Getting ahead {with a cleaning schedule}

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Hello! Happy Monday to ya! A couple of weeks ago, I told you guys about a (completely unrelated to New Year’s) resolution I was making to manage my time better and get “ahead of the game” so to speak. I thought I’d share with you how that’s going.

So first, we started the year off celebrating. Our weekend getaway was mainly a– we paid off a bunch of money in 2013 so let’s spend some money to celebrate. It worked for us. It was also a chance for me to do absolutely nothing for an entire weekend, and let me tell ya, I’ve still got it. At home, I can’t ever sit still, but I had no problem doing exactly that while we were gone.

But besides that, hopefully you’ve noticed the two easy dinner recipes I’ve posted since then and the one about our weekend getaway. The Mississippi Crockpot Roast and Freezer Pizza Dough are two of our go to recipes around here, and both very easy. They are both ways for me to “get ahead”. I’ve also thrown a few other things in the freezer recently: Macaroni & Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo. I’m happy to say my freezer is getting full. The gumbo was leftovers and for the other two I was already making them for dinner so I just made enough extra to put a dish in the freezer. Two meals with the same amount of effort it would take for the one. That’s definitely staying ahead.

One of the other main things I mentioned in the New Year’s Resolution post was about home organization/cleaning. This is definitely somewhere that Clint and I struggle to stay focused. So to help with that, I’ve created a cleaning schedule for us. Cleaning Schedule

We’re going to hang it by the calendar in the kitchen and do our best. It’s mainly a work in progress because I’m sure there are things I forgot to put on here, but I like that there are things on here that we never think about doing, like the baseboards. The baseboards usually get cleaned in one of those panicked house cleanings because we are having some type of event at the house. That’s life people.

Wednesday is going to be my grocery related tasks day.  Clint’s mom keeps Lucas every other Wednesday so I thought that would be a great day for me to do my grocery shopping once I start my new job. Lucas has started eating more than a full grown man in the last week or two, so I’ll probably have to start buying double. I don’t know where he puts it all.

Oh and I cut all my hair off 🙂 I personally hate long hair. Clint and Shaye (my little sister) wanted me to grow it out and with the colder weather it was really driving me insane. It sticks to scarves and jackets and gets caught in them and when you pull it out it’s full of static electricity so it would stick to my face. Not to mention, I don’t like hair touching my neck. Needless to say, we weren’t getting along. I like it MUCH better now.

sara

And since it’s absolutely freezing in most parts of the country.. you should come pick up an arm knitted scarf from me. 😉 My little sister makes them, and they are super cute.. I’ll be listing a bunch more colors this week and if you have any color you don’t see let me know and I will get it.

scarves

Do you use any kind of cleaning schedule in your house, especially for those easy to forget tasks? What works for you?  

 

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I Dislike New Year’s Resolutions

I Dislike New Year's Resolutions
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If you make them, fine. But I don’t think I have ever made one and probably never will. Sometimes just because I’m stubborn, if I think of a “resolution” and it’s around the first of the year, I put it off so that it doesn’t seem like a New Year’s resolution. Isn’t that silly?

Anyhow, I’m making a resolution. Completely unrelated to New Year’s, I might add. We just need some change around this house. Now that the Christmas rush is over for my Etsy shop, you would think I’d be “caught up” with things around here, but I’m still not. Besides announcing the giveaway winner, I didn’t even get a chance to post anything here at Not Your Mainstream Mama last week.

I used to be really lazy, especially with things around the house and I envied those women that actually had the drive to keep a spotless house. Now that I’ve had Lucas (I guess I could blame it on the hormonal changes lol) I have that drive, but not enough time to get it done.

And– since I know I can’t add any time into my day, I’ve just got to manage it better. This is where Clint would pipe in that I should not be working so I could have time for these sorts of things.

The other problem is, I’m also ambitious. So not only do I want to be “caught up” with things, I really would like to be ahead. I like working that way, one step ahead of the game.

