We Got the FUNK: March 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Wedding Season is Upon Us! Gift Ideas from #Minted

Disclosure: Minted provided me with the possibility to make some moolah for our family with affiliate links that are in this post.  

It is already almost April and wedding season is upon us!  I love wedding season.  It unites people, it refreshes the love we have for our spouses, it reminds us of our own wedding day and truly is just a great time to spend with loved ones.  With wedding season starting, it is time to start looking for gift ideas and there is no better place to start then MintedMinted Wedding Gift Ideas, Vow Prints, Newlywed home decor ideas, personalized linens, art prints, Minted discounts, Minted anniversary deals
We are attending two weddings for sure this summer and I am on the hunt for great gift ideas for the happy couple.  I love the idea of framing their vows for them to hang in their home.  I think I honestly might do this with our vows because I currently have them in our scrapbook that we almost never look at.  These foil framed vow prints would be something the newlyweds would probably cherish.

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One of my favorite part of Minted's website is their art prints.  They are beautiful and have something for everyone's taste.  You can get photo prints, abstracts, watercolors and many more.  They come in beautiful frames and sizes.
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Every newlywed needs to make their house a home and Minted offers beautiful table linens designed by artists to bring the couples style to life in their home.  You can get table runners, placemats or even napkins in unique prints. 

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Minted has such a huge variety of items that you can use as gifts, or if you are planning your wedding there are also personalized invites, thank you cards, gift boxes and so much more!  Right now, you can snag these wedding items and art prints for great prices during their Anniversary event going on now through April 3rd, 2017!


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Thursday, March 30, 2017

High Value #Coupon from Luvs #ShareTheLuv #ad

“This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.”

When discussing diapers, my mom will always say "I just loved Luvs".  My mom is one of those baby women who just calm and quiet and enjoy every second of being with a baby.  Babies love her too.  I think that is why, when I struggled to connect with my first born due to our traumatic birth, she was such an instrumental part of those baby days.

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My mom continues to be that person in our lives.  She is still the person that all the kids want to be with and my new little nephew just adores and knows that she is the best!  This grammy now watches my nephew a couple times a week for my sister and still "loves Luvs".  I told her about the high value $2.00 off Luvs coupon and she was excited to stock up on diapers for our little nugget. 

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Parenting and grand parenting is expensive and having these print at home coupons are a great way for moms and grandparents alike to save money.  My mom is a stay at home grandma and is also very budget conscious, so she makes sure that she snags these coupons and stocks up!

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Luvs feature a Super Absorbent Leakguard and NightLock Plus, its largest absorbency area ever.  The diapers have large refastenable stretch tabs that give the baby a secure, snug fit over and over.  The contoured shape hugs baby for a great fit and is softer than ever before.  Luvs nows that between laundry, play dates, snack time and nap time, we do not have time for leaks, so they make life easier by keeping those leaks in the diapers where they belong so baby stays comfortable and dry, even overnight. #ShareTheLuv, Luvs Diaper Coupons 2017, Diaper coupons 2017, April Diaper coupons 2017, Luvs April 2017 Diaper coupons
Luvs is my moms diaper of choice and is the official diaper of experienced parents. You can grab your $2.00 off coupon here and enjoy great value diapers at a lower price than competitor brands. 

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We have a few more years of diapers in our family with this baby nugget and I know my mom will be using the Luvs coupon to stay on budget and to live her Luvs diaper mantra!  

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

These Past 10 Days

I have not been real personal on my blog in a few weeks.  I think a lot of it has to do with some depression and anxiety issues that I am still battling.  These past ten days have been pretty rough for me, for small reasons that truly are just little wake ups.  Lets start with the picture below and a funny little story.


I bought these size 10 jeans shortly after I had my son (so 7 years ago).  They are American Eagle and are stretchy, so my fluctuating booty size can stretch into these...or so I thought.  Last Friday, I taught all day and we had an in home appointment to look at installing solar panels on our home. Although I know that at my current weight (171 lbs if we want to be transparent) these are a bit snug, I also just stopped taking care of my laundry and house and cannot find motivation to pull my life back together, so these babies were what I had left to wear.

