Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - 03/21/2014

Good morning my friends, hope your Monday is off to a good start :)

Spring break is over, so today it's back to schooling 4 kiddos, and making sure they're on track and caught up and such.  I finished my spring cleaning, even though I didn't share the living room and bedroom pictures, honestly I got right into it and forgot to take pictures.  Oh well.  But yes, it's all done and now I can just go back to normal daily clean ups here and there.

Anyway, on to our Happy Homemaker Monday :)

As I look outside my window:::
Beautiful morning.  The sun is rising but because it is cloudy, it's creating this gorgeous pink/orangle glow.

Sunrise 03/31/2014

Right now I am:::
At the kitchen table enjoying my coffee, typing up this post, and chatting with my husband as he gets ready for work.  Also have my email open, checking on my blogs and facebook etc. 

Thinking and pondering:::
About so many things and nothing in particular, if that makes sense?  I am actually thinking I should change this category to something else.  Any ideas? 

On my bedside table:::
My Bible
My Kindle

On my tv tonight:::
Still have to catch up on The Musketeers. 
Still have The Trip to Bountiful to watch.
Star Crossed
The Little Couple
The 100
Here comes Honey Boo Boo
Hangar 1:  The UFO Files
Ancient Aliens

Ghost Adventures
The Universe

Long Island Medium

Listening to:::
The radio

On the menu for this week:::

Monday - Southern Barbecue Chicken, Caesar Salad
Tuesday - Individual Meatloaves, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday - Beef sauted with green peppers & mushrooms, butter rice
Thursday - Pizza Burgers, Fries
Friday - Chicken Fried Steak, Garlic mashed potatoes
Saturday - Slow Cooked Beef Stew
Sunday -  Roast Chicken and Potatoes

On my to do list:::
Move boxes to the garage
Call to make eye appointments

Happening this week:::
Monday - Laundry (washing, drying), stripping the beds
Tuesday - Laundry (ironing, putting away), bathrooms
Wednesday - Vacuum, mop floors, Sewing day
Thursday -  Living room clean up
Friday - Dusting, baking
Saturday - Laundry yet again

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I can't believe I still haven't shown you the finished blanket...ugh.  I will try and get that done today.  I'm working on my other blanket right now but it's giving me a headache.  I always keep my crochet hooks WITH my projects, but for some reason mine got misplaced and now I have no idea what size I was using because every size I've thought was right, is wrong and the squares are coming out smaller.  *sigh* 
My simple pleasure:::
Reading old homemaking books

Homemaking tips:::
Stay on top of cleaning.  You don't have to go all out or make a spring cleaning list for every day cleaning, but if you pick up as you go, you will find that your house is always presentable.

Looking around the house:::
Nicholas is playing on the Xbox Kinnect thingamabob.  The pugs are asleep on the couch and Jasmine is still in bed.  What is it with teenagers and the amount of sleep they require?  Geez!!!!
I don't have much in the way of picking up, thanks to my spring cleaning last week.  YAY!! 
From the camera:::

Crocheting the day away

Prayer List:::
Jacinda....Sherry Gore's daughter who is very sick at the moment.
A vlogger I follow who had a car accident last week and is recovering at the moment.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. (1 John 4.14 NRSV)

PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Steadily it comes down.....

Rainy Day

The pitter patter is a constant for the past few days.  The dark skies seem to cover our small town as if to shelter it, while the clouds above pour down upon us.


I love rain, I don't think I will ever stop loving rain.  The sound, the smell, the sight, everything about it is beautiful, and so I've been loving the past few days.  The darkness that the sky and the rain bring may make some feel gloomy, but not for me, it makes me feel warm and cozy.

Rainy day

I think it's best enjoyed with hot cups of tea, good reading or crocheting and some quiet time.  Unless of course you have to run out for errands, then it's not as wonderful is it?  *snicker*

Crocheting the day away

This past week has flown by for me, maybe because I've been so focused on my spring cleaning and haven't had much time for anything else.  But I miss my quiet daily puttering around the house days, you know the ones where I bore you with random pictures of what I'm doing around here.

