The Home

My Lily Whites: Whitening Whites Without Bleach


I stopped using bleach a long time ago to whiten my families clothes and towels.  The only downside was my whites were not “white” any more, they were dingy.  Below are a few natural products I use (at different times) to brighten my whites without the harsh effects of bleach.  To find which of these products works best for your laundry routine, I suggest testing each method.

  • Baking Soda – Baking soda is commonly found in many products used for whitening such as tooth paste and even some washing powders.  It’s also a natural softener and freshener. Add a 1/2 cup or baking soda to your wash (okay to use in high efficiency washers) along with your regular washing powder or liquid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Did you know that hydrogen peroxide is in fact a a non-chrolrine bleach?  Add a 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide to your regular laundry detergent.
  • Lemon Juice – Lemons are a natural brightener and freshener.  Add a 1/2 cup of lemon juice to your regular laundry detergent.
  • Distilled White Vinegar – Vinegar whitens, freshens and softens.  If you’re worried about the vinegar smell don’t, the smell goes away as the clothes dry. Add 1 cup of vinegar to your normal laundry wash.



Mattress: The Trilogy

Our new mattress was finally delivered yesterday after weeks of back and forth conversations with the company. Now that the bed is here, I’m thinking it may be too firm, YIKES!  This is now our third mattress and I’m not even sure I can sleep on this one for ten to twelve more years.  So instead of calling the company back and looking like a complete idiot and to save face, I will buy a memory foam mattress top, which hopefully will give me that small amount of softness I’m looking for along with the firmness of the mattress – which I need for my aching back.  Mattress The Trilogy Blog Pic

As I stated in a recent Week in Review blog post, we have had two memory form mattresses and after a short period of time, I was not able to get out of the bed!  My back would lock up – it was just a bad situation all around. Now that I have what my back needs, I think it will just take some time to get used to.  My husband says it feels like he’s sleeping on the floor, so I know I want to give him some relief by getting the mattress pad very soon. So as for now, there will not be a part four to this saga, but…you never know.


Getting Down and Dirty ~ A Healthy Comparison

PicMonkey CollageI try to be conscious about the products (especially cleaning products) I use in my home.  I can think back tweleve years ago and it was almost impossible to find earth-friendly products on the shelves at my local box stores and now, they are everywhere.  Having more products to choose from doesn’t make finding one easy, it makes it harder. For over thirteen years my family has used Melaleuca products that we purchased from a distributor (mail order), but just recently I decided to cancel our membership and venture out to our local stores to find comparable products.  In my search for an eco-friendly laundry detergent, I found two that I’ve been using to see which I like the best.

Clorox Green Works – 100 HE loads

This was the first product I purchased after leaving Melaleuca.  I have been using the detergent for a little over 4 months and I can say for an eco-friendly product, I really love how my clothes feel and smell.  However, In my research of this product, I did find ingredients that were not listed on the label that have made me more concerned and prompted me to contiunue searching for other products.


  • 97% Natural – plant based ingredients, 
  • Does not contain bleach
  • No phosphurus
  • Biodegradable
  • Cleans well
  • Afforably priced


  • Contains colorants (dyes)
  • Contains sodium lauryl sulfate – found in many products like shampoos, hand soaps, make-up foundations however this product has been known to cause cancer.


ECOS – 100 HE loads 

I learned of this product online during my research of eco-friendly laundry detergents.  I purchased both the unscented and the magnolia, lilies, lavender & lemongrass scent (which I love).  I have used this product for a little over 1 month, and I’m overall satisfied with the performance.


  • Prosphate and formaldehyde free
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Plant based ingredients
  • Affordably priced
  • Does not contain bleach


  • Stains take more effort to remove

I’m really impressed with the ECOS detergent over the Clorox brand.  Overall, I feel it’s a better product and my family loves it too.

The Bitter Truth: 10 Ways to Clean Using Vinegar

Cleaning with Vinegar

I won’t label myself “green” however vinegar is one product I keep in my house for many different reasons.  Vinegar is not just for decorating eggs. With it’s high level of acidity, distilled white vinegar is the best, inexpensive way to get your home clean and disinfected. Below are 10 ways I use vinegar to clean my home.

