Friday, May 25, 2012

Week 21 Assignment - If I could just finish the bathroom!!

The good news around here is my kids are growing up into cute, polite, happy little people!  The bad news is, I think nap time is a thing of the past...for both of them!  :(  But I'm determined to figure out a way to get the things I want to accomplish done.  A friend of mine, who I am in constant awe of, manages to work a full time job, be an amazing mom, and be one of the craftiest people I know so I know it's possible!  She just doesn't sleep!  :)

So as a test, I am going to try and finish caulking and painting the new "crown molding" in the guest bathroom once and for all!  Since it's been a while, here's a reminder of what I was hoping to accomplish AGES ago...

I am going to caulk all the seams and paint with a high gloss paint.  Since I can't use my favorite Glidden Trim & Door because the instructions for the foam molding say in large, bold print "USE WATER-BASED LATEX PAINT ONLY!!"  I'm going to give Floetrol a try.

It is supposed to eliminate brush marks in latex paint by extending the drying time...pretty much what the Glidden Trim & Door paint does but without the oil based formula.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one...if it does work the possibilities are ENDLESS!!  :)  Since the Glidden only comes in a handful of colors, if this works it may be the solution to the shiny turquoise front door of my dreams!!

See you next week!!  Wish me luck!

Week 20 Assignment - Results

Well, what can I say...I HATE cleaning!  I am definitely not the Domestic Diva I thought I would be when we decided that I should stay home with the kids!  But the good news is, I think I may have found a few tricks to help me fake it!!

After cleaning my disgusting floors with my go-to Bona Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaning Solution, I gave 
Ask Anna's fake-out a try!  And I have to say, I was surprised at how well it worked!!  The majority of my floor issues are the result of sippy cup spills, so going around once a day with a hand towel really does the trick!  This, coupled with my Roomba dependency may just help me look like I spend a ton of time keeping my floors clean!!  If you have hardwood (or fake hardwood like we do) it's definitely worth a try!! 

Now...on to the bathrooms!  Eeeww!  I honestly have no idea how two toddlers and a grown man can make such a mess just going potty...and it's a total toss up as to who is the worst offender!  :)  On the bright side, ALL of my tricks that I picked worked even better than I had imagined!  I highly recommend them all!!  And the best part is, they all utilize the same concepts and ingredients, so doing them all takes very little time compared to the amazing results!!  I tried them in this order and was able to bang out two bathrooms in under an hour.  Considering how gross they were at the start I think that's quite an accomplishment!!  :)  

I stated with Joyful Homemaking's tip for removing mineral deposits around faucets...I just wrapped the faucets in both bathrooms in paper towels soaked in vinegar and let them sit until I was done with just about everything else.  After I took off the towels I gave a little scrub to any deposits that were left and viola!!  My faucets look brand new and shiny!!  It even took the caked on deposits on the faucets themselves.  I'll definitely be doing this once a month!!

Next, I gave Ask Anna's tip to get rid of that "Boy Bathroom Smell" a whirl!  I used a sponge paintbrush to pretty much coat both toilets from top to bottom as well as on the floor around the toilets with the lemon/baking soda paste and let it set.  Once I finished the second toilet I went back and sprayed the first with vinegar, as well as the walls and cabinet sides around the toilet.  While that fizzed, I did the same to the second toilet.  Then, back to toilet #1 to wipe everything down, followed by toilet #2.  The result???  Two bathrooms that smelled clean and fresh, with just a hint of vinegar!  The vinegar smell dissipated pretty quickly and when it did...tada!!  No "Boy Bathroom" smell at all!  I don't know if I'll do this once a week, but I will definitely do it once a month when I do the faucets!!  Maybe more if things start to get stinky!   

