I absolutely love my morning routine. It sets the tone for my day and helps me be the best mom I can be. Right now, I’m waking up around 530am to workout and complete my morning routine and complete my quiet time.
Once my 3rd baby was sleeping through the night consistently, I was able to start this routine. Prior to that, I was NOT able to get up consistently. If you’re in a season of inconsistent sleep, I wouldn’t worry about trying to have a morning routine. When you’re up in the middle of the night, you can easily become exhausted during the day. So please do not read this and think you need to add a morning routine to your tasks. This is simply for those who feel they have the capacity to wake up and get their quiet time in. Of course, if you’re a night person, you could do these things in the evening/nightime if that works better for you.
It’s Valentine’s Day week and I’m prepping for a small Valentine’s Day party with our pod and I’m taking you along!
I love hosting themed parties but honestly, I do not enjoy the high price tag that can come with kids parties. So I try to use whatever I have on hand to make a fun party! For this party, I picked a few things up at the Dollar Tree including brown craft paper and wrapping paper that I’ll work into the party decor.
True story, my college roommate is obsessed with Windex (sorry for calling you out Buddie) and she made me love it too. But have you checked out the cost of it?!! Whoa baby, it’s pricey. I mean, it does work well and there are so many surfaces it’s safe for, but is that really worth it? I hate that it ends up being sprayed RIGHT by our toothbrushes. Windex actually gets a D rating on the EWG rating scale for respiratory/asthma, skin irritation and the environment.
So given all of the above, I decided to try the natural/DIY version, I have nothing to lose, right!??! Well, here’s what I found! This is so easy to make and literally costs NOTHING.
Here’s how you do it!
1/2 c. rubbing alcohol
1/3 c. white vinegar
Add vinegar and alcohol to a spray bottle, fill the bottle with water. Spray and wipe! Easy Peasy!! I LOVE these glass jars for keeping all my homemade solutions in. They are relatively affordable when you consider you aren’t buying plastic bottles every month or so.
I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every single floor cleaning solution on the market. Seriously. From Pine-sol to Lysol to expensive natural brands. One of my favorite on the market is the Method brand from Target. It smells SO good, is easy to use and works great! It’s safe for a variety of flooring types too! But at $5 for a 25fl oz bottle, the price is a little steep. So, I buy it occasionally and then fill the bottle with my homemade solution.
My first floor has 4 different kinds of flooring. We have peel and stick vinyl flooring, ceramic tile, laminate and wood floors. I had to do a little research to find out what I could use on what type of flooring. Most solutions are safe for the floors we have since we do not have natural stone. If you have natural stone floors, you’ll need to follow the instructions and research what is safe for that type of flooring. I’d recommend doing that for any flooring you have and not just take my word for it! 🙂
My solution to expensive floor solution, is to make my own. This is super easy, smells great and costs PENNIES! Here’s what I do. When I’ve finished a bottle of the expensive store bought solution, I refill with the solution I make.
Here’s how I do it
What you’ll need
Essential oils of your choice
Squirt bottle, spray bottle or empty floor solution bottle
Using a funnel, add 2 c of water to an empty bottle. Add in 1/4 c. white vinegar, followed by 10 drops of peppermint essential oil and 10 drops of lemon essential oil. The lemon/mint combination is my FAVORITE. It smells so fresh and clean. I’m actually obsessed.
The mop I have is discontinued, but here’s a similar one. I love this because you can add the solution to the bottle that’s attached to the mop or spray it on the floor. The washable, microfiber refills wash up nicely so you can use them over and over again!
I can’t wait to see if you all love this recipe as much as I do!! Be sure to comment below or tag me on Instagram so I can know if you love it!
Turning Lemons into Lemonade….errr, Cleaning Solution
Scrubbing Your Microwave is ZERO percent fun. I do not enjoy this part of cleaning but it’s something that has to be done at least weekly.
When I was a kid, I remember my mom cleaning our microwave with a bowl of vinegar. She heated it up in the microwave and wiped it clean. I still use this method sometimes but I read about using lemon slices and lemon juice and knew I wanted to try it.
Here’s what you need
2 cup measuring cup
one lemon and a knife for slicing
clean damp rag
Slice a whole lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl. slice the other half of the lemon into slices and add to the bowl. Microwave bowl for 5 minutes. Wipe out your microwave and enjoy the sparkling clean box. The steam created from microwaving the water, loosens all the gunk and makes it easy to wipe out and the lemons give you a fresh scent!
It’s hard to even consider this a blog post because it’s so simple! I can’t wait for you to give this a try and let me know how it goes for you! Comment below or tag me on Instagram.
