Tips On Cleaning a Large House

Okay, if your house  is considered large–by large, I mean 2000 sq ft or more, bless your heart. I’m  with you. I know how difficult it is to clean such a massive house.

When we originally decided to move from our 2000 sq ft house ,  I didn’t  necessarily want a huge house, but I wanted something more updated with an open floor plan in my preferred school district. My husband on the other hand,  was like… either we go big or not at all. Lol. Overall, I’d like to think I am a pretty clean and organized person, but I was already having a hard time keeping up with our previous home when kids came in the picture, in terms of cleaning.

20180612_101426Now here I am with a 3600 sq ft house! It is beautiful, but the cleaning, oh boy…the cleaning !

I would love nothing more than to have a housekeeper to help me keep up but it is not an option right now. So I’m sharing my tips on how  I’ve been able to keep up so far and hopefully this helps someone else:

1. Use Only Necessary Space

My first and most  important tip is to try to minimize using all the space/rooms in your home . Don’t  use all the bathrooms if you don’t have to. We have 4 but mainly use 2 of them—less cleaning for me. If you have two living  rooms, spend most of the time in one and keep the other one neat so you don’t have to clean it all the time.

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2. Let the Kids Help

Now that my toddler is old enough to pick up after himself. After he is done playing, I normally have him pick up all his toys every night before our bedtime routine.  Picking up after your kids can be a hassle so try to include them in this process.  The sooner they learn how to pick up after themselves, the better off you are.

3. Mop As You Go

Mop at least once a week but aim to mop the most used areas as you go. For example ,  the kitchen and breakfast area usually get pretty dirty quickly, so I try to mop those areas more often . I currently do not like the mop I’m using and am looking for something less time consuming. If you have children, I know how difficult it is to keep the floors clean. The best time for me to mop is after I put them to bed.

4. Clean In Sections

Do not try to clean the entire house in one day. You will get yourself  exhausted .  Have a focus area . For example: Saturdays I usually clean the bathrooms. And Sundays I will dust off and clean the bedrooms or vice versa . As far as the kitchen, dishes, and living room go, I TRY to keep them clean daily so that I don’t  have a pile of things to clean all at once. Same goes with the cabinets and appliances . I clean as I go.

I do a deep cleaning once a month.

As far as laundry goes, it is my least favorite chore. I don’t mind the washing part (I hate it honestly) but folding……even worse. How do you stay organized with laundry?

This is just a brief overview  of what I currently do to keep up , but I’m  still figuring things out.  I have also become keen to this DIY cleaning product I got from Pinterest: baking soda, white vinegar, dawn soap, and lemon juice : voilà- the perfect cleaning product . It works on my oven, stainless steel appliances, floors, you name it!

If you have a unique  technique of cleaning your massive house ,  drop a comment.

Happiest At Home

Sometimes I overhear conversations of other parents with well planned out trips and activities and busy weekends planned out for the rest of the year filled with fun and I can’t help but feel as if our lives must not be that exciting.
I was just telling the hubz that I think we are totally becoming homebodies.
But… I was not always one. Before  motherhood, I was always adventurous and spontaneous, so staying home most of the time is not something  I always loved or imagined I’d be doing someday. I always wanted to be on the go and discover what’s “out there.”

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According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Homebody” is: (Noun), a person who enjoys the warmth and simple pleasures of being at home. 

​Sunday vibes: football. energized toddler. sleeping baby. books. coffee. home.

My husband is mostly a homebody so when we got married we had to compromise: we’d alternate between staying home and going out on weekends.
Fast forward almost four years and two kids later, we are totally homebodies. Lately, we seem to spend more weekends at home with the family. Maybe it’s temporary because we still have small kids and are still getting settled into our new home. We’ll eventually go out more and explore different activities, right?

Well, for now, we’re totally homebodies, so I’m learning to enjoy the season.  Before we know it, the kids will get older and they’ll be  demanding we do activities  every weekend and we’ll  be wishing we could stay home more.

My point is,

Learn to enjoy every season.

My home is my comfort zone. I’m happiest  at home. If your home does not give you that  feeling, perhaps invest in making your home feel more like home.

What Makes a Home?

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

– Maya Angelou

                                                   
Moving can definitely be bittersweet. I honestly did not feel sad at all at first. it was all joy, peace, and happiness. I didn’t really miss the old house until today.  I don’t miss it in a “I want to move back” kind of way, but I just had some fond memories, and I miss the sense of familiarity.

