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Getting Children Involved

Getting Children Involved

If you read the newspaper, watch the news, watch television of any description, are on the internet (presumably, if you are reading this) or speak to people, you will have noticed that there is a lot of chatter about generational differences. Getting children involved – what has that got to do with the price of fish? The discussion centres around the differences between youth, adults and more senior members of our society. Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and the sometimes referred to Gen Z (but that sounds too final to me).

The problems. The lack of respect. The entitlement attitudes. Who wants to work with who, and who is the best person to manage your social media presence. Who’s happy, and why? It sometimes seems a little like one-upmanship to me – *blows raspberry* “Nah nah nah nah! My generation is more [insert desirable quality] than yours!”.

Perhaps there should be a little more chatter about what we have in common? Perhaps there should be more discussion about how inter-generational differences can enhance our work environment and our social strata? Perhaps it doesn’t matter if young people can attend to 17 different electronic stimuli, and older people know how to make 12 different nutritional meals using vegemite? Perhaps the price of progress is that we don’t necessarily understand “difference”?

WARNING: Personal Statement following. I believe that one characteristic that all generations have in common, is the need to belong to community. The need to be needed. Being integral to one’s people gives everyone purpose and a sense of belonging. A sense of community starts with family – of whatever description – and this is where we all develop a drive or an aversion to being needed. Getting children involved could be one of the fundamental building blocks to this.

I like getting children involved. They’re fun. They follow you around asking a million questions. They want to learn. They want your attention. They ask “why?” so many times that you are eventually compelled to actually think about why you do something a certain way.

The other day I was talking to my two little Superheroes in Training, sons of Super Mum. Master 5 and Master 8. They are fascinated by this blogging business, and because I have business cards and a website, they are convinced that I am going to become famous and “be on TV”. Master 5 asks if he can be a Superhero as well. “Of course!” I respond, “you are already – we just need to work out what your Super Powers are. At the moment you’re a Superhero in Training”. This was the start of our discussion about getting children involved.

Master 8 (mostly interested in the fame part): “Will you blog about us?”

“Yes”.Getting Children Involved

Master 8: “We can be the Superhero in Training Captains!”

I take this statement as implicit permission to repeat things that they say, objections that they express and insightful observations that they make.

And so a blogging category is born.

What are some ways that we can find out the Super Powers of our little Superheroes in Training? Getting children involved – is it really important? How can we involve them in our day-to-day minutiae so that they know they are needed? How do we find the balance between creating a virtue sweatshop in our home and doing everything for our little ones? What do they WANT to do, and what should they be PAID to do? What are they capable of doing, and at what ages? Do we need to buy a bigger First Aid kit and a fire extinguisher? Did we really walk through the snow for 2 hours every morning delivering a pail of milk before school when we were their age?!

These are all questions that will be explored in Superheroes in Training. Although I do recommend that you DO buy a bigger First Aid kit.

As a first suggestion, the mere act of discussing the concept of Superheroes in Training resulted in a lively discussion around the dining table. There was much enthusiasm around pointing out the chores that the boys currently do. Getting children involved should begin with a discussion.

“You could talk about stacking the dishwasher!”

“What about tidying the playroom?”

“I’m always helping you in the garden aren’t I Mama?”

“Does this mean that we will get paid?” (“No”, was the answer to this by the way…).

Is this a blog category that interests you? Do you have children? Do you know children? Are you old-school or are you more laissez faire? I would encourage vigorous debate, so feel free to comment at will. And if you are so inclined, please give this post a thumbs up or thumbs down (below).

Also, please check out the new Unsung Superhero Award here and share it with your networks. We can’t reward these Unsung Superheroes if we don’t find out about them! All stories welcome! In addition, if you’d like to follow the Business Challenge, CLICK HERE and read about the trials and tribulations of starting Superhero in Disguise.

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Oven Tray of Shame

Grime Fighting with Baking Soda

So for all of my reader (yes, I know there’s just one – thanks Mum), you will have realised that I have a deep and abiding commitment to fighting Grime. In all of its glorious forms. And I’m a big fan of Baking Soda. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s easy to use, and it’s cheap. Win.

Being a true blue Superhero (cleaner), I take a certain pride in maintaining a secret lair that is Grime-free.

