Real Skills for Real Life
From keeping your home clean and in good repair to preparing your own food, self-sufficiency rocks. Having an understanding of the domestic arts gives you a sense of control over your life. These skills also help you save money, not by chasing deals, but by teaching the principle of the mantra: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Life skills are the essence of frugality. Whether you just moved out of your parent's basement or you cut the apron strings a while ago, you'll learn the skills you need to manage your household.
Inside you'll find:
- Quick, easy cleaning solutions for every room of the house, so you can get the job done and get on with life
- Instructions for removing stubborn stains and offensive odors from fabric
- Simple fixes to wardrobe malfunctions including broken zippers, missing buttons, and fallen hemlines
- Troubleshooting advice for common problems with home appliances
- A minimum home maintenance guide to prevent or catch major repair problems
- A basic plumbing tutorial that includes clearing and preventing clogs, stopping a running toilet and retrieving items dropped down a drain
- Ideas for healthy and fast meal planning so you can start cooking and stop relying on takeout or preservative-packed convenience food
- Definitions of common cooking terms and techniques found in recipes
- Plans for stocking a pantry so you can make dinner (even if you haven't been grocery shopping in a week) and be prepared when disaster strikes
- A complete rundown of essential kitchen equipment from knives to pans to small appliances
Equip yourself with the skills you need for everyday life.
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About the Author
Heather Solos created home-ec101.com in 2007. The site had nearly 400,000 visitors in 2009. The website and the author have been featured by StrollerDerby , ParentDish , Lowcountry Parent , The Post and Courier , and ReadCharlie. The website was also cited as a reference in Woman's Day Magazine. Solos has served as a featured blogger on Type-A Mom and Blissfully Domestic.
Read an Excerpt
Getting Started: Tools, Secrets, and the Chemistry of Cleaning
Dirt happens. If you're browsing along hoping to find a miracle, a simple buy-Brand-X-and-you'll — never-clean-again cure, I hate to break your heart, but you'll be sorely disappointed. Granted, the time and energy cleaning requires can be streamlined and targeted to be as efficient as possible. With the right tools and knowledge, keeping a clean home becomes second nature. Out of habit you'll say, "Excuse the mess," and guests will reply, "What mess?" without lying through their teeth or teetering on the edge of the sofa insisting they are neither hungry nor thirsty.
If there is one question I'm asked more than any other, it has to be, "How can I have a clean home without actually doing anything?" Answer: You hire out.
It's not all the same
Organizing, cleaning, and sanitizing are three different jobs. Organizing is finding a place for things; cleaning is removing dirt and grime; and sanitizing is the process of reducing microbes (that's germs and bacteria) to a safe level.
Let's define our terms, shall we? Organized means a home where everything is put away. A clean home is one where dirt and grime do not reign supreme; a sanitary home is one in which it is safe to cook a meal without the local health inspector having a case of the vapors; a sterile home does not exist. Got it? It's perfectly possible to live in an unorganized, but clean and sanitary home; it just takes a lot more work.
Some homes are quite easy to maintain, and in most cases these dwellings belong to single workaholics who enjoy eating out. If you live alone, pick up after yourself, and are rarely home, then yes, a home takes little effort to clean. A quick wipe down of the kitchen and the bathroom, plus vacuuming, dusting, and occasionally waving a mop in the general area of any hard flooring will keep things tidy.
Once other people (whether of the full-grown or less-so variety) enter the picture, a home just doesn't stay as clean. Humans, by nature, are nasty creatures; always shedding hair or skin; carrying in dust and pollen from outside; and smudging light switches and doorjambs with the oils on their skin. Only the very sheltered — or very lucky — haven't seen what can happen to a neglected bathroom. Maybe in ten years scientists will find the gene responsible for the expression of self-discipline; until then we're stuck with a choice: either hire out or clean up.
Secret No. 1: An Organized Home is Easier to Clean
Some of you will try to ignore the next bit, but soldier on. As much as it hurts, organization is the magic bullet. I'm sorry, I know you may not want to hear it, but it's true.
