Tags Posts tagged with "Christmas"

Christmas

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Yes. Aren’t you glad we live in a world where stores now offer Christmas ornaments in the shape of lady parts?! Because who wouldn’t want to adorn their tree with a vagina? I’m all for girl power, but definitely undecided when it comes to including “ya-yas” in my holiday decorating. If anything, I’m sure they make amazing conversation starters…or gifts.

 

 

Ahem.

You can purchase your own custom made felt vagina ornament complete with a jingle bell…. through the Etsy store Feltmelons. They come in different colors, and since each and every ornament is hand crafted, there will be slight variations in every ornament. Just like the real thing.

The ornaments are the brain child of Canadian, Suzanne McAleenan who operates her Etsy shop out of her home.

“Each ‘vaginament’ is my own design, and each is endearingly cut, assembled, and entirely stitched by hand in my dining room in Burlington, Ontario, Canada,” she writes.

“No vaginaments are exactly the same…it’s all part of their charm.”

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If ornaments like this are a MUST-have on your Christmas list this year, you might want to order them early since they are shipped from Canada.

Suzanne is currently trying to keep up with a massive amount of orders, but you can sign up through her store to receive updates when more are available.

You know, since it’s not likely these will be sold at Hobby Lobby any time soon…

 

 

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I was very close to posting a recipe for Chocolaty Chex Mix tonight.  I even took meticulous pictures as I moved through each step of the recipe.  I gathered the ingredients and positioned them on the counter…(camera click.)  I melted the sugar and butter in a saucepan…(click.)  I slowly poured the caramel mixture over the cereal…(click…click.)  And then I created a festive representation of the Chex Mix in a white bowl with a plaid kitchen towel underneath it…(click, click, click.)  Then I had to sit for a minute, as I often need to, because my body was hurting and I felt dizzy.  It was in that moment, as I sat quietly in my family room, by only the light of my Christmas tree, that I accepted the reality that I just didn’t have the energy to write about chex mix.  I barely had it in me to keep my eyes open.  I had officially reached the point where the only thing I cared about was surviving the holidays.

Surviving the Holidays?”  Since when is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” something to just survive?  I’m pretty sure every frazzled mom, and every exhausted retail employee, and every underpaid teacher can relate to this to some degree.  But I’ll tell you what takes holiday stress to the next, sometimes unbearable, level.
Chronic Physical, Emotional, and/or Mental Pain
 
If you’re a generally healthy person, I’d like to encourage you to try and remember a time that you felt truly rotten. Imagine your last bout with a stomach virus, the flu, a kidney stone, a migraine headache, or a toothache that hurt so badly you were completely incapacitated.  Now I want you to imagine that while you’re suffering, the entire world suddenly says to you, “You still have to get out of bed!  It’s the Holidays!  It’s time for shopping, presents, baking and cooking, parties, and socializing.  There’s no time for you to be sick.  You have to get up now and be happy, and pretend that you don’t hurt. You have school parties to get to. You have company coming- you better start cleaning your house. Oh, and by the way, you need to make 57 Pinterest-worthy treats to take to your neighbors, friends, and teachers.” For people that are chronically sick or in pain, the holidays present the problem of trying to find energy resources that may just not exist.  Often the month of December is a painful reminder of all the things we desperately want to do, but can’t.
After years of forcing myself to do it all, and working hard to make everything so magical that I literally made myself sick, I gained some wisdom and realized it doesn’t have to be this way.  As much as it feels like it, there really isn’t a gun to my head, requiring that I do more than I can handle during the holidays.  I have put a list together of suggestions that will hopefully ease your burdens a bit and remind you that Christmas really is something to look forward to, and enjoy.
Talk About It
 
Patricia Fennell, MSW, LCSW-R hits the nail on the head when saying, “Holidays act like a lightning rod where all the physical and social concerns around chronic illness get really highlighted.  The demands and expectations around holidays can “out” people whose conditions were hardly noticeable. During the year, they spend so much of their energy working and handling the daily chores of living that they have little time left for socializing.  Come the holidays, they’re expected to show up and contribute.  Many chronic illnesses are ‘invisible.’  People go to work or volunteer or shuttle kids to school.  Most of the time, they don’t look sick.  When illness flares up, their pain is invisible.  Or they have bone-numbing fatigue, so bad that they can’t take a shower and go to the store in the same day.”  Unfortunately there’s a cultural misconception that says you’re not sick unless you look sick. This perception isn’t going to change unless we speak up.  I have found that most people would do anything to ease your burdens- but they can’t help if they aren’t aware that there is an issue.
Plan Ahead
 
