Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cleanin' it Old School

So, this mama has been making her own household cleaners for about the last two years.  So far, I've made everything from detergent to hardwood floor cleaner.  I am hugely impressed with how well the old school cleaners work.  Why did we every stray away from the old stand-bys like Borax, vinegar, and peroxide???

In the process mixing my magical potions I've saved loads of money, got our laundry and home cleaner than ever, and kept those nasty and unnecessary chemicals out of our home.  It's cheaper and safer...a no-brainer!

Let me share two of my absolute favorites with you, but before we get started here's what you'll need:

2 Spray bottles (I scored mine at the Dollar Tree)
White Vinegar
Dawn soap (or whatever dish soap is your favorite)

DIH All Purpose Cleaner (Windows, too):

1/4 c. White Vinegar
1 c. water (I prefer warm water to help blend the soap)
2 tsp./squirts of soap

Blend these three simple ingredients in a spray bottle and clean everything from your windows to your counter tops.  It works like a dream!

DIH Anti-bacterial Cleaner:

3/4 c.  Peroxide (in the brown bottle)
1/2 c. water (I prefer warm water to blend the soap)
2 tsp./squirts of soap

Again, blend these three ingredients in a spray bottle, add a cute label and get to work.  I love to use it on door knobs, the counters after working with raw meat, and the bathroom (from floor to ceiling).  Basically, anywhere there could be creepy, crawly germs...and with three boys they are everywhere!

Hint, hint...the peroxide cleaner also works great cleaning carpet stains.  Our carpets are cream colored and it cleans tough spots with ease.  As with any cleaner, test a small area first.

;) Happy Cleaning

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Much Needed Front Door Fix-Me-Up

The boys and I have spent countless hours in the front yard this summer. While gazing at the house I quickly realized the front of the house was looking a bit blah and ordinary.  We've done our fair share of landscaping since moving in three years ago and I'm content on the state of the yard (at least for now, anyways).  We also added two black rocking chairs to the front porch, but still it needed more.  So, one fine afternoon while the boys were wreaking havoc frolicking in the yard I decided it was high time for a front door fix-me-up.

Step 1:

Luckily, we'd changed out the hardware last year when we found an oil rubbed bronze lock set on clearance at Home Depot (girlfriend can't resist a bargain!!!).  The kick plate was looking tired and worn, so that would be my first area to tackle.  I carefully taped around the edges and tucked a drop cloth under the door and began spraying.  I had just enough Rustoleum oil rubbed bronze spray paint left over from our ceiling fan re-do to complete the job.  Now it looks fresh and new without the hassle or cost of replacing.

Step 2:

This door was in desperate need of some COLOR!  My fav color just happens to be, purple it is!  Now, I knew I wasn't able to go with a true purple.  I'd quickly become the talk of the neighborhood.  So, my thoughts were to go with a dustier version.  Unfortunately, I'd come back from Home Depot with a failed attempt at dusty purple.  I waste nothing so I quickly referred to my stash of house paint and began mixing like a mad scientist until I had concocted the perfect color for our front door. 

Some taping and a couple of coats of "Perfect Purple" later and...Ta-Da!

This was a super quick project and it proved to be exactly what the house needed.  It freshened it up and added just the necessary pop of color to the front of the house.

A tutorial will follow to show you how to make that adorable and inexpensive coffee filter wreath you see pictured above.

;) Ta-Ta

Burlap Decor

So, let's chat about how much I LOVE burlap.  Really, I do!  It's inexpensive, makes a great canvas, and it's fairly easy to work with.

I’ve been using it for all sorts of projects since I found an abundance of it in a dear friend’s basement. She had used it on the tables at her daughter’s outdoor birthday party this past fall. It looked fabulous and fit right in amongst the pumpkins, apples, and mums.
Since bringing it home I’ve used it for a multitude of projects along with a Sharpie marker.  Yes, it may seem like an unlikely duo, but I’ve been really pleased with the outcome.  It's quick and easy and there is zero drying time.

I really like all the monogrammed items I’ve seen adorning walls, clothes, and even cars. So, with that being said, I decided there was a wall in my dining room that needed some flare. Armed with my burlap, Sharpie, and an inexpensive picture frame I came up with this:


Project #2 was inspired by a quote I'd seen and fell in love. with.  It’s basically the same project as above, but instead of framing the burlap behind glass I mounted it (using basic white glue) onto the insert of a picture frame.  After allowing the glue to dry I went to work writing the quote on the burlap using my trusty Sharpie marker. It’s now found a home on our kitchen wall.

My third project was a pillow case with our last initial.  I took an old throw pillow that we were no longer using and wrapped it in burlap (Shhhh… here’s a little secret, I don’t sew.  So, I use hot glue…It’ll do!).  I cut two pieces burlap the size of the pillow and glued three of the four sides.  Next, I flipped it inside out and inserted a piece of cardboard so I'd have a super flat surface.  My next step was to grab my Sharpie and write our initial.  When I was pleased with the outcome I inserted the pillow and glued the fourth side.  Be sure to fold the edges in before gluing.
Here's the final product:

Super cute, right???  I happen to think so.

