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! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 13 - Walls

Today's chore for Green Deep Cleaning the Living Room is to wash all of the walls.  I know!  Frankly, this is not something I think about doing very often, but once you start, you realize how dirty the walls really are.  My warning for this is that after inspecting and cleaning the walls really closely, you may decide you want to put a new coat of paint on them.  At least, this is what happens to me!

What you will need to wash the walls:

How to clean the walls:

  • I start on one wall, and then methodically work my way around the room.
  • For each section of wall, take the pictures off the wall. Wipe them down.

  • Lock the Mop head into position and attach the dust pad (the yellow pad) to the mop. Wipe down the wall with the Mop (yes you saw that right!  This Mop works so well on the walls, I actually get excited to wash the walls!)
  • Next, replace the dust pad with a wet (with water only) mop pad.  The wet pad is the blue one. Wash the wall.
  • Be sure to get the baseboards clean while washing the walls.  Depending on the size of your baseboards, you may have to go back with the EnviroCloth and wipe them down, but I always try to get that Mop to work on them first! (I'm a lazy cleaner!)
  • Use the EnviroCloth to clean up any spots, stains or corners that the Mop misses.  (Not usually very many things, but just in case.)
That's it, make your way around the room washing all of the walls in the room!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 12 - Woodwork

Today's Deep Cleaning is going to be all of the woodwork and furniture in the Living Room. The product I love the most to rejuvenate my woodwork is my Vinegar/Oil Combination.

To see more details on how this process works, go to my posting this day.  Are you sticking with me on this far in your deep cleaning?  For me, focusing on just one area at a time, or even just one chore each day, makes the entire process of Deep Cleaning seem doable. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 11 - Chairs & Couches

Now that we've Green Deep Cleaned the Kitchen and the Laundry Room, let's move on to the living room.  Today, we will be cleaning the chairs and couches that have cushions.

What you will need to clean your Living Room Chairs & Couches:

What to do:

  •  If you have any covers on your couches or chairs, before removing the cover, spray the UPP/water spray bottle on any stains, to pre-treat them.
  • Throw the covers into the washing machine with a scoop of UPP.  They'll be all ready and clean after you're done cleaning everything up!
  • Next, determine what kind of fabric your couch is made of.  Here is what the tags may mean:
W: OK to use water for cleaning.
S: Only use a solvent-based cleaner on fabric.
SW: Either water or a solvent cleaner is safe to use.
X: Only use a vacuum for cleaning.
  • If water is safe, go over all of the fabric, or microfiber couches with a wet (with only water) Envirocloth, wiping any of the stains or spots clean. This Envirocloth, is not just any rag or cleaning cloth, it really works to clean stains as well as 99% of the bacteria!  This should take care of most stains on the couches.
  • For any tough stains, spray a small amount of the UPP/water mix onto the stain, and wipe clean with the Envirocloth.
  • If you have any leather chairs, the Leather Shine with do wonders for those pieces of furniture.
  • Treat any of the wooden legs of the couches and chairs with the vinegar/oil treatment from the kitchen cupboards.
  • Next, take all those cushions out of the couch and use the vacuum cleaner to clean all of the crevices of the couch.
  • If you have fabric couches, you may want to treat all of the cushions and couches with the Mattress Cleaner.  This will get ride of more stains and the ever present dust mites!  I have allergies, so this is a must for me!
Here's my disclaimer:  I am an Independent Norwex Consultant and make a commission on any purchases made from my website.  This in turn, provides for my family, so I thank you for all purchases and support!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Snow Day

Don't you love a snow day?  We homeschool, and we still get excited about snow days from school.  Don't ask me why, because we still have school on snow days!  But, there really is a thing of wonder when it snows enough to cancel everything!  What do you do for snow days?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 10 - Walls and Floors

Today, we follow up our cleaning of the washer and dryer today, with cleaning the rest of the laundry room.   Now that we've moved all of the lint out of the dryer, we can be sure to remove all of the lint from around the area as well.

What you will need today to clean:

Today's directions may be more individual for you, so I will just list the things you will need to do to make this area clean.  You may have to add things, or some suggestions may not pertain to you, if you don't have a laundry room.

What to clean:

  • If you have laundry cabinets, empty them out from top to bottom, wipe them down with the Envirocloth.  If these cupboards need to be cleaned and oiled on the outside, see my post HERE about how I used vinegar and oil for this.
  • Dust the walls down.  This is something, I'm not sure I've ever done before owning the Superior Mop System,  but now, I love to dust and wash the walls!  You'll want to lock the Mop head into place, put the dust pad on the mop and wipe down all the walls with the mop. After the walls are dusted, clean up the floors and space under the washer and dryer.

