Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Review and 2013 Resolutions

2012 was a fantastic year over here in {not so} clean land.  My maternity leave continued, and then ended and I quit my job.  M graduated from her first year of Preschool in June and we had a great family vacation and road trip to Great Wolf Lodge, Portland and Seattle.  We met some amazing friends and had a blast.  The rest of the summer was fairly uneventful, and the school year started with M increasing her school time to 3 days per week at Preschool.  The last four months have seen an increase in my business, and our house has become more busy.  But it's all very exciting.  

My goals for 2012 were to have a better schedule, to eat better and to continue to simplify.  Our schedule has almost been forced into a new normal, with M being in school more.  I've found a relatively comfortable balance between family, house and work, and hopefully will continue to get better at that.  Eating better is hard to evaluate at the end of the year, with the holidays, the treats, the good food.  And simplifying has gone great.  Overall, I think I did a pretty good job at last year's resolutions.

Now, my goals for 2013.

Continue to simplify-I could probably have this as a goal for the rest of my life.  In the last few months, I've found, and gotten addicted to local buy/sell/swap groups, and a local bidding wars site.  I sold my maternity clothes as soon as I fit back into my regular jeans.  No excuses!  Then, after passing on my baby stuff to friends that could use it, I started listing and selling what I could.  And as I started cleaning up different rooms of the house, I found more stuff I could sell, either on the buy/sell/swap group, or if it was a higher ticket item, on the bidding site.  THAT one is fun because if more than one person wants something, and I've priced it right, that can drive the price up.  Items that aren't in good enough condition to sell, I can donate to the thrift store where my Mother in Law volunteers.  A fast way to simplify the house, and perhaps to make some pennies as well.

Do something everyday for myself-part of being a good wife, mom, employee, or person, includes taking care of me.  So whether I throw on wii fit and do some yoga, or take a bath, watch a movie, go for a walk, or coffee, or something else, I want to try to do something every day just for me.  Time to take care of myself, re-focus, and be better able to concentrate on all of the other things I have going on.  

Hold myself accountable more- I have enough lists, or apps, or just know in my head what I need to do but fail to follow through and get them done.  Like house cleaning.  I could very easily get off the couch and go wipe down the counter.  But I don't.  It could take two seconds, but I stay where I am.  If I held myself more accountable to the lists I've made, the daily, weekly, monthly etc tasks I want to accomplish, then I would get a lot more done, and would feel a lot better.  Wait, isn't this why I started this blog?  HAHA!  Ok so I want to use the blog more.  I need more accountability in my life, more follow through.  

What are your resolutions for this year?  Or goals, or just things you want to work on or keep in mind?  Let me know and we can hold each other accountable to get everything done that we need to.  Let's start 2013 with some great goals and some great friends!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

To dishwasher or not to dishwasher

THAT is the question.

When we put our townhouse on the market, in January 2011, we got into the habit of washing all of our dishes by hand, since you can't exactly leave dirty (or clean for that matter) dishes in the dishwasher when you're having open houses.  When we moved here, we were already in that habit and just continued.  We have used our dishwasher on a few occasions, including this week, to wash the dishes after Christmas dinner.

And I've been thinking lately, we have this dishwasher in the kitchen that is EMPTY all of the time.  It would be a great place to store our pots and pans.  OR we could start using the dishwasher again.  When we first moved in, there was just three of us.  Then there was four of us, but one of us was a newborn who didn't use dishes.  Now there are four of us, including a 4 year old and an 18m old who can (and do) get into their dishes and use what feels like every dish in the house almost every single day.  IKEA children's dishes are dishwasher safe, aren't they?

So we're going to try it.  I'm a tad over spending so much time doing dishes.  OR, if I don't get to the dishes, it just piles up on the counter and THEN there's a ton of dishes to do.  So we'll see how it goes. Worst case, we go back to doing them by hand.  But if it's easier, and takes less time, which turns into spending more time with my kids, then I'll take that.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cleaning up after the storm

Now I'm a tad embarrassed to admit this since this whole blog is about cleaning, and tips and all that jazz, but you all know how much I LOVE to clean!

The hubs and I did a great job getting the house ready for hosting Christmas dinner.  We didn't have to rush around and finish the last minute stuff the morning of.  Christmas dinner went so smoothly.  There was a ton of food, everything finished ahead of schedule.  It really was a fantastic day spent with love and family.

After dinner I was beat.  So exhausted and I didn't even want to think about cleaning up.  But after a big meal like that you can't leave it for later.  Thankfully I didn't have to.  Santa had sent a couple of amazing elves over for dinner and they did easily 90% of the dishes, and put away most of the food.  I can't even describe how amazing it was to sit down and visit with people, and then to go to bed on Christmas night and not have to worry about a mess.  AND, how much better it was to wake up the next day and not have to worry about a mess.

A lot of people think that Christmas is all about what's under the tree, or in the stocking.  But spending time with great friends and family, singing songs, playing makeshift table tennis, and having someone clean your kitchen, well those are gifts that won't end up broken or in the trash, or donate bin.

Thank you to my amazing Elves!  You guys are invited to every big party I host!

How did the set up and clean up go for your big parties?  Did Santa send anyone else some fantastic helper Elves?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas prep day 2

Here's my list from yesterday:

Today's plan:1. Finish up the last of my orders.  There isn't much left to do, I promise.  And they're all local, and I've scheduled drop off/pick up with all of them so if they aren't already done (which most are, I PROMISE) they will be on time! 2. Finish up crafts with the kids3. Bake something (brownies, cookies, rice crispie squares, SOMETHING)4. Clean up living and dining rooms-meaning ALL work and kid related stuff is out, and it's vacuumed, dusted and cleaned up. 

What did I get done (or not)?

1. Orders: two items done, one dropped off.  3 left to finish, and I promise the hard part is done, just finishing touches.
2. Not done
3. Not done
4.  a. Dining room table cleaned off and wiped.
     b. Side table cleaned off and wiped.
     c. Couch side tables cleaned off and wiped.
     d. Coffee tabled cleaned off and wiped.  And cleaned and wiped.  And cleaned and wiped.  Darn kids.
     e. Work related stuff (piles of fabric moved downstairs)
     f. Need to move a few last random items and vacuum

So what's on my list for today....
1. Finish up crafts.  Will go do that right now.
2. Bake something.  Will do that right now as kids do craft stuff.
3. Vacuum living room/dining room.  In my defense, the vacuum canister in the garage was full (we have a built in) and I had to empty it, WHICH I DID-BY MYSELF!
4. Finish up orders.  That WILL get done when kids go to bed.

And tomorrow?
1. Anything I didn't get done today.
2. Clean bathrooms
3. Finish cleaning and mop entryway
4. Tidy kids rooms
5. Why do I try to have more than 2 items on my list when I KNOW it won't get done?
6. Bake something else
7. More crafts.
8. More cleaning.   Should I go on?????

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Last Minute Christmas Preparation Dance

Anyone want to dance with me?

