Monday, August 04, 2014

What to Clean On Super Hot Days

Ornamental peppers I was admiring at my neighborhood grocery store's garden department

Seattle doesn't get a lot of 90 degree days - this is one of them - so we hardly know what to do with ourselves when it happens. I learned the hard way yesterday to keep my heavy curtains drawn all day. Turns out letting in tons of sunlight on an 89 degree day was a horrible idea!

Today I'm looking for projects to do that won't make me even more miserable in the heat. I don't want to completely neglect and abandon my homemaking duties this week just because it's hot. That wouldn't help me achieve my goals of having a functional, comfortable, beautiful home I'm proud of. So I'll do a few chores tonight before heading out to lounge in my back yard with iced tea and some home decor magazines I want to pore over.

Vacuuming is right out, and so are scrubbing-intensive chores like bathroom cleaning and floor mopping. I am in the mood to bake a berry pie tonight, but don't dare turn on the oven. I need to do laundry, but can't turn on the dryer until around midnight after the house has cooled off a bit.

Here's a few things on my maybe-do list:

  • Fold laundry

  • Clean the fridge and freezer - the cold air pouring out of them will be refreshing.

  • Sort drawers - underwear drawer, sock drawer, bathroom drawers, or kitchen drawers.

  • Sort old photos - but only if the boxes they're stored in aren't heavy to life, which could induce uncomfortable temperatures and sweating.

  • Dusting - I can gently take my time with a rag and some Pledge, and work on my bookcases, dining table, curio cabinet, and mantels without working up a sweat.

  • Emptying and loading the dishwasher won't take too much energy - and I can easily sip ice water or iced tea while doing so.

  • Wiping down counters and mirrors in the bathroom and kitchen shouldn't be too challenging on a hot day.

  • Removing empty or near-empty shampoo bottles and shower gel containers from the bathrooms, rinsing and recycling will have an immediate bathroom beautifying effect.

  • Provisioning - I like this important chore because it enables me to go to a very air-conditioned Target store to pick up my paper towels, light bulbs, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. leisurely.

  • Re-alphabetizing my CDs, Blu-Rays and DVDs will give me an excuse to sit in front of a powerful fan while I work.


  • Need to water house plants, garden plants, flower beds and your lawns? I have to be extra careful to do this well this week with our super hot temperatures.

  • Have you made fresh squeezed limeade or lemonade this summer yet? It might be too big of a project for a weeknight work night, though.

  • Pick a upcoming night this week to meet friends at an outdoor cafe. Let's take advantage of summer's warm weather to eat outdoors with friends!

  • We still have a month or more of summer left - how is your stock of sunscreen holding up? Need to buy just one more bottle to get your family through the next few sunny weeks?

  • Need to launder any picnic blankets or beach towels that got used over the weekend?


Polka dot kitchen towels, on Amazon

In keeping with my above attempts to not clean anything difficult on this hot day, I am sorting out the kitchen drawer where I keep kitchen towels, pot holders, oven mitts, birthday cake candles, matches, and toothpicks. I see a bunch of leftover cat-shaped Halloween drink sizzle sticks that we used at a party four or five years ago and never touched again - that's an immediate thing I can throw out to declutter this drawer. I plan to remove everything, wipe the drawer down thoroughly, and only put back things I need and will actually use. I'll toss my four dish towels in worst shape into the rag bin; toss out my four worst rags into the fabric recycling; and pick up a set of new fresh cute polka dot towels that match my current teal-and-blue theme in the kitchen. I don't use toothpicks very often - mostly just to test baked goods - so most of these will get thrown out. Random match boxes can go downstairs next to the fireplace, saving just one to light kitchen candles with. It will be nice to be able to immediately find an oven mitt when I'm frantically rooting around in the drawer next time, ahead of a pot boiling over!

LOVELY BATH & BODY: New Artisanal Fragrances from Bath & Body Works

It's highly likely that tomorrow I'll not be able to resist running into Bath & Body Works to smell their new fragrances for August: Lemon Pomegranate Cream (lotion), Peach & Honey Almond (shower gel) and Apple Blossom & Lavender (body cream). I do truly need a new lotion, but perhaps not a new shower gel. Plus, who knows if I will even like these fragrances as much as I suspect I will? Have you smelled any of these yet? What did you think?

Artisanal Fragrances at Bath & Body Works

LOVELY BLOGS: The Sight of Morning

This inspirational blog is full of happy, colorful, beautiful, inspiring posts. Nearly every day there's something cheerful to look at. Stop by from time to time and see for yourself.

LOVELY BOOKS: 1856 French Fashion Book

I'm really enjoying looking through this 1856 fashion book by Gavarne and Portier. The 12 color plates of the fashions are incredible (I imagine they were hand-colored). Imagine looking through this book in 1856 or 1857 and hoping you or your local seamstress could copy one of the designs to make you a fabulous gown!

Douze Nouveaux Travestissements, at Internet Archive

LOVELY FOOD: Talenti Gelato

On extremely hot days like this, I tend to treat myself to ice cream and gelato way more often than normal. (I'd rather spend my sugar and calorie budget on a doughnut or a cocktail, most days). Talenti Gelato is available at the PCC Natural Market that's unavoidably temptingly close to my house. Usually they just carry the same two or three standard flavors - Belgian Chocolate, Roman Raspberry, and Tahitian Vanilla Bean. But lately I've been delighted to find them carrying the occasional summery special flavor - Lisbon Lemon and Blood Orange. I've also been able to pick up Southern Butter Pecan (yum!) and Banana Chocolate Swirl (my least favorite so far). I often will take a pint over to the neighbors and do tastings with them - that way I don't consume an entire pint by myself in one sitting! If you can find Talenti gelato somewhere near you, I highly recommend it!

LOVELY HOME: Ginger Jar Tablecloth

I'm trying to decide whether or not to splurge on this tablecloth from Williams-Sonoma. It's in my budget, and I have room for it in my linen closet, and I love the color and wouldn't get sick of the pattern. I normally have unhemmed fabrics on the table that I just toss over it - they look nice so long as nobody notices the unraveling part underneath! However, I wonder if I actually am going to really truly throw enough dinner parties this fall (we eat outdoors in the summer) to need a new cloth. With my nephews moved away, we don't have Family Dinner Night very often, and when we do, my cousin and I meet at a nearby restaurant instead of cooking at home. I thought perhaps I'd make myself earn the privilege of buying this tablecloth by throwing a dinner party or two to see how often I really enjoy doing that. But then I run the risk of Williams Sonoma selling out of this pattern that I love - they don't bring old patterns back the next year, usually! I must ponder this.

Ginger Jar Tablecloth, at Williams-Sonoma


Baby Banana Pancakes (Delicious in a Dash)

Cashew Cranberry Pecan Bark (A Thrifty Mom)

Easy Cheesy Grilled Potatoes (Tater Tots and Jello)

The Economics of Jane Austen (The Atlantic)

Eight Stylish Daily Planners for 2015 (The Simplified Bee)

Grilled Pineapple and Red Pepper Couscous Salad (Thandi Eats Vegan)

Ingredient Spotlight: Citrus (Bless This Mess Please)

Lime Cheesecake Parfaits (Cupcakes and Kale Chips)

Lively Blueberry Lemon Smoothie (Being the Secret Ingredient)

Mid Summer Challenge: Start or Join a Book Club (Robin Jones Gunn)

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes (Minimalist Baker)

Pluot Summer Salad (101 Cookbooks)

The Rise of the Micro-Holiday (The Atlantic)

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