Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fresh Flush!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I finally got to dig back into the spring cleaning schedule after many unexpected tasks had cropped up. Today I was able to spring clean the 1/2 bath on the first floor and I wanted to share some tips on cleaning toilets! I don't know of anyone that enjoys cleaning a toilet and I know we all clean our toilets often, but to spring clean them means a little more in depth scrub.

Today, while I scrubbed the walls and floors, I added 1C of baking soda to the bowl and then poured in all purpose vinegar. This mixture bubbles so be careful to add the vinegar slowly. I let this sit in the toilet for about 45 minutes, an hour is better. This will deodorize, remove stains and make the ceramic sparkle.

I am hoping to make some toilet bombs soon using essential oils, you could use these to get powerful foaming action before you do your routine scrubbing.
Here is a recipe:

To get in to the cracks and crevices, I sprayed them down with vinegar, letting it sit for a few minutes. Using the sharp tip of my cleaning brush (a flat head screwdriver works too) with a paper towel (or cloth you can bleach) folded over the end, I ran the tool along the area collecting a lot of grime I could not even see. Where the tank meets the toilet, up under the toilet rim and the ridge where the toilet meets the floor are good spots for this. If you have stubborn stains, try a pumice stone.

I'll have shower/tub tips as soon as I move on to the upstairs.

Happy Cleaning!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Make it FUN for Free!

Good Evening All, 
Happy Spring! I am happy to have seen the calendar flip and look forward to warmer days and green grass. My littlest one is ready to get outside and get moving! I have been putting some lists together of fun activities for her that will get us outside, burning off the craziness of cold days in Maine. 
I always try to have a few rainy day ideas as well that I can pull from my hat when the day is soggy. 

There are so many things to do with your kids that do not cost a dime! 

Here are a few of my favorite outdoor ideas, 
Create an obstacle course with lawn furniture, tape, sporting good equipment. Do time trials. 
Use sidewalk chalk to make a hopscotch game.
Do a nature scavenger hunt. (One of Quinn's favorites!) 
Pack a picnic and head to the playground. 
Grab some mason jars, pick a warm evening and catch fireflies. 
Pick wildflowers and take them to a special someone. 
Take a bike ride. 
Set up a lemonade stand. 
Plant a garden.
Play in a sprinkler. 
Make paper airplanes and have a flying contest. 
Set up an outdoor movie. 
Make mud pies. 
Visit a farm. (you are always welcome at our barn!)
Go letterboxing or geocaching. 
Take a hike. 
Search for birds, keep a journal. 
Wash the car. (fun for them and a task checked off for you!)
Go beachcombing and if it is warm, go for a swim. 
Let them take pictures around town, print out and save for a rainy day activity. 
Visit a farmers market. 
Visit a lighthouse. 
Plan a family cookout and make the menu include something from every color of the rainbow.
Search for free admission to state or national parks. 
Find a waterfall. 

When it rains?? problem!
Make playdough. 
Set up the bathroom like a beach and go "swimming" (suits and all) 
Have a picnic on the living room floor. 
Visit your local library for storytime. 
Go to a Kids Home Depot workshop (Saturday mornings) 
Make homemade popsicles for the next hot day. 
Scrapbook "our town" pictures. 
Have a teddy bear tea party. 
Play hide and seek with an object. 
Mommy & Me Makeovers.
Build a blanket fort. 
Bake cookies and deliver to a nursing home or homeless shelter. 
Volunteer at a animal shelter. 
Let the kids pick and make dinner. 
Make shadow puppets. 
Pajama day, complete with a pillow fight, popcorn and movies. 
Make a time capsule to bury outside on your land. 
Visit a pet store (we call this the free Zoo, lol!) 

These are just a springboard for ideas. You can also write these down on craft sticks and 
create a "What will we do today" jar, color code them (yellow for sunny days, blue for rainy) 
and let the kids grab one in the morning. (this will be my plan this year) 

Most of all, enjoy! The days slip by faster than you think. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Love and Life

Let's face it. Life is tough. You are trying to juggle so many things and sometimes the one person who has been with you thru thick and thin gets the short end of the stick. It may be your spouse or a special someone, but the truth is it is easy to forget to set tasks and responsibilities aside and tend to one that is the most important. Especially while raising a family.

I am so fortunate to have been dating my best friend for almost 27 years. We have been married for almost 20 of those. We have seen so many highs and lows. We both know how important it is to occasionally take some time and focus on us. We used to put it right on the calendar ~ "Date Night" ~we need to do that again. ♥

Dating, no matter where you are in your relationship does not need to break the bank. You could be a fresh in a relationship, a newlywed or been married for years up on years, put your wallet away and listen to your heart. Don't get me wrong, a date night out at a restaurant or a sweet little getaway is wonderful but these things you can do as often as you wish and some are easy to squeeze in right at home after the kids have gone to bed.

"Always strive to give your spouse the very best of yourself; not what's left over after you have given your best to everyone else."

