March 2014 archive
When time is so precious you do not want to spend the whole week cleaning. You are a Mom, your children need you, want you, you want them, need them, and cleaning will always play second fiddle to this.
However, cleaning will always need to be done. Do not worry, there are a few things you can do that will help save you a little time, allowing you to concentrate on the more important things in life.
(Thanks to The Italian Voice, via Flickr for the image)
Time and money saving cleaning tips:
Use a timer
You only have so much time in the day to clean, so decide how long you want to clean for and use a timer to divide up your time into task chunks. You must remember to stick to your time allocation for each cleaning activity, as you will also find that you work that little bit harder and quicker as you have a deadline to reach.
Avoid concentrated products
Concentrated cleaners clean just as effectively as standard cleaners. You are only wasting your money if you buy into the brands claims. Providing you follow the recommended cleaning guidelines, a cleaning product will either do its job, or it won’t. For example, adding more bleach will not kill more germs, or if you add more cleaning product to a bucket of water it will not make your floor more clean.
Get some help
As a Mom you would probably appreciate that four eyes are better than two, and eight hands are, well, better than two. The same goes for cleaning. If you can get some extra help, especially with the cleaning that you do not like, then try to get a cleaning company in. You can also get more specialist cleaners in, for example you could search for ‘Oven Cleaning in Sheffield’ and you would find companies that are quite happy to come and clean the oven for you. If you do not live in Sheffield, then just input the name of your own town or city.
Clean your windows for less
You can even make your own glass cleaner by adding 100ml of white vinegar and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to 4 litres of warm water, and keep it in an old plastic spray bottle. Simple.
Give your sink a bath
Your sink is probably in constant use, and with this use comes extra tough stains and marks. You may have used abrasive products to remove these stains, however it never looks great on your sink. You can give your sink a bath by pouring in some herbal solution and let it soak overnight, freeing up some of your time.
Buy extra basics
Another time saving tip is to keep cleaning products on each floor, saving you time and energy having to carry a heap of cleaning products around the house with you.
Buy a squeegee
Great if you have a lot of glass and mirrors. The squeegee has been around for years, and it is easy to see why. They are so quick to use and leave your glass smear free.
I hope these tips help you save a little time! Let’s face it, life is for living, not cleaning. Good luck!
Working long hours, cooking, cleaning, running children to and from school and after school activities, occasionally catching up on some sleep, a mum’s life is all go go go! When it comes to cleaning, take a few of these tips from other busy mums and make cleaning your house daunting!
- Be efficient: Mum’s are really good at multi-tasking, use this to your advantage! Incorporate moving around the house with tidying, never leave a room without taking something with you to put away. Keep cleaning equipment throughout the house, so whenever you have a spare second (an advert during your favourite TV programme) you can grab the nearest duster and attack your dining room cabinets! Your dishwasher doesn’t just have to be for dishes, efficiency is everything! Load your dishwasher up with ice dispenser grates, stove knobs and grates and kitchen sponges – this cuts down on the time you spend cleaning. Combine your tasks, take your sponges into the shower with you and wipe it down when you’ve finished!
- Use your helpers: The majority of your cleaning will be cleaning after your children, and they do say that 3 pairs of hands are better than one! Combine fun and playtime into your cleaning, and get your children interested in helping you. Children-sized vacuum cleaners are a great way to get them enjoying cleaning – with any luck they’ll be asking to vacuum everyday! Set a time limit, say 15 minutes, and have a mad cleaning sweep all around the house including tiled areas. Pull together all the items that need to be put away and start the timer, 15 minutes a day means your house should stay clutter free (the majority of the time!)
- Tricky places: There are a few tricky places of the house that need a bit of extra time and care to clean, but with a few tips this can easily be sped along. Boiling water in your microwave for 5 to 10 minutes mean it will easily be wiped clean. Putting slices of orange, lemon and lime in the water it will keep your microwave smelling clean and fresh! Use a one-inch painter’s brush to get in all the nooks and crannies of you cabinets, the bristles will loosen up dust so the surfaces can be easily wiped away.