 
 
I can’t stress this one enough.  Since unpredictability is the nature of the invisible illness beast, planning in advance and preparing for all contingencies is imperative. When preparing for parties or traveling, we may need to bring medication, mobility aids, fluids, and special foods.  Don’t be afraid to discuss your needs with the host or your family members.  We all want to participate in the holidays the way we always have- including cooking, decorating, and hosting gatherings.  To do these things, we will just need to prepare over the span of a few days or weeks.  If we rush around and try to do it all in one day, we are less likely to enjoy ourselves and we could even end up bedridden.
Ditch Unrealistic Expectations
 
 
 
In fact, get rid of all your expectations.  I once had a friend tell me that expectations are the root of all evil because they encourage you to pine over things that aren’t real, and ignore all the beautiful things in your life that actually do exist.  Of course it’s fun to create a beautiful table for Christmas dinner, or trim a picture-perfect tree- but only do these things if you truly enjoy them, and certainly not at the cost of your own health and sanity.  If you can’t do what you once did, you can still make new traditions that accommodate your limitations.  Whatever your idea of how Christmas is supposed to be, just remember that it doesn’t have to be like that for you to enjoy it and be truly happy.
Ignore Other’s Insensitive Comments
 
 
Louise, from the blog “Diseased, Divorced, & Dangerous says it best, “People often have their own ideas about what you should be doing with your life and this is none so evident as it is during the high stress month of December.  It’s when people’s opinions that should probably be kept to themselves come streaming out with a little shove from one too many drinks.   Whatever the unfortunate comment, it’s a good idea to remember their opinions are a reflection of them and not you.  When you’re sick you can’t win no matter what you do, whether you’re working and so you’re ‘not that sick really’ or not working and so you’re ‘exaggerating and not even trying to get better.’  As you can’t win, you may as well just do what makes you happy, and what you need to do for your health, even if it means missing a party or bringing your own ‘free-from’ food.  Embrace being the weirdo that leaves early, only drinks sparkling water, and has a handbag full of medication.
Respect Yourself
 
 
 
Respect your limitations.  Respect your right to enjoy the holidays.  Respect the fact that you are enough today, simply because you are a living, breathing person.
Serve Others
 
 
 
I can’t think of a better way to embrace the holiday spirit than to jump beyond ourselves to help others.  Just because we’re sick doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do.  Get on the internet and order flowers for someone that is struggling.  If you’re having a particularly healthy day, offer to help with childcare, or housecleaning.  Spencer W. Kimball reminds us that, “Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are preparing to live in a better world.  It is by serving that we learn to serve.  When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective.  When we concern ourselves with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves.”  Talk about warm fuzzies!
Above all, let us remember what this time of year really means to us, and let’s focus on that.
I wish you warm, happy, and healthy holidays!

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Chances are your social media feed is filled with photos of little kids sitting on Santa’s lap these days.  Some of them are super cute, with kids happily smiling and obviously enjoying their time with Santa; while others are crying/screaming and look truly horrified to be in the situation they’re in.  One disturbing trend I have also noticed is parents posting these photos of their terrified children with Santa, and laughing about it.  Others commenting how cute it is and making light of them being scared, as if it’s some rite of passage that all kids need to endure.  I recently saw one relative’s picture with Santa where two little girls were screaming on Santa’s lap, one desperately trying to break free from his arms.  The comment section had comments like “Love it!”….”So cute!”….”Priceless!”

 

 

Children who are scared, are truly scared.  These seemingly “innocent” encounters can actually have lasting effects on certain kids.

A recent article was published by Katie Hurley LCSW, a child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting educator in Los Angeles, Calif. that lists the potential consequences of forcing children to sit with Santa, and she encourages parents to be mindful of them during the holiday season.

1. It’s traumatizing. Your child may love characters in costume on TV, in the movies or in a book, but in real life these characters can be larger than life and quite intimidating. Some children can be so frightened by a forced visit with Santa it can trigger nightmares for weeks after the encounter, and even cause the child to develop a fear of men with beards and/or glasses.

