Friday, January 27, 2017

Cleaning Dirt and Dust The Easy Way: 7 Awesome House Cleaning Tips

Let's face it, when it comes to cleaning "house", it's not always the most exciting adventure for any of us! I'm talking about cleaning up our homes.  I'm talking about elbow grease, down and dirty and some real nook and cranny cleaning!   I've got 7 awesome tips on cleaning dirt and dust the easy way and ideas to keep your laundry allergy free and whites brighter.  I'm still and always will be a believer in using natural products, when I can.  I share some good stuff in this post from my research on cleaning products and personal experiences I face when cleaning my own home.  Hope it helps with your cleaning experience too!
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TIP #1
Bissell Powerforce Powerbrush
Carpet Shampooer
*Dirt
 
 

Dirt we cannot see is absolutely the worst!!  We all have dirt in our homes..it's just the plain old truth!!  I'm sharing my carpet dirt with you today because I want you to see the value in owning a carpet cleaner.
I recently realized that I need my home carpet shampooed more often than I think.  There are so many germs on our feet and germs on others feet that track into our homes that we simply cannot see.  We don't think about the many times we step outside or step into a bathroom stall while we are out shopping and how what we walk on while we are outdoors, tracks into our house.  NASTY!!!  I invested in a carpet shampooer.  This is the best investment I could have made.  Using the shampooers from grocery stores is NOT A GOOD IDEA!  Owning your own carpet shampooer keeps your dirt as your dirt!  You feeling me??  Here's the machine I bought!  It's the BEST and it picks up the deep dirt (hair and all)...I'm keeping it REAL.  All of this dirty water & hair particles came from the carpet photos above!! This machine cost $89.99/Walmart.  Great buy & the reviews are good!  Research for yourself ;-)..I like it and it works well!


 TIP #2
Bona Microfiber Extendable Bendable Duster
*Dusting
Dust collects so much and no matter how hard we try, you just can't keep up with it!  However, with the right tools, you can manage it.  This tool is another BEST for me.  It extends out, up to 14 feet and can reach everything!!!  So, if you are short in height, no worries.  You can reach to clean high shelves and ceiling fans.  Hard to reach spots and tight spots are no longer a worry because this duster can take care of it. It picks up dust particles with ease and bendable, which makes it that much easier to get into slats.  This duster cost $19.99/Bed, Bath & Beyond.  AWESOME investment!!
 
TIP #3
Large Bottle Hand Soaps
*Germicide

Germicides
basically kill germs.  I absolutely keep hand soaps at every sink in our home.  I recently started purchasing these large bottles of hand soaps because I've become a germaphobic and for good reason.  Last year, I was very sick with sinusitis, recurring sore throats and battled coughing attacks that would not stop!  I prayed every second to get well because it didn't seem like I was going too.  While I was sick, I washed everything I touched so my husband wouldn't get sick.  I wiped off everything that we shared but most of all, I washed my hands all the time, I would say at least 10-15 times a day!!!  I found out just how important it was to have larger hand soaps in my house.  The large bottles last longer and I love the varieties to choose from.  Invest in your health.  It is so worth it!

TIP #4
Shower Liners
*Soap Scum, Mold & Mildew


 
Soap scum is some of the hardest dirt to tackle!  I wrote a post on Cleaning Tip & No-Brainer To Keep Glass Shower Doors Spotless...All The Time {5 Simple Steps}.  Take a look at it when you can.  It's the top 4 post on my LOFT101.NET "Popular Post" list.  So many people found this post written in 2015, to be helpful.  However, for this time, I felt like I had to talk more about the effects of mold & mildew and how to keep it away from you.  This suggestion is too easy and so simple.  Simply discard your shower liner when it gets dirtyMake sense?  For $5.00, you can replace your shower liner.  That's less stress than trying to clean the one that is filled with soap scum...LOL!!  It's true.  Walmart has shower liners for 5 bucks.  So please, when your shower liner is done then please be done with it and replace it to avoid additional mold & mildew building up in your shower ;-)...FYI, this photo shows how I hang my shower curtain & liner to keep my shower doors spotless!!
TIP #5
Laundering Naturally  
(Lemon, Vinegar, Peroxide Baking Soda )
*Deodorize, Reduce Odors, Disinfect & Soften
Natural products have always been a preference of mine when cleaning my home.  I use over the counter products also but I'm careful to read what chemicals make up that product.  Lemon juice should only be used on whites because it can and will bleach certain colors.  It 's a great deodorizer and brightens clothes. By using white distilled vinegar you can whiten, brighten, reduce odor and soften your clothes without harsh chemicals.  Hydrogen peroxide disinfects laundry and removes stains.  It also whitens and brightens clothes while removing stains from your laundry.  Baking soda softens the water and gently cleans your clothes.  By adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your usual amount of liquid laundry detergent, your whites will be whiter and your colors will be brighter. 
 
