The Hidden Benefits of Houseplants

Houseplants probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind for most when it comes to home maintenance. Surprisingly, these little plants add more than aesthetics to anyone’s decor. So, what are the benefits of having them and how can they aide in home maintenance?

Houseplants have been found to reduce dust and mold in your environment, which means less dusting for you and better air quality! Speaking of air quality, house plants can purify and add moisture to your air.

Your home’s environment and air aren’t the only receivers of the benefits, you are too! Adding plants to your space can boost your mood, relieve stress, and help provide restful sleep. Adding plants to a variety of rooms in your home will expand the benefits you can receive.

If you are a beginner at caring for plants, you may need to do some research to find the right ones for you. It’s a good idea to factor in the time you have to care for a plant. For example, a plant that doesn’t need a lot of watering, like a cactus, would be ideal if you are busy, travel often, or tend to forget about plants. A snake plant would be a good option if your home doesn’t get much natural light.

Some great plants to consider for beginners and are easy to care for are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Lucky Bamboo
  • Succulents
  • Snake Plant
  • Spider Plant
  • Cacti

Certain plants can provide added benefits compared to others. For example, you can use the aloe plant to help with skin issues and sunburns. Be sure to research which plants work best for what benefit you are looking for!

All in all, incorporating plants into your space can offer more than just decoration by providing health benefits and improving your home’s environment. Who knew bringing a little outside to the inside of your home could provide such an array of benefits!

Keep Going Green!

Sources:

https://www.swansonsnursery.com/blog/health-benefits-of-houseplants

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/indoor-plants-can-instantly-boost-your-health-happiness-ncna781806

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-health-benefits-houseplants

How to Make and Master Your New Year’s Resolutions

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” – Neil Gaiman

Let’s be honest. New Year’s resolutions are a joke to most people. This is not because it’s silly to set goals and improve your character or lifestyle – it’s not. But rather the issue is we make these lofty, vague goals with no staying power. We run for the first week of January, hate ourselves for most of February, and resolve to being a quitter come March.

When making your resolutions try to think about them for at least a week. That’s right. No quick, thoughtless goals for you. Sit down, light a candle, and brainstorm. Write down five things that have been hard for you in 2020. This could be anything. It does not have to be an obstacle – it can be something you want to do better at, or something new you want to be more acquainted with. From there consider your relationships, hobbies, and personal health. How can you combat your five difficulties?

Try making resolutions that respond directly to issues or pain points within your life. This will make them both specific, personal and therefore powerful. Make resolutions that directly correlate to your life by either improving or finding a solution for problems you face daily. Those are the type of resolutions you’ll be motivated to keep.

Sprinkle in some easy resolutions like drink more water, cook more, etc. These will boost your confidence and give you some easy wins.

Once you’ve finalized your resolutions (we recommend six tops), read them to a friend. Tell them your ideas and allow them to help you perfect and tweak your resolutions until they are the best they can be. Ask your friend to keep you accountable by texting you reminders or spending time with you every few weeks to talk about how you’re doing.

Be open to a break time. Some resolutions are hard to stick to. You might struggle or break your resolution for a day or a week. Get back up, don’t give in. Change takes time. You’re trying to break a cycle you may have been in your whole life. Give yourself some grace. If you drop off a little, accept it, learn from it and start again. That mistake or shortcoming may be the break that allows you stick with your resolution long term.

Tape up your resolution with a motivational word or quote. Put it on your desk at work, make it your phone background, or put a post-it note in your car. Keeping your goals in front of you – keeps it fresh on your mind.

Lastly, celebrate your progress. Kept with most of your resolutions after 4 months? Write it down, share it, make yourself a pie – whatever says, “I’ve got this!” to you is the perfect celebration. The discouragement we feel during change often leads us to quit because we forget to look at our growth. We only highlight our failure instead of being grateful for what we have learned.

2021 isn’t your year. It’s been your year all your life. Maybe you just haven’t seized it. Start today. Break the cycle. Change looks good on you.

Need some ideas for a resolution still? Give your pocket book a little love by paying off some debt.

Choosing and Using a Snow Roof Rake on Your Mobile Home

Snow is beautiful but can be hard on your home. However, with a quick response you can avoid issues and enjoy your snow day. When thinking about snow and our homes we often keep to the ground. We shovel the driveway and the front steps. We make it so our car can move safely if need be. Yet, we can’t forget about our mobile home roof. Snow can become quite heavy, especially after rain or if it’s in large amounts. The weight of the snow can add stress to your roof load.

This is where roof rakes come in. Rakes are an invaluable tool for homeowners in moderate to heavy snowfall areas. There are many different kinds and price ranges, so you aren’t limited when choosing a tool.

