Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tackle It Tuesday - Laundry

This week, my main tackle was keeping up the appearances of the front closet and my newly created workspace near my chair in the living room. The other thing that I worked on was the laundry situation.

I just sorted and folded about six loads (give or take, I kind of lost count) of laundry. And I am happy to report that I have a small box to head to go to the donation drop-off tomorrow, added a few items to a box that I'm preparing for a friend's son, and added a number of items to both our spring/summer consignment box and to the fall/winter consignment box. Yay for getting rid of stuff! I still have a lot more to go though!

The other major thing that I worked on this past week was our garage. My mom came over again in the past week to spend some more time going through her things out there. We had our double driveway lined with things to go to the dump this morning when the garbage truck came by. It was great! But it was also highly addictive. Hubby had to convince me to come back into the house because I just wanted to keep going. I was so excited about the progress that we were making and I just wanted to keep going. The change out there is just astounding to me. We think that by next Tuesday, we  will be able to park both vehicles in the garage. It has been such a long time since we were able to park both vehicles in the garage that it will seem weird to actually use it. I think I could handle it though!

Outdoor Furniture from Pier 1

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

March 20th was the actual start of Spring 2011. We are gearing up for spring and summer weather and I am so looking forward to being able to sit outside and watch the kids run around and play while I sip a tall glass of sweet tea! It's the life I tell ya!

But we don't yet have any outdoor furniture. We have a spot that I'd like to transform in our yard to be able to have a table and chairs for outdoor evening enjoyment.

I was excited to see that Pier 1 has their outdoor furniture in stock, both on their website and in the stores! Since I am in the mode to start looking at outdoor furniture, I was able to look through and see all of the different things that they have available.

Things like this:

I can totally see myself using this at our annual Independence Day block party to wheel our drinks and side dish contributions down the block to our neighbor's house, while back at the house, my family is relaxing in these chairs:


and eating around this table:


I mean, seriously doesn't that just look fantastic? And maybe add these cushions to the chairs too:


Yes, that looks quite nice indeed. Although I must admit, I am totally in love with this option for seating as well! What do you think? Isn't this the greatest look?

Pair up some of those options to create your own custom outdoor sectional! I don't think I'd ever want to go back indoors with furniture like that outside. And the beauty of it all - many of their outdoor pieces are outdoor/indoor pieces, so you could use them outside during the warmer months and then bring them in during the cooler months and continue to use them! Love it!

Have you seen their Papasan chairs? Seriously cool stuff. They even have a a Papasan swing! Who has ever heard of something like that? Check it out! They call it a Swingasan. Love it! All of the cozy comfort of a Papasan but in a swing. I could definitely see myself snuggling up in this with a book and falling asleep in the warm sun this spring time! Can't you just picture it? Bliss, I tell ya! Just bliss!


I hope that this has given you some ideas for decorating for the spring and summer months as well! What is your favorite item from the website? Leave a comment with your favorite item. I plan to do an outdoor feature post sometime within the next few weeks and would love to see your spaces as well! Check out Pier 1 for some great ideas for your yard this season as well!

Also, check Pier 1 Tweetups to see when it will be in your area.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Shameless Brag!

So my oldest child, he knows how to make me eat humble pie or crow or however you would like to phrase it. And I respect him a little more each time he does it, to be honest.

The other night, I sent the three older kids up to bed. Boo was already asleep. He fell asleep on the couch at 4pm and I was sure it was going to be a LONG night up with him. (It wasn't by the way, he slept through til 4am).

Our bedtime rule is that once the kids are upstairs in their rooms, they are to be silent. Not quiet. SILENT. If I can hear them in the living room, they are definitely NOT being silent. And I could hear Natty talking.

I called up to him a reminder of the rules, he apologized and said he would do better, but soon after that, I heard him talking again. I call up a second reminder. He apologizes again. The third time, I tell him to come back downstairs. He comes down and Punky is with him.

I tell her to go back up to her room and precede to lecture the boy. He apologizes again and says in his defense, "I was reading to Punky. She likes me to read her a bedtime story before she goes to sleep. And reading out loud is good for me to do, because it helps me to read faster."

Awwww. Okay, no punishment. Send both back up to their rooms.

Next night the same thing happens. Exactly the same thing. Except he calls down and tells me that he's reading to Punky and JoNo both. Hmmmm. Okay, fine. Finish the story and then go to bed. All goes well.

The third night, same scenario and then after they are supposed to be in their own rooms, I hear Punky and Natty talking. Story time was over. There was to be no talking. I call up to them for them both to come down. Punky comes down with a huge smile on her face. "Natty brushed'ed my hair for me. It's so beautiful now!" as she twirls to make her hair fly out.

"And this way it won't be so tangled in the morning."

Okay, back up to your rooms, you two.

Granted, all of this happens between 8:30 (their "up to bed" time) and 9:00 (the latest point that they are allowed to have lights on) so technically, they are still within the rules, sort of. They have hit on a grey area of the rules and I figure, well, they are getting along, working together, helping each other, I'll let it go.