For instance:

  • I would like to have more of my Etsy orders either ready to ship or halfway made so each order doesn’t take quite as long.
  • I’d also like to have the house more presentable. It doesn’t have to be spotless for me to be happy, but I would like it to visitor ready, at least most of the time.
  • Last, I really want to start managing my kitchen better. I’d like to start meal planning better, shopping grocery sales more frequently, and cooking more freezer/crockpot meals.

By doing all of those things, I’m hoping I will have the “time” to kick my feet up and watch an episode of Mickey with Lucas or snuggle up with Clint and watch a movie.

Do you successfully stay ahead of the game in your household? What tips would you have for me and others?  

Distressed DIY Chalk Paint Media Center

Buffet Turned Media Center with Distressed Chalk Paint
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Oh aqua, how I love you!! By far, my favorite color, can you tell? Aqua Anchor Designs and now, aqua furniture in my house. Chalk paint is my kind of paint. Although it’s taken me several weeks to get this finished, it was pretty easy to do!

Just to remind you, this is what I started with when I picked this up at Goodwill:

Media Center Buffet Before
Luckily, I had vision. I told you a few weeks ago in my Living Room Inspiration post that I planned to paint this bad boy aqua.

Of course, I made my own Homemade DIY Chalk Paint. The store bought stuff is EXPENSIVE! To make mine, I mixed 3 tbsp water and 5 tbsp Plaster of Paris into a slurry. Then I mixed that with 2 cups of latex paint. This paint color is a combination of our Sunroom and Lucas’ room and I think some white too, so I can’t tell you exactly what it is, sorry!

First things first, you do not have to sand furniture you are going to paint with Chalk Paint. However, I was also told you didn’t have to prime a fridge for Chalkboard Paint and I’m still a little bitter about that. So, Clint sanded it for me the week we got it and it’s been sitting in the carport.

Media Center Buffet After Sanding

Most of my pictures are not in good light, because I work and weekends are hectic so I just use whatever chance I get to work/take pictures, sorry.

Shaye and I painted one coat on, thick, one night and this is what it looked like. Luckily for me, I was already going for a distressed look because we painted in the dark with only the carport light.

Buffet Media Center after One Coat of Chalk Paint

Then, we let that coat dry… For 2 weeks. Lol No that’s not necessary, but I just haven’t had time to finish it. By the way, this paint stores very well as long as it’s sealed air tight. I had mine in an old Cool Whip container with Press’n Seal on the top. You may have to add a little water, but I didn’t. Also, make plenty of paint! If you have to add to it, it gets clumpy and makes painting difficult– ask me how I know.

Finally, I put a second coat on (in the daylight) and I thought it looked amazing. I almost didn’t even want to distress it.

Buffet Media Center after Second Coat of Chalk Paint

I didn’t (by accident), but if I were you, I’d sand in between coats. Most imperfections and brush strokes come out pretty easily with a light sand.

After the second coat, I sanded it pretty heavily because I had a lot of brush strokes. I wonder if a foam brush would’ve been better? Any experiences to share?

Sanding Chalk Paint

Once I had it looking nice, I took some heavy grit sandpaper and distressed all of the corners and edges and in a few random spots on the flat pieces. It looked great while it was still outside. Now that it’s in the Living Room the distressing blends in and you can’t see it. So I may get the sandpaper out again.

After I was pleased with the distressing, I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural to seal the paint and give it a smooth finish. I’ve never used wax before, but I’m in love!! The top of the media center is sooo smooth now. I was hoping to get a darker wax to give it an even more distressed look, but the only option was Natural.

And that’s it. Here is our gorgeous aqua chalk painted buffet turned media center.