For best use of your rake, you’ll want to remove the snow as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more the snow has a chance to become heavy or build up ice. You’ll want a ladder and/or an extendable ladder as well as a spotter to help you. Exercise caution and do not climb on top of your roof.

There are plenty of styles, but you’ll want to probably choose one that allows you to pull the snow toward you. You don’t want something that you have you lift as this is very arduous and unsafe.

This popular home website does an amazing job explaining the types and makes some rake recommendations you can check out.

A tip echoed by mobile home websites is to choose a rake with bumpers or corner protection so that it doesn’t scrape and damage your roof. Be sure to keep an eye on this when purchasing.

For the technical types, check out this home website that has broken down all the factors of a rake and what the potential options are.

Check out this Snow Removal Infographic!

*Infographic by: Rachel Mersinger*

We hope that this helps you learn how to better care for your mobile home roof in winter! We also hope it helps you find the best solution for you. Remember to read all instructions before you start, practice caution when using your rake, and be of good health when operating.

How to Be Present: Capturing and Making Memories with Family

There are times when I sit back and get the joy of taking in the moment while it is happening. When this occurs, I ask myself why this can’t always be the case. I know it’s a practice. I know there are things I can do to live in the moment, remember it well, and situations that can aid in both. Memories with family are so important, and I want you to be able to have them to hold on to and savor. Let’s jump in!

Ideas for making memories:

  • Cooking – Make mealtime a process of love. Have each member of the family help. This encourages your family to learn together and work towards a common goal. Plus, it teaches your kids they can always pitch in.
  • Reading/ story time – This timeless classic makes the list every time for a reason. It’s just a great way to get off screens, practice a skill, and let your imagination and listening get some time to run free. This is perfect for kids, but it’s not limited to them. You could read comics, history books, or interesting biographies to engage teenagers. Don’t skip on stories you like too!
  • Help someone out – Random acts of kindness are a beautiful way to keep your family thinking of others. Look around for friends, family, or community efforts that could use your time, creativity, or resources and spend that time together.
  • Learn a new skill together – Pick something obscure you’ve all never done, or something one person has done and work together to learn a new skill. Try to pick a skill that can have different level so the whole family can find interest in it. Try things like: indoor rock climbing, bread making, sewing, alcohol ink painting, household maintenance/projects, etc..
  • Research/teach your family history – It’s important to know where you came from and the people that went before you. This will help you and your family appreciate your heritage and hopefully know a little more about the world. Research on your own, let kids interview grandparents, do a story night with extended family, try a DNA service, etc.
  • Visit a national park – Getting outside and having the chance to learn something new is a great combo. Take a small trip and discover a place you didn’t know before.

All of these ideas focus on memory making ideas that force you to pay attention. They use steps, listening, learning, and new experiences to keep you on your toes. They make you proactive instead of just responding or going through the motions. Press into that and see what follows.

Ways to capture/remember those memories:

  • Create traditions – Repetition will help you have a marker for memories, and it will give you something to look forward to. Plus, you can compare years and pass down the traditions.
  • Instant cameras – I don’t like to take pictures. When I’m in the moment they can feel planned or arduous or just for social media. I got an instant camera and it helps me just capture the important times, and then I instantly have a photo I can physically keep. I recommend this for people who don’t do photos often.
  • Scrap book/shared memory journal/photo book If you love photos, scrap books are an old favorite. A memory journal can be fun for storytellers. You could make a family blog, or buy a big journal and let everyone record their memories as they see fit. You could even have a photo printed on a puzzle and give to a member of the family.
  • Collect maps/ map journaling – For those of us that love a location – maps can be a great memory marker! You can write the date on them and what you did in the area. You can even organize them like a journal or in a journal and keep all the places with you!
  • Postcards – This is similar to the previous ideas. You can send them to others, send them to yourself, or just keep them in an album.
  • Encourage the sensory – I love this idea! Whenever you’re making memories take mental notes on the senses. With kids, help them focus on as many senses as possible. Note smells or make something with a great scent. Focus on touch through textures – feel sand, grass, water, etc. Try a unique treat from wherever you are. Play a song and dance. Listen hard to the rhythm of the day around you. Sight is pretty simple, but share what you notice.

Make a Holiday Memory!

I hope this post inspires you to be strategic about how you spend time and encourages you to try something new. Plus, I hope that it helps you really see the beauty of the moments as you’re in them.

Affordable Holiday Gifts That You Can Add Your Own Flair To

It’s true that the thoughtfulness of the gift is what makes the impact. With that in mind, it makes me think of how adding a little time and personal touches to your gift does just that. I’ll be looking at things people enjoy getting, are practical, or just add some pizzazz to everyday life. Of course you know who you are gifting better than me, so go with your gut if these ideas don’t fit.