Folding Laundry: Getting Your Kids Involved In Chores
Laundry. It’s an every. single. day occurrence at this house. With five people, 3 being kids, we generate so much laundry. I actually do not mind do the laundry. I love that the clothes feel and smell clean but folding it and putting it away is NOT my jam. I’m pretty sure before I had a family, I just kept my clean laundry in a basket until it was absolutely necessary to put it away. But now, I can’t do that. With my kids getting older, I love involving them in household duties. It really gives them a sense of accomplishment and they are actually very helpful.
When I worked retails, we used a folding mat to make sure that the clothes were perfectly folded. It was so easy and seemed to make folding clothes so fast. I recently saw a video of someone making one from sink mats from the dollar store. I thought, hmmm $6 isn’t much but I can totally make that for free! Since it’s right after Christmas, we obviously have a plethora of boxes, so I figured I could make one from boxes and any tape I could find. So, off I went to my garage to shop for the perfect box. And in the words of my two year old, ta-da, I made my own folding mat within just a few minutes!
How to Make A Folding Board from a Box
Cut your box into six equal parts
Tape the seams on all sides except for the sides between the middle panel
Teach your kids to fold their own clothes.
Watch them enjoy folding 🙂
Unfortunately, I don’t have a good hack for getting the nicely folded laundry into the drawers. But I can say that I love the way the folded laundry keeps our drawers nice and tidy!
This is the easiest hack to get your littles involved in the household tasks. If you love this, give this post a like, comment and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you try this at home!!
Keeping my minivan organized is NO easy feat, but I’ve found a few ways to keep it tidy (ish).
We travel far often by car since my family lives about 250 miles away. Car trips can be DISASTEROUS to the tidiness of my car, so I’ve worked hard over the years keeping our things organized. Since using these for car trips, I’ve actually found several of them helpful for everyday life! Here’s a few tips that we use, on the daily, to keep my van, tidy (ish) with three young kids!
I cover my floor mats with a washable rug in my car over my mats! My kids can wipe their feet on in it before climbing in the back, plus it catches a TON of the mess. I can easily remove it, shake it out or wash it! It keeps me from having to vacuum my van floors as often.
Hanging Travel Makeup Bag
Hanging travel makeup bags are the perfect way to keep toys organized. We used to only use this on road trips, but I found it was the perfect way for my kids to keep their “stuff” organized in the car. My kids each have on hanging from the headrest in front of them. They keep all sorts of fun stuff in there! Great place to catch things like masks, gloves and hats after school too!
Plastic Shoe Box
A shoebox size plastic bin keeps all our “just in case items”, the necessities straws, forks, bug spray, hand sanitizer, and of course, extra @chickfila sauce 🤣🤪. It seems we are always looking for these things when we are out an about. It also allows us to have the flexibility to change our plans if need be!
Over the Seat Organizer
An over the seat organizer keeps our travel potty, wipes, diapers, hand sanitizer and small baggies. If you need to make a quick potty break, grab the whole organizer so you don’t forget anything 👍🏻. Since we travel quite a bit by car, this is a NO brainer for us!
A small basket from @dollartree, keeps masks for the family. We are never without 😷. Oh how #2020 of me. These come in a 3 pack for a dollar and are literally the perfect size for masks. I’m always switching out dirty masks for clean masks. It really is a great way to make sure you have everything you need! Similar ones linked here.
Silicone Cupcake Liners
Huh? What? You use silicone cupcake liners is your car!? Yep, I sure do! I put these in my kids cupholders to keep them clean! The cup holders in my car TAKE A BEATING with milk spilling in them constantly. These are so simple to switch out, wash and put back in! Stinking milk in cup holders, NO THANKS!
I hope you find these as helpful for your family as I do for mine! If you use any of these, please let me know and tag me on Instagram!
I have tried SO many DIY laundry detergents and never liked any of them! I never felt like they go my clothes clean and I hated the boring smell. BUT I finally found one that I LOVE and I’m sharing it with you!
I have been using this for about a month now, so not THAT long but long enough to know if I like it or not. I think my favorite thing is that it makes my clothes feel clean, they come out smelling fresh and it’s so easy to make. Plus, the ingredients come in bulk so you can always keep it on hand and mix up a new batch when you need to.
Making the Switch
I used to be a Tide With a Touch of Downey super fan. I’ll be honest, I still love it but I found that it was making my washing machine super gunky. I was having to wipe away the mold (blah) on the door after every use. It turns out, that even though I was using a small amount, liquid detergents cause more build up in the front loading, high efficiency washers than powder. So I switch to powdered Tide. And then my life came crashing down. Okay, okay, you’re right that’s super hyperbolic, but seriously, I was happy with my laundry detergent and didn’t want to switch. But I found out that I have super, duper sensitive skin and needed to cut the fragrance out of most of my products. Fragrance is super irritating and honestly, probably not that good for any of us. I do buy free and clear laundry detergent when I’m in a pinch but I prefer this, again because it’s powder and better for my washer.
