Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Review and New Resolutions

This has been a very busy year for us. It started off with the purchase of our new house, then the de-cluttering/purging of the crap, we sold the townhouse, and then had the big move. Once that was all done, my pregnancy progressed, I finished work and then finally we welcomed our son, baby K to the family. The last 6 months of 2011 have been busy, with getting used to our new home and our new family.

My resolution for 2011 was to simplify. It started with getting rid of all our extra junk at the townhouse before we moved. My new mentality carried over to the new house, when I finished purging the rest of the junk and started a new cleaning schedule and organization system. It was hard work, but I feel like my life has been simplified now. Just in the last few days, we set up a new organization system in the office and I took bins and organized the toys and art supplies in the play room cupboard. It's a great way to start off a new year.

Now for my goals for 2012.

Better Schedule- for me and for the kids. Baby K hasn't been napping or sleeping very well, and because of that, neither have I. If I can establish a better routine, both during the day and for bedtime, hopefully his sleep will settle into a predictable schedule as well. And since bedtime and the evenings have been so crazy around here, I haven't gotten as much done as I normally would like in the evenings, and have been going to bed super late. So part of a better schedule means for me to use my alone time in the evenings more wisely and for me to also go to bed at a reasonable hour. Which would hopefully allow me to be more rested and have more energy, and also more time during the day to spend with the kids instead of trying to get stuff done that I can't get done at night.

Eat Better- I had been doing pretty good at this, but kind of lost track, with the pregnancy, post partum and then the holidays. Less eating out, more cooking at home. I want to start using the crock pot, and making healthier meals at home.

Continue to simplify- since my physical life has been simplified in terms of less clutter around the house, I want to simplify my mental life. Do more for myself, like reading, or going for walks or jogs, taking baths, and spending time doing my hobbies, like sewing or scrapbooking. If my house is in a zen state, it should help me to get my mind and body also to a nice relaxed, calm, simple state.

And with that thought, here's to 2012. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe time celebrating tonight, and I'll see you all next year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Clean Up!

Now let me preface this post with saying that just because I'm thinking about the clean up, doesn't mean that I'm doing it yet.

The first thing I need to do is make a trip to Walmart to invest in some Christmas organizing gear. We have the tree box and cardboard boxes for all the decorations etc, but I really want to organize my Christmas gear. So I'm going to invest in some plastic bins, and separate the decorations based on tree, and then rooms of the house, so living room, outdoor, and then other. I'm also going to organize different budgets and ideas. So I'm going to get a cheque envelope organizer thing and separate money by category. One for cards, decorations, gifts and other. And while I'm at it, I'm going to add a section for each of the kids birthdays. Hopefully starting this year, I won't have to worry about how we're paying for each occasion as they get closer. I'm also going to get a notebook and binder and keep all my ideas organized. So any ideas I have now I'll make note of in the book, and throughout the year I'll add to it as I have more ideas. Then I'll pull it out next fall and get to work.

The other thing I need to do is organize all the toys. With a birthday and Christmas so close together, it's like our toy collection has doubled in size, if not more, now that we have two kids. So I need to invest in more boxes/bins and organize the toys, books, puzzles, etc. I'm not quite sure yet how to organize it all but I'm sure that some bins will go into storage and will get rotated every month or so. I almost feel like a toy store with the amount of things I have. It's impressive, really. And now I need to find a way to store them all that is equally as impressive! We might be donating some toys after it's all organized, since we have just that many!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and aren't too overwhelmed with cleaning it all up!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Un-Shampoo update and Oil Cleaning Method for my face

It's been almost three weeks since I stopped using shampoo and my hair is looking great. In fact, when I had my shower today, I noticed that I didn't really need to wash it, but it had been more than a few days, so I thought it might be best to give it an un-wash. I really doubt I'll ever go back to shampoo. And I'm wondering if any of my readers have given the baking soda method a try. If you have, let me know how it's working!

On top of the baking soda shampoo method, I started using oils to clean my face. I mentioned it in the Un Shampoo post, and after I bought my castor oil, I gave it a try. Simple Mom talks about it here Simple Mom: How to Clean your Face Naturally

Instead of olive oil, I used canola oil, since we didn't have any olive in the house and it seems to be working fine. I poured a little bit of canola into a bowl and about the same amount of castor oil. I then mixed them together, got a bit on my fingers and massaged into my face for about a minute or two. Then, as directed, I wet a face cloth with hot water, as hot as I could handle it, and let that sit on my face until it cooled to room temperature, about another minute. Then I used that face cloth to remove any excess oil from my face before hopping in the shower. After almost two weeks of this, I've surprisingly had no horrible acne breakouts and haven't needed to use lotion or even makeup. My face is super soft and really clean, and like the baking soda on my hair, my face feels cleaner for longer. It doesn't get super greasy and feels and looks amazing.

So I ask my husband to feel my face. He does, and then kind of looks at me. I said well, I haven't used soap on it in over a week and he says 'well then I should wash my hands'. Then he says 'well it's not my face' and I asked him to elaborate. He said it's not shiny. DING DING DING! I said, nope and it's not zit city, which, as we're taught as teenagers, is the sign of a dirty, oily face. Oils trap dirt in your pores and that causes pimples. So if I don't have a zit city living on my face, I can say with a fair amount of confidence, that this works!

So, anyone willing to try this out with me? I never thought I'd be so into all these natural things, but a two minute facial before every shower, not having to decide which face soap, scrub, toner, moisturizer, etc, OR which shampoo, conditioner, etc to buy, what's not to love about all of that?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cleaning up my blog

That's right, I now have a new blog design. I love it. Courtesy of a follow blogging mommy who says she doesn't need to be credited. But thank you, Super Blogger Mommy. Those of you who have your own blogs, feel free to steal my button. I hope you all love my new design!

And now a confession. I've been looking at the 21 day challenge but haven't been doing them. But in my defense, the items so far on the list are not items in my house that need to be organized. The toys I did a few months ago, the linen closet I did a few weeks ago, the pantry gets organized at almost every grocery shop. So I think my house is pretty organized. Even when I went downstairs to do my computer desk, it was really organized already. I'm slightly dreading the bathroom cupboards. Ah well, it needs to be done, right?

So YAY for a house that might be untidy, but is more organized than originally thought, and YAY for a new blog design. Things are looking good in the (not so) clean world.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Un-Shampoo: Wash #1

I decided today, on a whim, to try something new. Thanks a lot Pinterest, for filling my already bursting brain with MORE ideas to try! I had heard about dry shampoo, and the curse of shampoo, a few years ago, and never really did anything about it. The idea of not washing my hair didn't work for me. Until a few days ago. While browsing on Pinterest, I found an oil based, 'do it yourself' face cleaner on a blog, called Simple Mom. She had another post about going shampoo free, and I read it, and the comments on the bottom were convincing enough for me to try it. If it doesn't work, I can just have another shower, right? So here's my quick re-cap.

Simple Mom: How to Clean your Hair without Shampoo

What's wrong with Shampoo??
The scalp produces oils, which clean and moisturize our hair. When we use shampoo, we strip our scalps of those natural oils, which forces it to make more. So our hair becomes more oily, making us think we need to use more shampoo, which strips the natural oils, forcing our scalps to produce more oil. By using shampoo, we are in a cycle of, basically, fighting with our scalps. Since we don't have the natural oils, we need to use conditioner, and other products. If we stop using shampoo, we allow the oils to reset, and start producing at a natural rate. In the meantime, we have some horribly greasy, oily hair.

