Friday, March 29, 2013

The Tale of the Grimy Grout

This is not a sponsored post, just a post sharing an amazing homemade cleaner that I found. My friend Kriste posted something on her facebook wall that led me to her Pinterest account and the "Why Didn't I Think Of That" board.  There I found a link to a grout cleaner that was supposed to work very well.  I had all the ingredients on hand, so I wrote down the mixture to make up later.  Well, I have finally made it.

Now my house is over a decade old.  I, having never had tile before, unwisely chose a lovely eggshell color for the grout through the house.  Never do that.  Never. We sealed it. It was labor-intensive and it really didn't protect it for very long.  I gave up on trying to keep the grout white.  I have children to enjoy!  They won't remember the color of the grout when I am laying on my deathbed.  They'll remember the fun we have together.

However, it always bothered me. I'd wipe it down with a Magic Clean eraser every week or so, but it never STAYED clean.  I think this new cleaner may be the answer to my grout problems.

I tried it first on my kitchen grout.  I was happy.  I decided to tackle my entryway. I photodocumented the following experience.

Here's the before picture of the evenly dirty grout in front of our door. I could pretend it was SUPPOSED to be that color....but it wasn't.

Here's after a spray of the solution and a wipe of a wet cotton rag.

Here's the perpendicular line done.

 This is a wide shot.  The cross shape that I cleaned above is near the rag.  Big difference, huh?

Finally, here's the finished floor.

The original link recommended spraying on the cleaner, letting it sit for a while, then scrubbing it with a grout brush and wiping with a clean cloth.  I don't have time for that.  I sprayed all the grout lines and let it sit just while I was doing that. I don't have a grout brush, so I just scrubbed with the cotton rag and elbow grease. Only a little elbow grease, though. I haven't a lot to spare anymore!  This entire floor took about a half hour. If I had followed directions as written, maybe it would have come a little cleaner, but this is wonderfully acceptable to me!  It is, after all, the floor, not the table. It will have many, many feet tromping over it tomorrow and every day that follows.

I can't say how long the grout will stay light colored, but I do know that I can spare a half hour once in a while to bring it back to this shade.

After doing the floor, I was inspired to try cleaning a section of a grimy corner of our painted wall.  Mr. Clean Eraser works wonderfully, but did so by removing the paint.  A plain washrag didn't cut it, and neither did the other cleaners I had on hand.

A small amount of this solution on the cloth and the paint came clean, even in the deeper parts of the texture. I tried it first on a small section that was hidden, of course, in case it took the paint with it as I rubbed.  It did not.  I cleaned my entire Four Corners area in just a few minutes, again, using just the cloth and a little elbow grease.

I am so thankful that Kriste posted the link that day. The "maid" portion of my life just got MUCH easier!

Grout Cleaner

*never add bleach to this. Bleach and ammonia create toxic fumes that WILL sicken or kill you!*

3 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp ammonia (I used lemon-scented)
2 Tbsp white vinegar

Mix together in a large bowl. There will be a reaction when you pour in the vinegar.  Using a funnel, fill a spray bottle.  Give a shake before use.

The original recipe has you making this IN the spray bottle. If I had, I think it would have fizzed out when I poured in the vinegar.  I'm glad I did it in a bowl instead.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is not a state of being, it's a choice!  The joy of the Lord is my strength, Psalm 28:7! Because I am saved, I know the Lord has me in the palm of His hand always. Isaiah 49: 15-16 promises that to me.  Focus on the Lord and joy will undoubtedly follow.  Today I am happy and thankful for several things, including Renee, whose post today inspired this one.

1. My husband, who works very hard so I can be home with the children.  He's so selfless in this desire.  I couldn't have asked for a better man with whom to spend my life. I thank the Lord for him daily.

2. I have plenty of food to share amongst my children and the neighborhood children.  We know not want or gnawing hunger.  I pray that this continues to be the case in our nation.

3. Sunshine and plenty of it!  Since moving to CA, I understand SAD.  I need my sunshine!

4. Fresh food. The farmer's market never closes here, but I love the variety and flavors of spring and summer.  Freshly harvested asparagus is amazing.  Honey is starting to come available again and I will be getting a bucket. I've missed honey.

5.  The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We are the freest people of the world and I pray that out nation resists the forces that hope to change that.  Regardless, evil will never triumph over the will of the Lord and HE wins in the end! Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Updates

Spring is here in Central California!  The temperatures are warming and the winter hoodies have been packed away.  Flip flops and Vibrams are back in action!!

We are nearing our last few weeks of formal school.  Just six weeks to go!

We're harvesting lots of lettuce and Swiss chard from the garden. Lemons and oranges are in abundance. Lemonade is often being enjoyed and Creamsicle Jelly is back in the cupboards.  Carrots, green beans and radishes are planted, with tomatoes to follow soon.

I found an amazing deal on Craig's List!!  I was able to purchase a Squeezo Strainer and an All American 915 for a very nice price.  I will be able to put up tomato sauce this year!  Woohoo!

Lillie's FSP is climbing little by little.  Her parents are working as fast as they can to get through the paperwork and get her home.  Her mommy has a really neat store set up. She handcrafts amazing Montessori toys.  Every penny of each purchase is tax-deductible and is used exclusively for Lillie's adoption costs.  Think of Easter baskets filled with useful toys rather than candy, or birthday gifts that will endure the years! My Little Sunshine Montessori Boutique is the place to go.

So, how is life for you on this first day of Spring? What projects are you undertaking? What are your goals for this season?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Modeling Psalm 121

The Little Man has done something he has long longed to do....he walked on the roof.  I love how this picture shows his independence AND his daddy's ever watchful protection.  What a picture of the Lord's care for us!

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore. 

Psalm 121

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Reece's Rainbow Updates

There have been quite a few "happenings" regarding the children I advocate for on Reece's Rainbow. I'll start with the bad news....

As you've probably heard, a certain country has banned adoptions of their discarded children by Americans.  Despite the fact that hundreds of these precious children die every year in state "care" and they are almost never domestically adopted, even the special needs children are being denied families if those families happen to be American.  Some of the children I have advocated for are in this country.  Abbott and Angelina, who I hoped would someday be brother and sister, are now almost certainly going to grow up without hope of a family of their own.  Please pray for them.

In better news, Mabel has a committed family!!  I'm so thankful that she will be home soon. This family  doesn't need any help fundraising, so I won't be posting any more opportunities to help bring her home.  I will post, if I am given permission, a picture of her with her afghan that the crochet class made.

Meet Lillie

Lillie will be the next little girl to benefit from Hooked on Hope, my family's crochet fundraising page. I'll be blogging about various opportunities to help build her fund and bring her home!  If you want to help support Little Lillie, you can go join this page: Sweet Cheeks Fan Club.  Let me know if you will be praying for her and her family!!