We are now one week until Christmas and I'm not nearly as ready as I had hoped to be.  Not only do I still have work to do, I also have some last minute shopping to do and then the house cleaning to START!  YIKES!

Last year, after Christmas, I bought a binder, and created sections, to help me plan my holidays ahead of time.  I bought a folder to store cash, with which I could buy Christmas gifts, food, decorations, etc.  I created a budget ahead of time and made notes.   And take a guess how much money was in there?  Yup-NONE!  I didn't use the system AT ALL!

Pinterest also had a ton of ideas, including week by week cleaning schedules, starting in October!  You can bet I pinned them.  Did I refer to them?  Yup, maybe once or twice.  Did I use them?  NOPE!

So why am I such a good planner-on paper-but struggle at getting it all done.  For some reason, I can figure it all out but I can't execute my plan.  Now I have 5 days to get everything done.  It'll get done, but it won't be easy.  Is it just that I work better under pressure?  Will next year be any different?  Probably not.

So here's how I'm going to get it all done: Tell you guys about it!  Lucky!!!

Today's plan:
1. Finish up the last of my orders.  There isn't much left to do, I promise.  And they're all local, and I've scheduled drop off/pick up with all of them so if they aren't already done (which most are, I PROMISE) they will be on time!
2. Finish up crafts with the kids
3. Bake something (brownies, cookies, rice crispie squares, SOMETHING)
4. Clean up living and dining rooms-meaning ALL work and kid related stuff is out, and it's vacuumed, dusted and cleaned up.

Check in tomorrow to see if I got it all done, and what's on the list for tomorrow.

Are you ready for Christmas?  What are you getting done today?  I can help hold you to it!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our felt Christmas Tree

One super popular pin from Pinterest is the Kids Christmas Tree.  You make it out of felt, make ornaments, presents, etc and stick it up on the wall for the kids to play with, hoping that they leave the real tree alone.

I bought a yard of green felt from Joann's and cut out the tree.  Then I had smaller felt squares that I used to cut out the ornaments and presents. 

At first, I tried attaching it to the wall with scotch tape but that didn't work well.  So as suggested in one of the Pinterest links, I tried the 3M Command strips.  Well, as I discovered with the scotch tape, nothing attaches to felt.  So I sewed the strips on.  Next year, I'll just buy a new pack for the wall.  

The lightbulbs I bought from a friend and local small business Playful Path Felt Stories.  They even sparkle and are a great addition to our tree!

The ornaments were all cut freehand.  Some are circles and some are supposed to look like diamonds.  The command strips work great and the kids love it.  And my tree is left alone!  The whole project cost about $5 for the felt and two sets of command strips.  The ones sewn on to the tree will be permanent and next year, I'll replace the ones on the wall.  

Isn't it pretty?  Adds a bit of Christmas to the playroom!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The last of the Christmas Fairs

My last Christmas event is tonight.  Products are all ready, or as ready as they'll be at this point.  It's time to pack everything up and then tidy up the house.  It's been nice for the past few events, that I've already done the bulk of the work and don't need to have a week of mad rushing beforehand to get stuff ready.  At this point it's just finishing up the custom orders to get in the mail by Monday and then local orders.

In a way, I'm glad the bulk of my business involves shipping, because I won't be rushing to finish stuff up at the last minute.  Which gives me more time to focus on my house and my family.

Wish me luck tonight, I hope my last event of the season is successful!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Introducing....Simon (the magic is real)

Simon is our Elf on the Shelf.  And the kids aren't the only ones who love him.

In December, the kids wake me up and my first thought is 'OH SHOOT-I didn't move the Elf' and I distract them while I go to move him.  But some mornings, ok most mornings, Simon isn't where he was left the night before.  And at that moment, I call M out to find him and I actually can't help her.  In fact, I totally get into the hunt and get excited to find him.

Some parents go all out.  They have Elves who get into trouble, or pull of crazy stunts.  Some have admittedly lazy Elves who hang out in the same spot for a few days at a time.

In our house, the magic is real.  This mama doesn't move Simon.  We wake up and we all try to find Simon.  It's great fun.  And it's all real.

Today, Simon wanted to hang out with our Santa, and M found him on top of our tree.

Do you have an Elf?  What is your Elf's name?  And what's his or her favorite place to hang out?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Keeping Christmas Clean

Well we've put up the tree and some decorations.  And of course, I love it!  I love everything that has anything to do with Christmas.  In fact, as I type this, I can see my neighbor stringing the lights on his tree.  Tomorrow I'll make my husband put up the outdoor lights, while I clean up the inside and put up more decorations.  I just love it all.  Love it so much I'm hosting Christmas dinner this year.  I want to create a Winter Wonderland inside my house and just stay here, all cozy, and have everyone come over.


If I'm making a huge effort to clean up and decorate the house, I might as well have lots of people over to enjoy it, right?

Now I get to spend the next few days figuring out how to keep the 4 year old and 18 month old from getting into everything.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Scentsy Review

I had heard about Scentsy and agreed with the idea, but didn't want to invest the money into something I wasn't sure about.  Enter a good friend of mine, Brittany Nicks, to the rescue!  She graciously sent me a warmer and some scented wax to review.  I showed the system to my husband at a home fair we went to this past summer and he was on board so I decided to try it out!  And we love it!

Scentsy is a wickless scented candle system that safely, without a wick, or a flame, will fill your house with amazing non-toxic scents.

A wickless candle is a highly fragrant wax bar that is warmed to release fragrance into the air. Because the wax is gently warmed rather than burned, it can hold more fragrance oil than a traditional candle. And, because there is no flame, there is no smoke, soot, or lead. Scentsy wickless candles are a safer alternative to traditional candles.
Scentsy’s beautiful warmers house a low-watt light bulb that slowly melts the Scentsy candle bar, filling your home with one of more than 80 distinctive and long-lasting scents.The combination of a Scentsy warmer with a Scentsy Bar is known as a Scentsy System. 

Upon receiving my Scentsy package, the first thing I did was test out the scents that she sent with them.     And they were divine!  Then I had to decide which one to try out first.  We decided on Lemon and Berries.  So we found a spot in our upstairs living area, plugged in the warmer, added the wax and turned it on.
Warmer plugged in with wax
They offer many different sizes and styles of warmer to match your home decor, or the season.  They also offer smaller plug in warmers, which I have invested in for our main bathroom.  With the litter box and the cloth diaper bin, that room didn't smell like sunshine and roses.

The wax is hot once melted, but the warmer can be placed away from where little hands can reach it, so it isn't a safety hazard.  The bases are very sturdy so I would never worry about it spilling.  And with no flame, there is no fire hazard.

Cleaned out warmer

Changing the scent is really simple.  I just warm up what is in the warmer, then remove the top disk, use a folded up paper towel to soak it up, and then use a fresh paper towel to remove the rest of the wax.  And it helps my garbage smell nice, while the paper towels are in there!

