Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Cleaning Week 2- The Bedrooms

Next to the bathrooms, I think the bedrooms are my next, least favorite rooms to clean! It's just all the stuff, all of the areas that are pretty hidden, and we can tend to let things build up, or let things accumulate...  If you have children, you know not only do you need to change out seasonal clothing twice a year, but you should also make sure all of their clothes FIT them!  Which can be a chore itself!

So here are some ideas for the bedrooms.  Take these ideas and fit them to your own needs. Not everything that I do will fit for you, and visa versa.  Take a week to get everything done. Each day, give yourself an area or a specific bedroom, to clean. Then, it hopefully won't seem so overwhelming!

Ideas for Spring Cleaning Bedrooms:

Kid's Rooms
- go through toys; throw out what is broken, give away what is no longer played with or not really in their age range anymore ( this chore alone COULD take a few hours depending how often you do this!)
- go through all clothing, ALL CLOTHING. Check the condition of all clothing. Pitch what is unusable or beyond "play clothes" or usable material. Save clothing that your child has grown out of for a smaller sibling, a friend, neighbor, cousin, or for donation. Don't hang onto it if there is no need to... These clothes take up a LOT of extra space!
- wash bedding! Clean mattress, if necessary.  ( sprinkle with baking soda and sweep off, or just mist with water and an essential oil like lavender). You can also wash pillows.  I have never had huge success with this, but you can find many places on the internet where there are instructions on how to wash your pillow.
- clean out from under those beds!!!
- dust! ( my childrens' room get the dustiest! Ugh!)
- wash curtains, rugs, well loved stuffed animals, etc.
- organize closets and drawers.  And then SHOW YOUR CHILD WHERE THINGS GO!  This was a mistake I made years ago, I assumed that my kids would just SEE where things go, then put them there. WRONG! You have to tell them, show them, then tell them again! This also helps them learn how and where to put their clothes, when you ask them to put their clean clothes away (oh yes, children CAN do this!).
- sweep!!!

Adult Bedroom

- go through all clothes and make sure off season clothes get put away ( in a tote?), old clothes that are beyond work clothes get thrown out, used for rags, used for material, donate unworn or unwanted clothing..
- organize drawers, closets, shelves.
- clean out from under the bed, if need be. Things can tend to get dusty in this area, clean it up! It's almost better not to store under the bed if you don't have to so you can just run a sweeper under there once a week.
- dust! Ugh! Bedrooms can be the worst for dusting.  If you are like me, dusting my bedroom is about the last thing I think of when it comes to cleaning my own house.  
- wash bedding! You could also sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and sweep off, and mist it with water and an essential oil ( like lavender!). This would also be a good time to wash pillows, if you are good at that sort of thing!! :)
- go through any 'collections' that you might be keeping (ie- books, knitting items, etc), what do you REALLY use here, what don't you? 
- wash curtains, rugs, etc.
- sweep!!!

And whenever you get a chance, open those windows!! It's great when we can let some fresh air in after a long, stale winter... I'm still waiting for the day I can do that here in Indiana!  

Well, hopefully this list will give you some good ideas and some motivation to start cleaning some of those bedrooms!!!  It's not a fun job, by any means BUT if you do it right, you won't have to do it but once or twice a year.

Talk to you next week about Spring Cleaning the Living Room!!!  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Field Trip to a Friend's Greenhouse

Even though there was a new dusting of snow on the ground, and the roads were a little slick this morning, the boys and I ventured out and went to a friend's house.  This friend has been organic gardening for years, and I wanted to check out what all that she does!

This is her first year with her new, larger greenhouse, and she was raising a bunch of new plants.  It was so refreshing, after all of this cold and snow, to walk through all of her new baby plants.  I love the humidity, and warmth of a greenhouse.  She had lettuces, chard, leeks, herbs of all sorts, broccoli, and so much more thriving there. She also has been saving seeds for years, and will be selling her seeds soon.  So, as soon as she prices everything, I think I will be the first in line!  I'm so ready to start planting, hopefully things thaw fast around here!

It's great to be able to talk with, and see what others are doing with their gardening, animals, or homesteads in general. It gives us a chance to get excited, get motivated, get new ideas, and get a fresh perspective on some things!  

As soon as things warm up more around here, the boys and I will be going back to see how she plants all of her lovely flower beds, and garden spaces.  I can't wait to get some more ideas!

Where do you get new ideas from?  Are you trying anything new this year on your homestead?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Cleaning Week 1- The Bathroom


My first week of cleaning is almost always the bathrooms.  And for one reason only, it's my LEAST favorite chore of all.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a clean bathroom... When the kids were really little, I used to close the door of the bathroom, and linger extra, quiet-filled minutes, just to "get away" from some of the noise and chaoso that is our life!  A nice clean bathroom can speak volumes for a home, so can a clutter free one.