Finally, after removing the vinegar soaked paper towels on the faucets and giving a little scrub, I used the tip on how to clean a porcelain sink from The 36th Avenue.  I  read a bunch of the comments before I got started and saw one that said you could skip everything and just do the final, Clorox Clean Up step so of course I gave it a try...The results were okay but nothing as earth-shattering as I was hoping for, so I went back and followed the instructions step by step and all I can say is WOW!!!!  We have a cheap pedestal sink in our Guest Bathroom that I've never been able to get really clean and an even cheaper fake marble counter/sink in the Master that always looked gross...that is until now!!  All the black scuff marks and strange unidentifiable stains are a thing of the past and I am left with beautiful, gleaming white sinks that I don't hate anymore!!  I am totally intrigued by the dishwasher crystals cleaning power.  For my next trick I may try this combination of steps in our nasty fiberglass shower enclosures!!  :)  This is also something I'm going to start doing monthly!! 

So now for the million dollar question - Will the tip for Efficiently clean a bathroom using 3 paper towels??? Change my life?? I'm not 100% sure yet but I think it just might!  After my first try I can tell you I was able to "clean" two bathrooms, top to bottom in about 30 minutes.  And they look as good as they did after the big cleaning I gave them the week before!  The key is definitely the microfiber towels!  If you see them at your local Costco I definitely recommend buying a bunch!!  I have no idea why, by our house is extremely dusty and combine that with three dogs and let's just say stuff accumulates everywhere.  These microfiber towels pick all the yuck up easily and quickly.  Next I'm going to try dusting with them!!  
Now let me just tel you about the pillowcase ceiling fan cleaning technique from Real Simple...why hadn't I heard about this before!!  Our fans are all over our beds and cleaning them usually required stripping the beds and putting something down in case any yuck ended up falling off the fans...well no more my friends!!  In about 2 minutes I cleaned all the fans in our house (ooh, were they gross!!) with all the yuck landing safely inside the pillowcase!!!  Brilliant!!!

This next tip 
from One Good Thing...was the closest thing to a failure I experienced this week.   And it really wasn't a failure at all.  I made a paste of 1/4 cup baking soda with a splash of peroxide and put it on all the black, crusty stains I've been trying to remove from my stainless steel stove top since we moved in 7 years ago, and it removed about half of them completely.  The others ended up getting smaller and less noticeable, so I'm hoping with repeated applications they will eventually go.  Next, I'm going to try this on the black stains on the bottoms of my pots and pans!!  

I'm actually pretty stoked that everything worked as well as they did!!  Just another affirmation for my Pinterest addiction!!  I'm so stoked that I do think the tip from Organizing Made Fun is going to change my life.  I do hate cleaning, but for 15-20 minutes a day I think I can stomach it!!  So my goal is to stick to her weekly schedule for the next month and see how it goes!  
Of course, I'll keep you posted!  :) 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Week 20 Assignment - What happened to my house????

Apparently, spending two weeks making pool noodle Lightsabers and Wookie Cookies leaves one's home looking like a fraternity house after Spring Break!  I'm always amazed at how much filth two adults, two kids, and three dogs can muster without even trying!  Needless to say, I feel the need to CLEAN!!!!  So this week, I've decided to try a few tips and tricks I've seen on Pinterest that seem just a little too good to be true, hoping it will turn my house sparkly clean again!!

Here's one that caught my eye from Ask Anna, one of my favorite blogs when it comes time to clean...
Definitely going to give it a try once I get the floors clean enough to not take a whole day to "spot clean"!  :)

Here's another one that I find intriguing!!  I HATE cleaning the's up there with having surgery without anesthesia!!  So I think I'm going to try doing this once a week once I give it a good cleaning...Efficiently clean a bathroom using 3 paper towels??? I'm in!!!

Now to get the bathroom clean enough to even attempt the 3 paper towel system, I think I'm going to give this tip from Joyful Homemaking for removing mineral deposits around faucets...
And this one on how to clean a porcelain sink from The 36th Avenue...
And for the Pièce de résistance...another little gem from Ask Anna to get rid of that "Boy Bathroom Smell" which is especially necessary for the Hubs bathroom (i.e. the Master Bath)...

Once I have the bathroom under control, I think I'm going to tackle some long neglected ceiling fans!  I'm dying to see if this really works...and if it's really as easy as Real Simple makes it out to be...