So I teach all day in them, I come home and tidy up the main level of our home and then I sit down on the couch for a quick snooze before the solar representative comes.  Well he gets here, the husband is putting the dogs somewhere and I go outside in our garage to get some water bottles from our fridge out there, only to come in and realize that at some point my entire ass has ripped out and is hanging out of these jeans.  I couldn't tell you when this happened, I am pretty sure I was home from work already as I do not remember feeling a draft then, but you know, I easily could have been embarrassingly walking around with my butt hanging out and torn jeans for hours.

This little wake up call reminds me that my goal weight of 155 needs to be back on my radar and that the diabetic in me cannot stop taking care of myself...which is what I have done these last 7 months.


Fast forward to the following Monday and we are at my parents house.  The kids are playing in the backyard on their swing set and the little princess keeps insisting that she go in front of her brother while he swings.  My dad and I keep telling her no and to go around...so she goes behind him and of course they collide and her 30 lb body flies into the ground pretty forcefully.  I run to the baby, rush her inside, clean her up and check her eye out because it is obviously pretty red.  She cries but is over it pretty quickly.  I put Neosporin on her little cuts for the next couple days only to get a call from her school that we have an emergent situation.


The emergency?  Oh my daughter has a rock in her eye that I have missed these last 2 days.  I rush from work to meet her at my babysitters house.  I walk into the house on the phone with the doctors office and see my sweet girl sitting there coloring calmly.  Here eye is not red and from the outside you cant see this rock that everyone is freaking out over.  Our babysitter tells us that it is definitely there, so I ask if I can take a look all while I am on hold with the ophthalmology department.  I go to pull down her bottom eyelid and out pops this pebble, from the bottom of her eye.

My kid hardly reacts, tells me that it feels fine and continues to color.  The doctors are now not concerned and tell us to have the doctor check out her eye at her well-child check the next day.  We do, no damage, no redness, nothing.  She walked around, danced, played and was completely normal and fine for 2 days with a rock in her eye and I never noticed...even though I had been putting medicine around the eye.  I never felt a rock...and I checked.  What a terrible mother I felt like.

This little wake up call reminds me that things are not always what they seem and that I need to be more diligent when my kids get injured.  I am always the mom that is like "you're fine, lets get a bandaid and get on with our lives".  Probably not the best idea in this instance.


A month ago, I made an appointment to trim my super long hair.  I grew up with extremely long hair. My parents would not let us cut our hair until we were in high school so hair nearly to my bottom is pretty normal for me.  I have thick, strong hair, but it was getting dry and damaged at the ends and I had not had a trim in probably 8 months.  Well after ripping my butt out of my jeans and being a terrible parent, I decided that the long hair and my attitude towards this last year needed to go.  It was time for a fresh start.  So my aunt and I chopped off 10 inches of my hair, donated it to Wigs for Kids and started fresh.


It is always a bit of a learning curve, adjusting to new hairstyles and routines, but already the headaches I have been battling are gone.  My neck feels better too!  

In a way this haircut represents so much for me.  I have avoided getting a haircut for the last 18 months because I wanted to be at my goal weight of 155.  I know that at this weight my face looks skinnier and short hair (which I love) does not make me look as chubby.  The last 18 months of my life have been so darn crappy.  The marriage struggling, the depression battles that he faces and I face, the crappy schedules we have been dealing with, the financial stress because depression makes people stop feeling worthwhile and stop working, the weight gain and failure of sticking to my diabetes nutrition plan, just everything.  It was weighing on me, I have not taken care of myself. 

So I chopped it off, I released that part of me.  I am starting new.  It is time to get back on that low carb lifestyle and to take my medications more regularly.  I am going to make an appointment with my PCP to get my diabetes blood work going again (since I am about 9 months behind on this).  I am going to clean my house and put that part of my life back together.  I always feel better when my home is fresh and clean.  I am going to start cooking again and being present for my family.  I am going to start reading more books at night (Game of Thrones anyone?) and spending less time surfing social media.  I am going to date my husband even more and for goodness sake I am going to bust butt and work my blog like I did in the beginning.

