Healthy Changes for the New Year

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A new year means a host of people talking about changes they will make in life. This is nothing new, we all do this every year and  have for a very long time. A lot of people make negative comments about being sick of hearing, “New Year, New Me” from others. I don’t think it’s ever healthy to put folks down for wanting to better themselves. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, someone deciding to do better is ALWAYS a good thing!

I began working on myself after having Little Divine. At the time I was a young single mom and my life was a mess. I made a lot of poor life decisions and it was time to start cleaning them up. I’ve spent the last 11 years doing exactly that. It didn’t happen overnight. There were many times where I would improve one area and leave another area still stuck in bad patterns. It wasn’t an all at once process. It took me a very long time to get to a place where I could fully look at myself and my life, and work on many things at once.

It also took a very long time to see all the areas where I had faults and be humble enough to work on them. Admitting you need work in an area…. or ten…. is not easy for a lot of people, myself included. I am where I am today, and who I am today, because I was committed to working hard on myself even when it hurt.

I am far from finished! Not even close. But I have come leaps and bounds from the scared girl with a new baby, completely unsure how to life and adult in her new situation as a mom. Today I am confident in who I am as a person. I’ve learned SO much in life and I try to keep my eyes open and be aware of things in my world. Daily I try to improve myself as a person so I can grow better and better, and be a better person for those I know! ❤

I have many goals for this new year! One of our family goals is to eat a little less junk. I’m sure that is on a lot of goal lists for the year for many folks. Our world is a very different place now. Cheap and easy junk is readily available at very low prices. We don’t farm our own food for meals anymore. We rely on stores and restaurants to feed us.

We are looking forward to when we can buy a home with some acreage in the mountains nearby. When we do, we fully intend to learn how to grow our own food. Mr. Divine and his friend already hunt yearly and bring home a huge amount of meat doing so. I’d like to see us be able to do more at home as well. This will be a huge help in the, “eating less junk” goal because you can’t grow a cake in the backyard!

In the mean time, we are starting with small changes. Starting small is the best way to meet goals because you don’t overwhelm yourself. Our goal is to eat less junk, not stop eating all unhealthy things altogether. That would be such a daunting task!! I started off our new goal with a simple shopping trip to Costco. Now, normally I shop for sales and deals on all thing, ESPECIALLY food, but this week I was just so tired and spent from all we had going on.

Costco sells in bulk and often the prices are better than buying smaller amounts in the grocery stores. This is not always the case, which is why I check my sales sheets weekly. I shop the best deals and work my meals plans around them so I can spend as little as possible on the best food possible.

My goal for this week was simple – buy some produce to replace junk snacks in lunches. That was it! I picked up apples, oranges, celery, bananas and carrots. Done! While this requires I cut up things for each lunch, it’s worth the small bit of extra work to know I’m giving my family healthier food. We had been getting small snacks prepackaged that were quick and easy to add to a lunch. I’m still sending those here and there with the healthier foods just to get them gone.

I don’t like wasting food so I don’t throw it in the trash. I’d rather we eat it and it be gone, then we can focus on the other stuff. Or even throw one in here and there as a rare treat. That way no one feels deprived and it makes it a much more special item in their lunches!

Small steps will help you reach your goals! Remember to revel and celebrate in each goal you reach, no matter how small! Every step you take and every goal you meet is amazing! You should be VERY proud of yourself for working hard for yourself and doing better for YOU! ❤

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Post Holiday Kitchen Deep Clean

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I didn’t know my fingers hurt until I started typing just now! I spent 4 hours this morning deep cleaning my kitchen and I think my body is now on strike. Mr. Divine had a week and a half off from work for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. We had a fabulous Christmas and have been relaxing and enjoying family time this past week and a half. Today marked his first day back to work and my first day back to the daily grind on his work days.

I had a little cleaning to catch up on, but with the chaos of December I hadn’t had time to do as much around the house as I wanted to. I try to deep clean rooms at least once a month, but sometimes more time goes by. I really wanted to scrub the kitchen down since it was used so much for holiday meals and because everyone was home most of the day for a week and a half.

Four hours later and I am exhausted! I got serious about my cleaning though. I got out the toothpicks for detailing and everything! (^.~) The kitchen looks great and I am glad to be done! I like deep cleaning because stuff builds up, especially in a room like the kitchen. You don’t always notice where things splash or drip so a good deep clean helps get everything clean even in the hard to see places.

