Monday, February 28, 2011

Homemakers challenge 2 The Bedroom

It's so funny that this would be this weeks challenge (check out - ), because I just recently (finally) went through and deep cleaned my bedroom! The above picture is of my bedroom now. It is the after picture. It is my only picture. So, instead of a before and after, I will describe to you my bedroom in it's "before" state.

It used to be when I would clean my house that I would clean high traffic areas first. I used to focus on the downstairs (living room, dining room and kitchen) mainly. Then the bathroom. I have 2 very imaginative kids (who can spend hours playing with their toys) who are under 6. I also have a teenage daughter. You can imagine that by the time I was FINISHED these high traffic areas, I didn't have much time at all to clean any other rooms. And so my bedroom would continue to suffer. I was lucky if I got to make the bed every day. Not only that, but bureaus would get use to store things on top of them. I would change for the day and leave the clothes out (that I changed out of) on the bed, or the bureau - in hopes I'd get to it later (HA). I have hardwood floors which get dusty often. If I didn't make the bed everyday, you can imagine I didn't get to dust often either. It became a mess.

I found a bunch of wonderful (like minded) Christian (homemaker) moms who started blogs and posted THEIR cleaning routines. They all inspire me so much, and so I started following their cleaning routines (tweaking them to fit my life). By the way, you can find these inspiring blogs on the right hand side of my blog!

Anyways, on one of the blogs I was following it had said that "The more empty space in a bedroom, the cozier it feels". I had never thought of it like that before, but I realized that it was SO TRUE! So here's what I did. First of all I put all clothes away. Whatever was clean I hung up. Whatever was dirty - in the laundry hamper it went. Next I went through things that were on top of my bureaus, and night stands. If it didn't serve a purpose in the room, it was out. I reorganized, threw things away and moved things to other rooms (places where it would better serve a purpose). I then dusted and cleaned down those surfaces. Next I dusted out head board and base board of our bed, and the ceiling fan. Next I took all the sheets off the beds (and the pillow cases), and put on all new sheets and pillow cases. And made the beds again (I forgot to mention that my little ones sleep in our rooms in their own special little beds - a Tinkerbell bed and a Toy Story bed). After that was finished I went on to vacuuming the hardwood floor, making sure to get under the bureau and night stands. I cleaned the mirror (and vacuumed behind it). I organized the books on the one nightstand. I cleaned down the inside of the windows and the windowsills. All the while keeping in mind that the more empty spaces there are, the cozier it will feel. Finally I washed all the bed linens and put them away.

Now it has been so easy to tidy up and keep clean! Everyday I put clothes away, make the beds and tidy up anything that may have made its way to the bedroom, that doesn't belong there. Once a week I vacuum and dust (cleaning the mirror too). Once a month I change the bedding. Every few months I plan to wash and wax the hardwood flooring, and clean the windows and windowsills down. And that is how I got my Master bedroom clean, and KEEP IT CLEAN. Peace!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homemade Oreo cookies!

My little ones were home sick today, so I took the opportunity to stay indoors and bake, clean and organize my house! I also got to play with my kiddos! It's funny because I really needed the down time, and God delivered right on time! He is great!!
My oldest daughter asked me if I could get Oreos from the store for her, when I went grocery shopping this week. I said "I'll do even better, I'll MAKE some for you!". So today I took the time to make some homemade Oreo cookies! Here is the recipe below -
They were a success! The kids love them!! And they are not too much work. The only tip I can give is this - when you roll out the dough it says to lightly flour your surface. I had to be a bit liberal with the flour, so it didn't stick on my surface and my rolling pin. Have fun!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Homemakers Challenge #1

On Christin's Blog ( ) she posted a weekly Homemaker's challenge. I decided to take the challenge and this week is week number one! The challenge is to either make a list or schedule for cleaning your house, OR post a schedule if you have one. I do INDEED have a schedule and I am glad to share!
First off I must say, I am a list maker. I thrive on making lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, schedules, packing name it! Every week, starting Sunday I sit down and map out my week. I have a little family planner that I use to map out my cleaning schedules. I also look up recipes and pick a couple meals for the week's menu.
I follow a few cleaning routines, that I have put together, and some weeks add extra items to do. I really like the cleaning schedule on . I take her cleaning routine and customize it. I don't follow her days, I mix it up. I will take one chore or one room per day ON TOP OF my daily chores. Here is this weeks cleaning schedule for me (I'm using my actual cleaning schedule for this week as an example)...

Daily Chores (to be done every day)

Make the beds

Tidy up the house

put away any clothes lying about

wash dishes, the counter tops and the stove top

take out the trash and recycling (as needed)

quick wipe down of the bathroom sink.

try and do one load of laundry


Wipe down the kitchen and bathroom


Shake out the rugs when you vacuum


Mop the hard floors (not hardwood)

Vacuum the furniture


Clean the inside of the windows and mirrors

wash out the trash can

clean the microwave, oven and refrigerator

clean baseboards and mini-blinds

wax hardwood floors and any wood furniture

clean out your pantry

change bedsheets and wash them

twice a year

deep clean wood floors with wood cleaner

flip and rotate your mattress.

