Posts Tagged ‘Domestic diva’

*Winner alert!* Lil’ J randomly drew Amy! Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you to claim your prize!

I’m really still a year out from turning 30 but it’s creepin up on me way too fast. I’m looking at my 30 by 30 list (ok, I need to update it because I’m doing better than it looks right now) and realizing there are a few major things I need to start getting underway. One of which is finding my signature dish.

Thanks to a new partnership, Sears approached me about reviewing some of their new Calphalon cookware and at first I sorta chuckled because me?… Cook? HA! But I was reminded of the fact that it is actually one of my big goals to tackle, and I’m not going to find a signature dish overnight. I asked you all on my facebook page what recipes you love and was seriously so impressed by all of you little chefs out there! There are so many delicious dishes I want to try but I haven’t had time yet.

Anyway, so I have these fabulous new Calphalon nonstick pans that are nice for the cooking pros yet also super durable for my clumsy self, and yet all I’ve made on them so far is grilled cheese and pasta (breaking news: I also just made scrambled eggs). They all turned out great, and as promised… food didn’t stick to the pan and cleanup was easy too. So now I’m all cocky and overconfident thinking I can probably cook anything with these things. But what to cook?

Check out my video to see my dilemma.


So like I said, if you can offer some help and leave a recipe you love and you think I could handle in the comments. As a thank you I’d like to give away a $25 gift card to Sears to someone who comments on this post. It doesn’t have to be a recipe you invented, just something you love or think I’d love (or for your non-foodies, just some words of encouragement for me will do 😉 -added 10-11)

Things to keep in mind if you skipped out on the video:
Easy
Not too hard
Painless
Straightforward
Easy

If you want to submit a baking recipe that works too. I have some cool muffin pans I’ll be tempted to put store-bought cupcakes in, so help a sista out with your baking recipes too if you’d like.

I’ll draw the winner on October 12th October 16th so you’ll have plenty of time to go shopping and get some cookin’ practice in before Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, you can learn more about Calphalon at Sears here. A big thanks to Sears for sponsoring my quest to becoming a little more domestic. All opinions (and typos) are my own.

*By can’t, I mean I currently suck, but I’m sure I’m probably capable.

I’ve got a random tutorial and fun video to share today, in case someone else out there happens to get terrorized by the tiny pests known as fruit flies.

A few weeks ago I had them swarming in my house and not a clue where they came from. I mean obviously they’re attracted to fruit, but we didn’t have any old fruit, and even when I got rid or all the fresh produce they still seemed to linger.

Finally I looked up how to kill fruit flies, and found some interesting ways to make fly traps. With a little trial, error, and tweaking I found what I think is the perfect way to kill fruit flies naturally.

An easy photo and video tutorial for killing fruit flies naturally using household items. Get rid of those pests for good!


Here’s what you’ll need:

A cup/bowl/container of some sort

Apple cider vinegar

Dish soap

Cling wrap

Toothpick

A small piece o fruit for good measure

Directions:

1. Pour apple cider vinegar in the bottom of the cup. Just enough to have a layer at the bottom.

2. Add a tablespoon of dish soap to the vinegar.

3. Cover the top of the container with cling wrap.

4. Poke holes in the cling wrap using the tip of the toothpick. You won’t need to make the holes bigger than the tip of the toothpick. Those little beasts can squeeze though just fine and if the holes are too big they’ll be able to fly back out.

You’re done! Here are the nasty results:An easy photo and video tutorial for killing fruit flies naturally using household items. Get rid of those pests for good!

Here are the directions in video form. Excuse my noisy kids in the background.

I caught all of those nasty beasts and the picture isn’t pretty. Actually it’s gross and awesome at the same time. Mission accomplished!

Let me know how it works for you, and share with your friends who need to know!

So, I’m going to let you decide if this party was Pinterest-worthy or not. I happen to think that I pulled it off spectacularly, but it wouldn’t have been possible without help. To me that’s the secret of party-planning… Getting help. And I don’t think I did a single detail of this party alone.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme: birthday boy hat

Starting with my invites. I knew I wanted to do a Dr. Seuss Party theme from the book Oh The Place’s You’ll go. I had ideas in my mind, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull it off. One day I just decided to go for it, and when I found a $5 basket that would PERFECTLY serve as a kiddy hot air balloon basket I knew it was on.

