Category Archives: Houshold Tips

Paint Brush Storage Trick

I’ve learned a smart way to store paint brushes during all of our renovation adventures. I thought I’d pass it along as a handy tip!

When you have to put two coats of paint on something it’s a pain to wash the brushes out only to use them again the next day. The old stand by of wrapping the wet brushes in a grocery store bag works great, but with as many rooms as we were painting it was getting confusing! Which brush was which paint?! It was annoying. So we started storing them in clear plastic storage bags and labeling them with which room it was for. Genius! Now we can easily see which paint color the brush is for and it saves us a ton of time when more than one coat is needed!

If you have a big painting job ahead of you, give it a try!

Being Germ Aware without Being a Germaphobe

I think it’s easy to become a germaphobe these days, don’t you?  With the bird flu and swine flu and all other kinds of weird non-animal named diseases floating around it’s no wonder we all aren’t contagious with something!

I can see myself being a germaphobe. I have some clean freak tendencies and OCD type quirks about me (I know, you are shocked, aren’t you?). But there are ways to be aware of the germs around us and teach our kids healthy habits without going overboard.

Here are my tips:

Stop using antibacterial soaps. I know you think we should be doing the opposite considering the nastiness that is out there, but some germs are good for us. When we cut out all bacteria, we are not giving our bodies a chance to learn how to fight it off. Also, it can lead to creating those super bugs we hear about in the news! If you’ve ever noticed, an antibacterial laden home is often the sickliest home.

Stick to regular soap! Using a simple non-fancy soap will clean your hands well enough. Just remember to wash thoroughly and for more than 20 seconds.

Use less antibacterial hand sanitizers. For the same reasons I mentioned above with the soap, antibacterial hand gels are not always necessary to use.  Now I’ve been known to squirt some on our hands after we’ve been at the store and won’t be getting to a sink for awhile. Especially if it’s a second-hand store or the children’s museum where every child on the planet with a snotty nose has touched everything my child touched. Antibacterial hand wipes and gels do come in handy, but again, being exposed to some germs (yes! even in public!) is ok!

Teach your kids about hand washing. Now, with all that said, I will also say this: I have always taught my kids about washing their hands. After the bathroom, after school, when we get home from the store, before they eat anything. These are general good hygiene lessons that we all need to stick by. And yes, during flu season, wash a little more often. Like when you cough and blow your nose. That is not being obsessive. That is being clean. I have also told my kids that when they are told to clean their hands before lunch (most schools do a hand sanitizer line) to ask to go to the bathroom and just use soap and water when possible. Hand sanitizers do not take off dirt and dried up glue or boogers.

Step away from the bleach. You do not need to use bleach to clean your house! I mean, sure, if someone has the stomach flu and has barfed all over your kitchen floor you may want to get some bleach on that, but everyday cleaning does not need to be so harsh! Simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar go a long way in cleaning your home. Or just buy some cleaner at the store, but try to stay away with cleaners using harsh chemicals and bleach. You just don’t need it! Check out this site which lists some easy to make homemade cleaners.

So there ya have it. What are your stay healthy but not act like a crazy person germ tips?

PS – Sorry for using the words barf and boogers in the same post. I have boys.

Boiling An Egg…Perfectly

 Boiling an egg sounds like it should be the easiest cooking skill out there, but it can be very tricky!  After googling and testing, here are the tricks that I have found to get the best looking, easiest to peel hard boiled egg!

Cover eggs with cold water in a pot.  Not too much water, just enough to cover the eggs well.

Place pot on a burner turned up to high heat.  Once the water begins to boil (like a rolling boil), set a timer for 3 minutes.

When the timer goes off, quickly take the pot off the burner and cover with a tight lid.  Set the timer for 8 minutes.

After 8 minutes, rinse the eggs off with cold water for a minute. Let the eggs soak in cold water for a few minutes to cool off. They peel best if you place in the fridge for about an hour.

I colored mine for a pretty Easter centerpiece.  I wish I could tell you exactly how I got these lovely colors. I think it was just luck! But here’s what I did:

2/3 cups water, boiling
2 tbs vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar cause it’s all I had which I think helped make the colors so rich)
About 10 drops of food coloring. I used yellow, blue and green.
And I used brown eggs which definitely helps the colors to be more earthy.
Dip cooled, boiled eggs in colored water. I let mine sit in their for about 10-15 minutes.
Let dry on a paper towel.

So pretty!