All the ideas below you can embellish, personalize, or make from scratch. Pinterest has tons of ‘how tos’ surrounding each idea. Or you can just follow your own inspiration. Here are some personalization ideas:

Lifestyle Q1 2019 - Home Office -13

• Add some color with paint/washi tape
• Monogram it
• Add patches
• Add stickers/vinyl
• Stamp it
• Add photos
• Add ribbons

Here are some gift idea categories:

Kitchen gifts: If you’ve got a friend or family member that’s a new homeowner or a new renter – a gift for their kitchen can be fun and useful! You also can’t go wrong unless they don’t love cooking and even in that case you could make something that makes their life easier and inspires them in the kitchen.

Ideas:
• Wooden spoons
• Mugs
• Cannisters
• Food mix (hot chocolate/soup/dip)
• Spices (mix up your own blend)
• Aprons
• Soaps
• Reusable grocery tote bag

Accessory gifts: Everyone likes something that helps them keep their stuff together and/or gives them some flair. These ideas are great for the organizer, teenagers, or just someone you want to treat with something fun!

Ideas:
• Ring holders
• Jewelry
• Lotion
• Wallet / money clip
• Keychain
• Notebook
• Tie clip

Home gifts: Every home needs a little warming. These gifts are perfect for the homebody and the one who loves to entertain in their home.

Ideas:
• Blankets
• Coasters
• Magnets
• Flower / plant pot with plant

Try Something From Our Pinterest Board!

There are endless options – these are just a few to get you started. I hope these help you brainstorm on some amazing gifts you can give this year without the big price tag.

How to Clean Your Front or Top Loading Washer

I have never cleaned my washing machine. So, I’ll be learning with you on this one. Since both top loading and front load washers are popular these days, we will look at both. If you’re having an issue with an odor, then this could be a great solution to bust that musty smell and trade it for a fresh one. It’s simple when it comes to cleaning, it just takes a little time and some basic cleaners. Let’s get started!

Front load washers

  • Start with cleaning the gasket

Unique to front loaders, the gasket is that pesky ring that can get moldy before you know it. The rubber ring inside your washer needs to be cleaned once a month. Open the gasket and remove any items that got trapped in its fold to clean. You can also wipe it down with a cloth or sponge to remove more stuck-on things, like hair and dust.

With a safe cleaner of your choice you can wipe out mildew. Some sites recommend bleach, if you use this please proceed with caution. We suggest (with other sites): hot water, a good scrubber, and white vinegar.

  • Next, clean the drum

Put a small amount of baking soda in the drum and turn the washer on a cleaning cycle or a regular one, just ensure the water is hot. Use heavier duty product if this does not remove stains or mildew. Remove the detergent dispenser and soak it in warm water. Then wipe it down with an all-purpose cleaner. Before placing it back in – clean the empty cavity and wipe down the outside of the washer.

That’s it! Remember to use best practices to maintain your washer.

Top load washing machine

Top load washers

  • Start a large, hot water load

As it fills with water, add white vinegar and let it agitate for the normal time. Then let the load soak for an hour or so. You can stop the load usually by pulling the knob. You can open the washer and leave the lid up for cleaning and so the lid can dry.

  • Grab an old toothbrush or small tool

Remove the fabric softener well or any other removable parts and soak them in hot water, as well as wipe them down with an all-purpose cleaner. Go around the top edge of the washer, inside it, and the upper opening of the agitator/barrel with the toothbrush. You can add baking soda for tough stains. Leave the lid the open as the water sits.

  • Close the lid and finish the cycle

You can then clean the top and dials with a rag and baking soda. You can then repeat and do another cycle with baking soda if the first wasn’t enough. Once you are happy with the inside of the washer, wipe the sides of the drum with a dry cloth to remove any leftover debris. You can complete the cleaning by wiping down the front and sides of the washer.

More Tips for Your Mudroom!

That’s it! Be sure to leave lid up after washing loads for a while to reduce mildew and allow the interior to dry.

This is just one idea of many!  There are so many great tutorials to cleaning both types of washers, so if this one doesn’t do the trick, keep browsing, or work with your own safe options and let us know what worked best for you!

My Go-To Way to Clean the Microwave

Cleaning the microwave is one of my least favorite tasks. Everything that splattered is stuck onto the sides of the microwave and is a pain to scrub clean. I needed an easier way, one that didn’t require a ton of elbow grease.

Then I came across this method. It’s super simple and allows for all the dried food to be effortlessly wiped cleaned.

All you need is the following:

  • A microwave safe bowl
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Lemon juice

In the bowl, add one-part vinegar, one-part water and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice. Place the bowl in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes. (I typically use a cup each of vinegar and water, but you can decide what works best for your microwave.) When the timer goes off, carefully remove the bowl as it may be hot and wipe down the microwave with a damp cloth.

If you have a microwave with a rotating glass dish, be careful when removing, as it may also be hot,  and wipe down.

