Spring Cleaning List

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When I was in my late teens/early twenties I would clean houses for money. I was going to school and didn't have a lot of time on my hands so cleaning a few houses a week was perfect.
I know it sounds weird but I also love to clean!
(Of course there are days where I look at the disaster that is my son's room and I just close the door to ignore it.)
As I have said before, I am in the nesting phase of my pregnancy so all I want to do is clean and organize everything! But I am so easily distracted with another mess that I leave the one I am already working on behind. I knew I needed a list. A list by room and task with little boxes for check marks so I wouldn't miss anything.
I also want to make sure I have all the supplies I need to complete my list.
So to help out my fellow deep cleaners...here is a list of tasks and supplies:

  • Pair of Cleaning Gloves
  • Supplies Tote: Keep everything you need with you in your tub/tote!
  • Vacuum
  • Broom with Dust Pan
  • Mop with bucket
  • Toothbrush: For those hard to reach spots.
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Two trash bags:
    • One small bag to hold your used dirty cloths 
    • One large bag for trash you pick up around the home
  • 5-10 Absorbant cleaning cloths
  • Fabric Softener Tissue: Baseboards. This will prevent dust from settling in the future.

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: This is my go-to scrubbie!
    • Bathtubs
    • Chrome
    • Dirty glass
    • Walls
    • Or Anything!
  • Wood Polisher/cleaner:
    • Pledge Furniture Spray to remove dust
    • Pledge Furniture Polish with Oil to preserve wood
  • Dawn Power Clean Dishwashing Liquid, Murphy or Pine-Sol Lavender: Floor cleaner.
    • Dawn for stained concrete floors
    • Murphy for finished wood floors
    • PineSol for bathroom floors/tile
  • Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover: This is a must-have but it is extremely potent! Use with caution and with open windows!
  • Clorox Wipes: These are especially handy during flu season!
    • Door knobs and handles
    • Light switches
    • Remote controls for the TV.
  • Clorox Cleanup: For those hard to clean stains. Perfect for tile and grout!
  • Lysol Kitchen Cleaner
  • Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Comet
  • Swiffer Handheld Dusters:
    • Blinds
    • Light fixtures
    • Fan blades
  • Glass Cleaner: I prefer Windex or foam glass cleaner but this recipe was also a gem:
    • 1/4 c. white vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 c. warm water 

Living areas:

  • High dusting including ceiling fans
  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from corners of ceiling
  • Launder any curtains or drapes
  • Dust all areas, furniture, fixtures, pictures, mirrors and artwork
  • Wipe down door frames and switch-plates
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Wash pillows (3 times a year in hot water. Dry thoroughly.
  • Clean windowsills and blinds
    • To clean blinds: run a warm bath with Dawn Liquid Soap. Let the blinds soak for an hour, swish, rinse and hang to dry
  • Floors vacuumed and/or mopped
  • Use vacuum attachment for dust on electronics
  • Overall appearance of the room left neat and tidy


  • High dusting including ceiling fans
  • Use broom to remove cobwebs from corners of ceiling
  • Dust all areas, furniture, fixtures, pictures, mirrors and artwork
  • Wipe down door frames and switch-plates
  • Empty trash
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Remove bedding and wash-or make the bed
  • Wash pillows
  • Flip your mattress
    • To clean your mattress, sprinkle with baking soda. This will absorb any dirt or moisture. Vacuum up after baking soda has set for one hour. For stains and deep cleaning, use a steam cleaner.
  • Clean windowsills and blinds 
  • Floors vacuumed and/or mopped
  • Use vacuum attachment for dust on electronics
  • Organize drawers. Donate clothes that are no longer worn
  • Overall appearance of the room left neat and tidy


  • Launder any curtains or drapes
  • Spray down tub and/or shower
    • Use Mr Clean Eraser for soap scum
    • Rinse and polish with Windex
  • Spray down sink and counters. Wipe clean and polish
  • Toilets scrubbed inside and out including base & behind
  • Wipe down mirrors
  • Windowsills and Blinds
  • Empty trash and wash before replacing liner
  • Clean baseboards
  • Vacuum/sweep and mop floor
  • Dust any artwork, pictures, fixtures or wood


