A Clean Sweep – The Family Helper Badge

We (Mom and I) have been, the past few months looking over the requirements for the AHG Family Helper Badge.  This badge has tasks that help girls with basic life skills, and is required for the ultimate AHG goal – the Stars and Stripes Award.

I had, after six months, done only four requirements out of seven.  I had cleaned out my closet, gone grocery shopping, and mopped many a floor but there were a few household jobs that we needed to tackle so this past month I doubled down to work on those remaining requirements.

A big requirement (#16)  is the family project, which we did in early November at Grandma Midge’s house. We tore up the grass and weeds that had pretty  much taken over her 20 x 25 foot garden, hoed and raked the soil, and then layered wet leaves, newspapers, and pinestraw.  The idea is that these will deteriorate, provide fertilization, and insulation. Then we covered all that with an enormous blue tarp. So, I have that one covered. Pun intended!

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Another requirement (#14) is to do the laundry for you or your family.  I have had laundry responsibilities for a while.  I was responsible for washing the family bedding and towels once a week, last year.  Still, for this badge, I washed, dried, folded and put away all of my clothes for a week.

The third requirement (#15) was to make a whole day’s worth of meals. THAT was a tiring day, be assured. I am not a chef, in my opinion. I am a baker. My day began with making a frittata with olives, bacon, green onions, and, of course, eggs, I served that with toast and some strawberries.  Lunch was heating up some tomato soup and making grilled cheese sandwiches.  For dinner  I put together homemade Mac-and-Cheese from the kids cookbook Honest Pretzels, with lots of peas in it, along with bacon bits left over from the morning and served it with hot dogs and sauerkraut.

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Requirement #13 included a list of chores that are typically done on a weekly or monthly basis.  Participants have to pick five of them to do.  Mom and I chose to clean the refrigerator, wash windows, clean a light fixture, clean the oven, and mop the floor.  You know the Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…” This month that phrase has developed a whole new meaning.

We first cleaned the refrigerator.  Mom found a blog with all natural cleaning solutions, and hung around and inspected while I did all the work. She helped me remove the shelves, and drawers and stuff, and she threw away some things.  Looks pretty good doesn’t it!?

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Washing the windows was comparatively easy.

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Cleaning light fixtures in an old house is a little nerve-wracking.  Some of them just required dusting, but we took down the light fixture in the butler’s pantry to clean out the inside and get insects out.  Yuck. I carefully unscrewed the light fixture  (Be careful, It’s irreplaceable,” said Mom. No pressure there.) and washed it out, and carefully sponged it down. Then I carefully climbed the ladder to carefully put the shade back over the light bulb, and carefully fixed the screws in.  Get that? Carefully!

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Mopping the floors is another familiar chore.  I first swiffered the floors, dusted what I could reach of the wood work, and then mopped the floor with another kind of moppish-y-swiffer. For the badge, I did both of our bathroom floors.

Finally, I cleaned the oven using all natural ingredients.  We began on Sunday night, using instructions Mom found on Pinterest.  I prepared a baking soda/water mixture, and spread it literally all over the inside of the oven with the only exception being the heating elements. The next morning, I took several wet rags and wiped the oven clean, squirting tough spots with vinegar and water. The vinegar works with the baking soda and has a chemical reaction, and loosens the grease.  It worked amazingly well.  Mom was thrilled (and surprised).  She mixed a little more water in to make the Baking Soda almost like a glaze, to get the oven door a little cleaner.  She also had me clean the microwave even though the badge did not say microwave.  Something about the spirit versus the letter…

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Requirement (#17) is ironing.  I looked beforehand at about five You Tube videos about people ironing, so I felt like I knew everything when I started. I actually did okay, but I had to check the videos a couple times to see how to do shirt cuffs and collars.  They ended up looking quite nice, if I do say so myself!

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This has been a tiring couple of weeks, like I said. But fun, none the less!  Mom says that she is very thankful that I worked on the Family Helper Badge in the weeks before Thanksgiving!  So, procrastinating can be a good thing.  Well…

Links to the articles and videos I watched:

How to Clean & Organize a Refrigerator

How to Clean an Oven With Baking Soda and Vinegar

67 Homemade, All Natural Cleaning Recipes

Ironing a Dress Shirt:

How to Iron Trousers:
http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/08/29/how-to-iron-trousers/

Put on some Vivaldi and watch this one:

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