Thursday, March 6, 2014

A few of mommy's favorite things...

Being the mom of two boys and two dogs only means one thing....I have quadruple the cleaning to do in less than 1/4 of the time I used to have before kids. So when we got our tax return back Wesley let me splurge on a few things to help make cleaning easier and faster and I just had to share how awesome they are with you! 

Cleaning the floors are usually on the top of my list of things to clean everyday. With the dogs (and Penn) constantly coming in and out of the dog door I always have little muddy paw/foot prints on my floor and the thought of dragging out a bucket of water and mop is just too much. There is never a good time to mop with little ones running around, there are always streaks and footprints left behind because I have to hurry. And not to mention keeping the boys off the wet floor is impossible. So I was finally able to get a steam mop! And I LOVE it! I got the Shark Professional Pro Steam Pocket mop and although I have only used it once I know it is going to become a tool I use everyday! There are 3 different settings depending on how dirty your floor is and it comes with 2 pads that have one side for dusting/light cleaning, and the other side is for scrubbing and deep cleaning. It also came with a carpet glider so you can steam rugs and carpets to sanitize them. It was so easy to use and did such a great job, plus the floor dried faster than my boys could walk across it to make little footprints. Definitely a must have if you have little kids or dogs. I am feeling much better about having a crawler again knowing the my floors will be clean and no chemicals have to be used.


 I was also in the market for a new vacuum since mine decided to die all of a sudden with no warning! I use my vacuum at least once every day for something and have to go over my whole house at least every couple days. Wesley and I had bought several vacuum cleaners and had terrible luck with them before we finally found our Eureka Pet Vac. It never got clogged, it cleaned our carpets great, got dog hair up really well, was okay on the hard surfaces, and was really easy to empty out and clean. So when it died I was a little upset, but we went and ahead and started looking at new vacuums and I decided on the newer version of our Eureka that died. It is called the Eureka Suction Seal Pet Vacuum. Let me just say this is the best vacuum I have ever had! Of course I have never owned a Rainbow or Dyson but for the money this vacuum is awesome! It still has the feature I liked about the last one (the pet power paw, brush, crevice device, and easy dump canister) plus much more. My favorite thing about this new vacuum is how it has the ability to turn off the brush for hard surface floors. The thing I hated most about the last vacuum was how it spit the dirt out the back of the vacuum when I went over hard surfaces, but now that you can turn the brush off it sucks up everything! Plus they added new suction seal technology and it really works. You never lose suction and it adjusts to each type of floor. Another thing I really like is the cord rewind. You just push a button and the cord rewinds by itself! Needless to say it is the little things in life!

The last toy I bought was not for cleaning but has quickly become one of my favorite things! And that is my new double stroller. We bought a double stroller before Croft was born and I absolutely hated it. I think we used it one time and I knew it just wasn't going to work. It was huge and bulky and hard to steer, not to mention the front chair for Penn was way too small. So with spring coming up I knew we needed to look into getting another stroller so we would have something that both boys could comfortably ride in and this is what we found. It is the Kolcraft Contours Optima Tandem Stroller. It is super easy to steer, goes around the sharpest turns with ease, has a huge storage basket and is super versatile. Both of the seats come off and can be turned either forwards or backwards and it has an attachment for the infant carrier that can go on the front or the back. There are so many ways your kids can sit and my two boys have loved it! Both seats recline and both have footrests that can come all the way up (bassinet style) or down. Plus the umbrellas are huge! The pictures below are not the best but you can see a few ways you can use it. My boys love being able to look at each other and they keep each other occupied for more peaceful grocery shopping..haha!

So I have shared a few of my favorite things, if you have something that has become one of your favorite things I would love to hear about it!!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Backyard Overhaul I am going to try my hand at this blogging thing again. I know my life is super busy with both of my boys but I am hoping this can be a place where I can come and share exciting things that happen each day or vent...depends on what kind of day we have I guess..haha!

Yesterday was a GREAT day! Wesley and I have been planning a backyard overhaul all winter and this past weekend was the perfect beautiful weekend to get started! Some of you may know that we tried our hand at above ground gardening last year and LOVED it...and I have to say we were pretty successful, so this year we expanded a little and decided to add a few fun features for the boys and for ourselves since living on a budget is going to require more summer nights at home then out and about. 

