Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Before he grows out of it…

Reed is almost 2 and will be in a big boy bed soon enough. I know it will be a difficult day for me when we take down the crib and convert his nursery to a little boy’s room. Before all that happens, I thought I would share with you what his “nursery” looks like now. It has more or less stayed the same since he was born. I so enjoyed putting his room together with all the little touches. It was one room that felt more or less “done”. I can’t say that about other rooms…they are always in progress.
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The dresser was Jeff’s growing up so I sanded it down and gave it some color to brighten it up, along with the 2 toy boxes I got unfinished at JoAnn. The little rocking chair was mine when I was little. The dark stained bookcase and shelves came about a year ago when we realized we needed some serious book storage and had some picture frames to display. Still looking for more “momentos” for his shelves.
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I added the ribbon trim to both lamps and added his initial on his crib.
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Even though it’s hard for me to see him grow up so fast, I have lots of ideas for decorating his “big boy” room. Smile

I linked up to a' la mode roomspiration

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making your house guests feel welcome

We tend to have a fair amount of houseguests over a year’s time. Jeff’s family lives out of town and they visit a couple times a year and then various other friends and family come to stay for a night or two. Over the years, I feel like my preparation has evolved and I am constantly tweaking the “accomodations” to make them as enjoyable as possible. My guests often tell me how comfortable their stay was and how special they felt with all the little touches. As a hostess, there is nothing better to hear!
This past weekend we had a long time friend come to stay on Friday night and then my mom on Saturday night since she watched Reed while Jeff & I went out with some friends. I felt like we were a B&B, as soon as the first guest left, I stripped the bed and laundered everything again and freshened everything up for Saturday night’s guest. Whew!
Whenever we are having overnight guests I always try to go the extra mile and make things as comfortable as possible. I try to anticipate any need they may have and want them to feel special.
Here are some tips to accomplish that-
I always clean the guest room extra well and freshly launder all the bedding so it’s fresh and crisp. If the sheets are too wrinkled, I often will do a light press especially on the pillow cases to make them look nice.
On the bed currently, there are sheets, a light blanket and duvet. This way they guest can use as much or little covers to make them comfortable. I love the look of a duvet-it just is so full and lush looking, it makes you want to snuggle in for a nap. I also have 2 sets of pillows, the standard medium firmness bed pillows and 2 down euro pillows which are great for reading in bed.
We have a ceiling fan installed in this room, but in previous homes, I always provided some fan for comfort and noise control.
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There is also a luggage rack for ease of getting into their luggage and I have several nice wood hangers in the closet to hang anything that might wrinkle.
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Gosh, looking at these pictures it confirms that this room is so in need of being painted (that’s already on the fall To Do list) and I am wondering about those drapes. The “taupe” is in the bedding, but on camera they seem to look pinker than they should…
On the bedside table there is a lamp (that is tied to the switch so they don’t have to enter a dark room), clock, carafe I fill with ice water before bed and magazines that the particular guest might enjoy. I also have both wood blinds and drapes that close shut for maximum light control for sleeping in. Plus, this room is at the front of the house which has a south west exposure so there isn’t any bright morning light glaring in.
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I also make sure there is a nightlight in the room and leave the hall sconces on in case they need to find their way overnight.
With the layout of our upstairs, it worked out that the guest room is at the front of the house next to the bathroom whereas our room is at the other end of the hall at the back. It’s nice to allow a little privacy for your guests.
Here is a close up of the battery operated sconces that I leave on. (Good ole QVC flameless candle sconces).  They have a soft glow so the light is not jolting but it helps you see. We love coming up the stairs at night with them on-it gives such a warm cozy feeling to the upper hall and put off enough light we rarely turn the stairway chandelier on. Best of all, they can be set to a timer so they just come on and shut off every day. I am kinda obsessed with battery operated candles these days. We have them all over the house. There are no worries with young children and you can put them anywhere. It’s so nice to walk into a candlelit room but you wouldn’t leave candles burning all over your home. You can also buy rechargeable batteries to use in them.
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This is the view from our bedroom to the end of the hall and to the right is where the guest room is. (Reed’s room is the one with the door closed across from the stairs. He was napping when I took these pictures.)
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I don’t stop making things special in just the guest room. I would love to have a guest en-suite, but guest do have to share the hall bath with Reed. Fortunately, the double-sink countertop is really long so each has their own space. In addition to making the bathroom sparkling, I set out a stack of towels for the guests if they are staying just one night or have the linen closet stocked with all the towels and washcloths they could possibly need. I also bring out an over the door towel bar when we have a house full of guests that are staying for more than a day so everyone has a place to hang their towel.
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Then, I tailor the toiletries for the particular guest in case they forget anything. This picture is for our friend who is a guy, so it’s the basics; women tend to appreciate more lotions and potions to try. There are always cotton balls and q-tips in the canisters.
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In the shower I put a small shampoo and conditioner and a fresh bar of soap!
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And lastly, a nice fluffy bath mat to step out onto after a shower and a generous hook on the back of the door to hang their clothes or jammies while they shower.