Door of Buffet Media Center After Chalk Paint

Buffet Media Center Corner After Chalk Paint

Chalk Painted and Distressed Media Center

Clint and I both are in love with it, which doesn’t normally happen. We’re thinking about adding another shelf on the inside for better storage of the VCR, Nintendo, and PS3. Other than that, I am EXTREMELY pleased with chalk paint, aqua, buffets turned media centers and my very own DIY’ed Chalk Paint Aqua Buffet turned Media Center. 🙂

Have you ever used Chalk Paint? Was it homemade or store-bought? Have anything sitting around that would look good painted with it? I would love to see!

 

Speaking of aqua, I have a coupon code for $5 off $20 or more orders at Aqua Anchor Designs. I have Christmas earrings and wreaths and shotgun shell earrings in stock. 😉

Etsy Coupon

Living Room Design Inspiration

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Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. I’ve been going non-stop lately! I’ve been dreaming a lot about my Living Room Design though and am definitely ready to get things moving along in there. I’m so tired of our black furniture that collects every speck of dust. I really like the Living Room Design Inspiration board I created, but wanted some opinions.

First off, here is our current wall color:

And this is very similar in color and and shape to our living room set:

We don’t want to repaint our walls because we have cathedral ceilings and the couches were a really good Craigslist find, so we’re working with what we have. I plan to make (or buy) some pillows for the couches. Hopefully like these, maybe a little more muted in color though:

 

The very first thing I plan to do is turn this into that:

I also already have a little yellow bird like this and a lamp, which I plan to paint white like Lisa from Lewisville Love did.

The very first time I saw these curtains over at The Nester’s, I fell in love. Christina at The Frugal Homemaker has a great tutorial on painting stripes onto curtains, which I plan to use very soon. 😉

The pallet coffee table is also a dream of mine. I love the dark stained look. I may or may not paint the sides white though, I haven’t decided yet and will probably have a little while longer to think about it. Ha!

And last but not least, I dream of a gallery wall. They’re so pretty! I love the way Chelsea from two twenty one color coordinated hers. I’m pretty sure I’ve decided to do color, as opposed to black and white. But I can’t decide if I want mattes or not. It does seem to make the photos pop out of the white. Maybe my white frames will do that though?And Maybe one day, I’ll devote a few of the frames to Lucas’ artwork and change them out for a new piece every now and then. I’ve been picking up lots of frames here and there, garage saling and thrifting. I’ve also picked up a few more things to be worked into it to. I think it’s going to look amazing when I get around to it.

I don’t really know what my “decorating style” is per se. I just love the modern and geometric shapes, bright colors and white, but I also love the distressed aqua buffet that is sort of shabby shic and the rustic look of the coffee table. Modern Rustic Shabby Chic, anyone?

Living Room Design Ideas

So what do y’all think? Do I have any decorating sense? I’d love to hear your suggestions for my living room design!

 

I hope you’ll be back Wednesday to find out about the 2 new loans we got in June, a big No-No for Dave Ramsey followers and I hope to have a huge announcement for you Friday!
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Fall Centerpiece + Free Banner Printable

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I love decorating my house, especially for the holidays. I haven’t done very much of it until recently though because decorations are so expensive and I’m cheap. I’ve found my crafty side recently though and I love it. A year ago I would have never considered using a vase for anything other flowers. Today, I have a vase filled with popcorn kernels as part of my Fall Centerpiece. Hopefully, some of you will relate to that so that you aren’t all laughing at me.

Fall is by far my favorite season of the year, with October being my favorite month and Thanksgiving being my favorite holiday and all.  I love the colors of Fall! Do you think it would be bad to decorate my house for Fall and leave it that way all year long?

I love this centerpiece. It’s fun and original and worked really well for Halloween with my felt bats and my chalkboard BOO! sign. And then I just so easily switched out the bats for an Autumn banner and the BOO! for a cornucopia.

Fall Halloween Centerpiece

The cornucopia was a Garage Sale $0.50 find. The vase is just filled with plain popcorn kernels and I made the printable Autumn banner myself and hot glued it around a piece of twine.

Here’s the link for the banner if you would like it for your personal use. The print size can be adjusted so it can be printed larger than my banner. Instructions are included in the file.

