Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cleaning House.

Little bits of spring have started to arrive here and I can feel my motivation rising. Pockets of afternoon sun work like energizers for me and I find myself making lists and accomplishing things like crazy!

Every new living environment and stage with children seems to require a different approach to cleaning house. Since moving into our home a few months ago, we have settled into a nice routine. When it comes to maintaining a home, I have tried everything from rigid schedules to a fly-by the seat of our pants and hope no one shows up unannounced-approach.

The truth is, I hate cleaning. BUT I love a tidy home and can hardly function and work in a disheveled environment. I'm not good at daily maintenance and this tends to lead to one big cleaning day a week in which I must spend my whole day doing chores (not fun). If I had more dollars, I would absolutely hire a cleaning lady, like today.

In order to keep the order, I came up with a daily checklist of bare minimum tasks, as well as a weekly one. For those of you who are good at daily maintenance, it may seem absurd to write down these tasks, but for me it has worked wonders. As long as I accomplish the majority of these lists daily and weekly, we never spin into chaos or have to dedicate a day to cleaning. Hopefully this list can help someone out there like me who hates cleaning but loves a clean home!

With two adults working from home and three children with various schedules, everyday looks a little different, but for the most part, this is what we strive to do (I made them into pretty prints so I would want to maybe do all of this more):


-Vacuum the floors. We have a big black dog-enough said. Bare minimum-vacuum the hardwoods upstairs so we wake up to a fresh, crumb-free kitchen and living area.
-Wash dishes. This one seems obvious, but I love me a good checklist! With everyone home most of the day we sure know how to fill the sink! Missing a day on this (literally) stinks.
-Empty garbage. Bare minimum-take kitchen garbage outside.
-One load of laundry washed, dried, and put away. Sometimes it's two, but at least one keeps us on top of things.
-Toys put away. Great one to have the kids help with! Our playroom is also our relaxation place after bedtime, so this one is a must.
-Wipe down common surfaces. This includes kitchen table, counters, sink and cook top, and drips on the floor. Sometimes I go in the powder room and quickly wipe sinks too.
-Put shoes away. Shoes love to pile up in the entryway. I like to throw them in the right rooms before bed.


-Wash windows/mirrors. Mainly the ones we see and use all the time.
-Wash bedding. I like to do this on the weekend, as well as any extra loads that need to be done like towels.
-\Scrub bathrooms. I give 'em a good cleaning once a week, sometimes twice for the powder room.
-Dust. Quick run through the house with my feather duster does the trick.
-Water plants. I check them everyday, but usually water them all at the end of the week.
-Polish wood furniture. I love wood wipes for this task. After dusting quickly wipe down.
-Wipe floors. I use a microfiber cloth and Method's squirt and mop on the hardwoods. For tile I use Method's all purpose spray and a different microfiber cloth. Sometimes this happens a few times a week in common areas like the kitchen. I find that if I'm doing well with vacuuming, the mopping is a quick job.
-Wipe down kitchen. Similar to the daily task, but including appliances, possibly the inside of the fridge, cabinet fronts. I just discovered that wiping a bit of olive oil on my stainless steel appliances does wonders and gets the fingerprints from the week off!

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this little bed head, just because. In case you're cleaning schedule looks a lot like mine, I've made a download of my daily list and weekly list to be printed at home.

I would love to hear how you do things at your house!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Color By Number Valentine's Poster

Last year we made some giant coloring posters to bring to a class Valentine's party and had so much fun doing it that we decided to do it again this year!

I saw a kilim rug recently featuring a fantastic pixel-y floral design. I spent the last few nights making the image above, and then thought it would make for the perfect color by number page or poster for kids (and adults too!)

So I removed the color added numbers in and had it printed at my local Staples for only $1.99 (this is an 18x24 size-bigger sizes available too).

I colored one as an example and it reminded me of buying those velvet posters and coloring them as a kid back in the '90's, remember those? If I could find a way to add some fuzzy black velvet to this guy, I totally would.

We plan to give a letter-sized version away as valentine's with a little bundle of colored pencils and a color guide at school this week! I also made a folded card out of the original colored design to use for other friends and family.