So how can we bridge the greasy gap and how did it work for me?
With my new best friend, baking soda, of course. Simple Mom suggested mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water, and using that instead of shampoo. And I feel that it worked very well.

As a cloth diapering mom, I know that some laundry detergents will leave residue on your clothes, or diapers. And if you do extra rinses with no detergent, sometimes you will have suds in your wash, meaning there is detergent residue on your laundry. So I was initially surprised, while lathering my hair with the baking soda and water mixture, to have a lot of suds, until I remembered that this could just be shampoo residue that is being washed out of my hair. I could feel that my hair was not greasy at all after rinsing it out, and was anxious to see how it dried. I normally have very oily hair, so I was completely expecting to have to have another shower before bed.

My results?
I have been battling some dandruff lately, and when I brushed it after it was air dried, I immediately noticed that the color around my roots looked more natural, and vibrant, and there was NO dandruff at all. The color was sparkling in the sun, the natural high and low lights were very noticeable, and it felt thicker.

So, I didn't have another shower today, and I'm anxious to un-wash it again next time and see how it works. I even tested my husband and asked him this evening if he noticed anything different with my hair. His first answer 'did you cut it?' After some prompting, 'did you dye it?' I said that I had a shower today, but he would never have known, without me telling him that I didn't actually wash my hair with shampoo. I will definitely post here with more results after a few more un-washes. And if it starts to feel dry, I'll add the apple cider vinegar as a conditioner part and report back on how that worked.

AND my bonus, Costco sells baking soda in packages of 6 boxes. Definitely easier and cheaper than buying shampoo!

If you're interested in trying the Oil Facial Cleanser, click on the link below.
Simple Mom: How to Clean your Face Naturally

Thursday, December 1, 2011

21 Day Challenge, just in time for the new year

My New Years Resolution for 2011 was to simplify, and I really feel like I've succeeded. My new house is clean and organized (most of the time) and I don't have too much extra clutter hanging around. So now it's December 1st, I'm almost ready for Christmas and am thinking about what kind of countdown to Christmas program I want to do. I mean there are advent Calendars, 12 Days of Christmas, etc and it's a great time to start thinking about a New Years Resolution for next year and get everything ready for the end of the year. My newest addiction is called Pinterest. It's basically a bunch of photo boards where you 'pin' links and ideas. You can steal ideas from your friends, or search for specific ones and pin them to your own boards. So of course I've found some great ideas on there and decided that a 21 Day Challenge would be perfect for the month of December.

Click here to visit 'A Bowl Full Of Lemons'

I'm borrowing this idea from a blog called 'A Bowl Full of Lemons'. I might post pictures of my progress, especially on the days where I make a lot of progress. And since there are 31 days in December, I might combine some days and get one task done all weekend, for example.

Here are the daily tasks. Feel free to join in if you want. I hope to start the New Year with a clean, organized house.


Join the Challenge (at any time)
Day 1 - Junk Drawer
Day 2 - Computer Desk
Day 3 - Tupperware Cabinet
Day 4 - Linen Closet
Day 5 - Under kitchen sink
Day 6 - Dresser Drawers
Day 7 - The Pantry
Day 8 - Coat Closet
Day 9 - Toy organization
Day 10 - Laundry Room
Day 11 - The Freezer
Day 12 - Spice Cabinet
Day 13 - Medicine Cabinet
Day 14 - Under bathroom sink
Day 15 - Medicine/Vitamin Storage
Day 16 - The Fridge
Day 17 - The Mail
Day 18 - Keepsakes
Day 19 - Master Closet
Day 20 - Photos
Day 21 - You pick!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday to my big girl!

My daughter turned 3 today. I can't believe I have a three year old. I can't believe I threw a Tinkerbell party for a 3 year old and prepared almost everything by myself while taking care of said 3 year old and her 5 month old brother. Like any preschooler, she has her moments, but I really love her. She's such a little sweetheart. She had a blast today, and so did her friends. And so did my friends and our family. Thank you to everyone who came out to make her day special. And since the 'mess' was contained to the playroom, and the food was eaten off of paper plates, I am going to bed without cleaning up the kitchen!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm not meant to have two bathrooms

In case you don't want to search through here to find my horrible bathroom time line, I'll recap it here:
July 2005-we buy a townhouse with potential water damage in both bathrooms. We go ahead with the purchase, saving extra money from the mortgage for the wedding and upcoming renovations.
July 2006-we get married and spend more than expected on the wedding.
March 2009-K tears down shower in our ensuite to find no mold behind the walls. YAY!
Winter 2009-K plans on cashing out vacation time to fund the bathroom renovation
January 2010-K dislocates his shoulder at work and ends up on workers compensation for an entire year.
December 2010-we purchase new house and decide, well, we have to do the reno now, so we hire a contractor to finish the job
January 2011-Bathroom reno in townhouse is done, potential water damage found in ensuite at the new house, we book our contractor to do the work before we move in.
February 2011-we take possession of the new house and have the water damage fixed in the new house.

SO you'd think that we were done with bathroom renovations, right?


K saw that the popcorn on the ceiling above our shower was cracking, so he decided to pull it down before we paint the bathroom walls. That resulted in needing to putty and sand the ceiling before painting it. That is almost done, but the ensuite is completely covered in dust right now. Hopefully before M's birthday party next week, we can have the ceiling done and the walls painted.

BUT, I've learned that there IS a silver lining in only having one operating bathroom. Only one bathroom to clean.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Baskets-oh what fun I could have!

My new best friends are baskets and bins. My Mother in Law bought a bunch of containers to organize the garage. And I needed to organize the playroom, so I grabbed some of the empty ones and put trains in one, play house stuff in another and small toys in the third. I also put balls in one giant container and dress up stuff in another one and put those in my walk in closet. Now all the toys are relatively organized. So I took that idea and spread it around the house. I also have a container in my walk in for gifts, a big basket with M's birthday presents, and my fabrics, ribbons and notions in the sewing room are also organized in containers. I'm sure over the next few months, the rest of my house will be organized into more baskets and boxes as I find some cute decorative ones that match how I want to finish decorating the house.

The best part of this is when the playroom needs to be cleaned up, everything gets thrown into it's correct bin. So all I need to do is create bins for everything in our house to keep it all organized. I've given myself one year to completely move into the house and have it set up the way I want and we have a few months left, so I'm sure we can get it done on time!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's the craziest time of year

November is here. I don't want to scare you guys but there's less than 50 days until Christmas. This is the time where I get caught in between calm and freaking out. Here's why. M's birthday is November 26th, Grey Cup (GO LIONS!) is November 27th. My Dad's birthday is December 8th. And then there's Christmas. So most of November is spent preparing for M's birthday. She's three this year and kind of knows what birthdays are, so we're making a big deal this year. The last Sunday in November is the Canadian Football finals (for you Americans who have no idea what Grey Cup is). I'm a huge BC Lions fan, and since we have a party the day before for M, we have an 'eat left over birthday food and watch football' party at my house. After that, I realize, oh crap, Dad's birthday is next week so we rush around trying to figure out what we're doing for that. Then it's the two and a half weeks of 'oh REALLY crap, it's almost Christmas and we have SO MUCH TO DO'!

But this year I'm surprisingly ahead of the game. I have gifts for M already. I have most of the stuff for her party (frozen food, plates, napkins, banners, party favors), need to get balloons, the fresh food and some other random things and then make a sample cake and cupcakes (or I might just wing that). I'm finishing up and mailing her invitations today (yup, hand-making and MAILING invitations). So I'm not stressed at all about her birthday, which is three weeks away.

