Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Cleaning Routine and a Plumbing Tip

Through the years I've gotten a few requests to share my cleaning routine as well as what products I use. And guess what??? Today's the day! Aren't you excited?! Hee hee! I actually love to clean and organize, so this post has been a long time coming. :) 

First off, I love having a clean house. I just can't relax if my house isn't in order. I'll be the first to admit I run a tight ship. Everyone has been conditioned to put back what they get out, do their dishes (never leave them in the sink) and pick up after themselves. 

I usually tidy up all day long. I joke and say I like to keep my house "guest ready" at all times. Another thing I do consistently is a "quick clean" every night before I go to bed. I go around the house and pick up any stray glasses and load them into the dishwasher, fluff the pillows, re-fold the throws and wipe down the kitchen counters with my vinegar/water spray. I like to wake up to a sparkling clean house every morning. #crazycleaninglady

So, like I said, I do a quick clean up every night. I love using a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to go over my kitchen counters. 

Vinegar works so well for so many things. I remember many many moons ago when we were potty training...well...let me just say if you have boys (and especially if they're potty training) it works wonders on and around the toilet seat and base. It cleans and gets rid of odors very quickly. Some people complain that they don't like the smell of vinegar, but after it dries (in minutes) the smell is gone. So there. :) 

Then it's just a quick pillow fluff, load our cups in the dishwasher and I'm ready for bed.

As far as my once a week cleaning, I bleach the kitchen counters and sink, dust the entire house, clean the bathrooms, mop the wood floors, mop the tile floors and vacuum.

I use Clorox Clean Up for my kitchen counters and sink. I've been using it for probably 20 years and love how well it works. 

I remember the first time I used Clorox Clean Up...we had white laminate counters and I spilled red Kool Aid on them. It had already dried and wasn't coming off with my regular cleaner. I sprayed the stain with Clorox Clean Up and turned around to open a new package of paper towels to wipe it up with. When I turned back around, the stain was already gone. I couldn't even see where it was because the cleaner had already worked its magic. I literally had to get down on eye level with the counter to locate the liquid spot on the counter so I would know where to wipe it up. Lol! 

I also have a stack of white washcloths (these come in a 12 pack and are from Target) for cleaning. This is just a small percentage of my stash of white cloths. I don't even want to admit how many I have. :) I always use white so it doesn't stain anything. I once used a pink washcloth to get a stain out of our cream carpet at our old house and it turned the carpet pink! The washcloth was many years old and had been washed a million times, but it still left a pinkish tinge on the carpet. Since then, I've always used white. After I use the washcloths, I just pop them into the washer with hot water and they're good to go again the next week.

These are looking a little ragged. I think it's time to purchase some new ones.  ;)

While we're in the kitchen, let me tell you a little secret. You know that little window on the oven door? Well, mine had seen better days. It never would have made it onto the blog. Ha! It had splatters on it that I couldn't seem to ever get clean. Then I remembered I had this little gem...

Here's what it looks like...

It's Shaklee Scour Off and it did the best job! I hear it's made from crushed cherry pits and it definitely smells like cherries. Love that! It's a paste and I just used it with plenty of water and scrubbed with a paper towel. After only a few minutes and very little elbow grease, it was sparkling new! My hubby was out of town at the time and I texted him this pic because I was so proud of myself. Lol! I only wish I had a "before" pic, but I had no idea how well it would work at the time. 

Shaklee Scour Off is non toxic, uses natural abrasives, no harsh chemicals, biodegradable surfactants, and no phosphates. 

You can click HERE to order it. I'm pretty sure you can order as a guest, no need to sign up. Also, a few people have told me this used to be called "At Ease." 

And of course if you have stains on the bottom of your oven that won't come off, you can always get one of these oven liners and just cover it up. :)
Eternal Non-Stick Oven Liner
You can order this one at Walmart HERE

I have a white porcelain sink and every once in a while it needs a little of this...

Bar Keepers Friend

You know when you wash a skillet or pot in the sink and it'll leave those annoying little silver marks all over? Bar Keepers Friend will take those right off. I find it works best to sprinkle it in the sink, then wipe away with a damp paper towel. For some reason, the paper towel works better than a sponge.

I occasionally use this Lysol antibacterial kitchen cleaner. It kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria (according to the label) so it usually makes an appearance around Thanksgiving and any other time I'm dealing with raw meat like turkey. It works really well to get rid of germs on the counters and sink.

Here's one more kitchen related tip...if you have an odor in your fridge, (perhaps you just boiled eggs and put them in the fridge and it's kinda stinky) just crumple up newspaper and place it on the shelves. The paper will absorb the odor. It HAS to be black and white newspaper, not glossy colored pages.

So now it's on to dusting. I recently switched from microfiber cloths to Swiffer and am loving how well they work. 

Just look at the good job it does..

Then it's on to the bathrooms. The first thing I do in the guest bath (since it's not used a lot) is run the hot and cold water in the tub and faucets. If you don't run the water regularly, you'll start to notice a funny smell. I've been told it's sewer gas escaping from the drain that can be caused from a dry trap (from not running the water regularly) I've had a couple of friends who called a plumber for this problem, only to find out all they had to do was run the water and the smell went away. 