Parents with small children — and clean homes — tend to take a basket approach to organization. Why is this? It's due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states a closed system tends toward a state of low energy and high chaos. If you don't believe me, think of the average dorm room early on a Saturday morning, a perfect illustration of low energy and high chaos. At some point some energy has to be added to the system, and who has the least energy to spare? That's right, people with young kids. The basket approach wrangles small amounts of chaos into inoffensive, semicontained systems. When junk is corralled and out of sight, it can be as chaotic as it wants.
Artistic types, quit hyperventilating! By no means am I suggesting an investment in coordinating boxes, label makers, and pocket protectors. Use mason jars for your paintbrushes, a tackle box for the beadwork, whatever strikes your fancy. The point is to clear as many horizontal spaces of clutter as possible. If you live alone, your organizational system doesn't have to make sense to others for it to work, but be prepared to continually explain your system when entertaining guests. If others utilize the space, it would be worthwhile to give thought to grouping like with like.
Whether you are a piler or a filer by nature, make sure you have a way to sort paperwork before it is out of control. Try hanging files or letter trays depending on your personality. For transparency's sake, I'm a piler who gets fed up from time to time and files. If you have magazines piling up, donate them to an elementary school, nursing home, or free clinic. Some libraries also accept donations. If there is an article you simply must keep, scan it or take a picture of it with a digital camera. The good news is once everything in your home has a place to go, it's very simple to keep a house tidy. Just get into the habit of putting your stuff away. Seriously, just picking up after yourself, putting shoes in the closet, laundry in a hamper, and trash in the proper receptacle will reduce the amount of time and energy needed to clean your house.
Horizontal surfaces attract junk, I don't know why. It's probably something Clausius, Gibbs, and Boltzmann never had to concern themselves with (yes, those are the guys behind that second law we just discussed). Perhaps their mothers or spouses should have given them a chance to observe the phenomenon in the wild — it would be better understood.
Putting your junk away reduces cleaning and sanitizing your home to a matter of removing dirt and germs. It takes thirty seconds to wipe down an empty counter but considerably longer to clear it, wipe it down, wait for it to dry, and then return the items before moving on to the next surface.
Secret No. 2: Each Home Has Its Cleaning Challenges
Why are some houses dirtier than others?
Many factors affect the amount of dirt and grime in a home. These factors go beyond the number of occupants and square footage and include:
Heating and cooling system — forced air or radiant
The age of the home — history is messy
The type of flooring — carpet or hard surface
The furniture — upholstered or leather
The composition of the walls — Sheetrock or plaster.
It all plays a part. Dust and pollution enter through open doors and windows. Burning cheap candles can create soot. Frying, whether pan or deep, aerosols grease, allowing it to float and cling to walls or ceilings. In a small home, steam from showers has less room to disperse and clings to the walls. In humid climates, mold and mildew feel more at home. Whatever the reason, everyone has something to complain about.
The occupants of a household also offer different levels of dirt. Individuals under 4 feet (122cm) tall are more likely to smear jelly on the windows, or if it's the young couple smearing jelly, I really just don't want to know. The typical teenager brings a variety of interesting odors into the mix.
Speaking of odors, smokers have their own set of cleaning issues. Smoke is sticky and clings to walls and ceilings; if the walls aren't washed on occasion, they will need to be painted more frequently. Additionally, smoking drastically increases the amount of dust and odors in a home. Smoke permeates fabric and upholstered furniture, making it difficult to rid a home of the smell.
Animals bring a whole new level of dirt into the mix, to say nothing of odors. If it's a cat, there's fur and cat litter to contend with. Dogs track in dirt, leave nose prints, and occasionally find something dead to roll in — hands down one of their most annoying traits. Birds? Even a parakeet can produce an amazing number of feathers and scatter its seed hulls to the four winds.
Those with small living spaces soon find organization becomes a vital and ongoing effort. Those with larger homes have more surface area to clean.
The Chemistry of Cleaning
Choosing the right tool makes cleaning a home easier. Notice I didn't say more interesting; for that I rely on an MP3 player loaded with podcasts and music. Before we get started, it's time to take the Home-Ec 101 safety oath:
I solemnly swear to always read the label, test in an inconspicuous area, not feed the mogwai after midnight, and never mix chemicals without research.