Last night, we returned from Dallas and it was really late as my husband was driving us home. I was in and out of my sleep. I was not feeling well and just wanted to get home. At one point, I opened my eyes to try to make out where we were, but I was so confused. I thought my husband got lost! But the thing is, my mind was looking for familiarity of our old neighborhood. In my mind, I was picturing the old house when I was thinking, “Can’t wait to get home.” I was physically and mentally exhausted. I wanted my bed.

And then I remembered. That is not our home anymore. For a second, I got really sad. It hit me then. We have a new home.

 

I suppose it takes time for a new home to really feel like home–down to your soul when you are that tired. It does feel like home, but it has not yet registered with my soul apparently.

Home is the heart of life… Home is where we feel at ease, where we belong, where we can create surroundings that reflect our tastes and pleasures… Making a home is a form of creativity open to everyone.

– Terence Conran

I have to remind myself that it takes time. There is a difference between a home and a house. A house is not necessarily a home. What makes a home?

Home is where you can be yourself. Home is our starting point. Most of our first experiences happen at home. First laugh. First steps. First words. In our homes we build relationships and skills that will deeply affect us for the rest of our lives. Home is the beginning; it is where we start (or re-start.)

– Apartment Therapy

 

I love our new home. But I am sad about saying goodbye to the old one. I didn’t realize I would be…until now.

Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

                                          -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

 

How I Put My Home Coffee Bar Together And What’s In My Coffee

Once you wake up and smell the coffee, it’s hard to go back to sleep.

-Fran Drescher

 

Let’s talk about something I love so very much: COFFEE.

Today I’m going to share my Coffee Bar/Station and give you details on how it came to be. Also, I will share how I make the best espresso right from my home.

So, I knew I wanted a coffee bar in our new home, but I originally wanted it near an empty wall near the breakfast room /dining table. I had it all wrong in my head. I saw some inspiration on Pinterest, and was going to do something similar to:

 

These are really cute home coffee bars.  I told hubby what I wanted and even showed him pics. Let’s just say he wasn’t feeling it. We went back and forth for a while, and I was trying to convince him. He was not having it. The area/wall I originally wanted to do my small coffee bar at was a NO for him. Then he suggested the “Butler’s Pantry” area.

My first response was “NO.” I was so hung up on my original idea–until it hit me. All this time, I had the perfect place to create the best coffee bar/station ever.  I can’t believe I almost settled for just a wall!?!? So I immediately got to work! Good thing is that I already had everything. I just didn’t know when/how I would set it up. But when I found the perfect spot, there was no turning back.

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I bought these items over a period of time. I did not go on some sort of Coffee Items Shopping Spree. All of these were purchased at different stores such as Ross Dress For Less, HomeGoods, Kirkland’s, and Hobby Lobby.

Now… what is in my COFFEE? Which coffee do I prefer? I used to drink Lavazza until I discovered Dallmayr Espresso Monaco, then I discovered Cafe Bustelo Ground Espresso. I prefer Dallmayr Espresso Monaco out of the three.

I tried it for the first time two years ago. My sister-in-law bought it for me from HomeGoods  for my birthday and I was hooked! It is European coffee from Germany. It is the best espresso I’ve had. Better than Illy and all those popular brands.

It has such a perfect smooth taste for espressos. It is not bitter or too strong. Just perfect. I drink Bustelo when I run out –like now.

I love cappuccinos, but my usual everyday coffee is a mocha, so I use Torani Chocolate Sauce and stir it with one spoon of sugar before pouring the coffee.  I am a Bialetti Moka Pot fan. Go Italy!  I used to have a Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine that I purchased for $39, but my espressos were never hot enough and it did not taste as good as it does with the Moka pot. I use a hand frother or my electric frother milk warmer for frothy milk/whip cream. I just use whole milk, if you’re wondering.   Starbucks what?

One day, I’d like to own a “real” espresso machine, but this works for now! People  are always impressed and shocked at how good my espressos taste.

 

So, there you have it: My coffee bar and what’s in my coffee! Let’s hear it, coffee lovers, what’s in your coffee? Do you have an aspiring coffee bar?

 

How I Keep My Living Room Neat and Tidy With Kids

Keeping a living room neat and tidy can  be a challenge if you have kids, especially toddlers.

For the most part, my living room and kitchen are kept  very clean throughout the day. They may get messy a bit but I always clean as I go. And storage such as baskets, totes and etc have become a necessity  for a clean house in general.