The pumpkin took some work though.

For my book pumpkin, I used a thin book (about ½ inch thick) we had that had a thin paperback spine. I opened it up, traced what I thought would be a good half pumpkin shape and used my Xacto knife to cut through as many pages as possible. Then, I would pull out the paper I wasn’t using, use the cut out I had just made to trace the pattern on the top of the next page and cut again. Sorry, I don’t have pictures of this part. Here’s the basic shape I used below. I did have to go back and cut the bottom at more of an angle. I angled it in toward the center, which helped the pages rest on the table.

Once I was done I pulled the cover, including the spine, off of my pumpkin. Then I used a hot glue gun to glue the spine in half on itself. Here’s a picture:

Pumpkin Shape Cut Out Fall Centerpiece

My book really wasn’t thick enough, so it was hard to get it to fold over on itself. Once the glue was dry, I set the pumpkin up and started to fan out the pages. If you didn’t cut the bottom of the pumpkin at the right angle, you’ll be able to notice it now because the pages won’t stay opened right.

I had to glue some pages together where natural gaps would form. In the process of fanning the pages out, I ripped off my stem. So I took a piece of string I had laying around and wrapped it around it to make it look like I had done it on purpose and hot glued it back in place. 😉

Stem of Pumpkin

Once I was happy with what I had, I added some paint. I didn’t want the paint to be too bright since I was going for more of a rustic look, so I diluted it with water hoping it would look more subtle:

Orange Acrylic Paint with Water

Then, I used a dry paintbrush and just pressed it along the edges of the book in sections. Once you have them all painted, fan the sections out again or they will dry stuck together and you may rip the pages pulling them apart.

Applying Acrylic Paint to Pumpkin

When I brought my pumpkin inside I noticed a piece of green wire on the counter and wrapped it around a pencil and made vines for my pumpkin. I still have no idea where that wire came from.

Fall Centerpiece with Autumn Banner

I’ve never seen anything like it, so I’m pretty thrilled with this pumpkin. If I make another one and when you make yours, use a thicker book. Probably something close to an inch think would fill in much better.

Do you decorate for the Seasons? Do you buy readymade decorations or are you cheap like me do you enjoy to make them yourself?

DiY Fabric Tray

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Happy Monday Everyone! This DiY Fabric Tray makes me happy. It’s just so darn cute!

Remember this old ugly cookie sheet I got for $0.35 at a garage sale a few weeks back? This one here:
middle

 

For my DiY Fabric Tray I used:

Ugly cookie sheet

Enough fabric to cover my cookie sheet

Spray adhesive

Mod Podge

Foam brush to apply Mod Podge

I picked out some pretty fabric to cover it, which maybe ran me about $3. It was on sale and I bought some other fabric too, so I can’t remember exactly. First, cut it down to size if you have too much fabric. Then, spray the top of the cookie sheet with spray adhesive and lay the fabric from one end to the next, making sure there are no bubbles and smoothing the fabric out as you go. You can pull the fabric up and put it back down, but spray adhesive is very sticky!
DiY Fabric TrayOnce I was pleased with the top I sprayed each of the edges and pushed the fabric into all the grooves on the top of the pan and turned it over to get started on the back. I tried to make it look as neat as possible by folding it like I would gift wrap. Do your best not to touch any spray adhesive. I tested all the folding before spraying the adhesive, though. DiY Fabric Tray BackThen I sprayed it and folded over the fabric. Once your finished, go get some Baby Oil and wash your hands with it to remove all of the spray adhesive. You’re welcome for that 😉DiY Fabric Tray Finished BackI let that dry for about an hour and then started applying Mod Podge. I had some homemade Mod Podge but was too scared to try it on my pretty tray, next time though. You just paint it on, covering evenly. My advice is to do one side at a time and let that dry. I didn’t and had paper stuck to the Mod Podge and spent forever with tweezers pulling all the paper out of the dried Mod Podge. Fun times!DiY Fabric Tray Mod PodgeAfter I had pulled all of the stuck on paper off the corners, this is what I have:DiY Fabric Covered TrayI love the way the fabric sits in the grooves. That’s my favorite part, I’m not even really sure why. It just looks so clean. I had thought of putting this on Clint’s nightstand to hold a photo frame and our phone chargers, but it’s too big. I think I’m going to leave it in the middle of the coffee table for now. I do think it would make a great addition to a DiY gift basket for someone though.

