Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ripples Along the Shore - Book Review

I had the pleasure of reading this third book in "The Quilted Heart" series by Mona Hodgson.  Generally, I don't care for reading books in a series without first reading the books before (what can I say, I like things in order!), but this book captivated me right from the start!  I definitely want to catch up and read the first two, but I was hooked right from the first few paragraphs!
"Ripples Along the Shore" was a finely knit fictional novel about not only the sorrow and recovery of just one Civil War widow, Caroline  Milburn, but of a whole community of Americans, set on rebuilding their lives following the divide of a country in war.  Destined to return to Saint Charles, Missouri after her spinster aunt passes away, to stay with her sister and bitter brother-in-law and family, Caroline struggles with the grief she feels with the loss of her husband to the war.
Will she find peace and purpose in what she should do now that she doesn't have a husband?  After hearing of a wagon train to the West, she feels sure that God is calling her there, to begin anew.  She finds the wagon master, Garrett Cowlishaw to be the one thing that stands in her way of a new beginning for herself.  Her faith in God's ability to care for all matters is challenged, when her fellow quilting circle friends find comfort in the quote: "Life's changing seasons are as persistent as the ripples along the shore."
This book has me on the edge of my seat for the next in the series, and I'm sure that Mona Hodgson will deliver as Caroline's new unfolds as she travels west in the next series: Hearts Seeking Home.  I'm adding this to my list of must reads, for sure!  

Disclosure:  I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for this review.  I make a very small amount of compensation from Amazon when items are purchased from my links.  Thank you for supporting my little reading habit!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Slow Progress

Most days seem like there's little to no progress, but hey, at least there's progress, right?  I promise you that I am making some progress on the 31 Days of Green Deep Cleaning.  I thought I'd be able to get it done in one month, but posting every day has proven to be more difficult than I thought possible.  Thanks so much for hanging with me! 

What are you making slow progress on right now?  Keep chugging along!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Piano Lessons vs. Test Scores

I'm curious - did you get piano lessons as a child?  Do you have your kids take lessons?  This statistic should incite every parent of every child to seek out piano lessons. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Deep Green Cleaning: Day 16 - Carpets

Today, we are going to clean the carpets in the living room.  If you own your own carpet cleaner, you can just focus on the living room today.  If you have to rent a carpet cleaner and you are anything like me, this will create a frenzy of 24 hours of cleaning all the carpets in the entire house!  Either way, you may want to save this job for when you can work on this for an entire day.

What you will need:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet Cleaner - after getting a new puppy at Christmas, this is the one I ordered online and LOVE!!! 
It is worth every penny!!  I've cleaned a lot of carpets, in my own home and commercially, and this is by far the best machine I have used!

What to do:

  • Remove as much of the furniture from the room as you can.
  • Vacuum the entire room, taking special care to get the edges around the room.

  • Spray the Carpet Stain Buster on all visable stains throughout the room.  You can also use the Envirocloth with just water to remove as many stains as possible, too. 
  • Fill the tank of you carpet cleaner with one scoop of Ultra Power Plus Laundry detergent and hot water to the fill line.  (If you are concerned with the color steadfastness of your carpet, try this in a small out of the way area first. This Bissell is so great, because it has a small hose that you can do a small area first.)
  • Clean the carpet!  This is the fun part!  (I know, sick!)  I usually start on the far end and work in squares across the room, ending at the entryway of the room, so I don't have to keep walking over the clean area.
  • Now is the tricky part - stay off the carpet for at least 12 hours!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 15 - Electronics

If you haven't noticed, in each room, we've been trying to move from top to bottom with our cleaning.  So in the living room, we've cleaned the Chairs & Couches, the Woodwork, the Walls, and Organized the shelves and Drawers.  Be sure to check out those articles if you haven't already.

Today, we are going to do a clean-up of all the electronics in the living room.

You will need:

What to clean today:

  • Start off by cleaning all of the screens in the living room with the Optic Cloth.  Using a cloth that is not approved for this job can scratch you screens!  The Optic Cloth is approved and works great at not only cleaning, but repelling future dust. Here's a list that I came up with:
    • Computers
    • Television
    • IPads & Tablets
    • Smart Phones
    • Small Gaming devices
  • Once the screen is cleaned, you'll want to go all the way around your electronic and dust off the backs and the cords with the Dust Mitt.  In fact, if you have two of those Dust Mitts, put one on each hand, so you can pick everything up and dust as you go.
  • As long as you're fussing with the chords, go ahead and coral all those cords.  I don't know why, but in our house, the cords need to be rebunched and tied up with zip ties.  You can get all sorts of fancy items to bunch your cords together, but I find that zip ties are not too expensive and readily available at your local hardware store or on Amazon.
    Zip Ties
  • Next, you will gather all of those chords and small electronic devices into one place.  I know eventually they get loose and go all over the house, but at least to have a place to put all of your devices in one place is a great start to keeping the clutter down.  Here's a look at my favorite electronic collector - the Double Duty Caddy that I found on Pinterest!  You can even personalize it to say "Cords & Charges".  I love that!

Ten years ago, I would have never dreamed that I would spend a day cleaning just the electronics in the living room, but seriously, electronics have taken over!  My living room is the gathering place for all things electronics, because the kids aren't allowed to have electronics in their bedrooms. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Happy Mail

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a happy mail that I sent out to the customer on my Facebook VIP page that won a drawing for the Superbowl.  The winner happened to be my mom, so it made it extra fun to send some Happy Mail.
I bought a Valentine's Candy Heart box and put my message on the front with an address sticker, and then put an address label on the back with the addresses.  I took the whole thing down to the post office to mail.  It cost around $3 to ship!  Not bad! 
It's so fun to get odd items in the mail!  You could do this for a college student (which I also did) or for a past hostess to tell them how much you love them or their business.
Here's my message:
"Mom - I LOVE that you played along for my Superbowl party!  Customers are the HEART of my business!  Thanks!"

Even though today is Valentine's Day, you could still do this for past hostesses or special customers!  Go out tomorrow, the day after and buy up heart candy boxes and send them out to say "thanks for being the HEART of my business!"  It would catch their attention and make you stand out in their minds as a business person they want to go with in the future!  Plus, who doesn't love chocolate?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 14 - Organize shelves and Drawers

Today is your chance to clean out any drawers or shelves in the Living Room! There's nothing really complicated about this day, but if you are like me, it's a much needed day!
Wipe off/out drawers with the EnviroCloth and apply that Oil/Vinegar mix as mentioned before to any wood that you are cleaning.
I love everyone else's shelves!  I love to peruse Pinterest for all kinds of ideas on how to make my living room shelves look like a magazine.  What am drawn to?  Well, simplified shelves! 

 Here's what I like for my shelves:

  • Simple, small collections, grouped together
  • Books in order of size, tallest to shortest, or visa versa.
  • If function is needed (i.e. videos, or remotes, etc.), use baskets or bins to organize clutter
  • Pick a 3-4 items of interest to "decorate" (this could be a globe, a vase, an antique camera, whatever)

I love how this shelving unit, although it's for an office, has the bins to reign in the clutter, yet has a few decorations as well as some books to add!   The order makes me happy.  Let's face it, most people don't have the luxury of having shelves that don't need to function for storage in their living room. 
For me, I homeschool in the living room, and have only one shelf available in our small living room - so it's where all the homeschool books live.  Pretty bags are where the daily school books are kept on my living room shelf, and then the rest of the shelf is just books and bibles.  Not fancy, but the clutter does get crazy regularly! 
So that's it!  Today you just clean and simplify your shelves so it feels clean!