So home I went with my $5 steal, and I got balloons to tie to it. Word to the wise: Don’t try to take 10 balloons home from the store, it’s not safe.  I had to pull over and have my husband rescue me from my balloon-filled passenger seat.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme: places you'll go party invite

Once I had the picture taken, I searched for the perfect invite. I found one from this etsy shop. Boom. Invites done.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme, places you'll go welcome sign

My sister Lauren helped me make the “welcome” sign outside the door that actually didn’t say welcome, but some funky directions that went with the Dr Seuss Party, Oh The Places You’ll Go party theme. She made fun of me for placing it that way, saying I should have put down up and up down, but whatever.

My friend Hope has a Cricut and she helped me make the Happy Birthday banner, and extra flags that I used on the wall.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme, birthday month-by-month banner

Another friend, Laura, makes adorable photo banners, so she sat down with me to make his month-by-month photo display.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; hot air balloon lanterns

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; kid you'll move mountains places you'll go partyDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; hot air balloon lanternsDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; elephant banner places you'll goMy mom and sisters came in for the party, and they wanted a hand in helping. My mom helped me turn colorful lanterns into hot air ballons. My sister Kimberly gave me the idea to turn the extra bunting into an elephant/held flag. And from the beginning I wanted to make a mountain rage featuring the famous words in the story: “KID YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!” Even Lil’ J helped with that creation.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go decoration

I used some leftover poster board to make a little airplane “banner” for a plane we had. It looked perfect on our bookshelf below a US map I got from Hobby Lobby.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party puffsA woman from my ward has a little bakery called Dough Girl Bakery, and she made the gorgeous pastries you’re about to witness. Believe me, they tasted as good as they look.
Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go cupcakes Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go cupcakes Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; marshmallow pops chocolate covered pretzels Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go smash cake
Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go party foodI gave her ideas and sent her pictures of the type of cupcakes, and dipped pretzels and giant marshmallows I wanted and she totally exceeded my expectations. She also made the cutest little smash cake that Big T loved.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; first birthday boy

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; messy baby eating smash cake

For a second.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; messy baby smash cakeI’m not sure if he had a sugar rush or if cake got in his eye but after a few fistfulls in his mouth he was done.

We had water and rainbow sherbet/sprite mix.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party goldfish bowlDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party grape kabobsDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; Happy Baby puffsDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; happy family party foodDr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; happy baby party food

Adults and kids loved the sweets, but we also had other yummy non-sweet food. We ordered chicken croissants and ham pinwheels from HEB, and my sister made purple and green grape kabobs. Happy Family sent me a bunch of toddler snacks for a promotion I’m doing on BabyCenter and they worked perfectly as healthy snacks for all the kids. The organic animal cookies and yogurt puffs were a big hit.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go party favors

The party favors were another idea I came up with on my own. I’d been saving babyfood jars thinking I’d make rainbow cake in them, but it was too overly ambitious for me. I ended up filling the bottom with Easter-colored jellybeans (that went along with the theme) and topped them off with jellybean cotton candy.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; places you'll go party favors

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party display favors

A neighbor let me borrow her gorgeous goblets that I filled with the other favors… Play-dough and bubbles.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; oh the places you'll go birthday book

I bought an extra copy of Oh The Places You’ll Go and used it as a guestbook. Looking back I wish I left a sign asking guests to leave a piece of advise or well-wish, but it’s ok.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; places you'll go photobooth

We also inflated more balloons (this time with a balloon tank) and attached it to that basket again for a little corner photo booth.

Lastly, I bought a rainbow inflatable pool (that my mom inflated with her own lungs!) and 300 balls for a little ballpit for the kids. They got a kick out of it. It took him awhile to warm up to it. We had it up for a few days before the party, and now, a few days after he’s finally climbing in and out, tossing balls about.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; birthday party ballpitI’m not thrilled about having 300 plastic balls that at any moment can end up sprawled across my house, but hopefully we’ll put them to good use, and this summer, can get good use out of the pool.