  • Launder any curtains or drapes
  • Spray backsplash and countertops down with 409. Take a cloth (dipped in warm water) and wipe down until dry.
  • Wipe down the outside of the refrigerator/freezer.
    • Clean out fridge.
    • Throw away old or expired food.
    • Wipe down shelves with soapy-warm water.
    • Replace food items in an organized fashion
    • Vacuum coils on back of fridge
  • Sweep and mop under fridge
  •  Soak all oven knobs, burners, burner covers and spill catchers in hot water with dish soap.
    • Clean the oven and stove, then rinse the soaking items and replace them.
    • Pull out the stove and sweep and mop the floor
  • Clean all small appliances like toasters, blenders and coffeemakers
  • Run ice cubes and a wedge of lemon in the disposal
    • Pour hot water down the sink drain to clear out any drain sludge.
    • Clean sink with Comet
    • Rinse and polish with Windex
  • Wipe down cabinet fronts and knobs
  • Trash emptied
  • Clean inside of microwave
  • Wipe down outside of dishwasher
  • Wipe down windowsills
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Dust and wood or glass

Open those Windows: Our homes are said to contain more toxins than outdoor air-including the city air! Get the air circulating and release those toxins! This will especially help in the bathroom when cleaning with those Bleach-filled cleaners.
Clean those Curtains: Before cleaning, remove all curtains and get them started in the washing machine. Half-way through cleaning, switch them over to the dryer. By the time you are finished, your curtains will be ready to go back up!
Extra-shiny, streak-free mirrors: Do a final wipe with (black and white) newspaper.
Work from top to bottom: Dirt will fall to the floor from above, so do the high-up cleaning first to avoid having to repeat an area.

Minimize dust and Make it easy: Dip decor like candlesticks and bookends into warm soapy water and lay them out to dry on a towel. Simple dusting!

Get into a Groove: I like to listen to music while I clean.

Carry a Lint Roller: These help to remove fuzz or pet hair. These work perfectly for lamp shades :)

Cigarette Burns in Carpet: Cut the blackened fibers from the hole. Squeeze liquid glue into the hole and fill with fibers trimmed from carpet remnants.

Replace Air Filters: Change your filter every 30-60 days to make sure you are breathing the cleanest air possible.  Poor air quality can aggravate allergies and asthma, particularly children’s allergies. If you own a pet, your filter should be changed more frequently than non-pet owners.
If you are concerned with chemicals and toxins and prefer a more environment/family/pet friendly approach to cleaning, give these a try;

  • Baking Soda: A natural deodorizer and cleanser, sprinkle it on drains, bathtubs and kitchen counters, or mix it with water to form a scrubbing paste. You can also sprinkle it on carpets and upholstery, wait 15 minutes or so, then vacuum it off for natural deodorizing.

  • Baking soda even works as an oven cleaner (sprinkle the bottom of your oven with a little water, then generous amounts of baking soda, and let it sit overnight before wiping clean).

  • Vinegars: Use white vinegar to clean windows, mirrors and counters, or mix it with castile soap and water as an excellent floor or bathroom cleaner. You can also mix apple cider vinegar with baking soda for a simple drain cleaner. Vinegar also cuts grease, and setting out a bowl of it in your kitchen will help absorb food odors.

  • Lemon Juice: You can use this like you would vinegar, although lemon juice works especially well for removing hard water deposits and tarnish on silver.

  • Course Salt: A great option when you need a cleaner with scrubbing power. Try mixing salt and vinegar for a simple and effective all-purpose surface cleaner.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Use it to disinfect cutting boards or toothbrushes, or to remove stubborn stains (works especially well for blood stains) and whiten laundry.

  • Vodka: Vodka is a disinfectant that you can also use to freshen upholstery (spritz it lightly onto fabrics).

  • Essential Oils: You can mix natural antiseptic cleaners using water and a few drops of essential oils, such as grapefruit seed extract, clove or tea tree. Tea tree oil is especially effective against mold and mildew. Filling a spray bottle with water and your favorite scented essential oil (peppermint, lavender, vanilla, etc.) is also a simple recipe for a fabric or air freshener.


    Pregnancy Week 25

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    How Far Along: 25 weeks, 3 days. 6 Months.

    Size of Baby: An Eggplant

    Total Weight Gain/Loss: 5-10 lbs.

    Maternity Clothes: I needed another pair of "work pants" so I stopped into a resale maternity store and found some for $18.

    Baby-related Purchases: I was planning on purchasing the Medela PIS...the unfortunate thing about it...it's $250! Luckily a friend of mine gave me her barely-used Medela PIS! Yay! I  have been holding off on buying anything for the baby. I went a little crazy buying stuff for my son and then received a TON of baby items at my shower. Some of his clothes were never even worn. I learned my lesson and this time I will wait!

    Gender: It's a GIRL!
    Movement:  She is still pretty active but only at certain times of the day. She was up early this morning...gave me a few kicks while I was getting ready for work :)

    Sleep: This is still pretty hard to come by. Last night I was exhausted and sleepy but didn't actually fall asleep until 11:30ish. I was in bed at 9:45....

