Cleaning · refreshment at home · summertime

Back Porch Refresh

Now that things are warming up, we are spending more time on our back porch once again. This is an outdoor room that we just love and use a LOT! But like every other room, it needed a spring cleaning! I was amazed at how much better everything looked after I scrubbed down every inch of this space. Not sure why I’d never considered the need for a deep spring cleaning out there! Oh, I always wiped down the tables and wash the linens, but it needed lots more!

The rug and the concrete nearly sparkle now, but they were caked with dried worms and debris!
  • First I pulled everything out of this space except for the swing.
  • Using the hose, I gave the concrete slab a cleaning, using the spray nozzle on high. I had to go over it several times to remove all the dried worms (!), and bird mess!
  • Using soapy water, I washed down all the chairs, the swing, the posts on the porch, and the siding on the house.
  • I sprayed both sides of the outdoor rug. It looks brand new (see picture below). These outdoor rugs are worth the price! They really take the weather and all the elements well! I got mine at Lowe’s.
  • The glass door was washed.
  • All the summer toys were inspected, and then either put back in place or were pitched to be replaced.
  • My swing cushion is on its way to the laundry mat this week.
  • I added annuals to my containers.

Everything looks and feels so clean and inviting! I only wish I had taken a before photo, but I hope that my “after” pictures will inspire you to scrub down your porches, too!

I am looking to replace the cushions on my furniture. We store them away during the winter, but they have a weird feeling that doesn’t wipe off. Do you have outdoor cushions that you love? I’d be so thankful for your suggestions!

Later this week my front porch will get the same treatment! Do you need to refresh your porches for summertime?

Cleaning · Home making · refreshment at home

Getting the Most Done Each Day

It was 10:00 in the morning. I was dressed and ready for the day and I had already:

  • Taken care of the cat (If you’re a cat owner, you know that your cat will make sure that happens first!)
  • Swept the floor in the laundry room
  • Thrown in a load of laundry
  • Made the bed
  • Cleaned the bathroom
  • Wiped off the mirrors in the bathroom and bedroom
  • Made baked oatmeal
  • Emptied the dishwasher

I had also had my time in the Word and prayer, and my husband and I had also been guests on a podcast before 10:00! I was thankful that these things were done, because the rest of the day was also full of responsibilities. Not every day is as busy or productive and “My life is not about checking off boxes!” (I say to myself each day!).

My life is driven by my relationship with the Lord. I desire He direct my steps each day so that I can live my life for His glory. But God is a god of order and beauty, so that motivates me to live out each day in the same way. I don’t want to be driven by the constant demand of household chores and duties, but I desire to be the Keeper of my home so that it runs smoothly and efficiently.

In my years of homemaking, I have learned that the most adequate way to keep that happening is by having a daily routine. Most every bullet at the top of this post is done every single day of the week. I could do most of those things half asleep simply because it’s part of my daily routine.

Getting my day organized by doing the same things every day keeps my meals prepped, my laundry clean and the house in order. Here are some of the other things that I do every single day:

  • Put away my clothes when changing.
  • Clean up the kitchen after each meal.
  • Clear off any clutter from the kitchen counter.
  • Wipe down the stove top after cooking.
  • Spray the fridge, microwave and kitchen trash can with window spray.
  • Empty the trash.
  • Do one load of laundry.
  • Fold and put away the laundry as soon as possible after it’s dried.
  • Empty the litter box.
  • Sweep the floor.
  • Clean the main bathroom.
  • Straighten up the living areas (family room, living room).

The picture of my family room at the top of this post is my view while I’m writing. I did nothing to this room when I came in here today, and we use this room every day. It stays neat and clean, thanks to my daily routines. Without that, things would be a mess!

What do you need to add to your daily routine in order to be more effective as the keeper of your home? Make an evaluation of your “problem areas” then make a routine that will keep things in check. I’ve heard Whitney say many times that she has a routine for each day of the week – a day for laundry, a day for watering the plants, etc. That’s also helpful!

If I can give you suggestions or help, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, or feel free to email me. My email address is in my contact page.

Here are some other cleaning posts (done in our previous home) that might spur you on to do some deep cleaning.

Refresh your home with routine!

canning · Home decor · Home making

Easy Does It!

Sometimes it’s the simplest changes or additions that bring the greatest blessings! I’m starting a new series, Easy Does it, that I’ll feature every now and then of easy things that have made life better or a little easier in my home.

Let’s get started!