It is no secret that my blog has went from a place where I used to regularly share about our family and the foods that we love and my crafting fun to a place where lately I am sharing more sponsored posts (although they are always for products that we use and love, they are still sponsored and I know my readers can see through some of my authenticity when I do have to put client messaging in those posts).  I have ideas friends.  I have so much that I want to share, and I just need to share them and get back to my roots.  Part of that might be a little potty mouthed and silly, because that is who I am. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am super funny.  

This blog is my second job and does bring in a little income for me each month.  I am so incredibly thankful for everyone that reads and comments and engages with me on social media because parenting can be so dang lonely and it is fun to know that others feel the exact way that I feel and that we are comrades in this experience.  However, part of that comes from me not just sharing products, but also sharing life and that will be a returned focus here. 

Thank you to everyone for sticking with me, for supporting me and for being my comrades in this life experience.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

5 Ways to Manage Pain at Work #StopPainNow [AD]

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #StopPainNow #CollectiveBias

Pain. Work. Management.  These are all part of life's little struggles and something that I deal with on a daily basis.  It is so important to have strategies to manage pain especially when you are a busy at work.

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As a kid I was active.  Very active and athletic.  I roller skated 3-5 times a week, I was a cheerleader with gymnastics added in there.  My body took a beating and although my coaches focused on form and conditioning to avoid injuries, there is only so much they can control, especially when you are throwing girls in the air and catching them.  In addition, to those early years, I started playing roller derby when I was 21 and at a highly competitive, hard-hitting and aggressive level.  It was some of the best years of my life, but again I was beating my body up, no matter how well I made sure to stretch and condition.  

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When I retired from competitive roller derby the husband and I settled down to start a family.  Little did I know, carrying two babies would do a number on my back and inflame the heck out of a bunch of old little injuries, creating a big pain in my life.  BIG.  So big that at one point I had to go to the doctors and be put on inflammatories, muscle relaxers and pain medications.  I could hardly walk some days and even laying down to sleep caused excruciating pain.  I was not able to function well enough to take quality care of my kids and I had to do something.  I began a regime and after 3 weeks the meds worked and I was able to go off them.  However, in an effort to avoid having to be on that much medication ever again, I decided to go for a more holistic approach to building up my strength and manage my pain. 

So I started to make some small changes, particularly to my work life, and those made a big difference.  I know that many people are in my same position and are looking to relieve that pain so I am sharing the 5 ways to manage your pain at work.  I focused on work because I am often the most abusive on my body there.  I can be sedentary or overly aggressive and even forgetful and those are so bad when you are someone with chronic pain. 

1. Create a 5 minute stretching routine.  For me my back and neck are my trouble spots.  I created a quick routine that anyone can do from their chair at work.  Check out those stretches below. 

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The stretch above really helps to open up my hips and lower back and is best accomplished in a chair with wheels so you can push your shoulders down to the ground and really feel the stretch in that lower hip/back area.

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Another favorite of mine is to cross one leg over and then bend over and touch the ground.

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To get that full mid-back stretch you can pull one knee up to your chest and hug it in for 30 seconds and then simply twist away from it as shown above to help release the muscle tension.

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The stretch above helps stretch both your back shoulder muscles and mid back.  Grasp one wrist and then sit down in your chair straight up, gently begin to sit forward and hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then return to sitting straight up.  Repeat this 5 times and then switch wrists.

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For my neck I like to cross one arm over my chest and then turn my head opposite of that.  Then I switch.  Finally I roll my neck out and that really helps.

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I am also a big fan of stretching out those tense shoulder muscles that I use all the time from typing at work.  Pulling one arm across and then behind gets those muscles nice and open, relieving pressure and pain.