I hope these tips help you make your guests feel welcome-I know mine appreciate it!

What type of preparation do you do to get ready for overnight guests?
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Green Item-“Green Stamps”

I was at the post office last week and as I was putting stamps on some mailings, I noticed these on a brochure-
Green Stamps
Now, the stamps themselves aren’t really a green product, but they offer ideas on how to be more Eco and decrease your carbon footprint. They are kinda cute, too. Sure beats the “Bell” stamps. Smile
Have a great weekend. What are your plans? We have a fun weekend planned-a friend we haven’t seen in forever is coming to visit and then out with friends for more of a “date night” on Sat.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weekend Pictures and Basic H-Windows and Mirrors

The rainy weather that was forecasted on Friday night for Saturday and Sunday, held out. We ended up having a pretty nice weekend. We took Reed to the zoo on Saturday and went to a park down by the river in Geneva and then to lunch. I love these kind of weekends! I cherish this family time the three of us have together! Reed is growing up so fast and I love that we are creating such great memories as a family.
Here are some pictures-
The morning of the zoo, Reed having his breakfast while we got ready to go…we don’t let him watch too much tv, but when he does, he sure does LOVE it! Jeff is convinced it’s a Greenway male trait that they all go into a trance when the tv is on.
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waiting for the zoo to open…yes we are now one of those people that is waiting for things to open since we are up so early now.
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This polar bear was awesome. He was putting on quite a show swimming back and forth and flipping around. Reed was mesmerized…
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it was 80’s and humid-the water sprinklers must of felt great!
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Here are some from Father’s day-
Reed checking out the river
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Father and son talk about why you cannot go into the river…
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Dad doing what dads do best to make their kids laugh!
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enjoying the swings
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I have never been good at cleaning windows or mirrors. I would wipe and wipe and wipe, think they are clean and seriously walk by later, and there would be a streak I missed. It’s that kind of cleaning task that makes me dread cleaning. It seems like such a waste of time if it doesn’t look like I cleaned. So, imagine my shock when I tried the window/mirror formula of Basic H and there were no streaks. The glass and mirrors looked better than they ever had!!! Smile I use my new spray bottle with 2 drops, yes, 2 drops of Basic H to 16oz of water and special glass/mirror rag from Shaklee. It costs less than 1 cent to make a gallon of window/mirror cleaner, so for a 16 oz spray bottle, we are talking a fraction of a cent!
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Do you have those pieces of glass that you’ve cleaned and cleaned, but they still just look kind cloudy. I just always thought it was because it was cheap glass. I love to get my home accessories from Home Goods and Target so I can change them out without feeling too guilty,  so I always thought, you get what you pay for. That’s not why the glass was cloudy-it just needed a good cleaner to cut through the film.
Like these glass canisters. I wish I had a before picture-one swipe on these inside and out-made them gleam!
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What about sliding glass doors or front door sidelights where you get your little one’s handprints or your animal’s nose prints? I just couldn’t seem to get a good shot of the glass looking all icky to show you the before. Here are the afters,
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A quick in-between cleaning on polished faucets(when you have a toddler, starting potty training, the faucet gets spotty in no time)
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Can you tell I LOVE this stuff? I know you will too!