2. It sends mixed messages about stranger danger. We teach our children from a young age about stranger danger, and then we sit them on a stranger’s lap and expect them to have a magical moment. It sends mixed if they aren’t prepared.  Have a chat with them beforehand about what to expect when they visit Santa, and if they aren’t having it, consider focusing on other traditions.  There are lots of other ways to make memories at Christmastime.

3. It triggers the worry cycle. Some children are natural worriers, and seemingly “fun” situations to one child, may be quite overwhelming to another. Only you know your child, and if they are naturally timid, shy, or have anxiety you might want to avoid high pressure situations like visiting Santa.

4. It breaks trust. You are your child’s world.  They trust you will be there for them when they are upset or frightened.  Leaving them crying or struggling on a stranger’s lap while you laugh and snap pictures can absolutely break that trust and leave them feeling very alone and confused.  It’s not worth a cute picture with Santa.

5. It minimizes their feelings. Part of raising independent children is teaching them that they own their own emotions, and that thier feelings are valid.  When we ignore their feelings or downplay their fears by saying sitting on Santa’s lap is “no big deal” we are teaching them that their feelings don’t matter.

6. It lacks empathy. We try to teach our children compassion by listening and caring for the needs of others, yet parents who force a crying child onto a stranger’s lap are teaching them the opposite. The bottom line is, no picture or tradition is worth your child being frightened.

Winter Break is right around the corner, and I am already stressing a bit about keeping my three kids busy and productive!  One perfect activity is to have them make Christmas tree ornaments!  These can be put on your own tree to display or be made as gifts for others.  Either way, it’s fun for the whole family!

 

 

 

 

 

1. Cinnamon Stick Tree Ornament

Cinnamon-Stick-Tree-Ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed

What you need:

Twine

Pine garland

buttons

cinnamon sticks

glue gun

get the full tutorial here

 

2. Paper Towel Stars

diy-paper-towel-roll-stars-5 (1)

What you need:

Paper towel or toilet paper roll

ribbon or string

5 clothespins

mod podge

scissors

glitter glue

get the full tutorial here

 

3. Peanut Snowmen

IMG_0473

What you need:

Peanuts, in-shell

Paper bags or newspaper

Acrylic paints

Paint brushes

Yarn

A hot glue gun

Glue sticks

Twine or wire

get the full tutorial here

 

4. Cupcake liner Christmas trees

Cupcake-liner-Christmas-Tree-ornaments

what you need:

Cupcake cases
Glue or adhesive tape
String or ribbon for hanging
Scissors
Glitter, sequins or other embellishments (optional)

get full tutorial here

 

 

5. Homemade cinnamon ornaments

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What you need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1-1/2 cup ground cinnamon (look for the cheap, off-brand stuff, you aren’t gonna eat it)
  • 2 tablespoons craft glue, optional (I think this makes the ornaments a bit more sturdy, but you can do without it)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Drinking straw
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking racks and baking sheets
  • Cookie cutters
  • Sandpaper
  • Oven, food dehydrator, or just a spot out-of-the-way (for drying)
  • Glitter, puffy paints, rhinestones, etc. for decorating, optional
  • Ribbon or hooks for hanging

get full tutorial here.

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8-year-old Safyre is not your typical little girl.  She is a fighter, and she is a survivor.  When she was the age of five, someone intentionally set fire to the stairwell leading to her family’s apartment.. Her father and three young siblings all perished in the fire, but it was her father’s embrace that kept her alive.

 

 

 

 

 

Safyre suffered burns to 75% of her body and lost her left foot and right hand.  She stayed in hospitals for over 9 months and endured 50 surgeries to graft skin over her burns.

Safyre’s mother signed over custodial rights to the state, but Liz Dolder, who is Terry’s sister and Safyre’s aunt was having none of it, and petitioned the courts to become her legal guardian.

Dolder told TODAY Parents, “Safyre lost everything — her father, her mother, her sister, her brothers, her home, her favorite toy, her favorite outfit — everything that was familiar to her,” Dolder told TODAY Parents. “She even lost the one thing we all take for granted — her reflection. But she wakes every morning with a smile on her face. She is the true definition of hope, faith and love.”