Household Chores – Dividing Up The Work

My blogging/twitter/Vermont friend Crunchy Vermont Mommy wrote a post about the Division of Household Labor in her home.  I started leaving her a comment on her post and felt like there was way too much to say so I thought I’d write about it here!  Thanks V, for the inspiration!

So the question is, How do you divide up the work in your household? Every home is different, I’m sure, especially considering if you work or stay home. I’m a stay at home Mom.  With the exception of some part time jobs here and there, I haven’t really worked since my first son was born.  It’s been a real blessing and I’m very grateful that my husband has made so many sacrifices so that I could.  Because of that, I do not expect him to do any of the household chores.

Matt works long, hard hours.  I believe as a stay at home wife/mom that it is my job to take care of the household duties.  When he comes home, I have dinner ready and the house cleaned up as often as possible.  I’m all 1950’s like that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I put my kids to work.  Big time.  If they make a mess, I leave it for them to pick up.  And the boys earn video game time and allowance by doing chores as well. (I’m working on a post about kids and chores too!)  After dinner, we all help take care of the mess together.  But the majority of things around here are done by me.  And I don’t…can’t…complain.  It’s my job. And I take it very seriously!

The wonderful thing about my husband though is that because he knows that I don’t expect his help with the everyday household stuff, he always willingly helps around the house.  If things need to be picked up, he’s right there jumping in.  He’s one of the most involved husbands/fathers I’ve ever seen. (Don’t be jealous that I found him first) And I know that he doesn’t expect to come home to dinner and a clean house, which makes me all the more willing to do it. It’s my way of showing him that I’m grateful for how hard he works and he tells me all the time how he appreciates what I do.  I think when you share that mutual appreciation for what the other contributes, it naturally drives you to try harder.

One thing I have never done alone though, is taking care of the kids.

They are not my kids, they are OUR kids.  

Can I get an AMEN?!

We share the care of the kids in the evenings and on weekends.  Homework, baths, bedtime…it’s never assumed that I’ll handle it all because I’m a stay at home Mom.

The kids are not my job, they are our children.

I pretty much made sure my husband knew that from the beginning.  He has always more than willing to be involved with the care of the kids, but I never let him off the hook!  Don’t let that man off the hook, ladies!  Make him change diapers and give baths…those are his kids too! During the day, sure, the stay at home Mom (or Dad) does all the childcare, but when you are all home together, it’s all hands on deck!

OK, maybe I’m getting a little off subject, but I think you get my point.  It always comes down to my mantra…

I’m the Mom NOT the maid.

Or childcare provider, for that matter.

Taking care of the majority of the household duties does not mean that I am the maid of the house.  We have pretty clear cut standards set about what is expected of each of us when it comes to cleaning up after ourselves.  I think that is very important, even when the kids are young, so you do not end up with a family that treats you like the maid.

Even if you are a stay at home mom, that does not mean that the kids don’t have to do chores and your husband doesn’t have to help with the kids.  I believe if you are doing the majority of the cooking and cleaning and generally trying very hard to run your household well, (IE not sitting around eating bon-bons and watching soaps every day then telling the kids to vacuum when they get home and tell your husband to pick up take out) that everyone else should pitch in when they can.

I’m sure as the years progress and the boys get older and more involved in school and sports that they will not be able to do as many household chores and I’m ok with that.  Right now I’m instilling the ideas that even if your woman stays home, you still help her and respect what she does.  I think because my attitude is in the right place that this all works for me.  I willingly take care of the majority of chores in exchange for the freedom of staying home. I am totally #winning.

Matt and I have had many conversations about it all as well. Which I highly recommend. You can’t expect a household to run smoothly when you are not on the same page about who does what.  Maybe your husband expects you to do all the dishes till the end of time because you “don’t work”.  Sit him down and explain that you want to teach the kids that everyone helps and you are not the maid.  Explain the whole “these are not just my kids” scenario and (nicely, calmly) discuss the roles in your household.  Discuss expectations.  Clearly say thank you to each other for what you contribute, show appreciation (men like that).  I guarantee when you offer appreciation and show that you notice your partner’s hard work, they will work harder as well and return the appreciation. And if they don’t then slap them across the head and tell them to snap out of it. (I’m so good at advice!)

I’d love to hear how other families split up the household chores, tell me how you make it work! We can all use fresh ideas!

Keeping Your Recipes Organized

I love finding new recipes.  I usually don’t follow them very well, but I do love them.  I’m a fan of making a recipe my own, but I get a lot of ideas from magazines, food blogs and frequent emails from various online subscriptions.