Talk to other mothers about further tricks of the trade, all mums have plenty of their plate and will be happy to share their secrets to make cleaning more effective and more efficient!
Renovating your kitchen is the opportunity to create a space for your family that is personal, practical, and stunning. Here we look at some aspects that should be considered when planning your ideal space.
Clever Planning is Key:
If you are going to invest bucket loads of time, energy and money renovating a kitchen, it is crucial that clever consideration is given to planning the whole project before you start. Regardless of whether you are totally restructuring, or just tweaking a few bits, adding new appliances and replacing tired units, you will still need to give a great deal of thought to the process. The most important factor has to be functionality, as your kitchen needs to be practical. A great principle to work with, is keeping the three most-used areas, the hob, fridge and sink, situated in a triangle shape, with no more than six feet in between them. This immediately maximises usability and convenience, regardless of what shape or size your kitchen is. When planning your kitchen, don’t scrimp on the cupboard and storage space; think creatively, making use of any small, tight spaces, and try to fit cupboards right up to the ceiling, rather than leaving a pointless gap that serves no purpose. Deep drawers are another useful way to maximise storage space. One last major consideration is lighting; this is often overlooked, but is a crucial component of an efficient kitchen. Overhead lighting in a kitchen is often impractical because it can create shadows on the surfaces you are working on. It is a much better idea to include under cabinet spot lights, as these will shine right on to the counter-top; they can also be switched on only where you need them, rather than lighting the whole kitchen, which is energy-efficient. Light bulbs direct do all kinds of spot lights, at a reasonable price. You can buy them from here.
Make it All About You:
The kitchen is often the most integral part of the house; the place where the whole family gathers. Therefore, put your own unique stamp on it. Why not go with a theme, and incorporate it all over the kitchen? This doesn’t need to be anything too elaborate; choosing a colour scheme with coordinated accessories is enough to add your own personal touch. Although kitchens are traditionally quite bare of paintings or photos, it doesn’t have to be that way; filling up your walls with bright canvases and favourite family pictures will allow for a feeling of warmth. Similarly, you may not wish to clutter valuable surface space with decorative items, there is no reason why you can’t find a spot in your newly renovated kitchen for a display; use a simple shelf to show off items you cherish, or your favourite plate collection.
Install Smart Appliances:
Although it might be tempting to cut corners and use your old appliances, this is rarely a good idea; they will simply look out of place in a new kitchen. Go for modern, updated versions, as these smart appliances do what they say on the box by offering innovative ideas that are often far more economical and user-friendly than their predecessors. A great example is a double drawer dishwasher like this one: these fit into the space of a standard dishwasher, yet provide a flexible (each drawer can be run on a separate cycle, at the same time), energy-saving, and practical option.
Another smart appliance rapidly increasing in popularity is a convection oven. Although they have been commonplace in commercial kitchens for some time, they are now taking off for home use. These ovens can reduce cooking time by 25%, with means that meals are conveniently ready much quicker, using less energy.
If you live in a hard water area, then installing a water softening system like this one is a must-have during any kitchen makeover. Hard water causes untold damage to pipes and electrical appliances, and leaves unsightly marks in toilet bowls, and in sinks and baths. Installing a water softener is simple, as most models will fit easily under your kitchen sink. The benefits will be remarkable: energy costs will dramatically reduce, and the efficiency of appliances will be greatly improved. Not only that, but less elbow grease and fewer cleaning products will be needed, as unsightly marks will be a thing of the past.
Keep Your Surfaces Practical:
Give careful consideration to your work surfaces and floors; what might look visually stunning could prove a nightmare to maintain. For example, stainless steel looks amazing, but is easily scratched. Go for a surface that is easy to clean, and takes wear and tear well. Butcher block counter-tops are affordable and relatively low maintenance, and they offer an attractive, yet functional option. Alternatively, you could opt for granite, caesarstone or soapstone which would all add a touch of luxury to your kitchen. When considering your floor surface, again practicality should take priority; try not to be swayed by beautiful floors that will be difficult to clean or maintain, especially with a young family. Whichever you choose, the material should be non-slip, porous and easy to look after.
