Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A few updates.

so, the house cleaning thing is going really well.  Turns out when I keep the main area of my house clean I go looking for other things to clean so I have subsequently gone and cleaned every messy cluttered place in my house.  Closets, shelves above the washer and dryer, coat closet.  I've even taken a stab at the garage, but it was a very small stab cuz it's FRICKING COLD OUT.  I'll try again when it's warmer.  I did manage to get together a good sized load to Goodwill though, so that was good. And I cleared out some clothes I'm not wearing, sold some to Runway Exchange, and everything I couldn't sell I donated.  I've also decided we're selling our workout bike.  It never worked well for either Caleb or me, it's just taking up space.

In my quest to clean and organize everything I've made Goodwill, the Dollar Store and Walmart my bitch.  At Goodwill I found one of those hanging shoe organizers, and I set myself a goal to get all my and my husband's shoes into it, maximum two pairs per pocket, (this was allowed because flip flops don't take much space.) and anything that didn't fit I had to get rid of.  So I managed to clear out four or five pairs of shoes.  This challenge enters hard mode when winter ends, and I cycle my seasonal shoes. I don't have more boots than flip flops, but boots sure take up a lot more space.

I bought a bunch of little baskets and boxes at the Dollar Store and managed to organize the drawer where I keep all the measuring things and spoons and other random kitchen gadgets. (you know the one.  Everyone has one, and it's usually just a pile of stuff dumped in there randomly.  mine is no longer random.) The Dollar Store also had a large collection of collapsible fabric boxes that I used to organize things in my closet and the laundry room.

At Walmart I bought a bunch of wire baskets that I've hung in my pantry and medicine cabinet to organize all the little bottles.  I also bought some hanging shelf organizers and a little plastic chest of drawers for Shannon's room and filled them with her toys rather than just have them on the floor of her closet. It'll be easier for her to keep her room clean if her toys are better organized.

I really want to get some lazy susans for the top shelf of my pantry where I keep all my spices. I put the ones I use most often in the baskets, but there's a lot more in there, and the shelf is really deep, making it difficult to find things sometimes.

OOH! ALSO!  Based on some things I read I decided to try Mr Clean's Magic Erasers.  Those things are ACTUALLY MAGIC.  I'm talking frigging WITCHCRAFT.  I took them to scribbles on the walls in Shannon's room and I didn't even have to try to get them off.  Some of the black marks were made by a magnet that was dragged on the wall and I couldn't believe it worked.  And it didn't hurt the paint! The previous owner of our house repainted everything before we moved in, but she did it with sure cheap gross flat paint, and every time I try to clean the walls with a wash cloth I just end up rubbing the paint off, but I can scrub really hard with the erasers without taking paint! It's amazing! And it gets the crap off my glass cooktop, and I didn't think anything would do that.  My stove looks like new again.  But the most impressive was that they could actually clean the dried foundation off the walls of my vanity. I've tried everything to clean that off, because I don't really like having my walls splattered with makeup, but I couldn't even scrape it off with my fingernails.  It was stupid.  But now I can!  I have to scrub pretty hard with the erasers, but it works where nothing else does.  I may be in love.

I have also stumbled across LA's Totally Awesome cleaner, which I've read many good things about, so I'm giving that a try as well.  I used it to clean my showers and toilets yesterday, I was reasonably pleased. Not raving yet, but it didn't have to work very hard on the toilet and showers since I've been keeping those clean.

So yeah. Cleaning is going really well.  I'm running out of extra things to clean, but I think that's a good thing.  I even moved my washer and dryer out and cleaned under them- let me tell you, that was horrifying.

as for the vanity things- I said I wasn't doing the hair thing, I have rinsed with vinegar once or twice, I don't really notice a difference.  I'm going to try doing hair masks with aloe vera, it's supposed to be good, plus make your hair grow faster.

I'm loving the oil cleansing on my face.  My skin is very soft and it seems to be helping with blackheads.  I'm getting some dry spots right on the apples of my cheeks, so I might need to adjust to less castor oil and more olive oil.  I do the oil every night, and a honey mask after every shower.  In the shower I use a paste of baking soda and water to exfoliate.  I wasn't using any moisturizer, but I've started now in the last day or so, just a little bit on the dry spots.  I'll adjust my oil after I've used up this batch. so aside from my makeup, which I only wear two days a week or so anyways, my face is almost entirely all natural.  I wonder if the dry spots is just my skin adjusting to not being covered in chemicals? I dunno.  I'm gonna stick with it and see what happens.

surprising no one, I'm having a hard time working out.  I'm trying to just do my ten minute video every day, and it's kinda iffy. ah well. I'm working on it.