My dad's birthday isn't too hard, but I do already have something for him (if you're reading this, dad, I hope you like it!)

Then there's Christmas. We never decorate until after M's birthday. I want her birthday to stay special and not get mixed in with Christmas craziness, so that's why we do that. Decorating isn't hard, though, and I go a bit crazy (I think the people at Michael's already know me by face-and by baby, lol, since I've been in there at least once per week for the past month or so). Christmas gifts, I have tons of stuff for the kids thanks to a Discovery Toys party I hosted a few weeks ago. I have tons of ideas for K this year, when normally I have none, so I'm not worried about that at all either. And for the rest of our family (who is also probably reading this), I also have a ton of ideas and have started gathering things for them. I gotta say, Pinterest and Etsy are amazing for browsing and finding ideas. I've even set up a Christmas goodie exchange for some local friends, so I don't have to worry about making a ton of baked goods. The hardest part is going to be putting all these ideas into action. Well, that and doing all those things and keeping up on the house. So I'm back to making lists. One for M's party, one for Christmas gifts, one for things I need to do, and then forcing myself to keep checking things off. Starting is the hardest part, but once you get a few things done, and see how much you're accomplishing, the momentum takes over and I'm sure I'll be ready in no time.

Add to all that my cousin is getting married on New Years of this year and I want to find a new dress. M is the flower girl, and K is wearing stuff he already has (it's so easy to be a guy) but I need to find something wedding appropriate for baby K who will be 6 months old, and I really want a new dress. Plus a wedding gift. I can't forget about that wedding in the business of the holidays. I am NOT going wedding gift shopping the week between Christmas and New Years, Boxing Day shoppers are crazy up here. Even if the sales are fantastic, I don't want to risk it.

So Happy Holidays to all my readers. I hope you guys have started at least thinking about the holidays so that you don't have a last minute freak out. After losing some birthday gifts for a friend (which K found exactly where I had thought I put them but couldn't for the life of me find them), I'm starting a big bucket of 'GIFTS' in my master closet. So that everything can be in one place and not get lost. The race to finish shopping is on, and I bet you all that I will finish first!!

....if I can get up and get the stuff done instead of just talking about it!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The storm before the calm

There must be something in the air. I have two close friends who are moving this weekend, both have almost 3 year olds, one has twins. Good luck to both of you, I can't wait to see after pictures once you guys are all settled in. I have another friend who is rearranging her craft room and kitchen nook with an almost 3 year old and a newborn, and I decided to rearrange my playroom. I have to say that other than the pile of stuff that needs to find a home elsewhere in my house, I LOVE the new playroom. I have a reading/quiet corner, an art center, a newborn area and a play house/imagination station. Toys are organized into bins with a play house bin, a train bin and a small toy bin. My bookshelf is organized and the toy box is clean. This makes it easier to clean up, which means it's easier to clean the rest of the house.

But the process can be so discouraging. In order to do a really thorough job, you have to basically make a huge mess by pulling everything out. So as moms, with toddlers who are experts at distracting you and pulling you away from what you're doing, it's nearly impossible to finish in one sitting. Meaning that in order to actually finish the job, you have to put the mess away, or whatever of it you can, only to pull it out again when you *think* you have enough time to finish. I say *think* because with toddlers (and those of us who also have newborns) you NEVER have enough time.

So to anyone who is thinking about rearranging a room, and to my good friends who are in the middle of moving, and probably in the middle of a pile of boxes, don't get discouraged. It's all a part of the process. And the end result is MORE than worth it. And when you're done with the boxes, I'm sure your kids will LOVE making forts and playhouses!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Ever-Elusive To Do List

On top of my weekly and daily items that I try to get done regularly, I have a monthly to-do list. Things like organize baby K's clothes, organize the cupboards in the master bath, arrange a quote for new blinds (SO excited about this) etc. I find that I'll do two or three things each month as time allows and leave the rest to roll over into the next month. At the end of each month, as I wipe the white board clean and re-write the list for the next month, I wonder why I didn't just do it all. I mean I watch enough TV throughout the month that I should be able to get it all done.

So here's my theory. I'm such a procrastinator (old habits die hard) that I'm afraid of what will happen when the to do list is all done. What is life like when there's no laundry waiting to be folded, or washed, or no junk pile on my desk waiting to be filed. I'm sure it's not that scary on the other side, but I'm still afraid of finding out. The funniest part is that as a mom, the to do list is really never done. Maybe having big things on my list is all the motivation I need to get the smaller things done regularly. Maybe if I have nothing on my big to do list, I'll slack off and fall behind on my regular stuff, so I wait until I can add something else to the big list before I complete something that's been on there for months.

Either way, things are getting done. The laundry just finished, M just woke up from her nap and the new blinds and bug screens should be here in 2-3 weeks. YAY!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beating the Monday blues

I've figured out that Monday is my most productive day of the week. It helps me not to stress too much over the weekend. I almost always get my bathrooms cleaned and can easily throw in some laundry and other tasks as well. This rainy Monday is no different. The diapers have just finished drying, so I'll throw in a load of clothes once I'm done here. I swept and mopped the kitchen, tidied off some tables upstairs and in an attempt to find my good sewing scissors, cleaned off my desk downstairs as well. I made my bed, picked up around the house and got some phone calls done. In baby K's room, I got the movement sensor out and installed under his crib mattress.

There really is no better way to beat the Monday blues than by having a super productive day. And sometimes it helps to write out what you've done in a day in order to see just how productive you've been. Now if I could find those scissors before the kids wake up, then I could also have a diaper cover done and ready to be tested by my adorable little man. That also means that after dinner, when the kids are asleep, I can cuddle with my big man on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and listen to the rain. Ahhh, Mondays.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Recovering from the weekend

I hate to say this but it's true. Sometimes the weekends are harder than the week. I know my husband doesn't mean for it to be that way, but it is. We have bigger breakfasts, like french toast or pancakes versus just toast or cereal. We might go out so I don't have the same time to do the stuff during the day that I normally do. Or we stay home and end up making more mess than we do cleaning it up. Most of the time, I look forward to weekends. But come Monday morning, I hate cleaning up after them. Lucky for me, Mondays tend to be my most productive day around the house.

Ok, so maybe it's not because of having K at home, and it's because he's pushing me to take some time off. I mean don't Mom's deserve to enjoy the weekend too? Sadly, Mom's never truly get a day off so as long as I can keep up with everything throughout the whole week, it isn't as bad as it might seem.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cleaning up the sickies

Being sick is not fun at all. Being sick and taking care of an even sicker toddler and a perfectly healthy (thank goodness) newborn, is torture. A newborn doesn't understand why mommy doesn't want to get out of bed. Thankfully for the past few days, I was able to take a nap with the kids in the afternoon, and somehow manage to keep the house somewhat clean. Laundry and dishes are done (and put away, my friends) and most of the kleenexes are also put away. At least the toddler is starting to understand to use a kleenex to wipe her nose instead of her hand. And since both kids got a little bit of Tylenol before bed last night (for sore throats and sore gums), everyone slept great and we're feeling a little bit better today.

I'm crossing my fingers that another good sleep tonight has us all feeling even better so we can get back to our regular scheduled programming.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oh crap, I did it again!

