Winter is Coming – Is Your House Winterized?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Duck brand. All opinions are 100% mine.

This year one of the tasks for us is to try to stay on top of our house maintenance concerns, and work on creating some savings to help our budget, wasting less. We have older windows, and every year it feels like there is a good amount of breeze coming through the windows. I can just imagine how much money we are wasting every year to heat the house with this kind of problem. Some people might not even realize it, but their home probably needs weatherization. In fact, almost 2/3 of Americans live in a home that needs it. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? We have decided to start this weekend insulating the window outdoors. We got a Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Insulation Kit, and started application outside. We will be doing all of the windows inside and all the windows we can reach outside. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? I have commissioned my husband to work on this project. He is generally better with house projects, and he told me that he actually used a similar kit before. Years ago he worked on insulating his house he rented when he was a University student. Back then they had to put together their own kits. The idea of it was the same back then, but putting a kit like that requires a lot more time, and the quality of materials was not the same as Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Insulation Kit came with. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? My husband was amazed with the quality of the kit he got to use. He was surprised to see that the film already had a pre-taped edge, so it was so easy to apply it. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? Unfolding the film was also extremely quick and easy, nothing got messed up, or tangled up like any regular plastic wrap would. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? It was nice that the length of the film was perfect for our window. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? The double-sided tape supplied was of excellent quality, much better than what my husband bought in the past. I watched my husband and took some pictures as he worked on the window. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? I was honestly impressed how simple the whole process was to complete, and now that I know the technique, I know I can do any window myself. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? Now that I have windows insulated, I know I will enjoy my winter in this house more, as I will stay warm and comfortable, and won’t need to worry about energy costs so much as I know I am keeping my home insulated properly. Winter in Coming - Is Your House Winterized? How are you going to save energy with your house this winter? Share your tips in the comments!

You could win the following products in a new giveaway:

  • – 1 Duck® Brand Roll-On® Window Insulation Kit
  • – 1 Duck® Brand Socket Sealer®
  • – 1 Duck® Brand MAX Strength Silicone Weatherstrip Seals
  • – 1 Duck® Brand MAX Strength Clear Triple Draft Seal

Duck Brand Weatherization Prize Pack giveaway!

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Spring Cleaning Planning is ON! Get Your Spring Cleaning Plan Ready Here

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lysol®, Finish®, Woolite®, and Air Wick®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Well, the time is flying by, and we are already having spring weather here. Our rain outside is almost over, and with the first rays of sunshine it is time for us to start preparing the house for spring cleaning.

I wanted to get my thoughts together today of what I am going to start tackling this year as my big project for spring cleaning, and why, and then give a list to follow – what exactly I am going to clean and how.

My Pre-Cleaning Agenda

We have a big house where we live, and there are so many rooms with stuff everywhere, and we end up not actually living in every room, but making piles of boxes and stuff in those rooms, only to clean them up a bit when we have visitors. We also have a big garage sale coming up, and I need to make up a few boxes of gifts to ship to my relatives. There is so much to do it is easy to get overwhelmed, and end up not being able to get anything started and done. So, in order for me to have an idea where to start, here is the pre-cleaning plan that I want to work on this week before I even get into the spring cleaning:

  1. Creating a list of tasks for my spring cleaning project – see at the bottom of the post.
  2. In order to get any deep cleaning of rooms I need to first sort out and pick up all of the clutter.
  3. Clutter picked and put into boxes needs to be sorted into what to keep, and put away, what to toss out, and what to sell at a garage sale.
  4. Re-sort my cleaning supply to know what I have, and what I need to pick up at the store to get my spring cleaning started – be sure to check some deals I have found in the post below.

While I would love to hire some full-time cleaners to help me tackle our everyday mess, clutter, and maintaining the house (who wouldn’t want that, right?) the reality is, I cannot afford professional cleaners, and need to be ready to do all of the work myself with my kids and my husband to be able to keep up with what needs to be done for the house. Chances are, you are in the same position. Again, I would love to pay close to $1000 of hard-earned cash for a team of professionals, who, by the way, will most of the time still request to clear up all of the clutter, especially from the floor and surfaces to be cleaned, but I am not going to be doing that. I am thinking more towards de-cluttering a bit, and making money through selling what I don’t need, updating the old, renovating in late spring and summer, and investing my cleaning funds into more capital improvements – I can do the cleaning myself, and so can you!