Put Safety First:
For families with small children, safety in the kitchen is often one of the biggest concerns. Renovating offers the opportunity to re-design the kitchen in a way that is practical and safe. Place your oven at adult height, rather than floor level, to prevent accidents. Use counter-tops that have rounded, rather than sharp, edges, and choose drawers that are soft closing to reduce the likelihood of trapped fingers. It is also a good idea to invest in some cupboards that are lockable, as this will ensure that hazardous products (such as bleach) are secured away from inquisitive hands.
Flickr author here
If you’re a single parent, or your partner works away a lot, it can be difficult to find suitable employment. That is why starting your own home based business could be the ideal solution to all your financial problems. On top of this, staying at home with a child can become very tedious if you don’t have some kind of outlet, which is precisely the reason you pay close attention to all the business ideas listed in this post. Most of them are pretty simple to set up, and you’ll be able to work around your schedule, which has many obvious advantages.
I’ve personally worked from home for around three years now, and I can honestly say it’s the best move I’ve ever made. While it can be a little nerve racking to begin with, once you establish yourself and build a regular client base, things soon become more relaxed. So, give me your full attention and let’s take a quick look at some of the ideas you may wish to consider…
Washing And Ironing Services
You probably spend a lot of time doing your own washing and ironing when at home with the kids, so why not start a business where you get paid for it? There are many people who live alone and work long hours, and some of them simply don’t have the time to deal with these jobs. So, there’s definitely a lot of potential for earning if your skills are sufficient enough to make a good impression. You can either spend a couple of mornings each week collecting the clothing from your clients homes, or you could even allow them to drop it off to you. Obviously, you’ll need a commercial washer to cope with the increased loads, but these are cheap to buy from specialists like Alexanders Direct.
Freelance Writing / Design
There are lots of freelance websites around at the moment where companies and individuals post large and small jobs they need to complete. Presuming you have sufficient English skills or you’re a dab hand at design work, you could earn a good wage through these sites. Once you’ve established yourself in the industry, you should find it simple to attract clients outside of the freelancing sites, and so your earnings should increase even further. Just make sure you only ever bid for work you know for certain you’ll have the time to complete, as any late submissions could work against you.
Childminding / Babysitting
If you’re spending all day with a child anyway, you might as well look after other people’s for pay. Most families don’t earn enough for a parent to stay at home with the kids, and this means they have a lot of trouble sourcing care when the school holidays come around. Most childminders charge around £10 per child for every hour they’re with them, so it’s possible to take hundreds every day if you make the right adaptations to your home and obtain all the proper licenses and insurance.
Well ladies, there you have it. After taking time to read through those suggestions, you should be more hopeful about starting your own home based business in the near future. It’s important to work if you’re able, as this gives you a sense of purpose.
Good luck with the new business, whatever you end up doing!
We all have a concept of what we would like to get our beloved Mum for Mother’s Day, is it flowers, chocolates or jewellery, whatever it is, our aim is to make our Mum smile.
However, being Mums ourselves, have you ever thought about what you would really like for Mother’s Day?
Partners, and children that are old enough, can go out and buy something, while younger children may make us something nice. With both, as long as the thought is there, most of us do not care what the end product is.
However, it is nice receiving a gift that takes your breath away. There are some things that make better Mother’s Day gifts than others. Jewellery is always a nice treat, especially if it is something that you have had your eyes on for a while.
Then you have the usual suspects, chocolates, flowers and perfume can be great gifts for Mums, but require little thought from the gift giver.
Some Mums receive ‘joke’ presents, which include cleaning product and diet pills. As long as these are very much joke presents and nothing else, they may raise a small smile as well as raised eyebrows.
But, what do Mums really want for Mother’s Day?
There are some things that money cannot buy, and it is these things that Mums really want.