  • Follow the dust pad with the wet mop pad.  You'll want to get that pad wet before putting it onto the mop.  Wipe down the walls and floors with the wet Mop.
  • Finish cleaning up any other areas of the laundry room that we missed.  Comment below, if I missed something, so I can share that as well!
Since we've been talking a lot about the Superior Mop System lately, I do want to tell you a little bit about it.  Here's what makes the Mop so special!
One thing you'll want to add to your Superior Mop System is the Rubber brush.  This little brush will clean up that dust pad so quickly. 
Now the kitchen and laundry room are finished.  Are you hanging with me in Green Deep Cleaning your house?  We'll be moving on next to the living room. Stay tuned.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning - Day 9: Laundry

My laundry room is part of my bathroom, so I don't have a separate room to clean, but there are some basic messes that are needing regular deep cleaning regardless.  Like the kitchen, the appliances should be cleaned up first, so I will give here some ideas on how to get those appliances and area around them cleaned up.  Tomorrow, we will clean up the rest of the room.  Overall, I want the Deep Cleaning to happen, but not take an entire day. 

What you need to clean the washer and dryer:

I am going to start with cleaning the washer and dryer, as cleaning them will certainly create some extra lint in the rest of the room!

Washing Machine

  • If you are able, clean out all the traps internally.  My front loading washing machine, doesn't really invite you to do this, but we discovered this about 8 years ago, when our washing machine stopped working and we didn't want to pay for an appliance person to come check it.  Mr. Right took off the front panel, and found a trap (not mentioned in the instructions, or even specs of the machine!).  It simply screws off and can be emptied.  I get in there with my Envirocloth and really get out any mildew that has built up in there.
  • Next, using the Envirocloth, clean ever surface, inside and out of all lint and mildew. 
Take that drawer for the detergent out, wipe that down, AND clean that drawer cavity out too.  (You should remove this drawer every time you are finished washing and dump it out.  It has a habit of growing mold and mildew because it is always wet.)
Washer Detergent Drawer Removed

  • Run a cycle without clothes and fill the detergent cup with white vinegar.  This will work on that mildew internally.  Some people say that it will dry out the rubber components for your washing machine, but I've had my front loading machine for 10 years, and it's still working fine, with now notable damage.  Do this at your own risk.
  • Clean any shiny surfaces and windows on the washing machine with the Window Cloth.
  • I don't have the ability to get under my machine because it's up on a platform, but I take that Envirowand, spritz it with water and wipe under and behind the machine where I can't reach with my hands or Mop.
  • Pull machine out from the wall, and use the Superior Mop System to clean the wall and floor behind the machine.


  • Mr. Right was forced to take off the panels off the dryer recently, because we burned up an electrical panel, but this offered a great opportunity to clean it all out.  Mr. Right prefers to clean motors and electricals off with blowing air, instead of vacuum power.  Our Vacuum, has the ability to do this , so that's what Mr. Right did, blow out the internals of the dryer.  Warning: This makes a huge mess!!!  Close the door and be prepared for a big blowout!
    Dryer with Front panel off and cleaned by Mr. Right!
  • The Envirowand can be bent to clean out the dryer vent!  If things are stuck on, you can even spritz it with water to get those hard to clean places. This is so awesome!  I love it!
  • While that Envirowand is in your hand, go ahead and get all those places that you are unable to reach move the dryer away from.
  • Take the Envirocloth to every surface you can reach and wipe it down with just water.  Don't forget the inside of the dryer as well!  I find stickers and things in there sometimes, you just never know!
  • For shiny places and windows, use the Window Cloth to make them shine again.

Stay tuned for the rest of the laundry room on Day 9!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sneak Preview!

I just had to share with you that there's some sneak preview's and exclusive buys before one of my favorite company's release of their new catalog in February.  Check it out!  You can join my Facebook group to stay up to date on all of the new and upcoming products!
Get It!

Get It1

So Cute Now!
 Stay posted on all the new stuff on my Private Facebook Page!
So Cute Now!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 8 - Floors

This is the final day of Deep Cleaning the kitchen!  Whew!  Thanks for sticking it out! 

What we've deep cleaned in the kitchen so far:

For the final day in the kitchen, we're going to deep clean the floors.  Now, if you are like me, the floors get washed regularly (1-2 times per week for me).  I love to use my Superior Mop System for getting the kitchen clean.  Every time I use this Mop, I am so excited to use only water to get my floors clean!  No more chemicals that my children and pets can be harmed by.

I want to share a How-To Video.  I signed up to be a consultant so that I could get my Mop!  Let me know if you'd like more details.

What you'll need to green deep clean the kitchen floor:

  1. Superior Mop System
  2. Scrubby Corner Cloth
  3. Dusting Mitt or Envirowand
This Mop does a great job getting all the floors and baseboards clean (you can move the pad to one edge of the Velcro, and get a flap, that goes up all the baseboards to clean the baseboards, but to deep clean the floors today, here's what we're going to do just before a good mopping of the floor:
  1. Wipe down all of the tops of the baseboards.  I tend to do this with a slightly wet Dusting Mitt, wiped across the top of the baseboards.  You can use the Envirowand that is spritzed with water, so you don't have to clean on your hands and knees, but since the next item is going to require getting on the floor anyway, I prefer the hands on Dusting Mitt with a little water on it.
  2. Scrub that crack between the floor and the baseboards with the Scrubby Corner Cloth.  I used a butter knife inside the corner to clean that crack up really well.

