27 February 2010

Spring Cleaning The Kitchen!!

Well I am back sooner than expected and ready to get on with the spring cleaning!!  A recent trip to Ikea has also made me want to organize like crazy, they have such neat stuff now!

The kitchen takes the most time here... It's a big list but worth it to take care of those spendy appliances and the area where most of us spend a big portion of our day!

I list them from top to bottom even if I can't get to them in that order.

~Vacuum/dust above the cabinets (our cabinets don't go to the ceiling) and the corners.
~For the oven I am going to try the portable shark steam mop FIRST this time, if it doesn't work I will Spray oven cleaner (I am afraid to use the self cleaning part.. with the kids here I think it will get too smoky!) and let that sit a while and work on other stuff, come back to it when it's done it's job
~Take everything out of the cabinets (I wouldn’t do ALL of them at the same time). I do a couple at a time if stuff is chipped, broken or hasn't been used since last Spring I probably don't need it! Don't forget to empty out the silverware tray.. I just run ours through the dishwasher. Once the stuff is out I use the vinegar/water mix and a clean rag and wipe all the inside cabinet surfaces.
~Polish the outside.. I used to use Method brand but have switched to olive oil and a little lemon juice.
~I take the filter or screen things off the microwave bottom and toss em in the dishwasher.
~I run the dishwasher with a few bowls of vinegar in the top rack and baking soda in the soap dispenser.
~Clean out under the sink.. extra sponges and who knows what else has collected and needs to be dealt with!
~I replace the felt pads on the chairs and tables, after 6 months they look pretty bad!
~If it's been a while since I've done a pantry check.. I do that and make sure that there isn't anything expired.
~If cleaning the inside of your fridge isn't something you do often, now is a good time. How many pen bottles of ketchup are there? I toss anything that is expired or will expire soon that I don’t think will get used. Then using the vinegar and water mix wipe down each shelf, I take the door shelves out, and the fruit and veggie drawers out and run those in the dishwasher also.
~My least favorite things to do are moving the stove and fridge out, cleaning the sides, vacuum the fridge coils, clean the top of the fridge. I put those off the longest, because I can't do it by myself, but it is important, they will last longer if they are taken care of, and the fridge especially needs the coils cleaned or it can really waste energy and money!
~If you have countertops that needed treated don't forget to do that!
~when it's all done I Vacuum again and then use the steam cleaner on the floors!

After that the kitchen should be about ready for a new mess.. I got some super cute cookie cutters at Ikea and cannot wait to make some spring sugar cookies with the kids!

I should have another post soon for the Family Room!!
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19 February 2010

Spring Cleaning.. Already?

Spring Cleaning!!!

I realize it is the MIDDLE of winter right now.. but here in Oregon it is NOTHING like Winter and JUST like spring.. 63 and SUNSHINE!!!  I am all antsy to clean and move stuff around and get outside and hopefully start some gardening!  I have a list of everything I do for Seasonal cleaning... but every year it changes!! I had a couple posts last year but I feel like this year is different... adding another baby changes stuff.

Last year I did everything by room and some stuff got missed... so I am doing it a little different.. I have a list of stuff that needs to be done in every room (like floor boards and heater vents) and then a list for each room. Seasonal Cleaning can be a lot of work for me if I don't keep up on the work that needs to be done every week or so. Planning now gives me plenty of time to start and get it all done and not be overwhelmed or cleaning ALL day.. that just doesn't work with 3 kids! I think the longest stretch I am guaranteed in 1 day is an hour. As I am making my list I try to estimate how long it will take and fit them in as I have time, this is different than I have done in the past, I have always done top to bottom. Hoping this way will work out better!

Every Room List
~Dust the corners and ceiling, if that's not something you do regularly.
~Wipe down walls if it's been a while (kid prints are everywhere here!) I use a water and vinegar mix and a rag.. but don't rub too hard if you have flat paint.
~Vacuum and wipe down floor boards... Vacuum them first so you aren't making mud if they are dusty. I use the same water/vinegar and rag for this too.
~Clean out the light fixtures.. I don't know HOW they get soo much dust in them, but EWW!
~Touch up paint.. I've talked before about the Rubbermaid Paint Buddies.. they are small and have a roller built in, could be a time saver!
~Vacuum the heater vents
~Clean the Window treatments (blinds, curtains)
~Clean the windows.. and tracks.. I get the vacuum out first, then the q-tips and vinegar mix for the tracks!
~Replace any burned out light bulbs.. or if you get a good deal on them, replace old bulbs with the high efficiency ones!
~Replace the smoke detector batteries, if you don't do it on Day Light Savings ( March 14th!)
~deep clean the carpets (make sure you vacuum first!)