  1. After being gifted a bushel of cucumbers, I decided to try my hand at 14-Day Pickles (wish me luck!). I attempted to gather all my ingredients, except I couldn’t find pickling salt on any store shelves! While I was on the search for the missing salt to make my first round of homemade pickles, my husband came across this Mrs. Wages 1 Step Pickling brine. It only takes 5 minutes to cut up the cucumbers and slide them into a clean jar! You let them set overnight and they’re ready to eat!

The result? They are delicious! The package costs a couple of dollars and makes one quart jar of pickles. They offer several different kinds of pickles and also salsa! If you’re not into canning but enjoy a good pickle, you need to try these! No canning is necessary. They’ll keep in your fridge a week. They do all the work and you get to take the credit! Five minutes work and eight hours to wait is it. That’s lots easier than my 14-day recipe!!

Mrs. Wages Pickling Brine makes making homemade pickles 5-Minutes of easy prep!

I’m laughing at my caption…it sounds like a commercial! But hey, they really are good!

2. It’s amazing to me how long I’ve had some of the items I use daily. Age does that, I hear! I’ve had a basket that I have used on my patio for probably more than 30 years. It’s super sturdy and is great as a tray for outside entertaining I usually set it in the middle of the patio table and keep a centerpiece on it, but I also use it to serve beverages and desserts. Recently I looked at it and realized that it had seen better days. I couldn’t get rid of it because the bones of the basket are still in great shape! So, I went to the utility shed and found a can of black spray paint…just the thing to give it new life! A few coats of paint and a couple hours later and it looked brand new!

That was easy!

Sooo much better!

3. Our outside back door rug also got my recent attention one day this week. Its cute little bicycle print had worn off of the surface, leaving just the bristles and dirt. Not long after, I was in Hobby Lobby and found their Spring decor marked down 75% off! They had all kinds of outdoor rugs to choose from! The one I found was only $5! It’s bright colors are perfect for the back porch and the design is still in season! It brightened up the doorway so much! That’s was a simple back porch improvement!

Liza approves, too!!

4. One morning this week when getting coffee cream out of the fridge, I noticed an area on a shelf that needed to be wiped off. An hour later the entire fridge had been completely emptied, shelves taken out, washed and returned to their places. Been there?
When I returned the vegetables and fruits to their drawers, I thought how much better it would be to put something instead of paper towel there to catch the drips from berries and veggies. I had already placed two vinyl place mats on the bottom shelves and decided that would do the trick in the drawers, too! During my next trip to The Dollar Tree, I purchased two more vinyl place mats, cut them to the size of the drawer and placed them at the bottom where the drips will be easily wiped off simply by removing the place mat. The perk is that they’re colorful and pretty! That will be easier to keep clean!

These were four little ideas/changes that were so easy and made me smile this week! Is there one that inspired you?

Refresh yourself by being part of a solid Bible preaching church this weekned!

Cleaning · home · Home making

Turn Your Household Jobs into Joy!

swiffer cover a.jpg

We often view household chores like a fire breathing dragon waiting to be slain. They’re breathing down our necks and we would like to run, but we know that killing that beast is necessary and needed. I’d like to give you a different perspective of those tasks, because God created our work at home (and outside our home) to be done for His glory. You see, with just one little change, we turn the word

JOB

into

JOY!

So, too, we could make just one little change in our household work and turn it into a joy, rather than a drudgery.

What picture would give us a right view of dusting, laundry, washing dishes and mopping the floor?  How about an artist standing before his canvas!  Let me tell you why.

  • An artist has to have an end in mind.  He has to know what he’s going to have when he’s finished!  Is it a painting of a sea, the mountains or a vast valley?  Is it to be a portrait?
    • As workers, we need to know what our goals are.  What do we want to have accomplished in the end?
  • An artist has to have the right tools.  The right paint brush can put leaves on a tree with a simple stroke, or cover the canvas with the background color needed for a sunset.
    • As workers, we need the right tools to accomplish each job.  It will make it easier and more effective!
  • An artist has to have a time table to complete the work.  He may have a time limit because of the person for whom the work is to be done.  He may have time limits because of the mediums with which he is working.  Clay hardens!  Acrylic paints dry quickly!
    • As workers, we should use our minutes wisely, not wasting time by making the work more difficult, or by distractions.

So, artist, let’s think about our housework and how we can apply these principles!

