Friday, June 28, 2013

Hey All!

I'm pinch-hitting today over at DIY By Design today - we're talking about taking risks in DIY, and not being afraid of a little construction :)

Stop on over and say hello!

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let's Be Honest [natural cleaning supplies]

A home with these two crazies

and this big beast –

...sorry, I mean this big beast ;) – gets messy.  


And with all the grubby handprints touching everything and food flying out of a highchair to God-knows-where, our house goes from clean to feelin’ filthy in about a nanosecond.  
So I never thought I would say it, but cleaning has become super important to me 
(yes Mom, I totally just said that. :) ).
Specifically, cleaning with products that won’t leave my kiddos sucking on chemical-laden fingers and won’t poison my pooch.

I mentioned a few months back that I was giving some new home and family products a try.  By no means am I giving up my beloved Shaklee, but I am really loving The Honest Company products as companion pieces for having a clean home without overloading on harsh chemicals.

This is the company that was started by Jessica Alba.  I’ll admit, at first I was skeptical.  
All I could see her as the dingy mean girl from “Never Been Kissed” 

and I figured the company was just something for her to put her name on, like a celebrity fragrance.  That’s actually far from the truth, and the company really goes above and beyond to ensure their products are as natural and eco-friendly as possible, as well as being something you want to use (they smell great, aren’t harsh on your hands and even the packaging is cute.)

You can order products individually, and while you need to be a registered member to order, membership is free.  I actually subscribe to their bundling service, which is great and it ends up saving you money on all their products.  I receive the Family Essentials bundle, which is a mix of home and baby products (they also have a separate bundle for diapers/just baby products). 

You can choose how frequently you want your bundles – every 4, 6 or eight weeks.  I am on the 6 week rotation and that seems to be just right for us.  

Each rotation, I get to choose 5 products for my order – ANY 5 products – and the price/shipping never changes.  If I want to add products to the order I can add up to 3, and I’ll receive a 25% discount on those “+3” products.  I include my dishwasher and laundry pods in every order, and I’ve never had to run out to the store because I’ve run out of them (which used to happen a LOT, haha).

If you check out the honest website, you’ll see they are very transparent with what their products do – and do not – contain.  I’ve been a subscriber since just after Christmas and I have yet to be disappointed in a product.  AND, they sent me some of their awesome organic lip balm for Mother’s Day, just ‘cause they’re nice like that. :)

So I’ll be Honest – I’m not getting compensated for this post.  No one asked me to write it.  No one asked me to try the products in the first place.  I’m just sharing stuff I like because I like hearing about it when others share cool stuff that works for them.

If you’re interested in giving The Honest Company a try, go HERE.  You can even order a free trial of products and all you pay is the shipping.  I “honestly” think you’ll love it. (tired of the puns yet? ;) )

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oh, Baby! [Boy Baby Shower]

Last weekend we finally had some days where the weather cooperated and we didn’t have a million activities for the girls.
So, I got together with a friend from work and we threw a baby shower for one of our colleagues.
What, that’s not what you do when you have a free Saturday?
Weird.  ;)
 Our pal is having a sweet little boy in the fall, so, as moms of girls, we jumped on the chance to do a cool 'dude' color palette of navy, orange and lime green.

Our whole theme for this shower was just to relax and enjoy all the baby goodness going on.  Nothing fussy or overdone, just cute and simple.  I think we accomplished that.

Isn’t this little onesie adorable?
You know, for days when baby is a little “crabby?” 
HA! Anyone? No?
Okay, it’s just me.  But it’s still cute. : )


My co-hort Jill had a great idea to use a children’s book as a guest book for the shower. (we used the Dr. Seuss book on the left)
That Jill, she’s crafty.

Adorable mom-to-be has the SWEETEST little baby bump that you can’t see here, but trust me.  Super Cute.

And leave it to Jill to find yummy treats to send home with guests that matched the d├ęcor.  Gotta love that!

We just whipped up a label for the bags, she added cute ribbon, and we sent ‘em on their way.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Outdoor Trim Touchup [Exterior Painting}

A while back we got a bit of a respite from the rain that has moved in lately, and with hosting an upcoming baby shower for a co-worker, I took advantage of the sunshine to make a quick update to our front door.

