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Homemaking Articles - Imperfect Homemaker

Category Archives for Homemaking

10 Gifts You Can Get Free or Nearly Free at Grove Collaborative

I'm in Christmas shopping mode, but unfortunately this year we've found the need to cut our budget back quite a bit.  I'm coming up with lots of creative ways to “purchase” gifts for free or very inexpensively.

I'll be sharing lots of my ideas here, so be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to stay in the loop!

 

Today I have a list of 10 gifts you can purchase for free or very inexpensively from Grove Collaborative.

Here's how it works:

 

1. Sign up as a new Grove Collaborative user here, and you'll get a $10 credit in your account.

2. Browse the list below for some of my favorite products that will make great gifts!

3. Apply your credit at checkout and voila!  Check of another gift (or 2 or 3) from your shopping list without spending anything!

4. (If you're already a Grove Collaborative customer, you won't get another $10 credit; however, you can share this post with your friends and ask them to sign up through your referral link instead of mine.  You'll get a $10 credit when they sign up!)

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Grove Collaborative auto-ships items each month, so you need to double check to make you are not scheduled for automatic delivery of more items (they will send you an email each month to remind you to check your subscriptions.)  You DO NOT have to continue to have items shipped to you unless you want to, but be sure to double check!

 

 

 

 

Update 11/2018: Instead of the $10 credit, Grove is currently offering a 5 piece Mrs. Meyers gift set to new customers ($35 value!)

Click here to get yours!

 

The following products are some of my favorite items that I regularly purchase from Grove:

 

 

eCloth kitchen pack – $14.99, only $4.99 after $10 credit
(Read my eCloth review here.)

 

Grove kitchen towels 2 pack – $9.99; free after $10 credit
These towels are SO NICE!

 

Grove cleaning caddy – $14.95; $4.95 after credit

 

Mrs. Meyer's dish soap – $3.89; get several nearly free with $10 credit

 

Wool Dryer Balls – $15.95; $5.95 after $10 credit
Such a great gift!

 

 

 

 

Grove hand sanitizer – $3.95; get several nearly free after $10 credit
This smells SO good!

 

 

Grove lip balm – $3.95; get several nearly free after $10 credit

 

 

Grove hand cream – $7.95; FREE after $10 credit

 

 

 

Mrs. Meyer's hand soap – $3.89; get several nearly free after $10 credit

 

 

Mrs. Meyer's body wash – $7.99; FREE after $10 credit

 

 

Have fun with your free gift shopping!

Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter so you can get notified of additional ideas that I'll be posting!

 

 

 

6 Products to Help Prepare Your Home for Winter

I have a bittersweet relationship with fall.  I love the cooler air, the bonfires, and all of the pumpkin and apple flavored goodies that come my way.  But with the fall comes the knowledge that winter is on its way.  I've never liked the cold, and every winter, despite my best intentions to bundle up and go outside for some fresh air, I end up spending 99% of my time indoors.

All that time spent indoors means the house needs to stay clean!

A dirty house makes me feel quite irritable.  An irritable mommy stuck inside with 5 small children is not a good combination, so I need to make sure I'm prepared to keep the house as clean as possible!

When Babbleboxx wrote and asked if they could send some products to help me do some fall cleaning, I readily agreed.  I don't do sponsored posts very often, but this was clearly a perfect fit.  I'm excited to show you the products they sent, because I know you'll find them as helpful as I did!

Ready?  Let's take a look!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com.

 

Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Kits

We live in North Carolina, so I'm sure those from up north will laugh at my extreme aversion to cold, but nonetheless, our temperatures do occasionally drop below freezing! 🙂

The Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Kit is an easy way to keep those cold winter drafts from coming through the windows.  The edges are pre-taped, which makes installation super simple!  There's no need to even measure the thing, and it fits snugly on the indoor window frames to provide an airtight seal.

If you want to save some money on your energy bills this coming winter (and keep yourself more cozy), you should check these window kits out!

(Here's a quick video showing how easy it is to install them.)

Link to purchase the window kits: Click here

Scrub Daddy: Sponge Caddy & Scour Daddy

 

Babbleboxx sent me a box in the spring, which is where I was first introduced to Scrub Daddy.  I was happy to see that this box also had Scrub Daddy products in it because the  others I had tried had become some of my favorite kitchen products.

This time I got to try the Sponge Caddy and the Scour Daddy.

You know how the sponges on your kitchen sink get all nasty and slimy when they sit there all wet?  The Sponge Caddy provides a place to store them where they have air flow that helps dry them out.  The dual suction cups adhere to any surface, and the little holes allow the water to drain from your sponges into your sink instead of sitting there stagnating into a bacterial breeding ground.

