Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

A Clean Home Challenge: Crock Pot Cleaning

I love my crock pot. I use it often! Several times a week I prepare something fantastic in my beloved crock pot. With a new baby I don't know how I would manage to prepare dinner without it. The last time I put my favorite small appliance to use I realized the interior was looking pretty funky and I made a note to clean it.

Now, how does one go about cleaning a crock pot? I saw a lot of suggestions online, from using a general cleaner, to using oxi clean, brillo pads and so on. I thought there had to be a less expensive way to maintain my crock pot so I kept searching. Someone suggested using a baking soda paste and I was anxious to try it. I had a box of baking soda in my pantry and the idea of cleaning without a harsh chemical really appealed to me.

This is what my crock pot looked like before I cleaned it.

I made a paste of 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 teaspoon of water.

                     Then I rubbed the paste into the base of the crock pot.

               Let this sit for about 20 minutes, then use a damp rag to wipe the baking soda off.

The baking soda scrubbed much of the dingy baked on mess out of the crock pot easily.

While the crock pot wasn't restored to its brand new splendor, it sure looked a lot better!

If you have very stubborn stains after the baking soda scrub you can apply dish soap to the stubborn baked on spots and let it set overnight. The dish soap will break up the baked on residue and will wipe off easily with a damp towel. My crock pot wasn't that bad so I didn't require this last step, but I feel confident it would work because If I have a baked on mess on any dishes this is the method I use. 

If your crock pot needs a good cleaning, this method will work well for you and it will only cost you pennies.
How do you keep your crock pot clean?

A Clean Home: Problem Area Assessment

We have a small 3 bedroom home. We have a small bedroom which was intended to be Roo's room, but he didn't sleep well in that room... fast forward 3 years. He is still sleeping with his Mommy while Harper's crib is in that room. As much as I hate it, it is also the play room. It is a good thing Harper sleeps like a log and Roo prefers to play in the living room. Mostly toys are stored in Harper's room. We have a bedroom that is larger than the baby's room, but it has an extra bed, our desk, printer, turtle habitat, carpet cleaner, vacuum, dvd collection, spare sheets and blankets... yeah everything stored in there. This is supposed to be a guest bedroom. No guests could sleep in there due to my mess. The last bedroom is the actual bedroom. It is also crammed full of everything. 2 bookcases, a baby swing, a queen size bed. All of the clean laundry I haven't put away yet... and the list goes on.

When I made an assessment of what the most annoying problem areas in our home were I came up with big and small issues to correct.

I tackled the drawer mess if you recall. That was easy enough. The mess that is my children's clothing and toys is another issue altogether.

These photos are mortifying. I am still in shock that the mess had got so far out of hand in a matter of days.

This mess is kids clothes. Sadly, this is not all of the mess. You can't see the clothes that won't even fit on the rack and are hung on the braces for the shelf. You can't see the baby clothes in baskets  or the pile of shoes they have and rarely seem to wear.

I have had 2 declutter sprees in the last month. Yesterday we took a box large (enough to hold an elliptical), a trash bag and a brown shopping bag full of clothes, towels, blankets and etc to Goodwill. We dropped off Beloved Kota the Dinosaur to the elementary school, where he will be in a play. My son loved this toy, but it took up a ton of precious space.

Break a leg Kota in your acting debut this spring..

With Kota and a huge pile of old stuff out of the way, I felt like I could finally get a good feel for what the true problem areas were.... The whole house is a problem area. No way around it.

Toys have taken over the living room again.

And the dining area too.

It only gets worse. I can't bring myself to keep posting these pics...

Another problem area in my house is my laundry room. Not only is the room just ugly, it is always full of stuff. Recycling to drop off, at least 20 pairs of shoes reside in this room, my husband has his plants in the laundry room. There are extra household supplies like toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap and shampoo. The gear for the dogs is in this area... it gets messy really quickly. The worst part is, the laundry room is actually an enclosed porch, therefor you must enter the laundry room which is in a constant state of disarray to enter my home.