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I hold each of these stretches for 20-30 seconds and then I am done.  It takes between 3 and 5 minutes to get my little stretching workout done and all from my chair at work. 

2. Stay Hydrated.  The best way to fight muscle fatigue is to flush the toxins out of your body and you do that by staying hydrated.  I have a 1000 mL water bottle that I fill up 3-4 times a day at work and drink.  This has honestly really helped to make my body feel less stiff.  I notice that on days that I forget to drink as much water I am in much more pain that if I just stay on top of my water intake.

3. Use Curamin® Stop Pain Now. I just do not function well on prescription medications.  They make me sleepy and very moody.  I also know that there are some great pain relief options on the market that are not addictive and do not cause those negative side-effects.  My choice is Curamin® dietary supplements. Curamin® is my choice because it is safe, effective, non-addictive and has been voted #1 for pain relief in the natural product industry.  

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I added this dietary supplement to my regular medication rotation and have been very happy with how my back and neck have been feeling since I began this 3 weeks ago.  I truly am not feeling as stiff and I can move around quickly without having to give my body a second to adjust to my new positions.

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The pills are a bit on the larger size, but I take my diabetes meds, antidepressant and vitamin D with it quickly once a day in the morning and it goes down easy with no side effects.  My tummy is not bothered by it and it does not have a bad after taste.  It is a great dietary supplement to add to my routine.

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You can find Curamin® Extra Strength 60 count, at fine health food stores nation wide.  I found mine at our local Natural Grocers.  You can check out this store locator to find a store near you!  When pain is the problem, Curamin® is the answer for you to Stop Pain Now!

4. Get Moving!  I am a person that can get stuck in a rut of sitting for my entire plan period at my desk and not moving around.  That is 2.5 hours a day of me not moving around and I definitely notice how I feel if I do not move in those hours.  I slouch, I tense up when I am typing, and I adjust a million times to avoid the pain.  I have found that if I stand up to type or if I work for 15 minutes and then move around for 10 and then sit and work and then move, that I feel much better and have more energy. 

5. Snack Healthy. Teachers are terrible about this.  We are always snacking, because we are always busy.  You have to make an effort to snack healthy and fuel your body with food that is going to fuel your muscles and help you to become stronger.  Select snacks that are high in protein and low in carbs.  I am a big fan of pistachios, deli meats and veggies.  

These five adjustments to my work routine have made a huge difference in how my body feels and have kept me off those prescription pain medications.  I feel better and I am a better mother, wife and teacher when I am not in pain.  

Try them out and let me know what you think!


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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Most Stunning (and Frugal) Beauty and the Beast Birthday Party! #OrientalTrading

Disclosure:  I was provided with a credit to order some items from Oriental Trading. However, I would have ordered the items regardless of a credit as we love Oriental Trading.

A couple weeks ago we celebrated our little princess with a 4th birthday roller skating party.  I will post more about that another time, but today I had to share with you the decorative aspects that I am in love with.

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I contacted Oriental Trading when my daughter decided on her birthday theme and ordered the plates, cutlery, doilies, napkins and table cloths.  I had a vision and hoped that I could pull it off and do it on a $100.00 budget.  I spent $75.00 of my budget on the items I listed above from the Oriental Trading company.

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We had our party at our families roller skating rink during a public session, as it could easily accommodate the 25 little guests and their families that we invited.  I had just 15 minutes to set up and had to have a very clear plan that was easy to put together in just a few moments.  I crafted most of the materials at home so that I just had to tape a few items down when we got there.

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I ordered a large roll of gold table cloth material to use for a couple elements to my party table design.  The first was the curtain type drape to the background and the second was the curtain drape on the table.  I laid these pieces out at home and tied small string around the areas I wanted to gather them at, and then when we got to the party we used double stick tape to adhere them to the table and the background. 

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For the main background I simply used a blue tablecloth, then I used my gold drapery to frame it. Next I added a rose vine and made the Be Our Guest banner and the Beauty and the Beast silhouettes with my actual Silhouette machine.  It really turned out great and made a wonderful background for our party. 

