I’m like everyone else when it comes to cleaning my house; it is the last thing that I want to do. While I love how my home looks when I’m finished, it is a long and tedious process. Dusting, picking up the assorted items friends and family have left behind, and then there is still vacuuming, and I haven’t even mentioned the kitchen or bathrooms. Apparently cleaning our home is not my forte.


The only thing I like less than cleaning is to have a dirty house. Not only is it embarrassing, but it is also hard for me to get comfortable when there is a coating of dust over my furniture. With this in mind, I decided there had to be a way to my cleaning a little more enjoyable, and that’s when I thought about listening to music. The other advantage to this is that I finally have a use for the earbuds I got for Christmas.

Since I’m still new to the Portland area, I also realized that this was the perfect time to start familiarizing myself with some of the local bands. It also gives me the opportunity to listen to the music that I grew up with. Yes, there are still time when I miss being back in Ethiopia. When this happens, and the dirt and dust are starting to accumulate I simply start listening to Wubit or Fikir, two of my favorites, and I always feel better even when I am vacuuming.

Even though I’m new to Portland, I’m still aware of the fact that the city has a rich and vibrant music history. So to help me feel more at home in my new city and keep my house clean, I’ve added a few local bands to my playlist. I have to admit it’s kind of fun vacuuming to music from the Wipers and Dead Moon. While I don’t understand how or why some of these bands choose their names, there music is great for house cleaning.

I’ve learned that I can wipe dust away in time to some Modest Mouse songs, and it can even make cleaning the bathrooms relatively pleasant. Though trust me when I say this will never be my favorite cleaning chore. What has surprised me is that I think that I might like some Hip-Hop, though once again I’m still trying to figure out how it is different from rap. Oh well, I guess I’ll start to understand the differences the more I listen to the various artists.


Listening to music won’t make cleaning fun, but it will make it more enjoyable. It also makes it seem to go a little faster, and that is an aspect I truly love. The one thing that I do have to be careful of is the volume, I think I’m turning it up to high when I vacuum. If I’m not careful pretty soon I’ll be writing a blog about hearing aids.

If you have any suggestions for some great music, I would love to read them in the comments below.




As you already know I love to cook, especially traditional Ethiopian dishes. Many of these are served with rice, which brings me to one of my favorite small kitchen appliances. My rice cooker is absolutely essential, but it took me a while to find the perfect one. After trying out several models and making a lot of returns, I finally figured out what a rice cooker needs to make it my favorite. Now white, brown and even basmati rice always turns out perfectly.



It’s programmable

I absolutely love the fact that my rice cooker is programmable ( here you can find why I opted for a programmable one). All I have to do is toss in my ingredients and set the timer. By the time I come home from work the rice is done, and all I have to do is serve it with the rest of the meal. Best of all the rice never turns out soggy or sticky. I really think it turns out better this way than when I cook it on the stove.


Dry rice isn’t a problem

The main reason I love my cooker, other than how easy it is to use, is that rice is always perfect. If the rice is a little try dry for my taste, this is simple to fix. All I have to do is use the convenient “steam” function. I really do love this feature. It releases a little steam into the cooker to help moisten and soften rice. This makes it almost impossible not to cook a perfect batch of rice.



Large size

Feeding all of my family and friends here in Portland is one of my favorite things to do. Thankfully my favorite rice cooker can make up to 20 cups at a time. Trust me, this is a lot of rice. I use it for chili, gumbo and other dishes. One of my friends likes rice with the poppyseed chicken they frequently bring to our parties. Whatever I serve it with I always have plenty thanks to my rice cooker.


Great for warming and carrying

My rice cooker is incredibly easy to carry, and this is incredibly convenient. Since the pot is insulated, it also keeps the rice warm. There is nothing worse than cold sticky rice, it can ruin any dish. Thanks to my rice cooker, this is never a problem.

As you’ve probably noticed I really do love my rice cooker, and I recommend that all my readers add one to their kitchens. There are several top rated models that are surprisingly affordably priced, and this is one small kitchen appliance you won’t regret purchasing.

I look forward to reading any of your comments and please feel free to share any recipes for rice that you might have.



It is quite rarely in this day and age to find enough time to bring everyone in the family together for a meal, and dinner is not always the best choice, because family members may have different plan. In my experience, I discovered that it is much easier for us, as a family, to get together at breakfast, since that is the only moment of the day when we are all at home, and hungry at the same time. Of course, this realization came with quite a challenge: what was I going to prepare for breakfast, without terribly long preparations?

The first idea that came to mind was to introduce good old fashioned healthy toast into our breakfasts. And the next step for me was to get a 4 slice toaster, since I needed to be quick about making toast, without waiting for 1 or 2 slices to get ready at a time. As I wake up in the morning, I go to the kitchen, I fire up my toaster and I start feeding it with slices of bread. By the time my family makes their appearance, I already have a plate filled with toast, so that no one will go to school or work hungry.