After dinner, K took M to go play in the backyard. He asked me if I wanted to go out with them and I said no. To clean the kitchen. Any why did I do that? Because I didn't want to have to do it later. So I finished the dishes, swept and mopped the kitchen floor, folded and put away the clean laundry AND tidied the kitchen and living rooms. ARGH.

A few days ago, instead of getting some sewing done, I organized the sewing room. And before taking a shower, I scrubbed it clean. I'm not really following the cleaning schedule I made a few months ago, it's hard to do that with two kids, but the cleaning is all getting done. I finally feel like I almost have a handle on everything. I just freak myself out a bit when I do this. I guess I better get used to it.

Oh and my mom will be proud!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to School

School starts tomorrow. My baby is starting preschool tomorrow. It's only for an hour but she is. What a better time of year to get back into the groove of keeping clean? I'm all ready for tomorrow. Diaper laundry is in the wash. The rest of the laundry, what feels like 50 loads, has been folded and put away. The blog is getting a new look. That's right, it is!!

Now my newest way to waste time on the internet.....hey, if I spent half as much time cleaning as I did surfing the web, my house would be immaculate...I've fallen in love with Pinterest. It's like a photo sharing website. You set up photo boards, say recipes, and then you search for whatever you want. Say Nutella Panini. When you find a picture that is mouthwatering gorgeous, linked to a website, you pin it. Then you have a board, with all your recipes saved in one place. This is fantastic for say 'girls room decor' or 'playroom organization'. Let's just say that my house is going to be gorgeous this Christmas!

So to everyone with little ones starting preschool or kindergarten. Or big kids starting high school or even college or university. Good luck tomorrow. And happy Back to School!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fall Cleaning has begun with email cybercleaning

Before baby K was born, I was in a fantastic routine. Daily things got done every day. Weekly things got done every week. But after having a new baby, I've had to do a whole lot of readjusting. So laundry and dishes get done mostly because they have to. The laundry lately has been done when all three laundry are overflowing and I can't find any clean clothes for M or myself buthey, it's still getting done! Weekly tasks get done when I have a few minutes to spare and enough energy to not sit on my butt watching TV while scarfing down some food.

So I decided to do a massive clean of the house before M starts preschool and rearrange my weekly schedule to take advantage of her being at school twice a week. K's morning nap does fall somewhere during the time she'll be at preschool, so I should be able to get into a routine that allows this.

BUT before all the actual house cleaning, I just did some cyber cleaning and EMPTIED out my email inbox. Ok I still have 50something emails in there, but they are things I need to keep. It always feels fantastic to have one area of my life organized. Maybe after the kids are in bed tonight, I'll work on some more organizing. Although baby K is still napping and it's 6:30. He might not go to bed at 7 like he always does.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Power of the Sun: Product Review

To someone who uses cloth diapers, stains are a big deal. Not only do you want your diapers to stay cute and adorable, but you want to be able to sell them for as close to what you paid for them as you can. So you want to keep stains away as best as you can. I've tried soaking in OxyClean and while it does work, it can take a long time. Another reason why someone would use cloth diapers is to be as nice to the environment as possible. So I've found a stain remover that doesn't hurt anyone at all, AND makes taking stains out of diapers super easy, which is something a cloth diaperer is always looking for. It's THE SUN!

Lately, we've had fantastic weather up here and I really want to reduce my OxyClean use as much as possible, even though I really love the stuff. So when I have diapers with stains, I've been sticking them on the patio. And I'm not even kidding, when I'm checking them, all stains are gone within a few minutes. The diaper is still soaking wet but the horrible yellow spots have vanished. It is really amazing. Sometimes I hope that there are a few horrible stains just so I can keep checking out this new stain remover and it never lets me down. Sometimes it isn't even that bright outside, or it's partially cloudy, but it still takes the stains out.

So, as someone who wants to reduce my impact on the environment (and my hydro bill) I'll just leave the diapers out there to dry completely and skip using the dryer. And yes, I do love my brand new, energy efficient, jumbo dryer, but who doesn't love some time in the sun? After being stuck on a baby bum containing all messes thrown at them, it's the least they deserve.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My new addiction

Hi, ny name is Ashleigh and I'm a Swag-a-holic. The first step to healing is admitting you have a problem.

But HOW is getting free stuff (INCLUDING PAYPAL CASH) a problem?
I don't think it is so I'm not going to get better. Between doing laundry and hitting refresh, naptime goes by pretty quickly!

What's Swagbucks? It's a free points system where you earn points-called swagbucks- that you can redeem for prizes, including paypal cash and amazon gift cards. But it's been around for awhile so you probably already have it. (but if you don't and you want to sign up, click here)

But you don't have SUPERPOINTS! It's similar to swagbucks but in a way it is easier. You can earn points by doing NOTHING! Here's how:
you sign up using one of my invitation links below (they're one time use only, so if they're not valid, send me a quick message asking for a new one). You fill out your profile and verify your email and BOOM you're a basic member with bonus points and 30 clicks on the Super Lucky Button.

What's the Super Lucky Button, you ask? It's a button that you click on and get free points. Yup, you read that right. Click=free points.

But that's doing something. How do I get points by doing NOTHING!
Well, you get your own invitation links and send those out to your friends. Once you get two friends who are basic members, you've become a Gold member and start earning points when they do. That's right, go to work, come home and FREE POINTS! Take a nap...FREE POINTS!

There's more, but I'm out of time I've hit refresh too many times, and clicked on my Super Lucky Button and now the kids are going to wake up soon. So I have to have a shower really quick.

What did this post have to do with cleaning? Uh, a shower? And FREE POINTS! Um, and I just did a load of laundry.....

Here are the links. They're only available for 7 days so grab them quick:

Product review and giveaway: 'Natural Household Cleaner Recipes' ebook by The Peaceful Housewife

When my daughter was born, I had the wonderful opportunity of making some fabulous friends online, who also had children the same month. These friends live all over the world and have many different backgrounds and interests. One of them was Captain Fussybucket's mom. She started a blog and recently introduced me to another wonderful blogger, The Peaceful Housewife. Now The Peaceful Housewife just released an ebook called 'Natural Household Cleaning Products'. So what better product to review and offer for a giveaway? I'll do the product review first. Please read the rules for the giveaway before entering.

Product Review: 'Natural Household Cleaner Recipes' ebook
As a mom with two small kids and two annoying cats, it's important to have cleaners that both work well and are safe for my family. Being able to make them myself with products around the house is a huge bonus since it offers a huge savings. The Peaceful Housewife's ebook is fantastic. She offers recipes for laundry products, household products, even a makeup brush cleaner and pest spray. So I decided to pick a recipe and try it out, and I chose the carpet cleaner. Now you all know we recently bought a house. And this house came with horrible, stained, faded and PINK carpets. K and I like carpet since our kids are little and it's better for crawling, falling, etc. So we've always planned on just keeping this floor and installing hardwood once the kids are a bit older. But that doesn't mean that I don't care about the way they look. So I chose a stain just outside the kitchen and decided to give it a go. I'm pretty sure this stain was not caused by our cats and was here when we moved in. So it's been there for at least 6 months.


I used the carpet cleaner as directed in the ebook and the stains came right out. It was so easy, using a top secret combination of baking soda, vinegar and water. These products are already in my pantry and are super safe for everyone. Sorry I can't post the recipe, you guys gotta buy the book! It's only $3 through The Peaceful Housewife.

OR....enter my giveaway!

