Domestic Divas: Advice from the Wise (and the Wishful)

I thought it would be good, in this impending season of moving, shifting and experiencing, to go over some basic advice from 2 people who have ‘been there and done that’. Ok? My guest blogger today is my Bonus-Mom, Becky (The Wise) and the remaining advice is from me, Paige (The Wishful). Becky is highly qualified to answer any questions I may have as she has been on Earth longer than I, and as she has sent several kids to college, dealt with a menagerie of problems we have come to her with and successfully walked us through the joy and pain of solo living in a  college environment. I hope this is particularly helpful for college students moving into dorms, out of dorms and into apartments and even for people who have been settled for a good-long-while.

So lets kick it off. I asked Becky the following questions:

How do you get cigarette smoke out of a leather couch?

“Get a leather cleaning product  that can camouflage odors. Wash the leather down with that. It probably won’t eliminate the odor, but it may help to mask it. Then get your hands on some Febreeze and spray it with that for a nice odor masking finish.”

Isn't this a happy smoke-free leather couch? I think so.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a college student moving out of the dorms into their own place?

“Always make sure that wherever you’re moving:

  1. Is safe.
  2. Is affordable.

It’s less of a joy if it is a financial strain.”

What is the number one thing that can brighten a dank dorm room?

“Paint. And if you can’t paint: Large bright colored art work. Even a stretched fabric over a canvas.  Big mirrors are another one. They reflect light and color in the room and give it depth.”

Try your local Goodwill for fun and funky mirrors. Also, hear that Target has $5.00 full length mirrors. If you're a girl, you know the importance of such a purchase.

In dorm rooms 2 things can happen in the way of dishware.

  1. The dishware is VERY matchy-matchy.
  2. The dishware is not matched at all, and it is a mixture of cups, bowls, plates and cutlery in the plastic, paper, porcelain and metal varieties.

Matching plates and glasses: Yes or no?

“They don’t have to match but they need to coordinate.” I think that she said it all right there. You don’t want your dishes to be EXACTLY the same. But if you want them to look nice they should at least coordinate.

Again, try your local Goodwill for plates and bowls that coordinate but don't MATCH match.

What is the best care procedure for getting a stain out of a carpet?

“‘Always use hot water first. Never use soap. Don’t soak it, get it damp. Then pour on a lite, thin layer of baking soda. Let the baking soda dry completely and vacuum it up. Avoid carpet sprays and cleaners because they tend to leave a residue that collects more dirt that the rest of the carpet at a faster rate. If you have to use a carpet cleaner use Folex.”

Last advice?

“Don’t forget to have fun.”

Advice from Paige The Wishful:

What are the staples of a college student?

College students need to be well versed in the word ‘staples’. Now, contrary to popular belief and opinion, meat is not a staple. I’m not a vegetarian but I am on a budget and meat is exceptionally expensive. If I do decide to have some meat in my diet I choose to get some deli turkey because it can go on sandwiches, on breakfast beagles and it’s just delicious. If your budget allows you to purchase meat please remember this: Poor quality meat is a waste of your money and your time. If you spend more time trying to de-fat the meat than actually eating it, you need to spend more money on a better cut or you need to not spend money on meat.

As far as other staples:

Milk, cheese, eggs and coffee. Yes, Coffee. While we are on the subject, make sure you have a coffee pot, will you? Coffee is very expensive. $3.00 for a coffee drink 6 x a week = $18.00/wk. One bag of coffee at Fred Meyer costs: $8.99 for 33oz. of Yuban ground coffee. Coffee mate French vanilla creamer is somewhere in the ballpark of $4.00. So for $13.00 you could make your own vanilla latte, yes?

Let’s do the math folks:

It takes me 2.5 tablespoons of coffee to make my coffee in the morning. 8 tbsp of ground coffee=4 oz vol.

8 tbsp/2.5tbsp= 3.2 cups of coffee. 33oz/4oz=8.25

8.25×3.2=26.4 cups of coffee.

$13.00 gives you 26.4 cups of coffee. That’s 49 cents a cup.

