Thursday, October 28, 2010

Freshly Fallen Laundry

So running and jumping in piles of dirty clothes is just as good as the leaves thing, right?  Thank goodness my daughter seems to think so.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Are Beautiful, Just the Way You Are!

Today I came across the lovely site devoted to helping others find beauty in themselves.  I'm talking BEAUTY, not physical stuff.  I love this idea.  I actually keep post-its in my purse (along with a million other things I rarely need), so I think I will be posting my own little note soon.  If you get a chance, this is a powerful blog post about how one of these little notes can affect someone in a big way.  Finally, the short little video below, which I hope you can see, gives a great overview of what the Operation Beautiful project is all about.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Keeping Your Toilet Fresh between Scrubbings

Yes, this post is all about the glamorous world of toilet bowl cleaning.  If that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will.  Seriously, as of late this has been a problem in my house.  Ever since my first daughter was sleeping in a bedroom adjacent to the main bathroom and her little ears would pick up on everything, every flush waking her and subsequently making her (and me) cry, we've been more of an "if it's yellow let it mellow" kind of a household (particularly at night).  I've heard all about how this saves water and is therefore good for the environment, but there is a serious drawback: our toilet gets FUNKY!  I'm mean really grody fast.  Ew!  Sorry if this is TMI, but I'm just keeping it real.  So all of this disgustingness had led to me needing to scrub said toilet about three times as often as I normally would.  Notice I'm not actually disclosing how often this is; I'm well aware it's still not as frequently as I should.  But the point is, I was definitely not enjoying the extra work.

That said, I'm happy to report I've found a solution!  It's actually something my husband picked up when I asked him to buy toilet bowl cleaner.  He brought home Comet (Don't ask me why he's convinced Comet is a toilet bowl cleaner.  It is not.  Don't try it!, it will forever turn your toilet bowl blue--I know this from experience, which he still denies.) and a little box of Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner, which does work!  Each box contains two tablets.  After scrubbing your toilet, you drop one in the back of your tank when the water level is low after flushing.  Clorox says it cleans and deodorizes the toilet for up to three months and it repels stains.  According to the product website, it's safe for plumbing and septic systems.  I do occasionally smell a subtle bleach smell from my toilet, but it's ten times better than what I was smelling before.  And now I'm back to cleaning my toilet at my normal leisurely rate (which will remain undisclosed).

I do need to mention that there are plenty of product reviews online that warn that this product harms valves in the toilet.  For now, I'm trusting Clorox and risking it.

If you're reluctant to try the Clorox solution, I've also read that you can use effervescent tablets (think Alka-Seltzer or denture cleaner) dropped in the actual toilet bowl.  You leave them set for 20 minutes and then brush and flush.  But that still requires brushing, so I'm not sure what the benefit would be.  You might as well clean your toilet if you're getting the brush out. 

The same article say a can of cola dumped in and left for an hour works, too.  I swear, our intestines must be indestructible. On a related note, I was this close to spelling it "bowel" instead of "bowl" throughout this entire post.  I'm an awesome speller ;o)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We Won the Neighbor Lottery

I'm convinced we scored big when we moved to our little cul-de-sac almost six years ago.  I've always known we've had wonderful neighbors, but after an insanely generous gift of a wooden outdoor swing/playset this weekend from our neighbors whose two daughters have grown into teenagers, I've taken the time to really think about all the blessings we've received from eight special families on our block.

Here is a partial list:

1. An antique rocking chair when we were awaiting the birth of our first child
2. A teak outdoor dining table and chairs
3. An offer to watch our daughter if I went into labor with my second child in the middle of the night
4. Countless offers for help when my husband is out of town
5. Expertise and help when building new stairs on our deck
6. The use of some pretty swanky power tools
7. Offers for free babysitting
8. 2 fishing poles, a loaded tacklebox, and a pink tent for my daughters
9. Some very thoughtful (even homemade) baby gifts
10. Baked goods (yum!)
11. An occasional snowblowing of our driveway when my hubby's been out of town
11. A hand-carved wooden pen
12. Some lovely meals out and some delicious meals in
13. A movie night out
14. A condolence card when we lost a pet
15. Great conversations in the driveway

We do try to reciprocate.  We've hosted a dinner party for all the neighbors.  We've invited them over for tea and for beers around the fire pit.  We've lent out our tools and even our car.  We've bought new baby and graduation gifts.  We've baked goods.  We've invited them out to dinner and a Twins game.  I've taken their dogs out (and took one to the groomers!).  We've given them houseplants.  We've picked up mail.  We given thoughtful thank you gifts.  We've visited them in the hospital when they've had a sick child.  We bought Girl Scout Cookies and wrapping paper. We've given donations for schools.  We've given them extra veggies from our garden.

In the last couple of years we've paid the neighbor kids to help mow the lawn, weed the garden, babysit, gather mail and feed fish when we're on vacation, and and let our dogs out. 

I didn't grow up in this kind of neighborhood.  I grew up in a micro neighborhood in the country where houses were rather spread out, and people kind of kept to themselves.  But I'm sure glad my daughters will be growing up surrounded by all of this kindness and generosity.  I encourage you to get out and say "hi" to your neighbors today.  Get to know them before there's two feet of snow on the ground and everyone hides away inside for four months (even on our block!).  Be good to them; you never know how they might be there for you in the future.
What about you?  Have your neighbors done something special for you, or did we really just get lucky and win the neighbor lottery?