Well, not entirely Grime-free it turns out… Look what has been hiding in my oven. I’d like to introduce you to my Oven Tray of Shame. I think it is supposed to be non-stick. And like almost every non-stick product in the world, some baked on crap clearly sticks. I was going to suggest that NASA go back and revisit that non-stick spaceship technology that they came up with, but upon investigation, have found that the technology was stumbled upon by Roy Plunkett of Dupont fame in 1938. Pity, the spaceship technology connection fits in much better with the whole Superhero thing…
Baking soda challengeSo, back to the story.

This oven tray has been doing my head in for months and months. I have tried scrubbing. A lot. My hands have suffered. But most importantly, my pride has suffered.

I have been doing a fair bit of experimentation with general household solutions that Super Gran used to use. Super Gran of course is the inspiration for all things heroic in this Superhero’s life. Super Gran could also best be described as a product of her generation. Accordingly, she raised six children on a budget of… well… not much. She had an amazingly effective and cheap or free solution for just about any household problem. I don’t ever remember seeing anything in her kitchen that could be described as non-stick, but I can happily report that everything was sparkly clean and organised.

Mainstay cleaning products for Super Gran = white vinegar, caustic soda, baking soda and soap.

She never shared her specific cleaning recipes, because I don’t think she even thought that there was anything interesting about what she was doing. However, I did trail around after her “helping” as a child and teenager (pre-Superhero) and I can remember quite a lot.

At the moment I am experimenting with the general principles that I saw her use, searching the internet for information, and potentially sacrificing my Oven Tray of Shame, in search of a truly eco-friendly, budget-friendly, muscle-friendly solution. I want to effect an inhuman transformation, with not much effort, and spending no money (ie, I want to use what I already have in my lair).

Plan A: So I start out with a general basic cleaning recipe – water, vinegar and baking soda. I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with baking soda, tip some white vinegar over it (mostly because the chemical reaction is so damn cool!), and then fill to the top with warm water. And I wait for about 30 minutes. I haven’t got all day after all! When I go back to the Oven Tray of Shame, I don’t see much difference actually. I’m a little disappointed. Super Gran had sparkly kitchen equipment – surely some of her pragmatic genes have rubbed off on me?! I give the tray a bit of a scrape with the back of a teaspoon. Nothing. So then I have a good ol’ “put a bit of elbow-grease into it” scrape with the back of the teaspoon. Wait! I see a light line, which surely indicates that oven-baked crap has come off? I am encouraged, and keep scraping for a couple of minutes, before remembering that actually the whole point of this exercise is to work out an EASY way to do this…

Back to the drawing board.

Plan B: I then try the oldest trick in the book. I fill the Oven Tray of Shame with warm water, spray a bit of dishwashing detergent in, and go to bed, hopeful that in the morning, there will be sparkles blinding me when I come into the kitchen.

I had a good sleep, thanks for asking :).

In the morning, however, same same. EXCEPT, that further vigorous spoon-scraping activity produces more results. Obviously some level of crap has been softened by the soaking. Still, the way to clean the Oven Tray of Shame is surely not to pop a shoulder scraping it with the back of a teaspoon!

Plan C: Back to old-fashioned methods. Again, mostly because I like the homemade volcano-like chemical reaction… I sprinkle the Oven Tray of Shame liberally with Baking Soda. I then cackle maniacally as I pour a quite small amount of white vinegar over it, and watch it fizz and puff up. Honestly, I’d clean just about anything with baking soda and vinegar – if it didn’t wreck stuff when used incorrectly that is.

When the fizzing and popping settles down, and is no longer interesting to watch, I wander off to do other more interesting things. Every few hours I half-heartedly do the old teaspoon scrape test. No difference. I leave it overnight again, and when I arise, rush to the kitchen, excited to discover the results. Hmmmm, there’s a hard white film of baking soda covering the Oven Tray of Shame, that I have to rinse off. And… No change.

Dang.

One more try. Plan D: I repeat Plan C. Yes, I know it didn’t work. But that volcano thing is SO COOL!

4 hours later, some vigorous teaspoon scraping, and THIS is what my Oven Tray of Shame now looks like.

IMG_2689[1]

I’m off to the supermarket to buy some oven-cleaner, and I’m gonna nuke that little bugger. Eco FAIL. Please hold caller. Further experimentation results pending…

Do you have a tried and true baked-on-oven-crap solution that you can share? Feel free to leave a comment Mum!


