Homemade Sink Cleaner

I made something…a sink cleaner! My sink needed it. Ugh, it makes me so embarrassed.

sink_cleaner

Sprinkle this stuff in your sink with a squirt of Castile soap and get scrubbin’. Who’s excited?

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It’s only two ingredients: baking soda and your choice of essential oils. I used lemon and sweet orange.

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I love me some citrus. What are your favorite essential oil combos?

I think it makes a cute gift too – just tie some baker’s twine and add a little card!

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Supposedly this is a “Nightly Sink Cleaner” but I if I manage to clean my sink 2x/week, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. I got the recipe here. This Clean Mama blog is a cleaning gold mine. Check her out, surely you’ll be inspired! I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) to follow along with her cleaning schedule. I’ve been putting my biggest effort into picking up the house before Zack gets home from work. I try to get the kitchen counters and table clear and cleaned off and the toys picked up. It takes me a frantic hour while the kids play outside or watch TV but the house feels so much better. I even light a candle because obviously I’m fancy!

Does anyone else have a cleaning schedule they stick to? Tips or tricks? I have trouble because when I’m cleaning one room, the kids are destroying another. It’s best if we just leave the house for most of the morning. We hired cleaners when Cade was a baby and that has helped immensely. I wish, for my sanity, we would have invested in cleaners when I had Amelie. I could have used the help; I was so tired and overwhelmed. A clean house would have made a big difference for me.

Now, I’m still overwhelmed but not as tired so that’s progress! Can you believe all of these posts? Will I keep it up?

Pssst. I did a Valentine post but I didn’t want to mess with your mind by posting it in June. So I posted it in the past…as if it were there all along! That’s cheating, you know.

Tidying The Clothes

Whoa, I started this post in July. Yes, LAST JULY.

I convinced my hubby, Zack to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and together during a miraculous simultaneous nap (that hardly ever happened and now it NEVER happens because Amelie has dropped her nap completely), we tackled our clothes. We piled all of our clothes on the bed during nap time and worked through each item.

clothes_purge_before

This was a tiring undertaking!

Look how many clothes/shoes we donated:

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Truth be told, I had already done this with my summer clothes so my portion was easier to sift through. I even got all nerdy and tried on all of my summer clothes and assembled outfits. If I couldn’t put together an outfit with a piece, I donated it.

Marie Kondo recommends pulling out ALL of your clothes. That means hunting through other random closets in the house as well as storage. We both had clothes stashed in Cade’s closet to address, like my wedding dress. Not too long ago (well, longer now because this post is already a year old), the office closet looked like so. Can you see my dress stuffed carelessly in a white bag in the corner?

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I’ve tried to sell the dress unsuccessfully a few times and so it sat. I know to most a wedding dress a treasured item but I care more about our photos by Emily Griffith than the dress itself. I liked it and I felt beautiful in it. But, now I want it out of the house. Out!

I looked up how to wash the dress at home and it actually came out beautifully!

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I found this great website that lists a handful of charities that you can donate your wedding dress to. I chose Adorned in Grace; it helps sex trafficking survivors. I feel great that my dress is taking on a new (much more important) purpose than sitting sad and crumpled in my closet.

Around the same time, a local lady was collecting dresses to donate to a low-income community for their prom. So, I donated my black satin bridesmaid dress too!

Cheers to a cleaner closet, cleaner mind and a dress that can be repurposed for someone that is very deserving!

In full disclosure, I think my closet could use another look over. I’m still finding a few items that could be donated, as well as finding a few holes in my closet that need to be filled. But, the big clean out is complete and it feels so good to pull out items that I know I for sure feel comfortable in.

I need to get Kondo-ing again. Anyone know what’s next after clothes?

Happy Father’s Day

This man is a talented man in many ways. But the thing he excels at most is being a Daddy. I’m in awe.

Daddy

Happy Father’s Day to our kind-hearted, loving, patient, creative, goofy Daddy. We love you so much!

Throwback to his first Father’s Day and last year.

