Spring Cleaning 101

Tomorrow is the first day of spring (YAY!) which, in my house, means it is time for spring cleaning. Getting your home clean and refreshed doesn’t have to take up your entire weekend. Just devoting a few hours to tackling and completing some spring cleaning tasks will get your home looking great and ready for the warmer beautiful spring & summer months. Get a jump on your spring cleaning by focusing on some essential chores I’ve listed below. And, feel free to comment below with your own spring cleaning tips & tricks. Now let’s start wishing for some beautiful spring weather!


Ackerman Kitchen by Joan Schindler

Shine Your Stainless Steel: To keep your stainless steel bright and clean, use a light mist of wax-based aerosol spray. Wipe down the surface of the appliance with a clean, lint-free cloth. Avoid using cleaners with bleach because these cleaners will cause the surface to dry out and lose some of the luster. Remember, don’t use anything abrasive, like Scotch-Brite pads, that can scratch and ruin the appliance’s surface.

Clean Painted Walls: To clean your painted walls, first try just using a clean cloth or sponge and water. If that doesn’t work, dip the cloth or sponge into water mixed with a little dishwashing liquid.  Still can’t get that stubborn stain out? Try applying a few drops of soap directly onto a wet cloth or sponge. You could also apply a little soap right onto the stain. If you decide to use a stronger cleaning product (i.e. Formula 409), just remember they have harsh solvents in them and can soften the paint surface.

clean101541997.jpg.rendition.largestDe-clutter your wardrobe: Go through your closet and remove items that you no longer wear, that are beyond repair, or that don’t fit anymore. Donate gently worn items to charity where they’ll get a second life. Go green and consider adding damaged garments (if they’re made of an absorbent fabric) to your rag collection where they’ll replace wasteful paper towels. Organize the items remaining in your closet according to type (i.e. blouses, pants, skirts) and color. Starting your morning each day with an organized closet makes getting dressed a breeze!

Wash the Windows: Be sure to pick a cloudy day to wash windows. “If it’s too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you’ll have streaks,” says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple. A good DIY window cleaning solution can be made by combining  ½ cup of sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water. Got any sliding glass doors? Clean the sliding glass door tracks before the nice weather and outdoor entertaining season hits. (You’ll be thanking yourself when you notice less debris getting tracked inside!) Smallin advises scrubbing the tracks with a dry toothbrush to loosen dirt and then using your vacuum hose attachment to remove it. Finish by wiping with a wet sponge.

Clean the “Often Forgotten” Spots: In the daily rush of life, we often miss some spots when doing our routine cleaning and chores. Make sure to get to and clean your home’s baseboards, door frames, blinds, crown molding, and windowsills. Wash them down with a soft sponge and some dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

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Dust Light Bulbs: Believe it or not, dusting your light bulbs can help extend their life expectancy and efficiency. Before cleaning, change any light bulbs that have burned out. Unscrew light bulbs and polish the bulbs with a soft cloth dampened with water. Be careful not to get the metal screw base wet! To reach and clean the bulbs in recessed ceiling fixtures, use a telescoping lamb’s wool duster.

Deep Clean Carpets and Rugs: For synthetic carpeting, you can rent or buy a rug cleaner/ shampooer/extractor – a machine that cleans the fibers and removes traces of soap using hot water. Open windows and let air flow to help carpets dry. Be careful! If you have wool carpets or rugs, or any that are valuable or delicate, always contact a professional for cleaning

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Clean the Inside of the Refrigerator: uh-oh. Nobody likes this chore! Here is how to make cleaning out your fridge more manageable.

  • First throw out old food.
  • Wash the interior with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water. Wash removable shelves and drawers in the solution. Make sure to allow glass shelves to warm up to room temperature first. If you don’t the warm water may cause the cold glass to crack.
  •  Loosen hardened spills by wetting the area with the above solution, allowing the residue to soften.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub all those nooks & crannies.
  • Vacuum or brush dust from underneath and behind your fridge.
  • Once your fridge is looking refreshed, keep it streamlined and organized for good by organize food in clearly labeled baskets and/or containers.

Sources: MarthaStewart.com, HGTV.com, House Beautiful, and BHG.com

PS- Willing to devote some more time to spring cleaning? For some more in-depth cleaning guides, check out these room-by-room spring cleaning check lists.

Welcome to Olivia’s Corner

Welcome to Olivia’s Corner – my little corner of the blogging world! Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Olivia. I am a wife and a mother of two young kids. Like many of you out there, I enjoy the challenge of raising my children and creating a healthy and loving home environment for my family.

This is my blog about not only appliances but everything home related. My posts will cover topics like appliance product reviews and shopping tips, new kitchen design trends, recipes, tips and tricks to keep your home more organized, DIY projects and much more! Got an appliance related question? Ask me! I’m here to help and inspire. Like my friends over at Orville’s Appliances say – your home, our life.

PS- You can also follow me on Twitter, check out my Facebook tab on the Orville’s Home Appliances page, and get inspired by my Pinterest Board.