Let’s say you get coffee 6 days a week. At $3.00 a pop. 6×3=18 and 18×4(weeks) is $72.00

Let’s go the ‘cheap coffee’ route: .49×6= $2.94 and $2.49×4(weeks)=$11.76. Congratulations: You just saved yourself $60.24 for the month and a grand total of $602.40 for the entire year. Your wallet will certainly thank you. And you will too, in 4 years when those loans become a reality 😉

Happy Brewing. 🙂

Fruits and Veggies:

Get some. Each week. Bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, blueberries, etc. Get. Them. You may be in college but you need to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. (Thanks mom!)

Make it a priority to cook 6 dinners a week at home. Or at a friends’. This will save you money, time and your sanity. It will encourage you to spend time with friends, learn to cook alone and how  to keep a budget.

What NOT to do:

DO NOT depend on the Grocery Outlet or a place called ‘Deals Only’ as your main food source. You will regret this, if not in illness, then in too-quickly rotting food at the bottom of your brand new mini fridge.

Do NOT take out a credit card. (I know that this has nothing to do with food but it had to be said)

Do NOT assume that because you ‘rinsed’ your plate, you’re safe. Scrub that plate. I say, SCRUB!

Do:

Get some Christmas lights around Christmas time and put those bad-boys up!

Get a budget and learn to stick to it. Your future-self will thank you.

Make yourself the proud owner of a pair of rain boots. These days they have some cute ones so you really can’t go wrong. Dry feet=less chance of sickness=better chance at good grades. They all work together. In college everything always works together. Whether for benefit or destruction is up to you.

Get some flip-flops. They are good for a quick outing and also good for walking around on a tile floor that needs to be swept. Quick and Easy foot protection: Check your local Old Navy Store.

Always eat breakfast. It will make your day a bit fuller. And you a little less distracted at 9:00am when the professor is calling on you and you WEREN’T thinking about your stomach. 😉

Finally:

If you are living with roommates, learn how to constructively problem solve. Figure out how conflict is handled biblically and make that a practice in your life. The habits that you develop now will follow you. So if you scream at your roommates  every time dishes are left over night, you will probably scream at your kids when a dish isn’t cleaned properly. Learn how to relinquish control and honor the people you live with. The definition of honor is this: ‘To put someones wants and needs above your own.’ That doesn’t mean bottle it up and don’t deal with it but it does mean that the situation needs to be dealt with appropriately. You are not their mother, nor are you their record keeper.

Get your bible out. Read it daily. Make it a priority. I promise your college experience will be much more pleasant.

Cheers to a new school year,

Paige

Adorned With Love

It’s July, my friends. Summer is the season for weddings, especially for students of the college variety and especially for the students living in the great Northwest. If you don’t have your wedding during the summer your local weather man can pretty much guarantee you rain or snow, but almost never sunshine. And so summer is the season for weddings.

Really, Paige? A blog about a wedding? Well, yes. Yes, indeed. I post this for more reasons than just 1.

  • I need to do at least one post on a wedding in order to fulfill my ‘girly moment’ quota for the month.
  • Weddings are fun. Fun things need to be blogged about. Enough said.
  • When you go to a wedding like the one I went to last night, you can’t help but beam and brag about the couple and, more importantly, about what God has done in and through them. It’s beautiful.

I went to the wedding of Allison Lewis and Jake Carlson. We showed up to a beautiful house out in Ferndale, Washington and we were greeted by many people who were so full of joy that the entire town might have caught a case of joyousness. (wouldn’t that be neat?!) After placing gifts on a table for the couple and signing a beautiful embroidered cloth with many friends and strangers, we went into the back yard and found our seats. The big white tent wasn’t anything flashy. There were Christmas lights strung up around the boarders and flowers here and there but the biggest, most beautiful thing that was there was the love. I know it sounds like a corny thing to say but really, in the Christian faith LOVE is a powerful and Earth-shaking word. It binds people together, implores people to be selfless and encourages us to honor one-another. And so I am standing firm when I say that love is the best decoration that they could have asked for.

 

So many people showed up to help out with all sorts of things and they showed up because they wanted to serve the new family of Jake and Allison Carlson. They lent their hands to the Big Day simply because they love the couple and because the couple has loved them. So. Amazing.

 

Jake and Allie are servers. They love to help others. They are both adventurous and kind. They love God with everything that is in them and are always striving to seek Him first and finally. Allison’s smile can light up your heart and make any situation brighter. Jake is a defender of the weak and an encourager of the fainthearted. They have decided to step into a journey of faith together and to weather storms and mountain tops. They honored the Lord in their individual lives and in their relationship and God is blessing them. The love that adorned their wedding yesterday was not just love from individual people. It was love from God, honoring them and their obedience, and that love made the entire day inexplicably radiant.

