Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sometimes it just feels good to throw it away

I am SUCH a procrastinator, but sometimes I get in these moods and just want to GO GO GO!  So while folding laundry today, I decided to separate the items that don't fit anymore.  And that turned into going through my closet, the playroom.  Just grabbing items that aren't used anymore and throwing them into a 'DONATE' box. 

I guess I'll end off 2013 a little lighter, and I think that's a great way to start off 2014!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Time for some professional help

I finally bit the bullet and accepted that I can't do it alone.  I've tried.  But I really can't do it. 

So I contacted a professional organizer and had her come in for a consult.  And it turns out I'm not that far gone!  There's still hope!

I have a list now and have already gotten started on it.  Hopefully by Christmas, the upstairs will be more manageable and I can tackle the office *shudder*. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Time to start at the end

So in all my back and forth, I've realized that the reason why I have so much trouble keeping the house organized is because I don't know how I want it to end up.  Like I want it clean, but I don't have a designated spot for everything.  So as I go through each area and 'clean' it up, I end up having the same items in different areas of the house.

Before I can really start going through everything, I need to start with a plan.  Where do I want to store items for business one or two, where do I want art supplies, or towels, or extra blankets, etc.  I need a central SPOT for everything in the house, and once I know where everything goes, I can start clearing items out.

I guess it's time to go back to square one, by starting at the end.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time to start Christmas

Last year I posted about our felt Christmas Tree for the playroom.  Read that post here.

Today I bought a new pack of command strips and put it up.  I can't wait for the kids to see it tomorrow, they're going to LOVE it!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Caffeine (and Starbucks) during pregnancy

In a recent discussion about the safe amount of caffeine during pregnancy, I was told to go write a blog post.  So here it is!

DISCLAIMER:  I am NOT a doctor.  Do not take anything written in this post as medical advice, it is simply information.  I do NOT work for Starbucks, though I was an Assistant Store Manager from 2006-2012.  I am NOT being paid by Starbucks or any other organization.  I am NOT promoting caffeine consumption during pregnancy, I am simply providing the information and knowledge that I have about safe amounts and caffeine contents.  ALWAYS consult your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns about safe amounts of caffeine during pregnancy.

In 2006, I was hired as an Assistant Store Manager at Starbucks Coffee Canada.  A few months later, my Store Manager became pregnant.  She loved Americanos and would order them either half caf, or full strength.  The baristas (myself included), not aware of safe amounts of caffeine during pregnancy, would make her drink decaf.  She always argued with us, but we didn't believe her.

A few months after she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, I became pregnant, and since I worked at Starbucks, I did some research.  Here is what I found (links will be added when I have time)

MOST websites (NOT DOCTORS) recommend consuming not more than 200-300milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day during pregnancy.  I followed (and for the purpose of the math in this post, will follow) the 300mg/day recommendation.

So if you are pregnant, or know someone who is, and follow this same recommendation, here is what you can order at Starbucks!

Each one oz of coffee has 20mg of caffeine

One TALL (12oz) brewed coffee contains ~240mg of caffeine
One GRANDE (16oz) brewed coffee contains ~320mg of caffeine
One VENTI (20oz) brewed coffee contains ~400mg of caffeine

If you drink brewed coffee, stick with a tall or grande/day.

Now onto more exciting things-ESPRESSO DRINKS!

One shot of espresso contains 75mg

This is easy math!

A short or tall beverage has one shot of espresso (75mg), grande and venti have two (150mg).  So, you could have 4 shots of espresso/day!  WAHOO!

Not comfortable consuming that much?

Order your grande or venti with only one shot!  You can do that?  Of course you can!  You could also order your drink half-caf (the espresso machine will mix decaf and regular espresso beans to make your shots) or decaf!

That's right, my pregnant friends, you can have a DECAF gingerbread latte this holiday season!  Or need a little bit of a kick, order it half caf!

Know what else is neat?  You can ALSO DO THAT WITH FRAPPUCCINOS!  Yup-half calf or decaf!