Although we have a playroom upstairs, we mostly remain downstairs. I allow my 2 year-old to have a few toys downstairs and the rest are in a bigger basket upstairs. The more toys he brings downstairs the more mess he will make so I let him have whatever will fit in the basket, plus his Legos  bag.

My  toddler has gotten to the stage where he understands  when I tell him to “pick  up” his toys and put them in the basket. I got this basket on sale from HomeGoods for $7.

So, I no longer have to pick up after him.  Even when he makes a mess, if I ask him to clean up, he will do it. Sometimes I may have to say it several times, but eventually he picks up everything  and puts them either in the basket or if it’s  trash and he’s unsure , he’ll ask me what to do and I will  tell him to put it in the kitchen trash.

For my infant, I store all of his diapers, wipes, change of clothes,  bibs,  Vaseline or whatever else I will  need for the day,  in a storage basket I got  from HomeGoods for $24.

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It is stylish and goes with my living room Décor.   I also put  stuff in there for my toddler.  This saves me from taking many  back and forth trips upstairs . Every night, I take out the dirty clothes and put them in the laundry room on my way up. When we come downstairs the next morning, I fill it back up with clean clothes and more diapers.

So there you have it! This is how I keep my living room clean and looking like a model home. Haha.

I hope this is helpful.  Please share and comment below your tips on how you stay organized! Thanks for reading!

Tips on House Hunting & Finding Your Home

Don’t be fooled by what you see on shows such as House Hunters. They definitely make it look easy!

The entire home buying process is very long and tedious, but I kind of knew that going in so I expected much worse than what we experienced. I’m getting questions from people asking if our decision to move was a sudden decision because not long ago, I was talking about painting my white cabinets and my kitchen renovation.

No. It was not sudden. Matter of fact, this is something we’d been planning for the past year and a half or so. It was put on a brief hold at one point, but moving was always in the back of our minds.

So what was wrong with the first home? It’s not so much about what was “wrong” with it. It was a nice starter, cozy home with beautiful memories I will forever hold on to.  We painted walls together and renovated our kitchen cabinets and etc, but deep down I always knew that it was not the home I wanted our children to grow up in for many reasons, but mainly, because of the school district.  Those are things you do not think much about before having kids, but once children are in the picture, these things become a priority. So I wanted a new home in a specific school district. Also, there were many things here and there that I wanted to change or renovate that made more sense if we just moved and “upgraded.”

Many other reasons to add to the list that I will not go into details, but long story short, we decided that if we moved, the house had to be it-The Forever Home. I wanted something move in ready that did not need much work. We had a very specific list, and I’m glad to say that we checked off everything on that list and then some.

If you are in the process of buying a new home, here are a few tips,  from my experience, that I want to share with you:

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  1. Talk to a Loan Officer

    Talking to one doesn’t mean that you’re ready to buy. It simply means that you are getting yourself ready to buy! Before we started working with a LO, we were pretty much doing things ourselves and paying off collection bills that were actually hurting us, for example. The LO was able to tell us what to do to bring our credit scores up to where they should be. She gave us a long list, and we tackled each task. And once we made an offer on our home, we closed within three weeks! Top Notch. If you’re in AZ, Cathy Byrd  of Prime Lending is the one for you! So yeah, let me be specific, don’t work with any Loan Officer, work with one who knows her stuff.

  2. Give yourself time.

    Don’t be in such a hurry. There was a time last year around November, where I saw a listing of a home less than two miles from our old house. The house was beautiful and the kitchen was updated and everything. I fell in love instantly and sort of (hehe) started pressuring hubby about it. It was not the right time or the right house. God knew! I’m so glad that my husband shut down that idea. It was hard to let go though. I had to stop myself from driving by the house a few times. Especially when I saw that it was SOLD. Eventually, I let go.

  3. Get a “Go Getter Realtor.”

    Not a Lazy Realtor or a Peer Pressure Realtor. The first realtor we were considering working with–boy, was she full of peer pressure. I remember telling her that we would be in touch within a couple of days to let her know whether or not we wanted to proceed with the house I was jut referring above to in (2), but the very next morning, she was already asking about our final decision etc. She often called me and emailed even though I’d tell her that I’d be in touch. Eventually I never got back to her because she never let me breathe.  Fast forward months later when we were actually ready to buy, our Loan Officer recommended an amazing realtor who was patient, funny, and a hard worker! If you’re in AZ, I recommend Kim  Drogosz of Coldwell Banker.

