Doing Dishes

First I rinse everything that needs to be rinsed. Then I put all the cutlery in the bottom of the sink. I turn on hot water and rinse the sink, making sure there are no food chunkies left in the bottom. I put the plug in and squirt some soap while the hot water runs. I let the water run until I have a few inches of soap and water. Then I wash dishes using a dishcloth (not a sponge), starting with cutlery, and ending with the biggest and/or dirtiest dish. If the dishes are dirty with stuck on food, I use a plastic scouring pad that gets replaced monthly. If it’s really stuck on, I dump a little baking soda in the dish and make a paste with water and scrub like a maniac.

Before the dishes get put on the drying rack, they get rinsed in hot water. Once all the dishes are washed, rinsed, and put on the rack, I rinse out my dishcloth and thoroughly wipe down my counters (and my stove if I did the cooking there). My counters get wiped a couple of times every day. The only things that don’t air dry are my knives because they’re the most expensive thing in my apartment besides my couch. I like my knives. My knives are my children. My knives don’t talk back to me. My knives are pretty.

I replace my dishcloths every 3 to 5 days. I have different towels for dish drying and hand drying. Those get replaced every 5 to 7 days. If I ever have to wipe up the floor, I either use paper towels or I throw the cloth or towels in the wash immediately. Raw meat juice gets sprayed with disinfectant and wiped with paper towels.

My mother washes dishes like this, as do my siblings. I assumed (until fairly recently) this is how everyone did dishes. I was wrong. Very wrong.

As it turns out there are huge divides when it comes to sponge versus cloth and how you wipe counters. Or IF you even wipe counters (YOU NEED TO WIPE YOUR COUNTERS). This causes me significant (probably unnecessary) stress and I want to know if anyone out there is as neurotic as I am about dishes (oh gosh, I hope so).

This type of thing fascinates me. How can something so simple vary so drastically? How can some people be super gross about dish washing? Who taught you to wash dishes? WHY DON’T YOU WIPE YOUR COUNTERS?

Please indulge me and explain your process. Sponge or cloth? Full sink or running water? Rinse or no rinse? Hand dry or drying rack? What gets left out of the dishwasher? What about your counters? Am I insane? Have I waved my freak flag a little too enthusiastically with this post?



Ask Amanda: Personal Style

This week I thought I’d post an Ask Amanda question and answer here on my “home” blog instead of the usual Converge. This is a friendly reminder that I am still answering your toughest questions about life, love and anything in between. Send me your questions and I’ll answer them asbestos I can.


Dear Amanda,

What does it mean when someone is complimenting your style and says it’s classic, unique and…homey?!

 Hollie, 20, Elmira

My dear Hollie,

Thanks so much for writing in with this conundrum. I’m so #blessed to be able to provide you with some insight. It’s people like you with issues like this that keep my column afloat. Thank you. Your trust in my words is so affirming.

I’ve read and reread your question in depth and I think I have some words of wisdom to dispense. I pray that your heart is prepared for what it is about to receive.

A compliment is always nice to hear. The punctuation in your letter makes me think that you weren’t appreciative of the compliment. Please remember to always smile and say thank you to EVERY compliment you receive, ESPECIALLY those that are mildly offensive. This way people will know you are a kind and grateful human being and not a giant snot. Those ellipses and that question mark/exclamation mark combo definitely don’t portray that about you. You should work on that. Always, always, always be mindful of your punctuation. It could damage lives if you’re not careful.

Now on to the words in your question. Let’s talk about this classic and unique thing. It tells me that they’re grasping at words to try and explain your style. The discrepancy between “classic” and “unique” means they are confused by what you’re wearing. They can’t figure you out. Sometimes this is a really good thing, but in this case I’m not so sure. Maybe all of your pieces that you’re wearing are fine and dandy, but the combination is off. Did you get dressed in the dark again? Are you maybe wearing a mini skirt with sneakers? How about a blazer with sweatpants? Classic, but unique. You are a walking contradiction.

And now about this “homey” piece. I don’t know why you even asked this question, to be honest. The answer seems very clear to me. There are two possible explanations for the use of this word:

1. You’re incredibly gangster. The person in question appreciates all the time you spent in the “hood” (that’s gangster speak for “neighbourhood”). Do you wear lots of bandanas? Maybe you roll up one pant leg but not the other (and it’s NOT for bike riding purposes. Gangsters don’t ride bicycles). Maybe they’re terribly afraid of you and think you went off the rails a la Martha Stewart and you’ve done time in the big house. Maybe they mistook your single clown tear tattoo for a gang tattoo. Maybe they are just appreciating your gold teeth (or “grill” as one might say). This is one logical explanation for the word “homey”. Although, I think the spelling you’re looking for might be “homie”. You could always consult dictionary dot com on that one, though. I’m no expert.