The Scour Daddy is not like any regular old kitchen sponge.  It holds a firm shape, which makes it so much easier to wash dishes with it.  The scratchy surface cleans but does not scratch.  AND…the multiple colors mean that you can easily keep track of which sponge is for which job.  When you're finished, you can use the nifty little hang tag to hang your sponge to dry.

You really should go look at the Scrub Daddy website because I am not doing justice to just how essential of a kitchen tool these little guys are.

 

Molly’s Suds: All Sport Laundry Wash, Oxygen Whitener

 

I've been a Molly's Suds user for about a year now, but I hadn't yet tried either the All Sport Laundry Wash or the Oxygen Whitener.

In fact, having Molly's Suds included in this Babbleboxx was one of the reasons I so readily said that I would do this post.

It truly is one of my favorite laundry products, and I wanted to make sure you knew about this wonderful, non-toxic brand of detergent that actually works!  (I've not had great success with other brands of non-toxic detergent that I've tried.)

I've been equally happy with these two new varieties of Molly's Suds that I tried, and I think you will love them as much as I do!

You can purchase Molly's Suds All Sport Laundry Wash or Molly's Suds Oxygen Whitener right here.  (Through 10/31/17, use the code IMPERFECTBABBLE to get an additional 25% off your order.

 

O-Cedar: Pro Mist Max Spray Mop

What a pleasant surprise!  When it showed up on my porch I dropped everything and mopped my floors!  Almost all of the floors in my house are “fake” wood, and we've been able to keep them fairly clean by keeping our shoes off in the house and by making sure either me or the kids sweeps them daily.  But I've been wanting one of these little spray mops too so that I can quickly mop them.

The O-Cedar Pro Mist Max Spray Mop is perfect!  I can get my floors clean so quickly with it!

All you do is fill up the little container with your cleaning solution (I just use vinegar water with a little essential oil in it) and you can spray a squirt using the trigger on the handle.  Spray, mop, spray, mop.  So easy!

The reversible head means that when one side gets too dirty to use, you can just flip it over and keep going!  Then when you're finished you can take the re-usable microfiber mop pad and wash it so it will be ready for the next time.

I know I've said this about every product I've shown you, but this was one of my favorites!  Efficient cleaning is what I'm all about!

You can purchase your own O-Cedar Pro Mist Max Spray Mop right here.  (You might want to sign up to receive special offers here.)

 

PowerOE – Odor Eliminating Spray and Cleaner + Odor Eliminator

 

I can't imagine why, in a household which includes a couple bedwetters, children who sneak fruit into their rooms and leave the peels hidden under their bed, and boys who are…well…boys, why in the world we would need an odor eliminator!

The PowerOE Odor Eliminating Spray can be sprayed on sports equipment, garbage cans, bathrooms, you name it!  It can also be used to pre-treat smelly clothes.  It's dye-free and scented with essential oils (also available in a fragrance free solution.)

The PowerOE Cleaner + Odor Eliminator is powered by Thymol, a bleach alternative.  For a mom who doesn't like to use harsh chemicals, but who still needs to keep the house clean and get the laundry wash, it's nice to have some other options that will still do the job!

Find PowerOe right here and use the code IMH17 to get 25% off your purchase.

 

 

Grout Gator

 

The mom who invented this was using her thinking cap!  Why use a toothbrush to clean one grout line at a time when we can get the job done 4 times faster with the Grout Gator?!

(Actually the Grout Gator can clean up to 8 lines at a time, so you can get the job done WAY faster than the toothbrush method!)\

The adjustable brush heads fit over tile sizes from 2” to 13” so you can use it for whatever job you're doing.  And don't worry, when the brush heads get worn out you can replace them.

It's time to speed up your cleaning time! Go here to purchase the Grout Gator, and use the code BB17 for 15% off your purchase.

 

 

That's it for now!  I'm sure with these tools to help you, you'll have your home ready for the winter in no time!  What else do you to during the fall to prepare your home for winter?

 

 

5 Things That are Stealing your Time as a Homemaker

If you're looking for more hours in your day, a great place to start is by finding those stolen moments.  Is there time that you are spending on something that you really should be spending on something else?

Not all the things in the list below are wrong things.  Some of them are simply things that we can become so wrapped up in doing that it steals time from more important things.

Take an honest look and see if any of them apply to you:

5 things that are stealing your time as a homemaker

 

1. Social media

We start out innocently enough – hopping on Pinterest to find a recipe for dinner or deciding to post that photo we just took to Instagram.  But all too often, 5 minutes turns to 25 minutes, and before we know it, it's past dinner time before we get off our phone, still half-dazed.

