Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Clean Sweep Day 4: The Kitchen

This week was about focusing on deep cleaning the inside and outside. Yesterday I cleaned the kitchen-- scrubbing the oventop

Scrubbing the sinks out...

 Clearing the countertops of clutter to prepare for food prep and wiping them down... sorry about the camera cord hanging in there.

And loading up the dishes, scrubbing all the pans, and starting a load in the dishwasher.
Cleaning the kitchen so it is prepared for a holiday food prep mess- what irony!

I'll be back tonight to post my work on the porch and any additional progress on the leaves today...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Clean Sweep Day 3: The Leaves, Part 1

After 5.5 hours of combined efforts with my husband the leaves did not get completed yesterday.

And today my poor back ached too much to attempt them again.

So tomorrow, if it's not raining, I will trudge outside and work some more. Today I worked on the kitchen. Tomorrow I'm hoping to post the kitchen work and the AFTER photos of the yard, in whatever state it finishes in :)

For now... the before pictures:

There was a lot of raking involved and a lot of bending and gathering. I understand why those lawn guys want so much money for their work now. My poor blistered hands are going to lie down with a book this evening... good night!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Clean Sweep Day 2: The Bathrooms and Decorating

In my quest to get the house clean and decorated in a week for the holidays I have been tackling the inside and outside. I didn't put a Friday update in so I thought I should mention what got done. The weather was too cold for leaves so I tackled the bathrooms.


None of our guests will be using the tub but it's so yucky I thought I'd share photos here and see if anyone had suggestions. I'm trying direct bleach today to see if that works. I'll share tonight if there's any improvement. I did clean the toilet, the sink, and the mirrors and wiped down the doorknobs with bleach wipes to get them clean.

And then we decorated... we pulled out the ornaments, candles, and stackable Snowmen!
 We built the tree to decorate with friends at our party later this week!
 and we hung random Santas and stockings around the house for simple, festive cheer...
Time to light a pine scented candle and prepare for the holidays!

And if it stops raining... finish those darn leaves outside!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clean Sweep Day 1: The Floors


First, I lit a candle. Then, I started the audiobook "unglued" which is really great to listen to while you are cleaning. Highly recommended if you haven't already listened to it. Next, I began by picking up and putting away everything on each floor, then sweeping and mopping or vacuuming it fully, and finally, I replaced each room's furniture.

The bedroom, a room I hadn't really planned on deep cleaning was the worst and messiest as clothes had piled up in there for awhile. It took over an hour to clean in there but finally, it looked and smelled cleaner than it has in weeks!


Note the freshly mopped reflections...

 Freshly mopped in here too...
 And the bedroom, picked up and vacuumed...

If all goes well (weather cooperating), DH and I are attacking the leaves and debris in the yard today. I imagine this task may take a couple of days!  We'll see...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Thanksgiving Clean Sweep

For the next 7 days I am going to be getting our home ready, inside and out, for a slew of holiday guests who will begin arriving as soon as next week!

I plan to post my daily goal each morning and then return every evening with photos and details to show what got done! So, what needs to get done around here?

1) Clean the yard
Lots of leaves to rake, lots of piles of debris to bag up and haul away, and one more good mowing of the yard before the winter snow/frost take over for 5 months.

2) Floors
Pick up everything and then sweep, mop, and vacuum all of them
Consider purchasing new rugs and slipcovers to spruce it up for the party

3) Kitchen
Clean the counters and oven top thoroughly
Use up as much fridge food and hide some food in the pantry to make room for party food
Bring out extra serving bowls/trays in case extra food shows up at the party
Clean and organize the serving utensils, plates, and cups for the party
Buy the rest of the food for the party

4) Decor
Take down the fall decorations
Put up the Christmas decorations
Put up the tree and set out the decorations

5) Porch
Clean the porch and prepare it as an entrance and put out 2 boot trays 
Drop off Goodwill items and first round of Christmas presents and cards on a holiday visit

6) Bathrooms
Deep cleaning- sweep and mop, wipe  sinks and showers, and scrub toilets
Sort through magazines and discard any that are from before October

7) Coat closet
Clear it out for guests so they can hang their jackets during the party
Relocate shoes for the party and vacuum it out

Holiday Fun Starts Here

I've been enjoying little sprinkles of holiday fun here and there.

     Ordering Christmas cards when they were on special at shutterfly and addressing them while watching holiday movies this week. I plan to send them out the day after Thanksgiving!

Code:STOCKUP will still get you 30-50% off your order if you have not bought yet

     Watching holiday movies at night and listening to Christmas music in the car.

Oh yeah, we watched this already and still love it as much as ever.

     Sending holiday invitations out and putting together holiday gifts that will bless without breaking the bank (cause who wants to trudge out on Black Friday with a lengthy shopping list?). 

     During the next week there will be some not so fun "holiday" activities- finish clearing the yard of leaves and debris in preparation for snow/frost this winter, deep clean the house one final time in preparation for party season, put away fall decorations, and take out the Christmas tree and decorations.

     Many hours of work ahead but I know it will be worth to get the house guest ready- inside and out- and I may treat myself to some new living room accessories to spruce up the party scene if we get it all done. 

Hope the holiday scene is under control in your homes as well... just over a week til Turkey day-- here we go!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Lately, there has been a lot of whining.

Friends, family, my husband... last week I may have even had a case of the blues and whined to some of the people in my life. But this week I'm realizing (after repeating it so many times to those around me) that it's time to appreciate all that we have. So today's thoughts are about gratitude.

Is it cold where you live? Time to enjoy wearing warm sweaters and socks, express gratitude for a warm home, and enjoy some warm drinks. There are so many people in the world who will not have those luxuries this winter.

Are you stressed out by kids? I've gotten this one from friends a lot lately. Every day babies and children die in this country and parents return home without a child. Every day there are women who get another negative pregnancy test result and wonder if they will ever have a baby of their own. Every day those children are 1 step closer to growing up and leaving home when contact will be far less frequent.

Have the bills been piling up recently? I don't know if it's something in the air but I received nearly $1000 in unexpected bills last week. But, we contribute to our retirement accounts, we are paying off our mortgage (faster than expected), and we have an emergency fund set aside for circumstances just like this. Our financial responsibility prepared us for this and we can handle it and so, instead of getting angry and sad about bills, I choose to be grateful that we can pay them and move on without hardship. Many people live paycheck to paycheck in this country (my parents did when I was growing up) and many more struggle to buy necessities like food, heat, and medicine. 

Are you healthy? Are you loved? Are you safe and warm?

Choose gratitude this holiday season for all that you have.