Did you know certain combinations of household chemicals, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia, create a reaction that may have deadly consequences? (And here you thought chemistry was boring.) Sounds easy enough to avoid, right? The problem is bleach and ammonia show up in unexpected places. See Appendix B for a more complete list of household chemical combinations to avoid. Always read the labels of cleaning products, and reread them if they've been reformulated. Usually you can tell by labels screaming new or improved. Lastly, never store chemicals in unmarked containers. Appendix A has several recipes for mixing up your own household cleaning products. Clearly label these containers and always note if bleach or ammonia is present in the solution.
If you visit any big-box store, you may observe that cleaning products usually fill several aisles with a dizzying array of choice. Does anyone really need 172 products to clean a home? Nope, but then again, I didn't major in marketing.
Are some of these products more effective than others? Possibly, but a lot of it comes down to personal preference and that preference is based on habit, nostalgia, the scent, or even on marketing. When choosing a cleaning product, ask yourself:
Does this product save enough time to justify the extra expense? This is actual man hours on the clock, not time that would otherwise be spent vegging out on the sofa.
Is this product worth the environmental cost? Some disposable products may save time, but many are not recyclable and there is also an environmental cost in their production.
Do I really need a different product for this task? Many products can be used in multiple areas of the home. A laminate counter is a laminate counter whether it is found in the kitchen or the bathroom. Porcelain is porcelain in the kitchen and the bathroom; the same goes for linoleum and hardwood.
Is this product really better for the environment? There is no need to go out and purchase organic bamboo or cotton cleaning rags if you already have old T-shirts or towels at home.
Is this product really safer because it's natural? Food for thought: Nightshade, strychnine, and hemlock are all perfectly natural.
Types of Cleaning Products
Did you know that any chemical used for cleaning can be called a detergent? This means that the term even applies to plain water. So if every cleaning product is a detergent, how does a consumer decide which cleaning products are right for which job? It helps to learn a little household chemistry. The next section is a brief rundown on the chemistry of some common household cleaning chemicals to help you make an informed decision when purchasing cleaners.
Pure water has a neutral pH of seven. Lemon juice is an acid with a low pH of two to three, while chlorine bleach, a common base, has a high pH of twelve. Solutions that contain acids are called acidic. Solutions that contain bases are called alkaline.
Soap. Soap is nothing more than fat that has been treated with a strong base. That fat may come from either animals or plants, so if you're vegetarian you may want to put some extra time into your label reading. Remember sodium tallowate is beef tallow (fat) treated with lye. Once fat, vegetable or animal, has been treated with a strong base (or saponified, as the chemists say), it develops some interesting properties. Part of the soap molecule is attracted to water and part of the same molecule is repelled by it. This allows the soap molecules to surround dirt and oils and suspend them in water or solution. The hardness of your water can significantly reduce the effectiveness of your soap. If lots of soap molecules are wasted by surrounding dissolved minerals in the water, there won't be as many available to clean the dirt off of a surface. Soaps vary from one to the next in their harshness, which is important to know because sometimes you actually want to leave some oils behind, on your hands and face for example. You can also find soaps that contain different amounts (or lack there of) of perfumes and dyes.
Solvent: A substance, usually a liquid, that can dissolve or disperse another substance.
This brings us to our next fancy word, surfactants. You've heard the axiom oil and water don't mix? Surfactants help reduce the surface tension of liquids, which actually makes it possible for the two to mix. When oil and water can occupy the same space, it is easier to remove grease from surfaces because the oils can come into solution — that's the watery part — and be wiped away. All soaps are, by nature, surfactants, but they aren't the only type that exists.
Degreasers, window cleaners, and multisurface cleaners. Degreasers are typically an alkaline solution containing surfactants. These are particularly useful for — wait for it — removing grease. You may recognize Pine-Sol, Formula 409, and Simple Green as examples.
