Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cleaning Cheat-sheet For The Non Stay-At-Home Mom

Well ladies, the end of Spring Cleaning Month is finally here and boy what a month it's been!

Between the purging of toy boxes, the daily spring cleaning tasks, and the lining the drawers in my kitchen; all on top of my usual weekly cleaning routine...I feel like I've gotten so much accomplished!

And most of it because I was able to share the tasks with you!!!

So before I go on, I just want to thank all of you so much for taking this Spring Cleaning Challenge with me. For sharing your inspirations and reminding me I'm not the only one who doesn't always like to clean or who has messy areas that seem to take over the house.

It wouldn't have been the same without all of your participation.

So thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!!!! I truly appreciate all of your feedback. It doesn't get much better than logging on and seeing what you all took the time to say.

But we aren't done just yet!

I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve.

Now. I'm well aware of the fact that I'm a stay at home mother and I've been blessed with the ability to be home cleaning all day (whether I act on that ability or not).

But, there are those of you out there reading all my Spring Cleaning posts and rolling your eyes saying, "If I had the time to do any of this after work and before feeding my children at night, I would."

So this post is for you. 

My Momma always told me that there are a few things you can do to keep your home looking like you just spent hours cleaning it. When really, you've only taken a few minutes.

We'll call it her "Cleaning Cheat-sheet for the Non Stay-at-Home Mom" (hence the title...)

Make your beds. Boy did I hate hearing this growing up. Momma would say it day after day, week after week, year after year (you'd think I'd get the hint). And I never realized how much of a difference it makes when trying to keep your house looking clean and crisp. Having a clean, made bed can almost literally transform a room.

Regularly vacuum the floors. When your floors are all matted down with crumbs and little pieces of junk it just looks like a hot mess. But when you take the time once or twice a week to freshen them up, they'll give off the appearance of a regularly cleaned home (unless of course, there's a huge mess of something...then you need to re-vacuum).

Clean the toilets. No one. I repeat, no one likes to look at (or use) a dirty toilet. So it makes sense that if your toilet is dirty then your whole bathroom will look that way. It only takes 2 minutes to clean the scum ring in the bowl and wipe down the outside with a wet rag. 2 minutes that can keep your bathroom looking and smelling fresh for up to a week (if you aren't living with my family that is).

Fold the Laundry. Even if you aren't able to put the pile away. Having a folded pile of clothes sitting on the end of the bed looks a heck of a lot better than an unfolded heep.

Do the Dishes. Again, like the toilet and the laundry, having a pile of dirty dishes in the sink can look and smell horrible. But if you do the dishes right after a meal (or at least load the washer if you have one) it can change the look of your kitchen...even if you haven't wiped down the counters!

Sweep/Mop the Floors. Again, another fairly easy task to complete that can change the look of your room and the feel of your house. And as I mentioned in My 6 Must Have Cleaning Products, this is one of the tasks I absolutely love having a Swiffer mop for!

Put Everything Away. A few times a day I take 15 minutes to walk around the house and put everything that's out of place away (not just move it and set it somewhere else...actually put it away). Toys on the floor, curling irons on the counter in the bathroom, anything sitting on the top of the kitchen table (it's become the catch-all spot in the house), jackets that haven't been hung up, etc. When this is done a few times (or even once) a day, it's amazing how tidy your home can look.

When you have a clean home life just seems to go so much easier. The people within the home are happier, chores don't seem to take on the "doom and gloom" appearance, and the guilt of having to choose between the chores or spending time with your family isn't there.

I know from experience that when you aren't home all the time for any reason the house work is usually the last thing that gets done on a daily basis.

But I was raised to always listen to my Momma, and these things have saved my sanity a time or two and I'm hoping that they can do the same thing for you.

After all, Momma's always right!

Have you found any other sure fire ways to keep your home looking nice when you're hardly there to clean it? Any piece of advice your Mother share with you that you can't live without?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

6 Chores Your Toddler Can Help With

As a Stay-At-Home Mom one of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is trying to clean my house with a toddler under foot.

With my oldest son this was never something I had to deal with. He was a very independent boy and would've rather been playing alone in his room than spending time with me. But with my youngest, this isn't the case.

I think it's because he's so used to having a big brother there to play with, when brother is at school he doesn't know how to keep himself entertained and gets into EVERYTHING constantly looking for attention.