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; baby day 365Oh, and after wrapping up the party, we took his last 365 photo. So that project is a wrap!

Dr. Seuss Party: oh the places you'll go party theme; mommy and me first birthdayOverall I think it was great. My one year old had a blast on his big day, and I tackled a party like never before. Planning ahead and getting help made the biggest difference. I’m already excited for my daughter’s birthday in July!

And of course I had to capture the scene on video. If you don’t watch the whole thing just watch the first 10 seconds and let me know what you think of my new intro. Believe it or not that was the trickiest part of the entire project!


What do you think of the party? How did I do?

Last year I wrote a post sharing the fast and easiest way to backup and print all of your cell phone photos. If you’re like me you take too many, and don’t save enough, so this post helps a lot with that. I mentioned Groovebook—a product that not a lot of people knew about, and now, thanks to me (and a little show called SharkTank) they are on their way to becoming a household name. Today I’m going to tell you about another product that’s still on it’s way to meeting the masses, but that I can now attest to.

If you never take the time to print and hang the pretty photos you take on your camera, either because you never get around to it, or can’t afford to do it the way you picture in your mind, this post is for you.

I literally have tens of thousands of images of my kids but hardly any on my walls. It’s really a shame because I’m so proud of a lot of the photos and I’d love to show them off.

So let’s talk about the options we have to display photos, what’s most appealing, affordable and least time-consuming.

Personally I’ve been drawn to canvas wraps for years. I don’t have to choose a frame, and I love the way they look when hung up. But the price adds up quickly. Even when I get them half-off (that’s most of the time) the total still comes out to cost a pretty penny.    photo-canvas-wall In my living room I have three 16×20 canvas prints hanging. Two I ordered from CafePress when they had 70% off deals (so they were $34 each) the other I got from Zazzle (quality is ok). All are super cute, pretty easy to move around, but take some effort on my part to nail and get just right (in fact, looking at this photo I can see I still don’t have it perfect).

My plan is to get smaller frames from thrift stores and hang them between these canvas prints to make a full photo wall. How long that will take me, I have no idea. It takes quite a bit of time, energy and patience for me to do a project like this.

I wanted to do something similar over my computer but I wasn’t sure how I’d ever manage to get it just right. The wall over my computer is huge, and also in the playroom, so I didn’t want something that could come crashing down on my electronics if a ball came barreling in that direction.

blank office wall

I was looking into invisible frames, with plexiglass and clips to hang in a montage over my desk. But each 4×6 frame is $9 (plus $8 shipping), not to mention I’d like some larger photos displayed. I could see this was going to be quite the investment.

I bought four square 20×20 frames from Ikea, but 1. Again, they’re heavy and I didn’t want them over my computer, and 2. The square dimensions limited my photo selection and required cropping.

Just when I was measuring the wall to risk hanging my heavy frames, I got an email about WeMontage, a new way to display photo art using removable photo wallpaper. On their website they have an example of a gorgeous photo wallpaper collage of the owner’s babies in their nursery.

Nursery June 2013 lo ResImpressed, but still a little skeptical, I researched the company, as well as people who have used it, and looked at how their photos were displayed. I’m pretty picky when it comes to photo prints. Anything larger than a 4×6 that I plan to display I have printed from a professional printer. They said they’d send me one to try and review, so I went for it. Here’s the result:

cheap-way-to-hang-photos

No lie, I’m blown away. I even got teary eyed as I unrolled his huge display. Even my husband who is VERY hard to impress, is in awe. They’re all photos I’ve taken. Photos that woulda taken who knows how long to get hung on my wall. To be honest, I probably never would have gotten them all up, much less as beautifully organized.

This is definitely the fastest, easiest, and more affordable way to display high-quality images in an attractive style.

