Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wipe me down and clean me up - Bathroom Bust

Who does not love a clean bathroom?  I sure do.  Something about walking into the smell of CLEAN.  But the art of cleaning is something I have had to learn and am still learning.  I did NOT step into marriage knowing how to keep my home clean efficiently or effectively.  I knew some things but I was more a "take care of it as you go" kinda girl.  And, I still have a lot to learn.  With now three kiddos in toe, keeping up with cleaning can be overwhelming at times.   So here are a few bathroom cleaning secrets (learned from other wise women) to keep my sanity.
  • First (Most Important) - Do it every week!  Really!  I know that may sound terrible but if you do it every week it never gets really dirty.  This eliminates that overwhelming fright of toilet scum.  Also it make your bathroom super fast to clean.  
  • Second - Have all your supplies in EACH bathroom.  (Thank you mom!)  Yes, really if you have two bathrooms double up.  If you have three triple up.  This make everything so handy.  Here is what I keep in my bathroom totes and under the sink.
    • Windex
    • Toilet bowl cleaner
    • Toilet bowl brush
    • Paper towel
    • Swiffer duster
    • Disinfecting cleaning wipes
    • Swiffer wet pads
    • Magic eraser
    • Small garbage bags
  • Third - Always clean on the same day of the week.  For me that day is Monday.  My house always seems to fall a part over the weekend.  I love starting off the week with a clean house.  Also our family activities seems to get busier as the week progresses.  Cleaning day has become a standing appointment at my home and I do my best not to book things on that day.  So if you come by my home on a Monday, You'll probably find clean smelling bathrooms.
  • Fourth - Establish a rhythm.  Clean that bathroom the same way every time.  This makes it SO much faster to clean.  Here is my bathroom wipe down. 
    • Shake out rug and remove
    • Clean inside toilet bowl
    • Spray and clean mirror
    • Wipe off sink
    • Wipe off toilet
    • Wipe out tub
    • Quick Dust
    • Remove Trash
    • Mop floor if need.
So today I cleaned all of my three bathrooms in 15 minutes!  This is a once a week job for me.  I had all my supplies in each bathroom and I did it just the way you see above.

Every homemaker has their different "biggies."  If bathrooms is one of yours that overwhelms you to the point where you put it off...and off...and off...and you have not tired these four ideas, then I'd encourage you to try them out for a month.  I don't think you will be disappointed and you'll have a new house cleaning habit in place. 

You Should Know:
I absolutely HATE cleaning the master shower.  I delegate this job to my hubby.  It is the only thing he cleans and I am oh so happy to turn it over to him.

Happy bathroom cleaning!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Taking it Easy but NOT on purpose...

So ridiculously funny, I tripped.  I was in a hurry to get back home to the babysitter.   Baby on hip and pushing the stroller with the other hand.  (Can anyone tell me why we push strollers and the baby is not in it!)  Off the curb I flew, tripped, and crunch went my foot.  Thankfully there were some sweet shoppers there to help hold the baby and get my cell phone.  I was trying my hardest not to pass out and puke from the pain!  I was sure I had broken it!  "Do you want us to call the ambulance," asked the mall security as they filled out their incident report (Asking all kinds of questions like, "How did you fall...")  "No, I'll call my husband to recuse me." No ambulance, as dollar signs floated across my brain.   Along with other thoughts..."This is not good timing I have house guest tonight; I have three small kids at home; It's time to feed the baby; my foot is now the size of a baseball."  But most of all, "If only I had NOT come shopping!"  

Surprisingly my hubby got there super fast from work.  Which was good because I was rather embarrassed as I was laid out on the sidewalk from mild shock.  Off we went to get an x-ray.  Thankfully, it was not broken.  Like all bad sprains it will just take time to heal.  Elevate, ice 3X a day, and take good old ibuprofen.   As we headed out, me in the wheelchair, I told my hubby this was NOT the kind of break I was wanting.

The "only if's" continued to play in my mind."  "Lord," I whispered, "what is your TRUTH in this hiccup."

Psalm 139 says...
O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up. (or fall off a curb!)
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel (to JCPenny's)
    and when I rest at home (on the sofa with an ice pack).
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!
                                                                                                  *My italics and brackets

Jesus knew this.   As much as I can sit here and say, "If only I'd done my shopping later," He knew.  Like every mom, I try to control my life.  But Jesus is perfectly in control.  Even in this.

And yes, His word is already proving true to me again.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 

I have had more sweet cuddles from my girls and time to play on the floor with them, I had to set down my pride to let others help & I have been able to point my girls to Jesus.  

Day three recovery and I don't need the crutches anymore.  Walking like a snail but less swelling and less pain and a nice big purple bruise.  I give the praise to Jesus even in this.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Under the Sea - She Turned 3

Oh my goodness, my sweet baby is three!  I just cannot believe it.  I keep pinching myself.  Of course since this spunky monkey is my second, I (like a many moms) have fallen into the "2nd child traps."  You know, less pictures and more hammy-downs.   I was determined to make her birthday a big bash or more like a big "splash" this year.   This was her first real party.  The theme -- Under the Sea. 