Indoor ideas:
Stroll thru an art museum
Go to an art opening
Search for free community theatre projects
Have a Netflix marathon
Host a board game night with friends
Volunteer in the community together
Go for a scenic drive
Go to the library, look for books or borrow movies
Re-create your first date at home
Cook a meal together
Make ice cream sundaes together
Plan your dream house
Plan your dream vacation, even if it's years away. (it's always fun to share and dream together!)
Play a board game or card game together
Bake cookies together
Put together a play list of your favorite songs and have a dance party, slow or fast
Go thru old photos and movies together
Have a S'mores night
Make a campout in the living room
Watch each others favorite movies back to back
Get on YouTube and find funny videos
Give each other massages
Learn a new hobby, via resources like your local library, YouTube, Pinterest
Go people watching at the mall or an airport
Write down your bucket lists
Play truth or dare
Complete a DIY project together
Write a list of your favorite things about each other
Create your own city tour
Go on a free tour of a factory
Make a fun list of what you would buy if you had a million dollars to spend
Work on a puzzle together
Listen to an audiobook together
Make homemade pizzas together
Go to a Home Depot workshop
Make a meal for someone in need and drop it at their door

Ideas for outdoor fun:
Go to a free outdoor concert
Walk dogs at your local animal shelter
Host a backyard game night (Pinterest has great ideas)
Be a tourist in your own area and visit a landmark you have never been to
Go stargazing
Pack a picnic and find a quiet spot to eat and relax
Volunteer together at an event together
Go on a hike
Ride bikes...pedal or motorcyles
Visit a flea market
Make a movie under the stars with your laptop
Attend a local garden club event and get ideas for your home
Take selfies all over your city and make a collage/photo board
Pack some homemade treats and go watch a sunrise or sunset
Play frisbee in the park
If there is snow, grab a sled and go sledding.
It it is warm weather, pack up your swim suits and go for a swim
Travel the area to local beaches and start a collection of sea glass
Do a scavenger hunt with or without a group of friends
Go Geo-cashing
Make a campsite in your backyard
Go fishing
Go downtown (in a big city) and watch the street performers
Have a water gun fight on a hot day
Go ice skating/rollerblading depending on the weather
Go to a food festival
Pick a spot on a map and take a road trip to a place you have never been
Go for a walk/run together and then go home and make smoothies
Learn to grill/smoke a new recipe together
Work on DIY landscaping projects
Plant a garden
Go for an ATV ride
Go out in the community and do random acts of kindness

These are just a sampling of things you can do that cost very little or no money at all.
If you have a hard time deciding what to do when you have time to spend together you can write down all kinds of ideas on craft sticks and put them in a jar, making a deal that whatever you pull
out that day/night is what you will do.
You can even color code the sticks to allow for choices that align with your budget for that date.
For example:
Red= Free
Blue= Little cost
Green= More expensive

Making time for one another is the most important thing. Now go make memories with the one you love so that when the kids are grown and it's just you two you can say "Remember when?"

Monday, March 6, 2017

2 weeks until SPRING!

Two weeks from today marks the beginning of Spring for 2017! Who is ready for open windows and the smell of a clean home? I know I am. I wanted to do a post to give you an idea of what I do for spring cleaning in my own house. When I take on spring cleaning, it makes me heart sing. Not everyone has that same affection for this task so I hope I can break it down to an easy to love process.

Because I am already working on de-cluttering, I am one step ahead in some areas but if you have not done that yet and prefer to do it as you go then you would de-clutter your space before you deep clean. So that is always step #1!

We have been in our home since Nov 2012. Life has been a whirlwind and we have never really done any sort of redecorating or interior improvements. So you will see that my updates will actually include a little bit of re-purposing and remodeling on a very limited budget.

Gold Wallpaper Free: Gold Sparkle Wallpaper
Let's begin with the detailed cleaning lists for the most common rooms in the home....

Empty the fridge/freezer and clean it thoroughly
Empty cupboards, drawers and shelving areas and wash/dry inside and outside, neatly return items that have been determined necessary and needed
Deep clean oven/stove top & microwave (if you don't do this regularly)
Wash and dry all canisters and knick knacks in your space
Clean fan/vent hood, washing or replacing filters
Clean light fixtures, taking down bowls (glass bulb coverings) and wiping them down
Clean under the sink, pull all items out and discard unwanted items
Deep clean pet food areas
Wash/dust walls, baseboards, trim and ceilings, removing all dust and grime
Clean small appliances, clean out the toaster oven, wash down the mixer, etc. (if you don't do this regularly)
Scrub floors, deep cleaning cabinet kick plates and areas under and behind all of the large appliances that you can
Wash windows and window frames including the interior sills. Dust blinds if applicable. Wash window treatments if applicable
Disinfect dishwasher and all trash cans 
Wash all counters & back splash 