And you know what? It's worked out so well. Bedtime has been a no stress event. And all three of the older kiddos are developing a stronger bond with each other. I can't fault that. :)

Last night, I had a late night working in our garage with my mom. (I really should remember to get before pics when we work out there but I never remember to) and then this morning, I was really tired. I slept in until shortly after Boo got up. I got up and went out to the den to head up to the kitchen/living room level of our house and Natty says, "Go back to bed, Mom. I got this. I fed my siblings breakfast and they are playing quietly in the living room."

Which of course, makes me worry just a teeny tiny bit. Because well, when I was ten, if I told my  mom to go back to bed, I was trying to hide something. I went upstairs anyhow. He was correct though. The younger three were playing quietly in the living room with toys and he was in the kitchen, doing a surprise clean in there. Awww! Such a thoughtful boy he is!

An hour later when Hubby wakes up for the day, the same scenario ensues. Except that Natty tells Hubby that I am up and am watching them. But Hubby doesn't go back to bed either. He sees the work that Natty has done in the kitchen and we are both pleased with him.

We offer him the option of choosing whatever he wants to have for dinner and dessert for the evening. His choice? "Grilled cheese sandwiches! And can I make them?" We have a panini maker. I think that he can make them on there easily enough. With supervision of course. So that is the plan for tomorrow night. Natty's "reward" for his thoughtfulness and unselfishness on a Saturday morning is to make grilled cheese sandwiches for the family for Sunday dinner. And so therefore, that is why I had to do another shameless brag about this child!

Taken last October at JoNo and Boo's joint birthday party. My silly, sweet, thoughtful boy. My NattyNu!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have been debating with myself about posting about Boo. You see, there is just so much that we are still learning and discovering about our sweet boy and his educational diagnosis of PDD-NOS.

PDD-NOS is the acronym for Pervasive Developmental Delay - Not Otherwise Specified. PDD-NOS is sometimes included on the Autism Spectrum but not always. And even though he does have PDD-NOS, we have not been told that he has Autism. It's kind of a weird, confusing thing to me actually.

But to explain what he does have and how we have gotten to where we are right now, I'll go through the basis of his history. When he was born (at 39 weeks via scheduled c-section) he was not breathing. The umblical cord was tied in a knot. Much like the knot you make when you are tying something. Just a simple knot. But a knot that was cutting off vital oxygen and blood to him. We were told that had we scheduled the c-section for later than we had, he could have died. As it was, he wasn't breathing and had to be resuscitated and given blow-by oxygen. I didn't get to see him for three hours. It was horrible. They got him to breathing well on his own and by the sixth hour (I believe it was around that time) he was able to stay in my room with me. Prior to that, he had been able to come in but had to go back for further monitoring. His apgars were something like 2,9,9. The only thing he had going for him during that first set of apgar scoring was his heartbeat. That's it.

He recovered well from his birth and was a nursing pro. When he was just shy of three months old, he began having bowel and reflux issues. We thought maybe it was just reflux. We took him to a doctor who deals specifically with nursing babies and allergies/intolerances. She diagnosed him with MSPI (milk, soy protein intolerance), so those things were eliminated from my diet. But he still was not getting better, so we eliminated more and more things. Eventually, I went on TED, the Total Elimination Diet. I was able to only eat turkey or lamb, baked or boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice or millet, squash, pears, and pear juice. That's not a lot of options. It was hard, but I did it. After two weeks' time, I was able to add items back in one at a time (much like you do when you are introducing solids to your baby for the first time) and then had to watch him to see if he began reacting to it. What we were able to determine was that he had intolerances to not only milk and soy but also to beef, eggs, nuts, hmm, there were more things but now I cannot remember them... Eventually (around 7-9 months of age), he was able to tolerate most of those foods in my diet in small quantities. He stopped nursing around 9 months old and we had him on a soy-based formula, then switched to regular formula. He began babbling and even saying a few words by a year old. Around 13 months though, he started reacting to something again, and at that point, we eliminated all of the foods we knew he had issues with prior to that. We even had him on goat's milk for awhile because he seemed to tolerate that but eventually, he began reacting to that as well, so we switched to rice milk for him instead. It was around this time that his world went silent. He didn't talk or babble anymore, but he was also learning to crawl and so we thought maybe his energies were tied up in mastering this feat. More and more though, he withdrew and after awhile, he wouldn't make eye contact either. He didn't play with the other kids, didn't really even acknowledge them. We made an appointment with his pediatrician.

His pediatrician ran a battery of tests to try to determine a physiological reason for his delays and regression. But there wasn't a physiological one. He referred us to our city's public school program.

At 19 months old, he had his first evaluation with the school system, at which point, he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Basically, PDD means across-the-board developmental delay. He was behind in EVERYTHING. From social and play skills to cognitive abilities to gross and fine motor skills. He had learned to walk just one week prior to the evaluation. The NOS part of the diagnosis means that there isn't a physiological explanation for it.