We must be very intentional about the time we spend on our phones or computers.  Turn on a timer when you sit down if you find that you have a bad habit getting lost in the black hole of the internet.

 

2. Work

Many of us work from home, which is perfectly fine, but we must keep in mind that our family needs to come first.  Where do we find the balance between contributing to the family income and keeping our homes orderly, plus having plenty of time for spending with the people we love?  I've not met many people that seem to have the time to do all of it well.  The balance of that is going to be different for different families, and your priorities may be different than mine depending on your circumstances.

Regardless of whether you are in great need for the income or not, the potential for earning “just a little more” is always there, and we must all guard against going after another dollar at the expense of family time and a house that becomes so messy that everyone is stressed and grumpy.

So please hear me when I say that I'm not equating working from home as something that's not worth spending your time on.  It may actually be very much worth your time.  However, when it begins stealing your time from the people you love and from taking proper care of them, it's time to re-evaluate whether you need to cut back on the amount of time you spend working.

 

3. Hobbies

Every homemaker needs to make time for the things she enjoys.  It will bring joy to your life (and keep you a little more sane in the chaos of life!)

However, we need to be conscious of how much time we're spending on those things.  When the housework begins to slip or our children are clamoring for our attention, we need to be honest about whether or not it's because we've become too engrossed in our own interests.  Are we diligently caring for our families or we only looking out for number one?

 

4. Lack of focus

I am pretty bad about this.  Lots of jobs go half-done because I get distracted by another job halfway through.  At the end of the day, I half laundry that's half-done, dishes that are half-washed, and floors that are half-cleaned.  I've done a lot of work but the house is still a mess.

Learning to focus on one job at a time saves time because you're not doing everything twice.

Flylady's book, Sink Reflections, is probably my favorite resource for helping what she calls “SHE's” (Sidetracked Home Executives.) 🙂

 

5. Laziness

No, I'm not calling you lazy.  I have no idea who is reading this, so I wouldn't know anyway.  But if you're struggling with getting things done, just ask yourself honestly, “Could it be because I am being lazy?”  Are you snoozing the alarm multiple times (hey, I have to preach to myself about this too – maybe I should get one of these, haha!) or sitting on the computer (not literally!) when you really ought to get up and do your chores?

I think sometimes wives and moms hate chores every bit as much as kids do.  The problem is that we don't have anybody to with-hold our allowance or tell us we can't have screen time until we get our chores done.

 

 

Some good old-fashioned self-discipline is what we need.  Perhaps we shouldn't complain about feeling overwhelmed with the housework until we first take an honest look at whether or not we can do anything about it.

 

Maybe this article sounded a little harsh.  It's not meant to be; it's just that sometimes admitting that we can do better and be better feels pretty uncomfortable.  But I promise that if you see any areas here that you need to address, it will be so worth it to make the necessary changes!  You'll find more time and feel less frustrated, and those are good things!

How to Use a Prayer Journal to Develop a Consistent Habit of Prayer

“I'll be praying for you!”

How many times have you told that to someone, only to later do a terrible job at keeping your commitment?

Maybe you are actually really good about writing down all those prayer requests, but now your prayer list is a mile long and terribly overwhelming.

That's why I developed My Prayer Journal.

 

I came up with a system that I personally use to keep up with all of the things I would like to pray for without it becoming overwhelming.

Additionally, I now have a lifelong, written record of God's faithfulness to answer prayer!

Play the video below to see exactly how the system works.

 

Do you think this system will work for you?  Feel free to recreate it yourself with notebook paper, or purchase the pre-made, printable version right here.

 

 

If you'd rather read then watch, I've tried to explain the process in writing below:

Though my way isn't necessarily the best way or the only way to keep track of prayer requests and praises, it's works really well for me so I've stuck with it for a number of years.

To keep myself from feeling overwhelmed by such a long list of prayer requests, I divided them up into different categories and I pray for one category each day.

On Sunday I pray for my pastor and his family and for others I know that are serving in various ministries.  I try to keep up with specific requests for those people and not just “Please bless pastor and his family.”

On Monday I pray for missionaries.  I do the same thing when it comes to praying more specifically and not just in a general way.

On Tuesday I pray for those who need to be saved or who have other spiritual needs.

Wednesday is my praise day!  I spend time thanking the Lord for who he is and for specific blessings in my life.

On Thursday I pray for my church family.  Since Wednesday night is prayer meeting at church, new prayer requests from people are fresh on my mind on Thursday morning.

On Friday I pray for friends and extended family.  I try to find out specific requests for each person that I pray for.

Saturday is my personal requests day, where I pray for needs and desires in my own life.


