I’m Singin’ In the Rain…

Making your home sing Mondays

Have you ever tried to actually Sing in the Rain?  Usually I’m a bit “froggier” during wet weather so I don’t sing with as much gusto, but I’m usually singing in my head at least…

I’ve found that doing my “chores” around the house is SOOOOOOO much better if I am listening to praise & worship music – or tappin’ your foot contemporary Christian music.  I get in a “groove” and if I’m singing while I work, the work seems to go by much faster.  I’m amazed at what I can accomplish in a short amount of time, if I’m thinking about what I’m singing rather than how many times I have to wash dishes every day…

I’ve also learned, that scent has an effect on my cleaning power, too.  Since I’ve been using more naturally derived – homemade cleaners, I enjoy cleaning more.  Much of my cleaning creations include a peppermint scent – which is just happy and bright – and doesn’t give me a headache!  Peppermint gives me a real boost – it’s energizing – and very pleasant.  There are other essential oils – like grapefruit, lavendar, eucalyptus – that will also leave a fresh scent that offers a bit of aromatherapy…

On a day when I’m down in the dumps or feeling depressed – honestly, if I will myself to get up and grab my homemade cleaner – not only do I accomplish something, but I actually feel brighter in spirit…

You can find more information about aromatherapy and essential oils here:

Mountain Rose Herbs

Aura Cacia

(But while we’re talking about peppermint – if you’re a big fan – check out this Holiday Peppermint Cake recipe!!!  Mmmmmmm)

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Happy Coffee Day! Making Homemade Cleaners

Hello Coffee Girls!  Thanks for stopping by.  I’ve got a pot of medium-roast Breakfast Blend on (and the kettle on for you tea lovers) – help yourself to a pumpkin scone while you’re here!

A few weeks ago I wrote about making Lotion Bars among other things.  I did in fact make them, BUT because I didn’t have a great measuring system for the beeswax, I’ve had to remelt them down and grate in some additional wax.  The oil left things extra oily and the bars were more malleable in my hand than they should be.  So the re-newed batch is setting up now, and I’ll share the recipe when I’ve mastered it. LOL

I found some other household cleaning recipes that I wanted to share.  I really have been thrilled with using Vinegar and Baking Soda for many household cleaning projects.

Here are a few recipes I found in my Homemade recipe book from Reader’s Digest:

Creamy Scrubbing Cleaner

2 cups baking soda
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
4 tsp vegetable glycerin
5 drops essential oil

Mix well and store in sealed glass jar.  The shelf life for this cleaner is 2 years!  (I get my baking soda at Sam’s Club – got my Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap at Kroger’s, and my vegetable glycerin at a local health food storeIf you use a scented castile soap, it probably isn’t necessary to add the essential oil for scent…)

All Purpose Cleaner

2 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp. borax powder
1 cup hot distilled water + additional water
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
1 16 oz. spray bottle

Mix vinegar and borax in bottle.  Add 1 cup hot distilled water and shake until all is dissolved.  Add more water until almost full.  Add 1/4 cup liquid castile soap and swirl until mixed.  (I’ll just plug the peppermint castile soap as my favorite cleaning smell.  It is fresh and clean and I love cleaning with it. )

Liquid Fabric Softener

2 cups baking soda
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups distilled water
10 drops essential oil

Stir all together and store in plastic lidded container.   Use 1/4 cup per wash load.  (Plain vinegar alone is a great fabric softener, but if you would like to add a nice scent to your load, this liquid recipe may work well for you!)

Hope you enjoy these recipes.  I really enjoy using more natural products in my home and spending MUCH LESS money on cleaners and cleaning products.

Do you have any homemade cleaner recipes you rely on?

*If you’re on the fence about trying homemade cleaners – you’re not alone.  Try starting with one recipe and see how it works for you.   No need to go gung ho with switching out every cleaner until you see how one works for you. =)


What are You Singing?

Making your home sing Mondays

I’m just gonna be really honest – it’s been awhile since I made my home sing. Lately, I’ve been content to just find a particular level of maintenance and call it “enough” when really, it is just barely squeaking by. sigh.

One day last week I was online and really – in my heart of hearts – I just wanted to get sucked into my computer and not have to deal with two bored girls, a needy cat, bills to be paid, loads of laundry and well, you know the rest.

I don’t like cleaning toilets.

I love writing and blogging.

I don’t like cleaning up after the cat who seems to have a serious problem with gorging and then vomiting weekly.

I do love visiting with friends on Twitter and playing Farmville on Facebook.

So, at some point, God entered the picture and began clearly telling me to get off the computer.  I didn’t want to.  But God, I’m writing “Christian” stuff here – can’t I have just a DAY to myself to do fun things I want to do?

Silence.

After some serious conviction I shut the computer down put it aside and began focusing on my girls.  My attitude hadn’t quite shifted, but I was moving and getting juice cups ready and thinking about lunch.  And I stayed off the computer for the rest of the day.

And you wouldn’t BELIEVE what I accomplished.  Even I couldn’t believe what I had accomplished.  It didn’t look like much had changed around here – but I knew I’d swept down the stairs and the kitchen.  I knew I’d rolled on the floor with the girls and played and laughed.  I knew several things got put back into their keeping place.