What would you do with a tray like this? Have you ever Mod Podge’d fabric before? 

DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator

DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator Feature
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I love love love Chalkboard Paint! Now, instead of cluttering up the refrigerator with grocery lists and reminders for this and that, I can just write it straight on our DiY’ed Chalkboard Refrigerator. Amazing!

I’ve heard that Chalkboard Paint can be pretty expensive though, so I decided to DiY it. I already had black paint anyway, which is the color I wanted to paint the fridge. All you need are paint and Non-Sanded Grout. I’ve been told that it HAS to be Non-Sanded, so pay attention when you’re buying it. I think this container was around $5, but it will go a long way. You only need 2 Tablespoons of grout for every cup of paint.

Non-Sanded Grout Chalkboard Paint

This is how I did mine, although if I were to do it again, I’d change a few things. I’ll include those notes towards the bottom of the post.

Refrigerator Before CHalkboard Paint

 First, I had Clint take the handle off of the fridge for me. Then, I cleaned the entire area that I would be painting, really good. Then, I sanded it with an orbital hand sander with fine grit sandpaper. I was just trying to rough it up to make sure the paint would stick.

Sanded Refrigerator for Chalkboard Paint

Next, I taped off all of the stuff I didn’t want painted. Then, I rolled the paint on. I used a small foam roller. It went on really easy, sort of too easy. The roller would slide to the sides through the paint if I didn’t pay close attention. The first coat chalkboard paint looks really bad. Don’t get scared like I did. I let that dry for about an hour (probably should’ve waited longer) and did a second coat.

Second Coat of Chalkboard Paint Going On

It still wasn’t perfect, so I came back and did a third coat.

I got caught up with life and didn’t get back around to the fridge for a few weeks. So it had a while to cure waiting on me. Before we used it, we rubbed chalk all over it and let it sit for a day. Then I used a damp rag to wipe it of. It isn’t going to wipe super clean like the chalkboards in Elementary School, but that’s part of the look, in my opinion.

DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator Finished

THE MISTAKES I MADE:

 

First of all, when I make up another batch of the paint I’m going to sift the grout. The grout chunks up like flour would and the chunks stayed in the paint even once it was rolled on. If you wiped your hand across the surface they would break down and peel the paint.

Secondly, I will prime the entire surface and sand a little better. The paint is staying on relatively well now that it has had a week or two to harden up, but at first it would come off pretty easily. Just to be safe, I would prime the surface first. I will probably be redoing mine shortly, with primer. This is why:

Peeling DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator Paint

Paint around logos or handles or whatever else first and then pull off the painter’s tape I guess. Our painters tape pulled paint off, which was still wet, from around the logo. I had to go back and fill it in with a small paintbrush.

Peeling Chalkboard Paint on Refrigerator

 

TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN USING DIY CHALKBOARD PAINT:

 

A little bit went a very long way on this fridge.

The first coat is always going to look horrible.

Sift the grout.

Sand with fine grit sandpaper between coats, if needed.

Leftovers can be saved in a mason or other airtight jar.

Do not use chalk pens. You should only use real pieces of chalk on DiY Chalkboard Paint.

Use a damp rag to wipe off chalk.

Have you ever used Chalkboard Paint, DiY’ed or store bought? What projects will you/have you done with it? 

Linked up:

Thank you so much to Jennifer Blissfully Ever After for featuring me!