Ok...on to my week...chores to do ON TOP OF the items listed above


Clean my bedroom (tidy up bureau tops, sweep/vacuum hardwood floors, clean mirror) Change bedroom trash and put bag back in (tip put a dryer sheet in the bag to add a nice scent to the bedroom. )

Do some baking for the week.


Dust, sweep and vacuum whole house (shake out rugs before hand)

dust baseboards too.

Trash day. Empty trash can and before filling with new bag, throw a dryer sheet in the bottom of the can. Makes it smell good!


Mop the hard floors

Clean the bathroom down (Tip - powdered laundry detergent with a wet sponge works wonderfully to clean the entire bathroom, AND makes it smell so good! Be sure to use one sponge for the sink, counters and bathtub, and another for the toilet). Change the towels.

wash 1 load of towels


Clean the kitchen down (Tip - make a paste with baking soda and water for steel sinks. Put a bowl filled with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vinegar in the microwave. Heat on high for 3 mins. Use a sponge and wipe off any food stains inside the microwave with ease!) Wipe down counters, sink, stove, refrigerator and trash can.


Tidy up kid's bedrooms. Change trash, sweep and vacuum.

Do kids laundry.

I usually do my grocery shopping on Mondays. I will look up 4 recipes for the week (try to make big meals so there are leftovers to stretch your $$ out). From these recipes I make my grocery list. Then I add other things I know we need (ie. toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc). Then Monday I do the grocery shopping and run errands (it saves gas if you can do it all in one day or all at one place). If you can make a weekly menu, you will save yourself a lot of time and money.

Hope this helps! It's always a work in progress and I am always trying to fine tune it. Good luck, and peace to you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Loving what you do

I saw this great post about what it truly means to be a Homemaker today. It was on the blog, Please go check it out!!
She talked about how Homemaking is often viewed - "Over the years, the “picture” of what a homemaker is, or should be, has faded into one of drudgery, where a dull-minded, incapable woman fulfills her endless, boring duties of cleaning toilets, washing dishes, and vacuuming, reaping no rewards or satisfaction. She has a few children, which makes her job even harder, and the best she can hope for is the day they start school. This picture is being constantly promoted, devastating the sanctity of home and any desire to guard and keep it." - Kelly Crawford
I agree with her. It's funny because I have been a Homemaker for 13 years now. When it was all new to me, and I had only 1 child, it was a breeze. I actually enjoyed it! When my daughter was around 5, we finally were able to buy our own house. I was so proud! I deep cleaned the whole house weekly, and really took care of it. But as the years went on, and I had 2 more kids, I found that I TOO fell into this way of viewing homemaking!! I used to say "I gave up my life and career for this." I felt like I was living this boring life of forced manual labor. I loved being home with my kids, that was the good part of it all, But the cleaning, not so much. In fact I would get so frustrated and overwhelmed over the mess and same routine every day.
And then Something happened. Something clicked. It was the week after Christmas. I'll never forget that week. My husband took off work for the whole week. It was cold and snowy outside. We locked ourselves in our nice, warm, cozy house and did NOTHING. I cleaned as needed. I baked and cooked fabulous dinners. I had all the time in the world to soak in my family, to pray and to really take in my surroundings. I was able to think about my life. I was able to let God speak to me. And what God told me is what I felt ALL those years ago! This is where I am MEANT to be! I have always known I was meant to be a Mom. And I always knew I was meant to be here 100% for my kids. Always them first. But God showed me that week that I was MEANT to manage my home. That this is where I belong. This is where I shine!!
I now take that week with me where ever I go, and with whatever I do. I now see my duties in a whole new light! I plan and schedule and have cleaning routines. I live in the moment while I'm cleaning, KNOWING that I am serving my family, and The Lord. I don't look at my daily chores as "A nightmare I relive every single day" (I actually have used that analogy before when speaking to other women about housework). No, I smile when I scrub the floor (and put my best effort into it), I delight at seeing a freshly vacuumed house. I love to smell the wonderful fragrance of a freshly cleaned bathroom. I know that I am serving my family the very best I can, and doing it out of sheer love! That's when Homemaking goes from being the daily grind, to a labor of love!
Maybe you feel lost in your "daily grind". Maybe you need to quiet yourself and listen to God for guidance. Where do you feel you shine? We need to remember that we are to humble ourselves and serve the Lord in everything we do. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men," - Colossians 3:23
Peace Everyone!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mercy House Kenya February Supply Drive and Giveaway

I am doing this, won't you consider doing it as well? "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." Luke 6:38

This was originally was posted on Hallee The Homemaker's site -

Mercy House Kenya February Supply Drive Giveaway

In March of last year, Kirsten Welch of the blog We Are That Family went to Kenya, Africa, with Compassion International to blog about their relief efforts in the slums of Nairobi. Just days after returning home, Kristen read a heartbreaking article by CNN about the large number of backstreet abortions by girls forced into prostitution to feed their families.