I also have a list of daily requests that I pray for every single day of the week


You could totally use this system with just a simple binder and notebook paper if you wanted to, or if you'd rather, you can purchase a pre-made printable version right here.  (It's gorgeous!)



If you haven't been praying for as many things as you'd like because you feel overwhelmed, I hope my system will help you pray for more people each week!

One Simple Way to Get More Out of Your Bible Reading

Have you ever arrived at the end of a chapter in your Bible reading and realized, “I don't remember one single thing I just read”?

I do that all the time!

My mind gets so preoccupied with remembering everything I need to do that I'm reading the words but not really processing them.

Or sometimes I'm just flat out tired and my brain isn't exactly functioning very well.

One simple way to get more out of your Bible Reading

Here's a tip to help you focus better as you read your Bible:

Read out loud.

It feels a little awkward at first, but once you start it's easy to keep going.

It amazes me how much easier it is to focus on what the verses mean.  And quite often, even on days where I don't feel like my brain is fried but I'm just having a little trouble understanding the passage, it suddenly makes more sense once I read it out loud.

Reading your Bible out loud also works well if you have little ones clamoring for your attention.  You get your time in God's Word, and they get to benefit from hearing you read it too.

Oh, and one last thing.  You can use this tip for prayer too!  When  you're falling asleep, just start praying out loud and you won't have that problem any more!

Would you like to be more intentional about spending time in the Bible and prayer?

I've put together a 7 day email challenge where I share how to keep a spiritual journal, how to study the Bible, and how to have a more meaningful prayer life.

Care to join me?  Just click the button below!

 

Spring Cleaning Simplified: Focusing on Quick Wins

When it comes to spring cleaning, I do not have a week or even a whole day to dedicate to scrubbing every nook and cranny of my house.  With 5 small children underfoot, there's only so much I can do.  There are diapers to be changed, boo-boos to be kissed, and mouths to feed (5,897 times a day.)

As a busy mom, I try to focus my spring cleaning efforts on what I call “quick wins”.

What is a spring cleaning quick win?

I look for things that I can do in about 5 minutes or less that will make the biggest difference in how clean that area is.  That's it!

 

When Babbleboxx asked if they could send me a box of spring cleaning items to try, I readily agreed, knowing that I'd be able to use these tools for my 5 minute “quick win” sessions!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.

Spring cleaning products

 

Laundry Room Cabinet

You know how the little drips from laundry detergents and stain removers make the shelves where they sit get all gunky and slimy?  Cleaning this area can be a quick win for you!

Have you ever used shelf liner anywhere in your house?  Well, there's a new kid in town that takes things to a new level when it comes to shelf liners.

My laundry room shelves were experiencing gunk overload, so I knew I needed to do a quick win on them.  Babbleboxx had sent me a roll of Duck Smooth Top Easy Liner with Clorox, so I used that to line the shelves of my laundry room cabinet.

Duck Smooth top antimicrobial shelf liner

Apparently, shelf liner is no longer plain old shelf liner.  Duck Easy Liner now has a Clorox antimicrobial coating embedded into it to help prevent mold and mildew growth.

It was so quick and easy to cut the liner down to size and put it on the shelf, but it made a noticeable difference in how clean the shelf looked.  (The “quick wins” are my absolute favorite when it comes to spring cleaning!)

I really liked the smooth top.  Those sticky-feeling shelf liners have their place for other things, but when you need to slide laundry products in and out all day long, they can get annoying.  The smooth top makes it so nice.  Plus, the smooth top makes it easy to wipe down if something gets spilled on it.  (The underside is still sticky so that it stays on the shelf without sliding around.)  It's water-resistant too, which is a good thing, since I'm using it in the laundry room.  And finally, if I ever needed too, I could toss it into the wash (yes – it's machine washable!)

All these factors made it the perfect choice for this job.

Duck Smooth Top Antimicrobial shelf liner

Do you have a spring cleaning job where Duck Smooth Top Easy Liner would be helpful?

You can purchase it in either white or taupe, and it comes in both 12” x 10’ and 20” x 6’ sizes.

Download a coupon right here!

 

Water Stained Wood

You wouldn't think removing water stains from wood would be a quick win.  I wouldn't anyway.

My husband's night stand had gotten some pretty ugly water stains.  It was one of those things where I was going to research “how to get water stains out of wood” — someday.  I just hadn't gotten around to it yet.

But since Babbleboxx had included a bottle of TriNova Wood Cleaner and Conditioner in the spring cleaning kit they sent me, I thought, “Why not?  It can't hurt to try.”