Living Room: 
Wash/dust all walls, baseboards, trim and ceiling
Deep clean carpets and scrub floors
Wash all windows, frames and interior sills. Dust blinds and wash window treatments if applicable
Remove items from end tables, bookcases, polish & clean furniture, de-clutter items...returning only items you find necessary
Clean couch cushions if applicable, vacuum couch
Wash all blankets & throw blankets
Clean out fireplace if applicable 
Wipe down all knick knacks and decor
Dust and wipe down all electronics, organizing wiring and components if needed
Wash down ceiling fans, light fixtures, removing bulb coverings for washing if applicable

Dining Room: 
Wash/dust all walls, baseboards, trim and ceiling
Wash down light fixtures, removing bulb coverings for washing if applicable
Wipe and polish all furniture
Clean and straighten all china and dishes, wipe down inside and outside of cabinets & buffets
Wash all windows, frames and interior sills. Dust blinds and wash window treatments if applicable
Deep clean carpets and scrub floors 

Laundry Room: 
Wash/dust all walls, baseboards, trim and ceiling
Scrub floors
Wash behind your washer and dryer (if possible) 
Wash all windows, frames and interior sills. Dust blind and wash window treatments if applicable
Wipe down exterior of the dryer & scrub lint trap, if you do not do this regularly (you should though, big fire hazard- water should always be able to run freely thru the screen) 
Disinfect interior of the washing machine, wipe down exterior
Remove items from all shelving and cabinets, wipe down and return all necessary items neatly
Wash all light fixtures, removing bulb coverings if applicable
Clean sink and drains if applicable
Disinfect trash can 

Wash/dust all walls, baseboards, trim and ceiling
Clean carpets/Scrub floors 
Wash all windows, frames and interior sills. Dust blinds and wash window treatments if applicable
Wash all light fixtures/ceiling fans, removing bulb coverings if applicable
Dust under and behind all beds, bookcases, furniture
Wash and polish all bedroom furniture, decluttering extra books and misplaced items
Clean out drawers and closets, getting rid of unwanted clothes, shoes, jewelry and storing out of season clothing, returning all necessary clothing and closet items neatly
Wash mattress pads and flip mattress
Swap out winter bedding 
Washing all extra blankets and pillow coverings

Wash/dust all walls. baseboard, trim and ceiling
Scrub floors, wash all mats and throw rugs
Wash all windows, frames and interior sills. Dust blinds and wash window treatments if applicable
Wash all light fixtures, removing bulb coverings & cleaning fan vents and replacing filters if applicable
Wipe down all mirrors, counters
Disinfect trash can
Empty and clean all linen closets, cabinets, shelving. Discard all outdated and unnecessary items. Go thru all products including makeup
Scrub toilets and areas behind, if you don't do that regularly
Deep clean the shower and tracks for doors if applicable
Clean drains if needed 
Replace shower curtain if you have not done it recently
Disinfect bath toys

Entry closets/linen closets:
Empty closet and sort thru all items, donate extra or worn bedding/towels to a local animal shelter 
Donate or sell outgrown or extra coats, shoes and winter items
Wash/dust walls and replace wanted items neatly 

Playroom/Family Room: 
Wash/dust all walls, baseboard, trim and ceiling
Clean carpets and scrub floors
Wash all windows, frames and interior sills. Dust blinds and wash window treatments if applicable
Wash all light fixtures/ceiling fans, removing bulb coverings if applicable
Empty and clean all bookcases, sorting thru toys, games, movies and books. Donate or sell unwanted items and replace kept items neatly 
Sort thru and disinfect toys
Rotate toys and store some for a rainy day
Move furniture and wash/dust behind and underneath

Office Space:
Clean out files in desk. Only keeping current year in the desk/office space. Store all outdated files/papers by year in another space (garage, basement, storage space) 
Organize all papers left by payee, subject, month (whatever works for your brain) 
Wipe down all electronics, using compressed air if you need to 
Clean out all unwanted emails, files on your computer or devices
Perform maintenance and back ups
Organize all printed photos and memory keepers 

Porches and Entry Ways: 
Sweep and dust all areas, free the area of cobwebs 
Clean off porch furniture and wash/wipe cushions and mats/rugs
Wipe off tables, light fixtures, decor
Wash down exterior doors, inside and outside
Scrub grill and check for proper function that seems like a lot. This is not something you tackle in one day. A lot of people do it over the course of one week or several weekends. It all depends on your schedule. Write it in like it is an appointment on your daily or weekly to do list. It gives you a goal and even if you do part of a room each day, you are getting somewhere. I start in one corner of my house and move along as the rooms come, starting with my laundry room and ending in our 3rd bedroom upstairs. 

When I clean I prefer to use certain products....I like Pine Sol and Murphy's Oil Soap for my deep cleaning of walls, floors, fixtures.
I disinfect with Thieves concentrate made into a spray or a tub of water to scrub with. 
I have a homemade glass cleaner that works great. (go back in the blog posts to see that one) and the power of vinegar and baking soda are amazing. 

I like to have a carry all of my cleaning tools and products all together so I can move room to room. You can use a bucket or any storage container you prefer. 

So put on some music, keep yourself hydrated and make that house shine!