So here are the rules. Read them carefully, this is my first giveaway and I want to make it really easy!

This giveaway is open to: EVERYONE!
Giveaway open until: Monday August 22nd. I will draw a winner at 9am PST. So you have 10 days to enter.

Mandatory Entry:
Comment on this post telling me what kind of natural cleaning product you would most like to try out. Make sure you include your email address so I have a way to contact you if you win!

Additional Entries:
1. Follow my blog!
2. Like The (not so) Clean Mommy on Facebook
3, Follow The Peaceful Housewife (
4. Like The Peaceful Housewife on Facebook
Each time you make an additional entry, make sure you comment below again telling me that you completed those requirements. You could receive up to 5 entries. I have TWO copies available to giveaway so spread the word.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kicking it up a notch

So I'm ready to take this blogging thing to the next level. I've started a Facebook page and have a product review and GIVEAWAY ready to go. That's right, GIVEAWAY! I've also started a list with the next few topics I want to write about, so I don't forget them anymore and can hopefully start writing more often. I'm aiming for a few times per week if not everyday. I have a few more product reviews to type up and am trying to get more giveaways. The best part: all my giveaways will be open to CANADIANS! That's right. I find too often that I'm not eligible to enter because I'm not a US citizen. Well not over here, my friends.

So fasten your seatbelts and grab a cloth. This ride is about to get a whole lot more exciting. I mean clean!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

6 Months Later

The month of August marks 6 months that we've lived in our new house. I can't believe how fast it's gone by. And we've already done a TON of work on it.

First the ensuite bathroom needed to be re-tiled due to moisture behind the shower walls so we hired our contractor to do that.

Then, both kids rooms needed to be painted.

M's new room

K's new room

For the outside of the house, we had drainage issues with the backyard so we had that completely redone.

Then there was problems with the window trim and some trim around the roof and we just got that finished last week. It looks fantastic!

And finally, remember how I organized our whole basement at the townhouse? And We threw out a ton of stuff, both recycling and to the dump? Well there was some boxes that never got sorted and I just did that this past weekend.

I've also done a great job of maintaining the inside of the new house. Laundry and dishes get done everyday along with a quite tidy of each room. And the bigger stuff gets done almost every week. It really is amazing the progress we've made.

I found an old memory card that I thought I had lost and it had pictures from last summer. It was great to go through them and remember some good times with close friends and family. But I was also embarrassed for myself. I never thought the house was that big of a mess, unorganized, yes, but dirty, no. What a wake up finding those pictures was. Our old house was a disaster. It really helped me to see that I have changed and grown a lot in the last 6 months. I can be good at this.

My house isn't perfect but I can finally say that my house is clean and know that now I really mean it!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Getting rid of pesky fruit flies

One downfall and benefit to working somewhere that has a contract with a pest control company is that you get to see the 'bug guy' on a regular basis. This is a bad thing because no one should know their bug buy by his first name but is a good thing because you learn how to keep the bugs away.

The most interesting, and useful, piece of information that I learned was about fruit flies. Did you know that fruit flies breed in drains? And did you know that the average lifespan of a fruit fly is 24 hours? The most useful thing I learned from this is if you ever get fruit flies, just bleach all your drains. This will kill any fruit fly eggs and prevent any more flies from hatching. Also since they only live for 24 hours, any flies you currently have, will just die off.

Hooray for no more fruit flies!

Monday, July 18, 2011

There's an App for that!

Recently K and I got iPhone 4's and we LOVE them. It didn't take any time at all to find the games and other app's that we want and personalize our phones. Last week I did pretty good following my schedule for cleaning the house and today, in between baby K's short naps where I would clean what I could of the bathrooms, and watching TV on the couch so baby K could get a good nap in, I realized that there has to be a house cleaning schedule app. So I grabbed my phone, which is always within arm's reach, and searched the App Store and low and behold, there's an app for that.

So I downloaded the free version of Motivated Moms and set up what I could of it. It actually isn't bad. It has daily tasks, like taking vitamins, reading to the kids, sweeping the entryway and kitchen, and then other tasks that alternate every few days/weekly etc. You can hide some tasks that you don't use, like if you don't have a pet for example. So I'll use it for a week or two and if I like it I might try the full version. The only thing I don't see so far is the ability to add your own personal tasks, and when you want to do them, but the full version might have that option.

The great thing about an app like this, where all the tasks are scheduled ahead of time, is that it will remind me to do things that I don't normally think of. For example, it told me to check the filters in the furnace today and I think later this week is change the kids bed sheets. Normally we just change them when we have a leak overnight, but since potty training is going really well, it'll be great to have a reminder for things like that.

Oh technology, what would we do without you?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Product Review: Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel

One of the worst cleaning jobs in the house has to be cleaning the toilet. It is by far the dirtiest, most unsanitary places ever. So when a company promises to keep your toilet cleaner and extend the time in between cleanings, of course you're going to be interested. Scrubbing Bubbles made that promise with their Toilet Cleaning Gel and unfortunately, it doesn't work.

The Toilet Cleaning Gel is super easy to use. Clean your toilet like you normally would and then use the dispenser to stamp a gel disc onto the inside of your toilet bowl. This gel will gradually dissolve when you flush and will clean the toilet. Except that it doesn't. The gel disc is supposed to last a week but after only a few days I noticed build up on the inside of the toilet bowl and a rim appearing. At the end of the week, the toilets were disgusting.

To be fair, I made sure that we had used it properly. I didn't want to rush on here after the first week in case we hadn't done it right. So I made sure to bleach and clean the heck out of the toilets and reapply the gel. And the second and third weeks were the same. It almost seems like the toilets stay cleaner longer without the gel. I could buy another one and try some more variations, but it really isn't worth spending money on that.

Sorry everyone, it looks like for now we'll have to keep cleaning the toilets the old fashioned way. I'll invest my money on some rubber gloves.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Harder than I thought

So this whole two kids thing is apparently a lot harder than I thought it would be. Baby K is just now, at almost a month old, getting used to being put down. He's in the swing right now, but only started tolerating that a few days ago. Most of the time, he sleeps on me, which makes it hard to get things done. So I came up with a plan and so far it's working alright. Every time he falls asleep, I put him down, either in his crib or the playpen. Slowly, but surely, he's getting used to not sleeping on us. Although he does sleep best on my chest. This gives me a few minutes every day to get some things done. So far I've mastered dishes, laundry and feeding M and myself. And some days, I'll bust out the windex and clean windows, and on paydays, I've still been keeping up with the bills. Last week, I ventured out and took both kids to the waterpark, where we met a friend who has two little girls who are each a few months older than mine. It was an adventure, but we had a blast and I'm glad I did. I might not be supermom, my house might not be immaculate, but at least I can take the kids out to have a good time. That's what childhood memories are made of, not how clean the house is, even though that's important too.

I know I said that I'd get back to work two weeks ago, but I'll admit that I haven't. This week, though, I really am. Tomorrow, Monday, is bathroom day, but I'm going to do that today. That way, I'll be a day ahead of myself all week, so if I have a rough day, that's ok. Plus, since I haven't been doing a great job at keeping up with my weekly tasks, I'll probably need to spend a bit more time than I normally would to get them done properly, at least for this week.

