Category - Homemaking

Beach Wedding Favors

In July I had the amazing opportunity to go to Mexico to be in my best childhood friend’s wedding. Let me just say, a destination wedding, especially a beach wedding was simply breathtaking. Now I’m not only saying this because the bride was stunning and I love the couple, but seriously if you’re ever invited to a beach wedding, or are planning a wedding, I highly recommend it.

Not only is the beach a great venue for a wedding, but the favors that are available are adorable!! My best friend and bride Rushel did a great job selecting favors that would both be useful and be something that the wedding attendees would keep to remember her special event.

One of my favorite beach wedding favors was the message in a bottle favor from the WeddingsAway Etsy boutique. Carrie, the shop owner, has a great selection of wedding and special occasion items in her shop. The bride loved the options that were available with her Mini Message in a Bottle Favors.

The favors were not only made well, but they arrived on time and I thought they were a great touch with the added magnet and mini sea shells.

Some of the other favors included:

Necessities

Bug repellent bracelets – an essential to keep the pesky mosquitoes away.

Sun Screen – super important for a beach wedding, some international travelers may forget or have a hard time packing.

Fashionable items

Flip Flops – the bride diligently gathered guests shoe sizes, if the wedding party is larger than 30 I would recommend ordering some of each size. She also tediously personalized them herself, and to me, may be worth it ordering them from a supplier if you really want them personalized, you can also leave them plain too.

Sunglasses – we know theses are a must for sunny weddings, but they also make great photo props too. The entire guest list and bridal party donned these for a fun wedding photo opp in Mexico.

Fun Favors

Drink Cozies – personalizing these favors is super easy and helps keep your guests hydrated. I’ve also spotted slimmer versions for smaller bottles and drinks.

Hand Fans – should be listed as a necessity and a fun favor, but as we all know sitting in the sun on or near the beach can get warm, fans can be both beautiful AND functional.

 

What favors would you add to this list??

 

*Thanks to WeddingsAway for the Message in a Bottle favors!! For ordering information check out Carrie’s Etsy page: etsy.com/shop/WeddingsAway

 

 

Creating a Relaxing Summer Morning Routine

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

If you read my previous post on Summer Schedule for the kids you’ll know we like a mix of schedule and flexibility in the summer. Some mornings we sleep in and other mornings we have to get up early for play dates or errands, but we always make time for breakfast and that includes a delicious cup of coffee for me.

 

To make things run a little more smoothly in the morning I use our daily magnets to set up how our day will look so the girls will know what to expect for the day first thing in the morning.

If we are going to a play date or the pool I’ll also get any items we will need, like snacks, water bottles, pool toys or towels ready the night before so we can just grab and go. That ensures that we’re not running around trying to find items last minute and also equals less stress for everyone.

I find for me, preparing things the night before helps us to not feel rushed eating breakfast and allows us to enjoy our mornings together.

Since I drink coffee every day I want to make sure my coffee maker is fresh and clean and honestly I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing that when I’d rather be playing board games with my girls or taking them to the park.

I love the affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner. It is a speciality cleaner designed to work specifically with coffeemakers. That means it is compatible with multi-cup and single serve brewers, cleans hard water deposits and mineral build-up, and it’s super easy to use. There’s no need to mix, measure or stir, I just drop in a tablet and let it do the work. {One of my favorite things is that my whole house doesn’t smell like vinegar after it’s done cleaning.}

 

Here’s just how simple it is:

How to use for multi-cup coffeemakers:
  1. FILL the reservoir with water to max level
  2. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir. (For coffeemakers with covered reservoirs, fill the brew pot with water and dissolve 1 tablet in the brew pot, then pour solution into water reservoir)
  3. RUN 1 brew cycle (or ‘clean’ cycle if applicable) into brew pot.
  4. DISCARD dirty water from brew pot and then fill reservoir with fresh water to max level
  5. RUN 1 brew cycle using fresh water then discard to rinse the coffeemaker.
How to use for single serve brewers:
  1. FILL the reservoir to max level. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir.
  2. RUN 2 brew cycles selecting largest cup size, discarding dirty water between brews.
  3. DISCARD remaining water from reservoir. Fill reservoir with fresh water to max level.
  4. RUN 2 additional brew cycles and then discard to rinse coffeemaker.