Is your drink too sweet now that you're pregnant?  Order it with half of the regular amount of syrup.  Or one pump less.  Work with your barista to make the perfect drink for you!

Don't want to be THAT customer?  Trust me, it isn't any harder to make the drink, plus you get exactly what you want!

Now onto tea!  It isn't AS interesting, but still good to know.  Caffeinated tea has between 30-100mg/cup depending on the type of tea you order.  Green tea has less, and black tea has more.Starbucks Nutritional Information found here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

40 Bags in 40 Days: Days 1 and 2-Entryway Closet and Entryway

I hope everyone had a successful day yesterday cleaning your entryway closets.  There were some great tips on the Facebook Event, including to not only consolidate your reusable bags, but go put some in your car, right now, ok when you're done reading this.  I ALWAYS leave them at home, so this way they'll be there when you need them (thanks Anne!). 

My weakness yesterday was our shoes.  We have too many, well the girl and I do!  So I moved shoes that are too big into the closet, unseasonable shoes (winter boots) into the bench storage, shoes that are too small either went into a donation box or in the garbage, like the boots that had holes in the soles.

I also couldn't just do the closet, since I was organizing our shoes, so I started on our shoe rack.  It's just a cheap one we got at Walmart, but the is shoes are too small to fit on both bars, so I took some cardboard pieces to put on top.  But since the bars are at an angle, the cardboard would just fall off, SO I hot glued some spots on the bottom so it would sit nicely against the lower bar. 

One of our family weaknesses is just putting stuff anywhere.  So we need to find a way to keep the bench clear, and the other surfaces in the entryway.  I DO have a hanging mail organizer that we need to start using more.  Cleaning that out is one of my tasks for today.  And organizing the kids coats on their coat rack.  I'll also do the regular cleaning in that room, so cleaning the window, the mirrored closet doors, dusting, then sweeping and mopping.  I'm so excited to finally have my entryway organized.  I HATE walking into the house and being instantly overwhelmed by the clutter right as I come in.

Feel free to share your tips and struggles as you work through your entryway.  And join the Facebook Event for more conversation!

40 Bags in 40 Days: Days 3 and 4-storage and deep freezer

Our under-the-stair storage area had become a dumping ground for stuff that we didn't need right away.  It's mostly our Christmas decorations and camping gear, so not stuff that we can get rid of, but not stuff we use all the time.  The back of the area is organized, since it's just boxes, but the front, well, we had just shoved stuff in there.

SO-it just took a little bit of organizing and rearranging to tidy up.  For example we keep gift bags, and they had been randomly shoved into two (now broken) bags and were all over the floor.  So I tidied those up and it looks like a whole new room!

Today is the deep freezer.  The reason why I stuck it on the list is because I KNOW we have stuff at the bottom that we won't eat, so why are we keeping it?  Also-the little frost check thingy is TOTALLY covered meaning we need to defrost the freezer.  But we use it regularly and it's fairly full, so moving the stuff upstairs into our (small) freezer won't be easy.  What better way to tidy up the freezer and see what's in there than to clean it out!  It'll give me a good idea of what to make for dinners for the next week or so so we can work through the food in there before shopping again.

And I really feel like I'm making progress!  My whole entryway area is tidy and easier to manage on a daily basis!  Which means it doesn't get messy, and I don't have to clean up.  Mind you it's only been 4 days, but still.  Taking one area at a time and working through it is a LOT easier than just jumping in at random and trying to do it all.  BUT-the rest of my house has become a bit of a mess, so I do need to spend some time tidying up the rest.  It's great to REALLY deep clean these areas, but it kind of defeats the purpose to just let the rest of the house go crazy.

Time to get back at it!

40 Bags in 40 Days-Days 5, 6 and 7: Laundry room cupboards, Laundry room and Living room

The laundry room in our house has been, well, a dumping ground recently.  If we had to move stuff out of the entryway, it ended up in either the laundry room or the office.  So one task was to go through some boxes and get rid of stuff we don't need.  Or move stuff that we had out back into the storage area.  Clean the floor, etc.