A few things to note:

1. On price- I gasped of sticker shock when I initially saw the price tag of $120 for a 6ft x 2ft display ($69 for 3ft X 2ft), but then I realized that the regular price of my (tiny by comparison) canvas print that’s less than a quarter of that size is normally $109. I got 12 extremely large pictures for a little bit more (the smallest is a little bigger than an 8×10). You can also use my coupon ‘babymakingmachine’ to get 20% off until March 27th 2014.

photo-wallpaper-collage

2. On using their website It’s super easy to upload your photos and shuffle through the way you want to display your images. I spent WAY too long trying to get it just right, re-editing photos so they matched better, and shuffling through collage styles to get one that looked just right. I made about 10 drafts before I chose one. In the end I realized I was crazy and that they all looked good. That said, I really wanted one that didn’t have an extra white boarder around the edges, so if that’s an issue for you, click the “shuffle” button a few times til you see it go away. The interface is really good about giving excellent options that fit your images and don’t crop them. (It also gives you a warning if your image quality is too low for the size it’ll be displayed. If you have questions about changing your resolution let me know and I can explain more.)

3. On installing- I measured the height I wanted it at from my desk up, marked the wall, then had my husband help me set it up. We had it way crooked the first time, and we were able to easily remove it and re-stick it. I was extremely paranoid about lumps, bubbles, and wrinkles. I’m pretty sure I’ve spotted oopsies around the blogosphere that didn’t seem to be stuck right and I wanted to jump through the photo and fix it for them. It’s not hard to install but for heavens sakes, get help to do it right!

4. How it looks- It’s hard to tell from this photograph but this thing is HUGE. For perspective, my computer screen is 27in. There are smaller size options but I wanted something large for this space. As for picture quality, it’s great. You can see a string that’s dangling from my daughter’s cowgirl boots and individual eyelashes on my kids. Ok, so a lot of that is my lens, but there’s no distortion or quality loss in print. The colors are vibrent and true, and I believe they have a color-correcting service.

photo-wall-collage

There isn’t really anything like this on the market, so the appearance at first is like “wait, what is that?” When shared a preview on Instagram everyone wanted to know what this was. Vinyl? Canvas? Paper? It’s actually fabric. I was looking for a no-frame option for this space (either plexiglass or canvas) so this was the perfect solution. It’s definitely modern, and new, and I think people might not know what to make of it at first, but I love being one of the first people on the bandwagon of what I think will become a new trend for photo art.

5. On practicality- I love that this won’t come crashing down on my computer, it’s like wallpaper, it’s stuck for good—But can come off when I need it to without causing damage to the wall. This is a positive and negative in my opinion. It’s great for renters who don’t want to stick 12+ nails in the wall trying to hang frames just right. But I wonder how it’ll preserve if you want to move it to another room or home. My plan (whenever I decide to remove it) is to get a thin piece of 6x2ft plywood to stick it to so I can re-hang it again in another place. Granted that’s a giant piece of plywood to move and store (or maybe frame like this), but I suppose could always cut the photos out of the collage and stick them individually to smaller pieces of wood if I wanted to only display a few later and store the rest. Ack! I just got anxiety imagining hacking into my gorgeous piece of work.

photo-wallpaper-wall

So there you have it, my latest discovery for preserving and displaying our precious memories. Stop waiting for the perfect frame, or detailed strategy to make that photo wall you’ve been dreaming of. Grab a handful of your favorite pictures from your latest trip and show them off, or do what I did and create a display that makes everyone jealous of your gorgeous kids the second they step foot into your house.

I think I’ve covered it. Any more questions? Shoot! I’m happy to help. Also, you can get 20% off until March 27th 2014 using code “babymakingmachine”.

I’ve been in denial long enough. My son is turning ONE. I feel like I just had him a few months ago, not 11 months ago. It seems like he just started crawling, and now he’s trying to walk. I just snapped a picture of his first tooth, and now he has eight. Time has flown by much too fast, and it’s time I accept it.