Mums often run around like headless chickens for most of the day. The day is hectic and full of pressures that loved ones may not really appreciated in full. So, for Mother’s Day Mums want to be given something that enables them to enjoy being themselves, and do things that during any other day of the year, they cannot do.
Time cannot be bought, instead it needs to be given to you. Some research was conducted last year, and it found that some Mums did not want things, they just needed time.
What things would be a great gift for you this Mother’s Day?
Mums want sleep, rest and recuperation. This is not as obvious to your partner or your children, so you may need to drop some subtle hints.
(Thanks to Sean Hobson, via Flickr, for the great photo)
Mums also want to spend some quality time as a family. This can prove difficult during the year, everyone has so much going on in their lives that quality family time can sometimes can shunned and pushed to the back of our priorities. Your loved ones should make it a priority this Mother’s Day.
Most Mums are happy with a gift, but this year loved ones can make it extra special by making the day as easy as possible on Mother’s Day.
It’s also the little things that can mean the most. Artwork from children, a hot drink, breakfast in bed, and making sure that the house is tidy.
Ultimately it is about making Mum feeling special, the day is theirs and this should be made very clear in both what gifts are bought and what time is given.
So, do Mums a good deed and give them something money cannot buy this year for Mother’s Day.
If you’re thinking of going on a cruise holiday with the family, you’ll probably be wondering whether it’s really safe to take kids along with you. Well, we can tell you that it’s definitely safe – in fact, cruise lines have been trying very hard to attract families by teaming up with certain children’s TV channels like Nickelodeon, and are offering parents the chance to bring their kids along for free!
There are so many things for kids to do on a cruise. There are both kid’s and teen’s clubs, video arcades, waterslides, outdoor movies, basketball, and more! However, although taking kids on a cruise holiday is safe, there is a downside. More and more kids are boarding cruise ships, especially during the school holidays…for a couple wanting to take a romantic getaway, they may find themselves on a ship with thousands of children. While many of these kids will be playing in the arcades or spending time with their families, there has been talk of children roaming the hallways alone, taking over the hot tubs, and causing havoc for older cruisers.
Many cruise ships handle the influx of children very well, but this doesn’t stop some cruisers who aren’t too keen on children saying that they’re never going back during the school holidays. If you want to go on a cruise with the whole family, then taking your kids could be a wonderful idea – just beware that there will be hundreds of other kids there too, and you might not get any peace for the duration. Saying that, you’ll all still have a wonderful time.
Of course, there’s a chance your kids won’t appreciate the cruise as much as they should – they’ll be a ton of amazing sites/places to see, but will they really appreciate the experience? Unless there are a lot of amenities on board the ship for them, they could get bored. Take a look here for some cruises you and your children could be interested in.
If you do decide to take the whole family on a cruise holiday, rest assured that it’s very safe. The only thing we’ll say is, make sure you keep them under control. Kids should not be left to run amok in the corridors, allowed to cannonball in the jacuzzi, or be rude to older cruisers. We advise that you know where your kids are and what they are doing at all times, by checking on them and asking them to check in with you every so often. You don’t want them to wreak havoc on the ship while you sunbathe on the deck, blissfully unaware of what’s going on. Plus, while it’ll be nice for the parents to relax and the kids to go and play for a while, what’s the point in going on a cruise holiday as a family if you don’t plan on spending time together as a family?
There are many pros and cons to cruising with kids, so weigh them up and decide whether it’s worth bringing the kids along!
The concept of ‘fancy dress’ has been around for a long time, centuries in fact. You can go back as far as the 18th century where, in the UK, masked balls were very popular. This started the fancy dress concept. Even children got involved in these masked balls in ye old United Kingdom, so it has been a part of growing up for years.
Fancy dress gained more widespread popularity in the 1940s, and they really began to gain momentum in the 1970s where costumes became more readily available.
But, why is fancy dress so important for children?
As we have all grown up, we have all probably tried to use our imagination and dress up. It may be denied, but most boys would have tried on some of their mothers clothes at some point.
Getting your children into a fancy dress costumes can give really benefit their social and emotional development. Using their imagination as a starting point allows them to interact and engage with other children, as well as having the confidence to speak to adults, and that includes Mum and Dad.