And I'm going to see if I can get my stainless steel stovetop clean once and for all using this tip from One Good Thing...

This should keep me busy for the week!  :)  Once it's all done, I'm going to see if this little beauty from Organizing Made Fun is going to change my life...
I'll keep you posted!  :)  Wish me luck!!  See you next week!

Week 18 & 19 Assignment - Results

Wow!!!!  I still can't believe we pulled it off...keeping 40 (yes, four-zero) kids occupied and having fun for over three hours!!  We pumped them full of sugar and then ran them ragged...I'm hoping their parents got to enjoy a quiet evening after they passed out!!  :)

I guess I should start with the invitations...since B-Man wanted a Clone Wars theme, I searched eBay and found exactly what I wanted from a familiar name...Tink Designs.  Hannah at Tink Designs helped me create the most adorable Dr. Seuss baby shower invites for my sister-in-law a while back so I was more than happy to do business with her again!

Thanks to a little help from the Biggest Kid I Know (a.k.a. Jedi Master Big "E"), he and Darth Vader (a.k.a. The Hubs) put on the best Jedi Training I've ever seen!!  Well, yes it was the only one I have ever seen but I can't imagine finding one better...When Jedi Master Big "E" disappeared to his car and came back with an armful of obstacle course gear and wearing a Snuggie-inspired Jedi outfit, I knew this was going to be way cooler than I had ever imagined!!

After running through the obstacle course several times, burning off the Wookie Cookies and Yoda Soda, they were awarded their "lightsabers" and continued to hone their skills on eachother and evil Dark Side Bubbles.  It was hysterical!!  The best part was when Darth Vader arrived and got the bejeebers beat out of him by 40 kids ready to defeat the Dark Side!!  Poor Hubs!  :)

Speaking of Wookie Cookies and Yoda Soda, here's the spread for the day...
First, let me say that the Oreo Cookie Cupcake recipe is crazy easy and TO DIE FOR!!!!  If you have a need for cupcakes, I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try!  I had several people ask me which bakery I got them from, and when I told them I made them they didn't believe me!

The food labels were easy too, just find a font you like and some cardstock and let Word do the rest!  I just found a label template that used the size I wanted and went to town.  I would share the font I used with you...but in downloading several Star Wars fonts trying to decide which to use I downloaded a virus too...since I don't know which one it came from I figured I should keep my cooties to myself!  :)  I will share this awesome website I used to come up with a lot of the food has an Encyclopedia with all the character and location names from the movies as well as the Clone Wars cartoons.  I also used it to find a picture for the water labels, which turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be!  I started with Avery 6575 Permanent Durable I.D. Labels.  These labels are pretty waterproof and super sticky so you don't end up with a huge mess once you put the bottles on ice.  Definitely shop around...I found them at Staples for almost half the price on Avery's website.  Then I made my own template in Word based on the size of the labels on a bottle of Kirkland (Costco) water, which I would love to share with you here but for some reason when I try to Google Doc it the format goes out the if you want it send me a message and I'll e-mail it to you.  Then it's just a matter of cutting the labels and putting them on the bottles...Definitely worth the time and effort in my book!

I know you all are wondering...did I make the Death Star Pinata???  Well, sort of...after sitting down and really reading the instructions my sanity momentarily returned long enough for my brain to scream..."JUST BUY A ROUND PINATA AND PAINT IT SILVER YOU IDIOT!!!!"  So that's what I did!  :)  I bought a $15 baseball pinata and spray painted it silver.  Then I added some black glitter grid lines and a circle where the planet demolishing beam comes out of.  B-Man loved it but asked me, "Mommy, where is the green thing?"  I had no idea what he was talking about but after a series of questions determined that he wanted a green beam coming out of it to blow things up with...too bad his Mommy isn't THAT crafty!  :)

To top off the day, each new Jedi received an Official Jedi Certificate and Wristband...
I found something similar, but not "Clone Wars" on a website but they didn't offer a "Clone Wars" version, so I asked Hannah at Tink Designs what she could come up with (how do I love eBay!!??)  and she totally hit it out of the park!!  The wristbands I found at and with an awesome Groupon I bought a while back I got them half price!!  :)

All in all I think this was the most awesome party I will EVER pull off!!  The kids all had an absolute blast!  Some of the "Adults" too!  
Now to start planning a Disney Princess Party!!  :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Week 18 & 19 Assignment - May the FORCE be with me!

