Monday, January 31, 2011

simple cleaning recipes

my last post was intended to give you a few simple cleaning recipes that i've bookmarked and used, but i ended up ranting and raving about our messy closet. messes bother me. obviously.

so here are those recipes i wanted to archive for myself and share, if you haven't already discovered how simple cleaning can be without chemicals and yucky stuff.

Floor cleaner:
In a bucket of hot water (or plug up the kitchen sink like I do), add one cup of white vinegar and a drop of (hand) dish detergent. Add a pinch of borax if you have ant problems. The borax creates a slight natural residue on the floor that acts as a repellent for ants.

Drain cleaner:
Pour half a cup baking soda down the problematic drain, chased by one cup of white vinegar. The soda & vinegar will react. When fizzing stops, pour a kettleful of boiling water down the drain.

Coffee maker:
Pour one pint vinegar in the water reserve and top off with water. Run the coffee maker through a brewing cycle enough to make one cup. Then turn the machine off and let sit for an hour. Turn it back on and finish brewing remaining liquid. Rinse thoroughly and brew a pot of water only to get rid of any vinegar-y taste.

get out the shovel

i've been reading a few books on simple homemade cleaning recipes & organization methods in an effort to finally get our house under control and not have to stash things behind closed doors when we're having company (a bad habit that i am very guilty of). maybe it's my post-nesting nesting stage, who knows. maybe i've just had enough. we took a trunk full of clothes & other items to Goodwill the other day and it's barely made a dent. we have way too much stuff in "storage" for a family of two & a half.

poor tim has fallen victim to this purging streak of mine when i was throwing out an entire garbage can of junk that had collected in the student room at church. i've cleaned out my car, i've purged even isaac's clothes of things we don't need, even with the chance that another kiddo could wear it one day. after our Starbucks date, the caffeine kept me up til 1am scrubbing floors, sorting clothes, packing away maternity clothes (woohoo!) and baby items, and wiping down furniture. i may have kept him up, then, too.

if you want to know the real truth about someone, look in their closet. tim and i share a (smalllll) closet in our bedroom and we each have our own dresser. tim even has a storage unit for just his tshirts (color coded if you must know-i had to practice putting them away in the correct drawers). we have a lot of clothes. it's a weakness. it's a lot of fun to be married to someone who likes a good sale at the Gap Outlet as much as you do, but it's brutal on the lack of closet space. we both keep sorting & folding, resorting & refolding in order to make it a little easier to live with but it's a vicious cycle. we even try to switch out winter/summer clothes to help with space. even with purging my clothes of the "let's be honest, court, you're probably not going to fit into that ever again" voice in my head filling bags to send to Katrina's, i still come out stuffed to the brim. we really just need a bigger closet. but for now, we'll have to go with what we have and make it work. i read in a book recently, "if you can't even find it, then you may as well not own it." good point.

tim's side

my side

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

if i had places to wear skirts & boots, like super trendy NYC coffee shops and such, I'd probably have a pair of legwarmers for every day of the week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

unfinished [ok, fine. never started] projects for 2011

image source

i have great ideas. i'm really lousy at following through with them. if i had more space for sewing & organizing all of my supplies, i'd do it more. if i wasn't so impatient, i could actually do a project the right way. if i wasn't someone who needed instant results, i'd be a better crafter. if this, then that. blah dee blah.

i have a whole year in front of me to, if anything, make christmas gifts for next year. i'm not kidding, it may take me that long. sometimes i do get sudden urges to craft and make a mess of things (which actually is a hard thing for me to do after spending so much time tidying up).

i'd say you can hold me accountable, but that's a joke. even still, here's what my brain is saying i will accomplish with my creative hands this year:

-reapholster the guest room headboard
-sand & paint the guest room nightstand
-finish fabric covered bulletin board
-paint wooden benches for the backyard
-attempt to sew something for myself to wear
-make a few christmas/birthday/mother's day gifts
-learn to crochet and NOT give up before three rows
-paint the bathroom (only if we sign another lease...i'm tired of fixing OTHER people's houses)
-purge & organize the house, room by room

i'll keep my list small at this point. don't hold your breath, but send creative vibes my direction!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Believe it.

Things I never thought I'd do. New Year's resolutions. Craziest idea yet.

I wasn't quite sure what to give as the title to this post. Any of them qualify. But it's true. I am actually a real live Zumba instructor. They're letting me teach other people how to exercise! Yes, they're crazy and they have a LOT of faith in me.
If you've known me for any length of time longer than six months, you probably quickly learned that I am NOT (but seriously) the athletic type. I dabbled in dance in MS, then volleyball in HS. That's it. No intramurals, pick up games, anything. I was that girl who told the teacher she was on her period so she didn't have to run the mile. (Does that even matter?) I was the girl who took a C in P.E. class because she didn't want to dress out. I was the girl who stressed out about youth group games because I wasn't sure what to expect and if it required any sort of athletic ability, I was sure I was doomed.

