I took on my most dreaded household task today: scrubbing the master bath shower.
No matter how often I clean it, it still looks horrible (and it looked this way when we bought our house). Yes, I've tried every natural cleaning idea I can find. I've tried a ton of store products, too; even industrial strength shower cleaning products. I've tried spraying it every day after using it, in order to prevent grime and build-up. In my desperation, I've even sprayed bleach on that tile. :(
It's also a tough shower to clean, because it's wheelchair accessible. That means that there is no ledge or barrier between the floor of the shower and the floor of our bathroom.
Water generally gets everywhere. :(
Usually, my rotator cuff area in my right shoulder starts killing me after two hours of scrubbing so that it's hard to sleep all night. Ibuprofen would ease the pain, but my stomach can't tolerate that medication, so I suffer.
But today was the day for deep cleaning the shower. As I worked and scrubbed away, I began to grumble in my mind, and even thought the words, "I hate this shower." The tiny one-inch tiles on the floor have needed the grout to be replaced about 20 years ago due to a number of years of neglect from tenants who rented this house.
Since my husband has assured me that redoing the master bath will be his last project on our house, I don't expect it to be remodeled anytime soon.
"I hate this shower."
I'm surprised this thought even came into my mind while scrubbing away.
For years and years now, ever since my girls were tiny tots, I have made a conscious effort to not use the word "hate" except when referring to Satan and evil.
I admit it. I allowed myself to mull on that thought for a few minutes. Shame-shame-shame.
Then, I began to pray. "Jesus, help me to be grateful for this shower, even though it is so difficult to clean and causes me pain. I don't want to hate this shower anymore!"
After that, I began to think of other showers I've seen or used, that were far less pleasant than this tough-to-clean shower of mine. (While I haven't actually used these specific showers, below, you know what I mean.)
And I began to realize that we are very blessed here in the United States to even have two showers.
Much of the world's population doesn't have access to even one shower - and if they have a shower, it won't look as nice as mine, the one I was grumbling about.
Even though I'd love my shower to look like this, above, I'm going to choose to be grateful for the shower that we already have, despite all its flaws.
It's not going to be easy. Satan is going to try to trip me up and cause me to think negative, unkind thoughts about my shower. But I'm just gonna pray those thoughts away, like I did today.
You know what? I waited all evening for my right shoulder to begin pounding with pain. It never did!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving us when we are unlovely. Even as unlovely as a dirty, "I-Need-To-Be-Remodeled" shower.
Parallel parking. . . does the photo, above, pretty much sum up your feelings about parallel parking?
In our small town, I haven't had to parallel park in many years.
Probably since I was in high school.
Yes, we do have parking spots downtown that are designed for parallel parking, only. But the downtown area isn't horribly busy except for a few times a year, so I can always find two open spots next to each other.
That's why I've got away with not needing to parallel park for so many years!
Things change when a high schooler is learning to drive, however! Even though my community doesn't require parallel parking on the driver license field exam, I still want my daughters to be able to parallel park and not be completely afraid of the process.
However, since I hadn't parallel parked in so many years, I decided not to teach my 15-year-old yet.
Then, my sister's friend posted a YouTube video for her that easily and quickly describes how to parallel park with ease.
This is ingenious! I'm thrilled to have watched this helpful, quick DVD. You can bet that I'll be showing this to my oldest daughter tomorrow so she can learn how to easily parallel park - even better than her mom.
Here's the helpful video. EnJOY your weekend - even if it requires you to do some parallel parking!
Lindsey O’Connor is the author of four books, a freelance journalist, and speaker who has contributed to American Public Media’s Weekend America, WashingtonPost.com, The Rocky Mountain News, Christianity Today, Guideposts and others. She’s a former radio and television anchor and her audio book was a finalist for an Audio Publishers Association award. True story is her thing.
In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links in my posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products I use personally. Your purchases through these links help support Joy In Our Journey. I humbly thank you for your support!
I can justify my addiction, because chocolate is supposed to be good for us now, right?
Since I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes a couple of years ago, I had to change my mindset.
Sure, dark-dark chocolate is good for us; but the added sugar and carbs is not good for me - and probably most Americans.
When our family went "mostly sugar free" over 8 months ago, I grieved the thought of giving up sweets. Thankfully, with Trim Healthy Mama as our lifestyle eating guide, I haven't had to give up sweet treats and desserts. I've just changed up the way I prepare those kinds of goodies these days, and it mostly leaves me satisfied. I still crave Peanut Buster Parfaits from DQ from time to time - being honest here.
One of the key ingredients in some of the recipes I enjoy, especially a Reese's Peanut Butter-ish shake, and my Low-Carb Mocha Ice Cream, is chocolate extract.
Have you priced that stuff recently? Ouch! I couldn't find chocolate extract in my local grocery stores. It's probably there somewhere, but I didn't find it. Online, I found the highly recommended Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract, but it isn't cheap.
It is delicious, however. Yummm!
My mocha ice cream recipe calls for 2 tsp. of chocolate extract, so it didn't take long for me to figure that we'd be going through the extract faster than I wanted to pay for it.
I decided it was time to figure out how to make my own Chocolate Extract, and I thought I'd share my DIY version with you in case some of you would like to try this for yourself!
Be aware that this isn't an overnight project. While it's quick and easy to put together, it will need to sit in a dark cupboard for 6-12 weeks...and possibly even longer, depending on how strong you'd like it. Some folks let it sit for as long as 10 months!
Measure 1-1/2 cups vodka into a measuring cup. Now's the time to decide if you want to double or triple your batch...or not.
Something I've learned from making homemade vanilla: if you want the end result to be gluten-free, you'll want to look for alcohol made from potato mash. See the phrase on the bottle, above?
"TRIPLE DISTILLED FROM POTATOES"
That's what will make this recipe "gluten-free". If the vodka or alcohol is made from a grain mash, it won't be gluten-free.
I decided to use potato mash alcohols in all of my extract recipes so that when friends and relatives come over for a meal, I'm able to offer a completely gluten-free recipe. Just being neighborly!
Measure 3/4ths of a cup of cocoa powder and smell that chocolatey yumminess! Just don't inhale it. I don't want to be sued for a collapsed lung, folks.
The darker the cocoa powder, the better. You may enjoy using Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder or spring for something of even higher quality (and more expensive). The choice is up to you.
Two to three times each week, gently shake the extract and place it back into the dark recesses of your kitchen cupboards.
After six weeks, you may start checking the extract to see how it smells and tastes. The goal is to not just taste vodka, but to definitely taste a stronger concentrated chocolate flavor. Depending on how you like chocolate extract, you may want to store it for as long as 10 months before using it. That's up to you!
DIY Homemade Chocolate Extract
Pour 1-1/2 cups vodka into a 2-cup glass mason jar. Gently stir in 3/4th cup cocoa powder.
Place tight-fitting lid onto jar. Store jar in dark cupboard, shaking gently every 3-4 days.
Allow to sit for 6-8 weeks, or up to 10 months, before using chocolate extract.
Chocolate extract doesn't need to be refrigerated, and can be stored indefinitely for your baking and cooking uses. EnJOY!
Do you have a recipe binder? Print off this recipe for yourself!
Here's a free printable sheet of labels you may use to decorate your jars!
Chocolate Extract may be used with any type of recipe you'd like! However, if you're using the Trim Healthy Mama way of cooking, you may enjoy taking a look at my Trim Healthy Mama style Visual Shopping Guide...a virtual shopping list of ideas when you are grocery shopping.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
You'll find me in the kitchen
trying new Trim Healthy Mama recipes, loving God, and carrying out that love as I bless my husband and teen daughters.
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