3.  Scrub the corners really well, especially under the cabinets. (This is the worst in my kitchen, because all the corners have an unreachable corner.  No broom or mop can reach these little corners!)
4.  Finally - sweep and mop the entire floor!
That's it!  I know, on your knees for a lot of this cleaning job, but getting that deep cleaning done is so rewarding! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 7 - Woodwork

Today's Green Deep Cleaning is going to be cleaning and oiling all of that woodwork in the kitchen.  For the everyday, general dusting, I love to use the Envirowand with the Dusting Mitt

This time though, we're going to really get all the sticky grime that gets on the woodwork in the kitchen.  My table set also gets pretty bad with all the things the kids get smeared on there, so if I can really work on getting those clean twice a year, I am happy.

What you will need for Green Cleaning today:
First, you'll take the Envirocloth and wash down any of the wood surfaces with just warm water on the Envirocloth.   If you are doing China Cabinets and other fine cabinetry, you won't want to do this step on them. For me, this step includes my kitchen table and chairs, my window sills (my window sills are always moist, so they often have a coating of water and mold) and my cabinet fronts.  Oh, don't forget to get any wood trim or doors in the kitchen.

Next, you make a mix of equal parts vinegar and olive oil in the bowl.  This concoction has two purposes:  the vinegar cleans the wood, and the oil moistens the surface, which will absorb it and keep the wood in good condition.

You may not be able to see the difference, because this solution doesn't fix any loss of stain, but in "real life" it looks 100% better! 
Take your old towel and dip it into the oil/vinegar and rub it on all the wood surfaces you can find in the kitchen.  Some wood cabinetry may have a shiny finish, so the oil won't absorb as well.  For these shiny furniture pieces, I will use a very thin coating of the oil/vinegar mix, and then rub over it with a dry cloth to be sure it shines up, but doesn't have a pool of oil sitting on the surface.

This may not take you very long to do, but for me, this does, because everything is wood in my kitchen. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 6 - Dishwasher & Microwave

Today we are going to clean the dishwasher, microwave and any other small appliances that need some deep cleaning. We are now done with all the cupboards and pantry, so no need to do that.

How to Green Deep Clean the Microwave

For this job, you will need:

The best way I've found to clean all the stuck on food inside of the microwave, is to loosen the food up with hot moisture.  Here's what I did:
  • Fill the glass bowl with water.
  • Add a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice to the water.

  • Cook water in microwave 2 minutes at a time until the water is hot and steamy, and so is the microwave.
  • Wipe down the microwave with the Envirocloth.
  • Shine all of the glass parts with the Window Cloth.

How to Green Deep Clean the Dishwasher

One of the best ways to clean the dishwasher clean is to keep it clean all the time!  One of the best items that I have found to prevent build up inside the dishwasher, is the Magnet Ball.
This little ball stays in your dishwasher all the time and prevents the calcium build-up.  I noticed right away that my dishes were much cleaner.  We have very hard water, and this has been a little timesaver as well as making our detergent working better with less.
What you'll need:
Just like the Microwave, I like to start my cleaning of the dishwasher with loosening up the stuck on food and gunk.  Here's what I did:
  • Either sprinkle citric acid/lemonade packet or baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • If using Baking soda, pour about 1/2 cup of vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
  • Run a hot water cycle of your dishwasher.
  • Next take a look inside and see what needs to be scrubbed out of the inside.
  • If you have calcium deposits on the inside, you can spary some Descaler on and used the Scrubby Corner Cloth to scrub it out.

  • Wash down around the seal and gasket of the door.
  • Wash down the outside of the dishwasher.  Use the Window Cloth on the shiny surfaces to make it really shine!
Now you'll want to deep clean any of those small appliances we haven't gotten to yet. For me that includes several crock pots, a rice cooker, toaster, Kitchen Aid, food processor, etc.  Don't forget to clean your coffee machines!  That Scrubby Corner Cloth works fabulous for these.  If you need some extra elbow grease, go ahead and use some of that Cleaning Paste.

My Disclaimer:  I work hard to earn a living, and one of the avenues of income that I enjoy is commissions from my Norwex business.  If you'd like to have everything I've been posting this week, but would rather earning your own commissions and great Green Cleaning products, go here today.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Green Deep Cleaning: Day 5 - Cupboards & Pantry

Today, we're going to finish up the rest of the cupboards and pantry in the kitchen.  (Don't worry about the pantry, that will be tomorrow!) Hopefully, you've got this down, and have made a dent in cleaning out the cupboards.  You can go to my description on Day 1 to see how I go about cleaning out the cupboards.

 I do some purging while I'm cleaning it out as well. Take out anything that is old, or not used very often and get rid of it.

I have put together some organizing inspiration in a Google Album.  I'm not going to lie, here are a couple of my dream pantries!  I just love everything to have a place and a box.

Of course, to try to help my family make ends meet, I am an Independent Thirty-One Consultant, so if you want to start having your pantry look this great, I would greatly appreciate your support.  Please contact me directly through the website if you need my personal assistance.