I can remember YEARS ago, when I first became a mother, how hard it was to keep things tidy and clean. As years have progressed, I have lots of help!  My boys are now in charge of cleaning 'their' bathroom.  Chores have helped my boys see the value of taking care of what they use. Because if they don't, they STILL have to clean it up later.  So, I have great helpers.  But every bathroom could use a good spring clean!

The bathroom is one of the dirtiest/ germiest places in a home.  The obvious places like showers, sinks, and toilets are some of the very worst places for germs.  And in cleaning a bathroom, don't forget the light switch, the soap pump, the toilet handle, the floor around the toilet, and the inside of the toilet lid.  Also, make sure that you change towels often. Especially if it is being used often.  Sometimes when I have company, I check the hand towel because if it is hanging there and wet, besides probably being very germy, it's (for me anyways) slightly disgusting to wipe your wet hands on an already very wet towel.

So, what should we clean?

Here is my list.  You can break it up into days, so you don't have to do everything all at once, or if you have a good chunk of a day to knock it out, good for you!!

-  Sink, faucet (use a cheap tooth brush to clean around in the little crevices), Mirror
-  Clean the wall where the hand towel hangs (I'm just SURE there are germs there!)
-  Clean the light switches
-  Shower/ tub, including the faucet
-  toilet, toilet lid (top and bottom), handle, floor around the toilet 
         ****Don't forget- NEVER use the rag on anything else after you use it on the toilet/ toilet area. 
-  Clean under the sink, organize
-  Clean/ organize any closet/ storage space in your bathroom- Get rid of things that you aren't using or will never use (no need to clutter the space with those items!), get rid of those holey towels.
-  clean out/ off those toothbrush holders/ cups/ drawers
-  Another one of the germiest places in your home is the makeup bag/ drawer...  Make sure you throw out old makeup, clean your brushes (blush, eyeshadow, hair and others) with hot soapy water, wipe down the area(s) in which you keep all of your makeup. 
-  Change any old bulbs, clean out fixtures.
-  Wash your rugs and shower curtain.
-  Dust decor

Hopefully this helps!  Happy Cleaning!!

(Next week- Bedrooms)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

I use my homemade cleaner ALL THE TIME. It's super safe. It cleans well. And it's cheap (love!).

I use my cleaner on just about everything; carpet stains, stainless steel, windows, mirrors, laminate floors, counters, my painted cupboard fronts, door handles, painted walls, toilets, faucets, and more.  But before you use this cleaner on anything, please try it on a small spot to make sure it doesn't hurt it in any way.  I've never hurt anything with this cleaner and have been using it for several years, but you just never know!

So here is the recipe:


-  1/3  bottle vinegar (white)
-  1/3 bottle water ( I just use tap water)
-  1/3 bottle rubbing alcohol (You can eliminate this ingredient, if you'd like. It just adds a great streak-free factor.  I would also suggest eliminating this if children use this to help clean. There has been more than a handful of times where this cleaner minus the alcohol has ended up in someone's eyes or mouth while the boys cleaned. Life with boys, eh!?)
-  a few drops of Dawn dish detergent
-  you can also add several drops of your favorite essential oil.  (This gives the spray a much better smell and also can give additional benefitial properties, depending on what you choose to add)

I keep several bottles of this around the house. One in each bathroom, one in our classroom, and one in the kitchen. I do buy other cleaners, I think last year I maybe bought 2 bottles? And I've made probably 12-15 bottles of this in a year.

You may have seen this recipe around the web or one similar to it, and after years of using this, I totally trust this in my home. Hopefully it will work for your home as well!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Join Me for Spring Cleaning, Starting This Week!

The 'official' first day of spring is this week!!  And oh man, how I am ready for it!  It's been a long few months of winter here in Indiana, and I am done with it!

When I get excited about Spring, it's garden planning, it's baby animals, it's outside projects, it's fresh air and more exercise!  But it's also, cleaning.  I know many of you cringe at the word, and I do too. But that's why a good spring cleaning is so important!

If you want less work, you think smarter, not harder!

There are so many ways to plan out your spring cleaning.  You can do job by job, a certain amout of time per day or per week, or even room by room.  I prefer a bit of a combination!

This week, I will share with you what I am doing/ going to do, and what will be coming up the following week.  (You can, of course, taylor these plans to your needs). 