You're all very sweet to constantly tell me that you really enjoy my daily photo heavy days, but I sometimes wonder if you're not just being kind.  After all, being a homemaker is filled with monotonous chores that don't change from day to day.

I do try to change things up and find new ways to enjoy my days.  I especially love adding little touches here and there, always in an attempt to make my house feel even more cozy.

Let me show you something I just did, and I'm sure many of you already have a little corner in your kitchen for your tea and coffee, but I never got around to creating one just until a few days ago, and now I honestly don't know how I ever lived without one.

Tea and coffee station

I'm using one of my cake stands and some cute pieces I had laying around the kitchen.  In the back I have my red phone box tea canister, next to it my Comfort and Joy Holiday Spice tea that my sweet friend Renate sent me.  It's delicious and it's become one of Jasmine's favorites too.

Tea and coffee station

I also have a little jug with spoons, some sweet n low and more English Breakfast tea, some caramel latte satchets and in the covered little bowl is some coffee.

I love that it sits right next to my coffee machine and kettle so when I want a quick hot drink, I don't need to go looking for anything, it's all at my fingertips.


When I'm not busy inside the house, I'm often at my window or out on my deck watching the birds fly by.  This little one has been visiting me every day.  He watches me, I watch him, he chirps, I say nothing and then he flies away only to return a few minutes later and do it all over again.

Two of my loves

And when I'm not watching that little one, I'm watching these two.  They love each other to death, and I am quite in love with them both.  Sweet faces.

So as you can see, my life is not exactly very exciting.  I'm not saying it's boring either, as I do find ways to keep entertained, plus there's never a dull moment around here, not when I'm surrounded by the loves of my life.

Oh I have to show you what my husband found me the other day.  This man sure knows the way to my heart.

Kitchen shelf

Isn't it just perfect???? I have been looking for something like this for my kitchen, for quite a while. Now I have to decided whether to put it up right away or wait until we move in 2 months. I just don't know if I can wait that long. Decisions, decisions.

Kitchen shelf

I can just imagine my aprons hanging from those pegs, and my beautiful colorful dishes inside.

And inside, look what he found too? Oh my.

Wooden Knitting Needles

So, I'm thinking that I will do a little giveaway next week for these cute wooden knitting needles. Is that something you all would be interested in?

Let me know in the comments.

Now I'm off to watch tonight's season finale of When Calls the Heart.  I can't believe it's already ending, how sad. 

Have a beautiful Saturday night my friends :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Cleaning 2014 - Bathrooms and Office

Spring cleaning

Day 3 of my Spring Cleaning and it's coming along very well.  I apologize for not putting up the post yesterday, but I had the best of intentions to do my Bathrooms and Office cleaning yesterday, unfortunately some unexpected errands and appointments came up.

I was in and out of the house most of the day so had to put off the cleaning until today.

No worries though, I'm still going strong, and all that is really left to do are the bedrooms and the living room.

Let's get started, here is what was on my to do list:

  1. Clean windows and window sills.
  2. Shine mirror
  3. Wash walls, doors, trim and switch plates if
  4. needed. And door knobs too!
  5. Wash exterior of cabinets and vanities
  6. Clean sink, tub or shower, and toilet. Shine
  7. faucets.
  8. Dust floor registers and other vent covers.
  9. Sweep and wash floors.

Spring Cleaning

I guess it's not that bad, but definitely needed some spring cleaning.  I got right to work and it didn't take me much time to whip it into shape.

The laundry was thrown in the washer, the towels were all taken down and replaced with fresh clean ones.  (I change my towels out every 2 days, I just can't stand to see them in there for too long).

I did the usual cleaning that I do in the bathroom, toilet scrubbing, vanity wiped down, mirrors  shined.

The bath tub got a good cleaning too, my favorite thing to use in there are the magic erasers, they do wonders for soap scum.

I also washed down the walls and all the base boards, and swept and mopped the floor.

Spring Cleaning

Better :)

Spring Cleaning

Right???  :)

Next I did the downstairs bathroom and completely forgot to take photos.  But I did the same in that one, it's not really used much at all, so it wasn't very hard to give it a quick clean.