I literally can't turn my head because he'll be into something the second I do. And it's usually something breakable or extremely messy (picture lipstick on the nightstand).

Which, as you can imagine, makes it very difficult to get my Cleaning Routine accomplished (and as I type this I've had to chase him out of the pantry 3 times, away from the cat food twice, and stop him from dumping the movies off the shelf).

I'm not really sure what I've done to deserve this but it's become the life I lead.

The only way that I've found to keep him entertained and out of mischief when I'm trying to get things done is to include him in the tasks I'm trying to complete.

(And I know some of you are rolling your eyes at me and saying Duh (Mom!) and all I can say about it is, I'm still learning as I go).

So, through complete trial and error, I've compiled a list of chores I allow my child to help with (and I do almost daily) that keep him safe from a crazed and frustrated Mommy.

And, as we already know because I say it often, I'm cool enough (unless you talk to my 6 year old) that I wanted to share them with you!

1. Wiping/dusting surfaces - I have 2 boys that live in this house and, much to my dismay, there is usually something sticky, smelly, or just plain nasty sitting on the surfaces in my home. ALL the surfaces. So this is a great chore that my boys can help with and surprisingly they like to do (probably because it involves a spray bottle of water).

I give them the spray bottle and a rag and let them have at wiping down the counters, the end tables, the kitchen table, their dresser tops, etc. And since there is a lot of these surfaces, it usually takes a little bit to complete. (For the toddler, I have him come to the room I'm in and work in there. When I move to another room, he follows).

2. Swiffer mopping the floors - Swiffer mopping the floors is actually one of my favorite chores to do. So it makes sense that my 2 year old would like to do it too. And it's great because I can take the middle section out the of mop and make it the perfect height for him to use! I make it Liam sized, put on the dry pad (wet gets kind of messy so I do that myself) and set him free on the floors of my kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms. He is fascinated and busy and I can get dishes or toilets cleaned and supper made.

This is also a chore that I do every day, so I usually have him do it when I most need him to be busy and quiet.

3. Laundry - Now, I know what your thinking. How can a toddler help with laundry and NOT get under foot? But really, it's easy. And he can help with just about every step in the process too! He loves to throw the dirty clothes into the washing machine (SN: I NEVER set him up on the dryer. I've heard too many scary stories of Moms turning their heads and babies falling into washing machines). He likes to play "basketball" with the clothes and will literally throw them in the washer to see if he makes it. He usually does too and Daddy is proud that I'm honing those sports skills.

He also likes to put the clean clothes in the drier (hopefully soon I'll have a clothes line and he can help with that too). It's kind of a process since I have to give him the clothes to put in the drier and it would be far easier to just put them there myself, but it keeps him out of trouble, so I do it. We've also made it a game to see how fast he can take the dry clothes to the couch or to put them all away after I've folded them. So this "game" can be stretched and have him busy all day! Win!

4. Picking up the toys - This chore has always been a requirement for my boys. I don't play with the toys, they do. Therefore they will pick them up. But it's still something that keeps them busy (especially the toddler) and if you make it a game (again, basketball) they laugh the whole time. We also do this for the outside toys. See if they can make it into the toy/sand box. I even enjoy this one when we are having fun.

5. Putting away the dishes - There is something about my dishwasher that is just so fascinating to my 2 year old. Every time I go to load or unload it he is right there trying to get into it. Which used to frustrate me to no end! He would be removing the dirty dishes, playing with them, and trying to get my attention the whole time...ugh! Just go play!!!

Well, one day I had a stroke of brilliance and I started to let him help me with this chore. The whole time fearing that he'd break something or put it away wrong (if you don't know already, I have some bad OCD tendencies). But he surprised the heck out of me and did it all perfectly the first time! And ever, since this has become one of his daily chores. Brother cleans the table and Liam helps with dishes. We've even moved on to him helping me load it with the dirty dishes (which are prewashed in the sink by me).

6. Vacuuming - Often vacuuming the carpets is right up there with swiffering the floors. It's almost done daily because there is always something that's been crumpled, dumped or crushed into the carpet. And for my youngest it was always a funny thing to pull the plug out of the wall while I was trying to clean up the goldfish he (purposely) smashed everywhere in his room. Or to add to the mess where I've already vacuumed. Brat.

So one day I got so mad I made him vacuum the floor himself (yes, the vacuum is 2ft taller than he is...but I was mad) and to my udder shock and amusement he LOVED it! So now when he hears the vacuum he is right there trying to help push it. He's not quite strong enough yet, but it helps to keep him from causing trouble.