My kitchen always needs attention. The breakfast nook is the catch all for everything in the free world. The area under the breakfast counter has been catching a great deal of junk too. There are always dishes ready to spill out of cabinets, the pantry is always messy.

Oh my, this clean home challenge is getting bigger and bigger. What a mess my home is! I hope you will come back tomorrow to find out where I begin and what the result is.

A Clean Home Challenge 2: The Drawer Declutter

It seems like I woke up one morning and found that my serving utensils like spoons, spatulas and ladles had multiplied. They occupied a large drawer in my kitchen and I could no longer get that darned drawer to close... and it had migrated to a second drawer of kitchen mess. This was driving me crazy.

Yeah... it was really out of control.  I found a ton of flat out junk shoved in these drawers. Take Out Silver wear and Straws, note pads, treat bags, notes and half completed grocery lists to name a few.

The only way to really tackle any project is to just dig in to it. So I pulled everything out the drawers. I found kitchen knives that should not have been in these drawers and packaged them for Goodwill. I found measuring cups with the measurements worn off and unreadable. Those went to the Goodwill box as well.  Old spoons were destined to be discarded as well as several spatulas.

When the drawers were empty I disinfected them.

Next I pulled a bean crock out of my cupboards. I have had this item for 11 years or so... I baked in it one time, and used it to store left overs a few times. It was really one of those things that I don't need but don't want to part with. So it takes up cabinet space and is never used.

Realizing the crock is gorgeous I decided it would be better used as a spoon/spatula holder where it could be functional and admired.

The items I opted to keep were a perfect fit in the crock! I have 2 empty drawers now and I can grab whatever spoon or spatula I might need without having to rummage through a messy drawer to find it.

 I was really impressed with the results of this challenge. My kitchen looks better without 2 drawers that won't close. I reduced the amount of clutter in the kitchen drawers and I put a lovely item to use in my kitchen, and I disinfected 2 drawers.

This drawer declutter was a project that needed to be completed maybe 6 weeks ago in all honesty. It only took me about 8 minutes from start to finish and it didn't cost any money to complete.

I have 2 other drawers awaiting a declutter. One holds hand towels and napkins, one holds dishtowels. I am going to reduce my towels/napkins by selecting any that are stained, frayed or in another state of disarray to get rid of.  I hope to reduce the napkins/towels by half. My family should be able to survive with 7 hand towels in the kitchen instead of 15. We don't need 5 sets of cloth napkins for the 4 of us. This will hopefully free up another drawer for a total of 3 drawers to use in another way.

My 3rd Challenge for A Clean Home involves a DIY organizer that will cost you under $11 to complete. If you have kids you won't want to miss it!

I would love to challenge you to clean out a drawer or two in your kitchen. I would be thrilled to have to you leave a comment and tell me about your kitchen drawer declutter project.

A Clean Home Challenge 1 : 50 items

The holidays have come and gone, and while Christmas is a ton of fun for almost everyone, the aftermath of the holidays can be discouraging and overwhelming. After Santa paid a visit to my children and the gifts had been exchanged with friends and family I stood in horror looking at the disaster Christmas left in its wake. New toys and clothes were piled upon old toys and clothes...boxes and bags littered just about every surface. Scraps of paper were scattered here and there. Then we get into the bedrooms, where it was every bit as bad, except figure in that laundry, and random things like a new booster seat, were stashed in those rooms at the last minute before the family arrived to celebrate.

Just a few weeks ago I went on a cleaning spree. If you follow my Dear Weary Mom series you might remember the box of burdens post. I filled a huge box up and took it to Goodwill and Community Action. Despite that massive decluttering, my house needed another overhaul to accommodate Christmas.

When I really thought about it, my house needs another round of decluttering, a deep clean and a massive organizational effort. My family of 4 with 2 dogs resides in a very small house, only about 890 square feet. We have outgrown this house to say the least, but we are trying to stay here for at least 6 months. To last another 6 months in such a small space with a growing family is going to be difficult if I don't find ways to make the space we do have work for us.