Enter Katrina.

She asked me to go to a Zumba class in our area probably 4 or 5 times before I actually went. I had probably run out of excuses. I dragged myself there and actually made it through a class. The next day, I could hardly use the stairs I was so sore. But I had loved it! And it was so much fun! And I had worked out for an HOUR!?

That was in late October.

Not even three months later, Katrina and I are two weeks in to TEACHING our own Zumba class at church. And 43 of you actually took us seriously that first night.

It's been so much fun to see how God's been working in my life the last few months. It's amazing how He places people in your life to be your motivation, courage, and partner. I'm telling you now, this is something I'd NEVER EVER EVER thought in a million years I would be doing. And I absolutely love it.

As each month passes since I gave up my salary-paying job to stay at home and focus on my family & home, He has blessed us.

Katrina has played a huge part in that blessing. I'm pretty sure I'm here for comic relief and suggesting a few old school DC Talk songs. She came up with the idea of starting our own class in order to educate, encourage, & enable women in our church community to live healthy & active lives. So far, it's a big hit. Our prayer is that we can build a community of women to have fun together & make ourselves a priority so we can give back to our families a healthy & happy mom/daughter/wife/sister.

This is one of those times in my life when I think about if I had had the chance to "look into the future" a year ago and see myself on a stage in a Zumba tank doing the Beto shuffle....I would have DIED laughing. And then gotten really scared.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

under her spell

hands down, my favorite cookbook ever. so far.

tim's probably already tired of me saying over (and over and over again) how much i love this cookbook and how i was impressed that i could reproduce her recipes so easily. he'll never say it, though. i might stop cooking.

not only are they great recipes, but she's a great gal. she takes wonderful pictures, lives on an *amazing* and beautiful ranch in Oklahoma (one day) and loves the stuffing out of her kids and cowboy husband. i mean, c'mon. i dare you to find a reason not to love her. she's not afraid to use real butter. see, told ya.

visit her blog (where i first discovered her talents) at

*HUGE thanks to my favorite sister-in-law for this *slightly hinted* christmas gift!

Monday, January 03, 2011

a new 2011

new year's resolutions aside, i think we're all ready for changes when it comes to be this time of year. we've gotten through the holidays and are now settling in for the winter (if you're in the midwest like me). once the busyness of the holidays wear off, we have a little more time to reflect on where we are and what we're doing. this time last year, i was still recovering from having a baby and was starting to crack through the shell of discontentment with my life, my body image, and my priorities. i still have a great way to go, but looking back, i can say that 2010 was filled with great and wonderful things.

in 2010:
-i spent the first 4 months enjoying maternity leave from teaching, figuring out routines for our newborn, and trying to catch up on sleep.
-tim bought a used Land Rover Disco, only to have it totally by a policeman unfit to drive. enter tim's dream car plan b, a Jeep.
-finished teaching the final 7 weeks of the school year with no real plans to return, honestly.
-i bought a sewing machine. and used it a few times.
-we joined a CSA for the spring and had loooooots of lettuce & greens to eat.
-we moved again. thankfully, we are in a great mold-free home on a full acre. marley is very grateful.
-i planted herbs. and watched most of them die.
-isaac traveled on a plane (twice in his first year!)
-my middle sister was married the end of June in the sweltering heat (and i mean that with every ounce of me).
-we spent a week in the Outer Banks of NC with family (isaac's first trip to the beach)
-we visited Grandma & Grandad in Ann Arbor (tim and isaac's first trip to A2)
-isaac learned to sit up, then crawl, get 6 teeth, then walk before his first birthday (just barely).
-i became a Pampered Chef consultant (to feed the bank a bit and my habits a lot)
-isaac moved to the toddler nursery at church (maybe only a momentous milestone for me).
-i attended a zumba class.
-2 months later, i am licensed to teach a zumba class! (yes, i'm for real)
-Blum family comes for Christmas

in 2011:
-tim and i will TRY to plan a trip for just us before more babies, weddings, etc. come along
-i will start teaching a Zumba class at church with Katrina!
-Port Hope trip is already underway for this summer, and plans are to plant apple/pear trees in the orchards for the years to come
-we will consider adding to our family of 3:)
-tim and i will do our very best to eat organically, locally, and all around healthier.
-i will continue to procrastinate on projects that involve a sewing machine.
-i will read actual books, not including magazines or blogs.
-isaac will continue to amaze us and perfect his "gets it from his mother" strong willed personality that will keep us on our toes (and laughing).
-tim and i will go mountain biking TOGETHER.
-we will continue our journey at Bethany, loving our kids more and more every day.

Happy New Year, everyone!