With new wax
The holidays are a great time of year to invest in new home decor, and with some adorable Christmas themed warmers and delicious seasonal scents, how can you resist?  Visit Brittany Nicks' US Scentsy page to place your order today.  Scentsy will even ship directly to your house.  For my Canadian readers, I also have a local friend, who is also named Brittany, and you can order from her Canadian Scentsy website or visit her Scentsy Facebook Page.

So please, join me this holiday season and fill your house with delicious new scents.


Bathroom plug in warmer

Plug in with wax

Turned on with wax-it's a night light too!

Edited to add:  Do you have a favorite Scentsy scent?  Add a comment letting me know what it is.  My favorite so far is Amalfi Coast because of the slight grapefruit smell, but I'd love to get some Holiday and other scents to add to my collection so let me know which ones you love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Re-Visiting Baskets

I was recently chatting with a good friend, and complaining about the organization (or lack thereof) of my work stuff around the house.  This consists of mostly fabrics, some half completed orders and projects, and some notions.  Scissors, pins and pinned projects found their home on higher surfaces, like the TV stand, hanging over railings, etc.  Folded piles of fabric are mostly in various bins around the house, with some stuff on chairs, the arms of the couch, etc.  In trying to explain the mess to my friend, I took some pics and was almost embarrassed.  It didn't seem so messy in person.  And a lot of it is stuff I'm working on for current orders, or a craft fair I'm attending this weekend, so I overlooked it since I was almost done it all.  *sigh*

So I decided, in looking at the messy picture of the TV stand, that I could just get a basket and throw the stuff in there, and it would look more tidy.

I even dusted the TV stand.  My bank account might not appreciate the large number of baskets and storage containers I'm about to invest in but my visitors sure will!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sometimes it just helps to have a little help

With the holiday season fast approaching, and with many events happening at my house this year, including Christmas dinner, I need to find a way to get my house in order.  Overall, it hasn't been horrible, but sometimes, as mentioned in a previous post, you can't get to everything and some stuff starts to slide.

Lately, in my house, that's been the laundry.  Just when I thought I had been doing a pretty good job of keeping it up, I realized that all three hampers in my room were full.  I guess I had just been on top of the kids clothes.  Darn.

So yesterday, while I was out at a football game, my wonderful husband did all the laundry.  Man did it ever feel good to come home to that!  Now I can get back to focusing on other areas of the house.

Like the rest of the house!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The real answer

Just a quick post to share this picture.  A few friends on Facebook shared it and I thought it was perfect.  We all know that I struggle to keep a clean house, and we also know that I struggle to stay sane.  And it's true.  Sometimes when I feel like I have a clean house and a good balance, I realize that I haven't been spending as much time with the kids as I should have.  So without further ado, here's the reason why my house is a disaster.  

Although I should also add that I just CLEANED my kitchen, like CLEANED it, swept floors and vacuumed the playroom/living/dining rooms.  About to go mop the kitchen and then cleaning is DONE for the day.  All thanks to nap time and educational websites.  I feel for anyone with a child who doesn't sleep.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shower Cleaning

Thought I'd post another natural method that I'm still using.

When we moved into our house, you might remember that we got the bad news that we had possible water damage behind the shower in our ensuite.  And you might also remember that we had that EXACT same issue in the townhouse.  That we fixed RIGHT before we moved, so we never got to enjoy our brand new renovated bathroom.  Well, we partially renovated our new bathroom before we actually moved in and I LOVE my new tile and my fancy glass enclosed shower.

But I HATE watermarks.  You might remember from the Norwex Product Review, some pictures I posted.  And I said that the Norwex Antibac Microfiber Cloth did a great job of cleaning the glass.  But I did have to put in some elbow grease.

Well, my faithful followers, I've found an all natural and EASY way to clean your glass showers.  Get a bowl from the kitchen and add some baking soda.  Take that into your shower and keep it as dry as you can.  Run the water and get comfortable.  Then take your wet fingers and get some baking soda on them.  Rub that onto the glass.  Seriously, THAT easy!  You can literally FEEL the residue coming off of your shower.  I have a hanging shower caddy and can leave a little bowl of baking soda in there for a few days.  As long as it doesn't get wet and rinse it down the drain.  Most of the time, I'll do this about once/week and rinse the baking soda off with my Norwex cloth, but even rinsing with water works great.  It takes me about one minute at the beginning of my shower.  And if one section still has residue, I can just clean that the next time.  No bleach down the drain.  No bleach in my shower.  No awkward trying to clean the shower while dressed and not getting bleach everywhere.  Easy peasy!

Sometimes I feel like I have two ways to clean my house.  Norwex cloths and baking soda!  Oh and sometimes vinegar!

Happy Cleaning!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The sun is shining....

and it's raining.  And WOW I need to clean my windows.

Since I'm apparently not very good at keeping up this blog, I'm going to do a quick review of which methods I'm still using.

Cleaning windows/mirrors: I'm still using my Norwex Anti-bac Microfiber and window cleaning cloths.  This combination works great, no chemicals, super fast and super clean.

Countertops/tubs/dusting: Still using the Norwex Anti-bac Microfiber cloth.  This is a great multi-purpose cloth for cleaning jobs all over the house.

And now it's hailing....and sunny.

Toilets: I use baking soda and vinegar.  You might remember I tried a few of those 'new and improved' toilet cleaning products but they just don't work as well as baking soda and vinegar.

Carpets: I also use baking soda and vinegar.  I recently bought (or redeemed with points) a Bissel Green Machine.  After mixing up the solution, I thought why am I using this in here, I could just fill the tank with my 50/50 vinegar/water solution.  So sprinkle your stain with baking soda and spray with the vinegar/water.  Let your kids help, they love the bubbles!  If you don't have a carpet cleaner, let it dry, remove as much of the baking soda as you can, then blot out the rest.  If you do have a carpet cleaner, use the brush/vacuum to remove the baking soda and the stain along with it.  I love this, so easy and fast and SAFE!

I have a few reviews coming up to do and have had some trouble finding time, but will get to it now that my store stuff isn't as crazy, and is just steady.

Happy cleaning!

Monday, October 8, 2012

I'm baaaaack-and how to clean your make up brushes!

This summer was rough.  It was hard to get into a good schedule with both kids when we really didn't have to.  Sleeping in, doing whatever we wanted all day, gymnastics camp, vacation, it was hard, made even harder by the fact that we had a pretty crappy summer and hubs took the car to work.  So I was very excited for school to start up again so we could get back into a good routine.  I was even more excited when hubs decided that he would start taking the bus to work so I could have the car.  The kids are on a good schedule, the house is relatively clean and I have time to get work done without staying up past midnight every night.

So with all that said, I'm back!  I'm researching new cleaning products, apps and other products and systems to make life easier.

But first, I'm going to tell you all about something I found yesterday.  The EASIEST way to clean your make up brushes.