    What I Miss: Having a glass of wine. Fitting into my clothes. Having a bra that fits...

    Cravings: Smoothies! My favorite: Frozen peaches, peach yogurt and apple juice.
    • Still thirsty!
    • Leg cramps
    • Occasionally peeing in my pants. Embarrassing. Unfortunate. But whatever...
    • Tired!
    • Nesting. I cannot stop cleaning!
    • Well I'm back to irritable.
    • I get overwhelmed with messes...
      Managing the Stress: Bubble baths in the whirlpool tub.
      Worries: My main concern right now is childcare. What I am going to do when it's time for me to go back to work.
      What I Look Forward To: Meeting my new baby!

      Names:  I have two names in mind. Still debating on the middle name.


      Trying out the "Pins" in my Pinterest Boards - Round One

      Monday, January 28, 2013

      I am an avid pinner.
      Just recently, I have been trying out some of the "good ideas" that are pinned on Pinterest. In the past, I have mainly used recipes from Pinterest (most of them turned out pretty good) but the organizing, DIY and helpful tips and tricks pins sit in their "Boards" going unused.
      I am in the last week -of my six month- of pregnancy (whoo!) and that good ol' Nesting Stage has hit...FULL FORCE! You should have seen me this past weekend...among organizing cabinets and closets, cleaning out the refrigerator and deep cleaning the bathrooms, I also washed our bedroom pillows and cleaned the carpets with my mother-in-law's Bissell Homecare Powersteamer Powerbrush! I also cooked every meal we had this weekend...
      I am exhausted just thinking about it. Fortunately, I was able to fit in a bath in our whirlpool tub. (BTW, I was told several times when we were building our house to not to get a whirlpool tub installed in our master bath. People claimed that even though they had one, they NEVER used it. I guess I enjoy my "me" time and use this sucker ALL THE TIME! I love it!)
      I decided this weekend to put some of those pins to use. Here are the pins that I tried out:
      {Store laundry detergent & dryer sheets in clear jars}
      I use liquid detergent but I always add a tablespoon of Borax and
      Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda to every load.
      I keep the mixture and the fabric sheets in jars.
      {Clean your bedroom pillows}
      I honestly don't clean pillows too often,
      unless something is spilled or they start to have that
      -not so fresh- smell. I'm glad I saw this!
      My pillows will be washed 3 times a year from now on!!
      I would advise against using a fabric softener
      that is scented. Yeah sure, it smells good.
      But after smelling it for 8 hours...Headache!

      {Clean your baseboards with Bounce Dryer Sheets}
      I gave this a whirl...it seriously works!
      WAY better than dusting with a cloth!

      {Homemade Frappuccino}
      I have been making smoothies like crazy but Saturday
       night I wanted something a little more decadent.
      I gathered my ingredients and made myself a
      delicious homemade frozen blended coffee.
      (Ice, Milk, Ovaltine, Torani Hazelnut Syrup and cold brewed coffee :P)
      ...or in other words...Hazelnut Mocha!

      {Add essential oil in the cardboard tube of toilet paper}
      I added a few drops of Mandarin Lime oil from BBW to our roll.
      Keeps the bathroom spelling fresh!

      {Make your Home smell like Williams Sonoma}
      A few sprigs of rosemary,
      lemon slices and a teaspoon of
      vanilla in a pot and let it simmer on the stove.
      It smelled fresh, sweet and not too strong! :)

      If you would like to see more ideas from my Boards...

      Beauty Product Comparison - Hair Mousse

      Saturday, January 26, 2013

      Pantene Pro-V Curl Defining Mousse (6.6oz)
       Aussie Sprunch Mousse plus Leave-in Conditioner (6.8oz)
      I frequently switch between products when it comes to my hair. If I use a certain product too long, my hair ends up looking dull and flat. I use Pantene Pro-V when my hair is dry and frizzy. It calms my hair and makes it manageable. When my hair begins to lose volume, I switch to another product-usually Aussie. I love the smell of Aussie, it makes my hair soft and it's cheap!
      I recently bought two different kinds of mousse for my hair (gel weighs my hair down and leaves the ends brittle). I couldn't decide between my trusty Pantene Pro-V and my favorite cheap hair line, Aussie.
      I bought both. Here are the results:
      Pantene Pro-V
      The product smells like most Pantene products-pleasant. I used the curl drying attachment on my hairdryer for about 5 minutes after applying the product. I let the rest airdry. My shoulder length hair at the end of the day was flat on top and frizzy on the bottom. My hair felt hard and crunchy. The ends looked horrible! Despite the effort I made to make my hair a little softer-the product was WAY too strong of a hold. My hair looked awful and felt awful but the pleasant smell remained. If I wanted crispy hair-I would have used my husband's gel...This was an expensive DUD.
      This product was a $1.00 cheaper than Pantene's and did exactly what I wanted it to do. I applied the product and dried my hair exactly the same. My hair had perfect curls that were soft and bouncy-the product didn't make my hair crispy at all. My hair had volume all around-all day long and the curls stayed just as curly as they were in the morning.  LOVE it!
      Aussie is definately the winner!
      The leave-in conditioner really made this product "out-shine" it's contender. Don't get me wrong, I still love the Pantene line but when it comes to mousse, I will be picking up Aussie from now on.