2. You remind them of their living room. Maybe your floral print cardigan is reminiscent of their throw pillows. Maybe your lampshade hat is a little too extreme for their taste. You don’t need to carry coasters with you wherever you go. Maybe you shouldn’t lie under peoples’ coffee tables and call yourself “Matt” when you go for a visit. Maybe – just maybe – you should stop covering yourself in thick plastic to keep your clothes clean and good looking for special occasions.

Girl, every day is a special occasion, and no one wants to sit on that plastic anyway. Throw away your inhibitions! Get rid of your protective armor! Don’t be afraid to spill something on your clothes! This is your chance! Embrace life! Take chances! Be BRAVE! YOLO, amirite?!

My dear friend, don’t be disheartened. This kind soul was only trying to tell you something that you can’t see for yourself. Listen to their words. Have an open and receptive heart. Maybe go on a shopping spree or something. I’m excited to see what’s in store for you.

Lampshades and pillow shams,



Here’s what you need to do to be a part of the fun:

If you have a question, leave a comment, send a tweet (@mandiemariebee) or an email ( Please include your first name (I won’t answer any questions sent in by bubbleguppy5000. Unless that’s your real name), age, and place of residence. I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Please note: Converge Magazine reserves the right to edit your questions for spelling, grammar, and brevity.

If you’d like to read less absurd and more serious Ask Amanda columns, please visit Converge Magazine.

A Week in Review

Hola amigos!

I got back from my trip to Mexico a few short days ago and already people are asking the question: “Well, how WAS it?”

Fantastic, is the short answer. Here’s a bit of a longer one:

Our team was comprised of couples in their 50s, myself and a 22 year old guy. Half of us were from Ontario and the other half from British Columbia. I’ve been on trips with most of these people before, so it felt like a reunion of sorts. We all bonded quickly and had an amazing week. We worked hard all day in the Mexican heat, and collapsed with exhaustion every evening. Every night before bed, we gathered as a team to pray and to share our testimonies. These are the times that really glue a team together. My life has been drastically changed just from hearing the stories of other people in previous years. I’m so thankful for our team and our supporters back home. If you prayed for us – thank you. We prayed for you, too. Thank you for partnering with us on this adventure!

If you’re interested in the nitty gritty of my itinerary details, here are some. I could basically ramble on for hours about each day, but I’ll give you a quick recap: Continue reading

My Return to Television

I was once a television commercial star. This commercial featured my cat Muffin and me lounging on a blanket in front of a fireplace. I was wearing a pink fuzzy housecoat. Muffin was not. I was the perfect actress because I was precocious, intelligent and looked a good three years younger than I actually was. Those are the makings of a child star, right there. People raved about my performance and called it “the most moving television commercial of 1992.” Continue reading

Open Letter to the Internet

Dear The Internet,

Hi! It’s me, Amanda. You may have heard of me. I have a blog. I spend time on Twitter and Facebook. In general, I’m a huge fan of yours. I appreciate how much knowledge I can discover in a very short period of time. Many of my evenings are spent with you, reading or finding recipes. You also make me laugh. I appreciate you.

However. Continue reading

I Don’t Like Curry

One of my very favourite things to do is to buy an item I have no idea how to prepare, then spend an afternoon looking up different ways to cook this item. I usually find a few I like and then combine them and hope it tastes good. Sometimes it’s decent, other times it’s raddichio, and on some other really special occasions, I send a OH MY GOSH I AM A CULINARY GODDESS text to a friend.

This weekend I made something new. I have no experience eating or cooking with curry, so it scares me a little. The smell is upsetting to me. But because I am stubborn and I decided I was going to like curry, I bought some. I also bought a butternut squash and some coconut milk because none of my life choices make sense, apparently. I cook with squash on a fairly regular basis (it’s the Mennonite in me), but coconut milk is new. So hey, why not find a recipe that combines all of these things? OKAY! COOL! The results were I AM A CULINARY GODDESS spectacular, so I had to share.

This is the first time I’ve ever published one of my slightly made up recipes and I’m feeling a little vulnerable. It’s going to be long. It might not make sense, but it’ll be entertaining. I promise.

Curried Apple & Butternut Squash Soup Continue reading

Lydia & Elizabeth & Bast & Moyer

Today’s the big day! It’s time to reveal our fun little vlog project that we did with our friends Lydia and Elizabeth.

We gave them a list of Canadian trivia questions. They answered them, then we told them the right answers. The results were quite spectacular.

First, watch their video:

Hahah, they’re so cute and clueless.


Next, watch our video:

Keep your stick on the ice.

Hope you learned something new! Happy Monday!

National Kazoo Day

Today’s the big day! Happy National Kazoo Day, friends!

I made a video to honour such a prestigious and emotion-filled event. I hope you thoroughly enjoy it.

I sincerely apologize to my neighbours who had to endure all of the rigorous hours of kazoo practice. I’d say it won’t happen again, but I can’t make any promises. Still, I’m sorry.

Please check out some other National Kazoo Day videos courtesy of some friends of mine.
The Moyers (This video accurately explains the Moyer family better than I ever could)
Ricky Anderson (Thanks for letting me in on the fun, Ricky!)
Ricky Anderson (2011)