Friday, March 30, 2012

Living Room and Kitchen

These two rooms are on an "evening" routine rather than the morning one. I find my morning (and day) gets off to a better start when I can walk into a clean and straightened up living room (it only takes about 2 minutes the evening before!!!!) and I can walk into a clean kitchen (all dishes done, put away, etc).

I drink a lot of water throughout the day, so I also make sure that my Brita is filled the night before.

I'm not a "morning person" so it takes a little bit for my brain to wake up. I have Sweetheart's lunch all packed (all non-chilled in the lunch box ready to go) and whatever is the "main dish" is in the fridge, in its container, ready so that all I have to do is put the cold item(s) in the lunchbox, and it's done!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Morning Routine Nursery/Study

For the moment, our study area and the little ones' bedroom is in the same room.

Morning routine is pretty simple: re-stock diapers and wipes as needed, put all toys/blankies back on their beds (even if they don't stay there for the whole day they start out in the right place).

Morning routine is all about making sure that things are ready for the day and that I don't run out of something critical (like baby wipes in the middle of a diaper change).

For the study/library area, I just make sure that books are put away properly and not just laying on the front of the shelves.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Morning Routine - Master Bedroom

Continuing the theme from yesterday's post, each room in my home has its own "morning routine."

My routine for the master bedroom is so very simple: make the bed, make sure all laundry is off the floor (dirty laundry goes into a bin in our closet), empty off nightstands/dresser of anything that doesn't go there, and empty trash (when Sweetheart is fighting allergies, this is a necessity before my two little ones get into the trash).

I've found that keeping the master bedroom neat and organized helps my entire home run smoother because Sweetheart and I have a calm, orderly place to relax and rest.

Doing this daily keeps me ahead of the cleaning curve by preventing "pile-up" that I have to deal with when I clean the bedroom.

Try it for a week! I think you will see a difference!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Keeping the bathroom clean

With 1 bathroom for 4 people, things can get pretty icky pretty quickly, even with a weekly scrubbing. Using FLYlady's system ( I've found a way to keep the bathroom sparkling clean between cleanings in less than 3 minutes a day!

Here's my routine:
After everyone is out of the bathroom for the morning, I grab the hand towel and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol (I like it better than Windex.) Spray the mirror, wipe dry with hand towel. Wipe off counter, faucet, sink, back of toilet, toilet lid, bathtub ledge. Squirt some toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet, quick swish with the brush, flush. Get out a fresh hand towel and throw the one you used into the laundry. DONE! - and you have a fresh bathroom to enjoy all day and you're not embarrassed if someone shows up unexpectedly.

Sceptical? Try it for 1 week first thing in the morning  and see if it makes a difference to you.

Here's to a happy and healthy home!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tub and Shower Cleaner

Here's another chemical-free cleaner!

Tub/Shower Scrub
1 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon dish soap
Add enough water to make a thick paste.

Scrub it on with a scrub brush or sponge.

Rinse with hot water.

The original recipe recommends adding several drops of an antibacterial essential oil (rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, or peppermint)

Happy  Scrubbing!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An idea for dessert

My family enjoys desserts, but with just 2 adults and 2 toddlers, I often hesitate to make an entire recipe because it takes a while to eat it all, and we've lost interest in it before it's gone. Well, I had an idea the last time my princess asked for "birthday cake" (it wasn't her birthday, but she wanted cake). So, the next grocery shopping trip, I allowed her to pick out a cake mix and I grabbed a complimentary icing.

When we got home, I mixed up the cake, but rather than using a regular 9x13 cake pan, I grabbed my layer cake pans and used those. I then only iced HALF the cake, and after the second layer had cooled, placed it in a gallon-size freezer bag and FROZE it.

The half I iced was the perfect size for my little family. We enjoyed it for 2-3 days, then we were able to "take a break" and I thawed the second one and iced it a week and a half later for us to enjoy.

I LOVED this idea and think I'm going to use it often in the future. This way, I can have several flavors "waiting in the wings" for an emergency dessert.

There would be plenty of dessert for 4-6 adults in a single layer serving.

Just a way to make a sweet treat last a little longer!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Say What???