      Baby Room Ideas

      Saturday, January 19, 2013

      When I was pregnant with my son I decided to go a little more gender neutral with his nursery.
      The walls were painted (thanks mom!) in a light green and the d├ęcor was a bumble bee theme.
      It was adorable!

      I could have gone with the race car or sports theme but I knew eventually that they would just naturally take over his room. Six years later, my dad's racing trophies top my son's dresser and his baseball attire can usually see seen strewn about his room.
      This time, I am having a girl...and I cannot help but to go -ALL OUT- girlie!
      I have been browsing through Pinterest and Houzz.com in search of the nursery I have in mind. Possible themes:

      The Secret Garden
      Pink, green, white and natural wood tones.
      Pink and Mint Woodland Nursery, vintage, woodland, pink, mint, baby, girl, nursery
      Cafe' Paris
      Pink tones with hints of black and white.
      Vintage Glam Nursery
      Parisian Chic Nursery, Madisons Parisian Chic Nursery, Rug has Damask Pattern and was purchased at target  , Nurseries Design
      A Fairy Tale Princess

      Once Upon a Time... 
      Little Princess Convertible Crib
      Reeses Nursery, My little girls pretty pink princess nursery!, The sitting area is one of my favorite things about the room.  The glider and small table fit perfectly in the little nook.  We added a small octogon window along with a slender side window (not shown) to add additional natural light to the room. , Nurseries Design
      Romantic Shabby Chic
      Pastels and Neutrals

      Nicholas Sparks Movie List

      Wednesday, January 16, 2013

      1. A Walk to Remember

      *The story of two North Carolina teens, Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan, who are thrown together after Landon gets into trouble and is made to do community service.

      I have to admit that the first time I saw A Walk to Remember, I didn't like it. I felt like it was every teen romance/drama rolled into one. It was corny and some of the "actors" were hard to watch due to their lack of experience. I gave the book a try and then watched the movie again. I began to like it. By the third time I watched the movie, I loved it! It brings back memories of my teenage years and my first love. It is now one of my favorite movies and it tops my Nicholas Sparks movie list!

      2. The Notebook

      *A poor and passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman and gives her a sense of freedom. They soon are separated by their social differences.

      The Notebook comes in at a very close second on the list. The actors, dialogue and the storyline are all top-notch. This too was difficult for me the first time around because of the real-life issues that take place. It will leave you with a bitter-sweet feeling.

      3. The Lucky One

      *A Marine travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war.

      I was on a movie binge when I came across this film. I picked it up and discovered it was based on a Nicholas Sparks novel...so I rented it! This was a pleasant surprise! I felt like finally Mr. Sparks let us have exactly what we wanted (or what I wanted)-a happy ending!!! It has some cheese-factor but all around, this one left me satisfied. I bought it at Amazon.com during Black Friday on Bluray for 3.99! It was my Christmas gift to myself :)

      4. The Last Song

      *A drama centered on a rebellious girl who is sent to a Southern beach town for the summer to stay with her father. Through their mutual love of music, the estranged duo learn to reconnect.

      I read The Last Song before the movie was released and felt a little let-down when I heard good ole Hannah Montana was playing the lead. Greg Kinnear was my last hope. I gave it a chance and am so happy I did! I have to admit that Miley Cyrus was actually tolerable and her chemistry with Greg Kinnear was remarkable. Again, another bitter-sweet ending but what else do you expect from Nicholas?

      5. Dear John

      *A romantic drama about a soldier who falls for a conservative college student while he's home on leave.

      I have only seen Dear John once and didn't care for it. It didn't pull any heartstrings and the female lead did nothing to gain my sympathy. I will give the book a whirl and try the movie once more. Maybe I missed something, but in the end...this was my least favorite of the Sparks films.

      Safe Haven
      February 14, 2013

      *A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her.
      UPDATE (8/7/2013): This has gone to the TOP of my N.S. movie list. I absolutely LOVED it!