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This year, Dolder purchased a Christmas card tree and Safyre’s only Christmas wish is to fill it with Christmas cards. A Facebook post asking for people to send Christmas cards to her has gone viral and Safyre has received many Christmas cards from all over the country so far.

If you would like to add to Safyre’s Christmas wish by sending her a card this year, please send it to the address below.  You will no doubt add a smile to her face and joy to her precious heart!

Safyre
P.O. Box 6126
Schenectady NY 12306

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My children spend 6-7 hours a day at school, and their teachers become their friends, their caregivers, their mentors and so much more.  We owe a debt of gratitude to teachers who truly love our children, and the holiday season is the perfect time to show that love and appreciation.  I know from experience that many teachers prefer gift cards, however there are also some fun and creative ideas on Pinterest that are sure to make them smile!  Hopefully they will inspire you to start thinking about what to give the special teachers in your family’s life!

 

 

 

 

 

1. “We whisk you a Merry KISSmas!”

Source: homeisright.blogspot.com

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2. “Merry Christmas to a Scent-sational teacher!” 

Source: michellepaige.blogspot.com

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3. “Just settle down for a long winter’s nap!”

Source: jacolynmurphy.com

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4. “For your mistle-toes”

Source: princesspinkygirl.com

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5. “Just soapin’ you have a Merry Christmas and happy new year!”

source: neatnestorganizing.com

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Are you a little more irritable this time of year?  More tired? Do you just feel “down in the dumps” and lack energy? Many people who feel like they just have the “Holiday Blues” may actually be suffering from something more serious called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and it effects more than half a million Americans each year.

Dr. Jason Hershberger, Chair of Psychiatry at Brookdale Hospital in New York City says, “SAD usually occurs in those who already are diagnosed or afflicted with a type of depression. It occurs with the change of the seasons, beginning in the Fall and staying with you throughout the cold, dark winter months.”

“Your energy drops and your mood will swing.  Many shrug off the depressed feeling as the winter doldrums, denying that they be suffering from mid to severe seasonal depression”, he explained.

Researchers have found that the main culprit for SAD is typically the shorter days and lack of sunlight during the fall and winter months, but is also effected by age, sex, where you live and family history.

Dr. Hershberger adds, “If you are a young woman living far from the equator with a family history of SAD or a previous diagnosis of clinical depression or bipolar disorder, you are most at risk. Women are found to have more severe symptoms, while young people are often at higher risk than older adults.”

“Living far from the equator means there is less sunlight, especially during the winter. Any family or personal history of depression, bipolar disorder or SAD makes the disorder hereditary,” Hershberger explained.

If you suspect you may have SAD, it’s important to make a list of your symptoms and note any major life changes and/or difficulties you’ve gone through recently.  Take them to your doctor to discuss.

If you are diagnosed with SAD doctors will usually recommend phototherapy, which is “a form of light therapy to help your brain produce the chemicals, like serotonin, you need to feel healthier and happier,” Hershberger said. You can purchase light boxes from anywhere from about $100 to $300.

Antidepressant medication may also be prescribed along with counseling to help you learn how to cope with your stress and anxiety through the winter months.

More information about Seasonal Affective Disorder can be found at mayoclinic.org

 

 

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With the holidays fast approaching, I start to get anxiety over the need for more space!  With three kids and extended family that like to spoil them with gifts at Christmas, I am constantly having to figure out ways to purge toys and make room for new toys…

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the generosity of others, but too much is too much and has caused me to reflect on ways we can all simplify gift giving for children. I realize the newest toy, or the cutest toy can be irresistable, but there are so many other non-toy gifts we can give! Sometimes it’s the non-toy gifts that have the greatest impact.

Children soon forget about all the toys they got, and most of the time they can’t even remember who they got them from! What children do value is time and memories. I know my child can’t list off the gifts he got last Christmas, but he can give vivid details about our trip to St. Louis over a year ago. Instead of giving toys this year, why not give memories instead?

Here are some great ideas for alternative gifts this year:

1. Gift cards for ice-cream/frozen yogurt. What child doesn’t love picking out their own treats? (And you can’t trip over it)

2. Memberships/passes. What are their interests? Get them passes to a local amusement park, mini golf place, museum, YMCA or a membership to the zoo. Colorado is full of awesome places that kids love to visit.