With this in mind I have been collecting ideas, sketching plans and making lists of projects that I want to tackle to whip my home into shape.

Each post in the series A Clean Home will feature an inexpensive way you can clean or organize something in your home. The first Challenge I gave to myself was to  select 50 Items from my home to donate to Goodwill. I gave myself 2 days to gather my 50 items.

Among the 50 items I had 6 towels, 2 top sheets, 3 blankets, 5 pairs of socks, 8 toys from my sons room, 2 sleepers of Harper's. 5 kitchen knives, a cheese grater, a reusable bag, a measuring cup, dog grooming products, an outgrown coat and pair of bibs, baby shoes, 3 handbags, 2 clutches, 2 hats, a book, a few magazines, 2 bottles of shampoo I didn't like, a scarf , Christmas lights and a few t shirts. I exceeded my goal of 50 items and filled 2 medium size boxes. I still plan to sort through stuffed animals and pull 5 out for a donation to Goodwill, and I suspect there are a few more towels that won't make the cut for keeping, both bath and hand towels.

Now that I have reduced the amount of clutter in my house it is time to start organizing. I hope you will keep coming back to read more about my challenges in this series. Next time, we will talk about a very messy drawer in my house and how I plan to get it under control.

7 Ways To Entertain a 3 Year Old

Photo Credit: the photos belong to their respective owners. Visit the links to see the original sources.

It is winter and my 3 year old son has cabin fever already. I have been searching pinterest for activities to keep him happily learning and playing all day long. These are some of the cutest ideas I found.

This pretend plate of food for Thanksgiving activity would be a good way to build my son up to eating Thanksgiving dinner. He is pretty sure he doesn't like anything but chicken and crackers.

My son might be down with this pretend ice cream cone craft. 

Hand print flowers would be fun to make and cute to display.

My son would like this make a lion craft. This is a must try soon idea!

My son loves playing matching games so this Popsicle  game would be a lot of fun for both of us.

My son loves to check out tanks of fish so he would like creating a fish of his own I am sure.

My son really loves the idea of Christmas and he loves cereal. Win, Win.

Saturday #182

On Saturday #182 (#3) my family slept in a little later than normal. What a treat it was for me to wake up at a few minutes til 8!

We took the morning at a slow pace. I wasn't frantic to get a lot of things accomplished. I watched cartoons with my son and I cuddled my daughter. Since Harper was born I have really slowed down and started taking the time to enjoy life more. I notice how much my son has grown, how fast time passes and how insignificant so many things really are. There will always be laundry to fold, dishes to wash and things to pick up. My kids won't always be small... that makes it easier to go with the flow of things.

My parents finally came to see Harper. She was a sweetheart as always. She is beautiful, cuddly and totally addictive. She stole their hearts as expected. They accompanied us to the West side shopping plaza for Trick or Treat with Roo who was fun. The first stop he made was priceless. As the lady put a handful of candy into his pail he broke out in a huge smile and told her "Candy? Happy!" We both had a good laugh over that.

We then stopped for lunch and went back to our house to visit with the family. Roo was great, he was fun, he was lively, he was singing, dancing, completely showing off. I loved to see him come out of his shell and not act shy around the grandparents.

When they left we decided to take our recycling to drop off, and it wouldn't be a weekend without a dash into WalMart. I had to stock up on newborn size diapers and wipes for the week. I had been prepared for a big baby, I have size 1, 2, 3 and 4 diapers in reserve for Harper, but wouldn't you know newborn is a size I opted not to get and we are going thru a ton of those!

So I grabbed the diapering needs and headed home for a relaxing evening with my husband. He convinced me to watch a Kenny Rodgers movie with him. I fell asleep within 30 minutes but that was okay, when I woke up I saw Adam was asleep on the couch too. Quality time together in dreamland.

The day was great. It covered the basics; sleep, candy, family, shopping, happy kids. I hope you had a chance to enjoy quality time with your loved ones over the weekend. It amazes me how fast these Saturdays pass by.