Spring Cleaning

Next, I moved on to the Office. Now I didn't need to do much in there because we just got it set up this weekend and had already been organizing and moving things around.

Spring Cleaning

But still, it needed some finishing up, some tidying up, and some things moved around.

Spring Cleaning

My husband's desk wasn't completely clean, there were still some books and things that needed to be put away.

I got everything in it's place, fixed my crochet pillows on my chair and dusted everything.

Spring Cleaning

Doesn't that look nice and clean?

There really isn't anything better than a clean and organized room, is there?

I do think that the reason it doesn't take so long is because I keep up with the cleaning and really do my best to stay on top of things. Every room gets some sort of cleaning on a daily basis, for example in the bathroom, I keep Lysol disinfectant wipes and every morning and night, after I brush my teeth, I give the sink a wipe. I also squeeze some of the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner into the bowl every night, and then in the morning I give it a quick scrub with the brush.

It's just some quick things I do but they help.

Tomorrow I am not sure if I'm doing the living room or the bedrooms, I'll have to decide in the morning. But there you go, 3 rooms done in one day is not bad :)

Hope you're all getting along well with your own Spring Cleaning, or if you haven't yet started, I hope these posts inspire or motivate you to get going.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Cleaning 2014 - Kitchen and Dining Area

Spring cleaning

Alrighty, time to get on with the Spring Cleaning and today I'm going to tackle the kitchen and hopefully the dining area. The dining area shouldn't take too long at all, but I know my kitchen needs a good cleaning, and I'm actually going to pack things away too as I go because we ARE moving in just two or 3 months.

So, yeah, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and come along with me as I give this area a good wipe down top to bottom.

Spring Cleaning Kitchen

- Pull down curtains and wash
- Open windows
- Dust and wipe down light fixtures
- Clean windows and window sills
- Wipe down walls, doors, knobs, switch plates.
- Remove dishes/items from cabinets and drawers, clean the inside, get rid of any unwanted items, pack others for the move. Organize and place items back.
- Wipe down cabinet doors, stove, fan area.
- Clean oven and stove top.
- Clean and organize fridge, throw out expired items, go through leftovers and get rid of any that are no longer good.
- Sweep and mop under fridge and stove.
- Clean behind refrigerator.
- Give a good cleaning to appliances, coffee machine, kettle, toaster, kitchen aid, bread maker and microwave. Run vinegar through coffee machine and kettle.
- Wash down counters.
- Wash all the dishes, put away, shine sink and faucet.
- Dust vents and blinds.
- Vacuum, sweep and mop floors.

Quite a long list just for the kitchen alone, so I got started pretty early around 9am.  It's quite a daunting task when you first approach it and I know that our immediate reaction is to come up with some excuse NOT to do it, but you will see that once you get in there and start cleaning, you'll feel much better and of course the end result will be well worth it.

So let me show you what I did.....above you can see a picture of my kitchen before I started.  It is such a small kitchen for the amount of stuff I have, and I hated that every single inch on the counters was taken by something, it made fixing dinner a pain in the behind.

But I was ready for the challenge.  See???

Ready to tackle the job

Forgot to snap a picture, but the very first thing I did was take down my curtains and throw them in the wash.  Then I took all my plants outside to the deck, gave them a good watering and let them enjoy the sunshine.

I then dusted and washed the window sill and the windows.

Cabinet before

After that was done, I moved on to my cabinets.  Folks, they were a MESS, just a big old mess of things shoved here and there with no rhyme nor reason.  Ridiculous.

I put some dishes aside to donate, I don't know why I had a gazillion dinner plates when there's only 4 of us and at most 8 at a time.  I left out the ones we use the most, and then I actually packed away any dishes that were not being used right now, those will be in the boxes already for the move.

Packing as I go

I was hoping I wouldn't have to see these boxes and tape for a long long time, or actually ever again, but here we are. Oh well.

Once I removed all the dishes from the cabinet, I wiped it down and then washed the inside really well. Then I replaced everything and organized it according to use.

Organized cabinet

100 times better than it was. Now that makes me happy!