My next attempt will be one of those cutesy burlap wreaths.  Tutorial to come!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kids Coat Rack Made From $10 Bookshelf

Hello, lovelies!  We all get to the point with our kids where it's like 'okay, it's time that they start doing some things for themselves'.  But, what do I have them do that will teach responsibility but will not make me feel like they're now so independent that next week they'll be driving off to college?  Hmmmm..... 

When beginning a project I always try to think of problem areas in the house (um, that's pretty much every square foot!!), then once determined, the next step is to find something that we already own and repurpose for the new project.  I'm thinking, okay, school is going to be starting soon, what problems will arise?  The first thing we do when we walk in the house is take off our shoes and jackets. 

The boys need to learn a bit of responsibility + a mess of shoes and jackets = *ding, ding, ding*   KIDS COAT RACK.

We've had this bookshelf that I bought from a yard sale for $10.  It was great because a ton of books were held on it, but to my little guys it wasn't a book shelf.  It was a game shelf.  I don't mean games were stored on it.  What I mean is it became a game for them to take EVERY SINGLE BOOK OFF THE SHELVES at least three times a day.  Well, game shelf no more...come with me, you're my next repurposing project!

Next, I picked a Valspar paint that was a really cute robin's egg blue and mixed up some homemade chalk paint.  (Recipe for homemade chalk paint will come in a later post.)  After adding two coats of paint and two $2.00 hooks from Lowe's, "the big boy store" as we call it in our house, check out the finished product!!
Isn't it so cute and practical?!  We've got hooks for jackets and book bags, a shelf for bike helmets, and bins for shoes.  The best part is the total cost was $14.  Can't get much better than that!

Baby Steps to Organization...

So, Emily approached me and said to start taking pictures of "messy" spots. *Sigh*  Here's the thing, I'm pretty sure the majority of rooms, closets, cabinets, etc. in my home are "messy."  It's a problem, but I am vowing here and now to do something about it...
I WILL take baby steps towards organizing my world.

Here is baby step #1


This is a catch-all cabinet in my kitchen.  It sadly contains a little of this and a lot of that. 
I gutted it and gave the shelves a quick cleaning, which they desperately needed.  There wasn't much to trash or store elsewhere, so I went to work putting it all back in, but more sensibly this time.  With the help of a small sized green bin I was able to store our first-aid supplies (which I like to stash  downstairs for "emergencies").  I also rearranged the top two shelves, spices and baking supplies.  And 10 minutes later...


Granted, it's not a huge change, but it's the little things that make a difference.  I figure if I take small steps like this I'll be one organized mama in no time, right?!?!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Ongoing Saga of Kitchen Container Lids is Over

Hello, lovelies!  Last week I was so annoyed with digging through a huge drawer to find a small lid that I needed.  In the middle of searching, I went a little "Mommy Dearest" on the lids and furiously pulled all of them out of the drawer and tossed (more like threw) them on my counter.  My kids were watching "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" and I just happened to hear the little jingle.... "When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath, and count to four".  So, I'm like, ugh....this totally should be an Oprah's AHA, I listened to Daniel Tiger's mom and counted to four! I really this crazy that I'm taking advice from a cartoon character?  Evidently, yes.

So, where to begin.... I organized all of the lids in piles according to size.  Then, ....cue Oprah....the AHA angels sang.... and I found a storage container that was free from a yard sale with some books I purchased.  It was going to be PERFECT!  With about ten rounds of antibacterial cleansing wipes the bin looked shiny and new. 

From that point I stood the lids up in the bin, smallest to largest, and voila, an organized lid bin!!!

Sometimes it's crazy how long it takes to figure out things that should be so easy.  What easy solutions have you thought of for your home?  Please share, we'd love to learn!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Intro to our Insanely REAL Lives

Hello, lovelies!  Thank you so much for taking time out of your lives to read about ours in Real House Life.  My friend, Elise, and I decided to begin this blog because we are masters of everything about our homes.  (Insert HEAVY sarcasm here!)  Truthfully, we both have crazy busy lives, are on tight budgets, love DIHing (which, for the record, as invented by Elise.....ugh, I really want to take credit for that.  DIH is an acronym for Do-It-Herself.  Do you love it?!!!  I DO!!!)  Okay, what was I rambling about?  Oh, yes, our lives.  Both of us want perfect Martha Stewart houses, family dinners and play time with our kids that look like a Norman Rockwell painting, and meals on our tables that would lead you to believe we studied at the Culinary Institute of America.  But, back to reality.  Like most of you, we don't have the funds, time, concentration level necessary, did I mention funds?  That is where our mission in the blog world begins.  

Real House Life will focus on bringing you the most inexpensive, yet incredibly beautiful DIH projects, meals that can feed a family of five with $10 or less (seriously), and daily activities to do with your infants and toddlers that DO NOT INCLUDE TECHNOLOGY.  If that's not cool enough, we will also be hosting a weekly link party so that all of YOU can share your tips, recipes, DIH projects, and anything else "House Life" related.
  Thrilled isn't even the word that accurately describes how excited we are about our little piece of blog pie.  We hope you enjoy, and we love you for visiting!