So, we started services. We had a wonderful home teacher, Jane, who came out about once a week to work with us and Boo and he gained quite a bit of ground while we worked with her. We worked with Jane from May 2009 until October 2010, when Boo enrolled in a traditional classroom setting.

We had two options for his classroom. One was more of an ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) format, where most of the children have IEPs (Individual Education Plans) with a few peer models thrown in for balance. The other was basically an inversion of the first. Mostly peer models with a few kids who have IEPs. We chose the second one, feeling that it would be of the most benefit to the boy.

He has done wonderfully! He is still behind quite a bit socially but is catching up. His motor skills are just minimally behind, his play skills are also still fairly behind but we have seen some recent improvements in that as well.

For instance, we went to a classmate's birthday party a couple of months ago and the main activity was bowling. The event was slated to start at 11:00 sharp. We got there a few minutes prior but waited in the car until a few minutes before 11:00. We went inside and I let him run loose around the alley with the other kiddos (it was a confined area at a fun center and we were the only party in there). We didn't actually get started until around 11:15. That is a LONG time to wait for something fun to happen in Boo's world and I was fully prepared for the meltdown that I was pretty sure that would happen, but it didn't.

We started out on lane four, as you can see. The guy is the birthday boy's father. He was helping the kids bowl down the lanes (and we had bumpers for the kiddos too.) Boo was in a lane with two little girls that we didn't know. I think they were family or family friends, not classmates.

He had a hard time waiting for his turn to bowl, though no meltdowns there either. At one point, our lane broke. I don't know what the deal was, but of course, it was Boo's turn. I had just spent the last two kids' turns telling him that it was almost his turn and when we finally got up there, he got his ball and I had to stop him. "Not yet, Boo. The lane isn't ready. They are going to fix it though." So, he stood there patiently and my heart grew with pride about how well my little Boo Buddy was waiting. He stood there and held that 8 pound bowling ball for a full five minutes (it felt like an hour to me!) until they decided that the lane was unfixable and then worked us into another lane that already had three kids bowling in it.

And the kicker? He went from it being his turn to having to wait for FOUR children to bowl before it was his turn again. So in all, he had to wait for TWO children, then for a broken lane repair attempt, readjust to the new lane and then had to wait for FOUR more children to bowl. That was kind of difficult to explain to him. It was supposed to be HIS turn after all. But he took it in stride.

I think this is what helped. His little friend from school, Miss H. Isn't she a doll? So, I got to talking with Miss H's mom and she was telling me that H talks about Boo at home and I just stood there. Because while Boo talks, he doesn't exactly tell stories about things that he has done, people that he knows. All of his communication is in the moment or the immediate past (i.e. "Punky hit my back!" as he tattles on his sister, and even that has been a recent development).

I love this picture of Boo. I think it is probably one of his best. This is one that is going to go into our portfolio this year for his school. We have to make a portfolio of some of the family activities and things that we have done with him.

And then lastly, a shot of Boo with two of his classmates.

One really recent development with Boo has been in his communication. Although he doesn't really talk much about things that he has done, seen or experienced, I try to prompt him for information. After school one day recently, I asked him if he had played with Master C (the birthday boy in the above photos) and our conversation went like this:

Boo: "No. I play wif [Master M],"
Me : "You played with [Master M]?"
Boo: "Yes. I play wif [Master M]."
Me: "What did you play with [Master M]?"
Boo: "We play cars. Vroooooooom!"
Me: "You played cars with [Master M]! That sounds like fun. Was it fun?"
Boo: "Yes. Fun play cars wif [Master M]!"

That was the longest "conversation" we had ever had. It still might be.

I just love the way he talks! He has some really unique ways of saying things and he is very obsessed with letters and numbers. Some examples of Boo's language:

"Open hand!" This is said when someone is holding his hand or arm to keep him from running off. Instead of saying "let go", his command is "open hand". It would get the same result if obeyed, but is just a different way of saying it.

"Mommy, you home. I home." This is what he says to express that he missed me while I was at work. It doesn't matter if we are in our house or if I am picking him up from Grandma's or whatever. If he missed me, this is what he says. He also says this to express love. It's a situational phrase.

"Mommy, I find your blue!" He says this as he runs to me, holding either my (blue) phone or my (blue) camera. I tell him, "thank you Boo, for finding my blue phone!" He will look at me and say, "Blue phone!" and I will hold it up for him to look at and then repeat the phrase.

"Can I cars, please?" He just said this a moment ago. He wanted to go play with his cars, but he doesn't always use verbs in his sentences, so we give him permission as we rephrase his question, "Yes Boo, you may go play with cars."

He knows all of his alphabet letters on sight and can put the alphabet in order when using manipulatives. He also knows his numbers by sight up to 19 and can count up to 49 now. He also rote spells his name, his sister's name, JoNo's name (well, an abbreviation of JoNo's name but says it as the full name), as well as Mom and Dad. He does get stuck when spelling Dad or just refuses to spells it.