If you have a little girl, she may want to dress up in the latest Disney Princess character, which is great. The Disney Princess is what most girls want to be, especially when they are young, consider Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel or Tinkerbell (even though she is not technically a Disney Princess).
A little boy may want to dress up as a Pirate, such as Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean or a Superhero such as Batman, Spiderman or the Hulk.
(image from Flickr: Stijlfoto)
What is important here is that they dress up in something that encourages their imagination, but do not just stick to stereotypes. Giving your children the means to dress up in something other than this has the potential to do wonders for them, check out hollywood.uk.com to see if you can find their hero.
Fancy dress encourages children’s social side and provides a perfect ice-breaker helping your child build relationships from an early stage. Fancy dress can also help children overcome any shyness they may have around others, it also forms a platform for compliments to be made, giving children the confidence they sometimes need.
Fancy dress also helps children develop emotionally, being a channel where children can freely express themselves. It also helps children communicate with others, and by playing the characters that they love they learn control their emotional responses.
Fancy dress helps children develop their imagination. This is becoming more, and more important. With some many computer games, phones, tablets, computers, television and films available to young children, where these things can really harm their imagination development, fancy dress can help bring their inner child out.
Even though computer games, phones, tablets, computers, television and films can harm children’s imagination, it can also enhance it if used right. Fancy dress can be used as an extension of their favourite film, television show or video game. They can also be used as an extension of a book. It is important that combinations of these mediums are used to bring their favourite character to life.
You wouldn’t believe just how in tune with us our dogs are. As you’ve been pregnant for 9 months or so, he probably already knows that something around the home is changing. However, just because he’s picked up something new in the air, doesn’t mean he understands what’s going on. You need to prepare your dog for the arrival, and introduce your new arrival to him properly to help him come to terms with the change. Here’s a guide to safely introducing your dog to your new baby:
Photo Author: Flickr
Focus on Leadership
The 9 months in which you are pregnant is more than enough time to smooth out any naughty behaviour and establish yourself as the pack leader. It might take some hard work, but you’ll be glad you did it when the baby comes.
Be Aware of Your Own Energy
A pregnancy will affect the whole household. Your dog will mirror your emotions, whether you feel worried, anxious, or excited so beware of your own energy.
Bring Your Baby’s Scent
Before bringing home the baby, bring home an item from the hospital with the baby’s scent on. This is the exercise where you need to set clear boundaries. To create respect for the baby, you need to get your dog to sniff the item from a distance rather than close up. This sends a message that the item belongs to you and the dog needs to be careful.
At first, you shouldn’t let your dog inside the nursery at all. Then, you can let the dog in to explore and sniff with your supervision. You must always decide when it’s time for the dog to leave the room. You should do this a couple of times before the baby comes.
Keep the Introduction Controlled
Start off by draining your dogs energy by taking him on a very long walk. Before you come back, make sure you dog is calm and submissive. Your dog will know the second they enter the room that there’s a new scent in the house. Whoever is holding the baby needs to be totally calm. Don’t bring the baby too close during this first meeting. You need to teach the dog to treat your baby as another pack leader.
Teach Your Baby
As your baby grows and gets more curious, you should always supervise interaction between them and the dog. You don’t want your child to accidentally aggravate the dog, for example by touching his wuffitmix dog food, so be careful and teach your baby to be nice to the dog.
Don’t Forget About the Dog
Your dog needs to have their usual routine to feel secure. You need to be a consistent leader and take them for daily walks as normal, so they feel safe – you don’t necessarily need toys or to give them special attention!
Your baby’s safety should always come first, and if at any point you feel uneasy about the dog around your baby, you may need to consider finding the dog a new home as an option. Do your best to maintain position as pack leader and this shouldn’t have to happen.
The family car sector is big business for the motor industry, with leading global manufacturers competing for the chance to sell the best and most-popular models to parents all over the world! As you can probably imagine, there is a plethora of different models for mums and dads everywhere to choose from, ranging from frugal hatchbacks to luxurious motorway stormers.
