Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Cleaning Tips and Checklist

We've made it all through the house for spring cleaning, YAY! It's a lot of work but it feels really great to have it done.

Need some tips to help you start or to keep you going? I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

- Declutter as you go. Clutter is most of the mess in the first place. Through out the year, notice what is cluttering your space and fix it. Go through what ever the mess is, throw out the garbage, and put everything else back in its right spot.

- Start with your most dreaded project first. Turn on some music, hand the kids a duster or a squirt bottle (of water) and a rag and let them help out. Then the rest won't seem so bad.

- Eliminate odors in the kitchen by cutting a lemon or lime in half and running it through the garbage disposal. It freshens up the smell of your kitchen every time you turn it on, until the lemon is gone.

- Use a seam ripper to cut and remove the hair, thread and other stuff tangled around the beater bar of your vacuum.

- Once you start cleaning, don't stop. If you're in the cleaning groove, keep it up. It's much harder to start again when you do start again.

- Have your kids help. It's better for them to learn the cleaning stuff sooner rather than later. If you get them into the habit of cleaning their things up, your house will stay cleaner so much easier. I have Jay help make her bed, put her clothes away, dust, and sometimes she helps wipe down surfaces in the bathroom with a lysol wipe.

Are you ready to start? Here is a checklist for you to print out and keep track of all of the things you need to spring clean.

What are your favorite quick cleaning tips?

Friday, March 27, 2015


It's time to link up with Jenna again for her Coffee date link up. So here are a few things we have been up to lately.

Lately J has liked watching Big Hero Six. It's a funny show, but it makes it so much funnier when she quotes it and starts laughing uncontrollably about it.

Lately my girls have had Croup. If you haven't had to deal with that, you are so lucky. Croup is the worst. The poor girls cough so hard that they throw up. It goes on for days. And we get cooped up inside and it starts to drive us all crazy. Luckily, they are starting to get better. Just a lingering cough.

Lately I've been really bad at a few things. Like keeping up with blog scheduling and keeping my house clean after my big spring cleaning I just did. I also haven't read a book in about a month (what?!).

Lately we have been doing a lot of trip planning. Because Trevon graduates this spring, we are going on a cruise to the Bahamas. We are so excited but there has been a lot of stuff to figure out since we decided. We need to get passports, we need to find flights, we need to still plan what excursions we want to go on. Has any one been? What ones are the best, if you have?

Lately I've been running like crazy. We are down to less than a month before my first race of the season. I'm hoping to be able to run several others. I'm making good progress and now I'm just working mostly on speed so I can feel good about how I do.

Lately I have been loving the warm weather. Walks in the afternoons, picnic lunches, playing outside, running outside. Everything outside! I love it. the warmer it gets, the happier I am.

Lately I'm working on, and loving our family pictures. It's a lot of work to get them to look great, especially you're the photographer and the model. But these ones turned out really great, I think.

You can see the rest on my photography blog here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

3 Things I Learned From Cinderella

Over the last weekend, my sister in law invited my sister and I to go to Cinderella with her, so of course I went. It was a much needed break! When I heard this movie was coming out, I thought it would be a fun one to see but figured it would be later on when I could rent it or borrow it and watch it at home. I am so glad I didn't wait. This was by far my favorite version of Cinderella. It stuck to the original Disney story, but it taught so much that the original didn't.

Have courage. At a young age, Ella looses her mother, her dad remarries and shortly after dies. She's left alone to face her horrible step mother and step sisters. People who treat her like dirt. After living like that for a while, an old friend asks her why she sticks around. Why would you stay? She says because her parents loved the house, that there had been so many good memories and she was going to stay and love the house for them now. She wasn't going to let rude people drive her away from her beautiful memories with her parents.
She wont let the evils in her life change her into someone else. She remains kind and brave. She sticks to things that her parents had taught her before. She has courage to be kind to those who are not kind to her. And she won't abandon her beliefs.

"Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic." Being good to people, even though they might treat you badly. You can change a lot of things with kindness. And even if you can't change people, kindness is admired and noticed. Good always wins in the end. And Ella, or Cinderella, definitely wins through her kindness in the end. Even though she wasn't born a princess, she has next to nothing and she is treated as a servant, she is kind and the prince notices how lovely she is through that.