His Magna Doodle Jr. is his best play toy. I keep that in his backpack at all times if possible. No matter where we are or what we are doing, I can almost always get him back on task (or at least out of a meltdown) by using this toy to practice letters or numbers. He also knows the sound that each letter makes. He will spend quite a while "reading" letters off of signs or walls or whatever he can find. He loves it! A while back, I was dropping him off at church and he sat down and started "reading" the wall. "J-E-S-U-S-L-O-V-E-S-Y-O-U" It's all just one big long word to him, although he does recognize the words as separate items when I am reading to him.

And that is Mr Boo in a (VERY large) nutshell. He is such a joy to have around and to experience life with. The world is such a different place from his prospective. I love seeing things from his point of view. ♥ ♥ ♥

I am also going to link this up to Company Girl Coffee and

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tossed It Tuesday - April 12

First of all, I want to give a little shout-out to Violet for her wonderful encouragement on this weekly post! It seems that she and I have been trading off weeks where we have a lot to post about.

Well, since last week, I have gone back to the consignment shop and paid my consignor's fee and am now ready to start taking over loads and loads of kids' clothes! Yay! So, you will see my box total each week for the consignment shop.

We rearranged our living room this past weekend and as a result, we had lots of miscellaneous items that we were able to get rid of. I don't even know what all left the house because as soon as I came across something that needed to leave but wouldn't fit into a trash bag, a child was summoned to take the item directly to the trash outside. There was absolutely no "make a pile until there's more to go out" for this project. Lots and lots of stuff went out.

Then, last night (because Tuesday is our trash day) my mother came over to continue going through her stuff that is stored in our garage. We also went through a lot of our stuff that is stored in the garage. I got rid of a LOT of stuff. I don't know what exactly all I threw away because honestly, I didn't look all that closely. My main plan with going through the items was to look for the one or two items in each box/container/whatever that was worth keeping around (if there was anything worth keeping around) and the rest of the box got pitched. I gave myself about 30 seconds per box. It doesn't take all that long to look through an item to see what is worth keeping. The thing that took the longest amount of time was books (we LOVE books around here and kept more than we tossed) and clothes (because of the whole consignment situation!).

In the end, out on our curb was:
  • our two regular trashcans, plus another trashcan with our yard waste
  • an endtable/microwave cart/stand type piece of furniture
  • an old smaller television that actually belongs to my mom
  • some old broken or just worn down toys of the kiddos
  • an old lamp that no longer works
  • and probably about 10 boxes of useless junk
We also got rid of three boxes of recyclables. Yay for purging stuff that we don't really need in our house or in our life!

Tackle It Tuesday - Shaklee Style

This week, we did a number of tackles. We tackled our living room and re-arranged it while also going through a bunch of "stuff" that was in it. At the moment, it is slightly messy due to kids and well, living in the room, but it will be cleaned up as soon as I am done with this post.

Our living room is long and rectangular and has a bank of windows on one side that make it difficult for some arrangements. Also, we have three vents in the room, which we try to not to cover up with furniture. We have a dog that covers the vents enough as it is.

So, here is what the room looked like before:

The main problem with this layout is the corner where the chair is. Stuff would get stuck back there and it was difficult to get to without pulling the chair out. I was getting tired of having to do that. Plus both the dog and Boo loved to hang out behind the chair (next to the vent) so there were a myriad of issues with that there.

Another was the entertainment center. The couch sat in front of the bank of windows and we would get a horrible glare on the TV if we had the windows open, which we didn't very often because it made watching TV up here nearly impossible.

The area behind the other chair (closest to our entry way on bottom right) often was the spot where we would put things that needed to leave the house, which makes sense. But it also often made it look cluttered and messy and let's face it, you open the door and that is the FIRST thing you see, followed by the entertainment center.

So, we changed it. The couch went to where the entertainment center was, one of the tables went with it, the entertainment center went to where the small bookshelf was, the small bookshelf went next to the door, and the two chairs and one table scooted in towards the middle of the window bank to balance out that side of the room. The cedar chest also got transplanted next to the entertainment center, instead of being used as a coffee table.

So now it looks like this:

Personally, I'd prefer to have the tall bookshelf on the wall next to the entertainment center, but Hubby says no to that for now. Plus that bookshelf may soon end up in our bedroom anyhow, so it's kind of a non-issue anyways.

And now, the small bookshelf next to the entryway is for our shoe storage, instead of having the shoes on the rectangular linoleum area that you all have seen before here. And that was okay, but it just didn't stay neat. And I am not about to spend 5 minutes ten or so times each day, straightening up the shoes. It's just not my thang. Yes, I said thang. No, it was not a typo. So anyhow, that's why the small bookshelf is over by the door. It is called the small bookshelf because it's short. Lower shelf, upper shelf and then top of the set. Three levels total. Lower shelf is generally used for kiddo shoes. The shelf has an open back and allows the vent to shoot air through it. The upper shelf is for more of the overflow shoes. The top of the unit is used for the things that need to leave the house. It can still look messy, but it still looks better than having the stuff sit on the floor behind the chair. Much better!

