Just another Minnesota Mom blog.

How to Make Spring Cleaning More Fun For Kids {Guest Post}

Posted: April 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cleaning, Guest Post, Reviews and Giveaways | No Comments »

Spring is *finally* upon us here in Minnesota (I hope I didn’t just ensure another snowstorm!), and it’s time to open the windows and clear the air.  It’s also time for us to start packing to move and doing that one last clean-up before we turn in our keys.  I am hoping that the boys might be more helpful in this endeavor, they are usually content undoing the things I do- unfolding clothes, duping out toys…you name it, they can make a bigger mess than when I started!  I know I’m not the only one who will find this list of tips for Spring cleaning with kids, useful!

Read the rest of this entry »

House Keeper

Posted: May 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cleaning | Tags: Manic Mommy Monday | No Comments »

Friday my sister arrived in town for the weekend from Kansas City ans we did a pretty thurough cleaning in case they stopped by our house. It wasn’t really in the plans but I figured I needed to up my game with out of town company. So I cleaned and also take advantage of this and also did some repairs since the roof were broken so we get professionals from http://www.palmbeachroofingexpert.com/ to fix it.

Then we were at my moms from Friday until Saturday afternoon, so the house *stayed* clean for 24 hours. Who cares if no one was there to mess it up- 24 hours is some sort of record!

Then yesterday, on top of us being outside for most of the day, I busied myself with doing dishes and taking care of little messes before they became big messes all day long. I folded all the clothes while I listened to the radio from 7-9 (as per usual) and I scrubbed my sink within an inch of it’s life before I went to bed.

This morning I woke up, did a load of laundry, got the boys off to school (where they have own school cleaning services) and then proceeded to clean clean clean all day long.

It was insane! My clothes are all put away, all the fall/ winter clothes are removed from my drawers. The dishes were all done and I was busy making dinner when Yogi Dad got home…I even got a blog post done while Judah napped!

I have to give credit to this no blogging on the weekends thing I put into effect last week. Not falling behind with housekeeping on the weekend means I have a head start on Monday and when shit hits the fan, it’s really not that hard to recover from.

Actually I probably shouldn’t jinx it, considering I’m only 3 days into a clean house.

I also discovered Judah is not a fan of the vacuum cleaner. If I tell him I’m going to vacuum, he’ll repeat to me “vacuum floors? vacuum floors” and then he will run from whatever room we are in and sit on the couch and cry, our floors are porcelain tiles with a wood effect so I always make sure they are clean.

Poor kid..

There are very few things Judah is afraid of and if he wasn’t so sweet sitting with his legs straight out in front of him and his hands on his legs sniffing back tears I might giggle at how comical the scene is.

So that is my Monday- not as manic as usual. Maybe there is something to this clean house thing? But just in case this is just a phase I am going through I have already found a few phone numbers for domestic cleaning services in Bournemouth.

I’m linking up this post to the Manic Mommy Monday hop hosted by The Gnome’s Mom– mostly because she is awesome but also so that I can remember to stop and record my daily life once in awhile. You should try it!

Greening my Thumb with Safer Brand {Part 1}

Posted: August 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Green | Tags: Gardening, Product Review, Safer Brand | 2 Comments »

When we moved into our house in May, we were excited about one thing more than anything else: the yard. It is fairly standard for an urban yard (both the front and back are the size of a postage stamp) and it seemed like a good fit for some newbie gardeners.

Because we moved in the middle of May, our options for planting were pretty slim. When we had first toured the house back in March, there was about a foot of snow covering everything so we really had no idea what we were dealing with. It became really obvious what our projects were going to be as soon as we saw the yard sans snow. We basically had an idea of what we wanted and no clue as to how to make it happen. We were given a green light to do as we pleased.

Our first project? Growing a lawn from seed.

The previous owners (or tenants) had put down that black gardening tarp and covered the entire thing with mulch. There were patches of weeds growing through in some areas, but for the most part it was a mess of torn tarp, rocks, weeds and mulch. Not what I pictured my boys playing on when I first imagined them frolicking in the back yard.