  4. Make a list.

    Make a list of everything you want in your new home and label them as most important to least important.  That really helped out when we had to make a final decision between three homes.

  5. When you see it, you’ll know it.

    Don’t settle, but at the same time be realistic! On one busy and hot Arizona summer day, I believe it was 104 degrees, we had looked at over six homes that day (with an infant), and eight the previous weekend. I was really disappointed because I had not had that feeling. You know? The feeling you’re supposed to get when you walk into your Dream (future) Home. Then finally… when we walked into what is now our current home, I felt it instantly. I didn’t have to look at the rest of the home, which I eventually did, but my point is that from the moment we walked in, I knew this was it….

  6. Your first home, doesn’t have to be your  Dream Home or Forever Home.

    You may live in it for three years or even ten years before you’re ready for The Home, and that’s okay. Everyone is different. So don’t compare your process to someone else’s, no matter how hard that can be sometimes.

There you have it, ladies and gents! I hope this list will be useful to those in the process of buying a new home. I know things are different in every state, but I believe most of this could apply to anyone.

This post was republished on The Huffington Post . Read here: 

Aside

Update: The Dream Home

So…

It’s been a while! I know, I know! It’s been a bit hectic on my end. We ended up moving to our dream home and so everything has been all over the place.

I’ve been busy decorating. Noticed I said decorating and not unpacking. Let’s just say the packing and unpacking is my least favorite part. Thus, the reason I’m going to show you a sneak peak of some before and after shots. As you all know, I LOVE home decor, and having an empty house to decorate makes me really really happy!

So enjoy some before and after photos.  Note that I’m still working on these lovely spaces so nothing is final yet!

 

 

more updates coming soon!

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Love Your Home

“There is divine purpose in caring for our homes and wanting them to be places of loveliness and peace. Our homes won’t ever be perfect, but we certainly can enjoy the process of creating beauty, and we can appreciate the lessons we learn along the way.” –The Inspired Room.

Love your home. Appreciate what you have. And make it yours.

“Home is a reflection of ourselves. If we always need bigger, larger, more,  perhaps we  have lost sight of what really creates the good life or happy home.”

It’s so easy to get caught up in the game of comparison. In a culture where people always want more and bigger, don’t fall into the trap of not being content with what you have.

There is someone out there who would love to have your home, McMansion or not–love the home you have; not the home you have not.

White Kitchen Remodel (Without Removing the Doors)

 

This is what our kitchen looked like before:

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Want to paint my cabinets to white.

It all started last year in August. I told my husband I wanted to paint the kitchen cabinets white and he looked at me like I was crazy. Once I showed him pictures of beautiful kitchens that were transformed into white kitchens, he was on board. We looked at several before and after photos and read many blogs on how to successfully paint kitchen cabinets white. Some were very lengthy and others were just what we wanted.

After all the research, we decided that we were not going to remove the doors. Most blogs highly request removing the doors and sanding. Those are two steps we skipped, and I will explain why.

So we started in November 2015.  We chose to go with Behr Polar White for the cabinets and Behr Linen White for the walls ( we also painted the kitchen walls and living room.)

We did not remove the doors because the hinges on our cabinets are another level of complicated. I was a firm believer in removing the doors, but my husband believed that we could successfully do it without. So I read a blog post about how to paint the cabinets without removing the doors.

Next, we did not sand because we used a primer that did not require sanding. We used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1 2 3. Everything was purchased at Home Depot. We used rollers as well as the small brushes.

Now let me make it clear that this process started in November. We started with the cabinets under the kitchen sink to see how it looked first.

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Then life got in the way  and it was holiday season, so our DIY project was placed on hold. After several months, we finally decided to finish everything before baby arrives. We resumed in March. By this time, I was 9 months pregnant, so I mostly primed, and my husband painted everything. Of course, not removing the doors makes it more difficult and lengthy.

We primed all the cabinets. Next day, we did coat one of one side, and then the day after my husband did the second coating on the rest.

Like I said, I would not recommend this method, but we wanted a shortcut. This is the Cheater’s Guide, and it worked for us! In the end, the cabinets that have been primed and painted (at least 2 coatings) look really great up-close. As pretty as the kitchen looks, the bottom cabinets still need to be painted at least two times.

Now I just look forward to when all of them will be completely finished!