And it made a difference.  Maybe my blogging makes a difference – occasionally, on a good day – but Making My Home Sing – I can see and feel the difference…

So today, I am going to focus on my home & family – not just race through stuff – but FOCUS on what needs to be done and pray over my To Do list and pray over my computer time and ask God to help me DO the right thing.

I’m going to make My Home Sing today.

Planner Forms, Home Organization, and Challenges, Oh My!

Maybe you know how much I LOOOOOOVE organizer forms.  Organization – especially Home Keeping – is something I’ve written about many times in the past, and has been a subject of research and serious study in my life for about 18 months.

I’ve tried the Flylady – more than once – and even though her system is great and really works for so many and she is gentle and encouraging – I was still very overwhelmed by the process and so many steps.

I’ve found other organizer forms from a variety of sources and have used many different products – both free and paid for.  I love the pretty forms Cindy Rushton has to offer in her Organized Mom Super Set. Her products are especially geared toward stay at home moms and homeschooling moms.

I love Donna Young’s variety of forms and the sizes and layouts she offers at her site.  They are efficient and they are free, but they are not girly or fancy…

I’ve found several other forms and styles I liked – at places like D*I*Y Planner, Amy Bayliss and others, but they didn’t offer a complete set of matching forms for my needs.  Cuz yes, I AM the kind of woman who wants coordinating sets…

I stumbled across an organizer site several months ago – checked it out – even had some contact with the owner who answered a few of my questions, and then never thought about it again.  Until last week.

And I found the site again – as well as the owner’s corresponding blog which gave great views of the pages and products:

Grace Works Purpose Planner

His Graceworks (blog)

With whole planner sets (including binder) or individual pages, they are designed to coordinate and work together beautifully.

What I love about them:

  • Price.  Reasonable prices for refills and page sets.  They even have beautiful binders (classic size or petite size) that are very reasonably priced!
  • Beautiful.  In beautifully scripted fonts that are still easy to read and follow, I am inspired just by looking at the pages!
  • Variety.  Seriously – GW has an incredible variety of pages – whether you are a homeschooling mom, stay at home mom, a mom in ministry – there are great pages for personal devotions, personal planning, and grocery / menu planning!
  • Christian.  This is my favorite part – created by two Christian women, the pages are designed with Scripture verses sprinkled throughout each page – reminding me of my value and purpose as a mom, helping me stay on track and keep focused on what really matters.

Check out the Planner site – but also check out the blog.  Tricia is starting a NEW 28-day challenge to help you with Menu Planning!  If you need help in this area – don’t hesitate to follow along.  There are points awarded and prizes to be earned – and if you can’t participate now, you can still get some inspiration and guidance to help you practically plan and prepare your family meals!

Moms – Want More Time? Get Organized!

stopwatchAs a mom, you probably wear many different hats – chef, taxi driver, maid, home keeper, schedule coordinator, planner, assistant, organizer – and more.  Do you ever wear more than one hat at a time? Do you ever wish you had more time in the day?

Well, since that’s not possible, you just have to approach your family schedule and home organization in a different way!

Since it’s usually up to you to keep everyone in the family organized, you could probably use some help. Right?

These days – with work and home and church and family – moms are very busy – sometimes too busy. At times you may feel like you don’t even know if you are coming or going anymore. Life gets downright hectic and can leave you feeling worn out and exhausted.

Eventually you get to the point that something has got to give.  Know what I mean?

Life doesn’t have to be so stressed and hectic? All it takes is a little organization on your part and you’ll have your house and family running smoothly leaving you extra time and less stress. Read the rest of this entry »

Time for Some Changes. And Coffee Girls!

What a week this has been!  A lot of emotional stuff after a terrific Shared Hope International event, my Psych class coming to an end (WOOHOO!), and just lots of wife-and-mommy stuff going on.

You may start noticing some changes here in The Cafe.  Maybe you’ve noticed some already. Pictures of my family are being removed from this blog. Previous (old) posts in my archives are going to become inaccessible and when my new blog is revealed, only posts from 2009 will be available…

I always asked myself why anybody would want to “steal” pictures from anyone’s blog, let alone do anything evil with them, and I just tried to be careful about posting details and information that could compromise our safety.  Unfortunately, I learned what CAN be done with stolen pictures, and I’m going to eliminate that possibility now…  Until I figure out a safe way to post pictures so they can’t be donwloaded, there won’t be anymore appearing here.  But I think this post at Multiples…. and More! shows me the way! Read the rest of this entry »

One of those days…

Yesterday was one of THOSE days.

You know the kind I mean.

Girls won’t stop screaming in the store while we’re shopping.  Or hitting.  Or bumping heads.  Or fighting.  Or annoying.  Or grabbing things off the shelves.  So shopping for things we are in need of was scrapped.

Just as I would get settled into something – anything – the phone would ring.  I never quite finished any one project.  I was left feeling that sense of loss.  Of unease. Of failure.

Red juice got spilled onto mommy & daddy’s bed, so all the linens had to be washed.

The now decreasing, but not quite extinct, problems with constipation and NOT wanting to use the toilet took over our day.

Reading just one email felt like a serious accomplishment – although no real things were accomplished.  Movies were played to capture little girls’ attention so I could get the load of laundry started.  The dishes started.  Supper started. Read the rest of this entry »