I realize my methods don't work for everyone... Martha Stewart also has a printable Spring cleaning checklist HERE.

I will post my Kitchen list soon! Hope everyone gets some nice weather this weekend!
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16 February 2010

Hope Everyones Valentine's day was great!

Hope everyone had a great Valentine's day!! We stayed home and tried to relax! Made some cute biscuits.. and I cheated, I used the premade biscuits this time.. And I made the stew in the crockpot.. It was much easier this time.. and leftovers are JUST as good! Our kids are quite the little cookie monsters... so we made sugar cookies and decorated them.. The frosting is powdered sugar, milk, marshmallow flavoring (I was out of Vanilla) and a little Light Corn syrup.. I think it makes them a little more shiny! And my favorite pink cocktail (or only, since I don't drink much) It's just 1 1/2 oz of Tequila Rose (tastes like strawberry) and 1 oz vanilla coffee creamer mixed and then the glass filled with milk.. I have seen other versions that also add an ounce of Creme de Cacao.. that is a little too strong for me, but it sounds yummy! I took down allll that pink and red yesterday.. now I am cleaning and working on St.Patricks day stuff (I hardly have any) I plan on doing the same kids things as I did last year..

I will take pictures of the jars this time though. I did get a couple new things since last year.. a little green vase and a green tray that has a cute little shape.. I snagged a couple colors I liked it soo much! I just have 1 little clover candy dish but I added some skittles to it.. for the Rainbow look. I have been looking for a couple other rainbow things.. finding NOTHING! I will post some pics once I have stuff up!!
I dont think I mentioned it on here at all, but our littlest kiddo is having surgery next week.. I JUST started a blog so family (and whoever else wants) can see the before and after pics and get some info.. it's hard to explain it over and over to family and friends... I am pretty emotional about it.. He just seems SOO tiny to be having surgery (he will be 5 months the day before his surgery). So it will be quiet over here but hopefully busy over THERE.
I can't wait to have it all over and done with.. Once we are home I will feel much better about everything.. and I am READY to Spring Clean.. so I might post a few more times between now and his surgery.. I like to PLAN before I do any cleaning! The other big thing we have going on is the baby stuff sale I participate in 2 times a year.. I have bins and bins of stuff that need to be organized since last time and prepped and all that.. Every sale I hope to sell everything... but it doesnt usually work that way...By the way Oregon Mommy's, Sale is March 13th in Salem at Blanchet Catholic School 9am!!
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09 February 2010

Even though I said I wouldn't!!

I did end up finding 1 Valentines Day item that I couldn't pass up.. when I first bought this bunting, or banner, pendant whatever you call em, it had hot glued letters that said Be My Valentine... the letters just weren't my style.. but I can use this one for SOO many holidays, I just couldn't pass it up! This is not where I plan on putting it ever.. but I am short and cannot reach the insides of the top of the windows.. Waiting for my hubby to put it up when he has time.. hopefully this week, or I will just put it away for my Summer Stuff!! The red with just barely off white polka dots and the fluffy edges were just perfect!!

And I took a couple pictures of my Home Management Binder too.. My photo skills are lacking though, but I think you get the idea!

Happy Tuesday!!

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05 February 2010

What do you clean with?

Keeping house is very important to me but not more important that spending time with my kids and family so balancing them can be tricky at times, but with the right tools it's safe to spend time with the kids while I clean! I prefer to keep things simple and as odor free as I can get them. But they also have to be efficient, I dont have ALL day to clean, I can usually get away with an hour of chit chat multitasking with the kids, so if the products don't work great, I don't use em! So that means very few commercial cleaners here, besides the toxic smells and environment issues, they are SPENDY! Hope some of my tips will help some of you ditch the expensive smelly ones!