"Have faith in your dreams", this is a line in the main song A Dream Is A Wish. No matter what kind of set backs we may have, if we have faith, our dreams will come true.
God wants what is best for us. And sometimes we think we know what's best at the time, but God knows better. If we do what God would have us do. If we treat people the way He would, if we believe He will guide us and if we follow Him, He will lead us to our dreams.

If you haven't gone to see it yet, GO! It was cute, and funny, and touching. The actors did amazing in it. Helen Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother was perfect! Every one in it was perfect. I'm thinking about taking Jay when it goes to the dollar theater. I just don't know how well she will sit through it.

Is there a movie that has taught you a lot? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Cleaning: Kitchen and Pantry

 The room that takes the longest for me to clean is the Kitchen. Mostly because there are so many different appliances and spaces to clean. It's also one of my least favorite places to clean. I'm in there all the time, and while I hate having it messy, I feel like I'm constantly cleaning it. Dishes in the sink, things all over the counters, never ends.

For spring cleaning, I try to get at least most of the mess deep cleaned. I leave the floors and the sink for last because that's where all the crumbs end up while I'm cleaning the rest of the kitchen.  
This time I started with the pantry. I'm a little embarrassed to show how bad things can get in there. To start, I pull out all the food. I go through it and throw away expired, or half eaten food that no one has touched for a while. Then I wipe down all the shelves before I start reorganizing. I'm loving using baskets to organize the food a little more. Last I vacuum. This carpet was pretty gross when we moved in, I'm hoping that I can get the stains out when I carpet clean. 

So much better! I know where everything is, I can see almost everything as soon as I glance around. My kids can no longer go in and pull all the snacks down because I moved them up a couple of shelves. The things on each shelf make sense together. And you can see the floor!

Now on to the kitchen. The biggest problems with our kitchen is just getting everything to fit in a place where it makes sense, and to have it be organized in it's own space. I think this is a big problem for most everyone. So, to start I look around and see what needs a new home, or to go back to it's own home or thrown away. 
Then I start organizing certain cupboards that I know cause a problem. This cupboard is almost always disorganized. 
Before                                                                                           After

In a perfect world, I'd have some way to keep things organized really easily in here. But for now, this has to do. I take everything out, I wipe down the shelves, and then I put it back in a way that makes sense. Why would I put the lids on the top shelf if the pots are on the bottom? To the bottom shelf they go. That alone cleans things up quite a bit. Then stacking the muffin tins and cookie sheets on the side make it easy to slide one out and also helps make room for the toaster. And it still looks nice.

On to the rag drawer. Since this one is on the bottom, The girls love to pull the towels and rags out and use them as doll blankets. Not that I really love them doing this, but pick your battles, right? So this drawer ends up a mess mostly because they get thrown around. 
Before                                                                                          After

I'm hoping that if I stack them in separate piles the girls will catch on and put them back where they should be. Fat chance, but at least it's organized for now. This drawer is just a hard one to deal with either way. 

Next the cooking utensil drawer. This is a lot like the rag drawer. The girls like to get my spoons out and use them as drum sticks and what not. Again, pick your battles. So I take everything out, wipe down the drawer and then put them back in an organized manner. I put the things that aren't supposed to be there, in the right spot. 


The fridge. I hate cleaning out the fridge. It seems to take so much more energy and time than the rest. And most of the time I just want to throw it all away and start over. But that's a huge waste of food, and money. So cleaning happens. Again, I just pull it all out, wipe it all down, throw out the bad, and put back the new. In this case, I had just gone shopping so the fridge was chucked full. 

Before                                                                                                                 After

Then it's for the regular cleaning. Wiping down the counters, cleaning the sink, sweeping and mopping the floor, taking the garbage out etc. 


 And there it is. A clean kitchen, even if it only lasts for a day or two. At least I know that it's possible.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Insta Natural Product Review

Before my kids were born, I hoped and dreamed that I was one of those ladies who didn't get stretch marks. After having 2 kids, I found out quickly that I'm not one of those lucky girls. I got some major stretch marks with both of my kids.