I sometimes don't think we give our toddlers enough credit and I've noticed that by keeping mine included with what I do on a daily basis I don't have quite the amount of behavior problems I used to.

Which in the end is a win for both of us!

Do you have any chores you could add to this list? Was there something you were shocked to find that your toddler loved to help with? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Junk Drawer No More!

It may be a dreary and nasty day outside here in Michigan but inside my kitchen it is a colorful burst of happiness.

Why is that you ask?

Because I was FINALLY able to line and organize my kitchen drawers!!!

Since we moved into our new home back in February, we just kind of threw things where they fit. As long as it was in the correct location in the house (no make-up brushes in the kitchen, or spoons in the hall closet) we just made it work.

And I use the term "work" very loosely because we were always digging for things, shoving stuff deep in the drawer, and dealing with it. But it has bothered me to no end the entire time.

It may have taken a while but I was finally able to find the time and a reason (what's a better excuse than writing a blog post?) to fix the problem!

And in honor of Spring Cleaning Month, I'm going to share this little burst of happiness with you!

I'm actually rather embarrassed to show these photos to you. But this is the drawer horror we have been living with for the last few months...

Our silverware drawer:

My cook book cabinet:

(Now that one wasn't as bad as the other, but it still drove me nuts to look into it and see a mess of recipes and paper).

The official "junk" drawer. Where we keep all the miscellaneous items that we need to have on hand:

Look at those messy wires! Ugh! At least I can take comfort in the fact that I tried to keep them in a central place with the basket.

Then there is our stacking drawers which housed our pot holders, dish cloths, food storage wrappings, and baby bibs (they are homemade ones from my grandmother and are the BEST bibs I've ever used! They cover the ENTIRE front of the child and keep the food off of nice clothes. So, yes, I keep them around for my 2 year old):

Look at those bibs hanging out everywhere!!! And I only have 3 pot holders, do they really need their own drawer?!

 So I took myself down to the Dollar Tree (which is one of my favorite stores) and got 2 rolls of the prettiest contact paper they had (even though it didn't quite match anything in my kitchen. But who cares. I'm getting organized now, I'll match things up later).

I waited until the kiddos were in bed and unloaded all my drawers onto the kitchen table...

...poured myself an ice cold glass of Pepsi and spent the evening lining the drawers, re-organizing them, and purging myself of any unused or unneeded items (I only have 10 place settings, did I need 20 forks?).

And when I got done (3 Netflix episodes of Law and Order later) I had some organized drawers that I can be proud to show off!

And now I think I'll do just that...

The silverware drawer:

Look at all that awesome-ness!!! I can actually reach in and grab out what I need with out having to dig. I even labeled the places for Spoons, Forks, Knives, and Sharp Knives just so there is no mix up when I'm not the one putting dishes away.

I took the last slot in my silverware holder and used it for all our loose straws (for our Tervis cups, my kids' "fun" straws, and my new Keurig brew over ice cup).

My cook book cupboard:

This is also where I store my coupons and my shopping list organizer. It doesn't look too different from the first photo other than the pretty liner and the fact that I cleared all the loose papers (who knew papers could look so trashy?!).

My "junk" drawer:

I bound all the wires with some bread ties I've kept and put a non-sliding strip under the basket and flash-light so they don't keep rolling all over the place when I open the drawer.

I also put the bug spray in this drawer because it's located right next to my back door, it's almost summer time, and I'm sick of walking all the way back to the bathroom when I gotta spray the boys down so they can play in our yard.

For my stacking drawers, I lined the bottom and moved items up a drawer from where they were. Removing the pot holders (all 3 of them) and hanging them on the side of the fridge using a command hook.

Which means they are much easier to get to when I need them. Win!

I'm so excited about how this all turned out. It's a project I've been wanting to do for a while and I don't know why I waited so long to finally do it; guess I needed the motivation that sharing the results with you all gave me!

So how about some Before and After photos?! (I've never done them before but they look so nice when other people use them).

This is one of the major spring cleaning projects I wanted to undertake that is not on my normal cleaning list. Along with lining and organizing my cabinets (but that's a whole other post).

I'm so happy I FINALLY did!

Yay for nice drawers! I'm not sure if I will ever leave my kitchen now!