I've become very careful over the past two years about the products that I use, mostly cleaning and personal care products.  So as I'm in my bathroom last night soaking my brushes in make up remover, and using quite a bit of it, I see, and start thinking about, the handmade bar of soap I have on the side of my sink.  So I think...why not?

And boy did it work!  The problem with the make up remover was that I couldn't get the make up from the inside of the brush.  But with the bar, I could lather the brush right on it, and make sure that it got the bristles in the middle.

You can see the make up coming of of the brush and onto the soap, and can see how you can really get the soap right into the middle of the brush.  And I know that the soap is gentle, since that's why I bought it.

When you've worked the soap into it a bit, you can literally just rinse the make up down the drain and keep going.  

My brushes are all so soft now.  No more foundation residue or sticky greasy brushes.  I wouldn't do this with my eyeshadow or powder brushes, only the concealer/foundation ones.  The dry brushes I just   clean with a tissue or a paper towel, although I could use soap if they got really dirty, but I haven't needed to yet. 

So there you have it.  Clean house, clean brushes.

And I have more posts coming, product reviews and maybe some giveaways, so keep checking in, and tell your friends!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just what my bathroom needed

After our massive house clean overhaul last weekend, my ensuite needed some love. As a contact wearer, I always have my solution, case and glasses on the counter. And some other random necessities. So I did a search on pinterest, took a trip to IKEA and this is the result.

Sorry for the lack of before shot. All I got was two short glasses, one tall one and two tealight holders. Oh and the flowers and vase. So much easier to put stuff away and it looks so much cleaner.

Now to figure out which room to do next.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fresh Start....again

All it took was a weekend.  A long weekend, in fact.  And was it ever long.  In between trying to celebrate Canada Day, we did a HUGE clean up in the whole house.  Re-organized almost the entire upstairs.  And there are still a few little areas that need to be finished up, but it looks a TON better.

Sometimes I just need to power through it, get it all done, and then the maintenance on it is much easier.  I've also set up my new app and if I can remember to check it everyday, or perhaps a few times per day, and can take a few minutes to get those tasks done, then I should be able to stay on track.

Here's hoping that I have a clutter free summer.  And some good weather.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back to the basics

Well it's been a crazy month!  I know, excuses, excuses.  But really, it was my birthday, then a crazy busy few weeks for the store, then baby K's birthday and first birthdays are a BIG deal.  Now we're getting close to the end of the school year, M has a little preschool graduation coming up and then it's SUMMER!  Well, if the weather would cooperate.

So since it's been so busy over here, I had been somewhat slacking with my showering routines.  NOT to say that I haven't been showering.  One day, I didn't want to take the time to do the Oil Cleaning Method on my face before getting into the shower so I broke down and used the face wash I had from before.  BIG MISTAKE.  The next day, I had broken out.  Now in the 6 months since I had started using the Oil Cleaning Method, I can count on one hand the number of zits I've had (I'm pretty sure it's only one, MAYBE two, I can't remember).  That's not bad, considering I've been using OIL to clean my face.  Well if I wasn't already convinced that it worked great, and I was, this did me in.  I will never use soap to clean my face again.

I don't really have much else to report right now.  We did a MASSIVE house clean for baby K's birthday so I just have to work at maintaining it, and I'm trying out a new app.  All I have to do is make sure I use it!  I will report back on that once I've given it a good trial.

Oh, and I just have to add that I'm SO happy that FINALLY the weather here is looking nicer.  If we can spend more time outside, the house will be easier to keep clean!

So I'll leave you with the party favors from baby K's birthday.  Thanks for swinging by!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring Cleaning-Busy Busy!

Over a month. WOW, that's a long time. But I have to say that good things have happened over the past month.

To start, I haven't posted about in on here before but I run a work at home business. Yup, I'm the face behind Mommy Loves Maddy. I make cloth diapers and accessories, and other baby items like bibs, burp cloths and just started making some fun art things. I have more information about my products on my Facebook page. Things with my business have started to really take off! I've had a lot of custom orders, and am trying to keep my store stocked, but organic bamboo diapers are REALLY popular. Not that I'm complaining or anything!

It really is a good thing that the store is so busy because a few weeks ago my maternity leave ended (thank you Canadian government for giving us ONE YEAR!) and I made the difficult decision to quit my job. We had made changes in our budget so that things wouldn't be as tight, and with daycare being so expensive for two kids, it really was the right decision for our family. Since I've been so busy, I've had to find a balance between work, family and housecleaning and I'm not completely embarrassed to say that most of the time, my family comes before the house. We've had a few barbeques and gatherings over here, and that forces us to clean up the house, but the day to day maintaining has been put on the back burner. I try not to completely ignore my kids so I can get my work done, and most of it happens while baby K is asleep and M can come downstairs and watch Dora (who said Netflix couldn't be a business expense?). So if I can't tidy or do something quickly while the kids are awake, it doesn't get done as soon as it should.

 But I have found a few new cleaning techniques that I need to share with you guys!

The first one is for Diapers! While we do have a diaper sprayer downstairs in the utility sink in the laundry room, I've been using the removable shower head in the bathroom again. It's easier to spray the dirty diapers right away and not wait until I have a few minutes to run downstairs. I always spray with COLD water. But instead of throwing the sprayed diapers right into the diaper bin, I leave them in the tub. Then the next time I have a dirty diaper to rinse off, I re-spray the last one and that removes any leftovers that wouldn't rinse out before, and most of the time, any leftover color in the diaper. Enter no stains!

The next one is for a homemade air freshener, mostly due to those diapers! I found this on Pinterest! Take an empty bottle (the Pinterest link used a jar, but I didn't have any with a lid, so I used an old sport drink bottle). Poke holes in the lid. Fill the bottle/jar 1/4 to 1/3 full with Baking Soda and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, I used Lemon. The baking soda will absorb the smell and the EO will lightly scent the room. IF you notice the smell is stronger, simply shake the bottle a bit. Super easy with items I already had, and smells great. And WORKS! I rarely notice any smell in the bathroom, where we keep the diaper pail. I also found a link where you can use this same Baking Soda and EO combination to freshen up your mattress. Simply shake over a kitchen sifter onto the mattress and leave for an hour or so before vacuuming up.
The baking soda helps draw up any moisture and deep dirtiness. It deodorizes and leaves the mattress smelling fresh and clean. I also love the faint scent of lavender left by the essential oil.

A few weeks ago I noticed a bunch of ants outside our front door. Ugh. I hate bugs inside the house and unfortunately I live in the boonies (ok, not QUITE the boonies, but we have green space next door where BEARS live, and bugs, EVERYWHERE! So I took M outside and we drew on the cement outside the front door with CHALK. Simple and FUN! And ants HATE it. I actually drew a circle around one ant and it would take a few steps onto the chalk and then move backwards, and strategically tried to find a way out without touching the chalk.

