Monday, May 24, 2010

Where Did May Go??

In my last post on May 5 (cringe) I was just beginning my spring cleaning. Believe it or not, I actually did it. Well, most of it. Over the past few weeks we had family in town, we celebrated Baby’s 2nd birthday, we all got the flu, I cleaned and re-cleaned to get the gnarly flu germs out of the house, I planted my garden with tomatoes and corn, the Husband and I went to an awesome concert and had a fun weekend getaway, and now May is almost over. Where has the time gone?!

We’re planning a semi-relaxing Memorial Day weekend without too many commitments so I’m hoping we’ll be able to pay some much-needed attention to the house. As if we need any additional tasks on the to-do list, I was completely inspired by Sarah over at Thrifty Decor Chick who recently revealed her son’s “big boy room.” For a long time, I’ve been working on completing Baby’s bedroom, but I just haven’t been feeling motivated. I think the problem is that her current nursery design is still based on the original bedding we purchased before we knew we were having a girl. It’s fun and bold, but it’s not feminine at all. I wanted gender neutral minus the pastels, but there’s no girly-girl in her room.

I kept holding off on any changes because I planned on doing a redesign when we were expecting number two. Well, we’re not on that road just yet, but I’ve finally decided it doesn’t matter. Baby is getting a semi-big girl room with some feminine updates! It won’t be a full big girl redo because she’s not out of her crib yet, but her crib transitions to a toddler bed so the bedding will be the same size when that time comes. This is my justification reasoning for buying new bedding.

I’ve been scoping out design ideas all over and I’m hoping for a Pottery Barn look on Marshalls prices! Here are some of my current inspirations…


Pottery Barn


Pottery Barn


Better Homes and Gardens



girlsroom5 girlsroom6


It will be hard to make up my mind but I’m excited to give Baby a girly room of her own!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Days Two & Three


The second and third days of Simple Mom’s Spring Cleaning Party are focused on the living room or central area of your home. After the quick sweep on day one, my living room wasn’t in very bad shape. It mostly drew my attention to the fact that our sofa really needs to be cleaned professionally. Otherwise the process entailed some dusting, vacuuming and cleaning the wood floors, none of which are worthy of pictures or further detail.

I thought today I’d focus on cleaning the natural way, a work in progress for my house. It’s hard after years of antibacterial products, disinfectants, and bleach-based cleaners to believe that the house can be just as sanitary using far less toxic tools. Feeling a little light-headed after cleaning the bathroom has always given me a sick sense of accomplishment. But I think it’s common for many families to rethink their cleaning products when a baby arrives. The day that you watch your newly-crawling infant lick the wood floor causes you to rethink what they might be taking in along with the knowledge that no, the floor is not that tasty.

I have yet to fully abandon the old cleaning products, but I’ve switched to “green cleaners" for the areas that Baby comes in contact with the most. I recently read an article in Natural Home magazine that outlined the uses for super basic products that are far less toxic and far cheaper than the standard buzz-inducing stuff. Here are a few of the alternatives.


Cut a lemon in half to clean wood cutting boards or to remove stains on the countertop. Just let the juice sit and then wipe down.

Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle to help brighten your whites.


Coarse salt can help remove stubborn food from pots and pans. Soak the pan with 3 tbsp salt in a few inches of water before scrubbing.


Mix 1 part water and 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner with natural disinfectant properties (avoid granite because the acid can damage the finish).

Pour 1 cup vinegar into the toilet and let sit for a few hours before scrubbing to remove rings, deodorize and disinfect.

Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle to help soften sheets, towels and clothing.

Baking Soda

Mix 1 part water with 3 parts baking soda for a natural abrasive cleaner to remove stains on tubs, counters and sinks.

Sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the garbage can or in the bag to help control odors.

Tea Tree Oil

Mix 15 drops tea tree oil with 1 quart warm water in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner with antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Mix 2 tsp tea tree oil with 2 cups water for a more powerful spray to use on toilets or to kill mold.

I have to say I was pretty impressed by all the different ways to cut down on the junk that pollutes our home. It’s bad enough to have a hangover from cleaning the shower and I don’t need to be worrying about Baby dealing with the same problem.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Day One


Last year Simple Mom had an awesome series on spring cleaning. It was a very practical approach, taking the house room by room over a span of ten days. I had every intention of following along and even started a post string but after a couple days, life intervened and the plan was derailed.

Let me clearly state that I have done at least one deep clean in our house since then. Nevertheless, the time has come again. After house guests and vacations and a full calendar over the past month, our home has been somewhat neglected. So I’m going back to Simple Mom’s series and starting fresh.

Day One entails doing a quick sweep of all the surface clutter so that you can more clearly see just how sad a state your house is in. We actually didn’t have as much crap lying around as I thought and the whole quickie decluttering took me about half an hour. Just for your enjoyment, here are some before and after photos, all in the name of motivation for me to continue over the next ten days.

Living Room:

Before (the toy basket has a removable cover that we put on when we have company to fool our guests into thinking our house is cleaner than it is)                                                                             DSCF1119




Before (this corner is the notorious dumping ground in our home)




Kitchen Table:

Before (another constant stop & drop spot)





Before (this picture really doesn’t do justice to the magazine stack on the top corner of the bed)




And there you have it. I am a cleaning machine. On to day two.

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