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!

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.

Fall Mobile Home Maintenance Checklist

We’ve now arrived at fall and life just got a little more beautiful. With the change of the seasons, we want to check in with our homes and see how they fared the previous season as well as prepare them for the next. Fall is the time we want to make sure our homes are properly sealed for the coming colder air. We also want to ensure our home is ready to handle more heat inside.

Let’s unpack some easy maintenance items and get your mobile home ready for fall!

  • Clean gutters. This is the most common tip for fall! You may want to wait until the leaves start to drop, but you could start now! Make sure they are hooked up correctly, and if your gutter drain has any damage, be sure to repair it.
  • Add caulking. Checking to ensure your windows are sealed is a good place to start. Then you can move to the bathroom and check around faucets and shower heads. Then you can check other problem spots you may notice.
  • Check smoke alarms. Change those batteries! Be sure all your alarms are wired and working properly. You’re going to be lighting candles, using the oven more, and probably adding light and warmth to your home.
  • Put the garden hose away. If you leave it out, it may make a ring of dead grass for next year. Most importantly, you don’t want it to freeze and bust the pipe.
  • Clean your fireplace. It’s good to make sure your fireplace is ready to be used if you have electric or gas, but even more so if you have a log burning fireplace. If you have a damper, you want to properly remove it and check the structure of your fireplace as well as check for creosote. Creosote should be removed during a chimney cleaning.  Consider consulting a professional.
  • Repair/ replace skirting damage. Did you accidentally hit your skirting while weed eating? Are there some holes in your skirting? Repair that with skirting tape or get a new panel!
  • Gaps around/under doors. As heat is generated in your home, it may cause your doors to swell or your doors may just have never been level. Try placing a door snake underneath to fix the gap.

Keep Your Home Energy Efficient!

Happy fall! We hope these tips help you prep your home for the season! Now that your home is ready, it’s time to decorate!

 

Oakbur Quill Co.

How to Make Your Kitchen More Eco-friendly and Affordable

Maintaining a kitchen can get pricey. Especially with a big family or if you cook and pack lunches frequently. We also can build up a lot of waste. Luckily for us, there are plenty of items we can replace with reusable options. While some of them can be purchased, most items can be made too!

Let’s explore some of the options! Here’s to less waste and less money in the long run!

  1. Napkins: Ditch paper napkins and get some reusable cloth napkins. Thrift stores are crawling with them!
  2. Paper towels: There are tons of how to’s on making reusable rolls out of towels and fabric.
  3. Baggies: Ditch them! Put your lunch items in glass containers, invest in some reusable wax wraps or reusable silicon wraps!
  4. Try your hand at compost: It’s pretty easy! Keep your scraps from veggies, egg shells, potato peelings, etc., (no meat), and add them to a small pile of soil outside near your garden. Mix it up every now and then and let it break down – then you can mix it in to your garden! There are many methods – try whatever fits your needs!
  5. Replace foil/ plastic wrap: Try making your own bowl covers with a stretchy band and fabric, or you can buy silicon lids!
  6. Mop pads: Make your own with a towel and some sewing to save on waste.
  7. Shopping: Purchase reusable bags or make your own. You also can use cardboard boxes or clean bins if you prefer!
     
  8. Give Your Kitchen A Facelift!

There are tons of other options, too! If you don’t do any environment friendly things in your kitchen, start slow. Try incorporating one at a time and mastering it before moving on to another one. These ideas will cut back on trash, and after the first initial investment of purchasing or making your own items, you’ll save money with not having to buy disposable items often. That means less shopping, too!

Remember, you don’t have to conquer the world. Just one of these ways is helpful! Try one today and see the change!

Decorating Ideas for Fall

Happy Harvest! Well, almost! We’re only a few weeks away!  We are ready to welcome in the changing season with some great decorating ideas. After the heat of summer – fall offers a breath of fresh air. It’s a moment to reflect and soak up the colors around you. We’ve compiled ideas that we love, and we hope you love them too!

Put the tea kettle on, wrap up in some plaid, and get ready to celebrate the harvest! These ideas are easy, cheap, and look gorgeous!

Fall is ALL about 2 things:

  1. Being outside
  2. Bringing the outside, inside

When decorating use:

  1. Leaves
  2. Branches
  3. Acorns
  4. Corn husk
  5. Pumpkins
  6. Greenery
  7. Moss
  8. Wood

    shutterstock_215906020
    Making a beautiful harvest centerpiece is easy and doesn’t have to cost a lot!

Go on a walk with the kids or the dogs and gather some of the things above to decorate with.

CENTERPIECES: Put vases around the house and on your kitchen table. Fill them with what you gathered on your walk! You’ve added instant fall to your house – without the cost! You can also add bird seed or coffee beans to jars or vases for a beautiful look that warms the mood of your home! For a more rustic look, place wooden slabs on the table and arrange some moss on top of it.

Make kid-friendly centerpieces!

DOORS/ ENTRY-WAYS: Make a wreath or garland with any of the items above. You can purchase a Styrofoam/wire ring and add anything you like to it for an easy wreath! If you’re not the crafty type, simply tie some branches together with an orange or brown ribbon and put it over the door.

HOME ACCENTS: Have some old glass bottles or aluminum cans? Wash them and paint them orange, red, or brown. Place them around the house in clusters for a great pop of color. Tea lights add warmth to any corner – place them in the containers you’ve painted for a beautiful votive.

FIREPLACE/ MANTLE: Grab some string and close pins – put it across the mantle. Gather your family to write what they are thankful for on some fall colored paper. Hang them up! You can even cut them out into pumpkins or fun fall shapes. Cover the top of your mantle with acorns and place a couple candles in the middle.

That was easy, right?! We hope these ideas have got you thinking! Your home can have that touch of fall with little effort and cost involved. Here’s to nights of football, apple cider, and savoring every moment.

Happy Fall, Y’all!