Or as I like to say fill, drop, fizz, bubble, brew, clean!

 

For more information about affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner, check out affresh.com

 

No matter what machine you use to brew your coffee, you can’t beat a virtually hands-off cleaning product, especially when it comes to some coffeemakers that make it tricky to clean thoroughly. So if you’re dreaming of easy summer mornings and a fresh cup of coffee, affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner may become your favorite cleaning product.

 

 

If you have a busy summer like us affresh® cleaners provide so many quick cleaning options that will allow you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your family. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE.

 

What are some things you do to help summer mornings run smoother?

 

 

Summer Schedule for Kids – Free Printable

Summer is all about fun and relaxation, I get it. However, a loose schedule is definitely something that our family needs to avoid meltdowns and still feel like we’ve accomplished a few things during the day.

After school let out we had about a week and a half where we just had down time and that was great, but I could clearly see a need for a little bit of structure to combat the, “I’m bored” or “what can I do now?” moments.

Browsing through Pinterest I saw a great Summer Rules Printable that I liked and wanted to create something similar that fit our family needs a little better.

I created a large poster and thought a watermelon theme would be cute for the summer. {Your artistic skills may be better than mine.}

 

 

Then we realized an individual list for each child would be helpful so they could check off items daily. Here is the printable that I created. Please feel free to use for your own family as well. I know task will vary by child and household so I’ve also included a blank printable that you can use and fill in yourself below.

 

Click the link to print: Summer Rules List MommyBKnowsBest

 

CLICK HERE FOR BLANK SUMMER RULES PRINTABLE

 

We placed the printouts in a plastic dry erase pocket so the girls could write and erase easily, each child has a different color pocket and I’ve really seen them take personal responsibility in completing these tasks without being asked.

 

 

Are your summers more scheduled? Are they less scheduled?

Do you create any summer lists??

Leave a comment below!!

 

 

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean in Summer

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

Summertime means a lot of things in our home, it means the kids are home from school every day, it means hosting friends and family for celebrations and gatherings, and it means our kitchen is in FULL use. More kitchen use means more kitchen mess means more kitchen cleanup.

There are so many reasons to make sure you are keeping on top of kitchen cleaning other than to make it looks nice.

Here are a few reasons to keep a clean kitchen in the Summer:

  • Keep away ants and other bugs that LOVE dirty kitchens
  • Make it easier for entertaining {one less room to clean}
  • Not feel like you have chores hanging over you when fun activities pop up
  • Smelly kitchen can effect the way your entire house smells
  • Dishes are clean and easy to grab for a quick meal in between pool time
  • Enough counter space to pack a park lunch
  • Lessens the amount of germs for a healthier summer

 

Is the kitchen a hard place to keep clean?!? YES!! Especially when you aren’t the only one living in your home, but you can see it’s an important room to tidy up. Luckily there are some ways you can make cleaning the kitchen easier.

Enlist Help

With Miss A and Miss C tall enough to reach the counters and old enough to put things away on their own I can give them a good bit of kitchen cleaning chores. Even if you have a small child you can find these fun kitchen helper stools at almost any online retailer and they can easily help with wiping the counter or putting away unbreakable, non-sharp dishes.

 

Remember, help doesn’t just have to be your littles it can also be a spouse/significant other, or a friend {just be sure to return the favor}.

When you’re enlisting help be sure to make it fun, put on some music or make it a game to pass the time and encourage cheerful workers.

Keep it Simple

Use products that will clean without a lot of work. This is what I call “Return on Rub”. If you spend hours using a product that makes you scrub and sweat, and you’re not left with something sparkling clean, it’s so not worth it, am I right???

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Clean Smart. I clean smart using products I know that work, and products that are super easy to use.

Remember the smelly kitchen I mentioned above? One reason kitchens get so smelly is because the ever-so-helpful garbage disposal won’t clean itself. I know, maybe in the year 2030 that will be a thing, but in the meantime giving our garbage disposal a deep clean with minimal effort is humanly possible.

affresh® Disposal Cleaner is designed specifically to clean and remove odor causing residue using powerful foaming action.