So, we tore up that mess over Memorial weekend to the tune of 30+ bags of yard waste (backyard only) and put down grass seed. The next weekend we did the same with the front.

This was after 1 week of growth, the heavy areas are weeds, but there is a bit of tender green grass coming up:

notice the stuff growing through the fence on the right?

(Notice all those bushes coming through the fence on the right?)

It’s been slow but steady progress and we were looking pretty good in the back (the front is still pretty sparse) until we decided in early July to trim whatever was growing through the fence all the way back so we could get an extra 2-3 feet down the right side. Now we have a nice bald spot all along that side.

To help fill it in, we’re trying out the Safer Brand Magic Start Grass Patch. I’m hoping that the grass seed/ fertilizer/ mulch combo will get it going quickly so maybe by the end of the summer we can have a more uniform look back there.

Right now the yard looks like this, notice the bald area near the fence? I wish we would have thought about taking those out 2 months ago!

Also notice the bald spots by the fence

And this is a close-up of the patch (you can kind of see that it turns green when you water it).

It turns green when you water it so you know it's working!

Next week a certain someone is turning 1 and I’m hoping we have a little something to show off back there.

Coming up over the next few months: We try our hand at growing vegetables and herbs, we’ll show off our landscapiing skills (all adopted and transplanted plants!), what we’re doing to keep our Hostas hole-free and our weeds at bay and eventually (cross your fingers!) a post where we show our bounty.

Disclaimer: I was provided products from Safer Brand to use in my gardening projects. All opinions of these products are mine and all questionable gardening practices are my husbands. Just kidding. Those are mine too.

How-To Green-Up your Clean-Up

Posted: June 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Green | Tags: Bleach, Caldrea, Green Cleaning, Method, Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation | 8 Comments »

Awesomeness in a bottle aka Caldrea Counter Top Spray

Years ago, as a young newlywed, I washed my dishes in fancy (read: expensive) aromatherapy enhanced dish soaps that were no doubt made by hand in small batches by young maidens in someones totally organic kitchen. Fast forward to the here and now and not only do I have more messes to clean up (3 boys under 3!) but since quitting my job to stay home, I am also lacking the funds to buy that wondrous dish washing liquid. But I don´t know why I keep forcing myself to clean this much when the maids from house cleaning Littleton Co do such an amazing job.

It wasn’t only the dish soap I gave up over the years. It was the special counter top cleaner. It was the luxurious laundry detergent. It was the hand soap that not only complemented the decor but also changed scents with the seasons.

In the past few years I’ve gone back to basics. Bleach. Lysol. Mr. Clean. Not exactly the top 3 green cleaners on the market and definitely NOT the top three best smelling. But I’ve got this budget, so where do I start?

First off, I had to decide if I was going to actually go the route of making my own. It’s cheaper for sure but I’m not sure about greener. I tried to clean with vinegar and water for about thislong and I just didn’t feel like it was getting clean. Not as clean as I wanted or needed it to be anyways. Baking soda, lemon juice, good old elbow grease…they are all there too. But seriously, when you have a grimy white sink that you just need to get a stain out of…I’m always going to grab my bleach. Always. Remember that going green is tax deductible when you’re filing your TurboTax this year.

So what to do? How do I stick to my budget, get some green cleaners back into my house and still get the clean I want and like?
Maid service in Los Angeles came up with these solutions:

#1 Pick one item you use every day and start with that. Find something that fits your budget and start buying that product. For me it was dish soap. I haven’t had a dishwasher since 2005, so I do dishes at least once a day. For awhile we were using about the worst thing you could possibly use simply because it was the cheapest. I quickly found a few replacements that weren’t any more expensive than any other product. It might not have been the wondrous dish soap I spoke of above, but it was greener, it wasn’t killing my hands and it smelled good. That product was Seventh Generation.

#2 Figure out what the store you shop at carries for green cleaning products. If you have to drive all over town looking for something, you probably won’t stick with it or try it at all. Most stores carry a few lines now. My Target has Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day (made by Caldrea) Method and Watkins among others. Pick a price point you can live with and start trying products.