I moved from cabinet to cabinet sorting, cleaning, wiping, packing, donating etc. I can't believe just how neglected my cabinets were and what a mess.


This is what this one looked like halfway through the sorting, as you can see the very top shelf was completely cleared. It used to house glassware that is never really used, so it was packed away.

Organized cabinet

I packed most of my mugs away and left only the ones that are used the most, as well as drinking glasses. I can't believe how mismatched everything is, I am in serious need of some matching glasses, so I think that will be the first purchase I make once we're moved in and settled elsewhere.

But for now, this looks pretty good and I'm happy with the results. The top shelf now holds my rice cooker, some measuring cups, and my recipe collections.

The middle shelf holds all my mason jars with spices, food, flours, sugars etc.

And the bottom shelf has the drinking glasses and the mugs, which is easier for the kids to reach. Who am I kidding? It's easier for ME to reach too since I'm so short.

Big mess

Ever start something and then want to run for the hills?  I can tell you that right around this point, that is exactly what was going through my mind.  I wanted to just leave it all and go sit down with a glass of wine.  But, I persevered and got it all taken care of.


I just realized I hadn't taken a picture of the cabinet after, so I snapped one real quick. You'll have to excuse the lighting as it's getting dark now.

Shining the sinks

Next on the list was cleaning the sinks.  I always use Comet with Bleach, love it.  A bit of elbow grease, some hot water, scrub here and there and I had nice clean sinks.


After the sinks came one of my least favorite tasks, the stove and oven.  UGH!!!  But it has to be done, so I got it all nice and clean.

Lastly, I vacuumed the floors, then swept to make sure I had picked everything up, and finished it off with a good wash.  There, all done.


What do you think?  Much better right?

I can't believe how much bigger my kitchen feels with all the stuff put away and the counter space back again.


I really think that I'm going to enjoy cooking and being in this kitchen more, now that it's all spring cleaned and organized.  Sometimes that is all it takes, just some time to get in there and go through everything and keep only what we need.

I tend to collect so many kitchen gadgets and even have duplicates of some, I don't know why, but it definitely needs organizing and sorting once in a while.


I still don't have much counter space on that side of the kitchen, but that is because it IS a small area with not much room and I don't have anywhere else to put my microwave, kitchen aid and bread maker.

But, I'm super thrilled with the results, and that is what matters.

Dining Area
Next on the list was the dining area.  I don't even know...there is so much I don't like about it, mainly the fact that I have wanted to paint this table white, or at least the top white, for a very long time.  It's just not working for me, the benches, the chairs....just not happy, but I gotta work with what I have and right now the budget does not allow for a purchase of a dining table and chairs.

We'll make it work :)

I took everything off the table and gave it a very good washing, then put on my Cath Kidston Table Cloth.  Also got rid of the sweater and my hubby's shirt.

Next I took on the small baker's rack which hadn't been organized since we moved in.  It actually became a sort of catch all, everyone would just put all sorts of stuff on the shelves and walk away.

Baker's Rack

I took everything off, wipe off the dust and then washed it down with some hot soapy water.  I dusted all the cookbooks before packing them back into the shelves, then I moved my red canisters down one shelf and used the top one for some of my plants that used to sit on my kitchen window sill.

They still get plenty of sunshine here but don't crowd my kitchen window.

Dining Area
Much better too.  Again, like I said above, there is plenty I would love to change about this area, and I think I may just do that in the coming weeks, starting with a fresh coat of white paint on that table.

I finished everything at 2:30pm, so it took me a good portion of the day to get these two rooms done, but I'm so happy with the results.

And I managed to pack 3 boxes, not completely, still have some room at the top, but will fill those up tomorrow and then move them to the garage to a corner I have specified for moving.

Moving Boxes

Finished the day with a nice cup of coffee and some computer time. 

Coffee Break

Going to relax tonight and tomorrow will be the Office and Bathrooms.  Oh boy!!!

How are you coming along in your Spring Cleaning?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning 2014 - Entryway

Spring cleaning

An Ode to Spring Cleaning

The Sun is out, it’s full and bright.
Oh but our homes! In broad daylight!

