Category Archives: Homemaking

How to Find Balance As a Homemaker

For some reason, this has become a highly anticipated post from some of my readers.  Perhaps it has to do with the questions I was asked in my Ask Away Friday post.  Well, everyone, without further ado,  here is how you can find balance as a homemaker: 

When I used to think of a homemaker, once upon a time, it was always at either extreme: a woman that looked homely and undone, so to speak. Someone who put all of her energy into her family that she spent no time maintaining herself. She might be in a marriage where her husband was starting to not pay as much attention to her because she had sort of let herself go (and his personal issues of course). And the intimacy level in the marriage had probably gotten so minimal that the two were more like roommates as opposed to husband and wife.  The other extreme is an earlier 1900s sort of homemaker who would be fully done up with makeup and the works.  She may not be too good of a homemaker cleaning wise, yet she was considered one because she didn’t work and she probably had a nanny taking care of the kids; sort of like how the women were on that movie and book The Help. You all probably get my drift at this point I’m sure.

As a homemaker, I find myself somewhere in the middle of the two. I really do put all of my energy and time into taking care of my husband and my son.  On the other hand, I really pride myself on cleaning well, preparing most of our meals and learning new ways to clean and maintain our home.  You all probably know by now that I’m into healthy living, so I try natural remedies and healthier alternatives for us whenever economically possible.  That also makes me concerned for my own health and keeps me wanting to stay balanced in making sure I take care of myself as well.  I don’t really require much time away from them or “fixing up” in order to feel put together.  My husband doesn’t particularly like makeup and he thinks I look stunning without it. So my thing is, why mess with that? I’ve done natural remedies to my face to the point where I no longer struggle with acne and the only time I ever get a blemish is when I put foundation or some sort of makeup on my face or during visits from cousin flow (ugh).  So, I’ve decided to stick to just eyes and lips when it comes to makeup. While I was away in New Jersey, I went to the store with one of my beautiful aunties who found joy in buying me some new nail polishes and mascara. I was so grateful and it felt nice to actually get a little something for me. 
So with only being married a little under 3 years, and being a mom for only 18 months, I’ve tried to do the following: 
1) Do what hubby likes. I wear the perfumes he makes the compliments about and I don’t wear makeup unless it is a special occasion. Even then, I keep it minimal and natural looking. That’s what hubby likes so that is what is important. I pay attention to the outfits he likes and I know he loves my hair straight. I’ve finally found a way to keep it straight that doesn’t require a lot of work. 
2) I try to eat healthy more than not. Having an occasional splurge or eating something not so healthy occasionally isn’t a bad thing. But I know food is the best way to prevent health issues and diseases. It also is the best way to keep your body and appearance in tact.  
3) Along with trying to eat healthier, I try to be consistent about staying active. I usually take walks with the baby everyday and a couple days a week, I’m doing some exercise routine as well. I know that making it a lifestyle will be the only way I won’t wake up one day and feel like I just let myself go. 

4)  Take time when you have time for yourself.  You can sneak it in when everyone is asleep, for example.  That’s what I do! I also retreat to our business center in our apartment complex to just do all of my blogging related work that I love.  This time will vary depending on the ages of your kids and what type of job your husband has, of course.  You can even, once in a while, go out with your friends to lunch or something of that nature. 

5)  Stay positive.  I’ve learned in a very short time that I literally set the mood and emotional atmosphere of our home.  When I’m upset, it affects everyone!  My husband doesn’t dwell on things and he doesn’t stay mad but for a few minutes (isn’t this amazing?), but ladies, oh ladies, we can be so emotional!  This point isn’t to say that you won’t ever experience emotional inconsistencies or that you will be perfect, but it is a reminder that you should do things that keep you grounded and positive.  Because men are not so emotional, it is usually their rational and support that keeps us sane at times, too.  Doing points 1-4 has really helped me stay refreshed and supportive to my family.  I also love reading my Bible.  You all know I’m a Jesus lover. :)  So constantly reading the Bible keeps me seeing everything as He does and it keeps me wanting to deny myself and focus on being the selfless wife and mom that I’m called to be. 