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Make your own Eco Spray

So by now it should be obvious that your Superhero cleaner is into all things clean and green, including Eco spray. Over the years I have tried many many many cleaning products. In my hoarding youth days, the category of “cleaning products” was one of my problem areas in fact (along with VHS recordings of Dukes of Hazard, Shortland Street and Sunday Sob Movies, amongst other things). In this post I am going to tell you how to make your own Eco spray, using a tried and true, very effective recipe.

By and large, I find cleaning products to mostly do what they say will do – to varying degrees. Some are frustratingly “not quite there”, and others are so effective as to take your fingernail polish off. Sometimes the ingredients on the bottles kinda scare me, mostly because I have no idea what they are. Ignorance is fear! I prefer my own Eco spray.

One of my post-hoarding periods was the “Green Hippy Capitalist Revolution”, which may sound confusing to anyone reading this (and at this point, I’d be lucky to convince my Mother to follow this blog, so I might actually be talking to the future right now…). During this period I spoke to a lot of war-wives, greenies and people on low incomes. It turns out that the green alternative is often incredibly cost-effective as well. Go Green!

So I’m going to share with you my not-so-secret recipe for the Eco spray that I use for just about any cleaning job. Make your own. It works better than most spray cleaners that I have tried from supermarkets, and once you like the smell, it is strangely comfortingly associated with “clean”. It will cost you about 50c to make a 750ml batch of Eco spray, and you can make it from ingredients that are found in almost any kitchen.

Are you ready? Do you have your safety equipment on hand? Rubber gloves at the ready? Safety goggles poised? Are you expecting toxic fumes to envelop you at any minute? Don’t panic. Honestly, some people can be so dramatic…


To make your Eco spray, you will need:


* A spray bottle (you can clean out an old one that you have used before, as long as it didn’t contain anything toxic in the past)
* White vinegar (the homebrand stuff costs about $1 per litre from memory)
* Water
* Dishwashing liquid

Eco spray instructions:


* Fill your spray bottle to about a cm less than halfway with white vinegar.
* Put about the same amount of water in as well (ie, about the same amount of vinegar and water).
* Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid – this is mostly to disguise the vinegar smell, so how much you add depends on your preference.
* Give it a bit of a twirl to mix it, but I don’t recommend shaking – that can only lead to bubble mayhem.

Voila!

Try your new Eco spray on your stainless steel stove top, your fridge or your scrubby cupboard doors – the results have got to impress you. Right there, you are looking at a Superhero Clean. Eco spray is also great in the bathroom, and while I would caution testing on a small area first, I also find it good on painted surfaces, such as the wall.

I hope you try this Eco spray, and love it. Whether you do or don’t, I would love to hear about your experiences, so please post a comment. If you have a secret recipe for your very own Eco spray, I’d love to try it, so let me know (if it’s not too secret).
Make your own Eco spray

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5 days on the job

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What a roller coaster ride! 5 days ago, Wander Woman (me) decided to start this business, and the first stage involved working out how to build a website. It took all day, and the bones that you see today (5 days later) are essentially the same as what went up on day 1.

Now this business is all about the Super Clients. And the website needs to meet your needs as a priority. As a result, clients, or potential clients, or anyone who wants to read about the Adventures of Superhero in Disguise, can now register on the site.

Clients can now book their Super Home Cleaning service online, never needing to speak with Wander Woman if they prefer. They can book 12 weeks out, and be assured that their online booking will be honoured, and serviced to the very highest of standards.

Any clients who register will very soon be able to pay for their Super Home Cleaning service online via PayPal or credit card. And shortly after that, fingers crossed, will be able to buy Super Home Cleaning gifts for their friends and loved ones.

Every Day is a Home Cleaning Adventure!

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Leaping off tall buildings in a single bound!

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So much for the veil of anonymity… This Superhero in Disguise went straight to Facebook in order to launch the website and get the word around a little. Fans of Superhero graciously “liked” and “shared” their little hearts out (Bless!), and as a result, an inquiry has been made, with tentative commitment to trial a Superhero home clean. Pressure is on! Bring it on!

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Website made? Tick!

Every day is an adventure, and every adventure is somehow more amazing when it emerges from the mundane or minutiae of the day. So if you want to read about the cleaning and business adventures of a Superhero in Disguise, you are most certainly in the right place.

Thick, black-rimmed glasses firmly on face. Stepping out into the world with first cleaning business. Tick.

Looking for first client…

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