• 26th June
    2013
  • 26

Finding the joy in everyday!

 Not everyday is joyful, but there is joy in everyday.I really believe that.

I remember the day my grandma died. The night before my whole family had stayed really late in the hospice waiting room, and when we finally all went home she let go. It had been just a few hours and I decided to go back up to the hospital because I couldn’t sleep. It was around 4 or 5 am and when I walked in the room my aunt told me she was gone. I felt weak to my knees and I didn’t even know I had any tears left but they began to stream down my face. I literally felt like my whole body was breaking. I was weak and I couldn’t stop staring at her. It just couldn’t be real I remember thinking. When they came to take her body away I remember hearing each foot step of mine through that long hall way. I remember looking back and having the desire to run back into her arms. I finally reached the doors to the parking garage and I just stopped. It was still dark out , the sun hadn’t even come up yet. I stared out over the parking garage and saw all the cars passing by, people coming and going and I remember thinking my whole world has stopped, but the rest of the world is still going on. About that same time I heard a noise and looked down and my then sleeping 5 month old baby girl was wiggling around in her carrier waking up because she wanted a bottle. I wiped my tears and smiled at her, and she smiled back. I will never forget that bit of joy I had in that very awful day.

There is joy in everyday all around us. I think sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we don’t stop and take a look around as much as we should.

What joy did you find your life today?

  • 26th June
    2013
  • 26

New Look, New Name.

Hello followers,

I’ve recently changed my blogs name |the best life blog|. I’m no longer |the family in apartment 5|.

We have recently moved into a house and I have moved on from apartment living. Therefor I have created a blog name that I see more fit for this time in my life. I don’t plan to switch up the content of my blog just the name. I hope you will continue to follow and support me.


Thank you for all your love.

-Olivia

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Double Doody.

Cleaning habits can be so easy at times. I like doing double doody in the bathroom. (haha get it? doody?) 

While I’m brushing my teeth in the morning you can usually find me wiping down my counter tops, and shinning my faucet. 

While I am in the shower I always clean my shower with putting a mixture of half dawn soap and half vinegar into one of those sponges that store soap at the end. My shower is always clean!

While my daughter is brushing her teeth at night I usually am picking up any clothes on the floor and putting them in the hamper. 

Double duty can go far beyond the bathroom though. Finding ways to “clean” while doing something else is my favorite time saver. In the kitchen I will fill my sink up with hot water and soap when I’m cooking a meal that includes a lot of dishes or baking something so that all the dishes can get clean and rinsed easy without having to put them through the dishwasher. 

I also, organize Mya’s toys while I’m playing with her on the floor. If I’m down on the floor playing I will be sorting her toys while playing with her. It’s a great way to keep things in their place while still enjoying some time with her. 

To see all my favorite cleaning habits go here.

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Cleaning Habits:Having Family on board

You can have all the cleaning habits you want but without your family being on board you can almost forget about it! It is nice to let everyone know what it is you expect them to do, and what the consequences will be when they do not follow through.Creating clean habits is a great way to teach your children responsibility. 

At our house we clean up a project before we start another one. If our daughter is coloring and then wants down to play with her toys we don’t let her down till she has helped put her crayons back and her coloring books back in the bin. She is only 18 months but already we are teaching her habits so that when she gets older it is nothing new. 

Your kids should also know that if they don’t follow through with your rule that they will have a consequence  I’ve seen on Pinterest that some moms “hide” or “put away” their children’s thing that they left out and they aren’t allowed to get it next time until they complete a task of some sort. (cleaning their toilet,emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the porch,etc) I bet that next time they will think twice about keeping a mess before going onto another thing. :)

It’s also nice to tell your husband what it is you expect. Having the conversation is the first step. I had to nicely explain to Robert that when he puts dishes in the sink I would really love it if he would rinse them off always. I explained why I wanted him to do it nicely. I said, “It really makes it easier for me when I go to load it.” I didn’t talk down on him or make him feel like he was a child I just had the conversation of what I needed him to do to make my tasks easier. & I’ve never had a not rinsed plate in the sink since then. 

