Author Archives for Lisa @ Modern Hen Home

About Lisa @ Modern Hen Home

Hi friends and welcome! I'm Lisa, a wife and mom all about faith, food and feathering our family nest. Here at Modern Hen Home, I share simple, sometimes old-fashioned recipes, easy crafts and DIY. Painting relaxes me and hunting flea-markets is my favorite past time. Stop by for a visit, leave me a message, then let's connect on facebook!

Spring Cleaning: How to Deep Clean Your Kitchen & Recipe for Southern Sweet Iced Tea

How to clean a kitchen

 Big Spring Deep Clean for the Kitchen

Have you heard the saying, A clean home is a happy home? Sounds corny doesn’t it?  But, if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Who doesn’t appreciate coming home to a clean, orderly, neat house. It is satisfying to know your home is in order and looking its best.

Spring is the best time to clean and de-clutter the most used rooms in your house. The temperature outside is just right, and freshening the nest adds to the excitement of a new season. It’s also the best time to tackle the nitty-gritty, down and dirty cleaning you’ve probably been putting off  — like wiping fixtures and light bulbs, vacuuming behind the refrigerator and stove — getting the whole house squeaky clean!

I have gathered a list of cleaning to-dos for the kitchen. Don’t stress about trying to get the whole job finished in one day.  Break it up into smaller jobs so you don’t get overwhelmed. Try to complete one or two tasks during the week or during downtime, but don’t put off the the big spring deep clean for the kitchen too long, or you may miss the window of opportunity to finish it before the invitations for weddings, graduation parties and barbecues come in.

Start at the top of a room and work your way down. Here is a flexible list of cleaning supplies you will need:

• all-purpose spray cleaner, vinegar (optional), mild de-greaser, baking soda, clean rags and lint-free rags, old newspaper, cleaning bucket, rubber gloves, Magic Eraser pad, broom/electric sweeper, mop, duster, vacuum,  hand-vacuum,  touch-up paint, small sponge brushes (optional).

How to Clean the Ceilings & Walls

Wear a baseball cap to keep the falling particles out of your hair and eyes.

• Brush down cobwebs and vacuum up residue to keep allergens and dust mites at bay.

• Mist rag with water and wipe down ceilings and walls. Use all-purpose spray cleaner to remove smoke, grease or any other film on the surface.

• Touch-up scuff marks with paint. I keep a small amount of matching paint for each of my rooms in an air-tight, plastic bottle, labeled with room and color. Shake, then squeeze a small amount of paint on a paper plate and cover scuff mark. Discard plate and sponge brush. Quick and easy!

How to Clean Fan lights, Bulbs and Fixtures – If you are like me, it has been awhile since you last cleaned them.

• Unplug or turn off electricity for safety.

• Spritz dust rag with cleaner, never spray directly on a fixture or bulb, wipe clean.

• Fan blades – Use a pillowcase to lay over each ceiling fan blade, pull dust off and vacuum debris.

How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets & Drawers

• Fill a water bucket half way with mild cleaning detergent and warm water.

• Wipe each door of upper and lower cabinets top to bottom. Rinse with clean rag and water, then dry.

• Cabinets near stove may be extra grimey. Use mild-degreaser (I like Simple Green for grease removal and as an all-purpose cleaner) to lift grease.  Clean once a week to avoid tough build-up.

• De-clutter and organize cabinets and drawers.

• Tighten loose handles and knobs.

• Glass and mirrored doors — spray and wipe down with scrunched up newspaper until dry. Check glass pane for looseness and run a bead of clear rubber silicone along the interior corners where glass sits in place within the door.

How to Clean the Stove & Cooking Area

• Remove metal burner trays and vent filters, place in dishwasher for a deep clean to release gunk.

• Spray vent hood, along with top and front of stove, wipe clean.

• Pull the stove away from the wall to clean and vacuum.

• Clean outside and inside door of oven and walls.

• Consider the self-cleaning option if it’s available. Read manufacturers instructions.

How to Clean the Microwave

• Soak dish rag in plain water and partially squeeze dry. Place in microwave with 1/2 a lemon, turn on 1 minute to heat, steam and dissolve grime and odors.

• Allow rag and lemon to cool a few minutes, they will be hot! Use rubber gloves to wipe clean.

How to Clean the Refrigerator

• Pull refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum behind and under to avoid possible electrical fire. (Our last refrigerator had an electrical fire so I know the danger firsthand. Thankfully we were in the kitchen when it sparked!)

• Remove old containers and expired foods and condiments.

• Empty produce and meat drawers and remove them to spray out debris in the sink. Wipe down the interiors and dry.

• Spray and wipe exterior top and sides with mild cleanser.