Then this weekend, I traveled to Erin's house to try out some Shaklee products. So, as of now, she and I are no longer online friends. We are in real life friends! Yay! So, anyhow, I came home Saturday night to a mess that Hubby left for me from his preparation of the family's supper. (I ate at Erin's house that evening. Thanks again Erin and Dusty!) The house was empty when I got home. Hubby had arranged for the kiddos to spend the night at Grandma's house and he had gone to his friends' house for the evening, so there I was with a stove looking like this:

Yummy right? Inviting? Wanna come over for dinner right about this point? If that isn't bad enough for you, try removing the burner and the drip tray. Just for fun. However, if you have a queasy tummy, I'd suggest looking away right now. Because I removed the burner and the drip tray and this is an example of what was below.

Yeah, um, gross. Just sayin'. I have no idea what it is or how it gets down there, but I *do* know that I don't like it and I had an idea that my handy dandy bottle of Shaklee's H2 would clear that issue right up, so I decided it was time to give it a try. I sprayed a generous portion of the H2 into the areas below the drip trays. Yes, our style of stove can lift up, but it is screwed shut and one of the screws is stripped, so I can't do it the easy way.

I let it set for a few minutes, just so it could do its thang under there and then I got busy and cleaned all the gunk out. It took several swipes and a few paper towels (sorry, but my nice microfiber was NOT going in THERE!) and then it was done. The end result?

Okay, let's do the before and after thing now:

I also took the time to do my microwave (inside and out), my fridge (inside and out) and my freezer (inside and out). It was awesome! I love the H2! I also have a bottle of the Basic G to try out in the bathrooms, but I haven't made it in there just yet. I was more concerned about the kitchen at that point.

I am sold though! As soon as my check situation at work gets figured out and settled, I am DEFINITELY going to be ordering my own shaklee! And then you can sign up to become a member under me as well! Doesn't that sound AWESOME?! I think it does! And besides who wouldn't want to transform their icky yucky stove from the before picture to the after picture? Seriously? My stove SHINES now. It truly does!

And that was my main level tackle for this past week. Phew! I'm exhausted! Even if Hubby was the one that did all of the work, except the kitchen cleaning. But I am so happy with the results!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - 4.11

Last week was terrible about the menu plans. I honestly have no clue what we ate most nights and it worked out, but man, do I ever prefer to have at least a guideline AND follow it!

This week our menu includes:
  • Monday
    • beef roast with mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Tuesday
    • pork ribs
  • Wednesday
    • grilled cheeseburgers
  • Thursday
    • chicken stirfry
  • Friday
    • homemade pizzas
  • Saturday
    • kids choice
  • Sunday
    • company's choice
It should be good!  I don't know why I try to plan for Sundays usually. For lunch we always have sandwiches, something just quick and easy for the purpose of getting something to eat after church and before the littles' nap time. And then for supper time, 9 Sundays out of 10, we have company over and we usually try to coordinate with what they want to eat. Saturday lunches are usually something Hubby fixes for the kids and we eat leftovers and Saturday nights, the kids choose to have a light supper so that they can have more junk food during our movie night. Saturdays are kind of the fly by the seat of our pants day of the week. We just never know for sure (until Friday night) what we plan to do on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

For the very first time ever, I am joining in on the Ultimate Blog Party excitement! So, here we go!

I am Deanne, a mother to four children, who I affectionately named NattyNu (age 10), JoNo (age 7), PunkyPie (age 4), and Boo (age 3) for the internet. I have been married to my wonderful husband, Hubby, for 10 1/2 years now and am incredibly grateful for everything he does for our family.

I am a busy lady. I work as a housecleaner Monday-Friday and have a very "flexible" (read: unstable) ending time each day. Some days I am home by 2pm, other days, I'm not home until after 6pm. It's hard on me and I cannot imagine how hard it is on the family to never know when to expect me home.

I am also a CNA and wanting to get back to doing that as soon as I possibly can. Not that I don't love my job, but okay...so I really don't love my job. lol I also want to go back to school and finish my degree in Business Administration with an Accounting focus, but first I have to make sure that I am doing my part to make ends meet at home.

I also work out of my home as a crafter (I have an Etsy shop with a few items in stock - more as soon as I get around to taking photographs and listing the items!) and I also sell Tupperware and am looking to possibly start selling Shaklee as well in the near future.

I am a kind of crunchy mama. I believe in being as green as possible, we use cloth diapers at least part-time (Hubby and MIL prefer sposies and that's okay too - we do what works best for all of us - and this is how it has been for the last, oh, six years or so in the diapering department). I also try to use safe, homemade cleaners as often as possible. I want to be able to have any of my children help with the cleaning without worrying about the chemicals that they may end up having on their skin. (That is kind of part of a big reason behind wanting to become a Shaklee distributor.)