Apparently I missed documenting 2014 because I was deep in the throws of morning (I mean, ALL DAY) sickness while pregnant with Cade. Rest assured, he was an awesome Daddy then too. I, on the other hand, was a witch.

Home Sweat Home: Guest Bathroom

Time to celebrate, I have emerged from hibernation!

(No, literally, I was hibernating. I sleep all of the time.)

It’s been so long, where to do I start? Do I post in the past? Do I play catch up with posts that are way out of season? Do I watch Netflix to avoid dealing with it a little longer and then eat chocolate ice cream to cope with my inadequacies?

I’ll start and see what happens, ok? We are talking the Guest Bathroom. It sounds like a lovely place with the capitalization and all. But it wasn’t.

Let’s back way up to the Proper Beginning. Remember when we bought the house? I barely do – let’s refresh our cloudy memories. Here’s a peek!

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This is the only picture I have because I didn’t bother trying to get any more (but I sure wish I had at least tried).

When Amelie was a baby, I worked on painting all of the interior doors Zinc by Martha Stewart, including the doors in the guest bathroom. I didn’t show you because it was the same project on repeat so I thought you might be bored but I can see you’re bored anyway. Here is the current view:

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Then slowly, ever so slowly,  I painted the bathroom Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.

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Was Sea Salt the worst color in the world to pair with the current tile and vanity? No, but a light neutral would have been better. Much, much better. It photographs much cleaner than it felt in person, trust me on this.

I also managed to paint the ceiling a fresh white along with caulk and paint all of the trim. But, it’s hard to mask ugly. Check out this vanity.

It may look familiar because its twin is upstairs in the master bathroom.

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A closeup:

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Ugh, that medicine cabinet. Let’s keep going?

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Wanna see the shower? Zack and I use this bathroom as our primary because we don’t want to wake the kids while we get ready. It’s been working hard for us.

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There are loads of issues with this shower. The biggest, grossest thing about it is the shower pan. It was set in with a slant so water pools in the corner. To make everything worse, the overly long shower curtain liner sits in the “pool” (bathes?) and turns pink with slime (ie: MOLD). Gross, huh? I tried to dry it out by scooping the water down the drain after my showers and hanging the curtain awkwardly against the shelving. But it was unruly and slimey so it wasn’t very effective.

(My sincerest apologies to all of our guests that used this bathroom before I resorted to bleaching the daylights out of it. For years, I scrubbed with natural cleaners and I could never get it clean. I’m mortified just thinking about it! Serious regrets, I tell ya.)

A closeup of the tile. I don’t like the inset “accent” whatsoever. It’s the same tile we have upstairs. I’m no expert, but I think the tile work was far from well done:

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Next to the shower is the linen closet:

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(I’m sure you remember it from my show stopping linen closet organization post.)

Detail shots. A little surprise with some random contact paper!

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Those shelves are not cute nor level.

The hole. Yep, still there even though I bought a patch kit four years ago. FOUR YEARS AGO.

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The floor of the linen closet which is usually hiding behind a stack of toilet paper. See those big gaps? And the trim on only one side?

guestbath11_beforeAre you wondering why now, after all of this time, am I showing you our guest bathroom updates? Well, truthfully, I have been meaning to blog. I really have. And also because it now looks like this:

guestbath12_before

We are renovating, folks! Top to bottom. Well, I’m not doing anything except checking Instagram when I should be doing laundry but we hired pros!

I’m panicking. I hope I didn’t pick out anything stupid that I’ll regret for forever and ever. But really, can it get any worse?

Can it?!?

Are you glad to see me?

Guys?

 

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2017! I wanted the kids to sport red, white and blue so Amelie chose to wear her Elsa dress. Good enough, I say!

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Oh my goodness they are so cute. You must agree!