3. Concert Tickets. Find out their favorite bands/music and pick up some concert tickets. What events are coming to the area? Purchase tickets for anything from the circus to the symphony. Lots of ideas to choose from!

4. Recipe/food items. Get them a gift basket full of ingredients to make a favorite meal or dessert. Include the recipe, and offer to come help and spend the afternoon with them.

5. Crafting supplies. Find a fun art project or idea online and purchase the supplies for it. Wrap it up in a box with instructions on how to do it. Maybe even do it together.

6. Outdoor supplies. Get a gardening gift basket, fishing gear, bug catcher. etc. to encourage being outdoors and exploring nature.

7. Books. You can never go wrong with a good book! They are for every interest, genre, and age. My son still reads books he got four years ago, but I can’t say that about toys he got that long ago!

8. Coupon book of 12 one-on-one dates for the year. One coupon a month. The activities don’t have to be expensive or extravagant but should focus on making memories and spending time together. A trip to a favorite ice cream shop. An evening walk or bike ride. An early morning breakfast out when everyone else sleeps.

9. Movie Tickets! Purchase a gift card to your local theater and wrap it up with some popcorn and candy.

10. Gift card to their favorite restaurant, and make it a date night!

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Growing up, one of my best friend’s had a birthday on December 28th and my mom’s birthday is on December 23rd.  Both have shared feeling a bit slighted on their special day because all the festivities in December focus so much on Christmas.  When their birthdays rolled around it was either too close to Christmas to bother celebrating much, or soon after, when everyone was tired of the hustle and bustle of celebrating.  Do you have a child whose birthday falls near Christmas? What do you do to ensure that they feel special on their special day?

 

We asked some moms to share their feelings and traditions on how they celebrate December birthdays in their families.  Maybe some of these ideas will inspire you too!

Lacey S. – My husband, his mother and his sister all have birthday’s very close to Christmas. They have always kept them completely separate as they would if their birthdays were at different times during the year. I still do the same for my husband now. His birthday is his birthday, and Christmas is Christmas.

Megan P. – My husband’s birthday is the 12th and we just celebrate it unto itself, without any connection to Christmas. The way I figure it, a December/Christmas birthday is no different than someone having a birthday on Easter, Halloween, or 4th of July. The only “holiday connections” are the ones you allow to intrude.

Kelly M. – My son’s birthday is a little less than 3 weeks after Christmas. We celebrate his half birthday in July. We tell him happy birthday on his actual birthday but save the cake and gifts for the half birthday. It’s great because then you can get summer gifts for playing outdoors or have a pool party.

Janet A. – My kids’ biological dad was born on Christmas day. We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve and his birthday on Christmas.

Emily E. – My daughter’s birthday is on Dec. 22. We let her celebrate her birthday any time during the year. On her actual birthday we do have cake and ice cream but on party plates, not Christmas plates.

Niki C. – My mom is the 23rd and my sister’s is the 26th- both are a bit overlooked- although, I would say my sister’s is more. I’ve always felt badly about it. THEN I had my little Brooklyn on the 30th and I NEVER want her to feel overlooked. She’s still young- but I try to tell her how extra special she is because her birthday is so close to Jesus’ Birthday- and I make sure her day is completely her day and not a run-on from Christmas.

Kathryn F. – My daughter Jemma’s birthday is on the 17th. We always make sure to have birthday plates, birthday wrapping paper and the like. We have done Christmasy type things but it has been an experience for her. Last year for her birthday we went to see a huge light festival about two hours away and then drove another hour and went on a sleigh ride at night. So yes, some of the things are sort of Christmasy but we talk about how it’s for her birthday experience.

Do you have a December birthday in your family?  Share your traditions with us! 

 

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Judging by this hilarious video that just went viral, I am not the only one who completely loses their cool about the cleanliness of his or her home before company arrives.  My favorite lines from this video are, “Hurry… if you haven’t made your bed, throw it away, it’s too late to make it now.  Company is coming.  Get rid of the couches, we can’t let people know we SIIIITTT!!!  The chairs need to be pushed in.  There cannot be any sign of living in this house.”

