Friday, October 28, 2011

Returning With A Giveaway!!

So I know I have not only dropped the ball on my 31 days of blogging, but I have not even gotten to update you on the fun things that October has brought us! We have had a school trip, special activities and fun for Thomas and Anna-Kate, we have celebrated Thomas' second birthday and now Halloween is this weekend! I am going to do some updating this coming week, so be on the look out!

When I got started on my 31 days of cleaning, Erin at Healthy Branscoms invited me to try the benefits of Shaklee and then I could let one reader share them as well! I have been wanting to see what Shaklee was all about and this was the perfect opportunity! You can go here to see the products available and learn more about it and if you haven't already, hop on over to Erin's blog to learn even more about the benefits of Shaklee, not just for cleaning your house but also for promoting a healthy lifestyle!

I have been using the Heavy Duty Scour Off Paste for anything I can think to use it on! Once I tested it on my oven to see how it cleaned the baked on spots, I knew we were going to have some fun! I tested it out in my bathroom on my sink and shower and then my floors. I even got some of the spots to go away that were here when we first moved in! Amazing!

Derek and I use a natural, all-purpose cleaner for everyday cleaning and even to clean our windows and mirrors. It's really simple for us to just have one bottle that pretty much does everything. I tried Shaklee's Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate to see how it would compare. I thought it did just as good of a job! It takes just a small amount to fill up 16 ounces so one bottle of the concentrate goes a really long way (one bottle makes 48 GALLONS of all purpose cleaner)! Plus if you are going to use it as glass cleaner, it only takes 1-2 drops per the 16 ounces of water!! I just think that's awesome! Derek tested out the cleaner and said that it left fewer streaks than what we were using, so he this one was his favorite too!

Today, I am giving away some special goodies from Shaklee!! If you have been wanting to find out what it's all about, now is your time! 5 readers will receive a sample of the H2 cleaner that will make 2 spray bottles of cleaner!

Here's how to get entered:

1. Follow my blog and then head over to Healthy Branscoms and follow Erin's blog- comment letting me know you do

2. Visit Shaklee's website and let me know what your favorite products are and what you'd like to try the most

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a separate comment with the link

4. Post on Facebook about the giveaway and comment with that link also

So, you have 4 ways to enter!!
(Please leave separate comments for each one you do!)

Hurry! This giveaway ends Tuesday, November 1 at 8:00 pm!

I'll post the winners Wednesday morning! Good luck!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days... Command Central

Sorry this is a little late! :) 

By command central I mean your desk area or really just where you keep those things that are most important for day-to-day things, like your menu for the week, your bills, etc. 

I dream of having a space like this for my crafting/ sewing I think I'll be doing: 

But when it comes down to where I want to do my planning, bill paying and organizing- it is at a desk in the kitchen. Here are some of my favorite ideas for a kitchen workspace: 

In this kitchen, only the desk area has painted cabinets and the rest of the cabinets are white. I really like that idea. I also love the arch and all of the little drawers under the top cabinets.

I just love the colors in this! I really appreciate how neutral the cabinets and paint are and the way they use the accessories to add the color. It makes the space cheerful and inviting. I love the framed cork board and comfy chair too! The sections above the desk would be great for organizing papers/ bills- in neat file folders, so it stayed pretty of course! 

Of all of these pictures, I have to say that this is probably what my space will wind up looking like! I love the cork board across the back of the desk. I don't mind having a space that really shows the character of the family. This is just fun and inviting and relaxing to me! And again, the comfy chair is definitely a plus! 

This kitchen is actually one that the design firm I worked for was doing when I was there. It is an absolutely beautiful kitchen! I have been so inspired by this design and I will probably wind up putting some of these elements into our house one day. I love the simplicity of this. I would probably wind up using one of the cabinets for my personal things and might even design a filing cabinet or something to go on one side.

Okay, so now that you've seen what I'd like to have, here's my space right now:

Please ignore the ugly, maroon paint and horrible mustard walls! We have yet to paint our living room and dining room. When I get it painted the way I want, I'm going to add some fabric to the back of the desk to perk it up a bit! I actually really love this little area. It's a secretary that was built into the wall, so it just hangs there. I can close it if I ever clear it off enough, but usually it holds my household notebook and my teaching notebook and all.

It's really hard to share these personal pictures... especially after such pretty desk areas! Ha!

This is one area that tends to get dumped on. I realized the other day just how bad it had gotten. So I went through everything that had gotten piled up and decided to clean this space up.

It is still not perfect, but it's a working space, so it's never going to look perfect. I am just happy it's not such an eyesore!

What does your "command central" look like? Do you use a desk space or is it (like mine) just another place for stuff to accumulate?

If you missed it, I am doing a link up sharing 31 days of fall cleaning. I've spent the last few days talking about my household notebook and the pages that worked the best for me!

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 Days... Household Notebook Part 3

Day 3

I promise, I am wrapping up the household notebook series today. 

I found two really great birthday party planners that were perfect for my over-thinking mind. One is a little more detailed than the other

So now we are getting to my absolute favorite part of this little enormous binder... I have created a holiday tab. Under this tab I have put all of the holidays for the year. To simplify things when I got started I just did the last three holidays of this year. As time goes on I will add the rest. 