Thank goodness team Papa and Nana came to help!  It was all hands on deck setting up.  We had four play areas for all the kids.
We borrowed the water slide from our neighbors, a big THANK YOU. 

Pools from Walmart, pails and shovels from Dollar store, shells from Hobby Lobby
The signs I painted from a large leftover cardboard box.  Fun sticky letters made these signs easy and cute. 
I had so much fun planning the decor for this party.  The back drop for the food table was just a bunch of streamers, blue and teal.  Some of them I sewed together.  This creates a fun wavy look.  I also made bubble garland to hang on the pergola.  I punched circles and taped them onto fishing line.  On the back sides of a few of the circles I glued tin foil.  

 All the kids showed off their kissy, fishy faces.

What's a fun party without fun food.  Keeping it simple, we had hotdogs, chips, fruit salad, and veggies.  I severed the sides in fun pails with shovels.  The "ocean" punch was blue kool-aid, lemonade, and ginger ale.  I don't know much about cake decorating and having a cake decorated can be $$ so... I got a Costco cake (the best) and decorated it with fun ocean stickers.  Of course, I made sure they were off before we passed out slices. 

The party was a splashing success.  Not only for the kids but for the adults too!  The kids were all so busy playing that we actually got to eat and complete our sentences.  So thankful for my family and friends to celebrate another child and another year older.  Hope these are helpful ideas if you have an under the sea birthday rolling your way.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mission Makeover - Re-purposed, Re-made and Re-used

I love our local mission and I love decorating.   So when the opportunity came to help with decorating the gathering room at our local women's shelter, I was super excited!  I told the volunteer coordinator I was her gal.  I teamed up with a great girlfriend, Ange, and we got to work on gathering ideas via Pintrest.  The goal was for the room to be a relaxing retreat for the women and children that stay at the mission.  The original room was a plain, plain, plain.  A hod-podge of misfit donated items.  A vision formed with a budget of $1,000.  Aside -- this donation was simply placed in the hand of the missions volunteer coordinator on the morning she announced the project to JOY in the morning, our ladies Bible study at church.  Love, love God's timely provision!  Ange and I created three zones for the designs with a clean pallet of tans, gray blues and olive green.

Gathering Zone
This space is used for a Bible study each night.  Any where from 15 to 20 women gathering to study God's word.  Before the space was cluttered with over-sized tables and a large sectional.  This was replaced with two futons and a long free-standing desk.   We covered the futons and pillows in washable fabics and pest-resistant protective covers.  By placeing a large desk on the opposite wall we were really able to open up the space.  Space for kids to play, space for more chair during Bible study, and now even space for ladies to do workout DVD's.  A large new, donated TV was mounted over the desk.   A couple of the ladies from our Bible study did the sewing for the futon covers and pillows.  The desk took some extra time to install but it did get installed.  The picture below is pre-install.

Children's Zone
This was a small 4 ft by 5 ft corner of the room.  A new play kitchen was donated - hello those things are hard to put together.   We chose to put a cubical storage shelf for books and toys.  A small table with stool allows for children to have a space to play and work.  

Working Zone
Many of the ladies are looking for jobs and so need a place to fill out papers.  There is also a recovery program that some of the ladies enroll in which requires homework.  The floating desk and pub table allow for ladies to get work done but the areas don't take up a lot of space.  Wanting to use the space effectively, we had a long desk, 10 ft., costume built for the space.  The top is covered with laminate making it more durable for all the use it receives. This was our most expensive piece for the room but well worth it.  In fact the builder goes to our church and donated his time so we only paid for the materials.  If you have priced custom pieces you know what a huge blessing this was.  Painting an accent wall in the alcove perfectly defines the space.  New floating shelves allow for books and materials to be out of reach from children.  To the left of the picture, we created a message board for the ladies to use. 

Just Some thoughts - 

2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 

Many of the decor pieces for this room were re-purposed.  The lamps, side table and chairs where all from Goodwill.  A little paint new, fabrics and TLC and they are beautiful new pieces.  Isn't this the same process that Christ take us through.  Our lives feel discarded and no longer useful and Christ transforms us by His Spirit.  This is the journey that the women at the mission are under-going.  They are women just like you and me but they have come to a place of need.  God is taking them and re-making for His glory. The old is now NEW!

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 

This project took a team of ladies all with different gifts and all with a willing heart to serve.  I loved this.  I did not have the ability or time to do everything, but with each women playing their unique roll the whole project was a success.  Christ has a good work for us to do for we are each His good work to a needy world. 

For me this project is at the heart of decorating.  To decorate actually means to add honor.  We took a space that had no visual honor and made it into a space where each women and child feels honored. 

I talked to a couple of the gals they other day and they shared how wonderful it is to have a relaxing, beautiful space.  They have a space that feels more like home.