I’d be really interested in meeting the person who has never overreacted like this just minutes before the doorbell rings.  Is it actually possible to have your home pristine and company ready at all times, especially if you have kids and/or pets?  Considering the popularity of this video, I’m guessing no. But I have been making more of an effort the last couple months to keep my home a bit tidier so that I could actually enjoy these busy holiday months and not fret if someone unexpectedly pops by.  And really, who wants to be running around like a chicken with her head cut off the entire week before company arrives?

I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite cleaning tips. Hopefully you can put some of these hacks in motion, and get the work done in time to enjoy a clean and relaxing holiday.

Get Rid of the Excess- You’re really going to want to make this your first priority. If you don’t throw away or donate the items in your house that are no longer serving a purpose, you will be caught in a perpetual loop of cleaning, caring for, and moving these items.  This is a massive waste of time and energy.  Getting rid of the those things you no longer need will free up emotional and physical space.

Have Your Supplies Ready and Accessible- Whatever your favorite tools and supplies for cleaning, be sure to have them gathered and ready to use.  Who wants to waste time tracking down the glass cleaner that you left in the laundry room in the basement, when you’re ready to clean the bathroom mirror upstairs?  The best way to solve this problem is to invest in a sturdy cleaning caddy with a strong handle.  You can carry the caddy with all the supplies you will need from room to room as you are working your way through the house. Another option is to keep caddies under each sink (with childproofing locks, of course) with all the supplies needed to clean those specific rooms.

Sit Down and Watch an Episode of “Hoarding-Buried Alive.” 

I’m only half-joking on this one.  This show produces magical motivating properties.  I think it might actually be scientifically impossible to watch an episode and not feel an undeniable urge to get up and start cleaning.

 Do Another Round of Purging  Now that you’ve watched that episode of Hoarders- go ahead and do a double take on your belongings.  Chances are, your home is filled with items you no longer use.  Go through each room with especially critical eyes.  Ask yourself, “Do I still need this?  Do I even like it?  Do I have items that could serve more than one purpose?  Does any of this stuff frustrate me?  Do I have things that make me sad or that weigh me down?”  I have learned from my years as a professional house cleaner that most people have actually come to resent their “stuff.”  Most of the emotional attachments we have to things aren’t even positive.  Do you still have all those ticket stubs from the concerts you went to with your ex?  Does it really make you happy to see that box in your closet every day when you’re getting dressed?  How about old bank statements, artwork that doesn’t do anything for you, clothing that doesn’t fit or is outdated.  How about furniture?  Do you enjoy stubbing your toe every day on that love-seat that doesn’t quite fit the space you have it in?  The bottom line is…  

Start From the Top and Work Your Way Down- One of the best things I’ve learned is that you will save yourself a lot of trouble if you clean each room from the top to the bottom.  You don’t want to wipe down your furniture and baseboards, and sweep and mop your floors, only to get them dirty again when dusting the blinds and ceiling fans. 

Your Vacuum is your Very Best Cleaning Tool- I use my vacuum as my primary duster.  It’s so much easier to use the wand from my vacuum to dust because it actually traps the dirt instead of dispersing it into the air.  I also use the wand with the brush attachment to clean along my baseboards, ceiling fans, blinds, etc.  Before wiping down bathroom counters, you can use the vacuum wand to suck up hair (especially if you have a man that shaves and leaves behind all those tiny hairs) and even bits of dried toothpaste.  This little trick will save you so much time and elbow grease.  When you’re cleaning- just make it a rule to have your vacuum with you at all times.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is your Second Best Cleaning Tool- Do I really need to say more on this one?  We’ve all used them.  We all love them.

Put Things Where They Belong Right Away- I grew up in a home where we had baskets of stuff every where.  It was my mom’s way of keeping clutter at bay.  If something was out of place in the living room, she would throw it in a basket at the bottom of the stairs.  Eventually these baskets would fill up and become a huge headache to empty because the contents were so random.  Save yourself the trouble of “Clutter Baskets” or piles, or drawers, or closets…and just put the item where it belongs the first time you touch it.  If it’s trash- throw it away.  If it’s a document that needs to be filed…file it.  If it’s laundry, either launder it or hang it back up.  Everything in the home should have its own designated place.  If it doesn’t, it’s most likely crap and you can feel justified in getting rid of it.