First I have a couple of these cleaning totes, 1 for bathrooms and 1 for all the other rooms.Vinegar/water mix in a spray bottle.. works great as a disinfectant and the smell is gone by the time you are done cleaning, but if the smell really bothers you, add some lemon juice or essential oil!
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers... I LOVE them and use em on just about everything! Yes I have heard the rumors about kids being burned by them, but haven't found any solid evidence and I dont let my kids use them.. so they are good in my book!
Toothbrushes I buy the big packs at the Dollar Store.
Sprayway Brand Glass cleaner.. one of the exceptions to my anti commercial cleaners! I have never found another glass cleaner like it! You can find it at Target and Cost Plus. But if you really want to ditch all the cleaners, vinegar works here too.
Sprayway Brand Stainless Steele Cleaner.... I love the way Stainless looks, hate the way it needs attention!
Microfiber cloths or flour sacks (for washing glass and stainless)
I use a Dyson all floors vacuum and a Shark Brand Steam mop.. thats IT for floors! No chemicals, no huge buckets of water. I also use the Shark portable steamer for lots of cleaning.. Mattresses, I used to vacuum them every week, that was a LOT more work than just going over it with the portable steamer. I still vacuum them every couple weeks though.
Swiffer dusters are great, we have the long and short handled ones and my kids think they are getting a TREAT when they get to help dust.. you can bet I am not going to correct them on that!
We have microfiber couches... they show lots of marks since they are light colored but baby wipes once a week seems to take care of the spots pretty well and since we have them already it isn't an extra expense.
Olive oil/lemon juice mix for furniture polish.. don't rub it in too much, the wood needs to soak it up!
And it's not really cleaning but it's in my caddies..Homemade Fresh spray (like febreeze). I use the fingertip size spray bottles from the travel size section at the store because I like to change my scents up pretty often, if thats not your thing you could use a bigger spray bottle. I mix (approx) equal parts rubbing alcohol and any lotion/baby shampoo I have around that smells good, usually I use a bath and body works lotion. Shake them up often and spray away, the alcohol kills stinkies and the alcohol smell evaporates after just a few minutes but the yummy smell stays a while! I have used this mix on a ton of fabrics and never had any spot issue, of course I would check ahead of time where you won't notice just to be sure! We have velvety curtains, a silk bedspread, microfiber couches and they all turn out super.
Once in a while I will use a tiny bit of bleach, it has to be a major stain for me to get that stuff out though! And I still make my own laundry soap, still on my first 5 gallon bucket from almost a year ago!! It is such a money saver and there is no smell!! Here is the link to that blog post. Homemade dishwaser soap.. eh wasn't that great, felt like it was leaving the dishes filmy after a few weeks, but I did mix the homemade half and half with store bought, works great and still saves some money!
Rubber Gloves.. I personally think cleaning is a little easier when you have some *fluffy* gloves like these.. click picture for website.

My favorite cleaning accesory has to be my Apron though! This is one of my favorites, found it at Target!Have a Great Weekend!
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03 February 2010

Very First Tablescape Thursday

OK so I don't REALLY know what I am doing here and the only other people here were littles..3 and 5 so my options are limited.. Obviously a sign I need my girlie's to come over more often!

Both our older kids have birthdays this week, Feb 2nd and 3rd.. Oldest has preschool EARLY so it was just me and my cupcake for birthday week breakfast. Got these cupcake plates and bowls at Macy's a few years ago on clearance for a few dollars and the cups are from Target. Yes those are paper place mats.. AKA a unfolded napkin.. My girl is CUTE but MESSY! The mini candle is gift shaped and those bowls are my recent Home Goods find!

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01 February 2010

Home Goods Find

I love Home Goods but rarely get to go because it is at least 90 minutes away and we just don't head to the "big city" that often, but it is right next to Ikea and we needed to get a couple things there, so I was able to stop in for a few minutes. I had been checking anthropologie.com for their Latte Bowls to go on sale every week. They have gone on sale but only a few colors (none I was interested in). I could not believe the very first thing I saw when I walked into Home Goods was Latte Bowls in the very color I was hoping for, and at a MUCH lower price! They are cute huh?!They also come in pink and yellow, in the Easter display section. I think they are great spring colors but they also match our polka dot dishes which have a variety of colors on them, I just love the shape of latte bowls though, couldn't pass them up!So if you have a Home Goods near you, go get em..the employee there said they had put them out that morning, a BUNCH and had 2 left after I snagged 4! I think I will use these for my first Table scape Thursday!

Still planning on posting my freshened up HMB too.. maybe after nap time!

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