Archive for March, 2009

Dear Readers,

Was recently reminded that the last week of March is National Cleaning Week.  Mimi would be falling down on the job if she neglected to mention this as a “motherly tip”.

Years ago every spring about 3 or 4 weeks were devoted to housecleaning our entire home and I do mean “entire”!  Life is too hectic now to invest that much time in cleaning!  But if you are in the mood to tackle one room at a time, I have some tips.

Today we’ll concentrate on spring cleaning a bedroom (the easiest room).  Future blogs will highlight other rooms.  Wouldn’t want to overwhelm you with too many hints!

Always clean from top to bottom.  Attach a clean rag, preferably an old tee shirt onto a dust mop or broom and dust the edges where the ceiling meets the walls and down each corner where the walls meet.  This removes any cobwebs.  This is a good time to get a ladder and thoroughly dust the ceiling fan.  You’ll be surprised how much dust is on the blades.

Make a mild solution of Mr. Clean and water to clean all the woodwork, including the doors and frames.  Next wash windows and window sills.

Wash blankets and mattress pads.  Sheets should be laundered weekly.  Rotate mattress.  If possible, lift up box springs and vacuum carpet under bed.  It will be extremely dusty, trust me.

Thoroughly endust all furniture and wipe off lamps and doodads sitting on the furniture.

Use edge attachment on vacuum to completely clean edge of carpet and then vacuum entire bedroom floor.

If you’re really ambitious, straighten out drawers and closets.  Give away old clothes.  Dust off shoes.  Refold underwear and sweaters in drawers and dust inside of drawers.  All of this should really be the first thing you do before you clean the room.

If possible, hang mattress pads and blankets outside to dry.  They will smell so fresh on the bed.

Happy Cleaning and as always,

Keep Smilin’!

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Oh What a Gift

Dear Readers,

Just finished my morning walk and realized that “spring has really sprung”.  My senses have been overwhelmed by the season’s sights, sounds and smells.

First there are the sights my eyes have feasted upon.  Bougainvilleas with their colors of red, pink and fuschia are in full bloom; as also are oleander in shades of pink, white and lipstick red.  Orchid trees are laden with hundreds of magenta flowers.  Cacti are displaying their fragile papery pink flowers.  Raspberry puff balls are emerging from the calliender vines.  Golden butterflies and gorgeous green hummingbirds are flitting from one blossom to another.  All the earth is erupting into one riotous garden displaly.

Then there are the sounds of spring with more and more birds nesting in the trees and with their chirping and tweeting are blending their various melodies.  Even the racous cawing of big black crows are a welcome part of the symphony.  The earth is alive!

But to me, smell is surely the best feature of spring.  The different fragrances are familiar and have distinct memories attached to them.  Lantana has a faint aroma similar to hyacinths, my favorite Easter flower.  Honeysuckle brings back childhood memories of an entire fence along Schiller Avenue and how the sweet smell of it was a big part of my life.  Probably the best fragrance of all is the citrus blossoms on orange, lemon and grapefruit trees.  It’s a scent that only lasts a couple of weeks but it is heavenly and seems to come in unexpected waves whenever the wind blows.  You never forget the smell of an orange blossom!

I guess what I’m trying to say by these descriptions is that spring is God’s gift to us and oh, what a gift it is!  Let’s cherish it and thank Him for this wonderful present!

Keep smilin’!

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A Meatless Meal from Mimi

Dear Readers,

There are only a couple of Fridays left in Lent and here’s an idea for another meatless meal.  It’s an easy one-dish meal that is simple, healthy, and low in fat and calories.  What more could you ask for?

This recipe was published in the 1986 Pillsbury Classic “Holiday” recipe book.

Vegetarian Supper Dish

1 cup uncooked regular long grain rice

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons oil

1 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

1 medium green pepper, chopped (1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped (2 cups)

16oz. can (2 cups) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 oz. (1/2 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook rice as directed on package.  In large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil until onion is tender.  Add zucchini, green pepper, oregano, salt and pepper; cook vegetables until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and beans; cover and heat thoroughly.  Spoon hot rice onto serving platter.  Spoon vegetable mixture over rice; sprinkle with cheese.  Makes 7 (1 cup) servings.

Each cup contains 220 calories, 7 grams of fat and 130 mg. of sodium.

Enjoy and

Keep Smilin’!

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Henry’s Birthday

Dear Readers,

Today is my Dad’s birthday.  He was born March 20, 1910 and he died on March 6, 1996.  He was a wonderful father and not a day goes by without my thinking of him.  Had the privilege of giving a farewell address at his funeral mass.  I’m going to quote from that address because it gives you a small insight into the kind of man he was.

“I want to pay tribute to my Dad today but wasn’t sure what aspect of his character to highlight.  Should I tell of his deep faith and trust in God, his overwhelming optimism, his love of his family, his great sense of humor?  Well, a story from my teenage years could really show what kind of Dad I had.

In the spring of 1963, Mom and I went shopping for the ‘perfect’ prom dress.  ‘Let’s go to Greenup’s, Mom.  All the really fashionable dresses come from there.’  Needless to say, Greenup’s on 4th Street had the priciest gowns in Louisville.  Reluctantly Mom accompanied me there, knowing that most of the dresses would be too expensive for our budget.