What are some of the projects you plan (or would like to plan) on doing? Anyone else needing a visit from the kitchen organizing fairy?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tips For Purging a Toy Box

Can you believe that it's almost the end of May?! You know what that means? It's also almost the end of Spring Cleaning Month!

I'm thrilled that I've been able to share all this fun cleaning and organizing information with you. And seeing your response to it all has farther inspired me to get my home in tip-top shape.

But I'm not done yet!

If there is one area in my house that is in constant need of cleaning, it would be my boys' toy boxes; the hub of all play things in their rooms. Which just so happens to also be the hub of all junk too (the child's version of a purse).

Now, let me slide slightly off topic here and tell you that I'm not the biggest fan of toy boxes. I'm an organizer at heart and the fact that everything is just thrown into a toy box with no rhyme or reason plays on my nerves daily.

I hate it.

But I'm also big on simplicity as well.

With 2 boys, a husband, a cat, and about a thousand other things that need taking care of on a daily basis; it is nice to not have to fight my children every time I tell them to pick up their rooms.

Because of the toy box, they are able to just toss everything in and be done with it. Making my evenings go so much more smoothly.

Therefore, because I'm an organizer, I have come up with a method to cleaning those nasty little suckers out. Which puts my OCD mind at ease.

And, because I'm cool like that, I thought I'd share my method and my tricks with you.

A toy box is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting and nasty places of a child's bedroom. I can't even tell you all the things that I've found in my son's toy box when I've gone into it to clean it out; including, but not limited to an apple core (yes, it was rotten), used masking tape, juice boxes, and sand. Lots and lots of sand. (Now, I don't allow my children to eat in their rooms. So your guess is as good as mine as to how some of those items got there.)

Because of this, I try to make sure that I clean them out once a month and sort through the toys twice a year; at their birthday's and just before Christmas (since that is when they get the most new toys).

When I'm planning to clean the toy box, I make sure to have a few items along with me. Things that just make the process a little bit easier:

  • 3 bins/large baskets; one for trash, one for donations, and one for items that go back into the toy box.
  • The vacuum.
  • Trash bags (to use in the above baskets).
I find it much easier to clean out the toy box when I'm not tripping over toys and I can sort as I go. Makes for a cleaner work space and makes things go by faster.

And like I just said, I don't just empty out the toy box on to the floor. I prefer to sort as I go; putting the "keep" toys in the designated basket, the "donating" items (things they don't play with, that aren't broken or missing pieces, and are gently used) in their designated basket, and the trash in the trash can.

This can be the most tedious part of cleaning out a toy box, since my boys (especially my oldest) tend to have a lot of little toys; like army men and things from his McDonald's Happy Meal.

And sometimes it can be emotional. (Who wants to admit that their baby is growing up?) So I try to keep a few things in mind as I'm sorting:
  • Does it have all the pieces/Is it broken?
  • What kind of condition is the toy in? (this will help determine what basket I put it in).
  • Is it played with?
  • Have they grown to old for it? (I try to make sure that as my children age so do their toys. Even my 2yo doesn't want to play with baby toys).
  • Do they love it? (Sometimes my boys will LOVE a toy that is broken or missing pieces. Like the nappy teddy bear with no eyes, mouth, and holes. I will consider their feelings before getting rid of it...sometimes. ;0)
Once completed I vacuum out the toy box (like I said, lots and lots of sand)...

Put all the toys from the "keep" basket back into the toy box, throw away the "trash" and bag up the "donating" items to be taken to the Goodwill.

Easy peasy. 

Most of the time I'm on my own when doing the cleaning, but I always try to include the boys when I'm donating their toys. I think it's important for them to know where the toys are going and why. And for them to feel the joy of donating to those less fortunate than themselves.

I might be terrified of going into those boxes, but my sons love them and all the joy that the items within hold. So the least I can do is try to make sure that the toys inside are taken care of, clean, and up-to-date with their interests.

And by doing so, I'm able to put my mind at ease knowing that there is nothing growing or rotting where my children's toys live.

Have you ever found anything interesting when you're cleaning out your child's room? Do you have any of your own methods to cleaning the endless black pit of children's toys? Let me know!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My 6 Must Have Cleaning Products

Welcome back to Mommy In Demand's Spring Cleaning Month!

How is everyone doing? How was your Mother's Day?

Been keeping up on your Spring Cleaning Challenge? If so then "Snaps" for you! That's awesome!

