Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our rainy day activities

If you follow my blog, you know that we created our "Summer Bucket List" at the beginning of the summer with all of the fun things we'd like to do.  I was a little nervous about it to be honest because I really like to just "wing it" during the summer because I stick to such a tight schedule for the other 9 months of the year.  However, I am pleasantly surprised by not only our progress, but how excited it gets the kids!

Here is the where we are so far with a month left to go.  Not too shabby.  We have tackled 10 out of 30 items and have a few more we'll finish up this week.  

We have bought supplies for some of the more crafty things on our list including :  painting canvases, making sock animals and painting rocks.  We have also been very busy collecting our beach rocks and have TONS to paint.   I'm surprised how much I've put off these crafty things on the list until last since I love crafting.  I think it's because in my mind, I need a rainy day for them and I spent the last few rainy days cleaning and hosting play dates to keep my kids occupied.

So I have pledged to my kids that the next rainy day we are starting these activities.  Here is an idea of what we are planning and where I got my original ideas.  You didn't think I was clever enough to come up with these all on my own did you?  What would one do without Pinterest???

Painting canvases-  I promised both of the kids that they could hang their finished product somewhere in the house.  God help me with this one.  I'm keeping fingers crossed that they choose to hang them in either their own rooms or the playroom.

These are actually really fun.   You first make a design on the white canvas with painters tape and then you paint the canvas however you want with acrylic paint.  Once the paint is almost dry, you peel off the tape GENTLY and voila.  How fun!  I  bought a large canvas for myself too to create something fun....I'm loving the chevron.

I'll keep you posted on how ours come out and where they end up hanging :)

Sock animals - One of the other activities that the kids are so excited for is to make sock animals.  We bought a bag of the stuffing and have to get some socks and then we're ready to go.  We have tons of buttons for the eyes left over from a button project so we are good there.  These are definitely one of the more complicated projects on our list and it was my genius idea to add them.   They are just so cute!

Here are some examples in case you want to tackle these:

Painted rocks - We have SO many rocks collected from the beach that we are going to be painting for days.   The kids have had so much fun collecting them that next year maybe we'll just add "collect rocks at the beach"

Here are some fun ways to paint them that I thought the kids might like.  A few of them would require me pre-drawing out the images and letting them fill them in, but fun nonetheless.

A few other great ideas for a fun summer rainy day activity that are not on our list are bracelet making and drawing.   I love these ideas and thought you might too.

There are so many different types of bracelets you can make and with many different types of material.   Just like last year, we are busy making string bracelets of all kinds.  We got this great kit for my daughter that helps you make bracelets with hearts, diamonds, stripes and it's super easy to follow. 

I also found these great ideas:

I know I shared this one once before, but it's worth re-sharing because it's so much fun!

And these beauties are made from old t-shirts.  Love!

Drawing is one of our favorite things to do and we have tons of "how to draw" different animals books.  These are so much and I also adore the fingerprint ones too.

There are tons more on the site too.  Here's a sample of the adorable penguin.

I remember doing these as a kid and I LOVED them.

We have so many fun projects and too many beautiful beach days.  I'm looking forward to getting started on some of these fun crafts with the kids over the next week. I hope these give you some fun things to do over the remainder of your summer!

Poshed Up

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cleaning Update

After my last post about some cleaning tips to try on a rainy day, I did just that!  I got out my baking soda, vinegar and dish soap and started scrubbing.  I promised a before and after post and a before and after post you shall get.  I will admit...taking pictures was a bit of a challenge throughout, but I did my best.   I decided to not only give you before and afters, but to rate each idea based on my experience.  I know for me I like to hear other's opinions on the success and failures of ideas and not just the ideas alone!

I started in my kitchen with my microwave.  First I tried the tip to fill a glass measuring cup with a cup of vinegar and microwave for 10 mins.  Then...wipe clean.  Click HERE for the tip. 

I totally forgot the before shot.


Results:   10 mins. is WAY TOO LONG...or at least in my microwave.  I had to stop it early and when I did there was hot vinegar EVERYWHERE. did get the junk on the inside loosened up.  So, next time I would do half the time and hope for the same results.

Grade:   B  - Too messy.

Next I cleaned my dishwasher.  The tip says to put a cup of vinegar in a glass measuring cup on the top shelf of the dishwasher and run it on your hottest setting.  After that cycle, you add baking soda to the bottom of the dishwasher and run it again.  I have to admit...I ran out of baking soda so I only did step one.  Click HERE for the tip.

BEFORE:  Keep in mind this is directly after unloading it with clean dishes so in theory it should be spotless inside.


Results:  Thankfully my dishwasher wasn't so dirty before as you can see from the picture, but I do have to say it was that much cleaner after.  I was disappointed that the built up detergent on the sides didn't go away, but that might have happened from step 2 which I skipped.