Having the conversation is the hard part but after you get through telling everyone the cleaning habit “rules” things go pretty smoothly. It’s nice having everyone doing the same things to keep the house tidy, and it allows you not to spend your entire day cleaning up after everyone. 

Also, don’t forget to encourage your kids. It is always nice having someone in your court cheering you on. Let them know you appreciate that they put their art project away before going outside with their friends. I’m always my daughters biggest obnoxiousness fan! :)

A good rule of thumb to tell everyone is just pick up after yourselves. Your mess, Your job to clean it up. 

Good Luck, and happy cleaning! 

To see all my cleaning habits go here.

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Laundry: From start to finish

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True story: When we moved from our town house to our new apartment I was so eager to move in that I didn’t even notice the apartment did NOT have a washer and dryer hook up. Looking back I was OUT OF MY MIND. But, I’m stuck with the dreaded “going to the laundromat” routine for at least a year so I’m dealing with it. 

Laundry is the BIGGEST issue in our house. I usually can have the entire house spotless,but my laundry hampers will be over flowing with clothes and Robert will be scrambling to find something to wear to work most mornings. 

But, if you create a laundry routine and stick to it you can kiss those over flowing hampers goodbye! (and not be like me with no clean clothes!)

I’m getting better though. There is a coin laundry in the bottom floor of our apartment complex and as long as I remembered to get quarters I do a load daily. 

Everyone will have their own routine that works best for them. But, I find starting a load of laundry in the morning and following through with the entire process to be the best thing for me. 

I will put all the clothes in that everyone took off from the shower the night before or that morning and start a load. When it is finished I put in the dryer. When the dryer is done I fold them right then and there, and PUT THEM AWAY! 

The putting them away part is the hardest for me, but I’m getting better. It is nice to do it all together so it is out of the way. Robert’s work clothes don’t get wrinkled from sitting in the dryer all day, I don’t forget about them being in the washer and best of all I always have clean clothes in my drawer. 

Some people find it easier to just start a load before they go to bed, and stick it in the dryer in the morning. That works good too. You will find that different things will work for you, and once you do stick with it! 

It’s easier said then done but do your laundry everyday from START TO FINISH!!! One of the best cleaning habits to have! 

There are also some pretty neat apps you can download to remind you to get your clothes. Laundry Timer & Go Laundry! They both do a good job of sending you an alert when your washer/dryer is finished. This is awesome with us living in an apartment because I get back upstairs and busy doing something else that I forget all about our clothes.

See all my cleaning habits here.

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Clutter Basket

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Above is my very handy clutter basket. I use it at least once a day to declutter our house. Things get out and not put away, toys are left in the middle of the floor, socks left on the floor, etc. This makes me feel less over whelmed. I go through and quickly put everything in the basket and then go around and put it back in it’s place. 
It sounds so simple, but makes a huge difference. 

Check out all my Cleaning Habits.

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Dishes everyday,always.

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Doing your dishes everyday, always seems so easy. Well if it’s so easy why is your sink full of dirty dishes? Exactly. 

Waking up to a clean kitchen is amazing, and its not hard to accomplish either. Make a dishes routine that will be easy to for you to stick with. 

I always start the dishwasher before I go to bed, and I never go to bed without filling it with dinner dishes. 

I also, make it a point to rinse every dish I put into the sink, and tell everyone else in my house to do the same. This makes loading it a lot faster. I also encourage them to not only rinse it but go ahead and put it in the dishwasher. It’s a good habit to have. 

When I wake up in the mornings I unload it and fill it with any breakfast dishes, and continue to fill it throughout the day. I then am able to fill it with dinner dishes in the evening and start it so that I wake up to clean dishes in the morning. 

We have a smaller family so you may find that you run yours twice a day. I know that when we are home on the weekends sometimes I have to start it before dinner to have clean stuff. 