 TIP #6
Smaller Rugs (Machine Washable)
*Allergens


Carpets can actually have a positive impact on allergies if proper cleaning is performed.  I am a big fan of machine washable scatter rugs.  Scatter rugs are little rugs that you use in front of the doorway or at the entrance out to your deck or patio.  Being able to throw these small rugs into the washing machine at any time, will allow you to manage allergens that get trapped in carpet.  Too easy!!
 
TIP #7
Bedding
*Bacteria
I have a simple solution to avoid bedding bacteria...wash your sheets (of course your pillow cases too)!!  If need be, wash you mattress pad, coverlet, comforter etc. also.  The most important concern are your sheets! Oprah talked about this on a show she aired years ago and she talked about all of the things that happen when you don't wash your sheets, often enough.  The best advice I can share from research about bacteria when it pertains to your bedding is that you should plan to wash your sheets once per week.  Sure, it may be additional housework for you but the sweat, body oils, dead skin cells, drool and tons of other nasty things we won't mention that come from leaving your sheets on your bed too long, make this effort, so worth your time!  Please wash your sheets every week or if you don't want to wash them right away then change them by replacing them with a clean set and washing the dirty ones ASAP ;-)!!   

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yummy Recipe: Cream Cheese & Cheddar Stuffed Green Peppers

 
This recipe is one of my favorite ways to make stuffed peppers.  It can be made as a low-fat recipe by substituting your cheeses with reduced fat cheese and by using ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef.
 
Here, I'm using reduced fat cheddar, regular cream cheese and 85% lean ground beef.  Adding a dollop of cream cheese to the bottom of the green pepper is my little specialty and something "I do" to kick up the flavor a little more!!  It's also a pleasant surprise when others dig in and begin to eat.  They always say, "wow, this is good with the cream cheese on the bottom."
 
It's as easy as 1-2-3 to make and your family is going to love it!  Enjoy :-)
 
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Cream Cheese & Cheddar Stuffed Peppers
 
Preheat oven to 350
 
Here's what you need to get started:
-4 whole green peppers
 -2 pounds of ground beef will make 8 halves ( 4 whole) of green peppers. 
-Mix all ingredients shown except the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. 
-Brown meat in a medium size skillet. 
-Add seasonings to your liking using seasoned salt, garlic powder, black pepper and parsley flakes. 
-After meat has browned, drain oil and add  2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 can to 3/4 can of the tomato sauce (important:  you don't want your mixture too soupy, do not add too much sauce). 



Ok, now you need to set aside your cheddar cheese, cream cheese and olive oil.  Add a little olive oil to the bottom of your pan.  Cut each pepper lengthwise, place them in the pan and add a dollop of cream cheese to each green pepper half.

Next, add you meat mixture to the green peppers directly on top of the cream cheese. Cover with foil and place in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
.
Remove foil and peppers should now be a shade darker that indicates they have cooked properly.

Now add a slice of cheddar cheese to each green pepper and return pan to oven for 5 minutes.

Remove pan from oven after cheese melts and transfer your peppers to a serving plate. Add 1/4 of tomato sauce remaining to the top of each green pepper, serve hot and enjoy!
 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Craft Project: How To Make Vision Board Branches...A New Tool That's Cool!

Your journey is determined by the branches of your LIFE!   
 
How AWESOME is this!!  It's a another ORIGINAL idea I came up with that I think is so cool and I wanted to share it with you all.  They are called
Vision Board Branches.
I came up with this idea over the summer last year (2016) and actually taught my summer camp students how to make this awesome visualization tool.  It's not only "functional" but "fun".
I started LOFT101.net in 2014 and my tagline launched as "Introducing You To Something New" and now its 3 years later and I'm still doing my best to introduce you to something new..;-)
Keep following your DREAMS......they are closer than you realize!!

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Many of you know that I love anything to do with creating , teaching and talking about Vision Boards and have invested myself immensely in learning about ways to make "vision boarding" of any kind, fun and exciting.
Two years ago, I created a workshop called "Building A Vision Board with A Purpose" and this course is now one that I instruct at my local college. I've written blogs on how to create a vision board that you can use and shared my very own testimonies on how much of what I put on my vision board is coming true because I continue to work toward those goals!
Vision boards are more than just pictures on a poster board.  They are collages,  journals, canvas layouts, virtual pictorials
[Pinterest.com] and creative illustrations that help you with keeping your attention on your intentions
My Vision Board Branches are easy enough for children to make as well as adults.  It's easy to change, add or update your pictorials, phrases, gadgets, of your ideas, goals and expectations, as often as you want. 
Best of all, it's inexpensive to make and its literally, a part of nature.  Our trees produce the branches and paper we see and use in our daily lives.  This is such a great family time project to enjoy with your children and one that will encourage them and YOU, to begin or continue to reach for your DREAMS!
Share your comments and or pictures of your branches that you make!  I would love to hear from you.... Deb ;-)
Let's get started....
Get in touch with nature!  This is as simple as taking a walk in your backyard.  I found these branches in my backyard and cleaned them off really good.  Next, I spray painted them with a can of silver paint.  I used paint that I had in my garage but you can choose any color you like.  White would be beautiful.  Be creative and use a color that you will be drawn to.  Spray painting rather than hand painting gives the branches a nice distressed look, so I recommend spray painting :-)!