Grade:  A

Next I cleaned my stainless steel sink.  This tip has you mix baking soda with water and scrub first.  Then after rinsing clean, you line vinegar soaked paper towels around the sides and let them sit at least 20 mins.  Then you use soap and water to clean the whole sink.  Click HERE for the tip.


Step 1 :  Paste of water and baking soda.

Step 2:  Vinegar soaked paper towels.  I did put them up the sides too, but didn't capture that in a picture.


Results:   LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!  My sink never ever looked better.  Now, my stainless steel sink is VERY scratched and is by no means new, but it sure looked shiny after.   The smell of vinegar was a bit much after about 15 mins., but well worth it.

Grade:  A+++++

While my sink was soaking, I tacked my garbage disposal too.  I mentioned in my last post that my plumber had recommended putting ice in your garbage disposal periodically and running it to help clean the blades and the inside.  I also shared that I try to put a lemon down it at least once a week to keep it smelling clean.

The yuckiest part is cleaning the rubber seal UNDERNEATH.  It is gross, but it is where much of the yuck hides.  Too gross to photograph, but here is what I mean by putting ice in...a lot of ice.  Not just a few cubes!

I did not yet get around to trying the stainless steel fridge cleaner that I mentioned, but I will try it soon.  One other tip that I've been using and totally forgot to share is to clean the porcelain burners on a gas stove.   This tip recommends putting the burners in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and putting in ammonia and letting it soak.  Then use a Brillo to remove the residue which has now been loosened.  I have done this several times and HIGHLY recommend putting it outside on concrete and letting it soak overnight.   Click HERE for the tip.

BEFORE  (Please don't judge me based on how dirty they are.  Oh, don't forget the small round piece too like I did!)


Side by side of before and after.  Crazy right?

Results:  I think the pictures speak for themselves.  It is crazy how clean they get.   

Grade: A (points taken off for terrible smell of ammonia)

On to the bathrooms.  First I started by putting some baking soda in each toilet.  I did not take pictures of this because I think it's gross to show toilets.  It made them super shiny if you care!!

Next I mixed up the shower door cleaner and tub cleaner which includes 1 cup of dish soap and 1 cup of heated vinegar.  Click HERE and HERE for the tip.  

BEFORE ( I didn't take pictures of the shower door).


Results:  Another home run.  It is hard to tell much of a difference on my shower door because it is frosted and textured glass, but from an angle in person you could absolutely tell that it was cleaner.

And the tub, well my tub was pretty white and shiny before, but it make the chrome fixture unbelievably shiny.  Therefore, I used it for all of my bathroom sinks in all of my bathrooms.

Grade: A+

I still plan to try out the floor cleaner I mentioned as well as the stainless steel appliance spray soon.   Overall, I was very happy to see that simple works!  I have some great ideas for other cleaners to share soon!  

Poshed Up

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's a rainy day in the neighborhood....

We have had a few rainy days lately and that has kept us from our usual routine which includes sleeping late, eating breakfast, throwing on bathing suits and sunblock, packing the cooler and heading to the beach to swim and enjoy the sun!
Tough life for us this summer.

Rainy days have been very good for my house though.  I have been totally falling off the wagon on cleaning and staying on schedule.  Click HERE to see my "normal" schedule that I follow 9 months of the year.   Summer is very laid back for us so I do what I can on rainy days.   My house has suffered greatly with all of this nice sunny weather. is one of those blah day and I though I'd share some great cleaning tips that I have found lately that just might get you in the mood.

I am trying to use less harsh chemicals in my home and trying out old-fashioned ways of cleaning.  Funny...they are working.  I think our grandparents and relatives before us were on to something :)

 I have found some really great ways of cleaning that are super simple and I try to tackle a few on days like today.  Besides being better for your health, these all natural ways to clean are better for the budget.  They use things like vinegar, baking soda, dish soap and they are all super simple to find and super cheap.  I shared with you HERE my everyday cleaner that my stepmother gave me for Christmas that works great in so many different areas of your home.

Nearly all of the tips I have found are for either the kitchen or bathroom because these are the 2 areas of my house that I am nuts about keeping clean.   I just think the place you eat and bathe need to be clean.  So....on to the ideas.  There is definitely some duplication here, but I like to provide you with as many great ideas as I can find.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

My dishwasher is tied with my washer machine as the hardest working appliance in my house.  We run it at least twice a day.  We go through a lot of dishes because we do a great deal of our own cooking because we have so many allergies and food restrictions in our house.  We are actually considering installing a 2nd dishwasher and removing some cabinets because when we entertain it's ridiculous...the dishwasher is run before they arrive, while they are here and there is still a sink full of dishes.  So because it works so hard, my dishwasher needs a cleaning itself.

Here are 2 great ways to clean your dishwasher.

