Saturday, April 30, 2011

How I Keep the House Semi-Company Ready - Living Room

Keeping a clean house is difficult whether you work outside the home or not, each option offers its own unique challenges.  I try my best to keep my house at least clean enough that I'm not horribly embarrassed if someone stops in.  Not that it would pass the white glove test, but it's reasonably clean.  Of course, this is what I strive for and is not always reality even though I would say I'm successful about 80% of the time.

Even though the living room gets the most use, I actually find it the easiest to keep clean.  My plan of attack is to try and pick up before I go to bed every night.  A pick-up takes me about 10 minutes and consists of the following:

  • Dog toys picked up and put in their 'toy box'
  • Books/magazines that are left out are put in the appropriate reader's room.  This includes some instructions to the kids to come get their stuff if they are home.
  • Take any glasses that may have been left on the end tables into the kitchen and in the dishwasher.  This might also include a little bit of yelling if it's not my glass.  I'm not a huge fan of eating in the living room and I don't like the kids bringing food or drink in there.
  • Fluff the pillows
  • Vacuum
  • If I find the TV looking fairly dusty I'll put a big X on the screen so that whoever is watching TV the next day dusts it for me.  They just LOVE when I do that to them but it works so I keep it up.
Here is a picture of how I like the living room to look when I go to bed.  No critiquing the photo quality or the decor, as I've told you in previous posts it seriously needs an update but I'm living with it as it is for now :)  I also noticed that the puppies sneaked in the picture when I was taking it.  Sophie is the white one and Anna is the black one you can barely see in the lower right corner.

Several times a month I try to do a deep dive cleaning which consists of the following:

  • Lemon oil the furniture
  • Moving the furniture and vacuuming behind everything
  • Thoroughly dust all non-wood surfaces including pictures, knickknacks, window dressings, etc
That's how I attempt to keep my living room company ready.  What about you?  Do you have any suggestions you would like to share?

I'll be linking this up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie

My Plans for the Blog

I realize that I'm pretty inconsistent with how often and what I write about.  I've been thinking about what direction I'd like to take my blog so I've come up with a series of topics that I can write about and publish on a regular basis.  My goal is to publish about five to six times per week.  I've picked the following topics for regular publication:

  • How I Keep the House Semi Company Ready - I'll be sharing what I do on a daily, weekly basis to stay ahead of cleaning tasks
  • Things I Love - Each week I'll be picking an item that I really enjoy, my family loves or it makes my life easier
  • Time Management - How I fit (or try to fit) everything that needs to be done in a 24 hour time span
  • Cost Savings - How I try to save money or any deals I've gotten that week
  • Recipes
I'll be adding more as I come up with additional ideas.  Is there anything you would be interested in reading about?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Look What Was in My Mailbox!

A few weeks ago Crystal at Money Saving Mom had a post about Sample Showcase accepting new samplers.  I went over there to sign up and received my first sample box today - yeah!  I think I might add laundry (typically my husband's domain) to my to do list so I can try out the Wisk.

Weekend Plans - what I hope to accomplish

It's quite a dreary day here in the midwest.  Since it was Easter weekend I decided not to go into work today.  I'm sure I'll pay for it next week but today it's good just to lounge around the house in my pajamas.  I also treated myself last night to a massage, I do feel a little self-indulgent :) 

As of I've said in some of my other posts,  I have a problem with relaxing and my husband is working today so I thought it would be a good day to tackle some of those projects that I've been meaning to do and haven't quite gotten to. 

Here is my plan for the day - keep in mind I know that I'm not going to get through all of them, I like to aim for the stars and settle for the moon :)

Grocery shop -Planning on doing this after the husband gets home from work.  It will be our 'date night'
Dye Easter Eggs -Eggs are boiled, just waiting for them to cool
Clean the house -Almost done with this.  I decided to do a deep dive (moving furniture, etc) so I called in the kids to help out.  Just need to finish the kitchen
Clean out my closet and get my summer clothes out/organized - Almost done with this too.  Everything is one the bed, just need to finish organizing and getting my Goodwill bag put together.
Clean the kitchen pantry
Clean out and organize the bathroom cabinets
Clean out the laundry room (which also happens to be our storage and 'catch-all' room)

We'll see how much of it I accomplish today.  What's on your agenda?