Sure enough I found the perfect dress.  It was white with lots of lace, but came with a price tag of sixty dollars.  Now in 1963, sixty dollars was a lot of money – considering one year’s tuition at Ursuline Academy was ninety dollars.  I looked at Mom with pleading eyes.  I had to have this dress.  It would make my life complete!  She said it was out of the question, just too expensive and we should never have come to Greenup’s to begin with.  In my heart I knew she was right.

Later that evening at home, after the shopping trip, Dad came to me and said if I really wanted that prom dress, he should buy it for me, no matter what the price!

No, I didn’t buy the dress.  I couldn’t let my Dad pay that much money for a dress I would wear once.  But I knew then how much my Dad loved me – that he would make any sacrifice for my happiness.

That’s the kind of Dad he was!  I love you, Dad.”

And as always,

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Here are a few random tips to make household chores easier.

You can microwave frozen vegetables in their boxes.  Simply remove the outer paper wrapper and with a knife, cut a few slashes through the cardboard on 3 sides.  Place box on plate and microwave for 4 to 5 minutes according to package directions.  Handle carefully; box will be very hot.

To make grocery shopping quick and easy, write the list of items according to the aisles in the grocery store.  The first time it may be necessary to write down the contents of each aisle.  This may take a little time, but it will make your shopping trip very efficient.

Be sure to use Endust on your cloth when dusting furniture.  It makes the dust stick to the cloth.  Without Endust, you’re just pushing the dust around!

The other day I was shopping for Mr. Clean and now it comes in a choice of fragrances: “Meadows and Rain” and “Lavender-Vanilla with Comfort”.  I have no idea what “comfort” smells like but I guess it does make the task of washing the bathroom floor more palatable!!!

Keep smilin’!

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Mimi Loves Leftovers

Dear Readers,

Got the computer fixed; Mimi learned all about “defragging”!  Anyway, the computer is up and running and I’m ready to start posting again.

Found an old article about using leftover rice in the February, 1999 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.  Am going to quote directly from the article.

“Cooked rice – brown, white, homemade or takeout – is a bonus because it keeps up to a week in the refrigerator and reheats so well in the microwave.  Just sprinkle with a little water and zap, covered, on High for about 1 minute (time varries with quantity).  Or use for these quick fixes:

Scramble along with eggs for a heartier breakfast (add 1/4 cup rice per egg).

Stir into pancake batter for an interesting texture (especially good with aromatic brown rice, which lends a nutty flavor).

Warm 3/4 cup with 1/4 cup milk, a spoonful of brown sugar or honey, cinnamon, and dried raisins or apricots for a homey hot cereal.

Heat rice, then toss with rinsed, drained canned red beans and vinaigrette.  Warm slightly to take the chill off, and serve with ribs or chicken.

Heat briefly to soften, and stir into tuna salad; serve over greens or sliced tomato.

Mix with salsa and rinsed, drained canned black beans; heat until hot.  Wrap in warm flour tortillas with grated cheddar cheese to make a quick weeknight burrito.

Combine in a pot with leftover small pasta, thawed frozen green peas, butter, and grated Parmesan cheese; heat through.”

If you have any other suggestions for leftover rice, please let me know and

Keep smilin’!

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Flu Season Peaks

Dear Readers,

It seems as if flu season has affected Mimi’s computer.  So Mimi will be taking a little blogging break while her computer recovers.  Please check back later in the week.  Thanks for your patience and as always . . . 

Keep Smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Spring might be in the air but flu germs are in the air also.  This is a good time for a “Mimi Tip” about how important it is to thoroughly wash our hands to control those nasty flu germs!

Read an article by Elizabeth Weise in USA Today entitled “Soap and Hot Water for Health”.  I’m going to quote frequently from this very informative article.

Frequent hand washing will help you “stay a lot healthier – 24 percent less likely to get a respiratory illness and 45 to 50 percent less likely to get a stomach bug, says the World Health Organization”.

“Hand washing ‘has a huge health impact,’ says Anna Bowen, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  Water is not the most important part, it’s ‘the friction and duration’, she says.  ‘You really need to scrub vigorously for about 20 seconds’.”

“Michael Smith, WebMD’s chief medical editor says that hand washing is the number one way to prevent infection.”

“Popular alcohol hand gels aren’t as effective as soap and water but they’re better than nothing, Smith says.  Soap and water help dislodge dirt, bacteria and viruses so they ‘can go down the drain,’ he says.  With gels, ‘the bacteria has nowhere to go’.”

Here are the hand washing tips noted in the article:

Soap – Use liquid soap dispensers that do not require any touching.

Scrub – Wash vigorously for 20 seconds in water set at 95 to 105 degrees F.  Scrub palms, individual fingers, back side of hands, under fingernails, around cuticles and up forearms.

Rinse – Rinse hands with fingers pointing downward to make sure contaminants are washed off.

Dry – Dry hands completely with clean paper towel or under hot air.

Hope this info on hand washing is helpful.  It’s no fun having the flu or a stomach bug, not to mention a cold.  Stay healthy and

Keep Smilin’!

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