Cleaning and Organizing the Pinterest Way

By Jennifer Hallmark

What is better than a clean, organized home? I can’t think of much. I love the smell of a freshly laundered, dust-free, and everything-in-its-place house. But with six grandchildren who enjoy visiting Mamaw and Papaw and a full-time job writing, who has the time? Or the money to hire someone to scrub and scour?

Betty has already shared the way she schedules her cleaning. If you missed it, check it out here. But maybe you’re like me and can’t seem to follow a schedule when it comes to cleaning. I’ll start with a schedule but then notice that something (not on the list) needs to be done that day and I just have to clean that item. Then I’m off schedule. Again.

So, what’s a person to do?


I’ve found so many great ideas and tips to first organize, then clean. So I thought I’d share some straight off my page and maybe they can help you create that clean and organized living space.


  1. Tips for Organizing Your Home for Spring Cleaning- This article takes your house, room by room, and shares good tips for putting it back in shape.
  2. 22 Things to Get Rid of Right Now-I loved this simple list.
  3. 20 Mind-Blowing Organization Ideas-Good all-around organizing tips.
  4. How to Organize Your Entire House: A Ten-Week Plan-For you planners, here it is, all written out.


  1. 3 Genius Hacks For Swiffers That Will Save You Money-I loved this one because, well, I love my Swiffer and it saved me money. 😊
  2. How to Wash Walls in 5 Easy Steps-Simple tips for that normally hard job.
  3. 20 of the Most Popular Cleaning Tricks on Pinterest-And here are twenty tricks all in one place.
  4. How To Clean Your Microwave In 3 Easy Steps-Am I the only one who looks in the microwave and can’t believe the mess? Here’s your answer.

Try out some of these ideas and tips and let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I’ve got to go now. I’m in the middle of organizing and cleaning the “toy” room I’m creating for the grandchildren. Now where are my rubber gloves?

Writing prompt: Needed: Money to

Click to tweet: I’ve found so many great ideas and tips to first organize, then clean.

Will You Find Treasure This Year?

By Tammy Trail

Spring is the time for new beginnings. The birds are out tweeting. Barnyard animals frolic through the grass with younger versions of themselves in the warm sunshine. Humans tend to frolic out of doors also. Yard work calls us into labor. We’ll wear shorts in 60-degree weather because we long for the warmth of spring days.

Cleaning takes on a new meaning in the Spring. Have you noticed any ” Yard Sale”  signs out yet? Not to worry, they’re coming. You can be sure that folks will be going through those closets soon and setting gently used merchandise in the “for sale” pile.

Most likely, there is a community of people in your town or city who love to yard sale. They will either have a sale of their own, or wake up early on a Saturday mornings and drive to them. That old saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is surely their motto.

Websites, blogs, and even Pinterest share lots of tips for setting up your own yard sale. Here are a few:

  1. Make your signs attractive and visible to the car passing by your yard. There are some cute ideas on Pinterest with catchy phrases and decorations.
  2. Prices should be easy to read. Putting them on the top of an item is better.
  3. Make sure you have enough cash to make change. Chances are everyone will want to pay with a $20 bill.
  4. Ask a friend or neighbor to help you. While you are distracted, someone could walk off with a potential sale. Another set of eyes can help discourage a thief.
  5. Selling cold beverages will add to your sales.

If you are an early riser on Saturday mornings and love to bargain, here are some tips for you as well.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. You may need to park some distance away from the yard, or stand in line before taking your treasure home.
  2. Check the box before purchasing an item. There may be something entirely different inside when you get home.
  3. When buying something electrical, ask if you can plug it in to check it. If it takes batteries, make sure the battery compartment is not corroded.
  4. Never buy used car seats for babies or toddlers from a garage sale. Once they have been involved in an accident they are useless.
  5. Purchasing your items with smaller bills will make your seller smile. She or he won’t need to worry about making a lot of change.

My favorite garage/yard sale item was found by my parents. As a young girl, I had a portrait of Jesus hanging on my wall. I talked to him every night before I went to sleep. When I grew up and moved away, I left that picture behind. Through the years, I assumed my parents had gotten rid of it, or it was lost in a move from one house to another.

Last year, I went to visit my Mom to help her get ready for a yard sale. In a corner of her basement, behind a couple of boxes, I found my old friend. He is with me now in my home. One of these days, I will get my picture of Jesus re-framed and hung on the wall in my bedroom.

Click to tweet: Have you noticed any ” Yard Sale”  signs out yet?