Glass cleaners also tend to be mildly alkaline solutions containing ammonia, a surfactant; a solvent such as isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol; and perfume to mask the scents of the other chemicals. Glass cleaners and degreasers share a lot of the same territory, which explains multisurface cleaners.
Dusting. Dusting sprays and furniture polish are not interchangeable products, though they are sold in the same section of the cleaning aisle. Dusting sprays are used to wipe away dust; some dusting sprays contain electrostatically charged ingredients in an attempt to repel future dust. Furniture polish is used to restore moisture and prevent damage to the finish of wood furniture.
Water is perhaps the greatest multisurface cleaner ever invented, but no one will let me patent it.
Scouring powders. Scouring powders are powders that sand or scour away stains. Care must be taken when using these products, as some brands have more abrasive formulas than others and can damage some surfaces. Always read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Never use scouring powders on nonstick cookware. These products may be acidic or alkaline depending on their composition. Common brand names include Comet and Bar Keepers Friend. Always rinse a surface thoroughly after using a scouring powder to prevent a reaction with the next cleaning product.
Floor cleaner. Floor cleaners typically contain a combination of household chemicals specific to the type of floor for which they are designed, although most contain a degreaser or soap and surfactants. We'll delve further into these in chapter 3.
If you want to use scouring powder on standard cookware, be sure to use a food-grade product — safe to use on utensils and food preparation surfaces.
Bathroom cleaner. Here you'll find glass cleaner, scouring powders, ladies' lingerie, and acid solvents. These cleaning products have a very low pH, which helps remove deposits from hard water, lime, and even scaling from urine — fun stuff! Toilet bowl cleaners and products designed to remove hard-water buildup all fall into this category. You may recognize brand names such as CLR (Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover) and Ty-D-Bol.
Disinfectants. We're entering controversial territory: It's time to talk disinfecting and sanitizing. It's controversial as "some" believe our hyperclean environments may be part of our population's growing problem with asthma and allergies. There are also myriad websites giving misleading advice about the disinfecting properties of white vinegar. Any chemical that can reduce the number of microorganisms on a surface can be legally described as a disinfecting agent. In many cases, white vinegar is adequate, but if someone in the home has a compromised immune system, you must choose an approved sanitizing agent and it must be used in a manner consistent with the manufacturer's guidelines. Applied improperly, some of the effectiveness of sanitizing agents could be compromised, and some biocides, such as tea tree oil applications at too low of a dilution, can actually drive antibiotic resistance in some bacteria. Remember, only a few chemicals meet the standards of a sanitizing agent, and even then, they must be at certain dilutions. The most commonly recommended sanitizer is chlorine bleach. Do not confuse sanitary with sterile. Sanitary implies the number of microorganisms have been reduced to within acceptable and safe limits. Sterile is used to describe methods that kill all microorganisms, such as for medical procedures.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Home-Ec 101"
Copyright © 2011 Heather Solos.
Excerpted by permission of F+W Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Section 1: Clean It,
1. Getting Started: Tools, Secrets, and the Chemistry of Cleaning,
2. Make It Manageable: Flexible Scheduling,
3. The Lowdown: Focus on Flooring,
4. Kitchen Patrol: Win the War Against Grease, Grime, and Unintentional Science Projects,
5. The Great Bathroom Cleansing: Tubs, Toilets, and Rubber Gloves,
6. Dining Rooms and Dusty Dens of Doom: Yes, You Do Windows,
7. Bedroom Antics: Introducing Dust Mites; No One Sleeps Alone,
Section 2: Wash It,
8. Stains: Sure You Didn't Spill It,
9. Odors: Rolling Down the Window Is Not Always an Option,
10. Minor Garment Repair: Beyond Dental Floss and Staples,
11. Laundry: The World's Most Thankless Chore,
Section 3: Fix It,
12. The Bare Minimum Handyman Guide,
13. When Good Appliances Go Bad: Avoid Minor Meltdowns,
14. Plumbing: Someone Jiggle the Handle Already,
15. Throw Rugs and Posters Only Go So Far: Fixing Floors and Walls,
Section 4: Cook It,
16. Burned Water? There's Hope Yet,
17. Outfit Your Kitchen: Cookware and Small Appliances,
18. Recipe Rundown: Deciphering Terms and Basic Techniques,
19. Pantry Principles: Are You Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?,
20. Meal Planning: Not Just for the Control Freaks,
21. Substitutions: I'll Remember to Put It on the List, Promise,
Appendix A: Homemade Cleaning Solutions,
Appendix B: Dangerous Chemical Combinations,
Appendix C: Emergency Preparedness Checklist,
Appendix D: Measurements Conversion Charts,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Leader of ashclan
Really? If this book should be read, then it should be given to 12 year old girls in home ec class. I was sorely disappointed to find little insight into my everyday home based tasks. I was hoping for some creative tips or some unconventional bits of wisdom. Nope. If you are half way intelligent and even a half cook or half a cleaner - you don't need this book. Save the time and just go do the laundry.