Keep it real.  Let’s face it…nobody’s house is always clean. So relax and focus on doing what works for you and your family, and forget about how clean so and so’s house was when you went there for that Christmas party two years ago.  What really matters is how you feel each day when you walk in your own home.

Here are a few more awesome tips from some of my friends and family.

  • Wash jeans in cold water with a little vinegar (no detergent).  Hang or lay flat to dry.
  • When putting kids clothes away, roll them up into outfits.  It takes a bit longer, but it makes it so much easier to get the kids dressed in the morning (and easier for their daddy to help them).  If the kids are old enough, they can dress themselves and mom can rest easy knowing they will match.
  • Run a dryer sheet along the baseboards after you’ve cleaned them.  This will keep dust from building up on them.
  • There’s no need to dry clean a down comforter.  Just use a mild soap, and throw clean tennis balls in the dryer to keep the feathers from bunching together.  The blanket will come out fresh, fluffy, and clean.
  • To unclog a drain, pour 1/4 cup baking soda into the drain, and them pour 1/2 cup vinegar.
  • To clean a dirty microwave, place a bowl filled with vinegar and nuk it for a few minutes. The condensation will soften the debris and make it much easier to wipe down.
  • To get blood stains out of clothing, pour hydrogen peroxide on it.
  • If you have a habit of not finishing your diet cokes, pour what is left around the brim of your toilet bowl and let sit for an hour and then flush.  The corrosive acid will break down any stains.  This might also help you break your soda habit.  Yuck!
  • Empty your vacuum canister often to help with the suction.
  • Go through your closet twice a year and donate what you haven’t worn in the past six months.  Then turn all your hangers the wrong way.  When you wear something, turn the hanger the correct way.  This will allow you to see which garments you have not worn in the past six months.
  • Organize your closet into groupings of tank tops, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, and long sleeves.  This will help you find what you’re looking for much faster.
  • Before Christmas and Birthdays, go through your children’s toys.  If they don’t play with them or if there are missing pieces, donate or toss them.
  • Hang a magnetic board to the wall in your bathroom.  Put magnets on the back of your make-up, brushes, eye liner, etc. and hang them.  This frees up counter space and saves you time.
  • Put a shoe organizer inside your garage or closet door for hats and gloves.  It would also be a great idea to put one in the back of your car for wipes, diapers, umbrella, snacks, etc.
  • Keep a plastic cereal container in your car lined with disposable shopping bags.  When you stop at a gas station, you just toss the trash bag and line the container with a new bag.
  • Always put extra trash bags in the bottom of the trash can so when you take the trash out you have a clean bag ready to go.
  • If water minerals make the tub look funky, sprinkle a little powdered dishwasher detergent and use a scrub brush.  This will cut down on elbow grease.
  • Almost anything can be safely cleaned with baking soda, vinegar, or blue Dawn dishsoap.
  • Use newspaper to clean mirrors and windows with no streaks or fuzz left behind.
  • Teach your kids to clean!  When they’re toddlers, they want to help, but it can often be frustrating when you can do it faster yourself.  However, if you accept what they CAN do and continue to show (trying not to criticize or redo), they do get better and their help will become very beneficial.
  • Wrap Christmas presents as you get them.
  • Color code your cups or glasses for each child.  This will cut down on dishes.  This also works with towels.
  • Clean, chop, and bag your produce the day you bring them home so they are ready to eat throughout the week.
  • Rethink storage furniture.  Almost anything can be multi-functional if you are creative enough.
  • Use baby oil on stainless appliances after you clean them to leave them shiny.
  • Make your own wood polish out of olive oil and lemon juice.  Rub it on with a clean sock, and then buff with a second clean sock.
  • Throw a few ice cubes and a wrinkled shirt in the dryer for 10 minutes…ironing done.
  • Toss citrus wedges in the garbage disposal to keep it smelling fresh.
  • Keep a magic eraser in the shower and use it to wipe away the soap scum every day after showering.  Bonus…Naked housework! 


I hope you all have a very healthy, happy, and clean Thanksgiving! 

Thanks for the input, Shannon Foote, Christy Parr, Amanda Malnar, Tricia Schroeder, Janette Coleman, Meghan Harrop, Melissa Smith, and Ali Griffith.

By Janet Schlosser @ forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com