Naturally Safe Pic

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tidbits at Sweedish Day and 2nd Basic H Review

If you are looking for beautifully designed totes for shopping and an everyday catchall or pillows to decorate your home and give as gifts-you must check out Tidbits. If you are in the Chicago area, you should check out Geneva’s Sweedish Days. Tidbits (under Desmond Brown Design) is there today thru the 23rd showcasing her designs. She is located nearest to the Hamilton and 2nd St intersection. Hours are Tues/Wed 10-6 and Thurs, 10-4. Here is just a sampling of her pieces. Custom orders are also available.
             For the Tooth Fairy                                Hoot Hoot                               
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How about on a kitchen banquette or tossed on a hard wooden chair at the breakfast table
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Birds and Butterflies
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Pillow Pairs
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Great Gifts too
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For more of Tidbits’ designs-go here.

The 2nd half of this post is using Basic H as a degreaser. Reed has especially dry skin so we slather him with a thick, greasy lotion twice a day that keeps his skin well hydrated. Sometimes it hasn’t completely dried by the time we head downstairs in the morning. He is really great at using the handrail-but sometimes uses the wall to slide down causing some greasy marks under the railing:
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I have found other cleaners would just leave streaks on the walls when attempting to wipe this down. For just regular fingerprints, the Basic H all purpose would probably do the job just fine-for this knowing it’s greasy lotion, I get out the Degreaser formula! 1 1/2 tsp to 16 oz of water. That’s a whole 16 cents for a 16 oz bottle and it can be used for anything that is grease based. What about a greasy stove after cooking or the cabinets above the stove that get splattered or even your grill. This will take care of it all-and you only needed one basic cleaning concentrate, Basic H. You would of already had to buy 2 cleaners, an all-purpose and a degreaser.
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Do you like my new Shaklee spray bottle? I just my set of them yesterday-so much cuter than the plain old spray bottle! You get one for each of the Basic H formulas(all-purpose, windows and degreaser) in a set. Plus, there are the formula measurements right on the back of the bottle.
I spray it on and wipe. Then our wall looks like this, until tomorrow…Smile
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Don’t you love when you can find a product that does so many things? Try Basic H.
Hope you are having a great day!

Shaklee Spray bottles

Monday, June 20, 2011

Basic H

One of Shaklee’s amazing products is Basic H concentrate. It can be used for almost every cleaning task in your home. The best part is it’s non-toxic, as are all of Shaklee’s Get Clean Household products, gives you fantastic results and saves you a ton of money all at the same time!
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I use this concentrate for a multitude of cleaning tasks and this product never ceases to amaze me. I know it sounds silly to be so excited about cleaning products, but once you start using Shaklee, you will understand what I am talking about. Not only am I amazed at the results that I get, but what it actually costs me to use these wonderful products is such a no-brainer. It costs me mere pennies. Sure, you have the initial upfront cost, but you need so little, that it lasts and lasts and lasts. You can see in the picture above that the bottle isn’t full(don’t worry, yours will be when you get it); that’s all that has been used since I received it for the 1st time almost 3 months ago. You may think, well you must not clean very much…NOT TRUE! Smile Actually, since I have been using Shaklee, I am cleaning more-because it’s just so easy to get great results and I feel like my house just feels cleaner which thrills me! Less effort and a cleaner home. Who doesn’t want that?  I had been using other non-toxic brands for years, but they were frankly just “okay” and I felt like I had to put in much more effort to get less than great results. I seriously was a convert the first time I used Shaklee.

I thought I would start the week off with one of my nemesis to clean, at least it used to be, Stainless Steel appliances. Now, I would never imagine not having stainless appliances since I have been using Basic H’s all purpose cleaner that makes them beautiful in a quick swipe or two. To make the all purpose cleaner from the Basic H concentrate, you just mix 1/4 tsp with 16 oz of water. That’s all you need and that’s why it lasts so long and why it is seriously, less than 3 cents {this is a correction from the original post that stated 22 cents, I mis-calculated the cost, it's 22 cents a GALLON} when you make each spray bottle. And to be honest, I would pay a lot more if I had to to get the great results on SS appliances. I always found other cleaners so greasy and streaky. Besides cleaning SS appliances, the all purpose cleaner can be used on pretty much anything besides glass and mirrors(that has a special mix that I will discuss on another post this week).
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Here are the “great” before pictures from a rough week…but it makes the after just that much more amazing!
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I think they look GREAT! I hope you agree.
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