O.K., I've shown you the cookbook corner and the front of the fridge, now, as promised, here is the rest of my kitchen, which I recently cleared out and cleaned up. Let me stress the recently part of that sentence. My kitchen does not usually have this much free counter space! I'm sure friends and family reading this post are scratching their heads, saying, I don't remember her kitchen looking this clean! It's true, my kitchen is not usually this clean, though I hope it will still be this clean the next time you visit!
As you might expect, after all the de-cluttering, vacuuming, wiping, washing, polishing etc. we are all quite pleased with the results. We, meaning mainly me, of course, but I think I have the troops at least talking the talk, if not yet walking the walk. ;) As dh said to me just this morning, "You know, I've got to say, I really like the kitchen this way!"
Well, yes, dear, that's the point. :)
And through all this "spit and polish," here are a few novel concepts we've run across:
- A dish need not ever languish in the sink - it may go in the dishwasher or, should the dishwasher be full (and therefore running), it may be washed, dried and put away.
- The dishwasher can - and should - be emptied as soon as it stops. It really isn't meant to be used as an extra cabinet.
- The sink may be wiped dry after each use, and the dishcloths can be wrung out and hung to dry.
- The corners of the kitchen floor should be swept up with a small whisk broom and dustpan at least once a day ~ and this can be done ably by small hands.
- Cleaning the cupboards and refrigerator the day before trash day (which is Thursday) makes good sense; therefore, Wednesday is a good day for meal planning.
- Open - as opposed to cluttered - counterspace begs to be put to use. Cooking from scratch seems so much more doable when there's plenty of space to work in.
- And, oh yes, the trash can be bagged up when it gets full, and - get this - brought down to the the trash cans! There really is no need for a second trash bag to be started on the counter!
So enough of my lightbulb moments. Here are the pictures I took this afternoon:
The oven and surrounding space - finally, fairly simplified. The two ovens come in handy at the holidays, but the glass top is kind of a pain to clean - I have to use a special cleaner to clean it (as well as a razor blade for stubborn residue). Gee, that wouldn't have anything to do with how (not) often I clean it? And, though a matter of some debate at 4real, I do use a utensils crock. It was a shower gift 13 years ago and it's positively stuffed to the gills with all kinds of necessary - and not so necessary - kitchen tools. Though come to think of it, I mainly use the spatula, the scissors, the tongs and the wooden spoons, so I guess I could pare it down!
And in case any dear readers are cookbook-o-philes like me (there's probably a word for that, but you know what I mean), my favorite cookbooks pictured in the righthand corner include:
- The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook
- A Continual Feast
- How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking
- The Tasha Tudor Cookbook
- Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
- Williams Sonoma Kids Baking
- The Foster's Market Cookbook
- Barefoot Contessa Family Style
- Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
- Barefoot Contessa Parties!
- Christmas from the Heart of the Home
- Vineyard Seasons
- Heart of the Home: Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen
- Usborne Children's Cookbook
You can probably tell from my selection, I am mainly a "baker" kind of cook. Cupcakes, cookies, muffins, pizza - all kinds of cozy comfort food. :) I don't use my cookbooks enough, but even when all they do is catch spatters from the stove, they do me a world of good.
And for cerophilists like me (that is a real word, I checked), here's a close up of my favorite kitchen candle:
Yankee Candles are my favorite! I've collected them for years. We even chose small votives as favors for our autumn wedding many years ago. For me, a candle burning in the kitchen is a lovely reminder of hearth and home. The candle smells wonderful, and if it could possibly inspire me to bake real gingerbread, now that would be a nice bonus - dh has his fingers crossed!
Sorry about the lighting, but this is the best shot I took of the clean, shiny and - good golly - EMPTY sink. I just got the newfangled sponge holder there on the right side. Not shown are the white dish cloths I use to wipe and dry the sink (and dishes) through the day. I always wanted a kitchen sink with a window looking out at the woods, and I finally have one. :) The view is a bit blocked right now due to a summer canopy over the deck.
It didn't show up in the previous photo, so here is a close up of the tiny woven basket I hung above the sink. I snipped some lavender and chrysanthemums and tucked them inside. I bought it yesterday at the craft store - I thought it was "simply elegant" and wonderfully inexpensive at just $1.49. :)
And here is a close up of my kitchen angel:
She was a gift from a very dear friend of mine. She is holding a sunflower on top of which there used to be a little bird perched, but he's long since broken off. This angel reminds me of my love for nature, angels and my treasured friend.
Another controversial item in my kitchen - ;) - the microwave. It's a Half-Pint and as its name suggests, quite small as microwaves go. I never use it to cook, but we do a lot of reheating and popcorn popping. And believe it or not, this side of the refrigerator has been decluttered! Clutterbug I am, I just can't seem to pare it down any more than this ...
Again, not the best shot, but the best angle I could take of the center island. This photo shows it completely cleaned off, save for the berry-candle thing in the corner. It only ever looks like this when I wash down the countertop, but it would be nice to keep it this way all the time. It does seem to invite artsy-crafty kinds of endeavors or maybe an afternoon of baking ...
But alas, it also beckons back all the piles of paper and finger puppets, Legos and things! This picture was taken not more than 30 minutes after the above shot. This spot is the cornerstone of "mom central." Standing here, at my "desk", I can work on my "stuff" and keep an eye on the kitchen and the kids. Behind me is the dining room (better known around here as the learning room), so really this is a great place to work (though I must do so standing up). Not so simple or elegant, but real, and, in a strange way, comforting. :) All kinds of mom stuff gets parked here - you know the kind - household planner, a clipboard of things to read, coupons to clip, a big ole 5-subject notebook (my journal), an old notebook from last August, and a magazine or two I'd like to flip through when I can.
And so, there you have it - the heart of our home, the hub of our daily life. I didn't mean for there to be sooo many pictures - nor did I mean to talk so much! I guess I got a bit carried away! But thank you all the same for taking this tour with me! If I could, I'd offer you a cup of tea before you go ...