So let me reiterate my advice to all moms. Don't be too hard on yourself. You will get it all done, it'll just take time to figure out a good system. And even though my system worked when I had one kid, it might need some tweaking now that I have two.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back to work

It's not like having a baby is any kind of vacation but I gave myself two weeks off from worrying about the house. I still did what I could, which wasn't much. And thankfully K has been home, so I haven't had to worry that much. But my baby K is two weeks old tomorrow and it's back to work for me. I'm taking it slowly because of my recovery but I can't not worry about it anymore. The clutter has been getting to me, and I'm taking it one day at a time and getting this house cleaned up. Hopefully at the end of this week, I'll be back in my groove.

Now I have to get to bed since both kids are sleeping. I have that to be thankful for, at least they sleep at the same time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome baby K

I haven't forgotten about you guys. I've just been busy-having a baby. Baby boy K was born on June 14 after 4 hours of pushing and a forceps assisted delivery. Mom and baby are doing fantastic. He is breastfeeding like a champ and at 8 days old is already gone from 9lbs 4oz to 9lbs 7oz. My little chunkster. Big sister loves him. And they already sleep at the same time. Life around here is great so far. I'll start posting again regularly in a few days when things settle down a bit.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nesting or clean freak?

Lately, I seem to be either in super nesting mode or I'm becoming a clean freak. Between washing and using cloth diapers again, doing the rest of the baby laundry, and keeping up with our normal laundry, I've been doing 2-3 loads per DAY! I used to do one load every two days or so. And then there's the rest of the house cleaning. I've been doing a pretty good job at maintaining the rest of the house, considering how far along I am (which is almost 38 weeks now). Then, I've been finding and creating extra jobs for myself. Like cleaning the windows in the car, or since we need to wash the baby's carseat, I might as well wash M's carseat as well. Or why not rearrange my whole linen closet?

Since I know how much I (don't) love to clean, I'm going to go with nesting at this point. We've only been in this house for around 3 months, I can't have changed my habits already, could I have?

In any event, does it really matter if I'm keeping up with everything I need to do and then some? K definitely isn't complaining!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making the worst jobs easier

My least favorite job is by far folding and putting away laundry. Even though I can do it in front of the tv, I still hate doing it. So I found a way to make it not as time consuming or daunting. I bring an empty laundry basket downstairs to the dryer and I fold the laundry as I put it into the basket. It makes taking it out of the dryer take a bit longer but when I come upstairs, it's in the basket folded and just needs to be put away. Then I can watch tv and NOT have to fold laundry at the same time.

Another secret I use is NOT fast forwarding through commercials on my recorded shows. I know, that's the point of having them recorded, but this way, I can enjoy my show AND get housework done. Most of the time it's dishes that I do, or simple tidying up the house. But the job doesn't seem as much like a job since really, I'm just watching tv.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Permission to fall behind: GRANTED!

I think one of the most important things to remember when trying so hard to keep your house clean is that it's ok to give yourself permission to take some time off and let things fall behind.

I've learned that keeping your house clean is like a big cycle. I love having a clean house. So when the house is mostly clean and I see little messes, I have no problem tidying them up right away. Which keeps the house cleaner. Which motivates me to keep the house cleaner. And this also affects my mood. I know that when the house is clean, I can take some time to myself, like watch some TV during nap time instead of cleaning floors. AND, another big bonus is when I'm not feeling very well, and I ask K to help me vacuum or do something, he doesn't hesitate to help out since he sees how hard I've been working to keep things under control.

I've been wondering lately if I would have been able to get to this point if we hadn't moved. I had a plan somewhat drafted up before we moved. We purged the townhouse of all our clutter, we got a storage locker and cleaned the place up. I got into some sort of routine at the old house and when we moved, I knew exactly what I needed to do to keep the new house clean. So I started off on the right foot. And the motivation just kept snowballing so I've been able to keep up with everything. Even over the last three weeks, when I've been sick. Which takes me back to the title of this post. I haven't been following my schedule over the last few weeks. I've given myself permission to fall behind. But I was able to prioritize my tasks, and keep up with laundry and dishes, and keeping the house tidy. When I've noticed something, I've been able to assess whether or not it really needed to be done right away.

And now, three weeks later (being sick while pregnant SUCKS) I'm finally able to take the chance at saying that I feel better and can bulldoze my way through my house to get it back to where it needs to be. I have no laundry in the hampers again. I only did laundry today because my pants were dirty so I added some bath towels in there as well. I have no dishes waiting to be washed and my kitchen is mostly tidy. After a morning of semi fighting with DD and a few time outs, most of her toys are picked up. And now it's naptime and I'm going to do the rest to get me back on schedule.

So to all the mamas out there that need a break sometimes, don't feel bad about giving yourself permission to fall a little behind. We all need a breather sometimes, just do what you have to so that when you feel better, it isn't too hard to catch back up!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

It's only a day late, no biggie, right?

First of all I hope all the fantastic Mother's reading this had a great day. And if they didn't, there's a reason why Mother's Day comes before Father's Day. HAHA.

My day was fantastic! Started out with kisses from my adorable daughter and a gift card for a manicure from my favourite spa. My mom and I have pedicures scheduled there next week so I'm going to add manicures to the appointment. Then I made breakfast. K made us bacon and eggs on Saturday morning so I treated us to crepes with strawberries for Mother's day. M ate three whole crepes. Then I made a point of doing nothing all day to get ready for our barbeque dinner. K vacuumed and tidied up the house before the family all showed up. And dinner went fabulously. My parents, both brothers and their girlfriends all came, along with Grandma who ventured upstairs to join us for burgers. I even made my dad cut the tomatoes, and he had apparently never done so before. I also made my youngest brother help K clean up afterwards.

And, this 8 month pregnant mama finished her day by going to bed early. Early meaning 9pm. And I slept...well, alright for being 8 months pregnant.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a great day, I hope you all got to enjoy the same!

Friday, May 6, 2011

First product review: Vileda Promist Mop

Whenever there is a move, there is inevitably going to be lost items. Over the last few months, I had slowly found items on my mental 'Lost' list but one item was still MIA. And a random one at that, our mop bucket. On top of that, I found out that K and I both hate our mop. It's an old string style mop that is always dirty and the process of filling the mop bucket, bringing it upstairs and carrying it around the house ends up making more of a mess than it cleans up. So I bought a new mop a few weeks ago and decided that today would be the perfect day to take it for a test run. And, it turns out, I like it. Hopefully this review is helpful for all of you reading!

Why I choose the Vileda Promist Mop
At the time, it was cheaper than the Swiffer WetJet. It also offers three environmentally friendly/cost effective features. The first is that the removable velcro mop pad is machine washable up to 100 washes. This appealed to me more than the disposable mop pads offered by the Swiffer. The second feature is that you use your own cleaning solution in the refillable container, instead of buying pre-packaged refill packs. Now I'm not super concerned about my carbon footprint, considering I do most of my cleaning with disposable lysol wipes, or paper towels, but I like to do what I can when I can. And, since I live with cats and kids, the option to use whichever cleaning solution I want is a huge benefit. Today, I simply used vinegar with hot water. The third is that you don't need batteries. As a mother who is constantly changing batteries in kids toys, the last thing I need to worry about is powering my mop.

Why I like the Vileda Promist Mop
On top of the above features, the Vileda Promist Mop is very easy to use. The mop head swivels easily and is easy to move around the room. And, as someone who's 6 feet tall, I don't have to bend over or hunch my back to get the job done. The mist feature is very easy to use and the spray covers a good area in front of you. I remembered that we had some dried cat puke downstairs on the entry way tile and my simple solution of vinegar and hot water along with a few good 'swipes' got it clean.