We have vinyl siding on the house, but as is typical, the trim around the side window and door + transom is wood.  And, after 6 years without being touched, you can see the paint needed a little TLC. 
 The key to freshening up outdoor trim is being committed to surface prep.  When you’re painting indoor trim, you can get away with not sanding all the way down to bare wood as long as you use a good stain-blocking primer.  When you’re working with outdoor trim, that won’t do if you want a smooth, tough surface.  Here’s why:  outdoor paint is (obviously) exposed to more elements [i.e. extremes], you know, since it’s outdoors and all.  The arctic cold of winter and the blazing heat of summer can be tough on paint, and if your surface doesn’t give the paint a strong foundation to grab onto, you’re going to see a LOT of cracking, flaking, and peeling.  And more often, too, so unless this is an absolute hobby of yours that you LOVE to do, ;) it’s worth it to put in the time the first time around.   

Secondly, exterior paint is typically a bit thicker than indoor paint, and for good reason [see the stuff I just outlined].  And that means it’s going to show/highlight any differences – however subtle they may be – in elevation.  So just painting over the chipped or peeling stuff isn’t going to give you a smooth top coat – it’s going to point a big neon arrow saying “LOOK!  THERE ARE CRACKS UNDER HERE!  AND THIS IS JUST PAINTED OVER PEELING PAINT!” on your trim.  Not exactly the look you’re going for, I’m guessing.

So the real key to surface prep here, when you’re dealing with flaking or peeling paint, is one of these guys:

 The putty knife.

Use the putty knife to scrape away the flakes – you’ll find that generally, these come off really easily.  You’ll have a glorious mess at your feet (that I’m kind of glad I didn’t take a picture of – it was ridiculous), but at least it’s not backbreaking work. 

Once you have a smooth finish – see the comparison here? – you’re all set for primer and paint.  I figure you don’t need a tutorial for that, right? ;)

Aaaah, much better!

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Lily Love

This post brought to you by iBulb. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Redhead and I have been loving watching our flowers bloom this spring!

She loves playing Assistant Gardner. :)

We're still waiting on her favorites, the Stella d'oro lilies.  The pretty yellow flowers are such a welcome burst of color in front of the house.

We have lilies a lot of places, actually, mainly because they're pretty, but also because they're easy to keep alive (which is pretty much an essential in my grey-thumb world! ;) )

I love potting bulbs because they come back year after year, and they can survive just about any kind of weather (remember, people, I live in IOWA, where we're kind of known for "what the heck...?" weather.) 

I rarely, if ever, have to do anything for my lilies other than water them, and even when I forget that (you guys know me! :) ) they still seem to thrive. 

And who doesn't love having fresh flowers in the house?

I just blogged about how much I love heading out to the garden to clip fresh flowers to brighten up our home, rather than having to schlep to the store and spend money for them.

The lilies just keep coming up all summer long, and I'm never wanting for [FREE] pops of color!

There are so many types of lilies out there, the possibilities really are endless. 

I remember my mom always had tiger lilies planted at our house when I was a kid, and I loved watching them grow so tall (and then of course walking through them, even though I wasn't supposed to ;) )

There are so many different varieties, all easy to care for, all beautiful, and some even have the added bonus of being incredibly fragrant! 

Lilies are also super affordable, and available just about anywhere - grocery stories, garden centers, flower shops - pretty much any place that sells flowers.  You're golden.

My point is, right now is the time we're all thinking about sprucing up our gardens and our homes, and here is an inexpensive, easy to care for, BEAUTIFUL way to do it!

Need some more inspiration?

Click HERE

So what are you waiting for? :)



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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Freshening Up with Flowers

Well, hello summer!


Thanks to a full-on SNOWSTORM in early May, these guys are a couple weeks later than usual… but they’re HERE!

I love love love when the peonies start to open up… I snip off every bloom possible and the house is just littered with sweet-smelling pretties.

This year, the knockout rose bush we planted when Miss CB was born is also going bananas. 

 If you have a flower like a rose that has a light scent, snip a few buds and put them in your powder room – the color will perk up the room instantly (and kind of feels like a swank hotel), and in the smaller space, the aroma will fill the room quickly and you’ll actually be able to enjoy the pretty scent (versus in a large open room where the scent will dissipate pretty quickly.)

I love the fresh flowers that bloom this time of year… aren’t they purty?  :)

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