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Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Christmas Newsletter

My dearest friends and strangers on the interwebs,

2013 is a year we will not soon forget.  It has been a tremendous year of excitement.  By excitement I really mean not-so-organized-chaos.

Full disclosure--I am NOT wearing my Christmas jammies.  I don't really like jammies...I'm in yoga pants covered in sawdust and my only shirt without paint that isn't reserved for wakes and weddings.  

January started off kind of boring...built a table, wainscotted my dining room...played with Christmas toys...made my final payment on my Equinox.

Then I said to the boss one night "let's not worry about a new house closer to the will happen when it happens."  We contracted for a new furnace.  The next afternoon Wayne's Dad told him we could have a house!  It went something like this:  I drive around back at the farm, knock part of the exhaust off bottoming out in frozen ruts, come up front, boss gets in "I was up in the house talking to my father"  "about what?"  "plans"  "like for a house?"(totally joking)  "well...seed/planting oh and yes...a house"  "what...really? the furnace guy comes tomorrow"  "well we need it anyway"....

That was the first of three heating appliances purchased this year.

February 25th I started ripping out old carpet and wallpaper in the new to us house.  This is also when we started eating random crap.  My entire budget went to Lowes, Home Depot...and Dunkin Donuts.  I abandoned my pantry and kitchen...I did some's kind of all a blur, but we made it out alive.  On Memorial Day we moved into the new--150 year old---house.  

The rest of the year is kind of a dusty cloud of sawdust, drywall dust, wall tearing out, plaster dust and a lot of "where are yous" and "put the cat down" and "George we don't bang things with the hammer....well...I do...but you don't."  

I may have given up on menus and planning somewhere along the way.  I mostly tried to alternate pizza, something with cheese and bacon and pasta with sauce for most of the year.  Which is harder than you think if you throw chicken parm into the mix.  That's where pancakes help.

Though, from where I am sitting, I can see the barn where our 65 dairy cows live...I'm usually out of milk.  Now that it's winter and our 20 chickens are on hiatus I'm usually out of eggs too.  Oh...and though we raise our own beef...I'm out.  My husband got a little enthusiastic before labor day with seasonally higher beef prices and sent the one for our freezer to the auction.  Which helped buy the second heating appliance of the year---the woodstove...but um...empty freezer.  

The good news is our lycopene levels are amazing and I discovered it's cheaper to buy sauce in a case of #10 cans.  Which I'm also out of now.

Our exciting black Friday purchase was a pellet stove...for heating the back of the house/kitchen/upstairs...heating appliance #3 in 10 months.  woot.

So now I'm spending two days trying to de-dust my house...and then I realize my chop saw is still in my office and there is an excellent chance I will want to use it again today....but I invited people over to my house...on purpose.  Despite the crazy of this year I've been trying to work on hospitality and loving people.  Which is great because I average 8 weeks on a email reply, 4 months on a fb message reply and a voicemail is pretty much talking to yourself.  But when I read all these blogs and books about being welcoming I embrace it...and try to ignore the fact that this house will be dusty and mid-project for at least 2 more years. 

 Would pledge wipes be the wrong party favor?

Hopefully the year we rent/sell the other house...because it's fun paying a mortgage on a vacant blast...and electric...and oil...and...yea.
The year the main bathroom and kitchen get updated.
The year I start to use my kitchen again to make something creative?
Hopefully the year I send out the 2013 Christmas cards...but first...I need to take the boys' Christmas picture...which...well...should probably be done before Christmas decor is taken down...which at this rate....well...who's good at photoshop?

Friday, January 27, 2012

An Honest Company

It's rare that a nationwide company captures my attention.  I am a big etsy/local business supporter.  I am ever-frustrated with crappy customer service.  My darling hubby sometimes thinks I get too upset about it and that I shouldn't contact as many corporate offices as I do (usually to no avail) but it's something I'm passionate about.  My grandparents owned a small deli/store in the Bronx, Naughton's Irish Deli, on 242nd st.  Though many years have passed since it was operated by our family the stories that live on are of people.  The senior citizens we delivered groceries to, the orders of individual customers that still resonate in my father's, uncles' and aunt's heads.  It was about people.  It was real.  Things were done right, corners weren't cut, and everyone took ownership in having a great relationship with and providing top notch service to the customers.