First we made a list of all the veggies we wanted to grow, drew out our plans and off to Lowes Hardware we went. Penn was very excited and "helpful" when it came to picking out all our seeds. We tried to tell him a vegetable that we knew he would recognize and let him find the packet. Giving him jobs and keeping him busy really helped the trip go smoothly. Since he has hit the terrible two's ventures out have been extremely limited...but he really did well at Lowes. Anyways we got all our supplies (after 2 trips) and started working.

Here are a few pictures of the progress. Three boxes have been built and we are debating on adding one or two more. Plus we added a lattice wall for cucumbers and prepared underneath the wall for lots of lettuce!
Penn helping Daddy measure out one of the boxes.

All the seeds Penn helped pick out.

Lattice wall with shaded area underneath for lettuce.

 Can't wait to see this crazy mess turn into a beautiful backyard!

Part of sprucing up the backyard was making some fun features for the boys. First we made a fun sugar snap pea tee pee. I have a feeling this will be one of Penn's favorite places this summer when the whole tee pee is covered in snap peas. Not only will it be fun to play in but he can sit and snack on a healthy veggies right off the vine! Since snap peas are a little hardier than our other seeds we were able to go ahead and plant them and Penn helped water the seeds.

After building the tee pee we decided to take some of the wood we had used on our old headboard and reusing it to make a fun place for both boys to play. We were able to make a dirt box, balance beam, and basketball goal. We knew Penn would really want to "help" in our garden boxes so instead of making a sandbox we went ahead and filled his box with dirt like Mommy and Daddy's boxes so he can do gardening or whatever he wants in his own box. Yesterday he decided it was the perfect place for a construction site.

Dirt box and balance beam
Mini basketball goal Daddy made for Penn.

Of course it is too early and cold to plant most of the other plants so I will have to update you when we are able to continue the gardening and show you a few other plans we have for making our backyard a fun place to be this summer.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Resolution Update

We have made it to our second week of 2013 and I have to say I am pretty proud of how well I have been keeping up with my resolution of creating a daily cleaning routine for the house. It usually only takes me about an hour (during Penn's morning nap) to get the house picked back up and complete my daily chore (minus laundry which I keep running until it is finished). I have not done so well on my resolution of keeping the T.V. turned off...but I have decided I don't see the harm in it as long as I am still getting stuff done and not just sitting on the couch. I have made tremendous strides in planning Penn's Birthday Party and can not wait until my new camera arrives this week so I can take his 1st Birthday pictures and Cake Smash pictures!!

So as I go into the 2nd week I wanted to share an awesome website with you! This is what has kept me motivated and if you are wanting to jump start your spring cleaning I highly recommend you check it out! It is She has awesome print outs and schedules for you to follow each week. She also has a daily chore chart that has become my constant reminder...I printed it out and have it on my refrigerator to remind me every time I walk by. This is what it looks like:
This makes cleaning very manageable and  easy to keep up with. She also has deep cleaning lists to do whenever you choose...I am taking one room a month and deep cleaning it. This month I am working on the living room/kitchen area. I will let you know how that goes when I finish.

One more thing that I heard on T.V this week that has made a lot of sense to me when trying to keep up with your New Year's resolutions is to make small goals. Create goals for this week, and then some for just this month. As you achieve those goals it will motivate you to take it one step further and try another month. This week my goal is to try and have all the dishes and kitchen cleaned up from dinner before I go to bed. I am really bad about leaving it until the morning. So I have made that my weekly goal!

I hope you have been keeping up with your New Year's resolutions...if you have anything to add or any helpful tips please feel free to comment!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Penn's 1st Birthday Invitations

Well February is sneaking up on me and I just realized this week we only have a month before Penn's 1st birthday!! Where did the time go? My little baby is quickly becoming a little boy!  It is such a bittersweet time...I love watching him grow and learn new things every day but the thought that he is no longer my sweet teeny tiny baby is a little sad! But on a happier note I now have a birthday party to plan! And I figure this is going to be one of the only birthday parties I get to plan my way so I am going all out! ...(well in a money conscience manner). I have decided to make most everything for the party myself starting with the invitations. I knew I wanted to do a "Little Man" theme with mustaches (because I am sure that is one theme Penn would never pick on his own) so this is what I created!

