Friday, June 25, 2010

Squeaky Clean that we've discussed organization and general tidiness. Let's talk about the actual cleaning. The let's-not-find-last-week's-can-of-soda-behind-the-nightstand kind of clean. (Unfortunately, I didn't just pull that statement out of thin air.)

With what do you clean?

I believe in keeping my kids toxic free. I've always used fragrance and dye free laundry detergent and dryer sheets. But in saying that, there are a few things that just work better because of the chemicals.

These are my cleaning friends:

Method Products
I've become a big fan of Method. They believe in clean cleaning--no harsh chemicals. Everything is plant-derived and people friendly. We use their all-purpose wipes, hand soaps, wood polish, stainless steel cleaner and home fragrances. I also like their wet dryer sheets, but the cost makes them a luxury rather than a staple.

It's a perfect way to clean drains and laminate flooring. In the drain, you pair it with baking soda, and it's a great way to freshen your garbage disposal and clear out small clogs. On the floor, it gets up gunky residue and doesn't leave a film behind. Hey, it also keeps ants at bay!

Formula stains be damned! OxiClean stain-treater works to get those spots out of bibs, baby clothes, and your clothes too. I also add a cup from my big bucket o' powder to the wash to make everything smell better and get cleaner. Oh, and it's great for spot cleaning carpets (but not so much on our red sofa). My biggest complaint is that it clumps on the cold cycle in the wash. The best way to prevent this is to put it in as the water's running, use a towel or burp cloth to swish it around, and then load the washer. I may try the little Max Packets for convenience when I run out of my big bucket.

Never ever turn your nose up at bleach. It should be a parents' staple. You can sterilize toys, bottles, sippy cups, high chairs, bath tubs and even fruit and veggies (if it's super diluted). It will make socks and burp cloths and cloth diapers as white as the day you bought them. I pour some in all the toilet bowls, let it sit and then flush. Voila! Clean! To make the experience more pleasant, I buy the splashless Clorox bleach with a fresh scent. Not that I'm going around sniffing my bleach, but the scent does help cut back on the awful bleachy smell.

Scrubbing Bubbles
I'm lazy. Even though I love to see things sparkling and clean, I hate taking a long time to do it. I would rather my cleaning products work well and not require a lot of extra work from me. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you Scrubbing Bubbles. All those cute commercials are true. This stuff is a cleaning powerhouse. I spray in in the shower, in the sink or tub, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and wipe and rinse. It's amazing! While I was pregnant, I discovered that they make a natural cleaner. It works well, but not as well as the original. I use the natural spray on the sinks and counter tops while the original still goes to work on the tub and shower. I've even used it on the bathroom floors. I love it!

I just discovered this company, and I'm already loving their hand sanitizer. It's alcohol-free, so I don't freak out when I use it and then Lille or Dani decides to grab my finger and chew on it. The smell isn't the best in the world, but it's not icky. They also carry laundry detergent, baby wash and shampoos, as well as all kinds of home cleaners. The company's motto is much like Method's--safe for the environment as well as the family. I did smell their laundry detergent, and I would recommend staying away from that unless the scent dissipates in the wash. I plan on trying their other products if the prices are better than Method.

Well, with all this talk of cleaning. I feel as if I should go clean some bottles. Happy cleaning everyone!

Ten Things You (Probably) Only Do If You're a Parent

01. Sniff another person's bum to detect poop.
02. Walk around with spit up stains on your shirt.
03. Animatedly monologue about mundane things.
04. Get peed on.
05. Get pooped on.
06. Have a white noise track on your iPod.
07. Talk about yourself in the third person.
08. Know how to do everyday tasks one-handed.
09. Talk in a high-pitched voice to everyone around you.
10. Step on, skirt around, or trip over squeaky, squishy or really painfully hard toys scattered across your house.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Keeping an Organized Home

Back in pre-twin January, I wrote an entry called I Accept This Mess, and even though I have accepted the mess that my home has become, I don't have to be happy about it. So, in attempt to kick myself in the butt and try to make my home a little more organized and clean, I've decided to blog about it first. Maybe by putting it out there in the Internet universe, somehow I will actually make it all happen.