I have recently been working to lose weight by making better food choices (not dieting because dieting is temporary and I want this to be a lifestyle change that will be forever) and getting more exercise. So far, I am down 30 pounds over the last two months and I am very excited about that! I still have about another 60 to go, but already I am feeling better and overall, healthier.

My blog here is a cross between a mommy blog and a niche blog for cleaning/organizing and crafting. I tried doing multiple blogs before and you can see them if you click on my picture and go to my profile, but I tend to just be more of a one-blog kind of girl, with the exception of one blog that I am a contributor to.

Hmmm, I am trying to think of what else there is to tell you all, but I can't really think of anything, so if you have questions, feel free to ask! I'm pretty much an open book. Glad to have you visit! And if you'd like, follow me via Google Friend Connect and like my blog on Facebook. I will start hosting giveaways when I hit 25 followers on here. And considering that I am a crafter (a knitter and scrapbooker to be exact) AND sell Tupperware AND plan to sell Shaklee AND will be reviewing products from time to time as well (not too often because I don't want this blog to become all about reviews - they can get kind of old when that's all you see in feed reader), there are a LOT of possibilities for giveaways! So, come on in, sit down with a cup of tea (instant with artificial sweetener is my current choice) and have a nice read. Leave some comment love here and there so that I can check your blog out as well!

Until next time...

Tackle It Tuesday

This week for Tackle It Tuesday I tackled my lower level bathroom. I don't have a before picture, but let me describe it this way - I live with four males and one of them is potty training. And it seems that none of them can actually hit the target. Just sayin'.

So, I started with my shower. I sprayed some straight vinegar on my shower door to help tackle the hard water and soap scum build up and let it sit. Then I moved on to the mirror and used the same straight vinegar there and wiped it dry with a microfiber cloth.

Then, I moved down to the sink and sprayed an all-purpose cleaner into it and scrubbed it down really well. I used an old toothbrush to get between the faucet and the sink itself and really scrubbed it out well. Then I wiped it all out with a second microfiber cloth. After doing that, I used my first microfiber from the mirror and shined up the faucet and the knobs and the drain stopper thingie. Because that is what it is called, right? A drain stopper thingie? The vinegar and the microfiber together really makes it all shiny and nice.

Then I cleared off the toilet and picked everything up off of the floor. I think it was something like 6 bottles of shampoo and conditioner and other things, plus a large container of laundry detergent. Doesn't everyone keep a large bottle of laundry detergent in their bathroom? And then I cleared off the little shelf we have hanging above the toilet and straightened it up and made it look nice and neat.

Then it was time to tackle the toilet. I'm sure you all know how to clean a toilet, but bear with me. I sprayed the entire toilet down with the all-purpose spray, tank lid, tank sides, top of toilet lid, underside of toilet lid, top of toilet seat, underside of toilet seat, toilet rim, inside of the bowl (and then a little bit of powder in the bowl), then sprayed the outside of the toilet base, being sure to get the area by the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. Then I started wiping it off with a large terry cloth towel. I like to use barmop towels personally because of their large size, but you could use a standard 12x12 terry cloth cleaning towel as well. But anyhow, I used my barmop towel and began wiping in the same order as I did the spraying, down to the toilet rim part, then I used my toilet brush and cleaned the inside really well. Then I finished up with the toilet rim and the outside of the bowl, all the way down to the floor.

The floor area in our bathroom is very small so it is more trouble than it is worth to try to use a mop in there, plus our toilet is not placed squarely in there either, so it's a very tight space between the side of the toilet and the wall anyhow. So, I just used my all-purpose spray and sprayed the floor on that side of the toilet and hand-wiped it while I was hanging over the toilet to get the area by the bolts cleaned on that side. I then worked my way from the wall behind the toilet to the wall in front of the toilet and then worked my way around the toilet. I used a thin line grout brush to get the area around the bottom of the toilet and let me assure you, it was DIS-GUST-ING. Blech! Then I continued hand wiping the remainder of the floor area. Oh - and in case it wasn't clear, I used the same rag for the toilet and the floor. Because honestly, the floor is much worse than the toilet 'round these parts. You could use a separate rag if you wanted to though.

For the finishing touches in the bathroom, I also shined up the handle of the toilet with my mirror microfiber cloth as well as the toilet paper holder and the switch plate. Then put things back into the bathroom neatly. The only thing left to do was to finish the shower.

Normally, I would have done the shower completely in one shot, but because of the hard water and soap scum, I wanted to give the vinegar some time to cut through it and break it all down. One warning though - when I opened the shower door to clean it, the vinegar smell assaulted my nostrils. It was a little bit overwhelming at first. It won't hurt you, but it is powerful.

I used a steel wool scratchy on my shower door - I don't think my shower door is glass, but it might be. But I used that scratchy on my shower door until it looked pretty decent. It always looks clearer when it is wet than it does when it is dry though. I then wiped the door with the mirror cloth. Then I sprayed down the inside of the shower itself and scrubbed it all really well and then dried it off with the same cloth I used for the sink, and then finished by shining the metal in the shower - the shower head, the shower knob, the shower door handle and the piece that holds the shower door on. Not sure what to call that piece though.