 

Do you have a relationship in your life? Is it honoring to the Lord? Do you look to Him first in all things? Jake and Allie did. And the rewards they are reaping are fabulous. We serve a fabulous God. His gifts are far more than we deserve and that is a blessing.

 

Love, Love, Love,

PL

Fish

In college they always teach you to start off with a BANG! Any paper I have ever written has been checked and re-checked for an opener that will ‘draw the audience in’ and ‘make them hungry to read’. This is all very well and good in college and it seems that the teaching I have received for the last 14 years of my life, over the course of my entire education, has stuck with me. (Well done Mrs. Reid and Mr. Shaffer, of Lava Ridge Elementary) When I decided to write a blog, I made my account and then….I waited. I waited and waited for 2 reasons. 1) I wanted to have something intriguing to kick off with and 2) I wanted to write a post that was raw and real and straight from my heart. All that to say I am here to post my first blog and it might not comply with desire #1 but it definitely meets the requirements for desire #2.  And so here we go. I hope you are encouraged.

John 21:1-7

“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, do you have any fish?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.”

This is an interesting bit of scripture for a few reasons:

1) Jesus shows up and knows that his disciples have been working hard and have no fish to show for it, but he still asks them about their catch.

2) The disciples do not know that the man asking them the questions is Jesus.

3) You and I can easily place our feet in the sandals of the disciples and take a step or two. During those steps I’m sure that all of us can remember one time in our life when someone asked us if we had obtained something (a job, scholarship, date, bouquet, class, funding, word, etc.). We can also remember the feeling of telling them “No”.

I am reminded of a Coldplay song called “Fix You” and the first lyrics that hit our ears after a soothing, albeit emotional, opening are, “When you try your best but don’t succeed…”

We’ve all felt this way. We have all been disappointed. And so were the disciples.

Enter Jesus, standing patiently on the shore with surprises and goodies awaiting the arrival of his beloved brothers. The disciples hear a man tell them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. (It is up for interpretation whether Jesus said ‘right’, as in directionally right or left, or ‘right’ as in morally right or wrong. Something to ponder on rainy days.) So they cast their nets and all of a sudden their bounty is plentiful and their hearts are full of joy because they just realized that their Lord is on the shore. One of the disciples even jumps in the water and swims to Jesus. He is simply captivated by his presence. So. Good.

So the disciples come onto the shore and Jesus has a surprise:

John 21: 9-12a

“When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hailed the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’

Jesus has a fire prepared and he is already cooking fish and bread so that he and the disciples can have breakfast together. He knew that they would be hungry. And tired. And disappointed. But Jesus didn’t just feed  his disciples, he provided for them! He fed them, yes, but he provided the fish for them that was necessary for them to survive and necessary to claim a victory on a night that looked dismal. This victory came with the rising of the sun and it came with Jesus. An interesting parallel, no?

I have been looking at this victory that these 7 guys had when they stepped out to catch fish and were disappointed. I am so intrigued by their struggle all night to get a victory and then the joy that came in the morning.

Isn’t that the truth though? I know that I have come to Jesus more than once with my hands wide open. Torn clothing, a muddy face, dirty hands and feet, tired eyes and a fading strength. But in my hands when I come to Jesus, I bring my fish. My victory. Lately my fish have been tiny. They have been hard to catch and have required a lot of prayer, faith and some good ole’ ingenuity. But in the process of catching a small victory I have learned that small victories are the stepping stones to BIG victories and all victories, big or small, are found in Jesus.

The disciples knew this too. Their joy was made complete in Jesus and in the victory that He provided. And when their night of fishing was done Jesus invited the disciples to eat breakfast with him and he asked them to bring their fish and cook them with His fish. He wanted to have them bring their victories and lay them next to the victories that He had in His life and especially on the cross and in His resurrection. Our victories are Jesus’ victories and every victory in Jesus is also our claim. We have been victorious and we have won in Him because He has given us victory. It’s a package deal: Jesus=Victory. What a glorious gift.

 

Oh it is all so stunning and inspiring. What a beautiful God we serve.

 

Straight from the heart,

Paige