SuperBowl 2013 Snack Lineup

And our starting line-up for this year’s SuperBowl snacks includes….

superbowlsnacks1

From the top clockwise: Cheesy Roasted Garlic Chip Dip // Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Dip // Spicy Caramel Bacon Popcorn

superbowlsnacks2

Top: Touchdown Brownies Bottom: Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks // Crab & Avocado Nachos (sure to be a hit among Ravens fans!) // Feta- Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

This is just a sampling of what some of our employees will be preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl. What will you be making/baking for your game day gathering? Share your favorite recipes with us here or on our facebook page. And, no matter if your team is playing in the big game on Sunday or not (ours hasn’t since 1993….), remember what really matters….quality time spent with friends & family AND the commercials!

Hottest Kitchen Trends For 2013

 

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via BHG

We did some investigating and scoped out the latest and greatest kitchen trends for the upcoming year. Overall, we found that people want modern sleek kitchens full of neutral warm colors and lots of light.  If you are designing a new kitchen or looking to upgrade your existing one this year, here are some of the top biggest trends to check out.

1) An Overall Modern and/or Transitional Style: An open space with lots of natural light is still high on demand. Overall, people want a kitchen that is organized, modern, and conducive to entertaining friends and family. The new “it” style is “transitional” which is a cross between traditional and contemporary design ascetics.

via Houzz

2) Tucked-Away and Hidden Appliances: Stainless steel appliances will remain popular in 2013 but we will also see more appliances integrated right into the kitchen cabinetry creating a seamless and blended look. Additionally, some appliances, like undercounter wine cabinets and beverage centers, are being conveniently placed in the island kitchen for optimal accessibility.

via Houzz

via Houzz

3) Glass Backsplashes: Glass mosaic tiles will continue to be popular. Additionally  we will see more and more backsplashes made of a single seamless sheet of glass allowing for beautiful light reflection and making the backsplash easy to clean.

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4) Functional LED Lighting: Every great space has great lighting and the kitchen is no exception. The use of LED lighting is on the rise (think under cabinet lighting) as it is starting to be layered with a mixture ambient and task lighting to achieve an overall warm, functional, and well-lit space.

via Houzz

5) Decorative Hoods: In more and more kitchens, the hood is becoming more of a focal point (instead of just a necessity). According to Homethangs.com, “these hoods may have built-in LED lights and are even serving almost like a decorative chandelier for a kitchen island.”

via DC by Design Blog

via DC by Design Blog

6) Neutral Color Schemes: The use of neutral colors in the kitchen is on the rise, particularly in shades of grays and greens and a variety of wood tones. Also, think clean, warm, off- white kitchens with natural wood stains that supply a neutral background for pops of color used in a decorative layer.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

7) Stylish Sinks: According to Examiner.com, if you can only make one kitchen upgrade in 2013, you should upgrade your sink. “2013 will see a continued trend towards stone, copper and fireclay farmhouse sinks. Companies like Kohler are introducing farmhouse sinks in styles to compliment even the most modern style kitchen like brushed nickel and stainless steel.” reports Examiner.com.

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

8) Quartz and Concrete Countertops: While granite still remains a popular countertop material choice, other stylish and durable material choices are gaining momentum. Quartz and concrete are two durable and stylish options.

Tell us what you think of these trends. Do you think they have a lot of longevity  Is this what you want in a stylish kitchen? Let us know!

Guys Baking Cookies For Science

Does Preheating Your Oven Really Make a Difference?

Most baking recipes, or any recipes for that matter – usually begin with preheating instructions, followed by the preparation instructions. When you start to gather your ingredients together and measure them out, that’s the time to turn your oven on.  Depending on your baking and cooking needs, the benefits of preheating may not be as significant as the energy disadvantage you may experience.

So Why Does Every Recipe Say Preheat?

Preheating used to be a necessity back in the days of wood and coal powered stoves.  The stoves needed time to warm up in order to spread the heat evenly before baking.  Cookbook authors included the instructions in order to ensure the foods were properly cooked and baked goods turned out properly.

Today, gas and electric ovens are much more efficient than the stoves of the past.  Because of that, it may not be necessary to preheat your oven before you insert certain foods.  Still, certain delicate baked goods can come out undercooked, burned, or even fallen, depending on the oven temperature.  If the heat is constantly changing, you may ruin your breads, cookies, or cakes based on the recipe.  By preheating, you ensure the oven maintains the optimal environment and your recipe will turn out as planned.  Yet another reason to keep that oven door closed.  NO PEEKING!!

How Do I Know My Oven Is Up to Temperature?

While in operation, ovens cycle on and off to maintain an average temperature.  These cycles vary by oven and are time based rather than temperature based.  Some ovens cycle further from the desired temperature than others and some more frequently.  This is why many recipe and cookbook authors give time ranges or visual clues like:“Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean”; or “Bake until the muffin is springy to the touch”; or “Bake until the crust is golden brown around the edges.”

It is important to get to know your oven and learn to trust your own judgment.  Still, when you are in doubt, you can always use an oven thermometer.