Big T is probably my last baby. And I LOVE babies. Have I mentioned that? This stage he’s in right now… The happy, non-moody; Crawling, not running; Compliant, non-picky-eating; Babbly, not talking my ear off and constantly asking “why?” stage. He is so much fun and I just never want this to end.

diy Hot air balloon kidSince this will probably be the last first birthday party I throw, I’ve decided to plan ahead and try to put together something I’ll be proud of. That’s right. Me. He won’t remember any of this. But I will. I’ve decided to do party theme based on the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I love that book, and it has such a great message for both my kids, especially for my son on his first birthday.

balloon-set

I don’t have everything set in stone yet, but I know we’re having it at my place, and that I want to have a little photobooth. My bright blue wall will come in handy as a sky backdrop. I bought a basket off craigslist for $5 that works as a perfect little kid hot air balloon basket. I tested out the area yesterday photographing pictures for his birthday card. Choosing a favorite was much harder than it should have been.diy-hot-air-balloon-partyI’ve decided I’ll use extra photographs and outtakes as decorations for his party.

I’m also pinning other party ideas like crazy… A tiny ball pit/pool area, maybe a popup tunnel, and lots and lots of snacks. I love the cute pastel rainbow theme and colors of the book, and luckily Easter candies and decorations use the same kind of colors, so hopefully finding party items won’t be too hard.

rainbow cake in a jarjello boat

I’d also like to tackle at least one Pinteresty food project. I’m thinking either these jello boats, which look awesome, or this rainbow cake in baby food jars. I’ve been saving baby food jars just in case, but I’m thinking of filling them with cotton candy or Hersey’s kisses as a party favor instead. Only because cupcakes and other finger foods won’t require forks, and I’m wondering if adults will find them small. Then again, cupcakes are small too so never mind.

Other ideas on the menu: Pigs in a blanket, fruit kabobs, chocolate covered pretzels, popcorn, marshmallow pops,  goldfish. Basically a lot of sweets and junk food.

Aside from decorations and food, I’m chewing on an idea for a time-capsule like project for his birthday. Maybe a tradition I start for him. Perhaps I’ll have party guests give him a piece of advice on video, or mention a memory from the year 2013, or both. I’m workin’ on that.

If you’ve had party successes with decor, food, entertainment, whatever, please share! I want this to be a non-fail.

I totally dropped the ball on Valentines Day this year. It’s absolutely one of my favorite holidays. Probably second only to Christmas. But I just wasn’t ready this year. I was just living in the past, pretending it was January, and wondering why it wasn’t 70 degrees yet.

Yes, here in Austin we had our fair share of winter weather (fair share for Texas, not fair compared to the rest of the country). We had a few snow days, canceled school, and temperatures in the 30s. Way too cold for my taste. I can barely function when it’s that cold. So there I was, not functioning or thinking about Valentines Day. Then BAM! It hit me, the party was tomorrow and I didn’t have any creatively awesome treats to pass out.    same-school-valentines I totally copied a friends idea which she saw on Pinterest and made a completely less than adequate version for my daughter’s class, but really, these kids are three. They’re gonna dump out the candy and throw away the rest. I was not fretting about that this year. (Plus her class right now has a ridiculous amount of kids, 14 her age, 28 total, and I was not about to slave over 28 valentines).

So the cute little saying is “So glad we’re in the same school” featuring Sweetish fish in the fish bowl… Get it?

My ink ran out after printing out the first page so I shrank the fish bowls and pushed that little color ink cartridge to its limit. For some reason the first part of the page would be in full color then the back 3/4ths were all jacked up. No idea why, but I’m guessing it has to do with the low ink warning.

same-school-valentines-2I helped Lil’ J write her name 14 times, and she sorted the fish in the baggies.

Valentines Day was nice and warm, luckily I had a cute dress for her that still fit from the year before. Did I take a picture? NO! I suck! Did I make my son a totally adorable Valentines vest with a matching bowtie? NO! I SUCK!