The biggest question of all is, how do you clean when you're taking care of two four-month old girls who don't especially like to take naps? The answer: a little bit at a time.

At first, I found myself completely overwhelmed by cleaning bottles, loading the dishwasher, vacuuming, laundry, sorting mail, dusting, etc. I would clean bottles as I needed them sometimes, or let the recycling pile up until there was a row of cardboard spilling over into the dining room. Now, I try doing mini-cleans when I can. I'll empty the dishwasher or take out the recycling while the bottles are warming. I'll wash bottles early in the morning if I'm not feeling deliriously tired. I'll do small loads of laundry while entertaining the girls with silly laundry dances. (I have a silly dance for everything.) You get the idea. It's amazing how much better I feel when the carpet is fur free, or I can actually see my kitchen table instead of a mound of junk mail and (oh, this is horrible) unpaid medical bills!

 Excuse me while I drool a little bit over this pantry from Real Simple Magazine.

One of these days, I really am going to send the family away and take a day to super clean. I even have a list: clean all sinks, mop, dust, clean mirrors, organize closets and pantry, clean out the refrigerator, unpack summer clothes, store winter clothes, and vacuum. What would make it all perfect? An unlimited shopping spree to Bed, Bath & Beyond, The Container Store, or my new mecca so I could be the envy of all organizational moms out there.

What would I buy there? 

First, a wall-mounted mail organizer. My biggest pet peeve right now is the mail. I go get it; I glance at it, and then I throw it on the table, on the bar stool, on the loveseat. I would do a better job if there was a place for it, and I sorted it once a week. (Daily would be ideal, but I don't live ideally.)

Then, decorative boxes/cubbies for the coat closet and laundry room. I'm a person who believes everything should have a place. If I created places for tools, batteries, lint brushes, tape, etc., then things around the house would be easier to find and cleanly out of sight.

Hooks, hooks, and more hooks. Think about how much neater you would be if you had a couple of hooks in every room of your house. I'm serious.

Simple shelves. Adding shelves in the laundry room and the master bathroom would allow for better use of vertical space. With kids, you've got to think about places to put everything.

So many food storage containers, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Nothing would stay in its original box again!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oooh, Makeover

Just wanted to show off the blog's new look. Isn't it snazzy?

Also, I would like some topic suggestions. I'm definitely going to do one on cleaning products, but what else would be interesting? Let me know!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bowls, spoons, cereal, oh my!

Lillie and Dani will be four months old on Monday. That means that in the next month or so, they will probably be starting on their first solid foods. That also means that I will be starting my research right

I already know that I'll be getting the Ikea ANTILOP high chair for when they're sitting up on their own, but I'm in search of--I bet you can guess--good bowls, spoons, and cereal for my growing twins.

I've already got my eye on a few things, and I'd love to know what other moms think, so throw your two cents my way.

First off, I know I'll need spoons. I want soft ones that are pretty shallow since the cereal will be mostly formula at first. I'd like to keep the handle long since I've got two grabby girls, and I personally would like to keep feeding time as neat as I possibly can. (Don't worry, I'm not delusional; I know it will be messy.)

The Nuk soft bite spoons seem like a good buy. I also like the Munchkin safety tip spoons. (I should admit that I pretty much like all things from Munchkin.) I also already have this cool dispenser spoon from Boon (thank you Rachael & Sean) that I'm dying to try out. If that works, then I'll buy a few and won't need nearly as many bowls.

On the food side, I'm leaning towards Happy Baby cereal. I've never been one way or the other on organic food, but I like that I can pronounce all the ingredients, they have probiotics and the price is right for us. Oh, and the fact that it comes in a canister instead of a box is a big bonus. I'm definitely not turning my nose up at Gerber, so I'll be trying their cereal out as well.

I have no idea what kind of bowls I'm supposed to get. Is there a special bowl for babies just starting out? I definitely like the idea of something with a suction cup bottom so that the girls (nor me) knock it over accidentally. I saw this snazzy little thing online, but I don't know if it's really worth buying or if a normal bowl will work just as well.

As I said, throw in your two cents or your dollar fifty. I always like to get feedback!