My frustration with many companies these days lies in the "that's not my job" mentality of many employees.  One would think that in today's economy with less consumer dollars to go around, local branches of larger companies would realize that how you treat your customers today, guarantees your job for tomorrow.  As my father always said about his Yankee Doodle Circus "This year's show sells next year's tickets."

So some flashy new company with an actress at the helm pops up a week ago.  I was of course skeptical but always game for free samples.  So I jumped on the bandwagon, fully intent on canceling the subscription immediately.  On a chilly, grey winter day I stalked the front door around UPS time, and sure enough he brought me a delightful box of goodies from The Honest Company.  Again, excited for free stuff, but still skeptical.  I was captivated by clean lined packaging, casual but informative info packets, and easy to open packaging.  I was romanced by "Proudly made in the USA" and delightful natural scents.  George was ready for a nap so I brought him, our new diaper and wipe samples upstairs and embarked on diaper duty.  Hmm, these are adorable!  No cartoon characters!  yay!  Soft and well thought out.  The wipes were very effective, albeit thinner than the Huggies "washcloth" wipes, lovely subtle scents and they are compostable!

After putting George down for his nap I went downstairs to dive further into the kit.  The hand soap, heavenly.  I used a drop, and by drop I mean what my grandmother would have called a "smidgen."  It was pleasantly aromatic, labeled "organic lemongrass" but reminded me of pink grapefruit from the Body Shop, great lather, not drying and I didn't get itchy hands from it.  I have discovered a soap sensitivity over the last year so try to use as much natural based soaps as I can.  No red spots, no itching.  Yay.

Joey walked in the door from school and had a chapped mouth, I think he licks his chin some, and I applied the "healing balm."  I did say to him "don't eat it" and he says "it tastes good"....good news is it's natural/organic.  It seemed to do a nice job clearing up his chapped skin over a couple days.

We've enjoyed the body lotion too, not greasy but effective and quick absorbing.

Also included was laundry detergent.  Yes I make my own.  Yes I just ran out.  So, why not?  Half of that little bottle?  OK here goes.  To be fair, we have REALLY dirty clothes.  Not me so much, but George is often covered in carrots or sweet potatoes when he tries to "help," Joey looks for dirt and dirt finds Wayne. This first load was no exception, in fact it might have been a little dirtier than an average load in our house.  I only used their soap and vinegar for the rinse.  I traditionally add a little borax, but wanted to see how it did on it's own.  Good results, not perfect, but good.  Pleasant, clean smell, but not overpoweringly perfumey.  I tossed a few diapers into the next load, but I wouldn't judge the soap on those.  I won't go into detail:)  For the next load I added a little borax (maybe 1/8th cup) and the vinegar for the rinse.  Awesome.  My kitchen towels and stubborn pot holders---bright white and no lingering stains...without bleach.  I have "killed" more clothes in the last year from bleach spillage than I would like to admit.

We had a leaky diaper issue.  (I use disposables at night these days as he was waking up soaked in the cloth ones after 12 hours.)  I posted a question to other moms on their facebook page.  In TEN minutes, TEN, the co-founder of the company wrote back wanting to know what size we were using, how big G was, etc.  Let me add, he did this on his personal account and without an introduction.  Had I not read the info packet, I may not have even known.  I love that this was about "the problem" and not about "guess who I am."   We had a few comments back and forth and a suggestion in "hose aim" that resulted in a dry night the next night.  One mom on there suggested going up a size too.

Yesterday morning one of the ladies from The Honest Company emailed me to tell me she has already sent some size 4s my way to try out and was very sweet in her email.  I emailed back with a couple questions and got a speedy, thorough and honest reply.  I wanted to know if all of the products were US made.  She explained that yes, all with the exception of the diapers which are made by an American company just over the border in Mexico, in an immaculate facility and of US materials.  Also, I had issues getting the wipes out of the trial pack with one hand (which is often the case in trial packs) she assured me that the regular sized ones are easier:)

These are real people. They care about their customers, genuinely, not just from a "damage-control" standpoint.  They understand that there are other companies out there vying for our dollars and they are putting people first.

Where do I stand?  I will certainly continue the "family essentials" bundle of the personal/household cleaning products.  I will order one case of diapers.  However, since we are a good 85% cloth I won't need them every month, but I'm likely to return.

Bottom line, it's not just a name.  They are honest in product and in commitment to the customer.

