Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Productive Procrastinating...

I've been home with a sick kid for three days now (gross sick - diarrhea, fart pooping, and puke... so much puke, but all in the toilet at least.. so woo hoo!!), and with all the time, we got a pretty good head start on our Spring Cleaning.  The kids were pretty excited to help, from moving the bed mattresses to move all the piled up crap underneath to vacuuming to getting pee stains out of our mattress!  But a day after being super productive, we're now... kinda... well, we're stuck!  We have more window tracks to take care of, but I'm tired.  I'm spent.  I don't want to do it anymore!  Ugh.  How do regularly clean people do it?  I think I need to hire someone.  I'm all about organizing, but cleaning is a whole other beast for me.  Growing up, I vacuumed and did dishes, but that was pretty much the extent of my cleaning responsibilities.  In college, housekeeping took care of our bathrooms, so again, I didn't have to do much.  I traveled for work so much when I had a roommate post college, that I didn't really make a mess, or clean up.  I just kept my own room clean, wiped down my own bathroom, and my super neat freak roommate would always lecture me about clearing the sink.  Oops.  Most of the time, I just ate out... and the other half of the time, I lived with my parents, so we always had cleaning ladies come too.  So... yes, I've been spoiled and really didn't have to deal with cleaning my own space until I got married. 

In the time that I should have been wiping down tracks with q-tips and microfiber cloths and moving mud (yes, it's that gross), I have reorganized two spaces, cleared and tidied up two areas, updated our silhouettes, put up photos for a gallery wall, and added photos to empty frames I received for Christmas.  Productive, yes... productive procrastination!

So tomorrow... I guess I'll see if I get around to it.  Especially since I have four kids home now.. Spring Break... oops.  Shoulda woulda coulda. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring Cleaning.. What's That?!

I'm a bit ashamed to admit, I've never truly spring cleaned.  I actually had to google "what is spring cleaning" and do a bit of research.  After extensive reading and pouring over a bunch of different cleaning blogs and sites and advice, I came to this conclusion.  I mean, I've dabbled with cleaning the house during Spring and calling it "spring cleaning," but in terms of actually getting down to the stuff that isn't touched much, I haven't done it.  I have at most, dusted some of the higher up stuff like ceiling fans and curtain rods once.  I have determined that as part of my spring cleaning routine with littles, this is what I hope to achieve.

Spring Cleaning
-Wiping down the top of the fridge (normally, you'd move it out and clean in back also, but our freezer was having some issues, so we already did that not too long ago... so I'm going to take a hard pass on that)
-Wiping down the top of the washer/dryer stackable unit
-Wiping down in back of the stove including removing it (this should be interesting as we have not touched it since we moved in here four years ago....
-Wipe down walls and backsplash (did this with my steam cleaner yesterday on a few parts of the kitchen, it was surprisingly quick and even a little fun...)

In addition to the "Spring cleaning" part included, I'll also do the other stuff I normally do which is sweeping and mopping the floors.

Not Doing
Here are the things I'm opting out of because I just can't....
-Wiping down my cabinets (maybe when we have a nicer kitchen, I am not messing with this now)
-Wiping down the insides of all my cabinet shelves (I sorta do this as I see fit anyway)

Spring Cleaning
-Using homemade solutions (cup of baking soda, cup of salt, pour cup of vinegar down and wait 10 minutes, then pour boiling hot water over it) to clear the sinks
-Attack soap scum on shower doors (used a homemade solution of 1 cup of hot water with 1 cup of vinegar and 3 drops of essential oils)

The bathroom is the only part of our home besides the kitchen that receives weekly attention, so I don't feel the need to really "deep clean" anything in there.  I'll do my normal routine which is cleaning the toilet, wiping the floors, the counters, and the bath tub or shower.

-Dust all curtain rods
-Wipe down all wood blinds
-Clean storm window in between areas (this is disgusting, one quick look at our 1970s storm windows would show you dead bugs, dust pile-up, and overall just gross)
-Dust all ceiling fans (we only have two thank goodness)

We already wipe down our base boards and chair rails every now and then, hint: it's a easy kid responsibility to assign.  But that sure feels like a lot. 

Just thinking about it feels overwhelming.... I'm going to attempt to break it down and do a bit each day.  With a baby and my 3 and 4 year old at home for most of the day, it's a strategic thing to figure out when to do it.  Last night, I had some free time while Andy went to play weekly ball, so after wasting too much time on social media (seriously, our kids are so screwed...) I finished the dishes and busted out my new steamer to wipe down some walls and clean the storm window in betweens in our kitchen.  Then, I got inspired by something I saw on social media (maybe our kids aren't that screwed...) and decided to clean my vents (for the first time in four years also...)  I vacuumed two of the vents, will continue tomorrow with the bedroom vents, and then will run the actual vents in the dishwasher later.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Sounds of Motherhood

I love being a stay at home mom, and I love listening to the sounds that make my day. Here are some I have been thinking of lately... in no particular order...

