Homemade Sink Cleaner

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


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


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


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!


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.

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!


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:


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


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.


A closeup:


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


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.


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:


Next to the shower is the linen closet:


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

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


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.


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:


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?



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.


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


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.


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. Did you see my Valentine’s Day post? You didn’t. It’s probably because, just like this one, I wrote it in June but published it in February. I’m a cheat.

Gimme Gold

This post was not worth writing and certainly is not worth reading, ok?

I’ve had this letter opener for at least five years.


It did its job, you know, opening letters and stuff. But, it kinda bothered me. So I fixed it.


Ahhh, much better.


Friday Tidbits

So, you guys, I finished a project!

(I do not know what’s gotten into me.)

Like this stool, the previous homeowners left us these two stools as well.


We’ve been using them all of these years just as they were but I thought they were nasty.

First I used a deglosser to clean them up. Then I grabbed two cans of Winter Gray spray paint and went to town.


I gave them a quick spray of sealer and called it a day. Actually, as always, this took me two weeks. It’s like my magic number of getting things done around here. What’s your magic number?


Now, I’m the first to admit. I don’t know what I’m doing. I probably should have painted these instead of using spray paint but picking out a paint color intimidated me so I just went with what was easiest for my brain at the time. I imagine they won’t hold up awesome with lots of use but at least they are not orangey-oak anymore. Right?


For now, they are stepping stools stones until we pick out pieces of our own when we update the rest of the kitchen set. The best thing of all, I’m not going to freak out if one of the kids takes a crayon to them while I’m trying to use the bathroom.

Are you surprised I went with gray?

Of course you weren’t.


Candace’s Crafty Corner: A Heart of Gold

When we bought the house, the previous owners left quite a few random things behind – tools, a bunch of junk, and a few pieces of small furniture like this side table I made over before Amelie was born. I’m happy to report that we are still using it too!

They also left this stool; a hideous orange-y wood.


I’ve been planning to paint it for forever, but it became more urgent now that Amelie is potty trained and needs a stool she can move to the sink to wash her hands.

I used a new Rustoleum shade: Coral. I had originally bought it last year for my living room lamps but have yet to tackle those. Story of my life, you know?


And now, after a few coats. So bright and happy, right?


I felt like it needed some dimension. I was debating on painting 3/4 of the top a super light coral. I mulled over it a while until Zack suggested a total different direction: a heart. Ummm. YES!


I cut a stencil out of scrap paper and traced the heart with pencil. I chose the Martha Stewart craft pain in Gold – it’s such a beautiful gold. It’s what I used to paint the plastic dinosaurs for Amelie’s 2nd birthday party.


I did my best to stay in the lines and used a small brush. It’s far from perfect but this little piece is marred with imperfections anyway so I tried not to worry too much about it.


The first coat was patchy and I worried I should have primed it first with a white. But I kept on painting thin coats and it ended up covering nicely. It went quickly too. Amelie skipped her nap and we painted outside together (she used watercolors and paper). It was sweet!

After letting it dry, I added pads to the bottom because this stool made the most atrocious sound as Amelie dragged it across the bathroom tile. In addition, one of the legs was too short so I added an extra pad to prevent it from being tippy.


Since Amelie (and eventually Cade) will be moving this about the bathroom and stepping on it, I figured it could use a couple coats of sealer. Luckily a friend had a can on hand in her garage. Thanks, Lisa!


All done! Can you believe it?


Me either!


Ok, I’m ff to take a nap or eat cake or something to celebrate this momentous occasion. Say nice things while I’m away!

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I sensed that you were all a teeny bit concerned about how I would handle the aftermath of Amelie’s panda party. What is one to do with 30+ die cut pandas in an already cluttered house, you may have asked yourself? Did she toss them? Did she make them into some incredible panda mural? Did she donate them because she is a selfless giving human and loves to spread panda joy? Did she leave them on the floor of the office for weeks and just recently started glueing them to cards and randomly giving them to people?

Why, yes. The latter.

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week and to show my gratitude for all they do, I put together little gift bags for Amelie’s teachers. I didn’t photograph the gift bags themselves but just imagine run of the mill gift bags with snacks, chapstick, and Target & Starbucks gift cards stuffed inside. I wish I could have loaded them with more but I’m on a budget.