Here’s a good prompt: Free puppies today.


One Man’s Junk


By Jennifer Hallmark

You’ve heard the expression, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure? Never has that been more true than today. Numerous reality and television programs have sprung up promoting these modern-day “treasure hunts.”

Programs like Antiques Roadshow have been around in the U.S. since 1997. Antique and sometimes junk enthusiasts bring in their treasure to be appraised. Some find their inherited item worth thousands while others discover there is only sentimental value to be found.

There are several reality shows along the lines of Storage Wars. When rent is not paid on a storage locker for three months in California, the contents can be sold by an auctioneer as a single lot of items in the form of a cash-only auction. Storage Wars follows several buyers as they purchase storage units and dig through the household items and clothes, hoping to find a safe full of money or antiques worth a mint.

My last example is American Pickers. The show follows antique and collectible pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz as they travel primarily around the United States, buying (“picking”) various items either for resale, for clients, or occasionally their own personal collections.**

Once again, we follow people on their treasure hunt from the comfort of our living room. No stress and strain on our part, though we don’t get the treasure either.

Join in the fun! Name some television programs you watch that showcase treasure hunting in some form or fashion. Or maybe a fun thrift store or dig store you like to hunt through for your own treasure. Leave a comment and maybe we’ll join you in your treasure hunt…


Privy Treasure Hunters

Prompt CONTESTWhen I was younger, a lot younger, (so young that my memories are very faded) my mother took me, along with a Girl Scout Troop, hiking. I remember the excitement of finding arrow heads in the dirt. As vague as my memories are, I seem to recall how numerous they were. Years later, Grandma took me to a museum in Kansas City where a few live buffalo roamed among the teepees. I was absolutely fascinated with the artifacts on display.

I used to dig in the dirt with friends from the neighborhood. You might say that’s pretty typical for children, but we dug holes. Big holes. Our goal was to dig ourselves to China. But I couldn’t help thinking that somewhere along the way I’d come across some cool ancient artifact. Even at that young age, I knew the thrill of the hunt, even if it was only a small rock.

I guess my fascination with the past was pretty evident early on in my life. I think that is one thing that draws me to writing historical set romances. I love the research and I’d jump at the chance for hands on exploration. I should have been an archaeologist, but I’ll settle for writing.

As much as I love the idea of digging through the dirt to discover artifacts, I don’t find this particular past-time of interest.

IMG_4628Privy Diggers! Or uh, outhouse diggers. There are all kinds of people who travel the United States looking for old outhouse landmarks. I know, right? You’re probably curling your nose at this whole thing. I mean, seriously, what in the world would posses any one to dig around outhouses?

Well, mainly old bottles. Seems there weren’t many trash collectors back in the day so folks just up and tossed their garbage down the privy hole. According to this digger, Outhouse Diggers, outhouse digging could tell a lot about the people using the outhouse, from their health to their financial status. He also mentions that it’s a great chronological exploration. Some of the outhouses he’s dug up had a span of over fifty years. Bottles aren’t the only thing found on an outhouse dig, things like pistols, clay pipes, human remains. Yes, I said human remains. Hundreds of years old.

Now, things like the flintlock pistol, swords and whatnot are almost enough to make me want to join in on a dig, but bones… not so much.

You really should take the time to read the article. Oh, and here is this one  that actually shows images of things found. Check out the little clay pipes (scroll down the page). Really cool!

I’ve come across a lot of eccentric hobbyists, but this one so far takes the cake.

What think you? Would you go digging around for outhouse holes?



Mamaw Avon’s Pink Stuff

photo by Anna

Southerners love their “get-togethers,” especially if the holidays and food are involved. My husband Danny’s family is no exception. Though his mother, Mamaw Avon, now lives in her heavenly residence, her bright smile and recipes live on. Thanksgiving meant turkey, Christmas meant ham, and for both holidays, she made cherry fluff, or as we called it, pink stuff.

On Thanksgiving Day, we’d wake early to the smell of the turkey which had baked all night. “Dressing,” which is a southern-type of cornbread stuffing, was tasted and re-tasted to get the spices just right. Vegetables were cooked and the house filled quickly with family and friends bearing casseroles and cake plates brimming with delectable dishes. The pink stuff was mixed together and chilled before the start of our late afternoon celebration.

The large crowd would be quieted before we’d give thanks to God for His abundant goodness, then to the feasting. Most of us ate our pink stuff with the meal, but a few would save a bowlful for desert later. The left-overs brought us all together for several days thereafter and the fun would begin all over again.