The crunch of a million pieces of a few cheerios under my fuzzy purple slippers.
The cascade of crumbs dropping to the floor when I unstrap and then stand you up in the booster.
The plea at the top of your lungs wondering where I am.
The pure glee and excitement when you find me on the toilet.
The hushed chuckle of refusal when I ask for some privacy.
The patter of little feet running away to hide in the same spot,
The muffled laughter from behind your same hiding spot.
The huff that comes with a pout.
The slithering pendulum sound of snot blowing high and then low.
The squeal of joy when tickled.
The sigh of content when cuddled.
The scream of frustration when angered.
The yelling of madness when arguing.
The panting for air when running around.
The silly claps of sad attempts to do a jumping jack.
The swirl of your tiny hands grabbing my hair.
The smothering of your lips on my face.
The click of disobedience slapped in my face.
The buzz of anticipation as you wait for lunch.
The moans of meal refusal yet again.
The cheers in celebration and zeal for something yummy to eat.
The sweet chirp of thank you, please, and I love you so much.
The beep of the same question asked again, and again, louder, and louder.
The whispered shrug of not knowing and not caring.
The triumphant stomping of a happy march around home.
The eery lack of sound, the loud silence that rings of trouble.
The barely there twiddling of your toes as they peek out from under the curtain where you think you are completely invisible.
The gasp of breath when you're so upset and crying and fighting for some justice.
The twinkle of the love and adoration in your eyes as you tell me how much you really do love me again.

What have you heard lately?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Free Printable - He Is Risen for Easter Decor

Slap some butter on me, cuz I have been on an upcycling ROLL lately.  For me, DIY projects are similar to when I have ideas to write, once they come, they just KEEP ON COMING, and I can't really hesitate or I'll get a huge writer's block or in this case, a DIY upcycling drought.  So, I have just RUN with it.  It also doesn't hurt that I have plenty of gold and white spray paint stored nicely in my new Container Store containers that were on sale (pantry sale this month) that makes it super accessible. 

I have some old frames I never could throw away (hoarder remember?!) in the garage, and I pretty much skipped over there, knowing exactly which frame I was going to upcycle.  It was an old 5x7 cherry wood stained frame that held a photo of some golf celebrities with Tiger Woods in the middle (my husband was obsessed).  Not something we need on display at our home, so to the garage it went and stayed for the last four years.  Hoarder win! 

After sanding it, cleaning it, and covering it with about 4-5 coats of white spray paint, I decided to have some fun with painter's tape and gold spray paint.  I've seen a lot of color blocking on home decor lately, usually it's white and neutral, or a lot of mixing textures, wood grains with textile, tough jut rugs with more gentle furniture, straight lines with floral, etc., so I went ahead and decided to do a dipped corner in gold look in opposite ends... and it turned out looking pretty good! 

As for the frame insert, I just took the first free wreath download via google and using King Basil font (a favorite for the last year and a half) made this "He is Risen" printable.  It printed out in the middle of my 8x11 cardstock, but I just cut it after tracing the frame's glass over it, centering the wreath in the very middle. 

Download PDF by clicking here - for personal use only please!

Here's my project's photo timeline:

Monday, March 19, 2018

This Is Organized Hoarding...

This weekend, we moved our two oldest boys downstairs so our fourth could have his own room and cry it out.  We got tired of him waking up in our bedroom, seeing us, and crying for me (he's not yet weaned... help me!).  With the move, came the opportunity to downsize our toy collection dramatically.  At first, I thought I could get rid of one entire toy storage unit, but instead (and after much pushback from my kids and even my husband who said I might be going too far with minimizing...) I decided to limit it to whatever they could fit into our two storage units.  With shelves and tons of fabric containers, we actually had a lot more storage than our Ikea Kallax (4x2) shelving unit and the Trofast that looks like a step L.  I digress.... You would NOT BELIEVE how many toys we have four years living in Salt Lake near a ton of family.  Trust me when I say I was one of those moms who only had one box of toys for my child for the first two years of his life.  We were in Spokane, not near family, and it was easy living in a small rented space, to limit the toys and enjoy the few we did have.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward to moving to Salt Lake where we were near family.  With generous family living nearby, our kids toy collection quickly grew.  You know how they say growth can be organic?  Our organic growth SKY ROCKETED, and with our family growing from one to four children, there was even more reason for everyone wanting to give us more.

This experience has taught me that despite being an organized person, masked under those OCD neat freak tendencies is actually just a basic hoarder.  Because instead of donating stuff on a regular basis, I thought my "boxes inside of boxes" and "organized self" was doing fine, when in reality, I was just accumulating more storage units.  Cute baskets, wire baskets, white baskets, pink baskets, purple baskets.... clear containers, translucent containers, fabric containers, clear boxes, pull drawers, pails, ... I can't believe how long I could go on for!  Basically anything to help my organized hoarding continue to hoard on.  And that's kind of what happened to our toy collection.  They found new homes, organized homes, and .....