#3 Save some money with coupons! A lot of these companies do not have coupons in your Sunday paper, most of them have a mailing list you can get on or some sort of sign-up on their website where you can get coupons right through email.

#4 If you live somewhere like I do, where there are a couple great soap companies like Caldrea and Thymes, find out if they have warehouse sales. Thymes has a huge warehouse sale every October and you can bet I am there stocking up on my favorite items (I miss the laundry detergent the most).

#5 If there is something you just can’t part with, don’t. For me it will probably always be bleach for my kitchen sink. I just can’t kick the habit. And that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Right now I’ve got a pretty good mix of products under my sink, Method, Lysol, Mrs. Meyers, Fabloso and even a little Caldrea and of course my Seventh Generation Dish soap. As I finish off bottles of cleaners I try hard to replace them with something a little less harsh and a little more green. Except for that bleach….

Clean House

Posted: May 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cleaning | Tags: Cleaning, Moving, New House | 5 Comments »

So, we are moving in a few weeks.  We get our keys next week and then we’ll be between 2 places for 2 weeks.  Today was the Open House for our duplex.  I know everyone who’s ever had to show a house already knows this: keeping things just right with kids in the house is HARD.

We had plans to leave our house today at 11:30.  At 10:30, after picking up the same two bins of toys and reshelving all of their books for the 157th time today, I called it quits.  The husband has been power washing the driveway of any drawings made by the kids with his pressure washer.  We loaded everyone up into the car (including our pets!) and ran some errands.  Good Will drop-off, Target, picked up a Mother’s Day present for my Mom, drove through the new neighborhood etc.  It was a fairly packed two and a half hours.

When we got home, everything was neat and clean and ready to go, especially the new door from www.acewindowsne.co.uk/doors/.  I made dessert for tomorrow and did the dishes.  I made dinner for tonight and did the dishes again.  We picked up the toys every 30 minutes or so and then finally put everyone to bed.  It’s nice to have everything neat and tidy, but I’m not sure I can keep this up!

I mean I’d LOVE to, I just don’t know if it’s possible.

It’ll have to happen for at least another 48 hours, someone wants to take one more look….of course.

Wish me luck!

How do you keep things clean for things like this with kiddos in the house?

Friday Favorites

Posted: April 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cleaning | Tags: City Living, Cleaning, Friday Favorites, Goals, Mom stuff, Moving | 2 Comments »

I just hired movers for our move in May.  I’m feeling like a real grown-up adult!  I’ve never moved with actual movers before.  Rented a U-Haul?  Yes.  Hired someone to do the heavy lifting?  No.  So  now my mind is on this move.  Every time I’ve moved in the past 15 years, I’ve worked for Target.  I had a steady and free stream of boxes at my disposal.  I really should have stocked up before I left because now I get to hunt for boxes.  I may be hiring movers, but we’ll be doing the packing and I’m not going to buy boxes.  I’m just too cheap for that.

So what does this all have to do with Friday Favorites?

Cleaning and Cleaning supplies.

This place is going to sparkle when we leave- I have allotted 2 weeks to move- 1 week to move miscellaneous before the truck move, and one week after to clean.

I am serious about this.


These things have worked in the past and I hope they continue to do the trick. I’m working from the worst cleaning jobs on down to the easiest. Just in case I am not as serious as I think about this whole cleaning thing I have looked up some numbers for domestic cleaning services in Bournemouth as a back up.

Oven: I don’t think I have ever cleaned my oven as long as I’ve lived here. Gross I know, but it’s not a fun job….so there’s that.

Hardwood Floors: we have a lot of them- a lot as in all except the bathroom and kitchen. I like the look of hardwoods but combined with radiators and nothing circulating the air around we get a lot of dust and dirt, everywhere. I haven’t used this product but it’s got some good reviews and I haven’t found the “one” hardwood product that I can’t live without just yet. So we’ll give this one a go.