Do your holidays have enjoyable food traditions or memories?


Pink Stuff

1 can cherry pie filling

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup pecans, finely chopped


Mix all ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Pour in decorative bowl and refrigerate for one hour.


Today’s writing prompt: Sandra emptied the pecans she’d chopped into the faded hand-painted bowl as a tear slipped down her cheek. Her mother’s bowl…

Mom’s Twice Published Recipe-Chinese Pepper Steak

 An oft requested recipe in our family is Mom’s pepper steak. When we lived in Missouri, our neighbor invited us to eat one evening and served pepper steak. Mom copied the recipe and we’ve enjoyed it since then.

Years later, she sent the recipe to Southern Living magazine and they published it. I passed it on to a local magazine who also printed it in the recipe section of their magazine. 

What is the steak in pepper steak? Round steak. A round steak is a steak from the round primal cut of beef. Specifically, a round steak is the eye of round, bottom round, and top round still connected, with or without the “round” bone (femur), and may include the knuckle (sirloin tip), depending on how the round is separated from the loin.

 This is a lean cut and it is moderately tough. Lack of fat and marbling makes round dry out when cooked with dry-heat cooking methods like roasting or grilling. Round steak is commonly prepared with slow moist-heat methods including braising, to tenderize the meat and maintain moisture. The cut is often sliced thin, then dried or smoked at low temperature to make jerky.

Mom’s recipe calls for the steak to be cut in thin, short strips to keep it from becoming dry and tough.  I believe I’ll run to the market afterwhile and gather up the ingredients to make my family pepper steak and rice.


Chinese Pepper Steak

Yield: 4 servings

1 (1 ½ pound) round steak, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons oil

Salt to taste

1 green pepper, cut into strips

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon cooking sherry

¼ or less teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons water

1 tomato, diced

Hot cooked rice


Quickly brown meat in hot oil; add salt, green pepper, onion, soy sauce, cooking sherry, garlic powder, and ginger. Cover and cook over low heat for ten minutes.

Combine cornstarch and water; stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Add this to meat mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

Add tomato; cover and simmer about ten minutes. Additional water may be added, if needed. Serve over rice.  Below is a different take on pepper steak…

Today’s writing prompt:  Ted unwrapped the brown paper parcel in front of him, wondering what his mother had purchased at the meat market. Round steak. Great. And with Linda…




Common Household- Sewing

After reading through my co-bloggers posts, I’ve had a certain nostalgia come over me. I grew up in a home where both my parents worked, mom rushed from work to pick us up from daycare, raced to the grocery, then home to make dinner.

I don’t recall helping make meals, cookies or pies. The rolling pin saw the light of day during the holidays, which happened to be the only times I recall watching my mom cook. So things like the turkey baster and candy thermometers were passing curiosities.

Microwaves and VCRs were things that came to be during my childhood. The only thing I noticed was my parents’ excitement. And Top Gun on surround sound vibrating the walls. 😉 I believe that movie propelled my dad into purchasing the VCR. 

Our first computer was a Texas Instrument. I remember standing with my dad in the magazine section as he perused the game codes. We’d then go home and spend hours upon hours inputting data, hoping we didn’t make a mistake.

But the things I remember the most, things that may or may not be consider ‘common household’ items were things that were very common in our household.

One of my first memories is of my dad stepping on one of my mom’s dropped pins. These tiny, shiny sharp objects have been around for thousands of years in various forms.

A little trivia, according to Wikipedia (Yeah, I know how reliable it is but still, it’s fun) the term ‘pin money’ used back in the Middle Ages came from the fact that pins were expensive to purchase. A husband would give his wife money to by one. How thoughtful. 🙂

Mom lost a few pins throughout my childhood, and of course, Dad usually found them.

Scissors, an item that dates back to Mesopotamia, were another common item. One piece of advice I can give to all husbands if they wish to keep the peace in their households; DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT use your wife’s good scissors as tin snips or wire cutters.

Some of my fondest memories are of my mother staying up the night before Christmas finishing all the projects she was working on for us.

I’m sure she thinks I hated having homemade clothes when the rest of the kids had designer, and I’m sure there was a time that I did, but I will never forget the time and love spent over the cutting table, at the sewing machine, or sitting in her chair crocheting a scarf or knitting a sweater.

Writing prompt:

Flames blazed in the fireplace. The rocker creaked a staccato. Tonya’s needles tapped . . .