So as you can imagine, for Halloween I have costume ideas, a halloween party planner, and decorating ideas that I love so much even Pinterest isn't working to hold that idea. 

And just to make your husbands roll their eyes proud, there is a printable for BLACK FRIDAY shopping! You read it correctly- you can actually write down a game plan for which stores you are going to and even the specific items on sale that caught your eye! I am still young enough in my family that I don't really get a say in what dishes we have at Thanksgiving, so that's the only printable I felt like I needed but you can see on that same page there are several other handy Thanksgiving lists! 

I am loving the Christmas section in my binder because each time I have gotten a catalog in the mail, I have circled things that I could give to people and initialed who it would be for and then just slipped that catalog into a clear sleeve so I have it to reference. In my mind even if that exact item is not available, I'll be able to use that as an idea source for when my brain was thinking clearly about what certain people would like. 

I can also write down sizes and preferences and even gift ideas on this printable. I have a page to list thank you cards that I need to send and a gift spending worksheet. When I finish a shopping trip, I can keep track of the gifts I've gotten, where it's from and the price. Okay- this is a huge deal for me- a page to list Christmas order tracking! I tend to do a lot of online shopping and I always lose track of tracking information! I am planning to get my bake on this Christmas and it'll be easy with a baking planner and then I can just copy these adorable gift tags onto card stock to send with my baked good! When I'm putting away our decorations, I will fill out this inventory of my Christmas decor and who knows- maybe get some discount Christmas decorations at the first of the year!

 I had a section for our finances, but since we are working with Dave Ramsey right now, I took it out and I might just keep our finances separate. 

My family lives 6 hours away and we travel to see them about every 2-3 months. I thought it would be handy to keep a packing list in my binder for those longer trips! It's an awesome, detailed packing list that will probably make Derek jump for joy because of all the things I'm going to remember to bring! Ha- or it will drive him crazy because I'm over thinking our trips and adding like 10 bags! :) 

Past this, I keep anything that goes with extra things I am involved with. I am about to start co-teaching a girls class at church on Sunday nights, so I've got information with that here. 

I am also a room mom for Anna-Kate, so I put her class roster and any important information in the back of my binder for easy reference. I had planned on putting ideas for her parties in my binder... but then I discovered pinterest and I really don't have too much of a need for that yet. I keep a couple of weeks worth of her school work she brings home in the back, so I can file that in her preschool notebook. It forces me to go on and weed-out the things that I won't be keeping and then I can write down any special detail that goes with it while I'm thinking about it. I know it's a hassle to put this here and then move it to a different binder, but I keep the household binder with me always so it makes it easier for me to put things here first that I want to save. 

I have a separate binder for teaching my little 2-year olds, so I don't use this binder for that. I also do the same thing "pre-filing" Thomas' things in that binder and then moving them when I get a chance to his day school/ 2yr binder. 

I know that this is way in depth, but I kept finding posts about people's notebooks but I had trouble getting details on what they actually put in theirs. I also spent too much time trying to pick which template to use. 

Also, this is a "living" binder. It's going to update and rotate through as time goes on. I am sure that I will be using it differently from time to time and I may not even need to have as much information in here. I created this out of a necessity I had now to get us organized and into a great routine. 

If you made it through these first 3 days, thank you! I hope you stick around to see more of my fall cleaning!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days... Household Notebook Part 2

Okay, I hope I have not lost you yet! I promise not all of my posts will be as overwhelming and long! I'm a little embarrassed about how wordy my posts are getting! 

So the first part of my binder has a tab for important information, scheduling/ daily planning, and menus. If you missed out on this post, you can read about it here

I've got a tab for my cleaning too. 

I decided to organize my focus each day, so I wrote that down and it's at the front of my cleaning section. I tried to get a good picture so you can make it larger and see what those days are. Feel free to ask though if you can't! 

I printed a page that has "recipes' for homemade cleaning solutions. I have planned on making my own laundry detergent and even dish washing detergent, but for right now I like to have this page for the quick substitutions. For example, I used baking soda to clean my shower and it worked great!

I found a checklist for deep cleaning each room of the house here. I will be going through those checklists this month for our fall cleaning! 

One page I really liked was a home maintenance checklist. It has a place to check off things that need to be done each month, like cleaning and inspecting the basement, and inspecting the hoses on washing machines and dishwasher. Things I would probably not think about!

I have been wanting to get in a better habit of letting Anna-Kate do chores. Even Thomas is at an age where he can do some of the basic things. I have had trouble finding a chore chart that worked with our personalities. I found one at Simple Mom that lets you cut out a picture of their chores. They are simple things that Anna-Kate can definitely do. Once we find the chores that are working for her, I will just laminate one copy to save the the trouble of cutting out and arranging each chore chart. For now, I keep my extras in this section.

I have a tab for goal setting and Bible reading and Inspirations that I have not made the time to use yet, so I'm going to exclude the links to those pages to simplify. Again, if you need the links to the ones I'm using please ask.