  1. Tasks 
    1. Each day have a plan as to what needs to be done.  Don’t try to do it all in one day.
    2. Divide the weekly chores into the days of the week.
    3. Write down what you need to do.
      For daily chores, like beds being made and dishes washed and put away, you may want to write that into your goals as well, but not necessarily each day unless it’s not a habit yet.  If you need to get into that habit, write it each day!
      Know what your desire is – should the beds be made right after rising?  Should the dinner dishes be put away before you head to bed?  Seeing chores written down will help you to accomplish them, and then have the satisfaction of checking them off!
  2. Tools
    1. Dusting – Don’t use the nastiest rag you have in the house. Use a cloth you’ll want to see, like a swiffer duster, or a microfiber cloth to dust your home.  Get an extension duster to use on the ceiling fans and behind the headboard of the beds.
      Invest in a dusting spray.  I love the Pledge multi-surface anti-bacterial cleaner. multi surface everyday cleaner antibacterial
      It helps pick up the dust and it leaves everything smelling fresh and clean!
    2. Mopping –  Swiffer mops are my favorite.  I made my own covers for dry mopping and I can wash them and reuse them!  But I do buy the Swiffer brand for wet mopping.  They, too, make the house smell nice and clean!
    3. Cleaning Windows and mirrors and bathrooms – Put your mirror/window cleaner as well as your bathroom cleaners in pretty little spray bottles from the Dollar Tree.  I have several – one in each bathroom, and one in the kitchen ready for use!
      I use my own recipe for windows and mirrors – 50% water 50% white vinegar and a few drops of Dawn Dish Soap.  Shake it up and spray it on!  It works great and doesn’t leave streaks!
    4. A cleaning caddy can carry all your supplies without you having to run from room to room gathering the needed cleaning sprays and cloths. You can buy something similar at the Dollar Tree.
      Clear Tote Caddy - 18
  3. Time
    You don’t have to spend hours cleaning!  As a matter of a fact, you could spend less than 30 minutes a day and get more accomplished than you can imagine, but you have to be diligent.  Here’s how:

    1. Set a timer.  Play a game with yourself (sounds silly, but this works wonders!).  Set a goal to try to accomplish a,b,and c before the timer goes off in, let’s say, 15 or 30 minutes.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a short amount of time!
    2. Set aside distractions.  Put your phone in another room, or on vibrate and vow not to touch it until you’re finished!  Turn the television off.  Focus on the work at hand.
    3. Do the least liked job first!  You hate cleaning the oven, but it got splattered from the roasting chicken?  Do it first.  Then you can move on to the easier jobs!

With these three simple ideas, you can complete that work like an artist and you’ll end up with the beauty of a home that no painting could capture!  The audience will be your family and friends.  There’s no embarrassment of people seeing an unfinished project on the easel!  Oh, and the

A JOB can be turned into a JOY
with just one little change.

What change do you need to make in your housework to change it into a joy?

Denise Signature 150 px

Cleaning · evangelism · Fall · home · Home decor · Husband · Life

Things I’m Loving This Fall

Fall brings some favorite things we don’t have the rest of the year.  I thought I’d share some of the things I’m especially loving this fall (though they’re not all seasonally related).  Look for the ARROW in the picture to see my favorite thing!

favorites 1
This Kroger Washing Machine Cleaner is really reasonably priced and does a GREAT job getting any residue out of the washing machine.  The rubber gaskets don’t get completely clean, but it’s much better.  Look at that shine inside! My mom recommended it to me, and I’m recommending it to you!

favorites 6a
It’s the time of year for the great flavored creams!  This one reminds me of Christmas because in years past, it was the only time you could get it.  Now it comes out in the fall.  Mmmm, it’s so good in my morning cup of coffee!!

favorites 2a
Yankee Candles have me all  smiles.  I love all their products!  I especially love their fall scents.  This one is Sugar and Spice and it goes great with any pumpkin scent I may have in another part of the house.  I love the apple burner.  You set a container into the burner, turn it on, and it melts in the plastic container.  So easy and no open flame.

 

favorites 4a
I’m still chalkboard crazy!  I had a mirror over my mantle all summer, but  I decided to put the chalkboard up and do a picture.  What is it about chalkboard art that makes a space so cozy?  I don’t know, maybe just the opportunity it gives me to be a little creative.  It might be tacky to some, but I love it on the mantle!

 

favorites 3a
My last love isn’t a thing, it’s a person.  It’s the man you see talking to our sweet neighbors that we love.  That man, my husband…loves people.  He has a burden for people.  Everywhere he goes, he’s looking to pour into people the love of Jesus, and I love that about him!  I snapped this picture from my laundry room window.  I loved looking out and seeing him chatting with the children.  They love him, too!

What are you enjoying this fall?  A new product?  A place you’ve visited?  A person who’s been a blessing?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Have a refreshing weekend as you attend a church that preaches the Word of God in Truth!  Our church will be celebrating its 61st anniversary this Sunday, so it will be a special day, and I’m looking forward to it!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 200 px