I did repurpose two of the die cut pandas for their thank you cards:


Nothing spectacular to see here, I know. These cards got my rusty brain gears turnin’ on other ways to use them up. Since I have a handful of pandas left, wouldn’t they be so cute adorned with a Santa hat or scarf and used as tags for the holidays?! Stay tuned!

Or don’t. I totally understand either way.


Home Sweat Home: Kitchen Ceiling

As I alluded to in the last kitchen post (with much suspense) I checked another To Do off this list…

  • Paint maroon grout (shudders)
  • Fix baseboards
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint light fixtures
  • Replace kitchen window
  • Replace kitchen window blinds
  • Replace almond outlets with white ones

A Before:


Doesn’t look too bad, does it?

Incorrect. See?


The ceiling was a beigy-yellow and very greasy. Two coats of white paint fixed that right up!


It could have used three coats but who has time for that?

And a useless After photo:


I surprised Zack when he came home from work and asked him to “guess what’s different about the kitchen!”. He wandered around confused and replied “I have no idea but something about the kitchen certainly feels less gross.”


It’s one of those type of projects; lessening the Gross Factor. Well, yet another project I’ve started and completed. Just like Amelie says when she uses the big girl potty, “Yay, I’m so proud of me!”

More home updates coming. As per usual, with every move forward seems to encourage a step back. Literally. A corner of our front step fell off during the massive snow storm just before Easter.



Home Sweat Home: The Kitchen Edging

I’m as shocked as you are that there is a home update to share today! If you creak open those rusty memory banks back to over a year ago, my last kitchen update was quite a big one: we had the kitchen cabinets painted white.

After that big overhaul, the kitchen sat like this for a long while.

cabinets_painted2Let’s not kid ourselves. It didn’t sit *exactly* like this ever again because our house is always a mess. I would say it’s a lucky day if we can see our countertops but have you seen how ugly our countertops are? The maroon grout is horrifying.

Anyway, there still are quite a few To Dos for the Kitchen Phase 1 Redo. I say Phase 1 because I would like it all reno’d in a few years when we can afford it financially and afford the disruption. Right now, that kitchen is working hard for me and I can’t give it up!

I tackled the grubby kitchen edging last week and you wouldn’t have guessed it but by golly, I finished what I started. I’m amazing!

Let’s take a closer look at what I was staring at over my morning cup of coffee.


I primed it and put two coats of pure white paint on it (even though it could have used three) and called it a day! Actually it took me like two weeks but you know what I mean.

A dark After picture coming right up, drum roll, please.


Another view:


Makes that maroon grout even more maroon-y, am I right? Bummer.

In hindsight, I might have considered painting all of the edging/trim in the house a tinted white (like Benjamin Moore White Dove) instead so it’s not so stark but I had the pure white paint on hand and I was not about to buy more. So, at least it matches the rest of the house.

To Dos for Phase 1:

  • Paint maroon grout (shudders)
  • Fix baseboards
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint light fixtures
  • Replace kitchen window
  • Replace kitchen window blinds
  • Replace almond outlets with white ones

I’ve already secretly crossed another kitchen To Do off the list but I’m holding out on you and putting it in a separate blog post to build drama. Ok?

Also, while I’ve been working feverishly and inefficiently, we hired a professional to help me make some real progress. He started today! My kids were just as excited as I was to see him. Here they are, waiting for Pieter to unload his truck:


Cue the collective “Awwwws”.

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Fingerprint Ornament

Can you believe it, another post? Better hold on tight, things are about to get Christmas crazy around here.

Remember from yesterday’s post, Amelie’s little fingerprint reindeer ornament?


We made a handful for family and friends. Here’s how. First, I needed some reindeer inspiration:


Second, supplies. You will need clear plastic ornaments, red and brown craft paint (I used Martha Stewart Tartan Red and Vanilla Bean), a Sharpie, and tiny fingers to do the finger printing!


ADORABLE! Am I right or am I right?

Ok, time to be candid. I stole this idea straight from a friend on Facebook. I attempted to have Cade make his own fingerprints, but he acted as if I was trying to rip his finger off so Amelie did both prints (one with her thumb, one with her pointer finger). She thought it was awesome and I thought it was too until she wiped brown paint on her pants…

Anyway, I wanted to share a seriously quick and easy craft if you were looking for something homemade. My hope is one day I’ll add sparkly red paint to the noses but I know the probability of me getting around to that is solidly in the Unlikely Category.

More Christmas posts coming. Brace yo’self.