Then it's on to cleaning the mirrors. I'm a big fan of Shaklee Basic H and I use it for way more than just cleaning mirrors. This stuff is great!

It only takes two DROPS mixed with 16 ounces of water to fill this entire spray bottle...

This is the side of the Basic H bottle that explains how much to use. I bought this bottle years ago and I'm not even close to running out. It lasts forever and does a wonderful job on the mirrors and doesn't leave any streaks.

Then I use my white cloths and Clorox Clean Up to wipe down the faucet and counters. Next up is the Clorox wipes (or even my vinegar solution) for the toilet seat and base. 

My favorite for inside the toilet is Lysol toilet bowl cleaner...

Then I use my spray bottle of vinegar/water to mop the bathroom floors. And if I'm being totally honest, since there's not a lot of square footage in the bathrooms, I sometimes just use a paper towel and spray some vinegar solution on it and use that to "hand mop" the floors. :) 

As far as the shower, I use this...

cleaning tips

If the shower floor needs some extra attention (and it usually does) I use a little of this on it...

I squirt some Soft Scrub with bleach on the shower floor and scrub it in with a scrubber sponge. Then I let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then I come back and give it another quick scrub with the sponge, rinse, and it's good to go. 

Next up is the wood floors. When we had ours installed, they gave us a box of Bona products and said never to use anything but Bona, so that's what we've done. Here is the Bona cleaner we use...

And here is the mop I use. It came with the white duster (which I use first to dry dust the floors) and blue wet mop (which I use with the Bona spray.) They're washable, so they go into the washing machine after each use. Love an easy clean up like that. 

The last thing on my weekly list is vacuuming. I invested in a Dyson a few years ago and never looked back. 

I love vacuum marks. :) 

It has suction like you wouldn't believe. It's actually fun to see what all it sucks up in the clear canister each week. Lol! I think the Dyson is the reason my carpets still look like new after 8 years. It literally pulls the fibers back up every time I vacuum. It's like it re-fluffs it each week, which keeps it from matting down. Our type of carpet helps too. We have a type of frieze carpet which was kind of expensive, but was well worth it. The original carpet we had in this house was just a basic plush and after only two years, it was matted down completely in some high traffic areas. I've often thought if we had the Dyson when we moved in, the plush carpet would have lasted longer (with the weekly re-fluffing and all) 

Actually, I know it would have because the only area we didn't replace the plush carpeting is our master closet. And...ahem...I should also admit that I have a bit of a Monica Geller situation going on in my closet. That's another area that will never make it onto the blog. See? Even I have "secret" places where I stash everything. Ha! 

Anyway, like I said, we still have the original plush carpeting in our closet and it's pretty matted down. Our old vacuum didn't have great suction and since the plush carpet was so matted down, it would basically roll over the top without pulling the fibers back up. When we got the Dyson, I did a little experiment with the plush carpeting in the closet. I vacuumed it with the Dyson and it actually fluffed it back up! This was after years of being matted down. I could actually see vacuum marks in there and I hadn't seen those in years because the old vacuum just didn't have a strong enough suction. So I really think my Dyson was well worth the price. 

I also use the Dyson for cleaning my blinds. It has this little attachment that works well for that stuff...

I just tilt the blinds up and vacuum them, then tilt them down and vacuum again. All the dust is contained inside the canister, so it doesn't make a mess. 

I use that same attachment for cleaning baseboards and it takes no time at all. 

Another thing that makes my must have list for cleaning is Magic Erasers...

They're good for so many things. I recently used them on my white ceiling fan. I got lazy and went a long time without cleaning the blades and they had some dust that wasn't coming off with my Swiffer duster. I just wet the Magic Eraser and scrubbed lightly and they were restored to like-new condition immediately.

I think that's about it for my cleaning routine. Of course I have things I don't do every week, like dusting light fixtures and the artwork on the walls. I try to just do those things as needed, or when I notice dust build up. 

I really do love to clean. And in case you need proof, here's my list of what I accomplished in ONE day a few weeks ago...

1. Cleaned outside of kitchen cabinets, paying special attention to the ones above the stove where grease build up can occur. Gave them all a good wipe down.

2. Dusted all interior paneled doors and door frames.

3. Dusted all baseboards and used a bleach solution to clean the ones in the bathrooms.

4. Dusted all the blinds and windowsills.

5. Cleaned outside of bathroom cabinets (wiped them down)

6. Dusted all ceiling fans.

7. Dusted top of fridge.

I also did a few outside chores... replaced a fence picket, scrubbed a few dirt spots off the brick pavers on the back patio, and pruned a few bushes in the garden. 

That's crazy, right?! Once I got going, I just couldn't stop. :) 

Needless to say, I did NOT work out that day. Lol! 

Oh, and here's a not so pretty pic for you...

"Before" pic with busted pipe.

We noticed a constant wet spot in our grass right by our water faucet. It wasn't a lot of water and there's a low spot in the grass right there, so it was hard to tell if it was indeed a leak or just wet from the low spot, as we've had a lot of rain. The faucet itself wasn't leaking, so we assumed it was a pipe underground. It had been there for a few weeks, then my hubby went out of town for a month. When he got back, it was still there, so we decided to call a plumber (about time, right?) 