  1. Mirrors – the best solution for a streak-free shine – uses equal parts white vinegar and water.
  2. Disinfectant – vinegar is known to kill both salmonella and Ecoli. I clean my wood cutting boards and countertops.  I spray full strength on surface and rinse with water.
  3. Clean diswasher – Once a month I add 2 tablespoons of vinegar with
  4. Fabric softener – added to my fabric softener (about 2 tsps to my liquid fabric softener)
  5. Remove hard water stains & mineral deposits –
  6. Clean Refrigerator – clean shelves and walls by mixing one tablespoon vinegar to 16 ounces of warm water.
  7. Freshen garbage disposal – pour approxiemently 1/4 cup into disposal, let sit a few minutes then run cold water and run disposal.
  8. Shine Stainless Appliances – mix one teaspoon vinegar to 16 ounces of water.
  9. Degreaser – apply to greasy area and rinse.
  10. Toilet cleaner – pour one cup into toilet water at night before bed – let sit overnight.  Scrub in the morning and flush.

Aspiring Cook: Tater Tots Casserole (Pintrest Recipe)

I love Pintrest and I can always find great meals that are quick and easy to make during our busy week days.  I pinned this recipe from and made it for dinner last night…delicious!



1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 to 2 pounds of ground beef

1 bag of tater tots

1 bag of cheese – your choice of cheese


Brown ground beef and drain any fat.  After draining fat, place ground beef back into the pan.


Add the can of cream of mushroom soup to your ground beef, stirring until well combined.



Add the soup and ground beef mixture into a casserole dish.



Add half the bag of your cheese to the top of the ground beef.



Add the frozen tater tots on top. Place in 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes.



Add remaining cheese on top of tots and place back in the oven to melt.

With the casserole, I prepared a garden salad with bell peppers, slided almonds, strawberries, onions and cheese.


~ Lisa



Keeping It Real…Clean!


I love spending time at home with my family, but one thing I don’t love is a dirty home.  I cannot function when there is mess or dirt so I have a daily schedule that has worked for me for many years.  I purpose to do these tasks while on my two 15 minute breaks or my lunch break from my job (I work from home).


  • Laundry (clothes) – I start the day off putting a load in before I start working and from there I consistently wash and dry until I am done. 
  • Clean Master Bath & First Floor Restroom – Since I have children who are responsible for cleaning their own bathroom, I clean mine and the first floor restroom. This includes the tubs, toilets, floors, sinks and baseboards.
  • Clean Dish Washer – After the dish washer has been emptied from Sunday night, I mix 1 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt, then I pour the mixture into a short wash cycle.  Vinegar is a wonderful household staple for so many reasons.  I will write a separate post on all the ways I use vinegar in my home.


  • Laundry (towels & sheets) – Once everyone is gone from the house that morning, I remove all towels and sheets from every room and bathroom. Once a month, I take our comforters to be professionally cleaned and I wash our mattress and pillow protectors.


  • Surface Cleaning – My eleven year old is responsible for a portion of this, mainly our upstairs so I normally do the downstairs.  This is surfaces that can be cleaned by dusting, mopping, vacuuming or wiping.  Windows, floors, furniture, baseboards, etc. This process takes a little longer so I do this in stages throughout the day.


  • De-clutter – I file, sort and discard.  I also use this day to straighten up things like underneath the sinks, closets, etc.  Take up the 20 pairs of shoes and gym bags that have been thrown in the hall closet by my awesome off-springs. Truthfully, this is not a lot because I do try to do this daily.  


  • Surface Cleaning & Dusting – I go through the house with my swifter and damp towel and dust TV’s, furniture, pictures, anything that dirt could have accumulated on since Wednesday. This is normally something I can do fairly quickly. 