Radiators: There has got to be some sort of tool for this. A-HA! There is:

Walls and wood work: I think I’m going straight up vinegar and water here. I’ll hit it with the dry swiffer first to get rid of the dust/ cobwebs and then go at it with some old t-shirts.

Bathroom: I grew up with Softscrub and I HATE it with a passion. I feel like you are forever rinsing and drying and wiping up that white residue, I just can’t do it. I do however, like Comet. And this is even better than Comet because it smells so lovely. I’ve been using this to clean my tub weekly and I’ve never enjoyed cleaning my tub so much! Can I say I’m going to miss my tub? My big huge cast iron claw foot tub? I’m going to miss it. Probably more than any other thing in this house.

Of course I’m a total cleaning supply junkie and I have a whole cabinet full of things from which to choose from in a pinch. From bleach and Fabuloso to Method and 7th Generation, with a little elbow grease (and maybe a few cold ones) I think I can do this.

Now, who wants to watch my kids?

The Big Purge {2011 in 2011}

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 in 2011 | Tags: 2011 in 2011 | 2 Comments »

Saturday was the big day.  We’d pawned two of our three kids off on various grandparents so we could have fewer hands getting into all the stuff we were going to pull out of the “big” closet.  Our carrot at the end of the day was dinner at a Chinese buffet.  Lowbrow I know but I haven’t been to once since long before I had kids and I needed a fix really bad.  So that was our motivation.  get done, drop off at good will by 5pm and have dinner and time fore  neighborhood walk before bed.  Anything else was just icing on the cake.

We were up nice and early and Yogi Dad dropped Wyatt off at Grandpas while Judah and I stayed home to get ourselves in the purging groove by pulling everything out from under our bed.  I was actually a bit surprised, I thought there was a lot more under there than there was.  A few big Ziplock’s of bath towels ( I like to change my towel colors!) and some of Yogi Dad’s clothes. 

I sorted the towels into keep and donate piles and sorted the clothes into keep and too small/ donate piles.  Yogi Dad pulled some sweaters from the donate pile to motivate himself to lose a little weight by next winter and I added a few more hash marks to our weekly tally.

After that little project I was ready to go so I started pulling things out of the closet.  This is one of those closets that is under a staircase and it is tall and deep with 2 hanging rods.

We had various storage bins and wheeled carts with scrapbooking supplies and diaper boxes full of clothes that are either too small or too big depending on which boys you are talking about. 

And then there were Yogi Dad’s clothes.  He has a bit of a problem.

He’s never met a clearance rack he didn’t like.  Target clearance racks if we’re being specific.

So I just started sorting them.  If they were too small they went in the donate pile.  If they fit they went in the keep pile, again, he made the call on what stayed and what was donated, but there was no room for sentimental favorites from 10 years ago. 

I was very proud of him.  He was able to let go of things we’d been dragging around for years!  The final count of clothing items from his closet alone was 105.  Not bad.

Earlier in the week I’d culled our magazine bins in both  the bathroom and the  living room and had a ton of those to recycle.  I also cleaned out the storage until in the entryway, so those will go into this weeks tally as well.

Drum roll please…..

Donate: 206
Recycle: 131
Trash: 97
Gift: 8
Total: 442/ To Date: 769/ To go: 1242

So in about a month we’ve knocked out about a third of our goal.  Not bad.

And…..we are moving in about 8 weeks!  I’m super pumped that we won’t be dragging all of this with us and even more excited that we’ll have the space to go through anything that we haven’t already.  Hello ginormous basement!

How are you doing with your 2011 in 2011?  What do you count?  What do you keep even though you know you should get rid of  it?

Little by Little {2011 in 2011}

Posted: March 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 in 2011 | Tags: 2011 in 2011, Goals | 1 Comment »

Today I finally tackled the remaining cupboards and kitchen storage.

I started under with the shelving unit near our back door. I had a stack of fancy tart and torte and springform pans that took a dive from the top shelf on Thursday night denting them beyond repair thus starting my “trash” pile. I wasn’t going to get rid of any of the pans actually, but there you go. Fate steps in and takes over. I haven’t used any of them since we’ve lived here, nearly 5 years. I just like having them just in case…I guess their early demise was a kick in the pants to just get rid of stuff already!