Try them out for yourself:  The Honest Company

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

When junk mail is good mail:)

One of my clutter minimization/dealing with my brain injury tactics is going through the mail when it comes in and putting it all in its place.  Let's face it, it's easier to do this on a daily/every other day basis then once a month when its a massive pile and you can't find the new insurance cards.
Two days ago I got two pieces of mail that were semi-related.  First a bill for a cookbook I never even opened and sent right back from America's Test Kitchen, apparently a "second notice."  I was disgruntled to say the least.  (It didn't help when I called once and was told I could pay online but nobody could talk to me, then I tried later and they were closed...)  The semi-related piece was a sample of Cook's Country Magazine.  I was on the way to the recycling bin with all the junk mail when I read the cover "Whipped Potatoes--Throw away your masher."  Pfft.  Yeah right.  I won't lie, I opened it to think I could prove them wrong.
So then I read the article and recipe.  Oh fine, it made sense.  As I purused the rest of the free edition I saw things like "Best ever tuna salad," "Easy pulled pork," "Crispy Baked French Fries," and "Old Fashioned Pecan Pie" (one of my father-in-law's favorites).   Sure enough, I read the whole darn thing.  Last night's menu called for "steak, potatoes, broccoli."  What a better time to try a new potato recipe.

I need to mention, as much as I love to cook and spend countless hours in the kitchen, new recipes can throw me for a loop.  I don't have the working memory to remember the next few steps, so I'm constantly back to the book to read and re-read.  It's crazy tiring.  This time though, totally worth it.

Here it is:

Whipped Potatoes
Serves 8 to 10

If your steamer basket has short legs (under 1 3/4 inches), the potatoes will sit in water as they cook and get wet. To prevent this, use balls of aluminum foil as steamer basket stilts. A stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment yields the smoothest potatoes, but a hand mixer may be used as well.
  • 4pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2cups whole milk
  • 8tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2teaspoons salt
  • 1/2teaspoon pepper
  • 1. COOK POTATOES Place cut potatoes in colander. Rinse under cold water until water runs clear, about 1 minute. Drain potatoes. Fill Dutch oven with 1 inch water. Bring water to boil. Place steamer basket in Dutch oven and fill with potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • 2. WARM DAIRY Heat milk, butter, salt, and pepper in small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking until smooth, about 3 minutes; cover and keep warm.
  • 3. WHIP POTATOES Pour contents of Dutch oven into colander and return potatoes to dry pot. Stir over low heat until potatoes are thoroughly dried, about 1 minute. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, break potatoes into small pieces on low speed, about 30 seconds. Add milk mixture in steady stream until incorporated. Increase speed to high and whip until potatoes are light and fluffy and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes. Serve.


Don't try this recipe in your food processor—its sharp blades cut open the starch granules and turn the potatoes to glue. The beating motion of the mixer makes smooth, fluffy potatoes every time.
    A food processor's blade makes gluey mashed potatoes.
    Use the mixer for light, fluffy whipped potatoes.

These are amazing!  Light, fluffy, creamy, smooth.  Honestly, they are even good cold.  I may have had a fingerfull while heating some leftovers up for br...uh....lunch?

I was kind of in a hurry putting these together and could have let them go another couple minutes steaming...we had a few lumps, but that was user error.  (It was 11:15, cut me some slack:)

I served these with rib-eyes, and peas.  Something else I learned, by accident, that was confirmed by smart people:)  I cooked our steaks from frozen last night at 425 convection on a williams sonoma grill pan in the oven.  They were AMAZING.  This morning in Cooks Country I was reading about freezing the steaks for a half hour to give them a crust when grilling.  Hmm, would you look at that:)  I take two steaks out of the freezer, throw them in a still warming oven, flip once and serve...and they wrote an article and spent weeks testing the theory.  Luckily, the homework is done for you, go get a steak out of the freezer and call it dinner:)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Small house love