My $2.10 Kohl's Shopping Trip

One of the ways that I save money is to not have time to shop :)  Of course sometimes shopping is a necessity which I have no choice but to do.  A few weeks ago my daughter needed so some summer clothes.  It  was still a little early but nothing from last year fits her so I dug up my 30% off coupon at Kohl's, went on a spend $50 get $10 days and hit the sale racks with her and my husband.  That shopping trip cost us about $200 but we pretty much got her summer wardrobe and my husband a pair of jeans. - plus $40 to spend at a later date

Last Sunday my $40 was set to expire so I told me daughter she could get a new pair of shoes.  Of course we couldn't go without my husband because he LOVES shopping for himself. (I know - weird, isn't it?)  He wears black t-shirts for work and has trouble finding them with the right mix of cotton/polyester.  Kohl's carries them but they tend to be a little expensive.  With the two of them along I was a little worried that my $40 'freebie' might turn into a larger shopping trip.

With a little coaching from me they were able to work it out where he got his black t-shirt and she got a pair of sandals for $42.10.  The downside to Kohl's is that they don't let you use their discount coupons with the spend 50 get 10 otherwise I would have been able to score even more deals! Total value at the bottom of the receipt $75 - not that I would have paid that much but it felt good knowing that I got two nice things for my family for $2.1. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things I Love - Just Dance 2

Every so often I feel the need to write about something that I REALLY love.  Just to note - I am getting absolutely no compensation for this, just sharing a particular items that I enjoy. 

Right now one of the things that I love best is the Just Dance 2 game for the Nintendo Wii.  My daughter received it for Christmas and we have been having a lot of fun with it.  Here's what I love about it.

1)  It's something we can do as a family.  Mostly it's just my daughter and I playing it but seeing my husband (who has no rhythm) dance to "Proud Mary" really made me giggle.  Especially since his score was higher than hers.
2)  The songs are a a lot of fun and there is something for everyone.  The music selection covers every generation.  We've had my mother and father in law up there dancing with us.
3)  This is the one way to get me to exercise.  I get bored with the treadmill and bike but I find that I can easily dance for 30 minutes.  According to my arm band I reach the "vigorous" activity stage when I do it which should = lots of calories!
4)  This game brings out my competitive spirit.  I love going through all the songs and taking over the high score whenever my daughter beats me.  The need to be 'the best' keeps me coming back time after time.

If you have a Wii game console I would recommend this game as some good family entertainment.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jenny Craig - Week 4

I had a good weigh in this week, down 3 pounds.  I was horribly sick all week so I didn't do a very good job of eating their food but I did still try to stick between 1200 and 1500 calories.  Since if I wasn't at work I was parked on the couch I  didn't do very well in the exercise department.  Since we have Vegas coming up in a little over a month I need to get my hinder in gear and start adding some exercise to my program!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Financial Frugality - It's a Balancing Act

"Seriously?  Do you need that many apples?"
"You don't need a haircut - you just had one last summer!"
"I bought you a new Easter/Confirmation dress, can't you wear that for your graduation?"
"We just bought you some t-shirts at Christmas time, what happened to those?"
"No - you don't need a souvenir"

Do any of these sound familiar?  They are all things I've said to my family in the last week or so.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in not spending money that 'no' is our first go-to word.  I need to remember that every once in a while it's ok to say yes because saying no doesn't send the message of financially frugality but can sometimes be construed as we don't care.