But one task that's going to take longer than I thought is disposing of the stuff in the laundry room cupboards.  That's where we store most of our cleaning supplies.  So we have old laundry detergents, bleach, and more.  So I've done some research on how to safely dispose of these items.

Most of our cleaning supplies are water-soluble, which means they are mixed with water for use, and washed down the drain.  The best way to dispose of these items is to use them up, or give them away so they can be used up.  If they can't be used, our water treatment facilities can handle these items, so they can be poured down the drain.  Solid cleaning products can be safely disposed of in the garbage, as can aerosol cans that still have products in them.  Empty aerosol cans can be recycled at most facilities, be sure to check with your local recycling depots.

For more information, CLICK HERE.  If you have any questions, phone your local recycling and garbage facilities.

So now I can go through those cleaning supplies again and either use them up, give them away, or dispose of them.

My living room shouldn't be too hard, since I clean it on what feels like a daily basis.  I do have some piles of stuff on the stairs to go through, and today would be a good day to go through all the socks we leave at the bottom of the laundry baskets, but it shouldn't be too bad.

Don't forget to go through your cupboards/drawers while you work through your areas.  We have a lot of drawers that we just shove things into and it would make life so much easier if we had certain spots for certain items, and just threw our junk in the garbage/recycling.

I hope this is getting easier for everyone.  It's almost therapeutic to go through items and get rid of so much stuff that we don't need.  The house will be MUCH easier to keep tidy once we're done!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

40 Bags in 40 Days-Preparation

So my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge starts this Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013.  Here is the schedule:

Not every area will apply to everyone, so adapt it to your own house.  If you don't have an area, then either take a day off, spend more time on an area that needs it, or work on an area in your house that isn't listed on the schedule.  

I also did the schedule strategically, starting when we walk in the front door and working our way around the areas we use most.  I find nothing more overwhelming than walking in the house and being hit with a huge mess.  So gradually, that mess will get farther and farther away from when we walk in.  The areas should also be relatively small, so that you don't have to spend a ton of time on them.  

Here are some tips:
  • your bags don't have to be huge black garbage bags, mine will probably just be small grocery bags.  The whole idea is to go through each area carefully and get rid of the items that you don't really need.
  • with each item you go through, ask yourself if you need it.  No, do you REALLY need it?  If you're debating on something, chances are you don't need it.  If you don't have a home for it, and are keeping it 'just in case', chances are, you don't need it.  
  • you don't have to throw everything in the garbage.  If you have spare boxes, label them 'DONATE' and 'SELL' and have your garbage bags.  If you don't have boxes, just use extra bags.  At the end of the 40 days, you can go through your boxes/bags and decide further what to do with your items.  Drop off some stuff at a local thrift store.  Visit a local consignment shop or sell on Craigslist, or a local buy/sell/swap group.  
  • have your Norwex Enviro cloths, or other cleaning supplies handy, since this could be a great way to get some deep cleaning done.
  • get your kids involved.  In their rooms, they can put on a fashion show to see what clothes don't fit anymore.  Or it could just be a really good exercise in deep cleaning, and getting rid of clutter.  
Any questions?  Feel free to ask.  And follow along each day, comment with your successes, struggles and tips.  Let's do this together!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm BACK!!!

So the whole working mom thing didn't work out as planned and I'm back baby!  And I'm hosting a 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge!

I've created a public event on Facebook and you should be able to join from THIS LINK.  I'll post updates here, and will also have daily tips and conversations on Facebook.  

I'm starting Tuesday July 23rd and the last day will be Saturday August 31st, so we'll be done by September 1st.  I can't wait to have a cleaner, easier to manage house!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Big changes in the {not so} clean house

We had a big and exciting change around here.  Two weeks ago, I started a new full time job and I love it.

What does that mean for the blog?  Well, as a working mom, I'll be focusing on that more, but not much should change.