I got this recipe from a simple google search. I sifted through tons of recipes but some included grating a bar of soap (ummmm nope, ain’t no one got time for ) or I had tried and just didn’t feel like it was doing the trick. Then I stumbled upon this one, THE one!
Last year, (ha! The first time I got to use that phrase) I discovered a recipe for hand soap from my friend Jessica from Paprika Paperie. She is a natural minded momma of three girls and I totally trust her recommendations. So when I saw her making it, I knew I needed to try.
For a short re-cap, I’m on a health journey, trying to cut all the junk out of my life. What I’ve discovered is toxic chemicals and additives are hiding in almost all our everyday products. This is a HUGE bummer to me because I’ve been using most of these products for decades. When I went to buy natural products, I found $5+ hand soaps. I found that hard to swallow and hard on my budget. SOOOOO, what’s a frugal mom to do, make my own of course!
How I Do It
Now, I know what you’re thinking, come on Jenna, you MAKE your own soap? Well, kinda, I use this recipe to refill hand soap bottles I have around the house! I add a cute label and I’m set! Because I can make a HUGE batch at once, it really isn’t THAT much more work.
15 drops of essential oil (Tea Tree is good for this because it has anti-bacterial properties)
1 tablespoon fractionated coconut oil (Jessica’s recipe calls for almond oil) I didn’t have almond oil on hand and didn’t feel like running to the store to grab something You could also use a nice olive oil if you want
1 tablespoon vitamin E- I have never added this because I do not have it on hand and didn’t feel like buying it or running to the store
This might be the most housewife-y thing I’ve ever written but I really think it’s an interesting topic! Vacuuming.
I used to just use my vacuum to vacuum my carpets and I always wondered if it mattered that I didn’t vacuum those pretty lines in my carpet. But it turns out I use my vacuum for SO many more uses than just vacuum my carpeting.
This blew my mind when I finally started doing this! It always made me crazy that I’d mop my tile floors just to have left over hair and other small pieces of lint that got stuck to the floor. Now, before I start cleaning the bathroom, I vacuum the tile and go through with the crevice tool and hit along the walls and around the toilet. Seriously, this is a game changer!
I know what you’re thinking, Jenna, you vacuum your refrigerator!!?! And my answer is, yep, yep I sure do and you should too! If you’re a super tidy person, maybe you don’t have to do this, but my fridge always has little pieces of food it in. I want to blame my kids but I think my fridge may looked this way before I had kids too. After I empty my fridge, I go through and suck up all the little bits of dry food with the crevice tool (do you see a pattern of how much I like the crevice too!?!).
Okay, if you’re still here reading this crazy blog post, you’ll thank me for this tip! I HATE the small crumbs that fall in that small spot between my counter and my stove. Grab your crevice tool and vacuum away!
Seriously, this was a game changer. Why on earth did they make toasters so hard to clean? Before you attempt to vacuum your toaster, make sure it’s unplugged. Once it’s unplugged, stick your crevice tool in there and suck away all the crumbs. Life changing, I promise.
Dryer and Dryer Vent
Dry vent. I just recently realized I could vacuum out the dry vent. I’m not a laundry novice, so I knew I needed to clean out the lint filter screen and dryer housing. But I didn’t realize I needed to vacuum around the lint filter housing. You can also take the dryer venting off the back of your dryer and use your vacuum hose to vacuum inside the venting. Clogged dryer vents are a fire hazard, so be sure to check this a couple times a year.
This next one gives me some Danny Tanner feels (you get this if you’re a 90s kid) but you can actually clean your broom with a vacuum. My broom tends to collect so much dirt, fuzz and lint and there is NO good way to remove it from the broom head. So a couple times a year, I go ahead and vacuum off my broom. Works like a charm 🙂
Window sills and door tracks
I wipe my window sills and door tracks down when I’m doing a deep clean. It’s shocking how much dirt, dust, stupid little flies and pollen. Before I clean them well with a wet cloth, I always vacuum. It really helps me not just smear the dust/dirt/pollen around.
Vacuuming your mattress can actually help keep allergens/dust mites and bed bugs from infesting your bedrooms. In addition, when we sleep, we shed our skin so there are TONS of little pieces of skin on your mattress. Basically, our mattresses are disgusting. I was like 34 years old before I started vacuuming our mattresses. So next time you change your sheets, run your vacuum around the mattress!
I don’t know about you, but my floor vents seem like MAGNETS for goldfish, small toys like Legos and other random crap. Use your vacuum to clean your vents. One, you can find that missing Lego, but it also helps reduce the amount of dirt/pollen that gets spread through your home.
The last, is the most obvious and it’s your carpet! To keep your carpet as clean as you can, you should be vacuuming every other day! Eeek, not gonna lie, I’m lucky if I vacuum once a month.
If you have any questions on any of the tips I shared above, I’d love to hear. If you have another crazy place that you use your vacuum, please feel free to drop it in the comments or message me on Instagram and we can share more tips over there!