Totally dropped the ball.

father-son

But I did have a date night in with my husband, featuring take out and Top Gun (can you believe I’d never seen it?!) Tom Cruise was smokin’ hot.

valentines-pancakes

The next morning I made heart-shaped pancakes with Lil’ J, which were also nothing like they were on Pinterest. To my defense, I used a 10-grain mix from Thrive. Super healthy, but not super easy to cook in the shape of a heart. It really didn’t matter to Lil’ J though, she thought they were way awesome and made me feel like the coolest mom ever.

mother-daughter

Anyway, I refused to let Valentines Day go by undocumented for my little one. It’s his first one after all! So Sunday I dressed him up, and kissed him up and took pics for his “First Valentines.”

kissy-baby-face

I may make some felt heart garland, a kiddie craft, and a little outfit then do it again this week. I just can’t let it go. I didn’t even Next year I’ll do better. Rain, shine or snow.

kissy-face-baby-2

I finally got around to taking some pictures of our place. We don’t have everything set up yet, not even close. But most of the boxes are unpacked aside from the guest room.

office-copy IMG_3847_0048-copyThis is the formal living/dining area that we are using as a playroom and office combo. I figured it would be better to have my computer out where the kids are playing so I can get some work done with them nearby, and if I need to get away when my husband’s home I can always take my laptop into the craft/guest room.

I took these pictures before Christmas and had my decorations up at the time.

I got the rug from Target, and the desk from Ikea. My chair is from Ross, as is the chest under my desk that I keep my microphone and other office supplies in.

Lil’ J also has a play kitchen in this room now that Santa brought her for Christmas, I’ll hafta update these photos once I have more things on the walls and show that off.

I plan to sew long bench seat pillows for the lower Ikea shelves and the windowsill and that will become the main seating for the room. I like having the open space to play though.

I’ve been organizing *eBay collections with more of my ideas for our playroom. I’m keeping my eye on wooden puzzels, and play food, as well as picture frames and artwork for and other rooms in my house. That’s one tough thing I’m finding about having a new place. I can’t stop shopping to try and fill it! I’m starting to realize that this is something that doesn’t happen overnight, and it’ll take years to get it the way I want it, and even then, I’ll probably want to start over. For now I’m trying to find good deals where I can, and many of them are online. You can follow me to see what deals I’m finding for my mom cave and play room (many of them under $20).

kitchen-2-copykitchen-1-copy

I love my kitchen. Which is really funny considering I’m not much of a fan of being in it. But all the stainless steel, the cabinets, and countertops welcome me. I plan to spend a lot of time in here next year.

kitchen-3-copy

The family room walls are a huge work-in progress, as are the curtains and accent pillows I’m hunting for. I bought a portable fireplace with a mantel to spice up the space, and fill it in since the area is so large.

IMG_3862_0057-copyIMG_3864_0058-copyfamily-room-1-copyhallway-copy

I redid Big-T’s room similar to his last, but this time he doesn’t share it with my sewing stuff. I want to make letters and put his name above his crib.

IMG_3890_0077-copyIMG_3876_0067-copy

nursery-3-copyLil’ J’s room is one of the only painted rooms in the house, but I haven’t hung anything on her walls yet, I’m still indecisive.

Christmas-day-2013_0049-copy Christmas-day-2013_0048-copyThe guest/sewing room was full of boxes a few days ago but my mother-in-law’s visit finally forced me to unpack them.

guest-room-boxes-copy

Nothin’ much to our guest bathroom but it’s got a cute purple theme.

guest-bathroom-copy

The laundry room isn’t large, but it’s the largest one we’ve ever had. I got bins to store everything so detergent and whatnot is tucked away neatly. laundryroom-copy

Our room fits our king bed, dresser and has a room for a lot more. Eventually I’d like to get nice bookshelves, and maybe a loveseat to go in here since there’s so much extra space. I’m still torn about whether or not we should mount our TV since it’s so small compared to our big wall.

master-bedroom-2-copy

Arguably my favorite upgrade is our jetted tub, which none of us can get enough of.

master-bathroom-3-copymaster-bathroom-2-copymaster-bathroom-copy

So that’s a little peek at our new abode. I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and keep it clean. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Feel free to share your decorating wisdom for the unwise!

*My eBay Collections were curated as part of my collaboration with eBay.

I blame my hatred for cleaning on my parents. I’m pretty sure from the moment I was old enough to hold a washcloth they put me to work. Laundry, sweeping, mopping, bathroom duty you name it. I felt like Cinderella. But instead of having evil stepsisters laughing at me, my sisters were alongside me doing a crappy job, which left more work for me and–Well, you get the idea. Anyway…

My parents probably thought it was some kind of character-building technique, but I just thought it was torture.