There are certain things that happen everyday in our home that I did not want to duplicate on the schedule, but I have added them below:

  • Make bed (the kids make their own bed…sometime) – there is nothing like getting in a fresh-made bed every night. 
  • Clean Kitchenno dish left in the sink overnight is my motto. This includes dinner table cleared and cleaned off, and kitchen floor swept.  I do the dishes because I know they will be clean and put up the way I want them. Everything else in the kitchen is handled by the kids.

So that’s it!  I try my hardest to stick with this schedule, however there are times when my work, business and/or personal schedule will not allow me to, and that’s OK.  I start where I left off and on some days when time allows me to do multiple tasks, I do it.  Also, I have older children who contribute to house cleaning as well, so that makes life a little easier for me.

Clean life, happy wife!

~ Lisa

It’s About Time…Home Management System

Running a full time business, working full time (I know you’re asking how is that possible, I ask the same thing), being a wife, a mom of four, a nanna of one, running a household and volunteering at my church, I am constantly doing something.  My days can sometimes be a blur, from running kids to dance practice, guitar lessons and going to track meets.  Having a time management system in place is a must for my life.

One of my new year’s goals was to become a better manager of my time. I was always looking for a way to keep everything I need to run my home and my time smoothly.  I tried several ways to maintain my home/time; from apps to calendars on the refrigerator, they worked temporarily.  I needed something that worked the way I naturally worked. Looking at many YouTube videos, I came across several that spoke of a home management binder – YES…this is what I needed!  So I took pointers from many great youtubers and came up with my own version that has been a great help to me and my family. Creating my home management planner has helped me keep track of all my daily todos, meals, expenses and even projects.  I love it, love it, love it!

Below I list each tab and discuss how I use each category to make my life easier.

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I chose a 1″ binder from the Martha Stewart home office with Avery collection in the color Shagreen.

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I used these colorful tabs as page markers and the sticky sheets I use to jot down small notes that I may add to my calendar. The great thing about them is they are removable and reuseable.

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I keep everything that pertains to my families time under the calendar tab.  I use the calendar for appointments, events, etc.  It also has a place to track my tasks for the day, which I check off as I complete them.

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The notes area is used to jot down thoughts and information that don’t go on the calendar.  I like being able to write down things that I will need to refer back to later.

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I try to cook a meal for my family every night and here is where I write down my plan for the week.  My normal routine is to go through my recipes on Saturday and gather a list of meals I will cook for the upcoming week.  While creating this list of meals, I am double checking my calendar to make sure I will be available to make the meals I’ve scheduled for that day.  I would not schedule try to prepare chicken francese when I only have time to prepare tuna fish and chips : )

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We have two vehicles and I use the auto tab to keep up with everything regarding those vehicles such as tire rotations, oil changes, maintenance appointments, etc.  My husband really appreciates this tab since he is the one who handles this for our family.

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Inside this tab houses my grocery shopping lists.  After I complete my weekly meal selections, I check the pantry and are being planning out my list for the items I need to purchase.

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I keep track of our household expenses from this tab.  I use spread sheets to schedule what bills are due, even upcoming vacations we will save for.

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Having one place we can go to locate computer logins has been such a life saver.  The logins kept here are for systems that we all use.  I do not include our financial institution logins here, those are kept in a separate place.

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The projects and ideas tab is the go to place for paint swatch colors, room dimensions and any ideas for upcoming home improvements.

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When it’s time to send gifts, I wanted to make the process easier for me so I created the gifting tab.  Here, I keep a list of gift ideas and gifts given to my family and friends. As I see things throughout the year or when someone says what they would like, I jot them here.

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My miscellaneous tab stores the below items…

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Gift cards, notecards, postage and mailing labels are kept in the back of my binder inside plastic pockets.

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The last tab is for contacts.  This tab houses frequently used phone numbers of family, friends and companies.  Remembering phone numbers has never been my strength, so having this on hand has been a great help.

Well, that’s it!

I love managing my home using my management binder.  By using this system, I have learned to be deliberate in keeping my home in order.  I hope you can use this information and create your own.

Have a SUPER Day!



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