Other than the actual functioning of the mop, I love how light and mobile it is. It's almost awkward when you have to carry a mop bucket of dirty, soapy mop water around the house and this is super easy. I love that there's no mop bucket to fill up and you can use as much or as little solution as you want or need depending on what you're cleaning up.

For anyone considering a new mop, I definitely recommend this one. Feel free to post a comment or question. Have you used this mop before? Are you thinking about it? Hopefully I can help you out and make cleaning up those mommy messes a little bit easier.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Time to help other people clean up

As some of you might have heard there was recently a bunch of violent tornadoes in the South East US. Areas of Alabama and Tennessee were hit pretty hard. I have a very close friend who lives near some of the devastation. Thankfully she was not affected but she knows some people who lost everything. To help her spread the word on how we can help those who were affected, I'm posting some links. Feel free to repost this so that we can get the most help down there as possible. Thanks for reading.

Work Volunteer Abroad
Road to Recovery

For a more comprehensive list, visit my friend's blog.
Cooking for Colonel Itchypants

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sick and cleaning are not friends

After a very busy weekend, M and I are sick, and K is starting to get a runny nose. So today, my first real day back at it, I kind of slacked off. We didn't have much laundry to do because we had done a bunch over the weekend, so that wasn't a big deal. I didn't touch the dishes, but K did them after dinner. Eating leftovers, though, doesn't make a lot of dishes so there wasn't much to do. I did clean the shower, that needed to get done, but other than that, taking a day or two off as sick doesn't put me very far behind.

We had family over on Friday. My grandparents were in town for Easter and I took advantage of that to also invite my aunt and uncle over for lunch since they hadn't seen the new house yet. So I asked K to vacuum (it's starting to get hard to do with this growing belly) and I tidied up the rest of the house. But since I have been impressing myself with following my schedule, there wasn't much to do to get ready for the company. They all took M for a walk after lunch and K and I did the dishes while they were all gone. My grandma said 'we should go wash the dishes' when they get back and I surprised her with 'oh they're already done!'. They we had K's great aunt and uncle over yesterday (Monday) and again, it was super easy to tidy up for that.

I'm finding that this whole cleaning thing is just one big cycle. I LOVE having a clean house. And I know that if I slack off and let it get really bad, it'll be so hard to clean, so when I see clutter, I tidy it up right away. Which makes the house cleaner, and which also makes it easier to really clean up when I have bigger chores to do. All that makes me so proud of myself, that I can keep a house clean, that I can do a good job at it, and that makes me feel better about being a stay at home mom. I also get lots of time for baths or naps, or errands, or just for puzzles or walks to the park, so I'm not cleaning ALL.DAY.LONG. But I still have a somewhat immaculate house, or as immaculate as it can be for a pregnant mom of a toddler.

Ok, I gotta go, I think the Canucks just got a penalty shot in game 7. And I added a button for my friend's blog. She's started doing some giveaways so pop over there and follow her and enter the giveaways!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 2 is successful-I'm on a roll!

Ok so I cheated a little bit. I didn't do any laundry today but that's only because I didn't have any to do. Seriously, the baskets were all empty! It's those three loads I did yesterday. Instead, M and I made muffins. And they were good!! I also took a two hour nap when she napped. As soon as K walked in the door I asked him if he would take her to the park. I said that I wanted to take a shower, but really, the minute the door was closed, I had the costco sized container of lysol wipes in hand and set about dusting the house, which turned into also cleaning off the dressers, coffee tables, etc. This whole once/week thing is going to work out well. I can manage to tidy things up regularly and that will keep the house so much cleaner, which will make the cleaning so much easier.

Ok, it's almost 8pm here and I'm exhausted. I'm seriously heading off to bed. Ahh pregnancy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting back on track

Yikes, over a month since I've written here. I hope that doesn't make me a terrible blogger. In my defense, we've been sick over here, busy getting settled into the new house and I've been busy finishing up work. Yesterday was my last day and I'm on vacation now for 3 weeks before starting my maternity leave. It's been a busy last few weeks trying to adjust to the new house and trying to get into a house cleaning routine, but I think I've almost figured it out. I had a great first day off today. As I type, the dishes are drying, our bed is made, the ensuite bathroom has been deep cleaned and most of the laundry folded and put away. I have a few towels left in the dryer to fold, but towels are easy. We even went to costco today and got groceries, and I changed the insurance on my car to remove the 'to and from work' coverage.

Here's what I've been working on and what I think might work. I've created a daily schedule where I make sure certain things are done before moving onto the next meal. For example, before I make breakfast, I put away any dishes that were left to dry overnight. Before lunch, I make sure the breakfast dishes are washed, a load of laundry is put into the wash, and the playroom is tidied up. During nap time, I move the laundry to the dryer, wash lunch dishes and do one deep clean task per day. Today was the bathrooms. As I mentioned above, the ensuite is done and I just have to wash the counter and mirror in the main. If I can make sure that each of these smaller tasks are done before each meal (or during nap time), then it shouldn't be too hard to maintain the house. So far day 1 of this routine worked out alright. I just have to go finish the bathrooms, put the towels away and sweep the kitchen floor. I'll be sure to report back tomorrow after having M home all day. If I can master this routine with a toddler, the hard part will be adding a newborn to the mix. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Change of plans and a productive day

After a few days of back and forth, we had enough and decided to move in last weekend. We rented a truck on Saturday and K and my dad moved the last of our big stuff and most of the remaining small stuff. They also went to IKEA and bought the new kitchen table, M's new bed and the new dresser. The last few days have been somewhat unorganized but today is Monday and I needed a fresh, clean start. New week, new house, I might as well TRY to follow my new organization plan, right? So with my daily and weekly list on my fridge, I got out of bed and got to it. In between my online time, M and I powered through.
8 things to do everyday:
1. Make the beds -DONE
2. Manage clutter- took a few time outs, but M cleaned up her playroom
3. Sort the mail-we took a quick walk to the mailbox before lunch and there was no mail yet
4. Clean as you cook -DONE
5. Wipe up spills while they're fresh -DONE
6. Sweep the kitchen floor -we don't have a broom here yet, so nope
7. Do one entire load of laundry -clean laundry is in the basket and I'll fold it while M is sleeping
8. Run the dishwasher -not done, we haven't used the dishwasher here yet, but there are NO dirty dishes in the sink.

Not bad, especially for me. We also vacuumed the living room, put away a few kitchen and bathroom boxes, broke down all the empty boxes and consolidated them. And I have time to relax this afternoon before work. Pretty good for a not so clean mommy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Caught in limbo

Right now, my house is caught somewhere in between clean and organized and untidy. I did vacuum the other day and cleaned the bathrooms yesterday. I washed most of the dishes last night and most of our stuff is in it's place. But we get the new house tomorrow and that begins three weeks of moving in/out. We've taken out all the clothes that we'll need for the in between stage but since we're going to move most of our big stuff tomorrow, including our dressers, we can't have EVERYTHING put away. I've decided to be ok with this house like this. It's only for three weeks, if that since we'll be moving everything over to the new house starting tomorrow. I'm going in armed with Green Works multipurpose spray to clean out the kitchen, bathroom, everything I can so that once all our linens, dishes, etc, get moved in, everything else is clean for them! I'm going to figure out which cupboard I want used for which dishes and I'm going to label them all. Honestly, I wish we could skip this step and wake up in the new house and have everything clean and organized and ready to go, but we can't so I have to figure out the best system that will work for us. It will all be worth it when it's done!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cleaning up some loose ends

Wow, it's been awhile since I've written on here. Ok a week, but it's amazing how when you're not focused on cleaning or tidying up all of the time, things get a little bit out of hand. But this week, we've been busy cleaning up some loose ends. For example, subjects are removed on our house, so it's SOLD! So I called the mortgage company and notary and set up financing for the new house and paperwork appointments to get everything signed. We're all ready to go (almost).