And finally, I found a new app. It was recommended to me by a fellow blogger mom, Jeni from Joy and Woe (Hi Jeni!) The app is called Home Routines. I haven't used it much yet, but so far I like it. It's linked with FlyLady and gives you the same zones that she uses. And it's very user friendly and you can set up your own lists, your own tasks, etc. Looking at it now, it has timers, routine reminders. I haven't looked at how to use those, but setting it up was super easy since you synch your phone with your account on the computer and typing on the computer is MUCH easier than setting it up on your phone.

Wow, I need to update more often, this got long! Ok, kids are done eating, time to go build some train tracks and make some chocolate chip cookies! YUMMM!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Real Parenting Experts

As a parent, and especially as a parent on message boards, I'm aware of parenting contests. The whole 'my kid's walking' or 'mine can say mama' or 'mine has 6 teeth' etc etc etc. All this at only a few weeks old sometimes! Just as every parent has their own situation, they also have their own parenting philosophy. A big issue is sleeping through the night. Every parent has their own way to solve that 'problem', which to some, isn't even always a problem. Just as every parent has their own solution, they also have a book. Some 'experts' say you should let the baby cry. Other's offer a no crying solution, or any number of methods in between. You can find a book that will offer you a solution that is exactly what you're comfortable with, what you're willing to do, and how much time you're willing to put in.

Now, I've read many of these books, and they are very well written. The solutions make sense, they are evidence backed, and are filled with testimonials. And I could get into how it's easy to find evidence that supports any hypothesis or theory that you want to prove, or that you have to look at how the tests were done, or manipulated, etc, but I won't. Or maybe I just did a little bit, oops. Instead, here's what I'm going to say:

YOU are the perfect parenting expert for your children.

There. Said and done. It's super easy. Basically, after reading all those parenting books, I feel that I could write my own. Take ideas from the ones that worked for me, and leave out the parts that didn't work, or that I don't feel are necessary. Enter the (not so) clean mommy parenting solution. I know my children fairly well, and am aware of what will work for them. I know what my husband and I are willing to do. This is why M was sleep trained using 'cry-it-out' at 7 months old, and baby K, at 10 months old, is still waking up 2-3 times to eat every night. I know the kids, I know our household and our situation and I've figured out the best way to be a parent for my kids.

Come to think of it, I AM writing my own parenting book. It's hard work, and will take YEARS, but it's totally worth it. I'm actually writing two books. They are at different levels of completeness. One is almost 3 and a half years in, and loves to swim, jump and play. The other one is 10 months old, and melts my heart when he smiles at me. Each book takes 18 years to write and then is off to the world to test my parenting theories. If they work, I will be the mother of two smart, confident, successful children and the world will ask me for help with their own parenting books (I can hope).

Now, just because I've decided to write my own books doesn't always mean that I know what I'm writing. Sometimes I get writers block. Sometimes I have to try out new ideas and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. But my failures can be a testament to my readers. Tell them what worked and what didn't. And of course they can test my ideas in their own books. My failures might work for someone else and what works for me might fail miserably elsewhere. It's all part of being a writer, and is what will make all our books unique and special.

I must now leave you all and get back to writing my books. Well, not writing, but preparing the supplies. I'm out of paper and need to sharpen my pencils--or just laundry and vacuuming. But it's all necessary for a great book.

I can't wait to read your books, I'm sure they will be fantastic!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Kids Need (and want)

I read a fantastic article this morning and now know why sometimes I consider myself a crappy blogger. While I'm sure you faithful readers are constantly on your toes waiting for my next post, I'm either busy DOING the things I write about, or, more importantly, I'm ignoring the house and spending time enjoying my children.

Last week, a good friend and fellow mommy blogger wrote about this on her blog, She Will Amaze You. There are days when I'm online all day, or downstairs sewing. And then there are other days when I ignore the work piling up, and ignore the house and just spend time with my kids, and those days go so smoothly.

Then today, I read another article written by The Power Of Moms. Another great reminder that our kids need, and want us. The house isn't going anywhere. The dishes and laundry will be right where I left them. But kids will grow up, and this is the time to just enjoy them. This is the time where being with them will shape who they become.

So now I'm signing off and will get to the house later. Baby K is napping and M needs some mom time!

Monday, April 9, 2012

WOW, I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've written in here. I really go through stages where I'm ON IT and post often, and also, interestingly, my house is cleaner, and then there are periods where I don't post very much, and my house is an overwhelming disaster. Interesting correlation. I guess when I post more, I feel more accountable for the state of my house. We did have a few weekends with a bunch of visitors, and that definitely helps me keep it tidy, but I hate that I can't just do it for myself. I deserve to have a neat and tidy house, don't I? Why do I only clean up for other people?

So what's gone on over here in the last few weeks? Well I tried the vinegar and blue dawn shower cleaner trick. People claim that this kills soap scum. I heated up 1/2 cup vinegar in the microwave and them mixed it in a spray bottle with 1/2 cup blue dawn. As claimed, it did turn into a gel. I sprayed it in my shower, waited a few hours and then wiped it off. Well, the glass parts didn't come THAT clean. I mean they did, but I could still see water marks when I squeegeed them. I was more impressed with the baking soda paste I used a few months ago on the glass walls. But what this mixture did do was kill the pink stuff that grows in the grout. It's been well over a week since I cleaned it and the pink stuff is NOT coming back yet. THAT impresses me. The fumes were a little overwhelming, so I had the fan on and stayed out of that bathroom while it was soaking.

To continue my spring cleaning, I've been purging some of our household items. I went through my kitchen cupboards last week and got rid of some bakeware we don't use. I have some pregnant friends and will be lending/selling/giving them some of the old baby stuff to clean out our playroom and the kids closets. It's crazy the pile of clothes I have in baby K's room that he's grown out of already. I've also gotten together some of M's art from the last year and will be putting it in a scrapbook to keep it organized. No more random paintings floating around the house.

On top of all the deep cleaning that I've been doing, the most important part of keeping the house organized is really simple. Tidy every day and STAY ON TOP OF LAUNDRY. The most overwhelming task is catching up on overflowing laundry baskets, dirty clothes all over the house, etc. Even if it's one load every day, something to keep it going.

Hope you are all enjoying nice spring weather where you are. Here's a cute sign I need to make for my entryway.

courtesy of Etsy via Pinterest.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Using my addiction for good

Alcoholics and crack addicts, sorry, this isn't about that kind of addiction.

I'm sure you've heard of the game 'Draw Something'. And if you have an iPhone or Android phone, I'm sure you have about 20 games on the go and are completely addicted. Like myself!