So I started there, moved to the under the sink cabinet which proved to be filled with almost empty bottles of lots of cleaning supplies and really old Glade Plugins. I also had a stash of Method Sweet Water oil refills that I had bought on clearance because they were my absolute favorite and I thought for sure I’d find my Method plug in, alas it was not to be. Into the donate pile, maybe someone else has the old style one and will find them useful.

I matched up all of our plasticware with lids, pulled out anything that came from my Moms to give back to her and got rid of all of the reusable coffee mugs that were missing lids. All my silicone bakeware that I want to love but really really hate- donated.

In the end I had 97 things leave my kitchen- 2 huge bags to donate, 6 Target bags of trash and a small pile for the recycling bin.

Next week? The biggest closet in the house. We’re sending the Big Boys away for the day so we can work with fewer distractions. It’s probably going to be the biggest purge to date.

Here is the breakdown:
Trash: 45 items
Donated: 37 items
Returned: 7 items
Recycled: 8 items
Total 97 items/ 327 items to date/ 1684 items to go

I can’t wait for that middle number to be higher than the last number!!!

The Slacker Mom

Pantry Purge

Posted: March 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 in 2011 | Tags: 2011 in 2011, Blog Hop | 7 Comments »

This week my objective was to tackle the kitchen pantry and cabinets.  We have very little storage in our house in general, the majority of which is in the kitchen.  That doesn’t mean we have a lot of storage in the kitchen.  We have one bank of built-in’s which I’m guessing are from when the house was built in 1902.  We also have 2 smaller cabinets that are on either side of the radiator under the one “countertop”  (that term is used very loosly here).  We have also added a baker’s rack and a matching shelving unit- I need somewhere for my appliances, I need constant access to my Kitchenaid mixer.

So today I started to organize the pantry portion of the cupboards.  There are three doors that go from about hip level and are about 4′ high from there.  It’s got 4 shelves across and three doors.  Two of the doors are the pantry.  I had planned on doing the dishes and glassware which are in the 3rd door, but it didn’t happen.  Grocery shopping, dinner and then making butter in my food processor all came before that.  I think I’ll have my work cut out for me this week if I want to stay on my schedule!

So I started by pulling everything out, 1 shelf at a time.  The bottom shelf is all baking stuff and cooking oils and vinegars.  I had a lot of 1/2 used bags of things stashed in Ziplock bags all over on this shelf.  It was a mess.  I did a lot of combining and putting things into their jars and canisters where they are supposed to be.  Just doing this eliminated a lot of extra bulk that was taking up space.

In my closet purge I noticed I have a problem hoarding stationary.  In my kitchen I found I have a problem hoarding coconut.  That’s right.  I had 2 full Tupperware containers and 2 half bags plus a new unopened bag that I just got last week.  I suppose I should clean out this cabinet more often if I have that much coconut but I can’t find any when I need it. 

Other than the coconut that I tossed I really didn’t have a lot of things I threw away.  Only a few hard granola bars and boxes of raisins from the bottom of the snack bin.  I did have 13 items that were past their freshness date- so that’s all I’ve got for this week.

As I cleaned and purged and combined I was able to reorganize and see everything we had.  I had no need to buy cereal or any snack bars or crackers- we are good on that front.  Oatmeal- rolled, instant and steel-cut are all stocked up.  I was able to stick to my grocery budget get the next two weeks by using my pantry to start off my meals- the majority of my shopping was actually on the perimeter of the store except for a brief foray into the baking aisle for chocolate chips and Jerk seasoning.

The one thing i was hoping to find (yeast) we did not have and i totally forgot to put it on my list.  I have been wanting to make yeasted waffles for awhile now and Jenna over at High Gloss and Sauce posted about them today and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get any yeast!  It’ll have to wait until the next trip I guess.

Pantry Purge
–  13 outdated food items (T)
13 items / 230 items to date / 1781 to go!

If my goal is 49 items a week I’m in the hole for this week- I’ll have to make up for it next week I guess!