The countdown to B-Man's Birthday Party has begun!!  So this week, I plan on getting the favors out of the way as well as get as much prepared for the party as I can!!  First big project...LIGHTSABERS!!  I found this on Pinterest and figured it was a perfect way for 5 year olds to hone their Jedi Skills without hurting eachother!  :)
Thanks to a trip to the Dollar Tree, I grabbed 30 pool noodles for $1/each!!  I'm hoping cutting them in half and wrapping them with tape won't be a huge pain in the butt!!

I found this link on how to make a "Death Star Pinata"...yes, I am insane!!

I'm also going to make food labels using a cool Star Wars font I found.  Here's a look at my proposed menu:

Ackbar’s Snack Bar
“Sith Snaks” – Takis (Crazy Spicy Corn Chip Tubes that I am absolutely addicted to!!)
“Rebel Treats” – Cheese Puffs
“Droid Parts” – square pretzels and pretzel stick mix
“Wookie Cookies” – chocolate chip cookies
“Slurp Sabers” – Gogurt
“Fruit Sabers with Darth Maul Dip” - fruit kebabs with my favorite "Crepe Creme" for dipping

Mos Eisley Cantina – 
“Yoda Soda” - 3/4 cup limeade, 1/2 cup sparkling water, 1 scoop lime sherbet
“Padme Punch” – Fruit Punch
“Boss Lyonie Lemonade” - Lemonade
"Mon Cala Water" (If I have time and can figure it out, make labels for the water bottles?)

Pizza the Hut – (Gotta love Costco!!)
“Padawan Pepperoni”
“Chewbacca Cheese”
“Count Dooku Combo”

And of course..."Obi-Wan Kenobi Oreo Cupcakes"!!  

I'm going to be realistic and give myself two weeks to get everything done, so I'll see you after the party!  This time, I'll remember to take pictures!!  :)

Week 17 Assignment - Results

Well, it's official!!  Potty training is kicking my butt!!  I don't know when it happened, but my sweet, lovable, angel daughter has turned into the most stubborn person I know!  Although we've had two successful potty poops in the last month, they were both a result of making her sit on the potty for AGES after she went a little in her pants.  Other than that, she just refuses to do it!  The funny thing is, after each successful one, she was so happy and proud saying that it wasn't so scary going in the potty...but unfortunately the euphoria doesn't last.  :(  I've tried everything from bribes to punishment to no avail.  Couple this with the fact that nap times may be coming to and end in this household and the end result is my "me time" may be becoming a thing of the past.   

So what did I accomplish this week???  Unfortunately not much.  I did get the "artwork" done for the bathroom and after several attempts I finally figured out how to use the stencil.  Funny how all I had to do was trust the people that made it and follow their directions to the letter!  :)  When they say you need to roll almost all of the paint off the roller onto a paper towel before using it on the stencil they actually mean it!!  Once I stopped trying to fight the stencil, it worked like a charm!!  What do you think...

I also spent the week making "Teacher Appreciation" projects which were a blast!  I made three "Mercury Glass" dollar store vases for "flower day" where each student brought one flower for each teacher.  The bouquets ended up being really adorable!!  I also made these M&M gifts that I found at Domestically Speaking and boy are they cute!!  :)...And check me out!  Finally learning how to make a photo collage in Picasa!!

So I guess the crown molding will wait for another time.  The good news is it doesn't look too bad even without being "finished"...or maybe that's the bad news.  I think if it looked like crap I'd be more motivated to get it done.  But since B-man's birthday is less than two weeks away it will have to wait!! It's time to get my Force on!  Maybe I can use the Force to help potty train the Pooptress!  :)