On the theme of making things run better, I'm also working on a budget, because Caleb wants to get a new car.  The PT Cruiser broke down, and we got it fixed, but we don't want to just sit and wait until it breaks again. so that means more money going out, and my little brother who lives with us will quite likely be moving out in the next few months, and that means less money coming in.  We spend a lot of money on food, so I'm reasonably certain if I work out a budget and plan my meals for the month I can knock some money off my grocery bill.  which we can definitely use.  I'm always seeing those blog posts about women that feed a family of five on $400 a month, and my initial response is always "Bullshit." I'm feeding a family of three on $600 a month.  but after thinking about it, I don't spend money on food very carefully.  So if I plan it out, I bet I can be one of those women. My goal is to cut spending in half.  A family of three on $300 ought to be doable right?  Shoot, I'd be happy with $400.  And maybe we'll eat healthier too, if I'm planning what we eat.

Ooh! speaking of healthy food, I made something for lunch and it was delicious.  I wanted to put the recipe here so I don't forget.

Tilapia, Cucumber and Tomato Wrap

one tilapia fillet
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
half a cucumber, diced
about 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley (I have a theory that this would be delicious if it was cilantro instead.)
about 3 cloves of garlic, minced
about 2-3 tbsp sour cream
salt and pepper
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
whole wheat tortillas

cook the tilapia in a skillet with the butter/olive oil, rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic, and lemon juice. salt and pepper if desired. cook until white all the way through.
while cooking, combine tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, sour cream, and one clove of garlic.  Salt and pepper to taste.
when fish is cooked, break into little pieces and mix with vegetables.  spoon into tortilla and eat!

it was amazing.  it made two wraps that I ate, and enough for one more that I saved for later.

I've been working on healthier eating, hopefully this won't be too difficult.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, I guess.

Once again I'm going on a whirlwind of vanity.  I hate my body and I hate hating my body.  I'm gonna take a stab at changing that. We all know how good I am at committing to that, but I've got to try, right? one of these times it might stick.

first of all, I'm experimenting with some natural skin and hair care to save money and see if it works. supposedly this stuff works better than the crap I buy, so we'll see.  I'm switching to the Oil Cleansing Method for my face, using a mixture of 1/3 extra virgin olive oil and 2/3 castor oil. I opted for a higher percentage of castor oil based on my oily zit prone skin. I may adjust this. I'm also going to be frequently doing honey masks. basically just smearing my face with honey and letting it sit.

for hair, I'm using a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon baking soda instead of shampoo and a mix of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar instead of conditioner.  we'll see how that goes.

I'm going to start trying the p90x video for abs that we have.  every day, for as long as I can, except for Fridays and Saturdays. too much going on those days. slim my fricking flubby waist.  I'm so sick of feeling fat.  I won't wear half of the clothes in my absurdly crowded closet because I feel like I look fat.  whether I do or not is beside the point.  I do know I have gained weight, I do know I'm on the upper edge about to fall off of healthy weight for my height.  AND I FEEL BAD.  If I do something about it I know I'll feel better.

I'm also thinking I'm going to add hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to my teeth brushing routine. why not?  let's cover all the bases.

I've started taking biotin every day as well, since that's supposed to help improve my skin hair and nails.  don't care about the nails so much, but whatever.

Incidentally, this isn't a vanity thing, but it is something I'm starting that will help me feel better about myself.  I found a good checklist of house cleaning chores broken up by day to help maintain a clean house which I am now trying to follow.  Everyone knows a clean house feels better, and I won't feel so lazy and useless if I can keep things clean.  I hate when the house is messy, because I only work part time and that's early in the morning.  I spend the rest of the day lying around and feeling sorry for myself, being really bored.  It's really pathetic.  There is no reason for the house to get so messy.  I've only got one kid, two when Eloise is over, there's no reason to be so helpless.  plus maintaining is easy.  Yesterday it took a while, like several hours, to get the cleaning done since the house was messy, today it took like a half hour. it was nice. if I keep it up it'll be like that every day.


so let's see if I can stop being so useless.\

***EDIT*** I bailed on the baking soda thing.  my brother in law the physics pain in the ass made some snarky comment about how that would only increase the alkalinity of my hair and destroy it.  I did a bit more research and I think I agree.  dammit, I hate when he's right.  I'll never tell him though. still doing the vinegar, but maybe once a week at most.