If you would like to make one of you own, here you go (click on links below to download):

-Color by Number Valentine Coloring Sheet*
-Color Guide
-Pixel Flowers Valentine's Card

*This is in a standard letter size to be printed at home, or you can go to the Staples website and select "Engineer Prints" and upload this file to be printed in multiple large sizes starting at $1.99. I was able to order mine online and pick it up a few hours later.

Also, a note on coloring...the larger areas to be colored have a numbered border around them and everything within that border is meant to be that color. Color the border first and it will be clear what goes inside it :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Unpacking pearls.

The other day my four year old daughter was taken on a date by her Nana and was given the chance to pick out something special as a late Christmas present. Anything she wanted. Hours later she emerged on the doorstep pink-cheeked and excited, hands waving wildly, proud of what she had found.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

DIY Woven Chair Seat

Now that we're finally in our house, I have been in some sort of creative overdrive mode. Finding a way to make our stuff fit into a new space well always puts me into a problem solving state, which, of course, leads to a long list of projects.

This rocking chair is a great example...I still love the shape of this Ikea gem, but honestly it hasn't gotten much use since our apartment days in California. I hated the print of the cushions, but they're still in great shape. I will probably update the covers someday soon using this site, but for now I wanted a quick way to update the chair so it could be functional as a reading chair in Jack's room instead of being banished to the garage.

I love the look of wooden furniture with the contrast of a neutral woven fabric seat. I found this great tutorial from one of my fave DIY-ers, Matt from Wood & Faulk and remembered that I had two rolls of industrial grade felt sitting in a box just waiting to be used! If I had leather strips on hand I would definitely be using those, but I love the soft look and feel of the felt too (and, hey, free!).

The process was very simple and the whole project took less than two hours. The only thing I did differently than the tutorial was to use a staple gun instead of upholstery tacks to attach the strips of felt to the frame. I wasn't having a lot of success in nailing the tacks in, and the staple gun ended up being a quick solution. This would be an amazing update or fix for any furniture that has a wood frame and a variety of materials could be used. I don't think I'll look at broken garage sale chairs the same now!

I can't wait to snap a pic of Jack's room and show the chair in its new home!

Have you made anything to update your home lately? I would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ellie Jane, 7 Years Old.

My beautiful babe is seven today. She is sensitive, kind, sweet, thoughtful, anxious, helpful, loud, goofy, friendly, smart, talkative, and full of life. Her biggest question for me lately-when do we get to adopt an orphan Mama?

I love you my sweet girl!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Times a Wastin'

Things have been quiet around here. No, more than quiet. I've taken a step back as we've gone through this move and continue to renovate our home. We're hoping to wrap things up and be back to normal fairly soon. But, what is normal? In some ways this move and this process of living out of a suitcase with family for 5+ months has changed me.

I'll save the long version for my journal, but the basic gist? Despite my best effort, I often get distracted in life. I set out to be present and in the moment, but I get derailed somewhere between Pinterest and the ding of a text. It seems that I'm learning all over again that happiness does not lie right around the corner, will not magically come when my house is finished or when I get those things on my wish list. There's a chance to be content here hidden in the quiet afternoon shadows and pile of dirty laundry I keep stepping over. Maybe everything I need is already here and not living somewhere in the land of those whose dreams fall magically into place.

I'm still a work in progress, but I wrote a little more about some practical ways to be more present during the upcoming season over at Playful Learning the other day. Click here if you'd like to read more!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Picture Book Project: The Bear's Song

Every now and then we run into a picture book that instantly becomes a favorite. We love The Bear's Song by Benjamin Chaud so much that we were inspired to make a project!

Along with gorgeous illustrations, we love the sweet story of a Papa Bear searching for his son. Each page is filled with detailed drawings, and we love to try to find all of the characters as we read.

We decided it would be fun to dress up as bears and play a little hide and seek. This sweet little bear mask is fun and easy to make!

To download the mask, hop on over to the Playful Learning blog today.

We love to read and are always searching for new you have a favorite picture book to share?
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