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One of the best scenes in the entire movie is the "Be Our Guest" musical number.  I wanted to create a table setting that was welcoming, elegant and really made our little guests feel royal.  I snagged the gold cutlery, red plates, napkins and doilies from Oriental Trading.  I had a grand idea to find disposable tea cups and decorate them to look like Chip, but I could not find ones that I liked at all, so instead, I just used plain white cups. 

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I rolled each cutlery setting in the napkin and then tied them with a small string.  To bring more Beauty and the Beast into each setting, I added a little rose which I found at our local dollar store in bunches.  The kids went crazy over these.  They loved that they had a pretty little place to sit and that everyone got their own rose!  It was adorable.

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I always love having balloons at my kids parties.  Mainly because they love them and keep them in their rooms for as long as possible.  I wanted to create a little centerpiece that served a couple purposes.  First, I wanted it to secure the balloons, and second, I wanted to put the tasty chocolate roses that I ordered from Oriental Trading in them as a little bouquet.  I found a glass jar at the local dollar store, some floral foam and ribbon.  I poked a hole through the center of the foam, threaded the balloon strings through it and hot glued the strings to the bottom of the foam.  Then I pushed the foam securely into the bottom of the glass jar and used a little hot glue to secure it to the jar.  I added some ribbon to the outside of the jar to cover up the foam and then just began placing the chocolate roses into the jar.  It was perfect and each guest got to take a rose for a little snack later. 

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I purchased a little set of Beauty and the Beast figurines from the Disney Store to add some character to our table and placed those throughout the setting as well.  However, my favorite item that I created was our enchanted roses.  These were a must have according to our princess and initially I was nervous trying to figure out how to pull this off.  After a trip to the local dollar store and craft store, those fears were gone and I was ready to create a couple enchanted roses to accentuate our table.

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I used a glass candle cup as the main glass dome.  Then I found the wooden bases and silk roses and create a quick and easy enchanted rose.  I cut the rose down, hot glued it to the wooden base.  Added a few rose petals to cover up the hot glue glob at the base of the rose and then hot glued the glass dome to the wooden base.  Then I had these glass knobs that I just hot glued to the top.  I love how they came out and will be using them in my Valentine's decor next year for sure!

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Overall, the entire table setting cost right under $100.00 and was a real show stopper.  It was truly easy to put together and thanks to Oriental Trading, it was also cost effective.  Our guests really had a great time and I cannot wait to share more details from the dress, to the cake, invites and entertainment!  It truly was a magical experience and we are so thankful to our friends and family that joined us. 

Make sure to check out all the party and holiday items that Oriental Trading has to offer on their website now!

What do you think of our Beauty and the Beast party?


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Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Cleaning Tips For a Deep Clean and a #StreakFreeShine #Ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StreakFreeShine #CollectiveBias


In three weeks our spring break begins and I start to clean the winter out of our home and get down into the nitty gritty surfaces that are only cleaned a few times a year.  I know many of you come here to learn tips and tricks to get through those areas quickly and so I am sharing my Spring Cleaning Tips for a Deep Clean and a #StreakFreeShine with Windex® Original Glass Cleaner.


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I keep a pretty tidy home, so when spring cleaning time hits, I tear my home apart cleaning every nook and cranny and ensuring that my home is sparkling.  Areas in my house that need the most attention are the glass surfaces, baseboards, appliances, blinds and our outdoor patio furniture.  I start in the kitchen, then the living room, the bathrooms and finally the bedrooms.  I grab my Windex® Original Glass Cleaner and paper towels and get to work.  I always stock up during King Soopers sales on Windex® cleaners.


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Cleaning should have been my middle name.  I seriously love this time of year.  It is a time of refresh and renewal and I always feel much better when my home is clean and rid of the dirt, junk and muggy feeling that winter brings. Starting in the Kitchen some of my major points of attack are the glass top oven, the inside and outside of the fridge, our sliding glass door and the baseboards.
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Before


Glass top ovens are awful to keep clean.  Windex® Original Glass Wipes are my go to item to get my oven sparkling.  I use 1-2 wipes and clean the top and the front of the oven and it sparkles without streaks beautifully.  Then I just run the self cleaning feature while we are out of the house and viola! Beautifully clean oven.