So I had to find a way to feed my addiction to this amazing (and at times completely ridiculous and hilarious) game, while doing other stuff I had to do around the house. So, I keep myself (somewhat) disciplined and play a few games before going to do something, like the dishes, or tracing a pattern, before playing some more. This way, I can still waste my time, drawing stuff, but am still productive with stuff that needs to get done. Win, (kind of) win.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Slow Start to Spring Cleaning and the Secret to Keeping the Living Room Clean

Spring is only one week away and despite the recent snow here (WHAT is up with that?), it's time to clean house. For some reason our house has been a disaster. I had been doing my best to tackle one room, one area, one task at a time, but could never quite get a good handle on things. Finally, after a good clean of the kitchen tonight, and two days of staying out of the living room, things are starting to get back under control. If I keep my fabric and sewing things downstairs, in the sewing room, then the living room isn't as cluttered. If I keep clean laundry folded and put away, then the living room is even less cluttered. AND if I keep the kids in the playroom all day, then there are no toys or messes to clean up in the living room. And what better way to end your day and relax at night than in a clean, tidy living room?

Happy Spring everyone!
photo from

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coconut Oil-My new best friend

When I made the decision to use cloth diapers, I discovered that you can't use regular diaper rash creams, since the thick formula can ruin the diapers ability to absorb properly. SO I did some research and asking around and found that some people use coconut oil. But I thought you couldn't use oils with cloth diapers. Well coconut oil is different. So I bought a jar of it and have been amazed ever since. Especially recently, when I found countless more uses for this amazing product.

Coconut oil has a high melting point of around room temperature, so it is normally a solid product, and melts upon contact with skin. It literally turns to water. This makes it easy to apply to baby's bottom and also allows it to rinse clean out of diapers, as long as they're washed in hot water at some point during the wash routine. During the warmer months last summer, we kept our jar in the fridge, since it would melt quickly in the jar in baby K's room.

Now since coconut oil is so great on a diaper rash, that must make it pretty fantastic for all skin. I recently added some coconut oil to my face cleaning oil and it made it work even better. The few pimples that had started to form were gone almost instantly. So this made me do some more research into why coconut oil is so fantastic and here's what I found:

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
Quoted from Organic

If you visit the above quoted website, there is detailed information into how coconut oil helps with hair and skin care, heart disease, weight loss, immunity and much more.

Now I'm sure you're thinking, well, WHERE can I get this amazing product?? You can find coconut oil in the cooking section or organic section of most grocery stores, or online, for example on or OR, you can enter my friend's giveaway, over at Captain Fussybuckets. Her giveaway ends on March 8th, so you have just over a week to enter. I know I'll be entering and even if I don't win, I'm going to buy more so I can start cooking with this stuff. Definitely not going to mix the diaper rash cream with my cooking stuff.

If you've used coconut oil, please share your favorite uses for it. I can't wait to try more things out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!

Maybe it's because I blog about cleaning, but after I found a system that worked, I felt compelled to find another system that worked better. But now I'm realizing that in the process, I just lost my groove. I haven't found another system that worked, so I'm going back to my schedule.

As I'm preparing each meal, I put away dry dishes and clean the new ones. This makes sure we never have an overflowing sink of dishes. In the morning, I put a load of laundry in the wash, in the afternoon, I move it to the dryer and in the evening, I fold and put away. Throughout the day, I'll tidy the house up and during nap time, I'll do one deep clean task per day. These are:
Monday: Bathrooms
Tuesday: car/downstairs
Wednesday: windows
Thursday: dust
Friday: floors

I was doing so well with this system that I'm wondering why I tried changing it! I have 4 days left until the 1 year anniversary of us getting possession of the house and it's almost where I want it. I'm actually quite proud of myself in the last two days. I really can do this stay at home mom thing!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Secret to an Immaculate House

I've discovered the secret to an immaculate house! No really, I have. And not only have I found it, I'm going to share it with you. This is a real turning point for me, and I'm almost surprised I didn't discover it earlier. I mean, once you find out what it is, it's kind of like 'oh yeah, that makes TOTAL sense'. I have a whole new outlook to cleaning. Instead of 'cleaning' my house *insert depressed, sad sounding voice here*, I 'keep my house immaculate' *insert upbeat, positive sounding voice here*.

So here it is, are you ready?

It makes total sense, right? I have this mini white board on my fridge, and will follow the directions at the bottom. It completely changes the way I see cleaning the house. Instead of focusing on *ugh* cleaning, I'm focusing on *yay* a clean house.

You're welcome, my friends, you're welcome!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Playing Catch Up-almost at one year!

Being sick sucks. Having sick kids sucks. Being sick and having a sick three year old and a healthy 8 month old sucks even more. And then there's a sick husband, housework, dirty laundry, dirty diapers, clean laundry, dishes, ugh. And of course, you can't keep on top of all this while you're sick, so instead of being able to enjoy feeling better, you get to deal with the house first.

So we're finally feeling better, it's safe to say we are no longer sick, but the house definitely needs some love. Clutter-EVERYWHERE. And I just remembered that the end of February marks one year since we moved. And I've always said, it takes a year to get settled into a new house. So not only does this house need a good solid cleaning, I have just under two weeks to finish up any 'move in' type of things that I had wanted to do. More artwork on the walls, just a general sense of feeling settled in the house.

So today, Day 1 of Operation Overhaul, I'm going to re-de-clutter the house. Major tidying up to do. Will go along and dust while I'm at it. I have no idea what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm sure I'll figure that out as I go along cleaning today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The curse of 'I'll deal with that later'

I think one of the reasons why I have so much stuff is because when I don't know what to do with something immediately, I put it aside to figure out later and of course I never get around to doing that. So I end up with piles and boxes of stuff that I tell myself that I'll deal with later and just never get around to. And when I finally do, all I end up doing is reorganizing the mess so it isn't as overwhelming in the moment.

So it's a little late but I'm adding a new years resolution to my list. When cleaning up and organizing stuff, if I come across something that I can't put away in the moment, I get rid of it. If I really do need to keep it then it should have a permanent home already. And if it isn't worth finding one for, then it probably isn't worth keeping.

This doesn't just apply to physical things, but also to tasks. Once I've made my 'I'll organize that later' pile, I actually have to find time to organize it. Instead, every time I walk by, I tell myself 'oh yeah, can't forget to clean that up' and of course what do I do? FORGET.

So instead of procrastinating, I need to follow Nike's catch phrase and 'Just Do It'. Or add my own, and 'Just Do It NOW'. And instead of dealing with junk later, I need to ask myself, 'Do I REALLY need to keep this?' and do something with it (NOW) based on my answer to that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Le Petit Refuge winner

Congratulations to entry number 21-Lara C. You are the winner of the Le Petit Refuge prizepack! I will contact you to arrange shipping. Hope you enjoy your new products!!

And a huge thank you to Amanda at Le Petit Refuge for providing the products for this giveaway. Best of luck with your new business!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shampoo/face wash follow up

It's been about 7 weeks since I tried the un-shampoo and about 6 since I started using oil to clean my face. I know some people were inspired by my posts and tried them out, but didn't have the same results I did so I'm going to take a few minutes to do a follow up on how it's going, and potential changes that can help it work better.

Baking soda as shampoo

At first, this was fantastic. My hair was clean, shiny, but not greasy, the color looked so bright. When my bottle ran out of my first 'batch', I started just eye-balling the baking soda and I noticed that my hair started getting greasy faster. When I finally took a one tablespoon measure into the bathroom to mix my 'shampoo', it was an instant change. Back to super clean and non greasy hair.