We fall off sometimes on some of these things, but one way I stay motivated is that I never want to turn into the homely homemaker that my husband is no longer attracted to or the one who just looks a mess because I put so much effort into taking care of everything and everyone else in my home except me. I also don’t want to fall to the other extreme; a homemaker that is so wrapped up in myself, always needing some sort of outlet because I’m not focused on what matters most.  Part of keeping a healthy home is definitely maintaining a healthy you.  I call the balance Homemaking With Style. No worries. If you feel like you have let yourself go in any area, I’ll be sharing some tips and things I learn along the way right here on my blog. 
What are some things you do to try to maintain this balance as a wife, mom or both? If you are single, do you think about ways you may try to find a balance when you get your chance?
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Tips for Cleaning the Home


This post actually could have been named cleaning tips I’m learning along the way, but instead I decided to entitle it Tips for Cleaning the Home.  A wise preacher once said, the state of a home is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. I found this to be pretty interesting since the idea of homemaking has declined very much in our society. Sure there are stay at home moms and work at home moms, but homemaking? What is that? I figured he had a point when I thought about all the times I would rush to pick up and clean right before someone new would come over to the house…for some of us it’s before anyone comes over to our house, right? :)

I learned a few things from my mom, but my mom was a single parent that worked out of the home away from me and my other siblings most of the time. The most I can remember learning about homemaking was doing chores on weekends and teaching myself how to cook when my mom worked late hours or slept in, which was quite often. She worked hard doing it all alone.  I don’t blame her.  These things helped somewhat with my ability to keep a home, but boy was I in for a ride when I became a wife and mom myself.
There is just always something that needs to be done and I’m always learning different things about cleaning and maintenance. I pace myself, though. I don’t like feeling as though I have to clean the entire house all at once so I clean one room a day. If I have a day that I dont clean it is usually on Sunday when hubby is home and it’s all about football.
I’m pretty sure these things will evolve overtime as I learn, but I thought it would be a good idea to share with my readers some things I’m doing and perhaps get feedback and add to or take away from my list from time to time. So here goes nothing:
1). Vaccuum often especially with small children. When my son was even smaller, I would say around 9 or so months when he was just developing the pincer grasp, this would probably go to every other day, but because most of our house is covered with carpet and he is now able to find things even before I can, I try to vacuum at least every few days.
2). Clean the bathroom at least once a week, twice a week if you are a superstar. I’ve noticed that cleaning them once a week is just not enough. Even if the second time around is doing a touch up, it still is much needed and it makes it so it’s not atrocious when you do that one deep cleaning once a week. I’d rather it not look completely gross every week when it’s time to clean it. I recently started using homemade, natural all purpose cleaner. I use just Castile soap and borax. This cleaner works for the entire bathroom except the floors. I bought lavender Castile soap last week and it makes the bathroom smell like a spa and its so lovely!
3)  Change your sheets every three days! I used to do this once a week, but I’ve learned since that our dead skin among other things can really soil the sheets.  To decrease germs this is also important.  Take it from me;  baby has never been sick and I rarely get sick.  This is ironic since hubby gets sick at least once or twice a year.   
4) Use microfiber towels to wipe down furniture and windows. The microfiber towels are awesome because they attract lint to the fabric and it removes oils and moisture very well. I was using just water on them to clean the windows, but it was still a smeared look on the windows, so after my windex was all gone, I made my own with just vinegar and water it worked like a charm. To clean the microfiber towels, I always wash them together and I never add fabric softener because apparently this could ruin them.
5) Does your garbage disposal ever smell? Hubby used to have me put bleach down the drain. Since we’ve stopped using bleach, I put grapefruit peels down there and it kills the smell just fine. You could also use lemon, lime or orange peels too.  Here is a quick post that shows some tips about naturally cleaning the garbage disposal with peels, etc.
6) Dust often. I do even the ceiling fans with the room I’m cleaning for the day because the dust can fall on the floor. I try to go the natural route even before taking medicine so dusting regularly goes a long way to help try to prevent allergies and the like.
If any of my readers have tips to share, please feel free to comment. I hope my tips were helpful to at least one of you. I always enjoy hearing from you all so feel free to even just let me know what you think!
I’m doing the BlogHer NaBloPoMo Challenge so you all will see a post from me tomorrow!  Until then! :)