I guess along the way, without life changes forcing you to declutter (going away to college, moving out of my parents' house, getting married, moving to another state for new job opportunities with said husband, etc.) it's easy to just keep everything.  For me, I'm also very sentimental.  I still have old movie ticket stubs that I had to finally throw away when the writing rubbed off and it was hard to see what movie and dates were even on there.  I was really sad when I noticed this.  And my parents weren't any better, I just finally threw away a bundle of hair wrapped in tissue paper with Chinese characters describing it as the first hair my parents ever cut off of my head as a baby.  I am 35 years old.  They gave this to me when I was about 22.  I have kept it until now!  Why?!  I dunno, I guess if my parents kept it for that long, it must have been special, so I just continued the tradition.... so when I look at toys and think about how every single one of my children have played with this, or that they got this for this birthday or that Christmas (yeah, I have a weird memory that's only applicable for useless information like this), I hesitate and then.. I just put it off and here I am.... with tons of toys!

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that this experience so far, of decluttering and organizing my home, has basically taught me that I was a hoarder disguised as an organized person.  An organized hoarder.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Upcycling Baby Toys You Probably Have Lying Around....

Unless you already donated it.. in which case, I'm sorry... but you can pass this along to your friends to do the same!

So when the whole geometric trend started showing up on everyone's shelves about 3 years ago (that's when I noticed it, I may be behind the trend... wouldn't put it past me...), I really wanted one!  Something gold and geometric would look so great on my books!  But when you have kids and are cheap like me, you kinda have to weigh the opportunity cost of money in my pocket right now versus having a wonderful design piece that will ultimately and most likely get destroyed by your kids...

As I was surveying all the baby toys that were put away to be taken out again when I had my fourth (and last) child the end of 2016, I started to see potential in some of the baby toys we had.  Specifically, the Manhattan Toy toys!  Their Skwish classic rattle and teether had been gifted to me from a coworker before I had my first child.  She said this was, "the best toy ever" and I believed her.  My son LOVED it, he would watch the attached wood go from one end of the stick to the other, all while grasping onto the elastic parts, and admiring the colorful sounds.  My firstborn was also lucky enough to get some pretty nice gifts from Aunties who visited, specifically my BFF who knew nothing about kids, but went perusing in a Manhattan Beach boutique for a special toy for my son.  The saleslady told her the Manhattan Toy's winkel rattle and sensory teether was top of the line, so she bought it.  Both toys retail for about $13-15 on Amazon, but purchased from any boutique, is normally $20-25.  My son loved it again!  This one has softer loops he could hold onto and a more prominent rattle in the red dice that sat in the middle of the cloister.  And to be honest, all my kids enjoyed these two Manhattan Toy classics, which is why, I knew, as soon as baby was done playing with it, I would do my upcycle project.

I could already see it.  Gold spray paint.  Gold tights while I painted it (I own a pair... seriously).  Short sprays.  Lots of layers.  Ohhh, the build-up was intense.  I could NOT wait!

To be honest, I had forgotten about the two toys in all my recent decluttering and organizing frenzy, and though I had already spray painted a bunch of stuff recently, I hadn't yet done the Manhattan Toys!  As we were getting ready to move our boys downstairs to the basement, I found the two toys, and put them aside, excited for the prospect of spraying it gold!

I'll be honest.  It was not easy.  It took about 7 coats because the angle to get around each piece of wood and loop, as well as the sliding wood pieces on the Skwish classic, all made it hard.  But give up I did not, and a gold display piece I did get!

I think looking at the photo of it, you wouldn't even recognize that it's a children's play toy.  The bright colors are gone, the geometric shape is still intact, and it's a lovely trendy gold.  Gold!!!    So if you have any of these two Manhattan Toy toys, hang onto them, and do yourself a favor once your kids are done with them... spray paint them gold!  Upcycle win!  For less than $4 (the price of a can of spray paint), I got two amazing pieces!

Pro Tip: use gloves if you don't want a little sparkle on your fingertips, it washes off pretty easily if treated immediately.  

Here are my two Manhattan toys before the spray paint fun. 

I had to move the little balls and spray paint from all sorts of corners to get every nook and cranny. But I did it!  Virutal HIGH FIVE!!


Next project: use that clear liquid I bought four years ago to solidify fake water and freeze my fake flowers from the Dollar Tree .... 

So what do you think?  What color are you going to spray paint your toys?  Gold?  Rose Gold? Copper?  I think I may be in the mood for some copper upcycling next week, so stay tuned!  

Friday, March 16, 2018

Weekly Planner Printable

I got this wonderful planner for 2018 that I have been using this month and have been loving it!  The only part that is bugging me is how heavy it is since it has pages for every single day with a week's worth for the entire year.  It also isn't great to take along with you for a grocery trip with kids because it's so bulky and my diaper bag is already packed with so much, and of course.. four kids... usually only 2 during grocery trips if I can help it, but sometimes I can't!

As a result, I created this worksheet planner, feel free to print it and use it as well!  It's a bit different than most available printables because it's for someone who is super busy, in my case, because of my kids.  I like to plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because with kids, if I plan stuff for myself, it's a lot healthier, and not feeding my kids chicken nuggets or ramen everyday for lunch is probably a good thing.  I also put activities because with all the stuff going on from week to week,  it's just nice to have a week's glance on paper.  Lastly, my "To Do" section is because sometimes there's just stuff I have to add that isn't menu or grocery list related, and I wanted somewhere to jot it all down, sort of like a "notes" area.