In 1950 the average US home was 983 square feet and housed 3.67 people, around 265 square feet per person.  In 2005, the average US home was 2349 square feet and housed 2.62 people, or almost NINE HUNDRED square feet per person.
Based on current trends, three of us and probably the dog need to move out.
We have a little house.  Or is it little?  We have a whopping 912 above ground square feet, and four people; 228 square feet per person.  I can still hear a friend and my father referring to our house as "a great little starter house," when we purchased it in 2006 as a family of three.  At the time, I was a bit insulted.  "Starter?"  What?
I was pretty excited that we bought our first house.  After a few years I started thinking it was a bit small, then I read an article in a magazine somewhere that essentially said it is cheaper to re-do your small house to create spaces than buy a bigger house.  Oh, good idea.
In a period of about 18 months between 2009 and 2010 I redid (or at least planned the re-do) of every square inch of our house.  All new windows, doors, hardwood and tile on the first floor, new sink/faucet, fridge, oven, microwave, freezers, furnace, hot water heater, washer/dryer, bathroom (gutted--all new), no more wallpaper, all new paint, new basement stairs, finished the basement (pantry/laundry, school/playroom, shop), new drainage, carpeted the stairs, new deck railings, new fence, new playground, new shed/cabin, new fire pit, new landscaping, new porch, new chimney, two new ceilings...every.square.inch.  Pretty much the only things remaining are the kitchen cabinets, counters, roof,  upstairs flooring...yep, that's about it:)  (Which was all new when we bought the house.)  Needless to say, there was a LOT of dust, countless trips to Lowes, lots of measuring, and lots of research.
There are days that I would like more room.  Once a year or so I get some crazy idea and a notebook and start planning on how to redo a house somewhere.  This happened again last week.  Wayne was actually listening to me until he saw the notebook and said "oh no, not the notebook!"
So after all the craziness here, why on earth would I want to start over?  Insanity?  Probably.
Here is the list of what I would like in a bigger house:

  • A guest bedroom
  • First floor bathroom
  • First floor pantry/butler's pantry
  • Second floor laundry (or Aunt Ann's laundry shoot)
  • A dishwasher
  • A larger range and/or double wall ovens
  • An island with seating.
  • A closet
  • An office
  • A fireplace
  • Lots of parking
  • To go out on my deck and not see my neighbors.  I LOVE my neighbors.  I'm devastated that they are moving away.  Sometimes, I need quiet.  I like to go out on the deck, but not always to socialize.
  • To be able to invite everyone I'd like to events without worrying where we were going to put them.

That's about it.

I even asked Joey last week what he thought about moving.  He said "We don't NEED a bigger house."

Darn it.  He's right.

We don't.

The boys share a room.  Joey is pretty sure that one of these days George will wake him up.  So far it's only been the reverse.  Is storage sometimes a challenge?  Sure.  Do they survive?  Yep.

If we had a bigger house I could actually fit that beautiful table from PB in my dining room.  I still couldn't afford it, but I could fit it.

From a budget standpoint, a bigger house comes with--traditionally--a bigger mortgage, higher taxes, higher utilities, more snow to move, more (some) lawn to mow, and more furniture to buy.  If it were an older house that list of projects could take up two notebooks.

If I had more space, maybe I would hoard things rather then pass them on to someone who can use them.  I wouldn't have to be as creative.  I might not be as good at measuring.  I would need more time to clean.  I might not be able to find the kids.  (There are moments when being on the second floor and hearing Joey's tractor noises in the basement can be unnerving, but hey, I know where he is:)

Not to say we will never have a bigger house, but we don't need one.  I REALLY WANT to be closer to the farm, because the 12 miles each way does hurt the budget.  If the option to pick up my house and move it closer were there, (and intelligent) that would probably be A-OK.

For now, I'll keep purging, creating, streamlining, downsizing, and organizing.  There's probably six months before I start another notebook:)

I suppose I'd have to leave this here.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Veggie Chowda

You've all seen it and cringed.  Someone famous says "my children are my inspiration" and you want to gag.  Overused, cringe-worthy.
This however, is totally George's inspiration/fault/something.
Many of you are familiar with my knock-off Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe.  (Do you know that I never spell Broccoli right the first time?)  Well last week I added some shredded carrots to the soup.  The next day George was eating some leftovers for dinner, and I noticed that the shredded carrots were kinda bugging him.  (Too small to chew, but still he thought he had to.)  That particular evening his dinner also consisted of mashed carrots.  Well, grown ups sometimes play with food too.  I mixed the two together.  I immediately loved the color.  Fine reasoning, no?  Last night it evolved into a new, and very tasty chowder.

Here is how it started...