While hubby was out of town, I joined "Angie's List" (it's free) and immediately began researching local plumbers. I read over 10 pages of reviews before deciding on "Sam The Plumber." They had an "A" rating and great reviews, so that sealed the deal. 

Anyway, turns out it was a busted exterior pipe underground. They fixed it in about an hour and it was pretty inexpensive too. Our plumber also came back later that night when he was off the clock to check and make sure the leak was fixed and to turn our water back on. We had a really good experience with them and were very pleased with the work. 

This pic above is how they fixed it. Such a relief to have that done and I can't wait to see how much lower our water bill is now that the leak is fixed. :) 

So if you're in the Houston area and need a plumber, I can definitely recommend "Sam The Plumber." You can reach them at 281.992.2310. And no, I'm not getting paid to promote this business. We're just very pleased with the work and I wanted to pass along this info. 

I hope y'all got some good tips. Do you have a favorite cleaning tool or product? Do tell in the comments. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Tobacco Baskets at Hobby Lobby

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments and emails congratulating my son and his friend on getting their film accepted to SXSW! We're still flying high over here and can't wait for the premiere in Austin next month! I'm currently going bananas deciding what to wear. :) If you missed the big announcement, you can read about it HERE.

In other news, I had to pop in and let y'all know that Hobby Lobby now carries tobacco baskets!!! They're very reasonably priced too. Here are the ones I got...

The regular price is $17.99 for the large and $14.99 for the small. They were 50% off when I got them, so I only paid $9 for the large and $7.49 for the small! Can you believe those prices?!

The large one found a home here...

I'm still not sure where the small one will go. For now, it's just hanging out on the kidney table in the dining room...

In other exciting news, I cleared off the tops of my kitchen cabinets. Such thrilling news, no? Lol! After being inspired by my friend Kim, see her post HERE, I finally took the plunge and went for it. Thanks, Kim!

I love that I don't have to dust anything up there anymore and I'm really enjoying the clean look. 

P.S. I've been working on my cleaning routine post and should have it up this week. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Big Announcement...

Y'all, I have huge news! I've been keeping a secret for a couple of weeks and now I can finally share!

Y'all know my son Logan is a young filmmaker, right? And he's a pretty talented one if I do say so myself. :) He and his friend Kendra (who is equally talented) have been working on a film and it's amazing. Turns out, other people have noticed them too because...


 I pulled this pic straight from the SXSW website. It's a still shot from their film. :) If you click HERE it will take you directly to their film page on the site. 

You can learn more about SXSW by clicking HERE

Each year there are thousands of high school films submitted and they only accept 22 into the SXSW lineup! 

Logan and Kendra wrote, produced, directed and filmed this project themselves. 

SXSW (South by Southwest) is a major film festival held every Spring. Many celebrities hold their movie premieres there. There are a ton of movie screenings and I just can't explain what a big deal it is. I'm such a proud mama, so excuse the gushing. :) 

I was jumping up and down when we got word his film was accepted! They worked so hard on it and it was so neat to see it recognized! 

Their film will have its premiere at SXSW early in the week, and they gave it another screening at the Alamo Drafthouse at the end of the week! I can't wait to fly to Austin for all the fun! My mom and older son Dylan are flying up with me to attend the premiere and we're so excited! Logan and Kendra will be there the entire week attending screenings, meeting with people, and enjoying all the festival has to offer. 

Ryan Gosling's film "Song to Song" is opening the festival this year. It's a huge honor to be invited to premiere and screen your film here. It was so exciting to see their film listed on the line up this year along with Ryan Gosling, Cate Blanchette, Natalie Portman, Peter Fonda, Octavia Spencer, Josh Duhamel, James Franco, Kevin Spacey, John Hamm, Judd Apatow, etc. I could go on and on, but it's so exciting to see their film listed alongside these talented people on the SXSW website. :)

So many connections can be made at SXSW. Tons of actors, directors, writers, etc. attend. One conversation with someone can lead to a whole career. We're so excited and I just had to share the great news with all of you! I'll keep you posted on the goings on and I'm sure I'll instagram a lot of pics from the festival too. You can follow me on Instagram @texasdecor and you can follow Logan @logansullivan and Kendra at @kendrafogleman 

Thanks for letting me share and putting up with my mama pride. :) 


Monday, February 13, 2017

2017 Valentine's Day Decor

First off, y'all be sure to check back soon because I have a HUGE announcement to make!!! I've been sitting on a secret for a couple of weeks and can finally tell the world! I can't wait to share the good news with you!!! 

Okay, back to regular programming...

I finally pulled out a few Valentine decor pieces just a few days before Valentine's day. Better late than never, right? :) 

Here are just a few quick shots...

I always like to cheat and say that my red mixer counts as Valentine's day decor (and Christmas decor too!) :) 

Love the little vintage Valentines...

And that's it! I think that's the least amount of talking I've ever done in a post. :) 

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check back for the big announcement! 


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