I am super pleased with the way it turned out! I have always loved creating things like this on the computer but it is even more fun when it is for my own baby!! I can not wait to get started on my next project for his party! More pics to come!

P.S. If you would like me to create an invitation or any other type of advertisement just send me an email! Here is one other example of an invitation I created...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Motivates You?

Well it is only January 3rd and I can tell I am already starting to lose that initial motivation I had for my resolutions. My main goal was to get our home organized and clean. I started by selling a few large items (futon, floor lamps) in our home that we haven't used in over a year on Craigslist. Then I organized Penn's room and all his new toys from Christmas. Yesterday I tackled the kitchen cabinets. I have been making great progress but now that all the big things on my list are done I am struggling to get moving. So this morning I decided to think of some ways to keep myself motivated throughout the year.
  1. Make a list of everything you can think of that you would like cleaned or organized in your home. Make sure it is a detailed list of even the smallest tasks. I work best off of a list. There is something very gratifying about watching each thing get marked off.
  2. Come up with a schedule or set time limits. For example I know I can not clean the floors when Penn is awake so that is the first thing I try to get done when he lays down for a nap. I also like to set time limits to motivate me. For me, I love to watch T.V. and I am trying to keep the T.V. off until I get certain things done each day. So if I want to watch the Chew at 1:00 I better get moving!!
  3. Create a playlist of songs that motivates you! For me there is just certain songs or music genres that are easier to clean to.
  4. Maybe use a new scent. I just recently picked up a new essential oil to add to all my homemade cleaning products and I love to clean with it!
  5. Something a friend of mine told me was try to think of you husband coming home as you would a friend coming over. How would you want your house to look if you had a friend coming over? Your husband is your best friend!! So think of how pleased he would be to come home to a clean house!
These are just a few things that motivate me...what are some other things that motivate you?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Resolutions

My little family was so tremendously blessed in 2012! We started off the year with the addition of our sweet baby boy, Penn, who arrived in February and every single moment since then has been full of love and laughter (ALOT of laughter)!! Now we are starting a new year full of new surprises and I can't help but join the masses and plan out all these resolutions that I will probably do for a week and then forget about (hopefully not). I tried to be a lot more realistic this year and choose only the things that I think are important and things that I know are possible with a active little boy at home all day! So here they are:
  • Make time for quiet time every day!
  • Watch less T.V. & Read more books
  • Develop a cleaning routine
  • Declutter & Get rid of things not needed
  • Choose a healthier lifestyle (figure out a workout routine that works at least 2-3xs/week & learn healthier recipes & drink more water)
  • Grow my photography business
Hopefully you will be able to keep me accountable as I post my updates on here! I have to say I am totally motivated as of today...we finally sold the futon and lamps that have been collecting dust in the office!! 

Let me know what your resolutions for 2013 are!! & maybe we can help each other!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Upcycled Wine Bottle

Well I did my very first project for the blog today! With it being New Years Eve I am sure everyone will have a few empty wine, beer, or sparkling cider bottles laying around the house tomorrow and instead of throwing them away try upcycling them!! Here is a simple project that turns any kind of glass bottle into a unique flower vase!

Step 1.
Fill a large pot with ice cold water.

Step 2.
Wrap a piece of cotton string around the bottle about 6 times and tie.

Step 3.
Take string off bottle and soak in Acetone fingernail polish for about 30 seconds.

Step 4.
Put string back on bottle where you want to cut the bottle.

Step 5.
With lighter, light the string on fire and spin the bottle quickly as it burns. Continue spinning until the flame goes out. The longer it burns the better. For really thick bottles you might have to do this a couple times.

Step 6.
When flame goes out quickly submerge bottle in ice cold water and watch your bottle break.

Step 7.
Use sandpaper to sand the edges smooth.

This is a fun, easy project!! I hope you all enjoyed my first of many many many blog posts!!