The dust swirls about, the windows tell a tale.
There’s work to done, our chore list won’t fail.

Get the family involved, sing a song or two.
Spring Cleaning time is here and there is much to do.

~K Quinn

Spring, it's that time again. Some may not look forward to the cleaning involved, but I actually get excited about it. I know that I'm going to give my house a good top to bottom cleaning, that my home is going to smell clean and fresh and that I'm also preparing it for the new season ahead.

Did you know that women used to spend up to two weeks in the Spring and Fall, cleaning their houses in anticipation of the new season?

I don't spend that much time, more like a week to get it all done, but the reason is that I clean on a daily basis and don't let things really get piled up so it does help when it's time for the big clean.

The rest of the week I'll be Spring Cleaning around here.  I am sure most of you have a way of doing things and don't need any help, but nonetheless, I'm still going to share my daily cleaning list and what I've done, as well as share some before and after photos.

The first thing I do is throw open the curtains, pull up those blinds and open the windows to let in the fresh air.

I already have a list of which room I'll be tackling each day, and as I do those, I'll post them here for you.  What I have listed as needing to be done, is according to my house and my needs, some of you will need to do different things, some will have to do more, others will have to do less, but these lists are what works for me so you can get a basic idea of what I'm doing.

Here's the schedule for the week:

Monday - Spring Cleaning *Entry Way*
Tuesday - Spring Cleaning *Kitchen and Dining Area*
Wednesday - Spring Cleaning *Bedrooms*
Thursday - Spring Cleaning *Office and Bathrooms*
Friday - Spring Cleaning *Living Room*
Saturday - Spring Cleaning *Laundry Room*

Initially, I had planned on doing the Entryway and the bathrooms today, but I have some paperwork that came up regarding our Tricare, and I need to get that taken care of.  I will just do the bathrooms on Thursday when I do the office which doesn't need much cleaning since we JUST got it set up this weekend.

Spring Cleaning Entryway
Spring Cleaning Entryway

Just look at how dirty that door is. Gross!!! Lots of little hands in and out, and well to be fair, adults too. We had a lot of traffic going in and out for a long time, and even though it's slowed down now, it still gets quite the work out, so that is first thing I did.

Spring Cleaning Entryway

 I use a magic eraser for the harder spots, but for everything else I just use a scrubbie sponge and my Orange Infused Vinegar. If you want to know how to make that, just check it out here. (I use my vinegar solution to clean EVERYTHING from doors to windows to window sills, walls etc).

Spring Cleaning Entryway

I gave the whole door a good cleaning, including the window on top, both inside and out. Also gave the walls a good wiping down and dusted all the picture frames hanging on the stairwell. Once the door was done, I moved onto the metal stair railings.  Gave it a good dusting then sprayed some of the vinegar on an old towel I use for cleaning, and wiped it down.

Spring Cleaning Entryway

The window sill gets really yucky, lots of dust and dirt. I dusted it all, then wiped it down with a disinfectant wipe to some of the harder spots off, and finally sprayed it down with the vinegar too. Washed the window on the inside and outside with the vinegar solution as well and DONE.

Spring Cleaning Entryway

That plastic bag has books to be donated, I have it at the door so I can grab it next time I head out, but it's an eye sore and it's bugging me, so it's gone.  The little watering can is not supposed to be there, I don't even know how it ended up at the door.

Cleaned everything up, got rid of the bag, the watering can, the door knocker and random piece of duct tape??  I don't even know how to explain that one.

Spring Cleaning Entryway

Much better.

I also moved my big candle holders down to the wall by the door.  The entryway looks better, smells nice and fresh and now I can move on to another room of the house.

Spring Cleaning Entryway

Tomorrow I'll be tackling the Kitchen and Dining Area.  Now I don't know if I'll get both done, it depends on just how much I have to get through, but if I don't get to the dining area then I'll just move it to another day.  The point is that it gets done, if I need to extend my cleaning until next week, then I'll do that.

So there you have it, I think my Spring Cleaning is off to a good start.

Are you Spring Cleaning too?  Do you have any products you absolutely love using?