While in Kenya she met Maureen, a Compassion International student. Kirsten contacted Maureen and asked if she knew of any relief efforts to help these pregnant girls. Maureen knew of none. Four months later, Maureen contacted Kirsten with a vision God had placed in her heart.

Now they’re opening Mercy House.

As they’re getting funding together and paperwork and doing what they need to do to get everything started, they’re also doing a supply drive. Every month they’re collecting different items. February’s collection drive includes:

•Alcohol pads
•Latex-free gloves-most needed
•Tylenol and Tylenol brand items (cold, allergy, etc)
•Pain relief
•Antibiotic creams like Neosporin
•First Aid Kits
You can mail items to:

The Mercy House
8000 Research Forest Dr., Ste. 115-110
Spring, TX 77382

Here’s where Hallee comes in.

"I cannot tell you the heart I have for African missions. It has always been there, and I know without a doubt that God will have me working there at some point in my life. My soup kitchen work does things to my heart that I cannot explain, but one thing that really stood out to me is that it calmed this cry inside of my soul to be doing something.

I went to We Are That Family’s website to link to some linky and instead stumbled upon the information about Mercy House. The emotions that have overflowed my heart since reading about it last week have been overwhelming. The fact that a need was recognized, then two women of God got together to do something just impresses me and made me wish I could roll up my sleeves and help them.

Then I realized that I could.

They are having a monthly supply drive. While these supply drives are going on, I’m going to offer a giveaway every month.

We are going to donate $100 every month to Mercy House. If you win the giveaway, you can choose an item in Mercy House’s Etsy Shop and the balance of the $100 will be donated directly to them in your name.

This giveaway will end Monday, February 14, 2011, at 5PM EST.

Here is how to enter the giveaway:

1.Blog about the supply drive with specifics about what is being collected that month and include the mailing address. You must link back to this giveaway in your blog about it. The entire point is to get as much word out there about these supply drives as possible. The more people who enter this and blog about it, the more people will read about it. Leave a comment telling me that you did with a link to your post.
2.Post on your Facebook a link to this post. Leave a comment telling me that you did. You can enter every day.
3.Tweet about the supply drive. Include @halleeb so that I am copied on your tweet. Leave a comment telling me that you did. You can enter this way every day.
4.Send supplies. Leave a comment saying that you did. Be ready to have a Delivery Confirmation if you win."

Thanks Hallee!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Giving to the less fortunate

Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

I was thinking this week how I could do a small part to help others out. I was thinking about how I had unwanted items in my house (clothes, books, DVDs, etc). And how we are starting to sell these items (on Ebay, Craig's list, Amazon, etc.). I thought "well, I can't really GIVE these items right to the poor (we do donate to Goodwill..but I was thinking deeper than Goodwill). And then it came to me! I thought "Sell your items and give 100% of the profit to a charity or organization for the hungry, homeless or ill!" Yes, That was a perfect idea! Why didn't I think of that before? It is after all money we weren't counting on. It's extra money, and there are others who need it more than I do.

So my plan is to sell items I no longer want. Sell them anywhere I normally would (online, yard sale, even thrift stores) and then collect the money, and, in one lump sum, give it to Charity.

Do you have unwanted items? What about selling them to help the poor, hungry or homeless (worldwide or local)?? Jesus commands it of us!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Home Finances

I read this great article on this website "The Legacy of Home" ( about the finance of your home. A quote from the article says "Whether the income be small or large, certain or uncertain, the good housewife will keep an accurate account of income and expenditure". She has a list of To-Do's, and I decided to start this financial adventure. Here's the plan...

In a notebook of some sort (or journal) you write down every single cent you spend every single day. You write down the date, description and amount - save your receipts in an envelope too. You should also keep your debit transactions and checks you write out. They say on the site to add up and review your spending and to see if you can improve on this at all for next month.

I've decided to go 1 step further. I want to calculate my spending once in the MIDDLE of the month to see where I'm at. THEN adjust, if it is too high. Maybe in addition it's good to have a spending limit. Maybe you say you don't want to spend over a certain amount for that month. Then check in the middle of the month to see where you are with your limit and budget out the rest of the month. I started today, and have 2 entries for this month so far.

I think this will be a great way to see where my money is going and see if I can spend less. Also, the site say you can involve your children in the process. I have a 13 year old and am thinking about involving her in the process. What a terrific way to learn about finances and budgeting!!

If you try this, please let me know how it goes! I'd love to hear about other people's tricks and tips as well! And check out "The Legacy of Home" too! Peace!