What have I found so far?  Well, in a way, it's easier to keep the house clean.  I mean if there's no one here all day, there's no one to mess it all up.  But at the same time, we still have the same amount of laundry, dishes, etc but no one here all day to do it.  So I've had to manage my time better, which is NOT one of my strengths at home.

Ah well, we'll figure it out.  And if I don't, you'll get to read all about it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My newest Norwex favorites

Ok, so I know I talk about Norwex a little bit.  Ok maybe a LOT, but I really love it!  And no, I don't sell it.

This past January, I hosted a Norwex party and got a TON of free stuff.  January is the Hostess Free Mop month, and yes, I got enough sales and got my free mop!  But the mop isn't what I want to talk about.

Along with the free Antibac Cloth, and window cloth, and lint mitt, and hand cream, I got a few fantastic items.  The Optic Cloth is amazing.  I used it a few days ago to clean my glasses and OMG it was like seeing the house with new eyes.  Like seriously clean.  And I've been wearing glasses for almost 25 years!  I did the same yesterday with my sunglasses and was SO impressed.  I got one for my hubs for Christmas since he always used our window cloth and I could never find it.  Great stocking stuffer and now he has his own cloth for his glasses.  Well when I needed a few more dollars to get the free mop, I added the Optic Cloth so I could have one of my own and I'm SO glad I did.  AMAZING!

I also got the dust mitt.  Makes dusting SO easy.  AND I got the kids package, that comes with a kid-sized antibac cloth, window cloth and dust mitt.  M LOVES cleaning the windows with her own cloths, and dusting.  In fact, sometimes she'll make fingerprints all over the windows just so she can clean them up.  I don't mind, since she's cleaning them!

One item I've been very skeptical of is the cleaning paste.  I've heard great things about it, but I found that baking soda worked so well that I didn't want to invest in that.  BUT when I had free money to spend, I decided to give it a try and OH.MY.GOODNESS!  So I won a bath mitt at the party, and whipped out the paste to clean the shower last week.  AMAZING!  When I would have to clean the shower again about 5 days later after cleaning with baking soda, I don't have to do it yet with the paste. And the mitt makes it so easy.  Norwex was genius when they decided to make the cloths in a mitt form.

Keep an eye out for a review of the Norwex mop, and maybe a Norwex giveaway!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let's Talk!

February 12th is 'Let's Talk' Day with Bell.

For every:
  • 1
    Text message sent*
  • 2
    Long distance call made*
  • 4
    Facebook share of our Bell Let's Talk image
Bell will donate 5¢ more to help fund mental health initiatives across Canada.

So as a Bell Customer, and someone who suffers from mental illness, I'm doing my part.

In the Spring of 2010, I started medication for mild-moderate depression.  I had studied psychology at school,  I knew what depression was.  But, as said with so many different topics, it's SO different when it's you.  Life just gets overwhelming sometimes, and that's no one's fault.  Due to a chemical imbalance, some people have a harder time dealing with that.  It's nothing that can be controlled by the sufferer.  You can't expect a diabetic to not take medication, just as someone who suffers from mental illness needs them to balance things out.

When I started the medication, I decided that I needed to tell my staff.  I was a manager at work and had many staff working for me, and I needed to be honest with them.  I told my district manager who knew what I was going through.  Along with many of my staff members.  I was shocked that so many others had been through what I was going through.  And honestly, it made it all so much easier.  Not only to have them be a tad more flexible to my daily emotions, but also to offer support.

And that's what 'Let's Talk' Day is all about.  The only thing harder than going through mental illness is going through it alone.  So don't.  Let's talk about it!

Head to my facebook page and share the Bell image.  Or tweet using #BellLetsTalk.  Or if you're a Bell customer, text all day long, and make some long distance calls!  Connect with some friends!  Let's talk!

Monday, February 4, 2013

I just need the accountability

Well, I haven't posted in a bit.  And my house shows it.

I have no idea why my cleaning habits seem to correlate to how often I post on the blog, but I'm using this Monday to get myself back on track.  Especially since the hubby is home sick today so I can have {some} help with the kids.