So, now I will quit rambling, and get on with my list of tasks, so, here we go… I have started the day right with working on a few blogging projects, getting a little bit of photography done, and got started de-cluttering. The main work is going to need to be done in the living room, crafts room, and bedrooms. There is just too much stuff everywhere that needs to be sorted, sold, or given away. Are you up for some giveaways on the blog? Let me know in the comments what you are hoping to pick up at stores or garage sales this spring, and maybe I will be able to set up a new giveaway for you for that very item soon!

The Plan for the Next Week

Here is my plan for the coming week for de-cluttering:

  • Monday – kitchen de-cluttering, making a list of what I need to use up that is expiring in the cupboards and freezer
  • Tuesday, Wednesday – kids’ bedrooms and our guest room – sort out and put away clothing the kids grew out of or torn clothing, and broken or incomplete board games and toys
  • Thursday – Master bedroom cleaning and putting away winter clothing and warm bedding
  • Friday – working on the garage – clearing up space for garage sale items, cleaning

A Few Tips to Start You Off on the Right Track With Cleaning

Spring Cleaning Tips and Ideas

Next, it is about setting up the cleaning scene. I cannot clean well when I have unpleasant smells all over the room, so we always make sure we have a supply of Air Wick refills to make the room feel and smell fresh.

Another important preparation point for a spring cleaning is having all of the supplies ready to go when it is the day of the cleaning – you don’t want to have to run around grocery stores every couple of hours because you have run out of your cleaning agents. Any big cleaning activity requires a full stocked supply cabinet starting from cleaners and cloths to your lists of chores to do. I try to get all my cleaning supplies in my monthly Target trips.

Cleaning tip 1 – Use Disinfecting Wipes or Make Your Own

Spring cleaning

Here are a few tips that I like to use in my house that we have been using forever. I absolutely love using Lysol Disinfecting Wipes to clean up some stains on the counters and the surfaces, or even the floor. This is one option, and another option is using some old clothing for rags – we take old shirts and pants that are made of good cotton, cutting them into rags, and then using Lysol Disinfectant Spray with those, and it is so easy to wash them after they are used as well. If you have time, you could get your kids to work on the borders of the rags – either embroider them, or sew them with a sewing machine to ensure that they don’t unravel too much in the wash, or you could use zigzag scissors if you have those, or use your overlock if you have it.

Laundry tip 2 – Use a Special Laundry Detergent To Keep Your Clothing from Fading

Spring cleaning

In you have embarked on the spring cleaning adventure, keep in mind that while you are busy cleaning the counters and the cobwebs from your vents, you still have that daily laundry to do. In order to make your daily laundry a breeze, you can rely on Woolite High Efficiency Extra Dark Dual Formula to keep your dark clothing dark. You don’t need the compromise for those busy weeks of cleaning. You can trust Woolite to not let the clothing fade, and stay dark.

Dark clothing comprises over 70% of all the laundry that we do at home, and we love to wear darks. So, it is so important for me to rely on Woolite when I want to make sure that my clothing will stay the right color even after many washes. Woolite will help with that.

Laundry tip 3 – Don’t Hand-Wash the Delicates

One day when we were getting our kids school uniforms many years ago I remember other parents in the line were complaining that the school uniforms were recommended to be hand-washed. Who has the time to wash daily uniforms by hand, and then hang to dry on just the most perfect clothing setup? We, busy parents, usually don’t have the time or the energy in a day to hand-wash items. What is the solution? I use special delicate clothing bags inside my wash to make sure that clothing that has straps does not tear in the wash. This was a new product for me that I have only discovered existed a couple of years ago, but it makes so much more sense now to use it, and it saves that precious time you can use on some other cleaning chore, right?

Cleaning tip 4 – Do Not Overlook Properly Washing Your Glassware

Do not overlook improving efficiency of your dishwashing when you are doing a cleaning spree. Adding an extra agent might not be something you are doing every day when you are washing dishes, but when you are doing spring cleaning, take some time to properly wash all your glassware using a Finish Rinse Aid for spot-free dishes. I am notorious about leaving some dishes with tough stains just piling on my counters, so I will be using a Detergent Booster to take care of those. Those Finish products always come in handy!