Each week, I take one room or area; and each day, I choose a job.  For example, one of your weeks will be the kitchen area. So in the kitchen, the first day you could work on clearing all counters (get rid of clutter, if there is some!), including wiping down all surfaces, backsplash, and any items that usually sit on the counter (cookie jar, coffee maker, decor, etc).  Second day, you could work on your pantry area, or areas.  This could include wiping down shelving, and throwing out outdated items, and donating items to food pantries that you know you will never eat.  Third day, you could clean all utensil drawers. Take all utensils out, wipe out drawers, get rid of unused or broken items.  Organize!  Forth day, refrigerator and stove!  If you have a self cleaning oven, the job should be easy; if not, you might have a bit more cleaning work. Don't forget to lift up the top of the stove and clean all of those food particles or spill overs. For the fridge, you know what to do- clean, clean, clean!  Look for outdated items, wipe all surfaces down. Don't forget the freezer, this can get cluttered with a mix of freezer burnt food that your family will never eat; get rid of it!  Wipe down the outside and don't forget the dust top of the fridge!  A tall person CAN see all that dust that may be hidden to you!.  Fifth day could be cupboard fronts, and floors.  Wipe everything down.  (I will share cleaner ideas, because I know there is a nasty film that coats things in the kitchen!)  Wash rugs. 

Some other filler ideas for the kitchen:
- Wash curtains.
- Wash windows.
- Dust/ wipe down decor
- Clean up that recipe box or develop a new system for your recipes (binder, box, etc)
- Clean out that tupperware drawer!  Ugh!  If there are missing lids or missing containers, get rid of it.  There are cheap and very useful items available to replace them with.
- Clean your coffee maker (I will share my safe/ natural way to do this later!)
- Wash out your trash can (I know I'm not the only one who gets that build up of gunk on the bottom of the can!)
- Clean those light fixtures! (Bugs and dust can build up. EW!) While you're at it, replace bulbs if needed! 
- Do you have a smoke detector on your kitchen?  Make sure to replace those batteries!  Even if it's still working, it's worth the few dollars to keep your family safe and replace them.

Well, you get the idea! 

Hopefully you WILL join me this week as I start with the bathroom(s)!  Keep checking back for ideas, and remember you can taylor my idea to your own.  A little more work today, can mean a lot less work tomorrow!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

There are Chickens in our Future

Yep. I love chickens.  I love to watch them, I love to hear their little noises.  I LOVE their fresh eggs. Last spring we actually got a chicken coop from my dad.  He had built it, and housed his chickens there for a few years.  But when my mom got tired of the chickens flying over the fencing and getting into her flowers and eating their grapes and such, I got to inherit the coop!  YAY!

My dad is an excellent builder, and this coop will be around for the next 300 years, I'm just sure of it! So, I was SOOO happy to get it.  We also inherited their older chickens (aka- my dad's pets).  When we brought them (there were I think 12 of them) to our house with the coop, they gave us about 2 eggs a week...  and because of the stress of the 1 hour journey, they soon molted.  

I tried to justify keeping these "pets" all summer to my husband.  But it was hard when we are forking out so much money in feed.  Even so, both of us LOVED to sit by the coop and chicken yard to watch the girls dig for bugs, get dust baths, and nap in the shade.  We even moved a 2 seater swing to beside the coop.  In the summer, my husband knew if he couldn't find me at any point, that I was watching the chickens.  It was relaxing.

But summer turned to fall, and fall into winter.  I felt badly for the accommodations that we had given the chickens.  The coop was great, and almost airtight.  But water froze often, and we had to take them fresh water 2-3 times a day.  

When the first of the year rolled around, a threat of a major storm came about.  We knew we would loose chickens unless we did something.  So we found them new homes.  It was pretty easy.  Advertise free chickens and they go pretty quickly.

SO, I felt better knowing they were going to be taken care of and not have to be out in the bitter cold. Now, seeing the weather patterns that we have had here in Indiana, I'm glad for the choice we made. 

But now, as I plan my first garden at this home, and we are lining up animals for 4H, I started thinking about getting layers again.  

And guess what!?  The end of April we are going to get chickens that are starting to lay!  It's worth the little bit of extra money, especially thinking about how hard it would be to keep chicks warm in this nasty, cold.

So, I'm excited!  It gives me hope that this winter won't last forever... :)

Come on SPRING!!!

Back in the Saddle Again


Well, it's been a while but I am back blogging again!  My original blog 8-Muddy Boots was all about our life on a 10 acre farm.  Lots of animals, gardening, home, cooking, and adventures!  But a little over a year ago, we moved.  The Lord had prompted us to simplify.  Simplify life. Simplify finances. 

When we finally listened (it took a few months!), we put our home up for sale and it sold quickly.  The Lord had plans for us!  After several months, and I will share my LONG adventure another day, we found a new home.  It wasn't what we had expected our home to be, but it was the one that was called to be ours.  

We now live on one acre (a big difference from 10!), and are on a path to simplifying life a bit!  We will still have some animals, and I will still have my gardens, and we will still have adventures, just in a little smaller scale...

Thank you for joining me as I share our Simply Wonderful Life...