And if you don’t have a dishwasher then doing them by hang each time you use a plate or pan would be great. I used to not have a dishwasher until I moved recently, and I would just make sure everyone rinsed their plates, and I would make sure I keep up on them through out the day so that they wouldn’t pile up.

If you find that your family is filling up the sink with cups all day long, assign each family member a “special” cup. When they are done with it rinse it out and stick it on the side of the sink. They will use that cup all day long and not get another one out. At the end of the day they go into the dishwasher with the dinner dishes and start the process all over again tomorrow! This tip is a big deal at our house! :)

So, keeping a routine with your dishes sounds easy enough, but until you start to actually do it will you see results! 

Good luck, and happy dish washing. :) 

Check out all my cleaning habits here.

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Ready.Set.Go: Timed Cleaning

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Cleaning doesn’t have to take you all day long! I was determined to find a solution that would allow me to have a clean home every day but in less time. So, I started “timed cleaning”. 

It’s simple. Every morning when I get up I set my kitchen timer for 10-15 minutes (usually 10), and I clean until it beeps. It gives me huge motivation to get everything done before the timer goes off, and it’s a habit that I do EVERYDAY. It’s a wonderful start to my day, and I always am prepared for any guests. 

What I do in my 10 minute period:

  • Unload the dishwasher ( I load it and start it each night)
  • Wipe down all counters, and sink. 
  • Do a quick sweep of kitchen floors
  • Turn on my Scentsy warmer.
  • Pick up any toys in living room/play area.
  • Go around with my “clutter” basket ,and de clutter and put away everything that is out of place.
  • Vacuum all floors.
  • Make bed (I should do this when I get up but hey I forget!)
  • Spray down toilet and bathroom counters with Lysol.
  • Wipe down toilet and counters with cleaning rag.
  • Use Windex wipes and clean all mirrors in bathroom. & then use Windex wipe to finish off my faucet.
  • Pick up laundry on bathroom floor and bedroom floors.
  • Start a load of laundry.
  • Wipe down kitchen table and my daughter’s high chair.
  • Lay out meat for tonight’s dinner. (if needed)

You might think that is A LOT to do in only 10 minutes but believe me sometimes I even have time left over. I have been doing this now for about a year and it works wonderfully! It is almost second nature.

I also do another timer in the afternoon.(around 4 o’clock)  I set it for 5 minutes, and tidy up everything that was taken out throughout the day. This is great because before Robert gets home the house is clean, and I am able to enjoy dinner with family in a clean house!

Need some help getting motivated to do this? Check out my 5 ways to get motivated post. 

 

Also be sure to check out all my cleaning habits here.

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Clean Habits: Clean out your fridge

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Adopting clean habits saves you a whole lot of time, and in this case it can save you money! Make it a habit to ALWAYS clean out your fridge before you go grocery shopping. I always shop bi-weekly so every 2 weeks it’s just something i’m in the habit of doing. 

How will this save you money? 

You will have a clean slate and know exactly what you have, and what you don’t have. This is great because:

  • You won’t buy something you already have.
  • You won’t “think” you have an item but only to find out you don’t.
  • You won’t ever be without an item because it’s expired or old. 

Everything will be nice and neat. & best of all you will always know what it is you need and don’t need when making your grocery list. 

For a full list of my cleaning habits go here.

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Theme Night Ideas:

There once was a time that I thought meal planning was stupid. I didn’t see the purpose in planning out what we were going to have. I thought that it was easier to go to the grocery store and get what you want every night. NOT!

It may work for some people but for me it was a waste of time and money! I would end up 5 things of half opened sour cream, 2 gallons of milk that would go to waste, and enough junk food to feed an army. 

Finally, I got sick of going to store each night, and spending my day sending email after email to Robert trying to decide what we were going to have for dinner. 

Enough was enough- but it wasn’t until recently that meal planning became even easier! I made up “theme” nights. Each night has a designated “theme” for it. Read my “Theme Night” post here.