The one thing I realized that I missed when I was done was the window and blinds. I should have used a dry microfiber to dust the blinds before starting the toilet and then cleaned the window with the straight vinegar and mirror cloth and then dusted the window ledge with the dry cloth as well. But oh well, it's definitely in much better shape now than it was before I did it.

And that my friends, is how I clean our tiny bathroom.

Using this method, it took me all of maybe 15 minutes to clean the bathroom. Do you have 15 minutes available to kick your bathroom into tip top clean shape? I bet you do!

Also, I will be linking this up to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

Tossed It Tuesday - April 4

I don't have much to report about things tossed out this week. There's a few items and I will list them, but what I want to talk about is something else that I came across yesterday as well.

Okay, so my list first:
  • Punky's old plastic play kitchen
  • Three boxes worth of paper recycling
  • One box worth of cardboard recycling
  • One bag worth of glass recycling
And for the other part - the thing that I wanted to share? I stopped in at a newer consignment shop here in our city yesterday to find out about their consignment program.  Turns out, it has some really awesome things going on and two minor not so good things going on. I'll start with the no so good things. The first part is that it costs $12 to consign for 120 days. Not horrible, but not great either. But probably cheaper than listing things on ebay and still something that I'm willing to do.

Second thing is the consignment ratio payout. The shop gets 60% while the consignor gets 40%. Not the greatest payout, but when I take into consideration the fact that they do all of the work (and their overhead costs and the fact that it gets the stuff out of my house super easily, well, it's worthwhile to me, I think.)

Now for the good parts - all I have to do is wash it (which I would do regardless), toss it into a box (therefore, no need to go back to pick up my container) and drop it off. They do EVERYTHING else. They will sort though the stuff, keep what will work and either have me come pick up the items that won't work or they will donate it to the homeless mission here and they also take care of the tagging and pricing and marketing of the items. If there are certain items that I want to have back, then they will make sure I get them back if they either choose not to sell the item or if the item does not sell within 120 days. It's a very cool deal. Right now, they are taking clothes for spring/summer and in three months, they will be taking fall/winter clothes as well. And if I take clothes in as late as day 119 from the first date of consignment, then I will have 120 days from day 119 to have the items sell as well for no extra charge. I hope that makes sense. LOL!

And the best part, it gets it out my house super quick and easy. And doing this supports a local business, which is something that I feel strongly about. And if the items don't sell, then they will go to a charity that I think is worthwhile as well. So, in my opinion, it's a win-situation all around.

So very soon I will be getting more and more items out of here and it will be well worth it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Small Things - April 1st and 4th

Even though I was on a blogging hiatus, I did still read blogs while I was gone - well, a few of them anyhow. And Home Sanctuary is one of the ones that I continued to follow. I just wasn't sure when I was going to get back to posting about my participation in her Small Things. But today seems like as good a day as any!

On Friday, which also happened to be April 1st, we were supposed to do something silly. Only one thing. Well, I'm going to count my day at work as being silly because I was a) sleep-deprived and b) hyped up on caffeine and no-calorie sweetener. I don't know what could make me more silly than that to be honest. I had my trainer, myself and trainee cracking up. It was crazy silly fun.

We were to receive 40 points for doing something silly and then an additional 10 points for sharing about it, so 50 points for Friday.

Then today, we were to take a damp cloth and wipe whatever you can with it until you run out of moisture. When you run out of moisture you are done! I did this in the kitchen. I got our counters wiped down, the stove top, the fridge front, the sink and the front of the dishwasher. I even got the small appliances and the primary knickknacks wiped off as well, such as our One Touch canister set (like this one here) and some of the other things we have set out full time on our counters.

So, there was an additional (and EASY!) 40 points! So, now I am up to 90 points for the month!

Menu Plan Monday

I have been absent for a bit and so has my menu planning. But I'm back and so is my menu planning. So here goes!
  • Leftover burgers from grilling out this weekend (I had 20 patties made up and we still have about half of them left over)
  • Lasagna
  • Hamburger and noodles (Kind of like Hamburger Helper, except not out of a box)
  • Enchiladas with beans and rice
  • Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, eggs, sausage)
  • Grilled pork chops
  • Salad bar
So there you have it. This is the plan for our meals for this week.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unintended hiatus

Well, as you may have realized, I have been absent from the blogging world again for the last two (and a couple of days) weeks.  But I have a really good excuse - at least I think I do. :) I started a new job on St. Patrick's Day. I'm cleaning houses for a living now. It's intense. It's fast-paced, thorough and after the first two days, I was fairly sure I was going to die.

Floors are all done by hand on your hands and knees. No brooms and mops here. As a result, my knees have been incredibly sore and my wrists have been acting up quite a bit. Tendonitis and working on hands and knees don't exactly go together real well.

