’m certainly not going to try and fool you guys into thinking I already have my windows cleaned and sparkling (yeah right, with all the homework I’ve had lately?), but windows usually are where I start my spring cleaning, so I thought it’d be a good place to start sharing how I do it all.
  First things first, I promised a temporary skylight shade, so lets get that out of the way.  We have 3 of these skylights on the North side of our bedroom.  I love them in that they let the sunlight pour into our room during the day, but for about 3 days a month I hate them because they do the same thing with moonlight at night.
  I’m one of those finicky sleepers who can’t handle any light at all in the room, so my Mr. rigged up a system with magnets Command tabs and Mylar blankets for during the full moon.  It’s not glamorous…we’ll eventually get real skylight shades, but in the meantime, it works, and our money can go other places.  Like my tuition. 
  Supposedly, one of the first explorers to Michigan said that nobody would ever live here.  They said it was an “uninhabitable swamp” with “hoards of mosquitoes”.  Suffice to say, our windows don’t get opened without screens in them.  In the winter I pull them out of the windows (I want every ounce of light coming in that I can get in the dreary months) and store them in the basement.  I label each screen with the window it came out of using a post it note.  The last thing I want in the spring is to be walking from window to window with a giant screen, not knowing which one it fits in.  Keeping the screens in the basement helps keep them from getting too cobwebby over the winter, but all of them get a good spray with the hose before they go back in the window just the same.
  When all of my screens are clean and up, it’s time to wash my windows.  I make my own glass cleaner (surprising no one at this point I’m sure).  I don’t notice any difference between this and store bought solution, and since I always have the ingredients on hand, I don’t have to worry about having enough.
Homemade Glass Cleaner
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid soap
2 c. water
  I use this solution on all the insides of my windows.  Highest priority goes to windows G is too short to reach.  Why bother when they’re going to be covered in fingerprints again in an afternoon anyhow?  For the outside windows I can reach, I use my hose and a bucket of soapy water.  Several of my upstairs windows just stay dirty on the outside.  I haven’t figured out a safe way to clean them with a toddler around, and while I love a perfectly clean window, I love not being splattered on my driveway more.
  Once all my windows are clean and thrown open, my house is nice and bright and sunny…and I can see all the dust bunnies that collected!  Next week we’ll talk about grime hot spots that may have gone unnoticed in the dim winter light.