I love this book. I was surprised by how fun it was to read. It made digesting the tips and advice way easier, and dare I say it, fun. I recommend it for women of all ages.
When I first received the email from One2One I wanted to review it. It's all about tackling challenges at home and who doesn't want to do that right? Okay so I don't want to clean more but anything to get more organized and get things flowing smoother at home is always needed. Because of the overwhelming response we weren't sent the entire book but one chapter. The Chapter I received was Chapter 20: Meal Planning: Not just for the control Freaks. Perfect one for me to get because I suck at meal plans. The Chapter went through the basics of setting a meal plan out and tips on how to get yourself into the habit of doing it. Heck we all do it. We stand there when we are supposed to be making dinner and staring into the pantry trying to figure out what to make. I do it all the time. I am getting better about it though. Needless to say it helped. Granted it means that we are sticking to a schedule as best we can but we're working on it. Mondays is a fish night. Wednesday is a pasta night. And Sundays, the kids favorite is a breakfast for dinner night. I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter I was sent and I'm going to go buy the book so I can look through some of the other chapters too. Only thing I have to decide is if I want it for my eReader or a hard copy. Either way I can't wait to read the rest of the book.
Just looking through the table of contents of the book really piqued my interest, as the book covers every major category of homemaking (or skills for everyday living) - from cleaning to washing to repairs to cooking. In the cooking section, I really thought the chapter on menu planning was good for everyone. It was a quick, easy read, but filled with good information. If you've never done meal planning before, here's a step by step process, starting with extremely easy meals (and recipes), that will keep you out of the drive-thru. If you've already got the hang of meal planning, there are still some great tips - I especially liked the idea of theme nights such as Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc. where you can make recipes varying from simple to complex for each theme while keeping meal planning an easy process. I really enjoyed this chapter and am looking forward to reading the rest of the book - I think there is something to be gained for everyone who reads this book! Disclosure: I reviewed a chapter of Home-Ec 101 as part of a campaign with the One2One Network. All opinions are 100% my own and have not been influenced by any other party.
Since I didn't take these topics in school, I turn to books to help me learn. One such book is Home-Ec: 101 Skills for Everyday Living: Cook It, Clean It, Fix It, Wash It by Heather Solos, This book shares tips and tricks that can help the recent grad or the unwilling husband become skilled in numerous topics for a homeowner or apartment dweller. One chapter that stuck with me is the advice on cooking at home. We all know that cooking at home is cost-efficient and healthier than eating out, but many of us struggle with cooking well. I watch all the chef cooking shows. From Bobby Flay to Top Chef Masters, I know all the terms to appear knowledgeable in the kitchen. But, the true test is make a flavorful meal that my whole family will eat. The Home-Ec 101 tips include simple recipes that can be made by everyone and anyone. One of the most helpful ideas is how to make one meal transform into multiple dinners. Having useful leftovers is helpful to the family whose weekly schedule is beyond hectic. A home-cooked meal is better for your wallet and your waistline. In the end, it's a win win. So if you are looking for help in the kitchen or know someone who could use a boost in the cooking department, check out Heather Solos' book Home-Ec 101. You might just learn a trick or two in the process. Disclosure: I reviewed a chapter of Home-Ec 101 as part of a campaign with the One2One Network. All opinions are 100% mine and are not influenced by any person or entity.
