5 Tips for Getting Rid of Kitchen Smells

Since I moved to North America ten years ago, I've lived in 4 different cities and homes. In all my locations, kitchen smells and food odors have been the bane of my existence. See, Nigerian food can be quite aromatic plus we do a lot of frying - fried yam, fried plantain, fried stew, fried meat, fried fish etc. If it's tasty, we can make it tastier by frying it! Great for the stomach, bad for the house when the food odors linger for days on end.

Currently, I live in a townhouse that does not have a central air system. And for 7 months of the year, it's too cold to open windows for any significant amount of time. Suffice to say, my house reeks of food most of the time; it got pretty embarrassing when company came over. Late last year, I decided to take the bull by the horn and tackle this beast and I can safely say that I'm winning. Here's a list of 5 changes I made to rid my home of kitchen odors:

  1. Maintain the Rangehood. I do have a range hood but it doesn't vent outdoors. After reading the manual (2 years late but who's counting) I realized that I needed to buy a charcoal filter for it. Installing that charcoal filter, changing it regularly as well as regularly washing the metal filter has made a significant improvement on the working efficiency of my hood.
  2. Do ALL Cooking Under the Rangehood. Deep frying is something that I do at least 3 times a week and my favorite deep fryer is the humble Fry Daddy - heats up fast and oil usage is efficient. I go through one Fry Daddy every 2 years and it's been a permanent fixture on my counter since 2008. The thing with it being on the countertop is that it's not under the range hood so the fumes of produced are not being vented through the range hood. I have reluctantly switched to deep frying with a pot on the cooktop and yes, passing all the fumes through the hood reduces the amount of fumes that spread to the other rooms in the house
  3. Consider Other Cooking Methods Apart From Frying: Gasp! My fingers shook as I typed that. Not fry? Yes! I found that even with the picky eaters in my family, I could change the cooking method of some foods and get no complaints. Case in point: Fish. Instead of frying fish, bake in the oven and finish off with a few minutes of broiling to get that crispy top. I find that baking releases less odors into the house then stovetop cooking. 
  4. Use An Oil With High Smoking Point: For any frying operation that goes on longer than 10 minutes, the smoking point of the oil becomes critical. The higher the smoking point of the oil being used for frying, the less the fumes it will release into the air.After some google research I switched from canola oil (smoking point 205 degC) to corn oil (smoking point 230 degC). I can't over-emphasize the difference this made.
  5. Use Scented Candles: I've tried different types of deodorizing things but the scented candles have been the most successful for me when it comes to odor elimination. Now in the world of scented candles, not all candles are created equally. I find that the fancy brands in discount retailers (TJ Maxx, Winners, Marshalls etc) have longer lasting smells than the supermarket brands like Glade. Second consideration; number of wicks. The single wick candles have been able to scent up a small radius of the kitchen leaving the rest of the house with odors. I've found that the 3-wick candles are able to send scent up all 3 levels of my house and currently Bath and BodyWorks 3-wick candles are my MVPs.
All in all, these are small individual changes but the sum of them has had a significant impact on eliminating kitchen smells and food odors from my home. 

Romancing The Kids on Valentines Day

3 days before valentines day, my twin girls asked me if they could take some cards and/gifts to school to celebrate the official day of commercialized love. My instinctive answer was no because

  • I didn't want to contribute to yet another over-done, over-sensationalized day
  • I didn't want to spend on gifts for 40 kids 
  • I prefer to commemorate only special days in the church calendar like Christmas and Easter

Winter Self Care

Life's seasons are a reflection of the earth's seasons: spring, summer, fall and of course winter. One necessity of "adulting" is that sooner or later we'll go through each of the four seasons and how do we cope? Spring, summer and fall can seem fairly easy to handle when compared to the heaviness of winter.


Book Review: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

I recall reading the original 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in my early 20s and while it's not featured on my list of life-changing books, I still considered it a worthwhile read so when the family version popped up on my e-library search, I thought why not? I guess I'm not the only one that felt this way because my hold position meant I had to wait a couple of months to finally get my hands on the book.


TIL: Where Character and Skin Color Collide

Today is US Inauguration Day. It's the day that Donald Trump gets sworn in as the 45th President of the United States exactly 8 years after Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President (and first one of African descent)

Today I Mourn!

I'm not mourning Obama leaving office; we all knew the US presidency was a 4 or 8 year gig. No that's not what forces tears to my eyes. It's once again, in the history of humanity; the solid and total rejection of the black race.

Too dramatic?

Breathing New Life Into Bible Study

"Sometimes bible study gets boring and monotonous" admits no serious christian out loud.

To make this admission would seem self-indicting; like saying "I've stopped loving God". I felt treacherous admitting that my bible study had stuttered into the bore-zone in the past and I've had to make changes to rekindle the passion and get out of my rut.

So if you find yourself in the same situation and one of your resolutions is to improve your bible study life in 2017, this one's for you.