But just the same, I have been plugging away at it. And I'm doing really well at work. At home, ehm, not so much. That's the one major drawback. I work so hard during the daytime and then by the time I get home, I am often so worn out and exhausted that I don't want to do a thing around here. Plus, since I spend all day cleaning homes, I'm kind of used to a certain level of cleanliness now that the house is just not living up to. It will eventually though. I just need to be able (and willing!) to thoroughly clean one room each day after work. If I do that, then it will be much improved. I just have not had the desire to do more work each day.

Also, I am planning on sharing a few tips with you all that I have picked up from work. I can't share all of it though, because well, there are policies and everything...but some stuff I already knew and do at home anyhow (when I'm not dead tired from work!). So look forward to that in a future post.

I am also excited because this next weekend, I am going to finally get a chance to visit a new(-ish) blog friend, Erin and finally get a chance to try out some Shaklee products as well! The company I work for uses green products, but I'm wanting to try out Shaklee because I think that their products are going to be even better than the ones that we use at work.

Also, during my blog absence, I was given my first blog award from faithful reader Patty.

As a recipient of this award, I am supposed to list 7 things about myself that someone may not know from reading this blog. Yikes! Which part of my life do I want to scare you all with share with you all? Well, here goes...

1. I am thinking about possibly opening a home daycare again. I need to look into the requirements and get all those things worked out, but I'm seeing it as a definite possibility.

2. I am really a private person. I bet you all would never realize that, given the frequency of the posts and the amount of stuff I talk about and share, but it's true. I'm actually really timid until someone gets to know me.

3. I am seriously addicted to sweet tea. Instant tea with artificial sweetener to be exact. LOVE the stuff! And I will easily go through a full jar of it each week if I allow myself to. Which I try not to, because I don't really need that much caffeine and artificial sweetener isn't really that good for you either.

4. I am starting to love cleaning again. In spite of my current job as a housecleaner, which I figured would make me hate cleaning even more, I am actually starting to get a little high from cleaning people's houses (and no, it's not the chemical fumes! It's the joy of a freshly cleaned house!)

5. I'm starting to play online games again. I have a bit of an addictive personality, so I try to avoid things that I think will get out of control in relation to my own personal time management and online gaming is one of them. However, recently, Hubby has gotten me onto World of Warcraft, which I do enjoy playing but haven't played much since one weekend shortly after Punky was born when I power-leveled from 1-42 in a weekend. The only thing I did that weekend was play the game, take bathroom breaks and short sleeping breaks. Everything else was done at the keyboard. I nursed Punky while playing, I changed her diapers there, I ate my meals there. It was horrible and something that I have never wished to return to, so therefore my gameplay has been in severe moderation because I know how badly it can take over. Oh - and I'm handling it much better this time around. About an hour's worth of game play two or three times a week is more than good enough for me.

6. Wow, this is harder to do than I thought. Um, I watch way too much TV - particularly on Mondays and Thursdays. We have DVR so I don't have to watch TV on that particular night, but my DVR series list includes the following shows: Sister Wives, 19 Kids and Counting, 90210, Make It Or Break It, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Hoarding: Buried Alive, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Downsized, Parenthood, Modern Family, Hoarders, Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, NCIS, and Criminal Minds. That's like 13 hours of TV each week! Now, granted, I only record/watch new episodes and they have different running seasons, and sometimes there are conflicts on my DVR so I have to choose to not have one of them record, and that is never a hard call. I have definite preferences among the shows on my list. As for my viewing choices, well, I kind of like a hodgepodge of shows. I like teen dramas, I like shows with a medical basis, as long as it also has a storyline that includes interpersonal relationships, I like crime shows as well, as I like to guess whodunit along the way, I like some inspirational shows as well, And nothing makes me ready for a huge purge at home like an episode of Hoarders. :) And then I like special genres, family life, I suppose, like Sister Wives, Downsized, and 19 Kids and Counting.

7. Hmmm, one last thing. I love to rearrange furniture. Or rather, I love to have my husband rearrange our furniture. I think I come by this honestly though. My grandmother, who I spent most of my childhood with, rearranged her furniture every 3-6 months. And my parents moved about every 3-6 months when I was growing up, so I was used to constant changes in furniture arrangements.

Yep, there you go. Seven facts about me that you may not know from reading my blog.

Now, I get to choose 15 blogs to receive this award as well, so here goes:

1. With A Little Help From My Friends
2. Delightful Order
3. Grandma Becky L
4. Kingdom Twindom + 1
5. MckMama
6. Feeding Four
7. Good Enough Mommy
8. Life With Katie
9. Marni's Organized Mess
10. Organized Everyday
11. Ramblings of a Stressed Out Mom
12. Seams Inspired
13. sweet view from the hills
14. White House, Black Shutters
15. The Boys & Me

Okay ladies, there you go! It's now your turn! Grab the image, post it on your blog and then list seven things about yourself that someone reading your blog may not know and then choose 15 of your favorite blogs to receive the award as well!