      I have yet to see Nights in Rodanthe and Message in a Bottle but I will add the synopsis with a review within the next few weeks.

      Pregnancy Week 23

      Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      How Far Along: 23 weeks, 3 days.  6 Months.

      Size of Baby: A Grapefruit

      Total Weight Gain/Loss: 5 pounds. I do not know how this is even possible...

      Maternity Clothes: I did a little shopping this past weekend for maternity clothes and found some "steals" at Target and Old Navy. $50!!

      Liz Lange® for Target® Maternity Long-Sleeve Nursing-Friendly Knit Top - Assorted Colors Liz Lange® for Target® Maternity Bootcut Pants - Brown Pinstripe Liz Lange® for Target® Maternity Short-Sleeve V-Neck Basic Tee - Assorted Colors

      Baby-related Purchases: My mom has purchased 3 cute little outfits for the little one but I have yet to purchase anything. I did however register at babiesrus.com and on Amazon.com for the baby items that we need. Luckily I kept the co-sleeper, the baby swing and my boppy from my first pregnancy!

      Gender: We found out on January 7th that it's a GIRL! My husband really wanted a boy and I could visually see the disappointment when we were told it was a girl. I know that as soon as he holds our little angel in his arms that he will fall completely in love with her. She will have him wrapped around her little finger!

      Movement: At 18 weeks, I could feel movement. Only flutters. I knew this time what it would feel like. The doctor told me no, that I wouldn't feel anything until 20 or 21 weeks. Well, I think I know my body more than any doctor. At 21 weeks I could completely feel her rolling around and little kicks. At 23 weeks, she is in full high-kick mode. Usually very early in the morning, then around 11am and in the evening around 7pm.
      Sleep: My best friends these days: Pillows! I am usually surrounded in a cocoon of pillows. I still have difficulty going to sleep and of course I have to tinkle once or twice a night. I have always had issues with sleep...so I'm coping well.

      What I Miss: Comfort. Whether I am sitting, laying down or standing...I am uncomfortable. I still feel like I can take a full breath of air so I can really can't complain too much...yet.

      Cravings: Salad, fruit, ice, water, crackers (Cheese-its and graham crackers), milk with cookies.
      • Thirsty. All the time THIRSTY.
      • I have to sleep on my side which makes my hips hurt. I hobble to the bathroom in the mornings.
      • My hair is awful.
      • Tired but not sleepy.
      • Clumsy. Still getting used to the big o tummy.
      • Weepy. I cry quite a bit these days. Even the sight of a baby makes me teary-eyed. 
      • I get overwhelmed with messes.
      Managing the Stress: I have been reading a lot lately. My goodreads account is all caught up!
      Worries: I am mostly worried about my husband. I think he may feel overwhelmed with the baby, diapers, money, etc. I know my son will be fine and he will even become a wonderful little helper. Daddy may need a little extra TLC...
      What I Look Forward To: Meeting my new baby! When I was pregnant with my son, I was so excited about just being pregnant and being a mom in general. This time, I cannot wait to meet my little girl! I am also excited to see our son with his new sister!

      Names:  We decided that if the baby was a girl, I would get to choose the name :)

      I love names that end in y and ie. They just seem cute. Nice, sweet people have names like Emily, Ellie, Charlie, Cody and Katie.

      I don't want anything too odd, ie., names of objects (radio, cash, apple-unless it is a flower)- or colors (blue, hazel, gray-unless the name is specifically Hunter, Amber, Crystal, Jade, Kelly, Rose, Ruby, Scarlet, Sienna or Violet).

      Places/locations are perfectly fine with me...unless you decide on Paris. Just don't do it...

      While names like Aiden, Hayden, Cayden, Braden and Peyton are cute...we all know that they have been over used to the max!  No more...

      Changing the spelling of your child's name is just going to make things complicated...for them. Think about it, they will have to spell their name out over and over and over...forever! Aayden, Khate and Rhyan. Really? Aiden, Kate and Ryan will do. It isn't changing the sound of the name so why spell it in a ridiculous way?

      My little girl will have quite a bit of German in her blood, but names like Gretel, Claudia and Ursula are just not my cup of tea. :/
      An acceptable Gretel:

      I prefer simple, classic names like Kate, Marie, Grace and Elizabeth. But nothing too old fashioned like Mabel, Ida, Maude and Ethel. I'm having a baby, not an old lady.

      Branching out of the classic names, I like Holly, Lily, Autumn and Cheyenne.

      I tried with my son to pick a name before he was born. I had a few ideas but I simply couldn't decide! I knew immediately when I saw him that he was a "Charlie." No other name would have fit. Same goes for my little girl. When I see her, I will know her name.