 5 Ways to Get out of a bible study rut

  1. Change reading format. If you're used to reading the bible on an electronic device, switch to a physical bible or vice versa. The change in reading format analog-digital may be all the stimulus your brain needs to be re-interested in the process
  2. Change versions/translations: I've been team NKJV for the last 2 decades but recently switched to reading NLT (New Living Translation) and HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) versions. Reading my favorite passages written with different words sometimes reveals delightfully new insights. If you're not sure which bible translation will sit well with you, you can start by doing a few side-by-side comparisons. This website helps with that.
  3. Try a new form of bible interaction: Do you underline favorite bible verses, why not highlight them instead. Or consider bible journaling. What's that? Check the Instagram #biblejournaling for a few examples. It took a while for me to embrace the idea of drawing in my bible but once I did, I bought the ESV Journaling Bible, Writer's Edition and it's been a fun ride ever since. Drawer I am not but writer I can be. 
  4. Try a new devotional author or reading plan: If you use a daily devotional, switch things around. The YouVersion Bible App has a varied library of reading plans for all interests. I've used several of the reading plans and recently went back to the devotional I used in my early twenties - Our Daily Bread.
  5. Change bible study companions: Do you read alone all the time? Why not join a small bible study group in your church. Meeting with the same group of people all the time? Why not join the group in a different church (that shares your core beliefs) and see if fresh friends and discussions wouldn't spice things up for you
In 2016 I tried all of the above and have been significantly pulled out of my rut. 

Do you think any of these will help you?

Further Resources
  • Bible app with multiple translations in different languages and reading plans
  • Website to compare bible translations side by side
  • My Writer's edition bible. This may not be your favorite option. When it comes to journaling bibles, I do recommend looking around to see what's available online and in-stores (more variety is available online for sure) before making a choice. If I had been patient enough to wait for some of the newer journaling bibles to be released later this year, I wouldn't have bought the one I own currently but ah... impatience!
  • Pens I use for writing in my bible. I switched to these from regular ball point ink and I have less bleeding into the next  page plus it's archival ink which is designed to be non-fading. They're also available in craft stores like Michaels which gave me a good opportunity to see how they write. However, the price in my local Michaels was double the price on Amazon so unless you have a coupon to use in store, online is the cheaper way to go. 
  • Recommended highlighters for bible marking. I'm still looking for these in stores around me. All the ones listed on Amazon Canada are shipped from the US and I'd rather not pay an inflated price plus shipping.
  • The devotional I've used on and off for 20+ years. They also have an iPhone app which is what I use daily.

10 Things to Buy In January

After the dust has settled on the commercial celebration of Christmas, it's time for the frugals (aka ME) to stock up on some knick-knacks. I refuse to pay full price for Christmas decor and there's no better time to get them at a discount than the last week of December and the first week of January. This applies to more than Christmas decor though.

Here's a list of 10 things to buy after Christmas. Expect to pay 50-75% off full price for these items

Happy New Year! Have a Plan!

So, 2016 finally lumbered it's way into the annals of history and 2017 is here in all its yet-to-be-known glory. I, for one, am looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring and trying to put my goals on paper - I don't make resolutions, I set goals.

So what are the goals I've set for 2017? I've outlined them here and hope they can serve as a springboard for you if you're stuck on writing your 2017 life goals

End of Year Financial Housekeeping 2016

This is an update of the same post I wrote at the end of 2015. It's a list of tasks I scurry to get done to "put my financial house in order" before the start of the New Year. This list is slightly longer than last year's as we have a mortgage renewal coming up among other things.
  • Review kids' RESP contributions and top up account to receive maximum government grant as necessary
  • Check RESP investment performance and rebalance as necessary. I'm not impressed with the performance of the mutual funds that the kids' RESP is currently invested in especially compared to the performance of the portfolios I managed personally. I plan on moving to a self-directed investment account

Books I Read This Year

As 2016 winds down, it's time for recap posts to honor the past and resolution posts to anticipate a more wonderful 2017. From a very young age, I've always read copious amounts of romantic fiction and that didn't change in 2016. What changed was that this year, I decided to branch out and read more enlightening non-fiction books.

I tried to mentally run through the list of non-romantic books that I read in 2016 and I came up with these 9. This list is not necessarily a recommendation for the books and does not include books that I started reading and just didn't enjoy enough to finish. By far, my favorite titles for the year were

Should Santa Be Part of Christmas?

Christmas was a big deal in the home I grew up in. We'd decorate the walls with shiny garlands and pile an inordinate number of ornaments and lights onto our 3 feet artificial tree. We'd play Boney M's Christmas Album ad nauseum and spend significant time and money getting our Christmas clothes ready for the big day. Of course, the highlight of the season for me was when the presents mysteriously appeared under the tree a few minutes after midnight of December 25.

I knew Father Christmas wasn't real but my dad worked hard at convincing us otherwise. It was all part of the joy and magic of Christmas and something I wanted to do for my kids. So of course, I

Book Review: Dreams From My Father

This is a book review of Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

Prologue: If I was an American citizen, I would be an independent voter. I have no party loyalties and will vote based on the individual candidate that I best connect with. For the 2008 US Presidential election, that candidate was Hillary Clinton. I noticed Barack Obama but figured he was the token black candidate that the Democratic party always had. When Hillary stretched the truth with the "sniper fire" comment, my enthusiasm for her dimmed but I was still Team Hillary. When she eventually dropped

When Good People Break Your Heart

I'm an avid blog reader even as I have evolved into an inconsistent blogger. I have a few favorite blogs that focus on fashion, home decor, finance etc. In other words, they have a "niche" and a "brand" and that niche/brand has nothing to do with social commentary.

So it makes sense that the recent events in the US - the police killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille and the terrorist attack on the Dallas policemen - should not feature in the headlines of my fave blogs. That's my default expectation but with time, I've found their silence disconcerting. Surely,
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