TriNova Wood Cleaner

Wow!  I honestly did not think it would get the stains out!  I thought it would clean any surface residue and shine it up a bit, but I was shocked that it took the water stains right out!

 

If you have a lot of wood surfaces in your house, you can use TriNova Wood Cleaner and Conditioner for any of them, such as furniture, cabinets, or hardwood floors.

I really loved this product so much more than I expected to.  It doesn't leave any kind of residue; it just made the wood feel so smooth.  (And of course it took out those stains!)  I will DEFINITELY be using this often to keep my wood surfaces shiny and clean.

You can pick up TriNova Wood Cleaner from Amazon right here.  Through April 30, 2017, you can use the coupon code Babble20 to get an extra 20% off.

 

Dirty Fabric

Another area that I wouldn't necessarily have thought would be a quick win certainly ended up that way with the right tools for the job.

I was walking through the kitchen and I noticed how horribly dirty the fabric on our island stools had become.  (Note to self: when there are kids in the house, only purchase hard surfaces for anything that goes in the kitchen.)

(Wow – that's embarrassing!)

I was trying to figure out what I could use to clean it, and I thought, “Well, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is supposed to be all-purpose.  I wouldn't normally think to use it on fabric, but let's just see what happens.  At this point, I certainly can't make that stool any worse.”

Look!

It's all-purpose all right.

I've used the bottle of Simple Green for tons of little quick-win jobs since then – mopping the floor, wiping down baseboards, anything that looks dirty really.  I LOVE having all-purpose cleaner around!  (And I love that Simple Green is non-toxic too.)

Simple Green is a concentrated cleaner, meaning that you should dilute it for most jobs because it's just way too powerful for what you need.  Diluting it means that one bottle goes a LONG way, making it very cost-effective.

 But when you have a really tough job, you can use it straight, and it will do your cleaning for you without the need for much elbow grease from you.

I also received a bottle of Simple Green Stone Cleaner and Polish, which I didn't try because I don't have surfaces in my house that called for it.  I'm sure it does just as good of a job as the all-purpose cleaner, though.

You can find more information about both products on the Simple Green website, along with LOTS of ideas for how to use them.  You can also grab a coupon for $1.75 off (that's a good coupon!) right here.

Dirty Dishes

I know what you're thinking.  “Why are you including dirty dishes in a list of spring cleaning quick wins?”

So, here's my philosophy.  Every day is spring cleaning day – not just a day or a week sometime in the spring.  Anything that needs to be cleaned, big or small, well…it needs to be cleaned.

And you know what I really like to neglect?  It's when there's a pot in which I overcooked the food and now it is going to be really hard to wash.  So then I let it sit there “to soak”, but when I come back it's not any easier to wash.

I have two choices at this point.  1. I can dig in and just get the job done or 2. I can continue to let it sit there soaking.

The job needs to get done!  But scrubbing a pot with burned-on food is not an easy task, and it's not going to be a quick win!

Until…I tried out the Scrub Daddy.Scrub Daddy

 

Let me be honest.  I kind of groaned when I saw the Scrub Daddy in the box because I was thinking about how much I hate doing dishes.  It didn't look like a fun or unique “spring cleaning” task, but it just meant I'd be doing boring old dishes.

But when I made myself try it out, I was like, “Ohhh.  I like this thing.”

The Scrub Daddy turned getting that crusty pot off my counter into a spring cleaning quick win!

No joke – this guy doesn't scratch my non-stick pots!!  I can bust through that crud in a flash without babying my pots!

 

Here's how it works: When it's cold it's stiff and hard so you can do tough scrubbing jobs.  When it's warm, it gets soft so you can just use it for regular old dish washing.

And here's what else I like – the Scrub Daddy doesn't get all slimy and nasty like regular sponges that you leave sitting in your sink too long.  It rinses right off and dries out nicely.  You can pop it into the dishwasher if it does need a deeper cleaning.

I received Scrub Daddy's counterpart, Scrub Mommy, too, which has the scrubby part on one side and a more spongy part on the other side.

You can check out the Scrub Daddy (and the Scrub Mommy) right here.

 

More Spring Cleaning Quick Win Ideas:

If you're wanting to try to accomplish a few quick wins throughout the day, here are more things you can do:

  • Clean out the silverware drawer
  • Wash a window or two
  • Organize a book shelf
  • Wipe down light switches and door knobs
  • Pour baking soda and vinegar down your drains to clean them
  • Take outdated papers off the refrigerator
  • Clean off one refrigerator or pantry shelf
  • Wipe down the backs of kitchen chairs (they get nasty if you have kids!)
  • Dust the tops of windowills and door frames
  • Clean out your junk drawer

 

 

Happy cleaning!