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After! So shiny you can see the reflection of everything.


Once I have the oven completed I always attack our fridge.  My kids love to get in and out of the fridge for snacks with sticky hands and to get water out of the door which then drips and spills and we have pretty hard water (even with a filter).  These messes along with everyday messes from typical use, make the fridge a quick target for me to tackle.


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Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner is my ideal cleaner to help remove those hard water stains from our fridge door water dispenser.  I spray this on the stains liberally, then place a paper towel over it and allow it to sit while I attack the other areas of the fridge.


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Easily one of my favorite cleaners when deep cleaning is the Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner.  It smells phenomenal and the clean is just what I am looking for to shine and disinfect my household.  I spray this all over the inside and outside of my fridge and just wipe clean.  It works amazingly. Just check out the before and afters of the inside of my fridge.
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Before

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After!
The shine cannot be beat!  No streaks, minimal effort and a disinfected, odor free fridge.  I spent all of 15 minutes cleaning the inside and outside of my fridge and that includes clearing out food.  One tip is to clean your fridge before you are due for groceries and also as you are going through your fridge, toss those old condiments and replace them with new.


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I also take on the baseboards, wipe down walls, the sliding glass door, window and cabinets using my various Windex® cleaners.  In total to deep clean my kitchen (starting with an already cleaned up kitchen) it takes me 1 hour.  Moving into the living room.  The areas that I absolutely have to clean are the big picture windows, the baseboards, the furniture and the carpet.  I always work top to bottom.  First I use the Windex® Original Glass Wipes to clean our big picture window.  


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I only do the inside of the windows and my husband takes care of the outside of the house.  I love the Windex® Original Glass Wipes because they are easy to grab and quick to use and little fuss. It is no wonder that Windex® Original is America’s #1 glass cleaner!  Moving from there I take the covers off our cushions and put those in the washer and then I tackle those baseboards.
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I pull everything away from the walls when I do this and then I run the vacuum cleaner along the carpet line.  Finally, I use the Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner and spray it on my baseboards and use a paper towel to wipe it down.  Lastly, my husband runs the carpet shampooer and then we put the room back together.  The living room takes about an hour from start to finish (not including carpet drying time) to deep clean.


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From there I move to the bathrooms.  We have 4 bathrooms.  One half bathroom, two full bathrooms with the shower/tub combo and fourth full bathroom with the shower and bathtub separated.  I clean bathrooms 2-3x a week and am constantly wiping down the normal surfaces.  What I do differently when I deep clean is that I make sure I get the mirrors, the baseboards and really scrub those tub and shower areas.


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I also go through all the drawers and cabinets and clear out old products and switch out toothbrushes too.  Bathrooms go quickly for me because they are pretty clean as it is.  I spend about 20-30 minutes doing the deep clean for each bathroom. Finally, I move to the bedrooms.  The bedrooms also include a good wipe down of the baseboards, windows and in addition, I decorate with photos and so this is the time of year that I also wipe the glass on various framed pictures in our rooms and hallways.


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Once the inside is finished, the husband and I tackle the outdoor spaces.  Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner is our cleaner of choice and does a great job cleaning and shining our patio furniture with no dull residue left behind.  


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Before


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After! Sparkling!


With that massive amount of information that I just shared with you, I thought it would be beneficial for me to share a printable checklist for you to reference and use!  You can download yours here!


Spring Cleaning Checklist.jpg


I cannot wait for spring cleaning to be in full effect in a few weeks.  I hope this post helps you find a bit of motivation and an easier starting point of areas to work on.  Please download the printable, grab your Windex® cleaning products and get to work! Don’t forget to check out Windex® on Facebook and Twitter


Tell me, what areas are you planning on tackling during spring cleaning?

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