Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The End of Summer: Soup and Housecleaning

Is August too early to start longing for Fall weather?  One of the things that I have come to love about Tennessee is the {generally} perfect season length- just as you are tiring of one season, the next is starting.  This might seem a little silly, but let's remember people- I spent the first 21(ish) years of my life in California.  6 months of Summer and the rest is mostly mild Fall and Spring with an eetsy beetsy little Winter in there around January.  And even then it rarely got so cold I wasn't comfortable in flip flops.  

Sometimes I long for that perfect weather…but then a rainy, gray day like today comes along for me to enjoy.

I always know when it's raining back home because everyone on Facebook is posting about it as if the sky itself is falling!  lol makes me giggle every time.

My kiddos enjoying last year's fall weather :-)
Anyway, as I sit here in the rocking chair in my son's room, watching the rain pour down, trying to pretend that my husband doesn't have the stereo blaring while on daddy-duty downstairs so I can have a few minutes of mommy-time, I'm grateful for the seasons- and ready for gray, chilly days ahead.

I'm already getting into chilly weather nesting mode…glancing longingly at my lighter sweaters when I get dressed in the morning, working warm soups into rotation for dinner, spending more time inside than out.

Do you know what happens when you stop running from one outdoor activity to the next for a bit and look around your house?  *grimace* You realize just how much it needs a good cleaning.

We've been in the middle of (slowly) redoing a great deal of our home.  We tore out all of our ugly carpeting, upstairs and down, and installed hardwood flooring.  

I LOVE IT!  So bright and airy…but the sweeping and dust mopping is pretty much endless.  I've been looking for an economical way to clean the floors and pretty much came up empty.  

I bought the Bona floor cleaning system, and although it worked very well (it really is a GREAT product) the refills add up pretty quickly when your entire house is hardwood.  
I bought a Swiffer Sweeper X-Large- not pleased with that at all.  It came with both wet and dry pads- but they neglect to tell you on the box that they don't even MAKE a wet pad designed to fit that model.  When I complained, they sent me a coupon for a free refill container and recommended that I sort of hobble together a fix for this problem by using multiple pads on their product. 
I won't be buying a Swiffer product again.

Anyway, I think my original point was that I haven't found a product that works AND is economical for heavy usage throughout my entire two-story house.

I started looking around the internet and over and over again I saw that mixing 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1 quart of water was the best "homemade" way to clean hardwood, so I figured I'd give it a try.  most of the tutorials I saw were using a Swiffer Wet Jet that required all sorts of creative ways of getting fluid into the bottle.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bottom of my Bona bottle just unscrews AND was very close to being a quart.  Since the Bona mop has a removable microfiber cloth, I won't have to get creative with replacement pads either!

It works PERFECTLY.  

No more buying refills of cleaner OR Swiffer pads!  

I'm super excited about this.  Cheap and easy!!  

:-) This is based solely on my own experience, btw, I'm not claiming to know how this is going to react with YOUR floor in the slightest, so keep that in mind before trying it yourself.  What I do know?  My floors look great for pennies!

Another exciting recent discovery?  More like creation…
Mexican Chicken Gnocchi Corn Chowder.
You guys…seriously.  I know it doesn't look like much, but this stuff is so good.

Click the picture for the recipe!

A couple of nights ago my husband asked for chicken gnocchi soup…I'm pretty sure he was expecting soup like he gets at Olive Garden (I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in the world that DOESN'T like their soup, but that's beside the point, right?).

I had other plans…as with most of my creations I just sort of started with a vague vision of what I wanted the finished product to be and threw stuff in as I created it.  Creamy soup with carrots, corn, tomato, chicken, and gnocchi.  This soup is warm, spicy, filling, goodness.  You could definitely make it more mild, if you wanted, but we like it spicy at my house  ;-)

Click the link for my post on these yummy biscuits!
Between bites my husband excitedly threw out possibilities for my creation…I think his favorite was to leave the gnocchi out entirely and serve this soup over biscuits, followed by a close second of leaving the gnocchi out and adding drop dumplings.

lol or just leave it alone and eat it as-is, because it's pretty phenomenal the way I made it too :-)

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying this last little bit of Summer, as Fall seems to be sneaking up on us pretty quickly this year.  That's all for now!

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