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So now, what’s left on the list is to replace the stove and dishwasher and replace them with Stainless Steel appliances.

I’d also like to update my counter-tops to a light color granite or quartz and have some sort of beautiful backsplash.

So there you have it! Enjoy!

 

 

Neutral Colors Nursery & Decor Inspiration

The nursery is all clean and ready for baby #2. Not that we used it much for the first baby, but I have high hopes for this one! I’m glad I went with neutral colors the first time around!

Walking into this room is so peaceful and simply serene.

The furniture was all purchased from Amazon.com in 2013! So far, these have lasted but I had a changing table that unfortunately fell apart. So we placed the changing table pad/mattress on top of the dresser.

This wall decor was inspired by Pinterest! I highly recommend Pinterest to get ideas. Most of these items were from random stores such as HobbyLobby, Ross Dress for Less, and even the Dollar Tree Store!

As you notice, there is no photos of a crib! We haven’t bought one yet! And plus, the baby will be sleeping in a bassinet or mini crib in our room for the first couple of months because I will be breastfeeding and walking across the hall at night is not so appealing to me!

We are those parents who are just not ready to let go. Have I mentioned that we already have a crib and a toddler in our bedroom? Can you say roommates?! haha! We are planning on transitioning our toddler to his bedroom when he turns two this July!

Anyway, this is it for now!

How I Organized My Pantry

Organizing…organizing…organizing!

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I’ve been wanting to organize my little pantry for quite some time now. Every time I cleaned it, it would go right back to how it was–a hot crazy mess. So I knew that I had to make a change and really organize with baskets and sealed containers.

The only problem with that is that I didn’t want to get those nasty little bugs (weevils) crawling everywhere and in everything.

SOLUTION:

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I did some research and  placing bay leaves in rice, flour, grains, cereal etc..seemed much easier than freezing 50lbs of rice. Everyone swears by it so I’m hopeful that it will work for me. I’ve used the rice since I added the bay leaves, so–no–you won’t taste the flavor of the bay leaves.  Just place one or two leaves in the containers, and voila. I’ve also placed a few on the shelves and floor of pantry.

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Back to the organizing, I was inspired while doing my Pinterest surfing a few weeks ago. So I took my butt to Home Goods a few days after Thanksgiving and they had lots of storage containers for a very good price between $4.99 to $13.99 . I already had a few at home, so I bought more and a few baskets to store other items such as all my breastfeeding bottles and breast-pump parts. I need to make it more neat as well, but I was exhausted.

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So, there you have it. I should have taken before pictures, but I sort of just did it unexpectedly. It took me a few hours, and it was well worth it.

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Don’t Let Your Dreams Cloud Reality

Hello world! I hope you haven’t forgotten all about me. The last time I blogged was about four months ago. Shame on me. Yes, you can say it. It’s okay. I should feel bad. I kept telling The Hubz, “I need to blog. What should I blog about?” But I never actually took the time to do it. Okay enough about my excuses.

We’ve all had that “Dream” that we could barely go a day without thinking about. Or that thing we want so badly that we are working hard daily to “have it.” Well, for me it is my “Dream Home.”

Since last year, I started to tell my husband nonstop about a certain “dream” home that I’ve seen  or how badly I want out of our current home. We even started making plans to move next year.  I wanted a new home so bad that I could taste it. Nothing was going to stop this from happening. We are both working full-time so it HAD to happen. As we started to do more research and prep, the more time I invested in my home search.

I was so deep in that I couldn’t face reality–the truth. If we were going to buy a home now, it would mean more compromise. But I didn’t want to compromise. I wanted everything on my list. But was it the best timing? No. We could have easily continued with the home search, but then I finally decided to face the facts. If we moved next year, I would still need to compromise several things on my “wish list” because the market is at a peak–which would mean that I’d possibly want to move again–years down the road. As hard as it was for me to accept, it simply was not the right time.

Instead, I’ve refocused my energy on redecorating and renovating parts of our house.

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Redecorated the Entryway

I am learning to make my current home feel like a real home until I get to the dream home. It may not be for several years, but I’m content anyhow. It is so easy to look past what we have for what we wish to have. It is so easy to take what we have for granted.

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And I’m even gardening!

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So my friends, yes, you must work hard to make your dreams come true. But don’t let your dreams cloud reality. If you’re in a similar situation, I suggest you learn to love where you are and make it as cozy and inviting as possible.