Mexican MONDAYS
Salad TUESDAYS
Pasta WEDNESDAYS
Baked THURSDAYS
Sandwich FRIDAYS
Crock-pot SATURDAYS
Breakfast SUNDAYS


If your wanting to give it a try here are a few other ideas I have for theme nights:

Casserole Night
Pizza Night (for the big pizza lover -different toppings each week)
Chinese Night (throw out the take out menu, and cook it yourself)
Freezer Meal night (prepare a freezer meal ahead of time)
Meatless Nights (love this idea, wish Robert would go for it)
Appetizer Night (I’ve been known to have “appetizers” for dinner)
Soup Night 
Fresh Night ( challenge yourself to make a meal of only fresh ingredients)
Smoothie Night
Pork Night
Chicken Night
Beef Night 
Cereal Night (usually what we eat on our breakfast night)
Microwave Night ( I don’t really care for this one but would be easy)
Fish Night
Take-out Night
 (if you are someone who eats out this would be good to designate a night to do so but challenge yourself not to the rest of the week!)

As I think of more I will update this. The possibilities are endless. Send me your ideas oliviahw08@gmail.com or post a comment! 

  • 20th April
    2013
  • 20

Theme Nights

I am a big believer in meal planning. Like I’ve said before it will save you not only time but money.(CHA-CHING) I came up with the idea to make each night a “theme”. For example:

Mexican MONDAYS
Salad TUESDAYS
Pasta WEDNESDAYS
Baked THURSDAYS
Sandwich FRIDAYS
Crock-pot SATURDAYS
Breakfast SUNDAYS

I was able to sit down and plan out what days I’d rather fix this or that. For example on Friday’s the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen cooking. It’s the start of the weekend I wanted something fast to fix that would allow me to spend more time with my family. I also knew that on Saturdays we usually try and do something with the family so I knew that a crock-pot meal would be something I could start when we left, and be able to come home to a cooked meal. You can customize what you plan to have around the busiest nights of the week,events, soccer games, gymnastics, etc. 

I was excited when I finally decided on what to have on what days. But, I was even more excited when I sat down to make my first 2 week meal plan. It was so easy!!!! 

You may think that this limits you to what you can cook. It really doesn’t. I made my choices based on what I like to cook. I made a “baked” night because I  knew I’d still want to try casseroles and dishes I find on Pinterest, and I knew that I had to have a crock-pot night at least 1 night because I’m a crock-pot using freak! :) 

So, give it a try! It has saved me so much time. It has taken the guessing out of what to have. I know what type of thing to have so it is easy finding something to make. 

The “organizer” in me even made Pinterest boards dedicated to each night. 

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When I need inspiration for meal planning it’s fantastic to have them all in one place!! Another great way Pinterest makes my life easier! 

Let me know what “themes” you choose. Share them with me @oliviahw08@gmail.com or send me a comment. I’ll post them on here. 

My theme night ideas here.

  • 19th April
    2013
  • 19
  • 7th April
    2013
  • 07

DIY: Get Naked Bathroom Sign

I’ve been obsessed with “Sharpie” art lately.It’s so easy and I like the look of it so I decided I wanted to make a cute sign for my bathroom shelf. I’ve seen this every where:

& Since I’m not a huge fan of “vinyl” lettering I haven’t done that to my tub but I think it’s a cute saying. 

So… today when I was bored I figured I’d give it a shot on an empty frame. I love the look of empty frames with quotes on it. 

It’s pretty easy it just takes some practice. 

Take a empty frame, and paint the frame whatever color you would like. Mine used be this ugly laminate wood. So I painted mine black with some craft paint. 

Then, I made sure I cleaned my frame really good with windex wipes (water would work fine too) 

Once it was clean I started playing around with my spacing. I use block letters from Hobby Lobby. I believe they are size 6? I have a few different fonts and sizes, and they cost about 6 bucks. 

Figure out how big you want them, and how far apart. 

You will want to place your stencil on the BACK side of your frame. This will allow you to clean the glass on the front whenever needed.