"I bought you a new Easter/Confirmation dress, can't you wear that for your graduation?"
My daughter has a big year this spring.  She's getting confirmed and graduating from 8th grade.  Do you remember your 8th grade graduation?  I do - my mom bought me a special dress and I felt absolutely beautiful in it.  I forgot how special I felt until my daughter started crying that I didn't understand her at all and getting a new dress was really important to her.  I think it's important to examine if you are saying no because you truly can't afford it (in that case it's important to stick to your guns or find a creative solution) or if it's because you don't want to spend the money.  For me it's because I didn't want to spend the money.  Is that what I want my daughter to remember about her8th grade graduation?  It's not - we'll be going out and buying her a new dress, different from her confirmation dress.

"You don't need a haircut - you just had one last summer!"

This is another one with my daughter.  She has long straight hair so she doesn't really need regular haircuts (I have shorter hair and I'm terrible about getting regular cuts!).  She's been complaining about split ends and wanted a hair cut, which for some reason I've kept putting off.  Part of this reason was it meant spending money and part of this was time.  I promised her last night to take her to Cost Cutters (won't be happening again) for a hair cut and then decided to surprise her with a manicure and pedicure (her pedicure only consisted of toe painting - I got the works =:)  The evening really made her feel special, I don't always do a good job of letting her know how important she is.  A night out like that every so often is well worth the money.
"Seriously? Do you need that many apples?"

In my quest to keep our grocery bill as low as I can (I budget $200/week) I'm constantly nagging my husband about what he puts in the cart.  While saving money and being fiscally responsible is important, relationships can't be sacrifice for it.  My husband has shared with me that when I nag him like that I make him feel  bad.  I tend to nag more when I'm concerned that we're going off budget for the week (i.e. unexpected expenses have cropped up)  When I get in my 'nagging' moods I'm missing opportuntities to share quality time with my husband and I'm potentially damaging our relationship.  What I have found to be a better way to approach is if I share my concerns with my husband so that he can be part of the solution instead of feeling hostile towards him for spending money and then expecting me to 'come up with it'.  If he doesn't know that I'm stressed about unexpected expenditures (new dance shoes, $100 school field trips) he just thinks I'm being a crab.
I'm not advocating spending more money than you can afford and I'm not advocating saying yes all the time.  For me personally I need to examine more why I'm saying no and what affect my answer is having on my loved ones.  One more thing to add to my 'self-improvement' list!

Jenny Craig - Week Three

Not so much of a hot week this week.  I was only down .2 lbs this week - basically flat from the week before.  While I'm disappointed because I really just want to go to bed and wake up skinning - I'm keeping things in perspective.  1)Not every week is going to be a big weight loss weekend.  2) I was out for a nice meal with family the night before.  While I made good choices I always seem to be heavier the next day after a good meal  3)Sometimes our weight just fluctuates a little.  4)I did have an ice cream cone and a cupcake during the week.  Not a major sin (you do have to have some enjoyment in life!)  but there are consequences for our decisions and I guess a poor weigh in week was mine.

One of the things I really like about meeting with the counselor (overall not my favorite part) is the 'planning' for the next week.  Every week there is going to be some kind of road block that will prevent us from eating well.  Understanding what my roadblocks are and planning out how I'm going to handle them helps me do better.  One of my big road blocks this week is taking my staff out for a celebratory lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant.  Good choices isn't really an option so my plan is just to eat smaller portions and still enjoy myself!

Weekend Plans-Maybe Not So Much

I had such big plans for this weekend.  Number one on this list was NOT going into work.  I've worked almost every Saturday morning since the new year and things are getting pretty hairy around the house.  Here was what I hoped to accomplish

Clean out the garage freezer/refrigerator  Complete
Use up last of the cranberries to make cranberry relish
Pulled pork in slow cooker
Cook & shred chicken
Clean out kitchen pantry
Give house thorough cleaning (cupboards, lemon oil doors & baseboards)
Prep cinnamon rolls for my in-laws house tomorrow

Pretty ambitious - right?  Well I woke up in the middle of the night feeling awful.  My throat is killing me and my body aches.  I'm taking some Tylenol Warming, hopefully I'll feel as least semi-human to get some of this done. 

I'll keep you posted.