Okay, usually, I'd try things a few times before posting them, but this one worked so well on its first run, that I'm posting it now. Honestly, using the vinegar fabric softener helped with the static, but didn't ELIMINATE it.

I was playing around on Pinterest and found this idea: that a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer will stop static cling. My first thought was "REALLY!?!?!?" But, after checking with my electrical engineer sweetheart, who assured me that there was no danger in trying it as long as I used a large enough ball so that it didn't get through the vents into the heating area, I decided to give it a shot on a last-minute load of laundry last night. It was a perfect test load, as it was just my toddlers' clothes, so usually things stick together and I have washcloths and socks sticking to shirts and things.

The verdict.... NO STATIC!!!!

Just try it! You can re-use the same ball of aluminum foil over and over again. Sweetheart says it works because the ball collects the static from the clothes, then disperses it when it contacts the drum of the dryer as it tumbles.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent is EXPENSIVE, especially if you want something with real cleaning power. This is about $20 to mix up, but it makes a LOT! (I started using my batch January 30th, and it's about 1/2 gone, but I do 1, if not 2-3 loads of laundry daily.) I LOVE this! It has a clean scent that is not overpowering, and my little ones with sensitive skin have not had a single reaction to it.

Laundry Detergent

1.4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz) I found this at the hardware store
1.4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg)
1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz) detergent aisle
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap detergent aisle
2 small containers of Oxy Clean (about 3.5 lbs total (1.58 kg) detergent aisle.

Grate the Fels-Naptha with your cheese grater.
Line a 5-gallon bucket with a heavy duty trash-bag.
In a well-ventilated area, pour everything into the lined bucket.
Mix well.*

* PLEASE be careful when pouring in and mixing the Borax.

I keep mine in a plastic container.

I use 1 rounding tablespoon per medium load, 2 flat tablespoons per large load.

Found here: (via Pinterest)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fabric Softener

Both of my children have sensitive skin, and per the dermatologist's recommendation, the dryer sheets and fabric softener had to go! (Bummer!) Well, that left a LOT of static in my laundry - yikes! So I had to find an alternative I could use, and FAST! I seemed to remember hearing/reading somewhere that vinegar could be used as fabric softener, so off to Google I went. Here's what I found to try: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I tried it and I LOVE it!

Fabric Softener

1 gallon white vinegar
20-30 drops essential oil
(essential oils are a little difficult to find, try the craft stores)

Add essential oil to vinegar, shake well.
Add 1/4 cup during the rinse cycle of the washer.
(I try to catch when the water is being added).

The vinegar scent rinses away - I promise!

You will need to shake this before each use to re-mix it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

With a young son who seems to be drawn to the toilet as a place to splash, I've been searching for a chemical-free toilet bowl cleaner that works. Here's what I've found works for me!

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

1 empty 64 ounce hand soap refill bottle
(You don't need to clean it out, just empty it)
1 bar of soap (I like Zest's scent)

Grate the bar of soap with a cheese grater.
Using a funnel, put 1/2* of the shredded soap into bottle.
Boil some water (no need for 64 ounces, 10-12* will do).
Pour into bottle, close bottle and shake for a bit
(this helps the shredded soap dissolve)
Open cap (to vent) and allow suds to settle. Fill with water.

Use as you would any other toilet cleaner! 
* If you want it thicker, use the whole bar of soap and increase the amount of boiling water to about 16-20 ounces

Introducing ME

I am a stay-at-home wife to wonderful husband, and a mom to two precious children. Contrary to popular conception, the life of a stay-at-home mom is a fairly busy one, so I'm always looking for shortcuts that work as well or better than the "long way," and as a mom to two curious children, I'm constantly looking for healthier alternatives to products that would be dangerous if my children got into them.

So, I'm planning on sharing the things that I've found, tried, and liked with you! In short, you get to benefit from my experiments here in my own home. I'm also passionate about making sure that things WORK as written, so I try to find all the "sub-steps" that are implied, but not written explicitly. If you can read, you can't screw up my recipes!  (At least, that's my goal!)

Here's to a happy and healthy home!