I know I’m not the only mom who dreams of long soaks in a beautiful spa shower or of spending a quiet evening reading a great book in a whirlpool bath. Of course, when you have young children like I do, the reality is bathroom time is (at best) fast and functional. All the more reason to create a space that is inviting, and maybe even inspiring. Whether you’re in desperate need of more storage, hope to streamline your space, or you’ve simply grown tired of the decor you currently have, you can completely transform your bathroom next weekend.
I’ve spent my entire adult life searching high and low for the best bathroom cleaner that removes soap scum off the glass like a magic wand. If I found anything that promised to “clean your shower doors in minutes” and make my glass so clean and clear that I’ll repeatedly walk into it, it never worked. Or, it took multiple washes, and by the time my shower was “clean,” I killed millions of brain cells and fried my nose hairs from the stench of bleach and chemicals.
Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us, and it just dawned on me that my home will be filled with family and guests in a few days. We are all super busy, and after the first months back to school, my home is certainly caked in a mild film of grime.
We received some great tips from lifestyle expert Shoana Jensen on creating the perfect holiday wrapping station. I’m still dreaming of a dedicated wrapping room instead of banishing my kids from entering the downstairs bathroom for the entire month of December. Baby steps.
1) Select a theme for the gift and pick your favourite wrapping paper.
2) Have a good selection of accessories nearby, including ribbons, bows, gift tags and a pair of quality scissors.
3) Tape is key! Scotch GiftWrap Tape features a satin finish that disappears on most shiny gift wrap papers. Using matte paper? Use Scotch Magic Tape which has a matte-finish. For a completely seamless look, Scotch Brand Double-Sided Tape. This will ensure your pretty parcel is as polished looking as possible!
Wrapping paper alternatives:
4) We’ve all used regular wrapping paper. Look for newspapers, road maps or comics as wrapping paper to cater the gift to the recipient’s personality, hobbies or interests.
5) For those sometimes awkward gifts, find ways to preserve the element of surprise. For example, put perfume or socks in an empty paper towel roll or use an empty coffee can or cereal box for small to medium sized gifts.
Ribbons and gift tags:
6) Embellish a package with small, useful items that relate to the gift. For example, attach a whisk to a set of mixing bowls.
7) Instead of a gift tag, find an old baby picture and tape it to the top of the gift. The image will identify who the gift is for and gives you time to reminisce on the good ole’ days!
by Scotch Brand and lifestyle expert Shoana Jensen
Look out dust pans, watch out bristles, brooms, and mops, you’d better be scared. There is a new Swiffer in town and it is coming after your jobs. UrbanMommies tried the new Swiffer BISSELL SteamBoost and you’d think we’d done a full fall clean. A-hem. It’s a deeply penetrating steam mop that powers through dog footprints, coffee spills and mystery spots whose origins you no longer recall. It even cleans all the stuff your old mop leaves behind (and has left behind since the last time you were washing the floor on your hands and knees). For me that was when I was trying to induce labour contractions a while back….
Now that my babies are growing and ever so helpful, we sometimes play ‘clean the house’. The beauty of this product is that you can kick those nasty buckets out, throw away all those harsh chemicals and use the power of regular tap water and steam to blast away those annoying messes. Three simple steps and you’re well on your way to a quick clean up that will leave you plenty of time to catch up on your favourite shows.
1. fill the compartment with water.
2. attach a Steam pad
3. plug it in and wah-lah.
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.
*Do not use on waxed or unfinished wood floors
Agggh. I had a dinner party for two couples I didn’t know. And as they came into my kitchen (why do people arrive early?!) I was loading the dishwasher and I was mortified. Embarrassed about my dishwasher situation. It didn’t look clean, it didn’t smell clean, and I am not a big advocate of rinsing. So you can fill in the blanks… I am still hoping the smell of the French dinner overpowered the negative stench from the dishwasher.
Until I was approached to try Finish Dishwasher Cleaner, I didn’t realize there was an option beyond running the dishwasher with a ramekin of lemon and another of baking soda. (not very effective in my experience). The day after my dinner party I tried the Finish. Wow. The whole washer looked new. It smelled amazing and clean. Despite feeling inadequate that I couldn’t have done that before the Finish cleaner, I was thrilled.
Next step? Washing the silver and crystal. Please don’t tell my mom (she’s a disaster on the internet so she probably won’t read this anyway), but I had so many dishes to do I put the good stuff in the dishwasher too. Finish had also sent FINSH JET-DRY Rinse Agent. I found the little receptacle in the door of the washer (not too technical with these things usually – who knew?!?), and bit my nails as I ran the cycle with the china and crystal. Shhh. Apparently the rinse agent is automatically released in the rinse cycle. And when I opened the washer, everything was dry and sparkly. No spot-checking necessary. Thank you gods of rinsing. And Finish. For the mystery work I never knew about.
Now I’ve only used it once, and it’s recommended that you do it monthly, but the label says it cleans hidden areas. And from the fresh smell of the dishwasher I would vouch for that. So I am thus hooked. Monthly Finish, here I come. I’ll be a rockstar Mom then, right?