Okay, one of my very favorite things to do is plan. I like to plan for all of the holidays and events in our lives. Like a year early. ha. I'm not that bad yet, but with this binder I could be! :) I have an awesome tab for birthday parties and a wonderful tab for all of the holidays! So you can look forward to me sharing the links to some pretty neat templates tomorrow!

Oh and you can look forward to me wrapping up my household notebook details tomorrow too! :) 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 Days Of Fall Cleaning- Day 1

I'm hoping to get more creative with my post titles. :) Day 1, day 2, day 3... might bore you a bit! 

I decided that it would be easy for me to share my "adventure" of fall cleaning this month! I'm fairly new to staying at home after working for nearly a year and my house is a mess! It looks decently clean but up close, it's a cluttered, disorganized, disaster zone where the tornado of our chaotic lives stormed through last year. 

Okay, that was a bit dramatic-but you get the point! Our house needs some deep-cleaning love! I'm going to tackle some serious projects on my list and get things organized the way I need them to be. 

Just so you don't get overly bored with my daily ranting about household cleaning, I'll try to infuse a few, more exciting topics like cleaning tips and some decorating projects. 

You know it's going to be an adventure because we have the added challenge of living in a house that was built in the 1930's- when storage was not something they thought about. It's not exactly the organizer's dream home... :) So I'll share a few things we have done to make things work for us! 

Today, I'm tackling our household in general. My first couple of weeks at home were a mess! I felt a little overwhelmed with all of the things I wanted to do and the things that needed attention. My list was huge! I saw several ideas for a household notebook and drooled over the Erin Condren planner, but decided that it was something I could do for myself! 

I'm sure you've seen several posts on household notebooks, but I wanted to share my notebook too. 

I'm a paper girl. With everyone being eco-conscious these days, my paper addiction is taboo. I'm not sure why but I remember best when I actually write something down on paper. I also have what I call my "crazy" moments when I get an awesome idea or I have too much in my head and I need to get it out. I always write things out and make lists, but they tend to get lost along the way. The binder helps to keep everything contained. 

I printed a ton of pages. I wasn't sure what type of template I'd like the best. That's part of what slowed me down with posting about it. I've been weeding through and trying to decide on which styles are my favorite. If it were up to me, I'd just design all the pages myself so I could have everything in my favorite fonts and color co-ordinated, but I didn't want to take the time to do that. I'm really happy with the pages that I've got now though! 

I spent a lot of time researching websites and reading blog posts about what worked for other people. It really is all about what works for you and your personality. I almost have an issue with the pages not all being from the same place and co-ordinating, but I have gotten over it. (I know I'm a bit obsessive!) Here are some of the sites that worked the best for me: 

The first section in my binder has all of our information. I found the information pages here. I have a babysitter's info page that I think is great and also a page for birthdays and anniversaries. 

I also felt like I was constantly asking people for their addresses, so I printed off some of these contact pages

That's the first tab. The next tab is for schedules. I put my to-do lists and month calendar. 

I put a monthly calendar in the front to reference too and I try to fill it in. I like to see the overall month. I found these best time to buy calendars that I thought were cute and helpful! 

I have a cleaning checklist next. I found that here. I really like the way she breaks down the tasks daily, weekly, and monthly. You can read about how to use this with her daily docket here

(I actually put my weekly menu plan in next- the one that is just for the current week- but I'll talk about that in the next section.)

The next page is my daily to-do list. I found a daily docket page here that I absolutely love. It has a place to write our meal for the day, a blog section, I can cross off my daily water intake, Bible reading, etc. It's perfect for day-to-day. This page from Simple Mom came in a close second. 

I also have a master-to-do list. I've not really used this page yet, but since October is so full, I just might be using it now. 

I have a separate tab for my meal planning. 

I've included pages for recipes to try (organized by appetizers, dinner, and lunches for Thomas) and a page for our favorite recipes. Honestly I'm not using these like I could be right now. But I am glad to have them there if I need them. These are both from here

Frugal living at had some really cute menu planning pages. I like these pages because the squares are big enough that I can write in the sides we are going to have and I even have space to plan out Thomas' lunch on the days he takes his to school. Like I mentioned before, at the beginning of each week, I pull out my menu and put it with the daily docket pages, so I have a quick reference. 

I have been planning our menus out for the month using her Monthly Menu Planning Worksheet. I actually have all of October filled out and as I come across a new recipe I want to try, I just put it down for the next month, so I'm planning out November as I go.  She has another page that is set up so you can make your grocery list at the same time too. I like that, but don't need it right now. 

Okay, now I'm cheap and I like to get a good deal, so I downloaded a price book page where I've been writing down what some things cost. I just write down the things I tend to buy frequently, so I can compare prices with ads and from different stores! I've been surprised about some of the things I've learned doing this! 

Behind all of that I put recipes that I've printed off or pulled from a magazine. 

I also have a freezer storage cheat sheet that comes in handy and an internal cooking temperature cheat sheet

Still with me? I know this is a lot of information, so I am going to stop there for today. I'll finish with the rest of my notebook tomorrow!
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