I do have to admit that I did fall a little behind myself; life just sometimes gets in the way. But this weekend I took the time and got all caught up!

So if you have fallen behind as well DON'T GIVE UP. There is still plenty of time to play catch up and finish with a bang! You can try doing 2 specific things a day, or combine similar items together. Or if that is still a difficulty then stick to the one item a day until you finish. You'll only finish a little behind and there is no harm in that either!

So anyway,

I thought to start this week off I'd share with you 6 of my must have cleaning products! These are some cleaning solutions and certain items that I use every day and can't run a functioning house hold without.

So here they are:

1. Green Works All Purpose Cleaner by Clorox - This is cleaner is at the tip top of my crazy cleaning lady recommendation list. I love this stuff and use it on everything; the stove, the table, the counters, my outdoor table, sometimes the bathroom sinks (if they are just messy and don't need a deep clean), in my microwave, and even mid-week to wipe down the toilet from a certain little boy who forgets to aim. I love that it cleans and doesn't have that chemical smell or the vulgar smell of vinegar. (I'm trying to go "green" with a lot of my products but I can't handle my house reeking of vinegar).

2. Glad Forceflex Febreeze Scented Trash Bags - Again, another product at the top of my list that I will recommend to anyone who asks. (And no, I'm not being paid to say so). I have never seen a trash bag that does what this one does. I can cram this thing full of all our garbage and yuck and it wont tear. Which is awesome since I don't need my newly mopped floor cover in leftovers from last Monday. These bags also have the fresh Febreeze scent (which is FABULOUS) keeping my trash can smelling fresh, even when it's full.

3. Comet - That's right ladies. Comet. Good ole fashioned, making your mouth so clean, tastes like Listerine; Comet. Maybe it's because I grew up using this stuff. Maybe its because I get to sing that ridiculous song every time I clean my bathtub. Or maybe it's because it actually works. But I love Comet. I have tried many other products; some "green" others not so much and I haven't had the same cleaning results as I do when I use this old standby. (It's also great because it works great in the toilet and can be mixed with water to mop the floor if I run out of the special cleaners and don't feel like running to town.) It's also cheap. And who doesn't love that?!

4. and 5. Playtex Dish Gloves and Dish Sponge - When it comes to doing the dishes, cleaning the litterbox, or scrubbing the toilet; there is nothing better than a good ole pair of rubber gloves (and don't worry, I have a different pair for every task...using the same pair is just plain nasty). They keep my from having to touch the yuckiness, which is something I just can't handle, and they help to keep my hands and nails looking fabulous.

My sponge is also a great go to when rinsing off the dishes to throw them in the dishwasher (otherwise known as pre-washing) and for wiping down the sink after doing the dishes. The sponge can reach to the bottom of our tall glasses, where my chubby hands aren't able to, and clean out all the grossness that is there (and wouldn't be if some people would remember to rinse out the glass before putting it in the sink...just saying).

And last but certainly not least:

6. My Swiffer Mop - This mop has proven to be a god-send over and over again. I use both the dry mop and the wet just about every other day on my floors and they are both amazing! I may mop my floors only once a week but that doesn't mean that they don't get a bunch of crud on them in the in-between time. Which is why this light-weight and easily portable mop in great! When I'm done sweeping the floor (with the broom) in the evenings I will pull out the dry mop pads and do a real quick once over. It's amazing what you miss that a broom wont pick up...

Look at all that gross-ness!!! To think I could have left all that on my floor. Ugh!

I know that there are about a TON of really cool methods for making some home made dry pads (and you can find them all on pinterest) but there is just something about the brand named ones that seems to, literally, attract the hair and dirt off the floor (and now I sound like a commercial)! It's amazing. So, for now. I will stick with those.

The wet pads are great for the spot-clean-mopping that I have to do throughout the week. You know what I mean. The little spots that get on the floor from little boy snacks (especially under the baby's booster seat) and mud from shoes as they are brought in on feet "just for a second" to grab something. It's much easier to pull out my swiffer mop and grab all that up real quick, than it is for me to pull out my mop, bucket, etc. (and yes, for this I will often use a wet dish cloth, a designated pad, or even the cool little fleece do-dads that you can make specifically for this mop.

I'm all about easy cleaning. Trust me, as much as it may sound like I like to spend time cleaning (and there are days that I do) I would much rather be watching a movie, sitting on my deck with a soda, or reading a good book than to be cleaning from dawn to dusk.