If anything is still remaining, place the bowl back in the microwave for another minute or so.  The steam can help break up the grease and dried on food.

Clean Your Oven, Too!

What used to be an exhausting appliance to clean, now is a quick clean up no matter how long you go in between cleanings.

5 Tips to Help You Clean Your Fridge

November 15th is National Clean Out Your Fridge Day. The thought behind this day is to clear the way for all those incoming leftovers that will fill your fridge after Thanksgiving. However, just as a rule I try to clean my fridge at least once a quarter. It is amazing how we don’t notice the little spills or reside from fruits and veggies (especially if you forgot about them in the drawer) until it gets bad.  If you maintain regularly though, cleaning your fridge can be a less bothersome task. Here are some tips to help make the process efficient and get you through!

Tip 1: Remove all your contents – don’t just work around them

You can do this a few ways. You can take everything out all at once, or shelf by shelf. As you remove the contents, take note to see what is expired and what is still good. I like to create two piles on the floor that way I know what I am tossing and what I am not.

Tip 2: Use an unscented, natural cleaner

To clean the surfaces of your fridge, you’ll want to use something natural and doesn’t have a strong scent. You can use a scentless natural cleaner you buy in a store, make your own, or even just wipe down the inside with some warm water and add a little dish soap for stuck on messes. Having a strong scent can linger in your fridge and cause your food to absorb the smell or using chemicals could be potentially harmful.

Tip 3: Get organized…again

When putting back all the unexpired foods, make sure to reorganize. It is so easy for things to get put back in different places. Having an organized fridge will allow you  find what you need quickly. It will save you time and money.

Tip 4: Don’t just focus on cleaning the inside

It isn’t just the areas where your food sits that gets dirty. It is the door, back of the fridge, top, and under the fridge too. Make sure to wipe down the inside of the door where it seals. Unplug your fridge and gently wipe down the coils with a dry cloth or brush and move the fridge out to clean underneath. You’ll want to make sure your remove all dust so it doesn’t harm the functionality of your fridge. Once done cleaning, remember to plug your fridge back in.

Tip 5: Keep it smelling fresh

Keeping either baking soda or freshly ground coffee in your fridge will help to absorb food odors. You can also crumple a brown paper bag and place it in your produce drawer to help absorb odors.

Freshen Your Fridge/Kitchen!

While cleaning the fridge is no one’s favorite task, hopefully these tips will help to improve your process to keep your fridge clean and smelling great.

How to Naturally Clean Your Oven

Plenty of ovens have a self-cleaning option and if that fits you, it fits you. However, if you’re worried about your oven getting that hot (usually 500 degrees or higher) and have stuck on layers that could cause smoke – you may want to consider cleaning your oven manually. It uses less energy and keeps your home from getting hot.

There are options when it comes to cleaning your oven.

I’ll be walking through a natural option that may involve a little more time, but can be done with items you probably already have at the house. It will give you a similar clean to using a heavy-duty product.

Woman cleaning oven

When to choose to clean your oven is up to how your oven is performing and how often you use it. If there’s something stuck on that smokes each time you use it – it’s time. If you use it most evenings, you might consider cleaning it every month to two months. Like with most things in life, tasks like this can get away from you, but just do it when you think of it. If it gets done sometimes, I think that’s better than never, right?

You can clean your oven with baking soda and vinegar. Here’s a great breakdown from a cooking site on how to do this option well!

You can also clean with lemons, which is what I chose to do. I always have lemons and the smell is unmatched – except maybe for limes.

It’s so easy!

  • Preheat your oven to 250 – 300 degrees (whatever you’re feeling!)
  • Grab an oven-safe container and fill it with boiling water.
  • Cut some lemons and put them in the container. You can use at least two, more if you have extra, but you don’t need to.
  • Place the container into the oven.
  • Leave for at least an hour. Then after turning the oven off, leave the door ajar so the oven can cool.
  • After time has passed and you can carefully test to see that it is warm to the touch but doesn’t burn you – you’re ready to begin. Remove the lemon water container and grab some gloves. Take some cloths you don’t mind to get dirty, or an you can use an old t-shirt and cut it in to rags to wipe down the oven. A strong scrubber will work too!  Wipe the inside of the oven with caution to avoid the bottom heating unit (if you have one). Wait a bit more time to clean underneath the unit.
  • Once you’re done, and the oven has cooled, you can go back to beneath the heating unit. If there are still some tough areas, wet the area and add some baking soda. Then use some elbow grease to scrub out the issue area.

More Kitchen Cleaning Ideas!

Now your oven is ready for your next delicious meal!

We love these affordable, natural options for cleaning. You don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals around your kids or animals – or even yourself! With a little extra time, you have a healthy clean and you can feel fine putting food back into that oven without harm.