4T butter
1/4 c flour
4 c milk (I used 1%)
1c shredded cheddar
4 smallish sweet potatoes
2 white potatoes
A bunch of carrots (1lb?)
Whole bag of frozen broccoli
1/2 bag cut leaf spinach

  • Peel and chunk fresh veggies
  • Cook in pressure cooker for 10 minutes with 1/2c water.  
    • If you don't have a pressure cooker---get one!  Mine is from the 70s and is a joy to have in the kitchen.  If that's not happening right now, roast these in the oven until mashable.
  • While the pressure cooker is doing it's thing, start on the roux. 
    • Melt the butter over medium heat
    • Add the flour and whisk until incorporated
    • SLOWLY add the milk, (ie 1/2c at a time) whisking to fully incorporate.
    • Once all the milk is added let cook about 5 minutes, stirring regularly but not constantly.
    • Add cheese and pepper and stir to combine.  
  • Put the spinach and broccoli in the microwave for 5 minutes.
    • I used a "premium" broccoli this time with a lot of big pieces, you may wish to cut these into spoon size bites.
  • When the fresh veggies are done and pressure has dropped, mash away.  This will be a quick process as they will be very tender. Don't be overly picky either, a few chunks is just fine.
  • Add all the veggies to the milk mixture and let cook for a few minutes.
  • Ladle into a few bowls and voila 

The boys ate this up well.  With the sweet potatoes and carrots it almost tasted a little "squashy" but balanced.  W isn't a sweet potato fan as a rule, but still came back for seconds.  I may make the white to sweet ratio 1:1 next time.

The best part??  There were leftovers!  Guess what I'm having for breakfast??

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Perfection: Part 2, Defying Gravity

I did not intend for this to be a two part entry, but my brain says so:)
You know how they say writing is therapeutic?  Writing is awesome for me.  I hate talking on the phone (I can only process one thing at a time), and often in person I have a hard time forming complete thoughts, and then a conversation drifts to a side note and I have no idea where I once was.  So sitting here in silence, seizing naptime (when I should absolutely be cleaning the kitchen), lets me process all these crazy thoughts into complete sentences.
The response both on-blog, on cafemom and on facebook, as well as pageviews, texts and emails to "Perfection" caught me by surprise.  In all honesty I half expected people to say "yea you are a screw up, get your crap together."  Not only was there a lot of love...a LOT, but it turns out I'm not the only one who isn't perfect!  yay!
Two nights ago, while Pandora-ing (new word, you saw it here first) on my RENT Original Broadway Cast channel (the timing is off on the movie soundtrack, hard to sing along....) Defying Gravity from Wicked came on.  I sang along....NOT one for karaoke mind you...I do not have that range:) The lyrics have kept playing over and over in my the point where I'm giddy.  For those of you not familiar...

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!

I'm through accepting limits
'cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I get a chill up my spine just typing that.  Something HAS changed within me, it is NOT the same.  I won't play by their rules.  God gave ME instincts on how to raise MY family and love MY husband and deal with life. You know what?  I do need to trust those!  Yes, I was afraid of loosing their love...but I suppose clearly it was lost already and devoting my life to try and make them think I'm a good wife or mom, is truly too high of a cost.

I wonder how many hours, days, weeks, months were truly robbed from my family because I was trying to make the extended family like me.  What a waste.

Yes, I have limitations.  I am, foremost, human.  Throwing a brain injury on top of that only adds to my limitations.  Not that I expect them to vanish, but if I'm working on someone else's issue with me, I can't push my own limits and see what's out there.  We ALL have room for improvement.  You can improve without trying to be "perfect."  I think the difference in pushing your own limits is that it's an internal journey that nobody else may even know about, while trying to be perfect is merely a facade.

We know which is worth our time.

I think I'll try defying gravity...AND YOU CAN'T PULL ME DOWN!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

