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!