So when I find a product(s) that works great from me and helps me to get the job done as quick as possible, I'm all over that like kids to candy! And yes, I am trying (slowly but surely) to go green. But, no. I haven't completely made the switch yet. All I can say to that is research, research, research. (And just know, when I find something I'm going to love you will all know about it!)

These are just some of the products I like to use on a daily/weekly basis to keep my home up and running. They all work amazingly for me (or I wouldn't recommend them) and I hope you can find some in this list that could make your life a little easier too!

**If you have a better product that you've found or a better method of doing things please share! I'd love to know about it, try it for myself, and pass it on! Remember, I will be sharing all your tips and tricks at the end of the month! So get to commenting!**

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

But Mom was there to pick me up
and make me feel alright.

Then sent me out to save the world
and put my cape on tight.

Someday I'll grow and fly away
little doesn't last for long.

But when I'm big, I wont forget
Even Superman needs his Mom.

~Liz Lemon Swindle

To my own and all the Mother's out there. Happy Mother's Day from Kendra here at Mommy, In Demand.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How To Clean A Glass Top Stove

In my household, having a clean kitchen is a big deal.

I'm a gerb-a-phobe to the biggest degree and I can't even handle the thought that the place where our food is prepared isn't clean.


I'm getting chills at just typing it.

So needless to say, I have no problem spending large amounts of time in there making sure it's spotless and ready to go for the next meal.

But there's one item in my kitchen that can be the most difficult thing to get clean; my glass top stove.

After cooking certain foods, there's no amount of scrubbing (and no amount of chemical cleaner) that will get the crusted, burnt crap that has imbedded itself into that shiny surface, off.

Lucky for me, I learned a long time ago the secret trick to getting that gunk to disappear without resorting to a razor blade.

Yes, people do that and if you're one of them, STOP! You're ruining the surface of your stove. (RAZOR BAD!)

And, because it's Spring Cleaning Month, I thought I'd share this ever allusive, how-to trick with you.

So here we go.

I usually start out with wiping down the stove before the dirty work begins so I can get rid of all the crumbs and stuff that linger there from the evening meal. Which leaves the stove looking something like this:

(This is unappealing sight is only from one nights' worth of cooking. I went ahead and enhanced my sloppy cooking in order to show you this how-to. Promise, I don't usually make that big a mess.)

This is where the big secret ingredient comes in.

What is that you ask?

I will only tell you if you think you can handle it. I don't need anyone dropping on me, ok?


Baking Soda.

Tada! That's right folks. This little box of white stuff that you keep around for baking and making your fridge smell fresh is also the trick to cleaning your glass top stove. You take this handy dandy little box here and sprinkle a layer of it onto your wiped off stove top. Like so:

(I will sometimes put a little extra over the really tough or thicker spots of crusted up yuck, for a little extra umph.)

Next you grab a towel and run it under some water. It can be a hand towel or a bath towel size, doesn't really matter as long as it covers the desired area. (I go for the bath towel because it not only covers but has more "surface area" when you go to wipe off the baking soda later).

Ring the towel out so that it's not sopping wet but not damp either and lay it over the baking soda on the stove.

Then you wait. From my experience, the longer you wait the better the results. So I usually start this before I do my dishes or at the end of clean up and go do other things (like bed time, sweeping, mopping, or even watch a movie if the demons kids allow it.

After about an hour or so you wipe it all up.

Like I said before, I like the bath towel size because it gives me more clean space (surface area) for wiping. I am able to fold it in half a bajillion times so I can wipe up every last little speck of baking soda and yuck.

(Side note: There may be some places where you will have to do a little old fashion scrubbing, expecially the spots that were thicker or really burnt on, but if make sure to have a good clump of baking soda that you're scrubbing with it'll come up in no time.)

When you're all done wiping your stove top should look something like this:

Although it's clear of any of the yuck and junk from before, as you can see, it still has some nice streakage. But have no fear, this is an easy fix.

Just grab a spray bottle full of your favorite surface cleaner (mine is Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner by Clorox), spray the stove top down and rub off with a dry cloth (or paper towel).


Beautiful, shiny, and (the best part) clean glass top stove. And we didn't accidentally scrape away any of the important stuff on it like we would have if we'd've used a razor blade (BAD!!!).

As I said above, I usually will start this at the beginning of my Weekly Cleaning Routine. or at the end of the night when I'm cleaning up from supper.