So to those who tried this out but didn't have success, maybe your hair needs a more concentrated solution. If you want to try again, experiment with the amount of baking soda, and try using apple cider vinegar as a conditioner, if you normally use conditioner.

Oil cleaning method for my face

This method calls for castor oil mixed with olive oil, but since I didn't have olive oil, I used canola. I free poured a small amount of each oil into a small bowl and just dip my fingers into the mixture and massage onto my face before steaming off with a hot facecloth. After the first few weeks, I didn't have any breakouts and no dryness, which is important to note with our below freezing temperatures and wind. In the past 6 weeks, I have noticed a few pimples, but they are normally quite small, and are gone the next day. This has been surprising to me. I assumed that slathering my face with oil would create a teenaged-style zit-city. But it hasn't. I haven't used anything except for my oil mixture to clean my face and I also haven't worn make up over much of the past two months.

So to anyone who wants to try either of these two cleaning methods, or two wants to try again, be patient. You might need to tweak your combinations a few times before they work well for you. But I can say that I haven't used, or bought, shampoo or face cleanser for myself for two months now. A box of baking soda might last me a year, as would a container of castor oil, if not longer. So that means I can wash my hair and face for around $10/year. I don't think that's bad at all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Le Petit Refuge review and giveaway!

Let's switch for a moment, from house cleaning to something a bit more fun. When a good friend of mine, Amanda, opened an Etsy store selling bath and body products, I had to check it out. And I was drawn to one product and flavor in particular-CHAI TEA LIP REFUGE. I LOVE Chai Tea. In fact, I don't know if love is a strong enough word, I'm addicted to Chai Tea. So I HAD to buy the Chai Tea Lip Refuge from her new store, Le Petit Refuge. I ordered the pink lemonade as well. In my younger days, I was addicted to lip balm, in fact, I kind of still am. I've done really well in forcing myself to not go crazy with it, and mostly just use my Burt's Bees, with a few different flavors in there as well, but now I think I have a new favorite. While the Chai Tea Lip Refuge smells spicy and delicious, the Pink Lemonade is just so fresh. I definitely love them both. They are so smooth and moisturizing. And it's been below freezing here the last few days and I haven't had to break out the Burt's Bees, which is saying a lot.

The same day I received my order, I opened an adorable little cupcake lip balm that I had gotten M for Christmas. In doing so, I looked at the ingredient list on the back of the package and had to stop and think for a minute. Here I was giving my 3 year old lip gloss that has hydroxystearic acid and tocopheryl acetate on it's ingredient list, and also has a warning MAY INCLUDE: Mica, red 21 lake and a bunch of other red and yellow lakes (no idea what that means), and red, yellow and black iron oxide when I'm using a lip balm that contains Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Flavor Oil and that's it (copied from the product listing). I'm a bit thankful that M has no idea her adorable little cupcake toy is actually a lip gloss, and she'll be using my Pink Lemonade Lip Refuge while I indulge in my new Chai Tea (mmmmmmmm).

When I went to the mailbox and found my order there, it was in a large box. I was thinking, silly girl, I ordered two lip balms and was so surprised to find some extras in there. She had also sent me a sample of the Mimosa and Mandarin Sugar Scrub Cubes and some products for a giveaway. Now you all know I use baking soda to clean my hair, and oil to clean my face so I was super excited to have a natural body product that smelled delicious. I purchased a bunch of soaps this winter as gifts, and have found that not all of them smell like their indicated scent. All three of Le Petit Refuge products that I've tried smell exactly like what they're supposed to, and they're absolutely divine!

I'm no stranger to scrub products. I've used them on my face, feet, elbows, anywhere that needs a little polish. I've used both liquid scrubs, that are almost in a paste form, and dry scrubs that you mix with lotion or body wash for the consistency you need, and as indicated in the product description on Amanda's Etsy store, the containers get filled with water, and the scrubs become diluted and not as effective. She makes her Sugar Scrubs in a cube form, so you can take one cube with you into the shower or bath and leave the rest in the jar away from the water. And they work wonderfully. My feet have been super dry lately, so I took advantage of the sample to scrub them up and I am impressed! The cube form works great, and they are surprisingly resilient in the water. They don't turn to mush right away, so you have a chance to scrub everything you want. I went ahead and scrubbed my knees and elbows as well, since they also get dry and rough in the winter. My skin is now so soft and smooth, even two days, and two snowfalls, later. I will definitely be purchasing some Le Petit Refuge shower gel and body lotion and I'm sure many other products as well.

I can't forget to mention that not only is Amanda a very talented mama, she is also very stylish. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I opened my box and everything was packaged so professionally. Great job, Amanda, you will be so very successful with this venture. And you have to keep doing it because you now have some very addicted customers!

Now before you head over there and buy her out of stock, I'm giving one lucky blog follower a chance to try some products for free! Amanda also sent me an additional (and larger) jar of the Mimosa and Mandarin Sugar Scrub Cubes and a Pink Lemonade Slide Tin Lip Refuge to give away. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below (open to Canadian and US resident)! Good luck!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Norwex follow up and giveaway winner

It's been just over two weeks since I did the Norwex review and I'm still just as impressed, if not more. I cleaned the kids tub the other day with my bathroom antibac cloth. Normally, I use bleach and a scrub brush, and while the cleaning part is fine, it's the rinsing part that bugs me. I don't want my kids soaking in a tub with bleach left, so I go a bit crazy making sure I've rinsed it all. Then of course, I'm wasting water, and rinsing bleach down the drain, and that can't be good for the environment. When I used the Norwex cloth, I scrubbed, the same as I would with the brush, but without the bleach. The tub was just as sparkling when I was done, and I didn't have to worry about getting rid of all the harmful chemicals.

I've also used this cloth to clean my shower. When I had a tub/shower combination, it was relatively easy to clean. But now that we have a separate tub and shower, I've found it really difficult. I don't have the shower head to rinse the bleach out of my tub, and I don't want to be sitting in a bleach bath, so I have to get a pitcher from the kitchen and pour the water over the tub to rinse the bleach away. Then in the shower, it's a bit harder, since rinsing the shower is a bit awkward without getting in, and I don't want to be cleaning with bleach during my shower. But with the Norwex cloth, it's easy. I take my shower, and then wipe and rinse the glass enclosure before I get out. And there's no bleach or harmful chemicals to worry about. It's so easy,and convenient, and environmentally friendly.

So on that note, I would like to announce that the winner of our Norwex Antibac Microfiber Cleaning Cloth giveaway is SUSAN D!! Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your cloth as much as I enjoy mine! And thank you to Julie for sponsoring this giveaway. If you have any questions or are interested in Norwex, feel free to visit her facebook page HERE. While you're there, let her know I sent you, and thank you to everyone else who entered the giveaway!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Starting the weekend off on a clean foot

And no that doesn't mean having a shower first thing Saturday morning, although wouldn't a nice hot soaker bath be wonderful?