But did you know that a lot of parents end up buying the wrong cars for their needs, because they have not remembered (or weren’t aware of) the golden rules to buying a family car? If you are planning on buying a family-oriented car soon, make sure you take the following points on board before you part with your money – otherwise you could end up making a costly mistake!
The importance of having the perfect (car) body
One of the biggest epic fails that a lot of parents make is buying a car with the wrong body style:
Saloon cars are good for families with children that do not need prams, as the boots of such cars are rather inflexible and limited on space;
Hatchback cars are popular for parents with growing families, and make it easy to load cargo in the boot and in the back of the car;
Estate cars are more difficult to park but provide the ultimate amount of cargo and cabin space, especially if you have to transport pets at the same time.
Avoid three-door cars like the plague
Have you ever had to regularly get a baby in and out of the back of a three-door car? It’s a rather stressful experience, and one that should be avoided at all costs! Whatever car you buy, make sure that it has five doors instead of three.
Some larger vehicles, such as the Ford S-Max, have large doors which offer the most amount of flexibility for getting babies and baby paraphernalia out of the car.
Luxury cars can be affordable family cars too
There is a common misconception that the more-luxurious vehicles on the market such as Mercedes cars are typically expensive and completely out of reach for the average Vauxhall Astra driver, for example, but they can still be bought – as long as you are willing to limit yourself to only used models!
To be honest, I wouldn’t buy a brand new car anyway because of the depreciation hit that I’d have to take, but for those that don’t want to experience the joys of diagnosing strange noises, sounds and smells from mature cars, you could buy nearly-new models as they will save you thousands off the list price of new ones.
Make sure you can disable the passenger airbag
Unbeknownst to many people is the fact that not all cars offer you the ability to put your baby at the front of the car with you. Therefore, when researching what family cars to put on your shortlist, make sure that they offer you the ability to disable the front passenger airbag when you’ve got your baby on board and acting as your co-pilot!
In today’s busy world we are lucky if we get five minutes to ourselves. As a Mom it is even harder. Take the kids to school, go to work, pick the kids up, do dinner, rush, rush and rush.
Certain household work, like cleaning, is very time consuming. How are you supposed to find the time to do it?
Well, help is at hand. Here are seven cleaning tips that are guaranteed to save you time, allowing you to make time for other, more important things in your life.
You are attempting to clean your house in a day? Let us be completely realistic. You will not be able to do it all. Instead set some realistic goals.
It helps being organised, so try and make a list at the start of every week. Write down what cleaning you want to do, and pick a couple of things from that list each day. Remember to make it manageable. A lot of this depends on the size of your list. The trick is to be realistic, and do little and often.
Get rid of clutter
Is your home messy or dirty? If it is just messy you may want to consider opening a big black bag and tossing things in there you don’t want, need or use.
You may have clothes you no longer use, or kids toys that are no longer played with. Get rid of them to make your cleaning load lighter and provide a better room to relax in.
Clean as you go
A simple, yet effective, tip to save time during your deep clean. Place packs of anti-bacterial wipes around the house, in the kitchen, bathroom or other room that require them. Then just wipe down as you go.
This way, your home will stay fresh and clean every day.
Deep clean time
This will happen at some point, whether you choose to do it weekly, monthly or every season.
If you choose to do this monthly, instead of doing it all together and trying to tackle the whole house in a day, try picking a room each week and spreading out the work.
You may think this is a little old fashioned, but it works.
The tip here is to buy a feather duster with real feathers, as they attract dust. If you happen to get one with faux feathers, these will just distribute dust around the house.
Again, the trick here is to do little and often. Rather than trying to do all your washing in a day, and failing, spread the load.
As you know, it is not just the washing element, it is having the space to dry your laundry too.
Sometimes you are just too busy to do the cleaning yourself, so hiring a cleaning services company may be just what you need.
Depending on your own circumstances it could actually be better for you and your family. Freeing up your time so you can do exactly what you want, when you want.