The question is, what in the heck do you do with all of those ideas and recipes?!  Anyone out there have a stack of magazines “just in case” you want to try that recipe on page 32?  Or how about having SO many online recipes bookmarked in your favorites that you it takes you an hour just to scroll through them?

I am a lover of all things organized and I just hate finding a recipe a year after I saved it!  So here is a system that I came up with to keep my recipes organized, easy to find, and on hand!

I have a photo album type binder that I use to keep my favorite, most frequently used recipes in.  I use the “sticky” album pages for recipes that I cut out of magazines and I use page protectors that are hole punched for full sheet articles and pages that I’ve printed.

You can use any ol’ binder or photo album (mine just happens to be a cooking one given to me by my Aunt years ago (thanks, Aunt Jodi!).  Stick some divider tabs in there and label them so it works best for you and Voila!  You have an easy and organized way to keep only the recipes you love and toss the stacks of magazines!

I also have a folder similar to this filled with decorating ideas. You can use this binder system with any kind of articles you want to keep without needing to keep entire magazines or losing them in your emails and bookmarks!

If you like having your recipes stored on your computer (I do save some on there as well) be sure to organize them to make them easier to find.  It only takes a second to make folders in your bookmarked favorites and then save new recipes you find from here or other blogs into those folders. Here is a screen shot of what mine looks like:

Another type of recipe binder I like is this one where you can write down your recipes onto recipe cards and insert into the book.

What are your favorite ways to keep your recipes organized?

Aren’t those recipe cards hilarious! I found them on Etsy and just had to share! Check them out HERE!

Home Tour

So a bunch of fellow moms who blog came up with a really fun way to get to know one another by inviting each other into their homes with pictures and videos on their blogs. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun and we have a ton of family and friends from out of town who have never been to our home, so I thought this would be a great chance to welcome you all into our home, even if you are thousands of miles away!

I don’t know how to the the pretty collage pictures some of the other fancy ladies did, and I don’t have time to learn how to do it today, so this will just be a realy long post.  But that’s ok, because if you were actually here, it would only take about 30 seconds to give you the tour.  So making you take a few minutes is kind of nice.  🙂

Our house is super small, it is the first home that we purchased. We have quickly out grown it and have it up for sale right now (BUY IT! I’ll give you a great deal!). We have lived here for 7 years. I really do like the house. It’s cute and cozy, we know every corner of this house. But I am looking forward to a bigger house soon, one with just a few more corners to get to know.

This is my favorite part of the front yard.  I have had this old rocking chair for forever and it’s falling apart, but that’s why I like it.

Here is the living room.  We just got this furniture a few months ago.  It’s amazing how much nicer the room looks with new furniture.  Before it was all, “We’ve been raising babies for several years, please pardon the puke stains” now it’s all, “Look at us, we’re adults!”

One of my favorite things in this room is the furniture.  My husband says it’s uncomfortable, I say it’s beautiful.  We know beauty comes before comfort, right ladies?  The ottoman opens up and stores all of our Wii remotes and accessories and blankets and pillows, another one of my favorite things.  I also love this big letter L which I received for review here.  I don’t know why I love it so.  It stands for our last name, our family, who we are.  We are the Lehmans.  And we’re proud of it!  And it’s pretty, that helps too.

Now into the boys room…

All three boys share this room.  It works well.  It’s crowded, but we make it work. They only sleep and get dressed in here.  We fit them all using a trundle bed under the bunk beds which you will see below.  Our boys have shared this room for a few years now so they are quite used to being cramped together.  Chandler is 9 and looking forward to having his own room really soon though. Students working on their interior design degrees also know that comfort comes first.  He wants a surf room so everything in the room will be his when we move.  It’s all relatively new.  We repainted and decorated to give the room a little charm while selling.

Here is the closet in the boy’s bedroom.  Right now they have clothes in the dresser, the rest is my scrapbooking stuff which is awaiting it’s own room, hopefully very soon.

And, now we are at the play room, which usually has legos spread all over the floor.

The play room closet, otherwise known as, The Arsenal.

 Annnnnd, the playroom 30 seconds after I took pictures.

Now, our room.  I redecorated a couple of years ago.  Our 10th anniversary was coming up so I wanted to redo the room to reflect our honeymoon in Jamaica.  I decorated the whole room with this vase as my inspiration piece.  Matt bought it for me on our honeymoon from a street vendor and it’s one of my favorite things.  It reminds me of our honeymoon, quite possible THE happiest we have ever been.  Not to mention rested…and tan…and thin…the list goes on.