I definitely make sure to clean the stove once a week (otherwise, I don't even want to think about the grossness) but most weeks I have to do it a few times for one reason or another.

To me there is nothing worse than a dirty stove top, especially when you are cooking.

This method can, and has been, used on a smaller scale. If you only have a spot that needs cleaning and not the entire stove top, then just put the baking soda over that particular spot and cover with a wash cloth or small hand towel.

And there you have it!

Easy to do and you'll be off to the next chore in your Spring Cleaning Challenge

**Do you have any tricks or tips for cleaning a glass top stove or other house hold appliance? Please share with us in the comments or contact me at I'd love to hear about them and will put all your responses in a post at the end of Spring Cleaning Month! So go on! What are you waiting for?!**

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring Cleaning Challenge!

It's Spring Cleaning Month here at Mommy, In Demand and what better way to continue with all our freshening-up-ness than with a challenge?!

Spring Cleaning is oftentimes a hard thing to accomplish; especially when you're already having trouble keeping up on the usual day-to-day cleaning, like dishes and laundry. And the last thing I want is to continue on with this months theme and discourage the very people who are taking the time out of their days to log on and read what I've got to say.

So I got to thinking (and did some digging) about how can I help with this.

I discovered this great spring cleaning challenge at the blog Finely Ground and loved that it fits nicely into an already existing cleaning schedule (like mine) without being overwhelming to the person cleaning.

So here it is!

You are officially challenged to have a spring cleaned home in 23 days!

How do I accomplish this, you ask? Well, let me explain:

You complete one task a day off the following list (which has been compiled in a specific order so that you don't mess up things you've already cleaned previously in the challenge) and by the end of the month you will have cleaned your entire house with out so much as breaking a sweat or interrupting the daily flow with which you live.

1. Dust light fixtures and ceiling fans.

2. Sweep cobwebs in corners and along the ceiling (and by sweep, I mean vacuum the heck out of them).

3. Dust all horizontal surfaces, i.e. tops of doors, picture frames, shelves, base boards, get the picture.

4. Magic eraser or spot clean the walls.

5. Wipe down circulating fans, wall and floor vents with a damp cloth. The original blog suggested using vinegar but I prefer Green Works All Purpose Cleaner by Clorox.

6. Get a new vacuum filter (or wash yours if you have one of those types of vacuum).

7. Take everything off the bed and launder it, including things you might wash less often like comforters and bed skirts.

8. Sprinkle the mattress with baking soda and let sit for at least an hour. Then vacuum it all up with the brush attachment (you can do this while your bedclothes are in the wash to save time and days!)

9. Vacuum all upholstered furniture and vacuum (or launder) curtains.

10. Clean all rugs and mats.

11. Vacuum the floor REALLY thoroughly before you put the rugs back down (don't forget to vacuum under the couch and other big furniture. We all know that part of the carpet is neglected often).

12. Spot-clean the carpet.

13. Give the kitchen a deep clean, especially the parts you usually skip (drip-pans, anyone?)

14. Check expiration dates in your fridge, pantry and medicine cabinet and bring things to the front (or garbage) accordingly.

15. Give the bathrooms a deep clean, especially the parts that you usually skip.

16. Go through your make-up and throw out anything that smells funny or you never use.

17. Wash windows inside and out. A mix of water and vinegar with a microfiber cloth work great or you can just stick with Windex if you're short on time.

18. Scrub out all window tracks with soapy water and an old toothbrush.

19. Go through your wardrobe and if there's things you never wear or have worn out, either donate them or put them in a rag bag.

20. Bring summer clothes to the front and hide winter clothes in the back of drawers (if you're lucky enough to have the space, I recommend storing last season's clothes in a plastic bin. That way you have more room in your drawers for new things (shopping!!!).

21. If you have a wool coat bring it to the dry cleaners (I know, not cheap! But it's only once a year!) If you don't have a wool coat, be sure to wash and line dry your winter coats (Because, really? How often does that actually get done?)

22. Treat any dingy white by soaking in vinegar, borax, or oxyclean. Might be a good time to do the dishcloths too!

23. Polish and condition wood.
    Tada! Done.

    Wasn't painful at all was it?

    If you follow a weekly cleaning routine similar to mine (or if you are now following mine) a lot of these items pretty much get done every week. But this list is a great way to make sure that the few places we get lazy about cleaning (and yes, we all have them. Don't look under my fridge or oven) get some TLC at least once a year.