How to Clean Stainless Steel 

• Use special polishing cream made to remove prints and spots.

• Do not over-apply the cleaner which could make the surface greasy.

• Using dry side of a lint-free rag, buff and shine.

• Never use abrasive cleaners on stainless steel.

How to Clean the Dishwasher

• Clean exterior panels the same as refrigerator. Wipe down interior door and along rubber sealer. Check for any build-up inside machine and remove.

• Follow stainless steel cleaning steps if needed.

I use Cascade Complete packets in our machine, and find I no longer need a deodorizing tablet or a rinse agent. Dishes sparkle and no more soap film!

How to Clean Countertops & Sink

• Spray with all-purpose cleaner and wipe down.

• Remove clutter, put away small appliances and unnecessary items.

• Scour sink with all-purpose cleaner and pad, or with baking soda and water to keep the drain fresh.

How to Care for Stone Counters

• Consider sealing, or resealing them every 6-12 months to ensure they remain stain-free. It is usually a simple task of wiping liquid sealer over counters, letting sealer penetrate for a few minutes, wiping dry.

How to Clean & Organize the Food Pantry

• Purge and organize boxes, cans, bags, storage containers.

• Spray and wipe down shelves, walls, ceiling, floor.

• Consider an efficient food storing system that takes up less space.

• Place a basket on the floor for paper towels, dog treat bags, extra items, paper towels, etc.

How to Clean Hard Surface Floors & Interior Doors

 Rugs

• Take outdoors and shake off dust. (Indoor/Outdoor rugs with pad work well at entryways, stove and sink areas.)

• Spray with mild cleanser, rinse with a hose, air-dry in the sun. Do the same for Rug Pads, or if they are fairly small, run through the laundry washer without detergent.

Baseboards, Doors & Trim –

• Use dust broom to quickly wipe down baseboards or spray and wipe clean if dirty.

• Do the same for interior doors and trim.

• Touch-up scuffs with paint.

Laminate & Wood Floors –

• Use soft-bristle broom or electric sweeper that will not scratch the finish. Sweep well under stove, refrigerator and cabinets. Vacuum pile of debris to suck up dust mites and allergens.

Mopping

• Use a sponge mop and a mix of 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 gallon of warm water to clean laminate and wood floors. Or, use floor cleaner suggested by flooring manufacturer. I have found some floor cleaners leave a film on laminate flooring so I prefer vinegar/water solution, or simple warm water for quick touch-ups on my laminate floors. Follow manufacturers instructions for cleaning hardwoods.

Tile floors

• Clean tile and grout with solution especially made for them, or mix baking soda and water for a homemade cleaner: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into 2 gallons water and mix very well. Apply the liquid with string or sponge mop.

• For grout, use the same baking soda and water mixture. Scour extra dirty grout with scrub pad or toothbrush.

Extra Things to Do in the Kitchen 

• Scour out the trash can; organize under the sink cabinet; clean the pet feeding area, wipe down display items such as bowls, cookbooks, small appliances, etc.

It’s a big job to deep clean the kitchen, but well worth the effort and benefits that follow. Don’t get overwhelmed, complete each task as you can, then enjoy your accomplishments!

To quench your thirst while cleaning, make this real Southern Sweet Iced Tea to have on-hand. Baking soda… yes baking soda… is key to it’s smooth flavor. Try it with a little less sugar then the recipe calls for, unless you prefer it very sweet. Enjoy!

Have a blessed weekend!

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DIY: Simple Sharpie Silhouette of Your Pet

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Here is a simple art project that you can make in a matter of minutes once you’ve gathered your supplies. There are many ways to make silhouette line art drawings, and this one is easy and fun! It will look great on a wall near your pet’s sleeping or eating area, also mixed in with a collage of family photos, or on a table near an entry door. I was inspired to draw this rendering of our Toby when I saw these custom pieces of art here.  When I like a piece of art in a magazine, I like to Continue reading

Asian Red Pepper Beef & Mushrooms

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This Asian Beef dish is delicious and one of my favorites to make because it’s easy and tastes like I just picked it up from our favorite Chinese restaurant. You only need 30 minutes to prepare it. Slicing the meat and peppers thin is key to cooking and getting it on the table quickly.  If you choose to grill the meat, slice it thin just before adding to the cooked vegetables. Another option is to wrap a small portion of the beef mixture in a warm tortilla to eat fajita-style. I warm tortilla’s individually in the microwave for 12-15 seconds at the same time I call family to the dinner table.