Every picture in the room is from our honeymoon.  I plan to have these ones above our bed blown up really big for the walls of our room when we get a bigger house.  (I know, I have lots of plans for that future house, don’t I!)

The bathroom…I don’t think I have to tell how ready I am to not share a bathroom with three little boys.

Last, but not least since it’s my favorite room in the house, is the kitchen.  It’s big and has a decent amount of cabinet and counter space.  And just enough room to house our huge antique table and buffet which belonged to Matt’s grandmother.  He has refinished it, put a lot of work into it and I just love it.

The laundry room, errrr, closet, in the kitchen.

Like my sewing machine cover?  My mom makes them, among other super cute things, at her etsy shop, Homespun Expressions.  Check it out!

Oh, wait, I forgot the back yard!  We love the back yard.  The huge tree gives us a ton of shade and the greenery that fills the back is just lovely in the summer. It’s also really big, perfect for family baseball games!

Of course, the backyard is usually littered with dump trucks and buckets full of dirt and worms…

And there you have it!  What do you think?  I promised some of you messy pictures, but I would have had to actually mess something up to do that.  LOL, YES, my house stays pretty clean.  BUT, I have three boys who are all getting older and clean up after themselves.  And I’m proud of how clean my house is, I work hard at it!  I don’t watch tv during the day to distract me.  I do check facebook and twitter and blog, and play legos…but I still manage to keep my house pretty clean.  Here’s how, just in case you wondering.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by the longest #twitterhometour ever.  Hopefully, by the time we do this again, I will have a bigger home to show you!!  And it will take you an hour to read my post!  YAY!

I will look forward to checking everyone else’s home tours out soon…and you can too!  Check them out by clicking on the button below!

Laundry Tips…Exciting? You May Be Surprised!

OK, maybe not that exciting. But laundry is about as rambunctious as it gets around here, minus the light saber fights, that is.  So here are some tips for making your laundry day, you know, better.

*First of all, check out my Homemade Laundry Soap post.  Now go make some and watch everyone say, “Wow, she even makes her own laundry soap?!”

*Hit your spin cycle one more time. No, that’s not a new Brittany Spears song, it’s a laundry tip.  With really heavy loads like sheets, towels and jeans, you can run the spin cycle a second time to get rid of excess water.  Your dryer will work less as hard saving time and energy!

*Wash out your lint trap.  Don’t just wipe out the lint.  Once in awhile, run it under some warm water and get all of that residue off the lint trap.

*Stinky Washer
If you deal with a stinky washing machine, this may actually be exciting for you.  Does your washer have that nasty mildew smell?  Do your towels always end up with the small as well?  Mildew smell is one of my least favorite things and I searched everywhere for an answer to the problem.  Here are a few!

The inner basin of your washer remains wet long after your load is done.  Then you close the washer lid and that wetness sits and ferments and gets moldy and full of that nasty mildew smell.  So here is what you can do to clean it up and then keep it clean!

*Leave the lid up!  No men, we are not talking about the toilet here, don’t get excited.  Leave your washing machine lid open to give it time to air out.  Just this one act alone will help rid that smelly washer problem!

*Use less soap!  You do not actually need to use as much laundry soap as the measuring cup that comes in the box suggests.  Too much laundry soap clogs up the basin and makes it easier for the build up to happen in the first place.  So use about half of what you use now and see what a difference it makes.  You’ll also save money while using less soap!

*Run a hot load once in awhile.  Washing your laundry in cold water is great for saving energy but it’s good for your washing machine to run a hot load here and there as well.  So run at least one load a week in hot.  I usually do my towels in hot since they are white.  That hot water is very helpful in washing out your basin.

*Products to clean your washer with:  If your washer is super duper stinky, you may need to take some drastic measures.  Such drama, I know.

-Vinegar: Good old fashioned vinegar can clean that mess right up! Just use1/2 cup vinegar on a warm soak cycle and then run a hot cycle.

-Bleach: You can run a load or two of whites with some bleach in it and it will help clean out your basin as well.  Con: Bleach can be harsh and smell very strong.  But if it’s all you have, it should do the job!

Smelly Washer: I wasn’t a fan of the smells using the two products above so I found this product and bought it.  It really helped rid my washer of it’s nastiness. I like that it is made with all natural ingredients and for as long as the bottle lasted, the price is very reasonable!

See, that was exciting, wasn’t it?! Happy Laundry!