    Now, I have done the math and according to my calculations there are exactly 23 days left in the month of May (including today). So if you start this list today and complete one task a day for the rest of the month, by June you will have hit some major icky areas of your home. And spring cleaned your way into summer!

    So what are you waiting for? Get cleaning!

    **Do you have a list you already follow to complete some specific Spring Cleaning tasks? Or any items that you would add to the list to give it a little more impact? Please share in the comments!**

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    My Weekly Cleaning Routine

    Welcome to the first official day of Mommy, In Demand's Spring Cleaning Month! And what a perfect day to start it all off.

    I awoke this morning to the birds chirping, the breeze blowing in through my windows, and (as usual) to the chorus of 'Mom, what's for breakfast?'.

    Typical stuff. But really, only my children know exactly what to do to ruin a perfect waking moment...


    I thought I would start off this great month of home freshening-up-ness with my weekly cleaning routine.

    When I posted Presenting Casa de Larios back in March I was asked a few times (both here and on my personal Facebook account) how I keep my home looking so clean. Which is a pretty simple answer...

    I am awesome.

    The end.

    But aside from that, since moving into our home I have done about a dozen things to help me keep my house clean. And, even though I'd love to tell you that I'm just good and one of those insanely clean people, it'd be a lie.

    My house isn't always that clean.

    As much I try to make it that way, there is always a pile of something, somewhere that needs to be tackled.

    I have 2 children and a husband (which is pretty much a 3rd child on most days) so, around here, when something gets cleaned is only going to last about 10 minutes.

    But I have been using a weekly cleaning schedule that has helped me to keep up on things a little better than usual, And really doesn't take a big chunk out of my day (which is great because my days are full enough as it is).

    And again (because I'm awesome), I thought I'd share it with all of you!


    I originally found this list on Pinterest (surprise, surprise) a few months back and thought it was the best and most simple cleaning list I'd seen that still covered all areas of every room. 

    So I copy and pasted it to a word document and hung it on my fridge. (You can take a look at the original list here, but mine is much prettier...I promise). 

    But after a few months of using it on a daily basis I found that it didn't cover everything in each room of my house that needed to be done. And the different inks all over the document, from me writing those things in as I'd find them, was making the whole thing look a hot mess. 

    So I jazzed it up a bit! And hit it with some Mommy, In Demand color magic!

    (Yes. I might be a little obsessed).

    I like this schedule for a few reasons:

    1. It's only cleaning one room per day. I'm not overwhelmed with trying to get the whole house cleaned in the few hours that my son is in school and husband is at work. Of course that doesn't include the daily "pick-up" rule I have (where I basically make sure to take 15 minutes, 3 times a day to go through the house and pick up any items out of place, on the floor, or messy looking).

    2. It's also really nice because I know ahead of time what I'm doing and when. Which helps me to plan the other areas of my life. I'm one of those people who has to have a time schedule and a plan for everything. If I don't I can't think straight and end up all over the place. (And, yes. This does result in lists coming out my ears and my whole family being briefed on times, events, and the like about 100 times a week).

    3. As I mentioned above, it's also a great schedule because it doesn't take very long to complete. If I get everything done for that day in one shot it will take me between 1 and 1 1/2 hours until I'm done, depending on the room(s) we are in that day. But I don't always get it done that way, which leads me to the next reason I like this schedule...

    4. It's flexible. I can do it all in one shot in the morning when Tyler is at school, I can spread the work through-out the day, or I can get it all done in the afternoon/evening with out it taking too much of my family time. It's also nice for the evenings if I've got a really busy day and can't get to it until then. Because I'm a SAHM I tend to spread the work through-out the day and get other things I need to do/want to do done as well.

    Keeping a clean home is something I do pride myself on.

    Both inside and out, I get bothered when things aren't the way I like them to be.

    But it's also something I don't want to take over my life. I have other interests and would like to indulge them from time to time. And with some other cleaning schedules I've tried this just wasn't possible.

    Which is why this one fits my life so great! I'm not stuck cleaning all stinking day!

    The list is one of those "as long as you get it done before bed then the day was a success" lists.

    And I find that laid back, go with the flow attitude refreshing and fabulous.

    *What type of schedule works best in your home? To you follow a list like me, a memorized routine, or do you just get things done as they need to be?*