Also, a rare picture of us grownups:

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We had such a lovely day – starting with a park and coffee date in the morning and grilling at our house with friends and family in the evening. The weather and food were amazing and the company was even better:

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A look back on Memorial Day of yore: Look at my babies in 2016! I was sleep deprived for 2013-2015 and honestly, who knows what I did on those Memorial Days. But how about when I ran with a DSLR around my neck along with 50,000 other people in the largest road race in the country in 2012!

Or way way back? When I wore a wedding veil for an entire half marathon in 2009…

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My sincerest thanks to the service men and women and their families that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I know we are fortunate and blessed and safe; a privilege that came at a price for so many. I do not take this for granted. <3

Amelie’s Preschool Valentines

Last year, I was SO into it. Preschool Valentines? Adorable! I’ll take any excuse to craft…

This year, I picked up blank red cards from Target Dollar Spot and had Amelie paint them with swirls of gold and glitter. She was enthusiastic at first but her attention span was short lived. I ended up painting the rest myself. In fact, I put together her Valentines myself and it was a lot of work, actually.

They turned out so cute though.

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I included Fun Dip because I loved this stuff as a kid:

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I cringe when I think about how much sugar and chemicals are loaded in it though. Next year, no candy! Stickers or temporary tattoos or something – anything – besides candy. It gets to be too much junk for the kiddies, you know?

Amelie only goes to preschool two half days per week and Valentine’s Day fell on a non-school day. We went to story time at Whole Foods and then delivered her valentines to preschool, including two chocolate roses for her teachers.

Amelie_preschoolvalentines

She’s wearing the same dress as last year. You would never know that tutu got caught on the lint trap in the dryer and ripped out a big chunk out from the back…

Hope your Valentine’s Day was lovely.

Christmas Decor

Are you ready for this or are you over it? Doesn’t really matter, actually. Let’s go!

This year, I finally did outside lights for the first time. Ever. You guys, this is a big deal. I was intimidated because I wasn’t sure how to plug them in since we don’t have an outdoor outlet (something I’d like to change eventually). I ended up snaking the extension cord underneath the gaping hole in our garage door flashing (something that I’d also like to change eventually). I even used a timer and felt very smug about it.

I copied a friend and wrapped lights around the posts and called it good enough.

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I know, it doesn’t look like much. But when I’d sneak out for my morning run in the dark, they made me so happy. Lights are magical! Plus, I scored the lights on mega clearance last year so that’s secretly thrilling to me. I don’t love the silver ball wreath around the light but I couldn’t figure out where else to put it and it’s actually gorgeous at night when the light is on, so I left it.

I’ve been perusing clearance Christmas trees to fill out the front step – wish me good deal finding luck!

The boxwood wreath is from Trader Joes and it’s so fresh and pretty. I stuck a gold sparkly sprig in it and that was it.

wreath

I actually bought two more boxwood wreaths to hang on either side of the garage but the Command Hooks were out to get me so that didn’t happen. I felt defeated, I’m not going to lie. Come on inside, the Command Hooks got me in there too.

I like to decorate the hutch by mixing in a few holiday things among all of the white pieces:

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Truthfully, I was going to clear out all of the toys for the picture but I thought maybe one day, I’ll want to remember what Christmas decorating with littles around is like. So, they stayed in all of their primary-colored messy glory.

The navy mercury tree was from last year when I lost my mind in the after Christmas sales. I scored it for cheap! I didn’t want it to happen but the Target Dollar Spot lured me once again this season. How cute are these ceramic houses and bottle brush trees!?

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You can even put tea lights in the houses, which I hope to do next year. I think they would be so sweet all aglow at night.

The left side:

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It’s a sparse, I should have crammed the bowl full of ornaments but I didn’t. Hey! Another sprig! I love that word, don’t you?

Moving over to the other side, Elf made her appearance again this year. She’s been with me for Christmas ever since I was a kid!

hutch

The couch finally -FINALLY- got new throw pillows.

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I’ve been hesitating to buy them because sticky fingers makes me think twice about buying anything to make the house look nice, you know?