Stretch marks are one thing that really got to me after having kids. I never have a problem losing baby weight, and I'm very thankful for that, but I just never felt confident with my body with the stretch marks all over. So when I got the chance to try this Insta Natural scar gel from Brand Backer, I was really excited to try it on my stretch marks.

I was honestly pretty skeptical because at this point I really just don't see stretch marks going away magically with special rub. I think it really helped a little. Somedays I don't feel like it did. But, looking at the pictures, it looks a little better... at least they look a little lighter in color. 

The gel smells a little weird. It reminds me of the smell of prunes but you don't smell like that all day. Just until it dries. 
Before                                                                                                                                After

With the scar gel, they also sent me some Youth Express Eye Gel and Vitamin C Serum. First the Eye Gel, it helps with dark circles, wrinkles, puffiness and sagging. I wanted to like this. I have dark circles and some new, very fine, wrinkles. To be honest, I haven't noticed a difference in either. I'm going to keep using it for a little while to see if time makes a difference though. 

The Vitamin C Serum helps fight against signs of aging. And because it's supposed to fight against aging, It doesn't seem to take care of dark spots or fine wrinkles that I already have. (I'm making my self sound really old, I'm not, I'll be 27 this year, but I do have one or two of those things already). That being said, It did help rejuvenate my skin. It gave it a little more glow and made it look a little healthier.  

It also smells like orange juice and it lasts quite a while. You only have to use a few drops to cover your face. You really need to use lotion with it though. It makes your skin feel dry with out that. Again, I'll probably continue using this, maybe not as often as twice a day but if it fights against aging then, hey, why not?
Before                                                                                                           After

Do you have a favorite product in your beauty routine? 

I received these items from Brand Backer, all opinions are my own. 

You might also like: Insta Natural Essential Oils

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Favorite Baby Items and a Giveaway

I've been asked several times, as a mom, what some my favorite products I use are. So today I'm going to share them with you and have a little giveaway package with a few of the products in it.

First, These little sucky bulbs. Yup, the ones from the hospital. My first had acid reflux and we used this all day long to help her get all of the spit up out of her mouth. It's a great idea to have a few of these on hand. And these ones are the best, and cheap on amazon.

Next, A really good swaddling blanket. I got some really great cotton gauze blankets for my second baby and they were so great. They are stretchier than the regular cotton blankets and a little bigger. So if your baby likes to be swaddled, these are great to use because, even as they grow, you can get them swaddled nice and tight.  I'm giving two that I have made away in the giveaway package. If you want to make your own, You can get cotton gauze material at some fabric stores and online. I got mine at the Fabric Mill, if you're in Utah, they are my favorite. They have a huge variety for blankets!

*Girlie Glue, I've loved Girlie Glue since it first came out. If you're looking for something to hold bows in your baby girl's hair, this does the trick better than anything I've ever tried. This stuff can hold the bow in for 3 days! It's all natural, honey free, and super easy to use. You just put a dab of the glue on the bow, press it on, and then you can take it out with water when you're ready. No more fussing with headbands that won't stay on, or having the bow fall off in the middle of family pictures.
 The other thing I love about girlie glue is you can use it for so many other things too. I've seen people use it as gel in their boy's hair. I've used a little bit, watered down, in my hair as a gel. I've also used this for Halloween costumes. Really this stuff is the greatest. I'm giving away a tube of it and some cute bows too!

For Christmas, my second got a Homedics Soundspa giraffe. We really love this. Especially when she moved into a room with her big sister. It has music or soothing sounds to help them sleep better, as well as a night light. You can velcro it to the crib so it doesn't become a safety hazard and it's super cute.

And this Exergen thermometer. This is the best because you don't have to hold it in your baby's armpit while you wait for it to read the temperature. You just glide it across the baby's forehead. If the baby is asleep, this won't even wake them up. It's quick, easy and accurate. Buy one!

Lastly, when your baby starts to eat, you definitely need some good bibs. You want to keep those cute clothes clean! These bibs from Mommy Bee Crafty are great because they cover the whole shirt. If your baby spills, you're not going to have stains. They also tie in the back instead of velcro, that way they are sure to stay on even when they are getting tugged on by little hands. When you're done with them, you throw them in the wash just like a piece of clothing or a hand towel.  You'll also be getting one of these in the giveaway package.