As far as cleanliness at the old house, we've been doing alright. Not fantastic, but not horrible. So today, I took some time to get back on track. Threw in a load of laundry, tidied up some recycling, dishes, the bathroom, made the bed again. Basically a room by room quick sweep of what could be picked up. It's SO much easier to do all this withOUT a toddler in the house. Hopefully once this all becomes automatic to me, I'll be able to do it with a toddler, a newborn, and anyone else who wants to stand in my way.

I also took some advice from Martha. At the beginning of her Homekeeping Handbook, she has a bunch of lists. There's are daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal to do lists. So I took her daily and weekly lists and made my own. We have task lists at work and I can follow those so why can't I have one for at home?

Here's the list. I might laminate it so I can cross things off with a dry erase and then start over the next day or week. This way, my husband, K, can also see the list, can see what's been done and can help out where needed.


I'll keep you guys all posted on how well it works!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Almost unrecognizable

Me, that is. Today was a great day. I still got to be myself (lazy mom) but got everything done! Who am I?? I knew my work pants needed to be washed so I threw in a small load this morning. A few pairs of pants and some towels. I lazed around on my message boards while my sick two year old daughter, M, watched TV. Then I got dressed, got her dressed and we went to the doctor. No antibiotics needed, just a virus, should get better on its own. After the appointment, we went to the local bakery and got some buns, turkey and a giant happy face cookie. We came home had some lunch (that was a fight since a little girl just wanted to eat her cookie), then someone got to have a few bites of her cookie because she ate her meat and her carrots. While she slept (I got almost a full two hours today!) I hopped back online and turned on some Friends. Man I love old school TV. Instead of fast forwarding through the commercials, though, I moved the wash into the dryer, did the lunch and breakfast dishes, made the bed and tidied up the house. I even phoned hydro and set up the new house on the account for our move in/move out dates. Got myself dressed for work just in time for someone to wake up to a sippie cup of milk and the rest of her cookie. This all happened just as K walked in the door from work. I even had a few minutes to type this out before heading off to work (3-midnight shift today). Laundry? Dishes? Tidying up the house? MADE THE BED? And all in one day? WHO AM I?!??!

A few other good (clean) news! Our house is sold! Well it's under contract, we'll know for sure next Monday as long as the inspection, which is Thursday, goes well. So we officially have to be moved out by March 19th (and we're going to recruit some of you local readers to help!). I picked out the washer/dryer combo that I want for the new house, since the ones there now are OLD and gross. The new set should work for cloth diapering, which I want to do with the new baby. There's a VIP sale at Future Shop on Thursday and as long as the price is right, we'll pay for them and schedule them to be delivered the day after we get possession. Then, as I mentioned above, I phoned hydro and they'll add the new house to our account on possession day, February 24th, and they'll remove the townhouse on March 19th. I just have to phone Shaw (TV, phone and internet) and Terasen (gas) to have those accounts do the same. We have to set up internet at the new house since K's mom will need it right away. And we won't have any lapse in service, either!

Ok, time for me to head off to work. Seriously, we've been out of bed for like not even 7 hours and I can't believe I got all that done. Now to keep the trend up!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My first (messy) entry

Hello fellow bloggers. I'm Ashleigh. I'm not a neat person. Neat as in clean, tidy, etc. But I'm trying. We recently bought a house. A big house. Likely the house where we'll raise our family. The whole house has 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3000 sqft, but it's not all ours. There is a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, self contained suite in the basement where my mother in law will live.
See we bought the house with her. We have a 2 year old daughter and another little one on the way, and there really wasn't enough room for us, and our two cats, in our two bedroom townhouse. So we approached her with the idea of buying a house together and she got really excited about it. In fact, she's the one that found the new house! It really works well for both of us. We get more room, and she gets to have live in house and dog sitters since she's starting out a new business venture where she'll be traveling a lot for work.

So back to the house. We get the upstairs and part of the downstairs. We have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs, a playroom, eat in kitchen, and formal living and dining rooms. I'm SUPER excited about the separate playroom. Really it's a family room area off the kitchen but I'm excited to have somewhere for the toys to be, separate from where the living room is. Downstairs, we have another bedroom, which will be used as an office and gaming room. My husband, K, is a big xbox 360 player (Nazi Zombies, anyone?) so we're going to set up a gaming and home office room. We'll still have the tv in the playroom, and we have a living room with NO tv and NO computer. I'm really excited to be able to entertain in a formal space! The last part of the new house we're super excited about is the backyard with a hot tub! That's right, this mama is going to have a hot tub! And the backyard is a huge plus, considering the only grass we have at the townhouse is right outside our unit with no fences and right on the busy street. That doesn't work well with toddlers who like to run around.

So here's the reason for this blog. I've never been a neat person. In my bedroom growing up, my closet was stuffed full with crap, any desk or dresser drawers was packed full and I'm pretty sure I didn't even know what was under the bed. I kept EVERYTHING. I moved out and brought my crap with me, then moved in with K, then we bought the townhouse and all that crap just accumulated and came with us. We moved in here in the summer of 2005 and have boxes downstairs that were never unpacked. We always knew we were packrats and knew we had to go through it all and throw it out, but just never got around to it. We have a 500 sqft unfinished basement and had plans of building a playroom or home theatre room down there, but never got to it. Instead, we have 500 sqft of crap. Well, had. We bought the new house, finished some renovations that had to be done, and put the townhouse up for sale. We took one month, and K ended up doing 15 dump runs--yes DUMP runs. We had THAT much garbage. Well, not garbage in the sense of rotting food but just crap that we hung on to for no reason other than we couldn't throw it out. I donated 5 large garbage bags of old clothes to the Salvation Army and we filled a 5X5 storage locker with the things that we DID need to keep. Our townhouse now, doesn't have any crap. There's really no reason to have a mess because we don't have anything to keep it messy. For goodness sake, I had training materials from my first job (grocery store deli clerk) that I started over TEN years ago. And training materials from all my subsequent jobs. School books. Not textbooks, I've kept those, but notebooks. My handwritten notes from like History of Canada before Confederation. I took that class in 2003. Before I even MET K.

Getting rid of all that junk was eye opening. My new years resolution this year was to simplify. If I don't need it, THROW IT OUT! We've been living in our townhouse like this for almost two weeks now and I LOVE it. I actually put my dishes in the sink when I'm done with them. I don't leave stuff on the bathroom counter anymore. The biggest task of all is going to be keeping up with this once we get into the new house. A bigger house, with more cupboards to fill, more storage areas downstairs, and with another baby. Can I keep living like this when I'm sleep deprived and a mother to two kids. Can I do it? I'm going to try my hardest and I'm going to write about it. I'm going to read and review books on it. I already took out Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook from the library and boy is that a hefty read. I'll blog about what works and what doesn't. I'll share secrets from readers. I might review products (and maybe I'll be able to get a few freebies to give away).

It's not easy being clean, but all mommies try. I'm on a quest to change my ways, and maybe I'll be able to help out a few other mommies do the same.