I wanted to add some extra holiday cheer and this cozy bear and plaid throw seemed to fit right in:

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Christmas pictures. I have a matching frame for Cade’s first Christmas but no picture printed yet. I need to do that. I need to do a lot of things but instead, I drink coffee.

xmas_pictures Also! “New” lamps that I intend to bore you with someday.

Moving to the kitchen. I strung our cards up here and added one of the rogue boxwoods that had no home. Two wreaths would have made this look much better. Maybe next year.

xmas_cardsNext year, I plan to do two strands for the card display. We got a big handful right before Christmas that sat in a pile on our table because I was zapped of motivation to hang them by then.

Of course, I plopped a few pretties in my tray on the kitchen table.

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I had two helpers with the tree this year. For the first time, Amelie was really into it.

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Last year, I did it by myself. Amelie was too crabby so I put her to bed and I did the rest one-handed, holding Cade who was naked from the waist down because of some bad diaper rash. A lot has changed in a year!

And, Ta Da!

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One new thing I added this year, a step button to turn on the tree lights. Like, duh. It’s so amazing. I also added one strand of twinkling lights (clearance score from last year) and that was a fun change-up.

Originally, I planned to drape layered garlands along the window but my Command Hooks were not cooperating and I just gave up. I did manage to get the wreath up that MamaP bought me last season, so there is that.

The rest of the house got a sprinkling of cheer, starting with our downstairs bath:

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And my vanity, that I intend to tell you about someday too:

vanityIn Cade’s room, I thought the rustic mini tree would fit nicely since he has an “outdoorsy” inspired room:

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(Hey, remember when this desk used to look like this?)

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I know. Even the drawers are organized. More on that someday…

Anyway, a closeup of that adorable fuzzy owl:

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I also added these glitter trees from Target Dollar Spot. That place! Is the best. Isn’t it?

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The glitter trees are actually supposed to be paired with bigger trees but Amelie wanted those for her room. She even adorned them with ornaments herself:

amelie_roomSo sweet, huh? If you zoom out though, this is what her room looks like at all times.

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She is very busy during her quiet time. She reads out loud. She changes clothes. She does puzzles, builds train tracks, turns lights on and off, shreds paper into bits. I can’t complain though because she stays up in her room the entire time. She is amazing!

Did I lose you in the mess? I hope not. I decided to cut to the end even though I had a few more things to show you – holiday sheets for our bed (that is rumpled and unmade) and the gold tree for the playroom that I never managed to get decorated. Oh well, right? I can see that you’re tired. Me too, my friend.

It’s a lot of work to put up but there sure is a magic to it all, isn’t there?

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I’m keeping the tree up for a little longer. I can’t say goodbye just yet.

The Tour of Christmas’ past: 2010, 2011, 2012 (we moved on Dec. 20th that year!), 2013 (Amelie’s first), 2014 (Cade’s first; he didn’t care because he was sleeping) and 2015.

 

 

Merry Christmas!

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Picture perfect, am I right?

Amelie figured out which presents were hers pretty fast. “A-M-E-L-I-E spells Ah-mo-me!!!”

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“Elsa” had a very good Christmas and yes, we are full on in Frozen mode over here.

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Cade loved his books, garbage truck and tunnel from Grandma. He exclaimed “Oh my goodness!” as he opened presents. It was so adorable, I almost fainted.

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We set out our stockings for Santa. Oh and I plan to do a Christmas decor post but you know how well I get things done around here.

treeOur considerate Amelie/Elsa/Ice Princess set out the treats for Santa and his reindeer:

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Santa “filled” their stockings (he was stingy because they don’t know any better) but also brought them a new-to-them train table!

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Man, that thing is huge and hard to vacuum around. The kids love it!

Christmas 2016 was magical and sweet but also, as always, real life things crept in like a flat tire, crabby kids, a PMSing Mom, and overeating bloat. I tried to savor the magic and ignore the other stuff but I didn’t do a very good job. Ugh, huh?

I hope you had a love-filled holiday and that the bloat didn’t get you like it did me!

If you are feeling nostalgic like me, a look back on Christmas 2015.