Cleaning tip 5 – Spring Cleaning is Also Important for the Outside of Your House

Spring cleaning

When you are doing your spring cleaning, do not forget to also work on your garden. If you have raised beds and a vegetable patch outside you probably won’t need my advice as I am a novice gardener myself. However, if you are a new homeowner, and are not sure how to start with your outside house maintenance, I would start with clearing up the ground from old leaves and sticks that have accumulated over the winter season, fertilize the soil outside if you have a lawn to take care of. This is exactly what we have worked on today!

Don’t forget to power wash the deck and the driveway, and clean up the grill – the barbecue season is almost upon us!

My Favorite Cleaning Products Recommendations

Spring cleaning

Now, before I start getting ready for my spring cleaning I will do some inventory of my cleaning supplies on hand. We use up a lot of Lysol and Woolite in the house, and have to get new containers every now and then, and this is what is going on my shopping list for this coming week.

I love using Lysol products, and I always get this brand because I know I can rely on Lysol to disinfect and take care of all the germs on my counters and surfaces – it kills 99.9% of germs. As I have a toddler touching everything, everywhere and picking up germs wherever she goes, I need to have a reliable product that works, and that can help me provide a clean area for her to play and develop.

Are You Out of Your Cleaning Supplies? Pick Them Up at a Discount at Target

Luckily, there are some discounted offers available at Target where I am going to head soon after I finish the post to load up on my favorite Woolite detergent, and my go-to Lysol cleaning supplies. If you are also out, I would recommend using special coupons through Target Cartwheel Coupons: available 4/2-4/29

There are also promotional offers available for you at Target:

  • Woolite:
    • Buy any 2 Woolite 100oz, get $5 Target Gift Card (available until 4/8)
  • Finish:
    • Buy any 2 Finish Premium L & XL (MiO & Quantum) & 16oz RA additive – Get $5 Target Gift Card (available until 4/8)
  • Lysol:
    • Buy any 3 Lysol items – Get 1 FREE (available 4/9-4/29)
  • Air Wick
    • Buy 3 5ct AW Scented oil and get free gadget (available 4/9- 4/15)

Your Spring Cleaning Checklist

I am always impressed with my readers who make it to the bottom of the post! Nowadays with our Twitter impacted attention span it is so hard to be certain that my readers actually do get to read what I have to say at the very end (I do ramble a lot, I confess). But, if you are still reading, I hope you can take advantage of this cleaning checklist printable I have made today, and you can print it out for FREE!

Hope you enjoy it, and let me know if you have any advice for cleaning, what your cleaning goals for spring cleaning are this year, and if you are going to be looking for some items this year to spruce up your home decor – and what you are planning to sell at a garage sale if you will hold one. Let me know if you have already started your spring cleaning, how it is going, or if you have finished it.

Spring Cleaning Printable Checklist

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Receiving new CSA box this week!

This past week on Thursday we have received a new CSA box of food – we are so excited! We are ordering right now a Local Choice CSA box from Growing Washington.

We have been amazed by the quality of the vegetables and fruits that went in the box. They were all farm fresh! The spinach that we got was so fresh, it looked like it was just picked! You can never get this freshness and quality from the stores. This box is all local, and we are eating whatever farmers themselves are eating. The box is also very affordable. I don’ get to pick what goes in it, but that is half of the fun, because then I get to design my meals based on what comes to my mind.

Yesterday we had shelling peas, that I first shelled, then boiled for about 8 minutes, and then fried with some proschiutto, bacon fat, and fresh mint from the box. My husband added some balsamic vinegar to this as well. The dish was out of the world! It was restaurant quality! OF course, my kids wouldn’t eat it, except for the baby who enjoyed the peas with butter, but my husband and I LOOOVED the dish!

We also grilled garlic scapes with steaks and that was lovely!

Here is what I have left of the box so far:

– apricots – we will eat them fresh and raw

-some garlic scapes – we will grill them

– head lettuce – we will make salad

– beets – we will make a cold salad

– clover sprouts – ?

– kale – lacianato – we will braise it with garlic and balsamic vinegar

– 3 apples – we will eat them raw, and make baby apple sauce

– fava beans – I will boil them, and then fry as well, with mint and prosciutto, like I did with shelling peas – should work!