I had to play around with the spacing a few times until it was finally how I wanted it. The best part about using sharpie on glass is that it wipes out pretty easy. I use Windex wipes to wipe my mistakes right off. 

Start by using a fine point sharpie and tracing your stencil. Make sure you go real slow and trace it really good. Once you’ve traced it pick it up (dont’ slide it off it will smear your wet sharpie), and repeat until your quote is traced out. 

Remember to mirror your font. I’ve got really into a sign before and realized it was not mirrored. (When I flipped it over it was backwards. Take a fatter point sharpie marker and use it as your filler. Slowly and carefully start to shade in your letters. 

I do this step very slowly but if you were to mess up you can just wipe it away with a Windex wipe (wet rag) and start again. 

See? It’s almost done! 

All done! You can hang your sign or just lean against wall on a shelf like I did. 

The possibilities are endless with this sharpie project. 

My mom got me hooked when she made this sign for me:

Cute huh? 

Happy sign making, and please share any signs you make. oliviahw08@gmail.com and I’d be happy to post them on my blog! 

  • 2nd April
    2013
  • 02

Healthier Deviled Eggs:

I have a recent obsession with substituting greek yogurt for mayo,sour cream, and anything creamy -thanks to my friend Sarah. :) So when making deviled eggs this year I figured why not scratch the mayo and add greek yogurt instead. I didn’t know a recipe so I just went with it…

Boil your eggs the way you like to. (Everyone has different methods. To see mine go here) 

Once your eggs are boiled and peeled cut them in half. 
Scoop out the egg yolks into a bowl.

I sprinkled in some powdered garlic and salt. 

I then added 1/4 cup of Greek Yogurt. ( I used half a dozen eggs)- If you seem to need more add a spoon full at a time until you like the consistency. 

I was winging it so I just chopped up a few pickles because Robert loves pickles in his deviled eggs. :)

I then used a ice cream scoop and stuffed the eggs with them :)

They turned out good. 
Just how “good for you” are they you ask? Well: 

Using greek yogurt: 93 calories per egg 

Using mayonnaise: 128 calories per egg 

If you don’t like the taste of Greek yogurt or don’t have any on hand you can also try and use low fat sour cream or low fat mayo. A healthy lifestyle is making one healthy choice at a time. Substituting things can be challenging and fun :) Give it a try!

  • 2nd April
    2013
  • 02

Easter: Pastel Colored Deviled Egg

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I saw a bunch of people pinning these beautiful pastel colored deviled eggs on Pinterest in the weeks leading up to Easter. I figured next time I’m making deviled eggs I’ll give it a try. 

First boil your eggs. (I did 10) 

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My boiling egg method : Everyone has their own that works for them, I keep it simple. I fill my pan over half way with cold water. I put my eggs in and then turn on the burner. I let them boil for 12 minutes. I turn off the heat, and let them sit. When it is done boiling and the water has settled I take the eggs out one by one and place into cold water. I then peel the eggs while they are still in the cold water. It allows me to peel them fast without burning my fingers, and the peeling seems to slide right off. 

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Peel your eggs and cut them in half. 

Scoop out the yolks and place into a bowl.

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My deviled eggs recipe. 

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Place 1 cup of water in a cup. (One cup per color you decide to use)

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I choose to do green and yellow. (Although the yellow didn’t turn out)

I put 6 drops of food coloring in my glass. Stir well.

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I used an ice cream scoop to dip the eggs into the food coloring/water. I had to let these soak for a few seconds (20 or so) and then dipped them again. I was a little disappointed with the results so I got back online to see if I was doing something wrong. The tutorial I was following did not say to use vinegar however another one I found did. It said to add one 1 tbsp of vinegar to your 1 cup water/food coloring. It makes the food coloring “stick” to the egg better. 

I wish I had known, I was out of food coloring. But, mine still turned out sort of…

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I think it’s a fun Easter tradition to have. I will do a few colors next year and ADD VINEGAR next time :) 

Let me know how yours turned out. Send me pics @ oliviahw08@gmail.com and I’ll add them to this post.