 

Not only does it work, {trust me I tried it}, but it’s easy to use. Follow the instructions listed on the back of the box once a month or as needed.

 

 

 

1. Get ready for awesome affresh® cleaning to take place

2. Turn on hot water to a low flow

3. Place 1 fresh, citrus scented tablet in your disposal

4. Turn on the disposal for 15-30 seconds and watch the foaming action

After turning off your disposal and rinsing any foam residue, enjoy a fresh smelling disposal in practically less than a minute.

Wherever there is a specific cleaning job to do, you can count on affresh® cleaners to provide the right tool for the job. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE

 

Break it Up

When you’re thinking of steps you need to clean your kitchen think broad and make a list, when you break the work into chunks and spread it out it becomes easier to tackle. If you’re a visual person writing down your task might be a great help. We have a white board in our kitchen that has many uses including writing down and checking off chores.

Here is a list of some tasks that may be helpful to send you on your kitchen cleaning journey:

  • Counters
  • Appliances {you could even break these down more}
  • Sink & Disposal {see tip above}
  • Floors
  • Cabinets

Your tasks may vary depending on the size of your kitchen, your appliances and your personal preference, but hopefully this is a great start to a clean kitchen this Summer.

 

What tips do you have to keep your kitchen clean, and you’re not allowed to say, “don’t use it”, I’ve tried that but eating out every meal is too expensive. 

 

How to Quickly Clean Your House When Hosting Guests

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

I love a good night in with friends whether we are hosting in our home or headed to a friend’s house. It’s so nice to enjoy the laughs, the food, and the company, but before any of that happens I find myself stressed out with a long list of things to clean and do. In an effort to protect my sanity, I came up with a few tips to help clean your house when hosting guests.

Plan of Attack

I’m a planner by nature, and if you’re not this step will help you be able to focus on what you REALLY need to clean rather than scrambling around and not really getting to the tasks that are high priority.

  • Think about what rooms your guests will be in (encourage them to be in only a couple)
  • Decide which rooms are the messiest and cleanest
  • Figure out if you can multitask (i.e. wash the tablecloths while vacuuming)

Cook First

If you are making food for your guests you don’t want to clean and then cook because you’ll only end up cleaning the kitchen twice. Cook first if at all possible, check out great make ahead recipes on my Pinterest board.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have time to cook there are great options at local grocery stores and wholesale stores. Deli, fruit, veggie, and dessert platters are great and so easy to re-plate.

Clean Smart

So many times I’ve started to clean something and forgot leaving cleaning spray to dry or dishes soaking for far too long. Tackling one room at a time, one area at a time. For example, if I’m in the kitchen typically I’ll clean the stove top first then the counters, then move on to the dishes.

Quick tip: If you have a ceramic cooktop, and it has caked on residue, or if you have gas stovetop grates that are dirty and want a quick and easy cleaning solution, I recommend cleaning smart with affresh® Cooktop Cleaning Wipes, designed specifically for your cooktop. These dual-sided wipes have built-in scrubbers to remove everyday residues and a smooth side to clean your cooktop with a streak-free finish.

The affresh® Cooktop Cleaning Wipes not only smell fresh, but are easy to use and who doesn’t love simple?!?

  • Remove a wipe from the pouch
  • Reseal for freshness
  • Scrub with the textured side
  • Polish with the smooth side
  • Wipe with a soft, dry cloth for a streak-free finish
  • Throw away the wipe when finished

Save yourself some time, clean smart and pick up your own affresh® Cooktop Cleaning Wipes or other affresh® cleaners to provide the right tool for the job at amazon.com/affresh

 

Tuck it Away

Have you ever seen the sitcoms where guests come over and open a closet only to experience an avalanche of objects? Let’s not go that far with putting things out of sight, but do scan the room looking for items that you may be able to put in a drawer. I have found in our home it’s great to have furniture that doubles as storage, like a storage ottoman, or decorative storage bins/baskets, especially when you are in a time crunch.