Here's what's in the give away package:
One Mommy Bee Crafty bib, 2 Cotton Gauze swaddle blankets, and
1 tube of Girlie glue with felt bows. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What things are on your baby must have list?

*Girlie Glue is not affiliated with this giveaway.

You might also like: Socking Stuffers, Girlie Glue Review

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Cleaning: Living Room

The living room seems to be the messiest place in my house. We play in there, watch movies in there, and yes, we allow some snacks in there. So this room is one that I am always cleaning up. Especially after winter, we have coats everywhere and hats and scarves and shoes. We have been playing inside instead of outside, so we have toys and books a movies all over. It's time to reorganize and get things under control.

First, the coat closet. Going through the coats, and putting the ones that are too small either in a donation bag or in storage, and putting the snow clothes back in the attic are both things that I really, really enjoy. Not only is spring the beginning of warmer weather, but it's also the end of extra clutter.
Before                                                                                                                      After

We got this little set of drawers to keep some of the toys in. The puzzles, some books, the chalk crayons for the white board, paper dolls, all those kinds of toys get organized in there. When the kids want a toy out of there, they know where to go and they know what to do when they are done with it.

The bigger toys don't really have anywhere else to go but in our corner. I don't really love that they go there, but at this point, we just don't have another place for them so thats where they go. For all other toys, we have a bench in our kitchen that also doubles as a toy box. And I love it!

Then we organize our movies and put them all back in the right spot.

We keep our family picture books in this darling red cabinet that I got for Christmas a few years ago. That gets reorganized.

Next we dust everything, and then it's vacuuming. We vacuum the rug and the wood floor. Our vacuum has an awesome attachment for vacuuming the wood floor. It makes it so much quicker than sweeping, and it gets everything, not just the big pieces. We also vacuum the couches.

Then we mop the floor

And then clear off the hutch. This tends to be our dumping grounds for mail and random papers. So it can get pretty cluttered sometimes.
before                                                                                                                    after

And last, we clean the couch cushions. The reason I love microfiber is because it's fairly easy to clean. I just take the cushions off, lay them out in my kitchen, and then spray them with resolve. Then with the rough side of a sponge, I scrub them down and let them dry.

And then the living room is finally clean!
Before                                                                                                                After 

What is your messiest room in your house?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Insta Natural Essential Oils

I got the chance to try some essential oils from Insta Natural for the last couple of weeks. I'm not big into essential oils. I never have been. I believe they help with certain things like aroma therapy, but I'm skeptic about using them as a type of medication or for healing. So when I got these I was excited to see how I could use them in my home.

I got lemon and peppermint, and I was supposed to get a lavender as well but it was on back order. So for the time being, I went to work with these two. Right from the start, I was surprised with how strong the scent was. It wasn't in a bad way though. I kept these stored up in my bathroom closet, but I could still smell them through out the house. It made my house smell so fresh and clean from the first day, and I hadn't even done anything with them yet. I loved that.

The lemon was easier for me to use. I loved the scent, It was so bright and clean smelling. I used this mostly for freshening purposes. For example, I put a few drops of Lemon onto a cotton ball and put it behind the toilet. It keeps the bathroom smelling fresh instead of getting the "boy bathroom" smell. I also put a couple of cotton balls with both lemon and peppermint on them, in my daughters closet. It helped take away the musty, dirty clothes smell. So I really loved that about the lemon.

The peppermint was harder for me to use. I wasn't sure what to do with it. But I ended up using it to help freshen my breath through out the day. I just put a few drops in a little bit of water and gargled it. It wasn't a very long lasting thing, but it helped for a while. And I'm sure if I had put more drops in, it would have lasted longer than it did.  I also did an aroma therapy bath. I put a 5 drops of lemon and 8 drops of peppermint into a warm bath. I honestly didn't feel it doing anything to my body except that it made my skin super silky smooth. And we all love that!

This was my first time trying essential oils, have you tried them before? What do you like to do with them most?

This post is powered by Brand Backer, all opinions are my own.