How I Started Using Natural Cleaners

For me, knowing and doing have always been two separate things. What I mean by that is, someone can claim to know something all they want to but this person’s actions speak volumes about his true convictions. Why such a potent statement at the beginning of a post entitled How I Started Using Natural Cleaners? It is because I have known some of the reasons we should switch to more natural cleansers for a while and I didn’t jump on it as fast as I should have. What finally broke the camel’s back for me was two things: one, of course, was a blog post I read :). The other is the fact that my 16 month old seems to be getting into more things these days a lot faster. Some might suggest simply keeping products out of his reach. By this age, toddlers are getting into places one day that they weren’t necessarily getting into a day or two before. Not mention the times he licks or puts his hands in or on something I didn’t necessarily think he would. I turn my head for one second and he is standing in the dining room chair at the laptop as if he were me, with his hands in typing position as he hits keys and glides his finger over the mouse pad! If you’ve never had a child this age before, I’m sure you understand how difficult it can be to keep them from getting into any and everything.
I’m so upset that I cannot remember the name of this blog that I was reading. All I know is that reading it left me speechless and wanting to kick myself for not starting to use natural cleaners sooner. Pretty much the blogger explained that the percentage of stay at home moms that are getting cancer far exceeds the amount of parents who are diagnosed with it who are going to work outside of the home. The reason for this is because our homes, in many cases, are the most toxic places that we spend our time.  The blogger explained that our homes are toxic because of the toxic cleaners and air fresheners we are using, to name a few things.
I started with our laundry soap. I’ve seen several posts and recipes for making your own laundry soap which seemed very cost effective, but I have to admit, it was a bit much for me to grasp. I didn’t want to experiement with it only to find that I spent money on all of the stuff and it didn’t clean our clothes well. So, I started off slow. Below is an eco-friendly detergent that I bought at Wal-Mart and a fabric softener that I bought from Sprouts Farmers Market.

After I finished using all of my cleaners (I didn’t want to waste them by just throwing them all away), I decided to start using the more natural cleaners.  So to get myself through the toxic cleaners, I put my vents on in the bathroom to air out the smell.  And I would clean when hubby was home so that I could have baby stay with him.  Our toddler likes to open doors now so I lock the bedroom door to our master bedroom so he won’t come into the bathroom while I’m cleaning.  I have to leave the bathroom door open to air it out as well in there.  Once I finished using the toxic cleaners, I bought a natural cleaner called Borax.  I found out that Borax is pretty old school.  People have used it for many different things to clean for years.  I purchased it for a little less than $7.  I reviewed a recipe from a blogger buddy of mine called DIY All Purpose Cleaner.  Here is a photo of what Borax looks like if you’ve never heard of it before:

You probably know from a previous post that I currently don’t have a car, so I could only go to my nearest local supermarket to buy some things that we needed for right now.  The recipe calls for essential lemon oil and washing soda.  I had the castile soap because I use a non-scented one on my little one.  The supermarket only had the Borax, so with just using the Borax and the castile soap with hot water, let me tell you, I was extremely impressed with the results of my bathroom.  I will definitely get some essential oil, washing soda and perhaps a scented castile soap in the future, but man, the bath tub was a lot cleaner than it has ever been.  The awesome thing about castile soap is that it is very concentrated so you only need to use a few drops and it lathers well and it cleans well, too!  I’m extremely happy with how it cleans and also, the fact that I no longer need to turn on the bathroom vent to keep from inhaling so many toxic fumes while I’m cleaning.  Castile soap can also be used as your dish washing soap.  I can only imagine that toxins that are in the dish washing liquids on the market.  After washing your dishes with them, who knows the amount of toxins that we could all be ingesting after cooking with our pans and using our dishes and utensils to eat our meals.  Castile soap has so many different scents and it is completely organic!  What I love about it is, I bought the one 10 oz bottle about 4 months ago and I’m still not halfway through it!  It lasts a very long time.  I paid about $11 for that bottle, but it was certainly worth every penny.  Maybe the next time I write an eco-friendly post I will be brave enough to create my own laundry detergent with the Borax and Castile Soap!  Or maybe this is wishful thinking.  :)

In other news, my baby has graduated from solely putting clothes in our dryer to now reaching on his tippy toes to put laundry in the washing machine with me too!  He looks adorable helping, but he’s growing up way too fast for me! See him below:

Have you and your family explored the idea of using more natural cleaners?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.  Maybe you haven’t bought into the idea of using more eco-friendly products just yet.  I’d love to hear about that too!  I’m totally with you if you are taking your time.  Making lifestyle changes can be a lot and it’s not always easy.  Until next time!

Easy Style Tip While on a Budget

Earlier today when I was looking for something to wear in this Arizona summer dry heat, I was reminded of the fact that I literally have one pair of shorts to wear (that barely fit).  After having my son, I lost a lot of weight and I even managed to get below even the size I was pre-pregnancy! Absolutely nothing in my closet seems to fix exactly right- accept the clothes that I was wearing in 2010 when I went to Spain to study abroad.  I’ve decided to keep even the things that don’t fit because of hearing my mother’s voice in the back of my mind saying “keep some of what you can’t fit just in case.”  The woman is right!  I’ve gone up and down in sizes since high school, probably within the range of 0 to size 6.  One of the pair of jeans that actually fit I have are so cute.  They fit perfectly and I wanted to keep them just as they were, but I can’t wear jeans outside right now.  I put jeans on my son today because I figured in the next 2 months, at the rate he is going, he may not be able to fit these anymore.  Because of that, we decided not to stay outside for too long.  It was pretty gloomy out there and it was below 100 so I thought the jeans might have been ok.  NOT!  

So back to what I decided to do about my dilemma with my shorts and jeans.  I went old school, y’all!  :)  I decided to cut my shorts into jeans!  The other day I was browsing Bloglovin’ reading posts and commenting on blogs I follow and I came across this post by Kira at Afropolitan Mom here. So the BBQ Fashionista outfit was totally my inspiration.  As a mom, that is definitely my style now.  Even though I believe I have a nice figure, I love adorning it modestly.  I used to wear very short shorts when I was in high school and some of college but those days are long gone.  The shorts in this ensemble with the plaid button up with the cuffed sleeves speaks Brittnei!  I also love the dress she has on the right, too! I love to layer! I’m a nursing, stay at home momma so I enjoy wearing a cami underneath everything and sometimes even around the house.  So if I wanted to go out on the town with my family and I wanted to get a little more dolled up I could go with the wedged heal on the top left, but running around outside with baby calls for my flat sandal on the bottom right. Take a look at what I mean below: 

The one thing I love about fashion is, it is always changing and styles always come back.  Ever since I left college, I’ve been one to be an individual who decides what I want to wear and when.  Start a trend if you’d like!  I like watching different fashion trends in mainstream media and Hollywood, but I don’t allow what they are wearing or what they say is “in style” to dictate what I wear and when.  If you aren’t like that, that’s cool.  Be you!  I’m just a homemaker showing you my style and how I keep it while on a budget. :)  Until next time!