Disclosure: I am part of the Finish Canada Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
As I mentioned in our Kitchen Tips article, I was part of a scientific experiment sponsored by Bounty Duratowel. I used a brand new dishcloth in my kitchen over three days and sent it to a lab for testing. I will never use a dishcloth again. I can hardly even bear to keep the results email in my inbox. Typically hard on myself as a Mom and woman, the results make me feel like quite the ogre.
My results: “Your dishcloth was sent to a professional lab in Toronto where it was clinically examined to reveal exactly what was hiding inside. Your dishcloth, after three days of usage showed 52,000 counts of bacteria and 48,000 counts of yeast and mould. In comparison, an unused dishcloth only harbours approximately 1,080 counts of bacteria and five counts of yeast and mould. Ready to ditch your germy dishcloth? When you use a dishcloth to clean and wipe your countertops you could actually be spreading around germs.“
As if this wasn’t enough of a wake-up call, I attended a luncheon in Cincinnati where a scientist wiped a contaminated surface with a towel, then wiped up a typical kitchen floor spill and then rinsed the towel and wiped a counter. Shining a black light on all of the areas that were wiped revealed that the original contaminant had been transferred to all three surfaces. EEEEWWWW!
The Bounty DuraTowel difference:
- A unique structure that provides outstanding performance when wet
- Feels and cleans like a cloth with a new cloth-like embossed design
- A fresh sheet is cloth-like and strong enough to tackle tough jobs like cleaning countertops, sinks, and even small appliances
- Clinically proven to leave surfaces 3 times cleaner than a germy dishcloth that could redeposit germs on surfaces families come in contact with throughout the day
Bounty DuraTowel is clinically proven to leave surfaces three times cleaner than a germy dishcloth, so make the switch today.
Done and Done.
As Moms, we desperately try to keep the kitchen clean. It’s almost as if we feel like a bad mommy otherwise. The kids can be dirty, laundry unfolded and homework not done (who me?) but as long as the counters are clean we’re good, right? Bad news. When it comes to cleaning the kitchen, the majority of Canadians (60 per cent) use a dishcloth, which can harbour and redeposit millions of germs on surfaces and puts families at risk of cross-contamination*.
I’ve just done a dishcloth vs. Bounty DuraTowel challenge and was thrilled with the research that the paper towel that is clinically proven to leave surfaces three times cleaner than a germy dishcloth**. If you are wiping your countertops with a used dishcloth or sponge, you could be spreading around germs in the home. I’ll get my dishcloth test results soon and will add the scientific findings as soon as they’re in! But we also have 6 tips for a germ-free kitchen that you’ll want to take a peek at.
Dr. Elizabeth Scott, Co-director, Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community, recommends the following tips for a happy and healthy kitchen and home:
1. Wash your hands – Prior to any meal preparation, wash your hands often with warm, soapy water and dry them using Bounty DuraTowel
2. Wash and sanitize surfaces and utensils – Reduce the risk of contamination in the kitchen by washing and sanitizing all countertops, cutting boards and utensils that come into contact with food. Do this before and after preparing food and use Bounty DuraTowel to help clean up larger messes and wipe down surfaces
3. Separate your food – Make sure to always separate your raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination which is one of the leading causes of food borne illness**. Use separate cutting boards for meats and for vegetables etc.
4. Wash produce thoroughly – Immediately before prepping, wash all whole fruits and vegetables and dry using Bounty DuraTowel. This reduces the risk of transferring pathogens from the rind or skin to the inside of the fruit or vegetable when it is cut***
5. Keep your fridge clean – One way to reduce the risk of cross-contamination is to keep the fridge clean and to keep foods covered since many bacteria and molds are able to grow at refrigerator temperatures. Clean your fridge using a kitchen sanitizer and Bounty DuraTowel
6. Wash reusable grocery bags – Wash and thoroughly dry your reusable grocery bags frequently, especially if you are carrying raw meat, fish, poultry, seafood or vegetables.
*Findings from Proctor and Gamble Bounty Survey 2013, a national sample of Canadian consumers were randomly selected from TNS Canada’s Internet research panel from March 7 to March 11, 2013
**1tsp. spaghetti sauce, 10 mls. coffee, 1/8 tsp creamer on laminate countertop
***The Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health
I am a P&Gmom. The views, opinions and photographs expressed on this blog and in my social networks are my own.
There is little as special as a peaceful bath with soap you have made yourself. Try different scents, and let the kids experiment with their own colours and smells. Handmade soap is spectacular hostess treat for the holidays, or perfect for holiday gifts. Once you are comfortable with the basics, you can try different recipes, or interesting moulds to create amazing one-of-a-kind soaps.
Not only can you save space and money with a handful of natural ingredients, but you can improve the health of your family as well. Vinegar, Borax, lemons, olive oil, baking soda and salt can work wonders in a home, and are usually already on hand. Here are some simple, but effective, recipes that will keep your home clean and healthy.