What to do in a water emergency

My neighbors and I are in a water emergency currently due to a water main break.  This time of the year this is common as sudden changes in temperature affect our under ground, and likely antiquated water supply lines in the northeast.
It was a quiet Friday night here in the metropolis of Victory, then sirens broke out, followed by a trooper going past and then the village's little backhoe/loader.  I probably should have put it all together...but I didn't.  Until an hour later I noticed low water pressure in the sink and immediately assumed Joey was building more backyard Ice Roads and left the hose on.  Not the case.  (He had used plastic jugs and not the hose for Friday's road construction.)  Eventually the water didn't run at all.  I checked the voicemail on the phone and sure enough there was the reverse 911 call.  (It was feeding time at the zoo, I didn't know the number, I didn't answer.)
By morning the toilet wasn't flushing.  Thankfully, I didn't heed the advice in a child safety blog earlier in the week that reminded us all to immediately drain the water after bath time to prevent wandering toddlers from drowning.  Not that it's bad advice, it just provided me some lovely Tea Tree scented water to flush the toilet with.
In came the texts and emails from disgruntled neighbors.  Of course we panic, we're mighty used to the creature comforts of our cozy homes.  It's important in a situation like this to step back and think about what's going on.  The water main break occurred on a Friday night.  Traditionally this is a time spent with family and friends, relaxing after a busy week at work and school.  The guy who drove by on the loader, the volunteer fireman who were blocking off the street and the scores of other people running for parts and trying to fix the problem are PEOPLE.  They were home with their feet up, watching the news.  They were getting ready for a daughter's 2nd birthday party.  They were bringing dinner to an elderly neighbor.  They stopped their evening to go spend the evening and most of the night in 15 degree darkness trying to fix your problem.  Why?  For the water guys, sure it's part of their job.  For all of them, they are our neighbors.  They don't have water either.  They've worked all night freezing their buns off, without coffee because Stewarts was probably out too, and when they're lucky enough to go home they can't take a nice warm shower either.
It's natural to react.  It's not necessary to over react.  Is it inconvenient?  Absolutely.  Are they working on it?  Most definitely.
So now that we're at peace with the no water situation, what do we do?

I would probably suggest making cookies and bringing them to the guys working outside.  Don't worry that you haven't showered, either have they.  (No I didn't this time.)
Next I would check that pantry inventory for any bottled water.  If there isn't any, add it to the shopping list.
Then locate the anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.  I don't use these all the time, but they are certainly convenient in a situation such as this.  Even if the sink is full of dishes, at least the table and counters can be wiped down.
I'm sure all the perfect people of the world have their dishes done as soon as they are dirty.  I'd be lying if I said there weren't four dirty bottles in my sink.
While the water is off do what you can, then enjoy the fact that you can't do dishes or laundry for a while.  Hey nothing to fold!:)

When the water comes back with a "boil water advisory" what does that mean?  This is exactly the research I did yesterday.  I suppose most grown ups should know this, but I wasn't sure of the "rules."  So I shall share with yourselves.
First: let it run!  Initially there will be obvious dirt and grit in your water.  Open up the tub faucet (cold only, you don't need to heat the water going down the drain!) and let her roll.  When you can't see the grit settle anymore start with these rules.

  • Water for drinking, cooking, teeth brushing, and pet consumption should be boiled for at least a full minute, then cooled to safe temperatures for use.
  • Dishes: If you have a dishwasher run it on the hottest setting, sanitize if you have it.  If you are without a dishwasher, wash your dishes with very hot water that is good and soapy.  Follow with a hot rinse.
    • Alternatively, you can rinse dishes in a bleach water solution.  1Tbsp of household bleach to 1 gallon of water.  (Anyone remember washing their dishes at girl scout camp?)  Rinse the dishes then allow to sit for a few minutes before towel drying.  
  • You may wash your clothes normally, I chose the hot cylce just for that warm fuzzy feeling accompanied with it.
  • Shower away, but when singing turn away from the water so you don't drink it!
    • I avoided baby bath time (breathe, Mom) because he always seems to end up drinking the water...and of course he would during a boil water advisory.  Nothing a sponge bath didn't take care of.
  • Most of us have fridges with water and ice in the door, or an ice maker.  First, hit the "lock" me it's habit to go there for water and ice.  This should pretty much be avoided for the duration of the boil water advisory.  When the advisory is lifted, run three gallons of water though the water side (great job for a responsible child), then dump three batches of ice.  It's likely you did this when you changed your filter, right?  You DID didn't you?:)  
When the boil water advisory is lifted.  Jump for joy!  Sing in the shower! (Don't jump in the shower, those poor EMS guys need a nap.)  Once you are clean and sung out.  Research organizations that provide water to people with none.  Not for 12 hours, people who NEVER have clean water!  Then send them some money, say a prayer, stock up on 20 gallons of water for the next emergency....and grab some chocolate chips so you'll be ready to make cookies for the guys fixing your problem:-)