Saturday mornings, M has gymnastics. And after she put on a giant show for me, K is now taking her. And since baby K naps in the morning, I get at least an hour of quiet time to myself every Saturday morning.

So today, I put baby K down for his nap, and started tidying the kitchen. Then put diapers in the wash, and then finished putting clean laundry away and tidied the living room. And now I sit on the computer with my tea as M and K storm into the house, and baby K wakes up screaming.

AH the craziness that is my life, but at least the house is tidy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thirsties Giveaway ends tomorrow

A friend of mine, Adventures in Fluff, is hosting a thirsties duo diaper giveaway that ends tomorrow. If you love these diapers or would love to try one out, head over and enter! You can find her button on my blog, but just in case, CLICK HERE to be taken directly to the giveaway.

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time for an intervention-and some before and after pictures

Today, the kids were sleeping, I was wasting time online and I decided to do something pretty extreme for me-turn the computer off. This was at 2pm. Sometimes my computer addiction gets pretty bad and I felt like it was time for an intervention. So I flipped the switch. Well, actually I powered down safely, but I did it.

So then I wandered around the living room and did some tidying up. Picked up the last of the Christmas clutter, threw some laundry in the wash, did some dishes, and then thought, now what? So in a spur of the moment decision, I decided to re-organize my extra kitchen pantry. It's been a great place to store all our extra small appliances, kids dishes, baby bottles and food and other random stuff. But the shelves weren't organized anymore and everything was just getting shoved in there, so I fixed it all up. As I've said before, I'm horrible at taking before pictures, but here's the after. It even has more room if we need it!

While I'm sharing pictures, here's the locked cabinet in the toy room that I'm very proud of. Again, no before picture, although I should have taken one, it was brutal.

All the art supplies are organized, along with toy bins at the bottom with baby toys, puzzles, books, etc.

And finally, my ensuite. This was a huge source of stress for me in the townhouse. We lived there for five and a half years, knowing the whole time that both bathrooms would have to be redone. First came the wedding, then money and time issues, then the baby, then an injury and finally, we decided to move, and HAD to get it done. When we moved in here, and the inspection showed possible water damage behind the ensuite shower, I swore it was the first thing to get done. And it was. The tile has been done since the spring. And just in the past two months, we chose a paint color for the wall. The holidays in there kind of put a slight delay on the job, but we haven't even been here for a year and now it's done!

Bathroom before (and my preggo belly):

Close up of wall color and tile before:

After looking in from the door (with my new towels on the counter):

Looking towards the door from the shower:

Ok, that's it for pictures for now. I've said before it takes one year to really move into a house. We have about 2.5 months left, and I really feel like we're almost there. I just have to finish organizing the office, and get some wall decor/pictures put up and we'll be done.

Until we look at the rest of the renovations we want to flooring, new kitchen, new roof....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Norwex product review and GIVEAWAY

About two and a half years ago I attended a Norwex party at a neighbors house. I had never heard of the company, but was just getting to know my neighbors and thought that a girls night out with wine, and within walking distance was a great thing. Turns out, I learned about a great company with amazing environmentally friendly cleaning products. What's not to like about that?

So let me tell you about Norwex. From their website:
All Norwex products support our company mission to improve the quality of life by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning. With a commitment to effective cleaning, responsible care for the earth, and the power of information, together we can become a generation to leave behind a legacy of improved quality of life.

Norwex Microfiber Cleaning Products
Our line of cleaning products will save you time & money, improve health, and move towards creating a better environment. Norwex microfiber goes beyond "surface clean" with the innovative use of silver particles integrated into synthetic microfiber cloth.

Cleaning with water only produces a healthy outcome for us and the environment.

Cleaning with water only? And yet still removing bacteria from the surface? That's amazing! So at that party oh so many years ago, I bought one of the antibac microfiber cloths. And loved it. Maybe a little too much, and it's been very used.

So this fall, while thinking about what I could get K for Christmas, I thought, why not invest in some more Norwex cloths. As I've mentioned before, I'm the queen of Lysol wipes. With Norwex cloths, I can still basically wipe the counter clean, but I'm not using the Lysol chemicals, since the silver that's integrated into the microfiber has bacteria killing properties. Perfect! After mulling over the catalogue, I decided to get the 4-pack of color coded cloths, a window cloth and a car cloth. Now I have 4 brand new Antibac cloths, in blue, green, yellow and pink and I will color code them for dusting, bathroom, kitchen and other. I can clean windows using a wet Antibac cloth and polishing with the window cloth, and we can do the same with the car cloth.

Now time for the review!
My bathroom mirrors have never been so clean! What better time to test out a window cloth than on a freshly renovated bathroom mirror with drywall and renovation dust all over it? Oh and the mirrored closet doors with toddler fingerprints.

Ensuite mirror before:

Ensuite mirror after:

Toddler fingerprints before:

Toddler fingerprints after:

When I first contacted my Independent Norwex Consultant, Julie, I was looking for an environmentally friendly way to clean my glass shower doors. I don't know if it was soap scum or water marks, but it bugged me every time I had a shower. She said that the Antibac cloth should clean it off and I was skeptical. But I tried it today, as part of the review and she was right. In the after picture, you can see that I only cleaned the far right side of the door. It took a little bit more elbow grease than the mirrors but it's definitely a LOT cleaner!

Shower door before:

Shower door after:

On the mirrors, I simply took my bathroom cloth and got it damp, washed the mirrors and then took the window polishing cloth and dried them off. No streaks, no lines between the sections I did, not even any dust. And no chemicals, just water! Not bad!

I'm glad I invested in these cloths. I hated cleaning with windex, especially since M loves to help clean the windows and I'm always so careful after to wash her hands, since I hate the idea of her touching those chemicals. Now, I don't have to worry at all. I also hate spraying windex since it goes everywhere and I'm paranoid about moving the toothbrushes. I don't think windex will polish our teeth. And since these cloths have the silver in them, I don't have to worry about the surfaces not really being clean.

Norwex also offers a variety of other cleaning and personal products including skin care, baby care and more. It is all sold through independent consultants and the company is always looking for more people to join. It's a great way to make some extra money while helping people stay clean and environmentally conscious. And no, I'm not a consultant. Although I have considered it.

For now, instead of selling these products, I'm going to give one away! I think that's much better! To win one Norwex Antibac Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, just fill out the form below! You must follow my blog, but there are ways to get additional entries, including following me on Facebook, and tweeting about the giveaway, which you can do daily. The giveaway will run until January 15th, so you have plenty of time to enter!

Giveaway rules:
This giveaway is open to blog followers in Canada and the US. Fill out the form below and earn additional entries by following me on Facebook, or tweeting about the giveaway, which you can do daily. Also head over to Julie's Facebook page and let her know I sent you! Make sure you spread the word, and good luck!