Asian Red Pepper Beef & Mushrooms


Soy sauce mix
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons red cooking wine
3 tablespoons of sugar
4 teaspoons of rice vinegar
1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to your taste)
1 teaspoon corn starch

Beef & Vegetables
1 tablespoon plus one tsp of vegetable oil
3/4 pound boneless New York Strip steak, thinly sliced (optional: use a tenderizer mallot before slicing)
1 large (or 2 small) red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves minced
cooked rice for serving
thinly sliced scallions or green onions for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sherry, sugar, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and cornstarch. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. In two batches, cook meat, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Add 1 teaspoon oil and mushrooms to skillet and cook 2 minutes. Add bell peppers to mushrooms, stirring until peppers are crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Whisk soy sauce mixture and add to skillet along with steak. Cook, stirring until sauce thickents, 1 minute.  To serve, spoon beef mixture over rice and top with scallions or green onions if desired.

Lisa

Homemade Chicken Potpie & Creamy Chicken and Noodles

Find the recipe here and helpful video!

Easy to make in a 9″ pie shell or as mini pies like the one pictured here.

Here is a great how-to make homemade chicken potpie video you can view at the link below. I’m on a comfort food kick since the weather is still too cold to grill outdoors. Be sure to pick up a roasted chicken from your grocer and dice up the breasts to make this potpie even easier to prepare.

Chicken Potpie recipe link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-pot-pie-ix/detail.aspx?src=VD_Summary.

Creamy Chicken & Noodles


Diced leftover cooked chicken
2 packages of Old-Fashioned Noodles (I used Inn Made Wide Noodles)
1 cup each: diced carrots, celery & onions
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
1/4 cup oil
favorite soup spices on hand
2 tablespoons creamy chicken base (Gordon Foods has great bases.)

Saute onions, carrots, celery in oil until slightly softened. Add your favorite spices (I add a pinch of red pepper, and a dash of onion powder, garlic powder, along with a liberal amount of thyme, basil or a favorite Italian spice.)

Once the vegetables are carmelized, add 2 tablespoons creamy chicken base, and 6 – 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Taste the broth, add a small amount of base if needed.

Add the old-fashioned noodles, peas and cooked chicken and simmer. The flour in the noodles will thicken the broth. Once the noodles are cooked turn off the stove and allow the pot to rest. The longer it rests the creamier and less broth you will have.

I hope you find these meals fairly easy and a pleasure to make. Don’t forget to sign up to receive Modern Hen Home posts in your mailbox and also Like my page on Facebook and then share. Have a blessed day!

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How To Hand Paint A Lettered Sign

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I love graphic signs, don’t you? They say so much about who we are or what we hope for each day.

They are good reminders…

… and can show off a family’s personality with just a few words on display for all who pass by to see.

The sticky vinyl ones you can buy at a craft store, or custom order online, are so very cool… until they need to be temporarily moved from the wall.

Like that time I needed to repaint the kitchen and my big, pretty scrolled words above the sink along the soffit had to go. Remembering how much I paid for it originally made the job of removing and discarding it that much more painful.

I cried giant crocodile tears that day.

And decided… I won’t pay that much again. 

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Now my new sign is much more modest in size and less fancy…

…and I like that it can be moved from room-to-room when I choose.

And this easy tutorial helped me figure out how to make it before getting started:  how-to hand paint letters.

There are two options for transferring letters to your board or canvas… I chose the pencil shading technique (chalk was the other option).  After lightly tracing each words on the canvas, simply fill them in with acrylic paint.

A curvy font or type is more forgiving for those of us with a less steady hand who tend to color outside of the lines a bit.  It may help to print words as a sample in a few sizes to decide which one fits your canvas best.

To frame, I purchased thin slat wood from Lowe’s, measured and cut it with a mitre saw, stained it with polyurethane and allowed it to dry overnight. Once dry I tapped it together around the canvas with finishing nails.

Have fun!

Lisa

DIY White Heron Painting Inspired by Ballard Designs

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Last winter I was motivated to try my hand at recreating a colorful heron painting like the one shown here from Ballard Designs. It’s a large print giclee on canvas and the blend of paint colors and whole scene remind me of Florida and summertime.

Winters can be long in Michigan, and this painting project helped with all the snow days spent indoors. I sketched the bird, trees and foliage as a guide to painting each area, then layered and mixed a variety of acrylic paints to get the colors I liked. To frame it, I stained wood strips from Lowes and nailed them to the canvas to mimic the inspiration piece.

This was a fun art project and not too difficult to do. I worked on it here and there over a few weeks when I had time to spare. If I made a color choice I didn’t care for, I just painted over it and began again. I sealed it and gave it a slightly glossy shine with a clear glaze.

How about you, do you paint, craft, and work on DIY projects? Do you enjoy recreating affordable inspiration art for your home? Please share with me by leaving a comment.

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