Showing posts with label Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home. Show all posts

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Life on the Flip Side: Laundry

Or in which I go crazy and air my dirty (and clean) laundry all over the internet.

I am going to be writing a series entitled: Life on the Flip Side: Learning how things work on the other side of the world. I want to record a little bit of how our daily life works right now, so I can remember later. I'm guessing this won't be the most interesting series for that many people, but I do know one person who will appreciate it (Hi Grandma!), so I figured I might as well go ahead and publish these thoughts.

Today I'll show you briefly how I do laundry, later I'll show you how we do some other things, which may or may not be more exciting.

Our laundry set up is on the balcony off of our bedroom. Our washing machine is a bit smaller than most in America, probably about half of the capacity of a standard American machine. Dryers also aren't common here and are hugely expensive, both to purchase and power, so we just do what most people do here and line dry all of our laundry. We have to bars on the balcony to hang the laundry to dry on. They can be raised and lowered with a crank. The balcony is covered so the laundry doesn't get rained on. It actually isn't a big deal to me to hang up the laundry with this set up and now I have helpers too.

I took these pictures on a day back in February when I needed to get three loads of laundry done in one day. I normally don't do more than one or two, but I got behind had to catch up. I figured taking pictures to blog about this process might motivate my to actually catch up.

Crank to raise and lower bars
I washed one load before I started taking pictures. But since the first load I washed was the diapers, it is probably a good thing, you don't really need to see our dirty diapers. You can use your imagination or not as you see fit.

In the washer you can see the clean diapers, a green washer ball (which helps ionize the water and decreases our need for detergent), a couple other colored washer balls (which increase agitation as this machine only has an agitator at the bottom), and off to the right side of the washing machine you can see my detergent and fabric softener.

Diapers are the highest priority laundry item around here, so on days I need to do more than one load, I try to wash these first. We don't want to run out of diapers. Even if split pants and no diapers are culturally appropriate; we don't use that method for many messy reasons.

Once the diapers are done I summon my minions subjects children/helpers and set a classical music timer to get us all hanging up the laundry fast. The only way I can get anything besides basic household chores done in the day is to have the kids help, so I train them to help as soon as they are able.

I spread out the diapers over the bars and railings to get then to dry as fast as possible.

My biggest helper can grab laundry from the machine and  clip them up while standing on a step ladder.


 And the littler helper clips up diaper wipes inside. Many hands make light work.

And we're down with load number one! Many days (and definitely if it is cold and rainy and things are taking a long time to dry) I would be all done with laundry for the day. But February was warm and dry and I needed to catch up on laundry.

Alright, moving right along to the second load. We don't use many paper products so I ask my helpers to bring me the handkerchiefs and the kitchen rag/towels as I start to load up the washer again.

Here comes a cutey with the handkerchiefs.

I add some homemade laundry detergent.

And I fill up my downy ball with vinegar for fabric softener. 

The only way to get hot or warm water to the washing machine is to carry it from the bathtub as the machine is only hooked up to cold. So if we want to run a load with a hot or warm wash, if we're trying to conserve water, of if our cold water has been shut off but we still have hot solar water from the roof, we fill buckets in the bathtub and fill up the machine that way.

Here I had taken a bath and then pretreated and let soak some laundry that needed extra attention. Then we filled the washer with water from the bathtub as well.

Full to the max and ready to go.

Alright, finished hanging up the second load by 1pm. All of my hanging bars and railings are completely full now and I would definitely be done with laundry most days. But it is fairly warm and dry so this will dry quickly. I throw one more load of wash into the machine to hang up later.

 We have some things to do and leave the house for a while.

When we come back in the evening I take down the sheets and diapers that are dry and hang up the last load in between any items that are still damp.

Because of the relatively small area,
everything gets hung on hangers and then hung perpendicular
to the bars to maximize the drying space

The little boys shirts and sweater vests are cute all hanging in a row. :)

And the boys are even cuter as they help me fold the diapers, while I take care of making the bed.

In case your wondering how helpful baby is in all of this, he still only has two jobs.

To dirty the diapers.

And be a good boy and smile when we play diaper peek-a-boo.

And we're done! Three loads of laundry washed. One and a half loads folded and put away. Time to read stories, eat treats, hug my boys, and go to bed.

If I blogged about laundry more often I might not get behind, my balcony would get cleaned more frequently, but any readers might be even more bored.

For the next Life on the Flip Side post I'll talk about shopping, which should be more interesting than laundry. And at least I have cute helpers to take pictures of.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Family Fridays: Open House Garden Tour

Mother's Day 2011 by the pond
I already showed you the inside and outside of our apartment here, but I thought I'd do one more quick photo tour of the gardens and parks in our apartment complex. We are very blessed to live in a complex with nice grounds, as it makes it easier to live in such a big city. Especially, living here with two very busy and active little boys.
Mother's Day 2011 in front of bamboo

Andrew walking around the complex

On a bridge over the pond

Mother's Day 2011 by the palm trees in front of the pond

Father's Day 2011 throwing sticks

Playing in the meadow

"Rock climbing"

More "rock climbing"

Complex park

Little friend

Getting dirty

In the sand


Playing with little friends outside

Throwing flowers by the exercise park

Friday, August 5, 2011

Family Fridays: Open House

Living Room
Hi everyone, come on in! We're having an open house today. In celebration of getting the last of our furniture, I got the house (virtually) completely clean and took pictures of it all for you to see.

To your left, you will see the living room. We finally decided to get regular couches after we kept searching for a comfortable, affordable, and not hideous looking foldout couches and finding none.
Aaron playing in the front Window
We got the couches at the second hand furniture market. They are quite comfortable and seem to be in really good condition. All of the covers come off and can be washed separately, which is a really nice feature. The couch is way more comfortable than most beds here, so we'll just get air mattresses or foam mattresses when we have more than one visitor.

Living areas from the front window
The boys love to play in the front window, especially on sunny days. It does make it a little like living in a fishbowl though, when everyone looks in at us through the big windows all of the time.

Here is the view from the window looking back at the living and dining rooms.

Here is the kitchen. I really appreciate that we have two gas burners, a large toaster oven, a fridge that is about two-thirds the size of a standard US fridge, and a double sink. Each of these features is double the capacity of what we had in our last apartment in China. Except for the sink, which is infinitely more (because previously we had no kitchen sink). It makes cooking much more convenient. Also the fact that there are cabinets and they are somewhat attractive is a feature that is very nice and somewhat hard to come by here as well.

Cute Andrew reading in his room

Boys beds
Here is the boys room that we painted "little boy blue." They like it a lot and have lots of fun playing in there.
Boys' toys and computer

Pink sink and me in the mirror
Shower, washing machine, toilet

This is the bathroom. Unique special features in this bathroom are a western toilet, a shower that isn't open to the whole room, a small tub in the shower stall, a place to hook up the washing machine, and an extremely pink sink (but we like it because it does have some storage underneath, which is almost nonexistent here).
Nate working

The last room to show you is our bedroom. Nate has his computer desk in here as well.

Bed and hallway
Well that's it for now! Come back another time, and I'll show you around the the backyard and the gardens in our apartment complex.


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