Saturday #179

Saturday #179 was our last weekend as a family of 3. Despite the way the previous weekend went I was determined that this would be a great weekend for making good memories with my son.

We planned to get up early and head out to the Col. Crawford festival as is a family tradition. My husband woke Roo and I up as we were somehow still asleep at 7 a.m. Roo was resistant to waking up, but I asked him for a kiss, he complied. I asked him if he wanted to go bye bye and he nearly jumped out of bed, ready to go.

We somehow had breakfast and got ready in record time. We made it to the festival in time to get our yearly purchase of squirrel corn and we browsed the booths. We made purchases of gorgeous Indian Corn, pumpkins, rubber duckies, a wooden train for Roo, handmade candles and jewelry for my Mother in law.

It was a nice morning!

We stopped home for lunch, we got out our Halloween decorations and then hit the road again to take Roo to a kids activity with a corn bin for playing in, slides and a hay maze. He had loads of fun and got nothing short of filthy.  He mastered the maze within minutes and had a fantastic time.

We wrapped up the day running a few errands. We came home to have Roos favorite dinner, pizza and cheesy bread. After dinner I realized I needed to clean up the house. Roo and I went into the master  bedroom to straighten up and ended up looking at books together before he had his bath and went to bed.

I couldn't have asked for a better day with my son. We had a lot of fun, we made the most of our time and we made memories. On Saturday #180 our family will have grown, there will be 4 of us, things will have changed, but it will be a good change! I am excited to see how Roo reacts to having a little sister.

I hope you had a chance to enjoy your family over the weekend.

Welcome Baby!

My daughter Harper was born on Friday morning, shortly after 8 am. We arrived at the hospital at 5:30, I was a nervous wreck. I cried after I said goodbye to my son. It was so hard to drop him off with the sitter because he cried "Mommy!" and ran to me instead of going into the house. I got into the car and sobbed. I cried all the way to the hospital. I had cried most of the night before, and sure enough I cried once I got to my room. I was scared and anxious about the c section,  sad about being away from Roo. I was excited to meet Harper. I was a bundle of emotions.

It all started to happen fast. My doctor came in about an hour after they got me settled in and before I knew it they started prepping me. I tried to not let my anxiety levels get to me. I tried to just be me, to talk to the staff, to smile, to get thru the procedure. I took the spinal block like a pro.

Then it became apparent it didn't fully take with me. I could move my legs and I could feel. I could feel the c section, I could feel my legs, my feet, my womb being cut open.  I screamed and cried and they put me to sleep. I had some crazy dreams and woke up worried about my daughter. Before I was able to speak or understand, literally as soon as my eyes opened I was asking if she was okay. I had no idea what anyone was saying or where I was, but I kept asking. Finally they wheeled me around and I saw my husband with Harper, I had double vision and was not really coherent, but I managed to sit up and give him the ok sign. He gave it back and held her up so I could see her.

When I was able to speak and understand responses I continued to ask anyone and everyone that came my way about Harper, they all assured me she was doing great. She was healthy, she was gorgeous. They couldn't believe that I was able to move, speak and ask about getting out of bed literally moments after having a c section.

My husband brought Harper into the room as soon as he could. I got to hold her and see just how pretty she was.

I am a very lucky lady to have 2 cute kids! Harper is a great addition to our family.

After asking for 8 hours about getting up they allowed me to take a walk. I have been walking ever since!
I was told I would be here until around noon on Monday but today is Sunday, it is 8:10 in the 
morning and Harper and I will be going home today. The doctor is going to remove my dressing and pain medicine ball and then they should begin discharging us. I can't wait to go home and take my daughter with me.

I miss my house, my pets, my husband and most of all my son. It has been hard to be away from him!

Harper is a great baby. She sleeps well, eats well, snuggles like a pro and is nothing short of amazing. I can't wait to get her home to join our family.

Thank you to everyone that sent emails of well wishing, prayers and hope. It means so much to me!