Chapter 20, Meal Planning is Not Just For Control Freaks. I was given the opportunity to read this digital chapter from the new book. This chapter certainly held my attention, and I must say that I was delighted at how smart this book is, and how delightful the author is. I should have known that this book would reflect, and be just as good as the authors website. In this chapter, I found weekly meal planning advice, recipes, and tips. This book is perfect for the young lady wanting to learn some good home ec skills, and for the seasoned ladies who want to polish up their skills. I am an avid reader and book collector, so I purchased this book. I found some new tips and recipes, and good advice. Clean It, Wash It, Fix It, and Cook It, are the four areas of home management you'll find inspiring information on. This is one of those books that I keep returning to, really. That is my opinion and I'm sticking to it. I received a digital chapter of this book free from One2One Network for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Through a program through One2One Network I received a chapter of this book to review, in particular Chapter 20 entitled "Meal Planning: Not Just for the Control Freaks". I was really excited since I love to cook and I am a planner since right now I cook for my daughter and I as well as a family of four on a daily basis. This chapter gives you some weekly menu ideas as well as step by step instructions on how to go from flying by the seat of your pants each day for meals to being more organized and knowing what you are doing each day so you aren't so scatterbrained when it comes to making healthy meals for your family. This chapter gives some very healthy ideas for meals as well as suggestions on "Theme Nights" for meals during the week such as Taco Tuesday and Breakfast for Dinner. I am a fan of leftovers, but this chapter calls them "Planned Overs" which I thought was really interesting since a lot of families throw out so much food on a regular basis, this will help eliminate that. All in all I like this chapter and I look forward to reading the rest of the book. There are some realistic options in here and I think having this on your e-reader or computer would be great and it would allow users to search easily for topics that are of interest or needed right away.
This was a project for the One2One Network. I started reading this book not expecting to learn a whole lot that I didn't already know. Not that I am a home-ec wiz, but I do have basic knowledge. I found new tips and tricks that I hadn't heard of before and look forward to trying. I was happy to see some emphasis on using green cleaning methods and the 3 RRRs. It was nice to see the layout broken up with Q&As in between. Makes the format more interesting. I definitely plan to use this book as a reference guide as home problems present themselves.
I received a sample chapter to review from One2OneNetwork...but these are my honest opionions. I feel like this could be a great gift for someone moving in their first home, first apartment, for a wedding gift, etc. There are chapters on cooking, cleaning, laundry, and repair! The chapter I previewed was about cooking and I really loved her "voice" in the book. It is very easy to understand with a lot of humor. There are quite a bit of great ideas for spicing up your weekly menus at home too. This can be a great go-to book for anyone, since it has so many at-home subjects and even a section on emergency preparedness. With this book, you might be able to handle anything that comes your way!
Recently, one2onenetwork provided me with the opportunity to read an advance copy of Chapter 20 of Heather Solos' Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living - Cook it, Clean it, Fix it, Wash it. You may be familiar with Heather and her "Home-Ec" ways from her blog, Home-Ec101. While I have not yet had the chance to read the entire book, the chapter that I read - a chapter on Meal Planning - gave me good insight into the style of the book and author. When you read or hear that the title begins with "Home-Ec", your mind may instantly drift back to your junior high or high school days of learning the correct place settings, hemming a pair of pants or sewing on a button. This, however, is not your grandmother's Home-Ec. While some of the tips may be timeless and may, in fact, be lessons you learned at your mother's knee, this book is written in a much more contemporary style. Heather interjects a bit of wit while teaching you how to plan a menu (sample menus are even included), stretch a dollar, and make dinner a less hectic event. One of the things I most enjoyed about this chapter - and Heather's style, in general - is that she doesn't try to force a lifestyle change overnight. She approaches meal planning and all it's coordinating pieces with common sense and baby steps. With other chapters that give tips on scheduling, cleaning, home repair and more, I believe that most people will find something helpful or interesting in this book.