So come on all you 2011 in 2011 de-cluttering fiends!  Let’s see some links!

The Slacker Mom

It’s a Start.

Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 in 2011 | Tags: 2011 in 2011, Blog Hop | 7 Comments »

This weekend was supposed to be a great time to start purging our closets and storage areas as we had 2 of the 3 kids visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  I forgot about my much needed hair appointment at 8:30 Saturday morning so I had a later start than I planned.  When I finally got down to go through the boxes that had been pulled from storage it was after 1 and the first of the boys was to arrive home around 3:30.  I had to work quickly.

The back half of our unit was all stacked so nicely that we didn’t even pull it out.  I’ll just do that when we move.  Not ideal, but with limited time I was happy to get through the front half so I could add more to it.  I quickly ruled out all of the boxes that I had just packed up last fall- mostly home decor and dishes.  Right now I have so much stuff in boxes because a lot of our rooms have been re-purposed for the kids.  I’m not getting rid of my china because I’m not using it right now- I will have my dining room back one day!

I was able to go through quickly and either keep/ donate or trash without much thought.

There was a lot of trash.  A box of Christmas ornaments had been crushed under another box and they were everywhere, many broken (none of my sentimental favorites).  I also condensed a lot of boxes down so there were bags if tissue paper, gift boxes and Target bags a plenty.

Saturday’s 1/2 purge of the basement storage unit
– 2 Halloween lawn decorations (broken- T)
– Graco Swing Frame (broken- T)
– Swiffer Wetjet (T)
– 2 lawn chairs (broken- T)
– 1 box Christmas ornaments (T)
– Desktop Computer (not sure where this is going yet)
– Microwave (large pick-up day T)
– Graco Carseat (CL)
– 2 Careseat Bases (CL)
– Grace Swing Frame (CL)
– Johnny Jump-up (D)
– Camp Chair (D)
– 2 Camp cots (R)
– Gameboy (D)
– 12 Gameboy Games (D)
30 items

Because I wasn’t super excited about my progress yesterday I decided to tackle my closet (and my bathroon) today.  I had better luck!

– 1 Jewelry Box (D)
– 12 Baby Blankets (D)
– 1 Boppy cover (D)
– 8 Handbags (D)
– 2 Windbreakers (D)
– 2 Dresses (D)
– 15 Women’s tops (D)
– 7 Belts (D)
– 7pc Target volunteer kit (D)
– 1 Dog harness (D)
– 1 Mail sorter (D)
– 1 Candle holder (D)
– 2 Sofa pillows (D)
– 1 Journal (D)
– 2 Bullseye Dogs (D)
– Bridal Bargains book (D)
– 13 Bridal Magazines (R)
– 9 Khaki shorts (D)
– 6 Khaki pants (D)
– 1pr Spa shoes (D)
– 75 toiletry items (make-up, haircare, etc.) (T)
– 1 Bedskirt (RE)
– 1 Suitcase (RE)
170 items

200 items total, mostly to be donated, some trash, a pile of mags to recycle and some items to be returned to their owners.  There were also 8 bags of trash, mostly paper trash.  I’m going to list some baby items on Craiglist and see what we can get for those.  I will never need 2 Infant carseats again so I think I’ll be OK just keeping 1 with a set of bases. 

I have a habit of throwing the contents of drawers into a bag or a box instead of going through it when I am moving furniture around and I had a lot of “desk” stuff that was just sitting there taking up space.  I need to make sure I am taking the time to get rid of stuff in the moment instead of keeping it for later.  I also seem to have a bit of a problem buying stationary.  I had about a dozen boxes of blank cards and Thank You notes just hanging out.  Ask anyone who knows me- I am not good at making sure the Thank You notes get out!  I think I need to avoid that aisle at Target when it’s on clearance….

The next big thing will be the closet in the boys room- that is a big project, I’m not sure I’ve seen the back of that closet since the boys were little! 

So in just a few days I think we’ve got a bit of a dent in.  217 items of 2011.  Only 1794 to go!

The Slacker Mom