We decided to put preheating to the test  with the help of some of the staff at our Orchard Park location and some premade sugar cookie dough.  We baked the first batch without preheating the oven and a second batch there after and timed the results…

Inspiration for the Thanksgiving Table

From the top: 1, 2, 3

From the top left to right: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

From top left to right: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

The holidays bring an opportunity to jazz up your dining room table. Dining tables should be lovingly set and we were so inspired by all the images we found of beautiful thanksgiving tablscapes. Designs ranged from classic, to cozy and romantic, to rich and bold, to colorful and geometric. Furthermore, so many of the designs we saw pushed beyond thinking about just the centerpiece, incorporating the entire table with thoughtful  floral or seasonal embellishments and adding in complementary  flatware and drinkware. These our just a few of our favorites. How will you decorate your table for the holiday festivities?

Clever Ways to Save in the Kitchen and Laundry Room

 

Home appliances save us a bunch of time, a bunch of energy, and a bunch of money.  We are always on the lookout for finding simple clever ways to save more time and money; and, we’re happy to pass them along.

Stains: The key to successful stain removal is pre-treating BEFORE you wash.  Keep a clean paintbrush next to your washing machine.  Instead of pouring liquid detergent on stains, paint it on.  This allows you to better target the stained area and reduces waste and spills.

** If ring around the collar is a challenge, try the paintbrish technique using a bit of hair shampoo on your dress shirts and blouses.

Keep it Clean: Run your front load washer once a month using hot water and some white vinegar.  Do not use any detergent. This will help clean out any soap residue and avoid possible service issues. If your washer has a clear window, you can look to see if the water has plenty of suds as the machine is running.  If this is the case, chances are you are either using non High Efficency (HE) detergent, or you’re just using too much.

Maintenance: Open and close washer faucets monthly, especially if you have hard water. This will help keep them from sticking when you need to turn them off in an emergency. And always turn them off when you leave for vacation to avoid returning home to any possible leaks.

Dryer Vents: The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates there are 24,000 clothes dryer fires each year in the United States, amounting to $96,000,000 in estimated property damage. Lack of maintenance is the leading cause of dryer fires and LINT is the leading material to ignite. Be sure to check your dryer’s venting system on a regular basis. It not only improves performance but it may save your life.

Cupcakes & Muffins:   If you don’t have enough cupcake or muffin batter to fill all the openings in your tin, pour a little water into the empty ones.  This helps prevent the pan from burning and can help make cleanup a bit easier.

Breads: If baking bread is your thing, this may be the best time saver yet:  Set your covered bowl of dough in the sink with warm water.  This can really speed up the rising time and get you baking instead of waiting.

Dishwashing Dilemma: If you are doing dishes by hand and find yourself with drinking glasses that are stuck together:  Fill the top glass with cold water, then dip the outer glass in hot water.  They should come apart without strain or breakage.

** As a matter of record, we always prefer you do your dishes using an automatic dishwasher purchased at Orville’s.

 Oven Racks: To clean oven racks, take them outside and put them in a large garbage bag.  With the bag held open, spray the racks with oven cleaner, and then tuck the bag around them. Put the bag in direct sunlight for several hours-or all day, if possible.  Then remove and discard the bag. Spray the racks with a garden hose. The racks should come out sparkling clean with very little scrubbing

Cookies If your oven has 3 racks you can use all 3 for cookies but it’s not recommended for cupcakes. Baking cookies on different cookie sheets will give different results when baking with dark cookie sheets or pans lower the temperature by 25 degrees to prevent burning.

Have a tip of your own you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear from you.  Please feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

Snack Attack

We can’t believe that we are well into August already. Where has the summer gone? We bet a lot of you out there are getting ready to go back to school. A new school year always brings lots of excitement for the whole family. Our schedules get super busy with fun after school sports and activities. And, all that activity can make growing kids hungry. We’ve searched the web for some great after school snacks and treats and thought we’d share some of our favorites with you. Enjoy!

1. Baked Mozerella Bites

Baked Mozzarella Bites are a quick and healthy alternative to fried cheese sticks. via Cooking Light.

2. Ham and Apple Wraps With Dip 

Quick, delicious and nutritious. via Martha Stewart.

3. No Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars 

Easy Grab-and-Go snack. via Two Peas and Their Pod

4. Veggie Mini Pizza 

Kids will happily eat all their veggies when they are on a pizza. via Food Network

5. Fruit Sundae Cones

Avoiding snacks high in sugar is easy with a healthy alternative of fresh fruit served in fun ice cream cones. via Better Homes and Gardens

6. Popcorn Balls

Get creative and use whatever mixed nuts and/or dried fruit your kids like in these popcorn balls. via Martha Stewart.

7. Cookie Monster Cookies

Everyone will be a fan of this cookie – big and little kids alike. via Created by Diane

8. Apple Nachos 

A sweet twist on a classic snack food featuring Fall’s favorite fruit. via Real Mom Kitchen

9. Chocolate Zucchini Mini Muffins

Kids won’t be able to taste the healthy zucchinni in these yummy chocolate-y muffins. Via Taste and Tell Blog

PS- Wishing everyone a great, safe, and happy school year!

PPS- Make sure to check out our Pinterest Board for more great snack-spiration.