These are affirmations that I cut out from a specialty cardstock book .  You can also cut out words, phrases and favorite sayings from magazines and books you already have around your house.  The idea here is that you want to use words and phrases that identify with your goals, dream, desires etc.  You want your project to be "effective" for the purpose it is being made! 


Make sure you add a pop of color!  These words were cut out of some old greeting cards that I had not been using.  I can always find a use for something...lol!  I love the pop of pink too. 

When choosing ribbons, try to use sparkling or loud colors.  White is always safe but choosing a ribbon with vibrant colors or glitter will help bring out the overall project.

Washi Tape is great to use for this project.  It is adhesive on one side, so that makes it very easy to attach to the branch.  Washi Tape comes in a variety of colors, so have fun choosing what you like!
Now, you are ready to attach all of the fun stuff you cut out and embellish your branch with pictures and words that will create your vision board branch!  Use paper clips, miniature decorative clothespin clips, letters, etc.  Any little thing you like can be added to your branch. 
Place a Command Strip on the back of your branch and you can hang it on your wall!
 
Post-its are great for displaying on this tool.  Write a message that you want to be reminded of.  Jot down a goal or an expectation you want to reach.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Organizing Your Pantry and Office...Let's Refresh!

PANTRY CLOSET PREP 

LOFT101.NET OFFICE  REFRESH
 
 
 
 
Well, there are absolutely 2 places in my house that I love to spend most of my time in and they are the kitchen and my LOFT101.net Office!  Since, I spend so much time in each throughout the year, they tend to be the two places I constantly find myself cleaning up.  At the end of the year my pantry closet is a hot mess, from all of the cooking both my husband and I do for most occasions.  We love to cook for ourselves and for other people when they visit.  The seasonings not only get out of order, most of them end up emptied, only to be placed back in the pantry closet!  Sugar, flour, oils and everything else also gets out of place and before you know it your pantry closet is a "hot mess"!!

My office is another story in itself!  I'm happy to say that I stay busy enough throughout the year and because I do, my office takes a hit too!  Between the college classes I instruct, summer camp for the youth, vendor showing, workshops and my crafting, my office gets a good amount of use.  I'm really happy about that because busy is picking up.  LOFT101.net along with brownstonecoaching.com is finally beginning to get a little buzz and I'm getting busy working out of my office at least 3 times  week!

With that said, I'm getting organized in 2017!  I'm starting with my pantry closet and my office.  I'll share a neat idea for shelf lining your pantry shelves for less than $1.00!!  I'll share some photos of my office and how you can create space by using decorative boxes for storage and using hidden space that will keep the "not often used" items hidden and neatly out of way!  

  Let's get  ORGANIZED and let's get started.....

NEATLY ORGANIZED BOXES WITHIN BOXES!  I TOOK SMALL DECORATIVE BOXES AND FILLED THEM WITH SMALL CRAFT PIECES AND THEN I NEATLY STACKED THEM INSIDE ANOTHER DECORATIVE BOX..BIG TIME SPACE SAVER!



HAT BOXES ARE GREAT FOR STORING CRAFTS AND JUST ABOUT ANYTHING THAT WILL FIT IN THEM!  THEY ARE AVAILABLE IN PRETTY COLORS TOO!



 

NEED SOMEWHERE TO STORE YOUR SCISSORS?  I DID!!  I'M A CRAFTER SO I AVE ALL TYPES OF SCISSORS, HOLE PUNCHERS AND WIRE CUTTERS.  BY STORING THEM IN THIS CLEAR PLASTIC  BOWL, THEY ARE SAFE AND OUT THE WAY YET VISIBLE AT A GLANCE!

REMEMBER THE TOP PHOTO OF THESE RIBBONS THAT WERE TANGLED UP AND LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE READY TO BE THROWN OUT...WELL..NOT YET.  WITH A LITTLE PATIENCE AND TIME, YOU CAN ACTUALLY SALVAGE MANY THINGS BEFORE GIVING IN TO THOWING THEM OUT.  PERFECTION!! 
 
LIKE THIS PANTRY LINER???  IT'S MADE FROM A  .99 CENTS SHOPPING BAG!!  YES,  I HAVE SO MANY OF THESE BAGS FROM THE HOLIDAY AND ONES THAT I COLLECT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, SO I THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT A GREAT IDEA IT WOULD BE TO USE IT TO LINE SOME OF MY KITCHEN SHELVES.  THIS PRINT IS FROM A CHRISTMAS BAG I HAD THIS YEAR. I LOVE THIS IDEA AND EACH TIME I GO IN MY PANTRY, I'M REFRESHED FROM THIS REFRESHING IDEA!

LAY YOUR BAG OUT, CUT ON BOTH SIDES TO EXTEND THE BAG IN HALF. (THIS IS ANOTHER BAG I USED.)

ALL ORGANIZED AND HAPPY!

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