This idea uses either vinegar or a packet of dry unsweetened lemonade mix (???) and then the baking soda step.  Crazy clean right?

What about the oven?  If yours in anything like mine, it gets pretty gross especially after the holidays when it's used a lot.   Try this tip for cleaning the racks- soak the racks in your bathtub with hot water, 8 dryer sheets (???),  and 1/2 cup of Dawn dish soap overnight.  The next day, use the dryer sheets to remove any excess gunk.

How about your kitchen sink?  We have a stainless steel sink which I love for many reasons, but it is hard to keep it shiny.   Heck, half the time you can't see it anyway because it's filled with dishes while the dishwasher is running, but that's a whole other problem.   I love a shiny sink even if it only lasts between meals.

Here's a few ideas to shine a stainless steel sink.

This tip recommends using a little olive oil on a terry cloth rag to buff the sink and then using a dry paper towel to wipe it dry. 

This tip recommends first using baking soda to create a paste on the surface and then rinsing it clean.  Then line the entire sink with paper towels soaked in vinegar for 20 mins.   Next use a soft sponge and soapy water to rinse the sink completely.

Another often neglected area is the garbage disposal.  This one completely skeevs me out, but it gets so yucky if you don't stay on top of it.  I've also found that the more veggies you put down it, the sooner it stinks. husband is a vegetarian who cooks often.  Enough said...that baby is getting cleaned often.
The one area that I think many neglect is the rubber seal on your disposal.  If you have never taken it out, flipped it over and scrubbed so.  But word of caution, it is DISGUSTING!

I clean my disposal weekly by adding tons of ice and running it with a steady stream of water.  Make sure you don't overload it with ice or it will back up.  My plumber gave me this tip and the ice helps to clean the blades.   I also try to put lemons down it a few times a week to make it smell nice.  

This tip says to drop any citrus fruit peel in it...

How about the microwave?  Mine gets gross if I don't clean it often.  

Try this tip- Fill a 2 cup microwavable cup with 1 cup distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water and run microwave for 10 mins.  After 10 mins. carefully remove cup and wipe clean.  So simple!

And how about the stainless steel refrigerator?  Mine ALWAYS has little finger prints all over it.  We also have a stainless steel dishwasher with the same fingerprinty finish.

This tip suggest mixing 2/3 parts white vinegar, a few drops of dish soap and 1/3 parts water in a spray bottle.    Apply it and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth.  Sounds easy enough.

Now onto the next area that I like germ free...the Bathroom.

Bathroom Cleaning Tips

Do you struggle with soap scum on your shower doors?  Here's how to cure that problem according to this tip - Heat up a cup of vinegar in the microwave for 2 mins.   Add this to a spray bottle and add a cup of dish soap (they are specifically recommending Dawn, but I don't know if that would matter).  Spray and rinse clean.

Here's another great idea for glass showers.  Cut a lemon in half, dip it in Kosher salt and start scrubbing with it.

I despise cleaning my toilets more than anything else in my house.  I have a husband and a 5 year old son so I probably don't need to say anything more.  This tip recommends adding a cup of baking soda to your toilet and leaving it to sit for an hour.  After an hour, simply flush.   It will clean and deodorize it.   I wish it would clean the seats too, but  a girl can dream!

To make your own homemade soft scrub you need to make a paste with baking soda and add a few drops of dish soap (sound familiar from the kitchen?).  After applying, let it sit on the surface for 5 mins and then rinse clean.  

For the tub....I have to say mine is not this dirty thank goodness.  I clean it like crazy.   It is yuckier than in the winter and often I find grass and sand in it, but here is a tip if you need to do a deep cleaning without the scrubbing.   She used the same combination of Dawn soap and vinegar that I mentioned in an earlier tip and let it sit it for an hour.  Pretty incredible!

Lastly for the shower heads.  These get hard water buildup if you don't stay on top of them and who doesn't want every single head working great?   This tip is SUPER SIMPLE.....pour vinegar is a plastic bag and rubber band it around your shower head and leave for an hour.

I have hardwood floors throughout my entire house except in my bathrooms.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  Blessing because it's great for allergies and looks nice and a curse because they get SO dirty and need to be both vacuumed and mopped to look clean.  We vacuum them almost every day in the kitchen and other high traffic areas and my sweet husband steam cleans them in the kitchen every week. But...they never look super clean to me.

Look at these floor though...beautiful.  Simply mix equal parts water, vinegar, alcohol and a few drops of dish soap.  You then spray in on the floor and wipe clean.  I don't think you want to put it in a steamer because the soap might clog it, but who knows.

I still have a few other cleaning tips, but I'm going to share those another time.   I want to get trying some of these tips and take some before and after pictures so I can share their successes and failures (if any) with you.  I will keep you posted.  Until then...happy cleaning!

Poshed Up