I have been a fan of Home Ec 101 for years. Home-Ec 101 is a site dedicated to teaching a broad range of life skills to adults in a conversational and entertaining manner. While I learned nearly everything I could ever need or want to know about keeping house from my own mother, I still found it helpful to read Home Ec 101 and I have learned many tips and tricks from Heather and Ivy that I might never have known about before. When I read regularly, I also find that it helps to keep me just a little more organized. I find motivation there. I *wish* I was a true modern retro housewife. I strive to be close to that someday. That's what originally appealed to me about Home Ec 101, the simple retro graphics on the page, they drew me in and the content kept me there. Aside from being about to find anything any everything you ever wanted to know about about the domestic arts, I appreciate the light-hearted humor found there. When I received the opportunity to possibly review Heather Solo's new book, Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living through the One2One Network, I jumped on it. Unfortunately I did not get selected to review the entire book, but they were kind enough to give me a sneak peek! I was able to read through chapter 20, which is titled "Meal Planning: Not Just for the Control Freaks." They must be a little bit psychic over at One2One Network when they decided to send me that particular chapter, because oh boy, is that ever something I struggle with. The chapter starts out talking about the 5:30 stare. Yeah. I know you know what I'm talking about. When you realize it's 5:30 and you poke around in your kitchen opening cabinets and the fridge and/or freezer and just hoping that something jumps out at you and you're able to pull a full meal together in as little time as possible. In my case, I usually have two littles ones right behind me asking me what's for dinner and if they can have a snack. This chapter of Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living covers everything you might possibly need to know about forming the habit of meal planning. It's informative, packed with tips and tricks, suggestions, recipes, as well as simple, down to earth ideas for weekly menus, and of course, the wit and humor that made me a fan of Home-Ec 101 in the first place. I *love* that Heather writes like she is speaking directly to you. She is in your kitchen, chatting you up and offering you guidance with this chapter, and I imagine the rest of the book is the same. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book.
This is the book that you give at graduation parties, wedding showers and for a house warming. AND... This is not just for those on their own for the first time but also for us seasoned veterans. Not only are the tips and tricks perfect for homeowners but for apartment dwellers as well. This is the book that I would buy for myself... I was single for a long time and the idea of fixing something was just unheard of... they make more, right? Even, now that I have been married, awhile, I still need some help and this book is full of all the right stuff that will help me be more organized and efficient.
Very happy I was chosen to review this book. Fun stories and helpful tips on everything you can think of from how to make your own cleaning supplies to how to remove stains from carpeting to reducing a recipe, this book has it all!! I highly recommend this book for ALL households!
This book came to me at a perfect time. I struggle with many things like keeping my house organized, meal planning, and time management. Some of the ideas are easy and simple that I do not understand why I couldn't have figured it out myself. This is anything but a dry how to book. The author infuses her sense of humor and zest for life in each chapter. Her words ring so true that you just have to laugh and at the same time you are wondering how she knows what your life is like. It's very comforting to know that you are not the only one that gets overwhelmed with life.
I've got to admit something to my readers, I learned most of what I'm able to do now around the house from my husband, from when we dated and through all of the almost 22 years of marriage! I sure wish that Heather Solos "Home-Ec 101" book was around back then! I sure could have used it, and wouldn't have been so overwhelmed as I was years ago! (Laundry, oh man, if I didn't turn clothes colors, I was real lucky. Cooking and following recipes, along with buying the proper ingredients, was a trek into the unknown!) I was reading Chapter 20, which was entitled "Meal Planning: Not Just For Control Freaks". I love that chapter title! As I would say, too cool! At the beginning of the chapter, Heather starts by telling you to clear off the table, and to get used to eating at it. (We have two tables in our house, one in the kitchen and the other in the dining room!And where do we eat, in the family room!) She also recommends sitting down and making a list of activities that may make meal planning difficult. Definitely don't plan a difficult meal on a busy night! Plan 5 meals a week, and one of the other nights can be a clean out refrigerator night (CORN)! Heather talks about using the grocery store ad to plan your meals with, buying some of your groceries on sale. Other ideas are to introduce one new food item a week, if you are cooking for others, and be open to suggestions. Pay attention to the reactions of the others, if they like something or not. Vary your sides, like rice one night, pasta on another night. Recipes for stock and meatloaf were included in the chapter. I really learned some new things that gave me a new way of thinking about meal preparation!! I'm a member of the One2One Network and I was given a chapter to review for free. The opinions expressed are my own.