– mint – I will make cocktails, and add mint to my dishes

– spring onions – I will use onions in some of the dishes, maybe add them to salads – I will have to think here

– rhubarb – I want to make more of my strawberry rhubarb squares recipe – this one is so good and easy to make!

– Asian cucumber – probably will make salads and will make a quick pickle out of this one

I am only concerned about clover sprouts, as I am not sure how to deal with them. I will have to look up some recipes! Any ideas?

I will try to post my meal plan for the next few days this weekend as well. This is a bit hard to do, but now that my kids are at home, we should be able to do more meal planning, and less stress getting out to activities, so hopefully, I will be able to do it some time today-tomorrow. I am very excited about using this amazing produce that I have got – it is really great quality stuff!

 

Cleaning trouble?

Now I have always had trouble with cleaning routines. Having three children now doesn’t help! I am yet to find enough time to get organized!

I am interested in trying some books out to help me get organized. I have found one so far that will hopefully get me to get my house organized without paying money to anyone to do it.

Are you in a similar situation, where you have tried on your own but are failing? Then let’s try together a book by Debbie Lillard’s titled “A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization.” This book is a good guide through simple ideas and processes on how to get your home more organized. The second part of the book puts more trust into your children to help keep the home maintained. I need more skills on that. The book was written by a busy mom for busy moms. Buy Today at on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440324883/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1440324883&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwspacetospa-20

 

Snoco Community Skills Fair

We went with my family in March to a community skills fair organized in Everett, WA by several non-profits and groups. We didn’t have any pre-existing idea of this fair because this was the first time we went. We loved it. It had free food! It had free lectures! They organized a lot of workshops, exhibits for people like us interested in urban homesteading, and improving our skills to save money, be more self-sufficient and independent. This skills fair even had free childcare!

We came in, registered, got booklets, brought our kids to childcare room, and separated with my husband to be able to cover more workshops. I had the baby on me most of the time, so I wasn’t able to take advantage of a whole lot, but I got the idea. They organized amazing workshops teaching all sorts of skills.

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My husband went on to learn about backyard chickens. We are not allowed to keep chickens in our HOA, but he learned for the future. I will make a special post about what he’s learned later. Then he went on to study how to grow greens and seeds. We have started 3 raised beds this year, and this will be exciting to see in the summer, late spring, and fall what our harvest will be like. We are very interested in trying to grow our own food, setting up plants outside. So, this lecture was perfect! Next, he took a break to eat, and then he took care of the baby for the rest of the day.

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I started my lectures with going to a canning workshop. I don’t really know how to can in that I haven’t done it enough to say that I am really well-versed in it. I will need to practice now, I think, when fall comes, but I will also prepare a post about what I have learned in this fair. Then I went on to listen to a lecture about garment repair for beginners. Our lecturer tried so hard to give us the basics, but I think there is just so much to sewing to learn, that I need more one-on-one type instruction at this point to be able to do some hands-on projects. I know the basics, but I don’t have the time right now to put it all into reality.

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I had the baby with me and a couple of times I had to escape the room, and went on to look and talk to weavers in the next room who were showing off their weaving machines, their yarn, and skills, and answering questions. I am still a beginner at this craft, and we were told about a group that meets in Snohomish once a month for spinning guild activities, so that is on my long list of things to do for myself – maybe next year when the baby is a bit older I’ll think about it. One of the ladies in this picture was actually the one I’ve met – she works at Fort Nisqually as a weaver.

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After lunch I gave the baby to my husband and went on to listen to a lecture about fermenting. I got so inspired that I have actually fermented some cabbage when I got home, and it tastes pretty good actually!

There were a lot of other workshops that I wish I could have gone to, but maybe next year! They also taught shellfish and seaweed harvesting, beekeeping, gardening tips. I thought those were a bit maybe too advanced for me to listen to, and it was hard to do with the baby on me. Next time!

We have learned a lot of skills during this fair! We have also had free lunch, and enjoyed watching some youth dancing in the auditorium. Our lunch were a variety of chips, dips, coffee, some raw vegetables, fruits, and soup. I cannot thank this fair enough for providing such a great time for our family, and we didn’t have to pay for anything. Instead, we got equipped with quite a bit of knowledge on homesteading skills, and now we are even more inspired and motivated to try our hand at it!

I am going to prepare a series of posts on what we have learned in this fair, and it will be great to be able to keep all this information here for anyone to enjoy and use!