I’ve also found that the more often I spot clean, the less it takes during my deep clean. I didn’t have time for a deep clean in December so it took a lot of time today. If I make a note to try to do a little extra cleaning here and there throughout the month, my deep cleans will be a bit easier on me.

Also, Little Divine had been missing a few places with her daily chores as well. One part of her chores is to sweep and mop the kitchen with the Swiffer mop, and to wipe down the counters. I found some spots along the base-boards and on the floor she had missed and I let her know that it’s important to make sure spots aren’t skipped so they don’t get even yuckier. Kids are kids, they will not do the most meticulous job ever. However, they won’t learn how to do better with something unless you show them how and remind them when needed.

I pulled Little Divine into the kitchen and showed her the areas she had been skipping that she needed to do with her daily cleaning. I wasn’t mean or harsh, I just showed her what it should look like clean and how to get it done. Hopefully she remembers to work on those areas as well!

You can’t have a post about cleaning without talking about your supplies. My supplies are not fancy by any means but I have found that they work very well for us! Here is my supply round-up!

Cleaning Spray – I try to avoid anything with harsh chemicals as Little Divine uses these products to clean too. The simplest method I’ve found for a good cleaning spray is to take a full size spray bottle and fill up to where the neck of the bottle starts to thin with distilled white vinegar (from the grocery store). I then add about 2 tablespoons of blue Dawn dish soap to it and put the lid back on. I gently turn the bottle to mix them together, I don’t shake it or it makes a ton of bubbles. This cleaner not only cleans well but it also disinfects and it doesn’t contain anything harsh! The vinegar smell fades after a few minutes. We have a spray bottle full of this mix in each bathroom and the kitchen.

Counter Cleaning – Occasionally I will use peppermint castile soap to clean the tops of my counters. I wet a cloth or paper towel and add just a drop or 2 on it before wiping the counters down. You don’t need much to get the counters clean and it leaves a nice peppermint smell in the kitchen. DO NOT MIX CASTILE SOAP WITH VINEGAR TO MAKE A SPRAY! The combination is a nasty, gloppy mess that cannot be used. I learned this the hard way. I will use one or the other but not both at the same time.

Scrubbing – When you have stuck on stuff, a stainless steel scrubber will get just about anything off! Be careful that you don’t use it on surfaces that it will remove paint from. Some counters are laminate and it could scratch the design/printing off. Same with the pain on your stove. They can be a pain to clean food out of but I’ve found that putting them in a sink full of hot water and swishing them around gets most everything out. I feel this works better than just running them under water alone. Swishing them around while immersed gets water moving throughout the scrubber and gets more debris out. These are super long-lasting if you keep them clean! We also run ours through the dishwasher as well, to help with both cleaning and to sanitize it.

Sponges – I try to use reusable items as much as I can while cleaning. Sometimes you just need a throw away item like a paper towel. Generally though, I use these great washable dish sponges that do a fabulous job! One side is rougher for scrubbing and the other side is softer. We run these through the dishwasher several times a week to keep them extra clean. They can last a long time and have replaced our disposable sponges!

Mopping – We currently use a Swiffer wet mop for daily cleaning, though I will hand clean the base-boards and areas under the cabinets because I don’t feel it cleans those well. It’s more of a daily light cleaner than a heavy-duty cleaner. Ours sprays cleaner out and is light enough that Little Divine (10) can carry it around and use it. Our family feels the orange cleaning spray works the best for our needs. It cleans well, smells good, and doesn’t leave a residue on our floors.

Small DetailingToothpicks! They are so low-cost but they are perfect for tiny areas where grime and dust build up, like knobs on the stove. I will wet a toothpick and use it to clean out those time spots. If the space is a bit bigger I will cover the top of the toothpick with a damp paper towel and use it to get in harder to reach spaces like behind the knobs on the stove. They aren’t super durable so I went through about 10 toothpicks today alone, but they get the job done in spaces I couldn’t get super clean with rags and cloths. I buy my toothpicks in the little containers that are round or square so they can be stored easily and kept clean.

After Care – My hands get destroyed from cleaning  and I feel it’s too hard to do the work wearing gloves. Instead I use a really great hand cream after I’m done cleaning. This is super important if you are going to be cleaning without gloves. I use a hand cream rather than a lotion because I feel it is thicker and repairs better. Look for ingredients in a hand cream that will nourish your skin well! I tend to like something with a little fruity smell for a little wake up and perk up scent after all my hard work. (^.^)

If you have a favorite cleaning product, let me know what it is and why you love it so much! ❤

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