It's amazing how, suddenly, once you pass a certain reunion year, you start finding yourself trying to remember why it was you loved certain subjects in school. I loved Home-Ec! I truly did, but now, over 10 years later, I find myself thinking, "there has to be an easier way to do this", or "couldn't this be used for something else, I can't remember, but I thought I learned this". Enter, Home-Ec 101 - Skills for Everyday Living by Heather Solos! Here she is to save the day!!! (of course to the tune of Mighty Mouse, in my head). With that wonderful knowledge in an easy to read book. She's witty, the book is organized, and I love it!! There's four easy sections, Clean It, Wash It, Fix It, Cook It! She has all the basic tips, that I'm sure we all never knew, or have even long forgotten. She discusses challenges that we all have in our everyday lives. My most favorite part of the book, that has already been put to great use, esp. given that we are trying to keep our house in most tip top "show-ready" shape so that we may sell it soon, is the Weekly Chore Chart!! It's an easy read, and a great reference! Since I've downloaded it, it's also on my iPhone, and iPad for easy access.
I am so impressed with Home-Ec 101! I love the fun layout and easy to find tips and tricks. It's totally a book you could read cover to cover, or a nice reference when you need advice on something specific! I was able to check out the Meal Planning chapter, which is such a great way to save time and money! I already do meal planning for my family, but I learned so much as I scanned through the chapter! Felt like having my mama right there helping me along with it! Such a great gift idea for new brides, housewarming, or just about anyone! I was provided a chapter of the book through One 2 One Network.
Blogger Heather Solos' book Home-Ec 101 is the go to bible for the generation of mom's and individuals who didn't have the benefit of a home economics class in high school. As a fellow member of One2One Network, I received a complimentary digital sample of Chapter 20, of her inciteful book Home-Ec 101 called, 'Meal Planning is Not Just For Control Freaks.' Many of us grew up thinking a meal was prepared at a fast food restaurant and eaten on the go, or even a box or can. 'Meal Planning is Not Just For Control Freaks' shows you how simple meal planning can start the novice cook on the path to finding enligtenment and also time to plan fast nutritious meals at home. **As a member of One2One Network, I received. no money for my review. My opinions are my own and expressed freely
This is not your average how to do it book but a handbook full of useful information presented in an easy to read format. I found the information included in the appendix extremely useful and informative. The overall layout reminded me of of some of the homemakers books from the 1950's but in an up to date and humorous way. This book is perfect for the new college graduate and the newly married couple and contains information that everyone can use. I do not see this book being read by men but they would benefit from the information. I know my husband would and maybe he would help out more around the house. I have visited Heather's site and I have found it informative and interesting.
I read the chapter on Meal Planning. The chapter has a lot of ideas, helpful tips and even recipes for some tried and true favorites like meatloaf and chicken soup along with a couple of weekly menu plans. It even includes baby steps to preparing homemade meals if the task seems too daunting. Ms. Solos presents information in a casual easy to read format. I'm a married stay at home mom to six children so although I enjoyed what I read it's true to it's; name Home-Ec 101. This is a beginner's book. This book would be ideal for a newly married, new stay at home mom or someone who has just moved into their own place. It's an easy, enjoyable read full of useful information. It covers all the basics and would be a great go to book for anyone just learning the ropes in and around the house.
To be honest? When I first downloaded this book, I thought it was just going to be a list of tips for dimwits. I was wrong, wrong, WRONG! This book is not only full of great tips and recipes, but it is HILARIOUS! I could just read this as a novel. I am so not kidding. Although I am glad to finally have a recipe for soup stock.
I was given a digital copy of this book to read and review. I must say, it's a pretty good read. A lot of it is common sense, but somethings you would never think about. It's a great way to get organized and do things around the house and it's explained in a fun way. Check it out if you want some around the house tips to make your life easier.