Enlist Help

More hands means faster cleaning! Ask people who you know won’t mind helping clean. You may want to consider asking them which cleaning chores they like best, happy workers are hard workers. Always offer some form of payment, whether it’s food, or a hug to a good friend, a thank-you note, or a gift card, let them know their help was appreciated. If possible try to co-host an event and divvy up the chores between you.

 

Of course these are just a few ways to make cleaning your home for guests and entertaining easier. I would love to hear your tips. Leave a comment on how you clean before you host guests.

 

How a Cleaning Schedule is Important for My Sanity

So you would think that after 2.5 years of doing this whole mommy thing that I would be a pro at all things domestic. Well do I ever have you fooled! Now don’t get me wrong I do know some pretty awesome tricks and tips to save time and avoid meltdowns, but there are a few sections of the domestic goddessness that I haven’t mastered that I would love to improve upon.

I’m so envious of the moms who have everything planned out, perhaps because before I became a mom myself I used to be so much more organized. Although there are a lot of things that have changed A.C. (after child); my body, (which sometimes I’d rather deny that it’s mine), becoming that late person that I always hated, and memorizing every little thing there’s one thing that I didn’t want to change and it’s being super duper organized.

Perhaps I gave up being so particular for my sanity, considering I had a newborn, packed up a whole townhouse, moved to a new state into an apartment and THEN a new house in only 3 months. So I’m not super mom and realized that it’s okay to put some things off if I can spend more time with my daughter. Oh how things have changed. These days, since Little Miss “A” is a little more self-sufficient I’m able to get more housework done and she even likes to help. (Must record that here in the blog so I can show her when she is a teen.) Instead I think that now it would give me more time to spend with “A” if I were more organized.

I clip coupons, keep a daily calendar of events (sometimes even with 3 calendars I still forget the time of play dates and nights out,) but what’s missing is a little more detailed organization.

Here are my list of things to work on to help improve, let’s say quality of life:

  • Start planning weekly meals (and if I’m good enough even coordinate sales/coupons to meals)
  • Create a “schedule” for “A” so she and I can get more out of her day and bring a little more structure in
  • Start throwing/donating things that are junking up my closets in hopes that my $2 sweater will sell after 5 months on craigslist.
  • Select certain days to clean certain things, oooh this one may be fun, I could do theming: Toilet Tuesdays, Washer Wednesdays, now if there was only a day of the week that started with “N” then I could have a nap day 🙂

Those are a few of my current goals, I’d love to start before baby #2 makes her debut. I would love any tips or websites devoted to a decent but not quite there organized momma. I think my Domestic Goddess Award is getting dusty…I may even have it revoked if I don’t do something STAT!

From the Makers of Veggie Tales comes Jelly Telly


From the makers of Big Idea, Veggie Tales, 3,2,1 Penguins, and more fun Christian programming comes…… JELLY TELLY!!

Since my introduction to Veggie Tales at Sunday School, (as a high-schooler,) I have loved these cute crudites! Bob and Larry made me laugh while reminding me about the simple things that God is constantly teaching us. Even though these animated story tellers were geared towards children it’s easy for anyone to catch on, and end up rolling on the floor laughing.

I knew that when I had children I would want them to watch Veggie Tales too. So, I asked for the videos at each holiday and bought a few myself. Most of them are VHS but someday I’ll work towards a DVD set.

Just this year we found out that Veggie Tales are now…”On TV!!!” It’s basically a new introduction and lead into the story but they’ve kept most of the same stories to teach Sunday Morning values.

Jelly Telly is a fun website that features Christian media, including games and videos. It’s a great way to get more of the great message of the Bible to our youngsters. Co-Creator of Big Idea, Phil Vischer wants to “Bring the Bible to Life.” Not only are they providing great materials but they’re also inspiring and hiring upcoming new Christian children media designers. Which I think is pretty cool.

They have everything from animation to puppets to human actors. I feel like they have something for everyone, so if you get a chance to go to their website: Jelly Telly
check out some of the fun characters and creations.


Also for those of you Veggie fans Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah’s Umbrella will be released in the U.S. and Canada on DVD on July 31st in Christian bookstores and August 1st in the general market.