What I like about toast is that it is very healthy and has fewer calories than normal bread. The second thing I like best about it is that it basically goes with everything; you can make sandwiches, get some readymade bread spreads and spread them on your toast, or on the side, for any kind of breakfast dish that is usually served with bread. With so much versatility to enjoy, my breakfasts in the family have become quite manageable.

But let me tell you about some other ways to cook breakfast fast and easy for an entire family. An omelet always works like a charm, and since it is so packed with proteins and it is filling, it is enjoyed by everyone. Also, it is incredibly delicious and the type I make – with mushrooms and bacon – is really to everyone’s liking. My kids can be pretty fussy when it comes to food, and, in the morning, I need to make something fast, but also something they will certainly like, so I don’t have to engage in losing battles over convincing them to eat their food.

Now here is my secret weapon for the times when there is really no time to put together breakfast. I make some oatmeal the evening prior and I just reheat it in the microwave in the morning. I spread some raisins and apricots on top and everyone is certain to leave home with plenty of food in their bellies.

If you are asking me what the preferred option from all of the above is, I must say that toast with about anything is still the winner. That is why I am so proud of myself for getting a big toaster so I can make as much toast as I need for keeping my family well fed each and every morning.



What counts as the best choice for breakfast, the best choice for dessert and the best choice for a snack? If your answer is ‘crepes’, you are just like me! I am personally a huge fan of crepes and I find them delicious and easy to make. Making crepes must be among the easiest recipes in the whole world, and, at the same time, it means that you do not have to eat junk food. Now, I am going to share with you how I make crepes the easy way.


First things first, there are just a few ingredients you need for obtaining the tasty batter for your crepes. You need some flour, eggs, milk, salt and sugar, as well as some butter. At this point, I am only talking a bit about the batter, since the fillings can be so diverse, from sugary to savory and everything in between, that that could be an entire conversation on its own. So, here is how you can make the batter for your crepes the easy way. The content of 4 eggs must be placed inside a bowl and whisked with some salt and a teaspoon of sugar (depending on how sweet you want the batter to be, you can vary the amount of sugar you add). Add milk, again, depending on how thin or thick you want your crepes to be. I usually add a large glass. Melted butter is optional, and you can add a bit, if this is your cup of tea. At the end, I add flour, again an entire large cup, but you can add more if you want your batter to be thicker, as well as your crepes. Whisk everything together until the batter is evenly and it pours from the whisk.


1Now, I found the best solution for making perfect crepes. While you can struggle with a regular pan, I prefer working with a crepe maker. Before purchasing one I made my homework and went over a couple of articles which helped me to understand what is a good crepe maker.

The one I got was delivered with its own batter spreader, so I can now make perfect crepes without worrying about shape and thickness. I only need to pour some batter, spread it evenly with the spreader and the crepe maker will take care of the rest. It is an electric model and it heats up in record time, so I can make as many crepes as I like. Because it has a non-stick surface, I do not have to worry about the crepes getting stuck to the crepe maker, and washing it is really easy. I can safely say that I am basically having fun making crepes and that is why I make them so often. My family is really pleased with my new found passion, too, and I am pleased, in turn, to be able to help and offer them a tasty breakfast option. As far as fillings go, I use all kinds of stuff, from chopped veggies and shredded cheese, to fruits and fruit jams that make my crepes really the tastiest that I have ever had.



Keeping a house clean, especially when you have kids, may seem like an ongoing endeavor that is never over. However, living in a clean environment is very important for living a healthy life. From my mother, I learned first the importance of keeping your home clean and free of clutter. She used to tell me that a person who lives in a dirty home cannot feel clean inside either. It was also her who taught me all kinds of smart things to do to keep things tidy. I combined her teachings with other new methods I have learned along the way and now I am offering you the list.

First things first, I never buy things we do not need. I know that it is inherent to developed country to spend a lot of money, but I think that waste is never a good thing. Cluttering your home with all kinds of stuff you don’t need and you don’t even like is not a good idea. So, in our house, it is a rule that no one should get or ask for things that are not meant to be used.

I always keep an eye on clutter and I prefer to clean as I go throughout the day. A comforter that does not sit straight, or a small pile of dishes waiting to be clean, can turn into a natural disaster, if you are not careful. Spending a lot of time at the end of the week to clean everything means that you are only giving yourself way too much work to do and you are also condemning yourself to live in disorganized home until cleaning day.

A thing I noticed that helps me a lot since I moved to the US is a stick vacuum cleaner. Of course, proper vacuuming should be done once or twice a week, but in the meantime a lot of dirt and dust can gather inside your home. I prefer having a stick vacuum cleaner nearby, since I can use it for small spills and I can store it away fast, without too much trouble.

Throw away things you do not need. I know that I mentioned about not getting things you do not need, but I am extending this rule right here. Old things, some that have outlived their usefulness, or things that have broken, all must be thrown away. If you are just keeping them around, with no real purpose for them, they will just end up crowding and cluttering your space.

So, these are my tips for keeping a house clean. I hope they will help you organize your cleaning habits, too. Let me know if you have other basic tips to include in this short list.