“They only had us so we can be their slaves and clean the house!”

“Yea!”

My sister and I were pretty dramatic.

So basically I feel like I paid my dues from the age of 6-17, and for the next 10 years I’ve thought of ways to make cleaning less miserable. From marrying a recovering neat-freak, to hiring help, and researching cleaning robots.

The robot fascination started one day when I was working on a story about a robot that may eventually be able to detect early signs of autism in children. I had just finished interviewing the inventor about this really cool device when my photographer told me how he has a robot.

“It vacuums my floors,” he told me.

“Do you have a Roomba?!” I was excited to talk to someone who actually had one. I’ve been salivating over these things forever, and the reviews were great, but are they really all they’re chalked up to be?

“It’s awesome, we come home every day to freshly vacuumed floors.” SOLD! He had me at ‘It’s awesome.’ I proceeded to ask him a gazillion questions about it, and tell my husband I wanted one, but he said to wait until we moved, and we’d see. Our vacuum was on the fritz anyway, and we’re in the market for something new. I’ve heard great things about Dysons… Rolling around on a ball and all. People tell me you barely have to push them. But here’s the thing… When it comes to vacuuming all I want to push is a button.

I got something very similar to try out. It’s a Braava 380t, Roomba’s little cousin. It’s a robotic mop… Think of a Swiffer on wheels running around by itself. Ya, it’s pretty cool.

I named him Bob. And he’s basically my Prince Charming. I told you when I got him I’d give you my honest opinion and here it is… (Beware, the following photos are pretty nasty, yet exciting).

Braava-380t robotic floor mopA good kind of gross.

We still have quite a few boxes everywhere but I tried it out anyway to see what it could do. Once Bob was done charging I set up the GPS cube in my kitchen and let him do his thing. My kids and dog were quite amused, as was I.

I didn’t think he would pick up much dirt cause we just moved in to brand new clean tile floors, but boy was I wrong. Bob picked up dog hair and dust like nobody’s business. We’d only been in a day!

I don’t dust, but now I can totally be one of those people who does. Braava-380t

So Bob isn’t so good at picking up big things like pretzel chunks or rocks (hey, it happens). But anything a Swiffer can do, he can do better—Reaching under my couch and spots I’d never sweep myself. Perfect for routine cleaning and dusting that I’m usually too lazy to do. We made a mess moving into our laundry room, leaving a ton of debris. Bob sucked a lot of it up, but the solid concrete-like stuff didn’t stick to his cleaning cloth. Luckily I don’t see a lot of concret debris in my kitchen floor’s future.

A bonus is it’s also great kid entertainment just push the button, walk away, and my kids are entertained without me for the next 30 minutes or so. Poor Snoop was scared though. He’s no where to be seen in this video.

Here’s a very non-fancy blurry iphone video of him in action alongside my thoroughly amused children.


Just like you’d want to do a quick rinse before putting your dishes in the dishwasher, you’ll want to pick up big things off your floor before getting this thing going. You can use it in wet mop mode, or dry sweep mode, using either the reusable clothes it comes with, or disposable Swiffer cloths.

My absolute favorite part about Bob is the fact that once a day, he quietly takes care of Snoop’s dog hair on my tile. He has no problem running from room to room, aside from occasionally getting confused under one of my couches. But I just give him a little nudge after I hear his call for help and he gets going again. Snoop is getting a lot more love from me these days now that his hair isn’t a constant annoyance.

Braava-380tYucky yay!

I’m ok staying on top of messy dry concrete and cereal spills and Bob can take care of the rest. Now my only question is do I still get the Roomba to vacuum my carpet and everything else? I’m thinking probably yes.

Moral of this story? Don’t get a dog. Or if you already have one, get a Bob, er, a Prince Charming… I mean a Braava.

Questions about my new BFF? Shoot!

And for more information about this little robot and others, check out iRobot. Technically, they sponsored the review, but my love for Bob is pure and priceless.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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