I've also noticed that for the most part, I'm pretty good at getting the daily and weekly stuff done, but I haven't ventured into the monthly stuff.  So this week, I'm going to just focus on the normal tasks and hopefully I can start adding the bigger stuff soon.

One plan is to get up earlier.  I was up at 4am this morning to go line up for kindergarten registration, so hopefully I can start getting up before the kids, at around 6am and get a head start.  I'll see how it works!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Olivia's Room Dryer Ball Review and Giveaway

Ok so I took a tad longer to get this up than I had planned.  We passed our 10k pageviews and are now at 12k!  I love my fans and we're going to celebrate with a few giveaways. 

First up is a set of 4 dryer balls from Olivia's Room Boutique.  

Do you use fabric softener?  Do you know how bad it is for you and for the environment.  Here's a quick article.  

Ok, so now you're wondering how to soften your clothes.  Enter dryer balls!  Not only do they make your clothes softer, but they reduce static and drying time.  

Here's what Brittany, the owner of Olivia's Room Boutique, has to say about her wool dryer balls:

Dryer balls are amazing! Wool dryer balls are even better. With just 4 dryer balls in a load of laundry, it can cut your drying time by 40%! More balls, better drying time! By using wool dryer balls, it can eliminate the need for artificial softeners also, which are not recommended for use on your child's bedding or clothing. Keep in mind, that when using artificial softeners, it builds up on your clothes and in your washer/dryer, reduces fire retardancy of clothing, reduces absorbency of towels, and can cause allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin. My wool dryer balls are made from 100% wool, with the core being all natural wool roving, and dyed or natural wool yarn for decoration and durability. I make every dryer ball by hand, and each are needle and wet felted to ensure proper felting of the wool. Felting is what keeps your dryer balls together, so I double up just to be safe!! I am a [work at home mom], so when you purchase my products, it helps my family! I also stand behind every one of my products, so if you have an issue, you contact me directly, not a huge company who might defer your concerns down the line.

Olivia's Room Boutique has a Facebook Page and an Etsy store.  Feel free to check out her great products!  I would like to extend a huge thank you to Brittany for sponsoring this giveaway.  Good luck!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Little Things

I've been using lists, and more recently Apps, to organize my house cleaning and I think I've found a schedule and a system that works.  And the most important part of that is staying on top of the small things.

I always know that the bathrooms need to be cleaned.  Or that the floors need to be swept and mopped. And those are fairly easy to remember, and quick to get done.  It's when the small things start to pile up that I REALLY start to feel overwhelmed.  So I've found that if I have to skip any task, I have to stay on top of the small things.  Today, my 'small tasks' include checking and restocking the toilet paper in each of the bathrooms and changing the hand towels.  Other small tasks include cutting the kids fingernails, wiping down the front of the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, and quickly tidying up each room.  Sometimes THAT is as easy as running around the house and picking up all of the dishes, or laundry, and even just doing that makes a huge difference in how clean the house feels.

I'm glad that I've split up all my tasks into daily items and if I can stay on top of it all, my house is a lot easier to maintain.

What small tasks do you need to get done today?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Starting the Spring Cleaning Early

Christmas is great.  Mad rush to organize the house, lots of food, family and fun.  Lots of gifts.  And then the aftermath.  Cleaning everything up.  Finding room for all the new clothes, toys and more.  Figuring out how you got all the decorations in the boxes last year.  We decided to get some new shelves for the kids rooms, so they can have some books, toys and stuff in there, and keep the playroom less cluttered.  I also wanted to get some hooks for the entryway so the kids could hang up their own coats, instead of throwing them all over the place.

Well, today was the start of the Spring Cleaning.  Some other friends are doing mass organizing in their homes and I decided to follow suit.  I got the hooks for the entryway and tidied that up. Will have to wait for the hubs to do that though.  I don't want to risk missing a stud or damaging the drywall.

Next step is to get the shelves for the kids rooms and organize all the toys, books, puzzles, games, cars, trains, AND MORE!

Well, I should put away the laundry first.  And then the groceries.  Then the Christmas decorations.  Then.....