My “Teenagers are NASTY” Rant

So today I went into the kids bathroom to grab my rubbing alcohol and noticed the shower curtain was dirty.  Me, being the nice person that I am decided that I can wash it since they probably don’t realize that they should.  So I pull the shower rod down and I was shocked, disgusted,  and threw up a little in my mouth.  The shower walls were Clemson orange. I lifted up the toilet seat and there was a black moldy toilet bowl.  At this point, I was disappointed in myself because there was a room in my house in complete squalor.  Cleaning the bathroom is a daily chore that the kids rotate, and I just take their word when they say they’ve completed it.  That’s where the problem lies. I have learned that you cannot trust teenagers.  They live to get by with whatever they can get by doing.

So today, the first two hours was spent scrubbing that bathroom. It was so bacteria and germ infested I had to take a shower when I was done.  I am amazed that the bathroom looked that way. It was like a complete transformation by just having a thorough clean.  I normally use all natural cleaners that I mix up in my kitchen, but today I had to call in reinforcements and use Lysol and bleach.  I couldn’t take the chance that the bathroom wasn’t properly sanitized then disinfected. 

I have been cleaning since I was in elementary school, but my step-kids didn’t really start cleaning until I moved in. So it took me a while to understand that chores are not something they did and it is now my job to train them.  This is a battle when you’re trying not to look like the evil stepmother. My parents didn’t do the day to day chores.  It was understood that because they are the providers, the least we could do was keep the house clean.  And if we didn’t do our chores,  it wasn’t a pretty situation.  I still remember there was a time my mom was working some weird shift and wouldn’t get home until three in the morning.  It was my week to do dishes and I decided sleep was more important than cleaning the kitchen.  As soon as my mom walked through the door she woke me up and made me do those dishes.  I tried to cry my way out of it.  I tried to appeal to her motherly sidr and tell her I needed to be alert in school.  I spent more time trying to get out of doing the dishes than it took t ok actually finish the task.  I never “forgot” to do my chores again. I’m trying to get my fiance more on board when it comes to chores, but it has been an uphill battle.  Apparently his parents didn’t make hin and his siblings do chores either, so he doesn’t understand my complaints.   I have made it clear that I expect my kids and his kids to clean.  My six and three year olds clean better than the 14, 16, & 21 year old combined. This is not a lie.

It has been a little over two years and I am still finding out that I cannot expect teenagers to have the same standards of cleanliness as I do. But when it comes to the kitchen and bathroom I don’t have much tolerance for dirt and grime. The bathroom is already so germ ridden that I clean mine everyday to combat germs. When it comes to a tub or shower I am a firm believer that you cannot get clean in something that’s dirty.

I said all this to say that no one should trust teenagers when they say that they have cleaned something.  Check up on them and make sure they know what clean means to you and what is acceptable and unacceptable.  And when they get an attitude like my 16 year old did when she came home to a clean bathroom, slap them in the mouth. If you’re nonviolent like I am, just fantasize about slapping them in the mouth.

Oh The Things You Can Do While Waiting For Your Coffee To Brew

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Being that I have become an overnight domestic goddess, I have found that I do the most work before noon.  I try to jam as much cleaning as possible into about a four hour time frame. But there is one thing that I must have before I get into the swing of things, my coffee.  Beforw while I waited for the coffee to brew I kind of just wandered around my kitchen and living area aimlessly waiting for my caffeine boost. This last week I realized that I’m wasting valuable time and I challenged myself to find something to do during this time.

1.  Deep clean the kitchen sink.  I make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of Borax, a cup of white vinegar, and about 3 squirts of lavender castille soap (I love the smell of this stuff).  Mix together and pour into the sinks.  I take a sponge and clean until its shines.  Don’t forget to get around the sink edges and the faucet area.  Your sink will look good and smell good after this.

2.  Clean out the microwave.  I have a gazillion kids (including my fiance), and they make a mess whenever they use the microwave.  I don’t know how this is possible, but I assure you I am not exaggerating.  What I do is remove the glass plate and wash in warm soapy water and then just use the washcloth to clean inside and out. Don’t forget the microwave ceiling,  that is typically the hardest part.  If you have some stuck on food that gives you a hard time, try filling a small dish with white vinegar and microwaving on high for three minutes before cleaning.  This will loosen those food particles and make clean up easier.

3. Clean the canister area.  Once again, kids.  The area on the counter where I keep the canisters are a hard area to keep clean all day. The sugar is the one that gives me the most  problems. Our canisters have spoons that hang on the outside of the jar, and whenever the kids or my fiance put the spoon back in place leftover sugar falls to the counter. So over the course of a week I see a sugar moat forming around the canisters. So while my coffee brews I just pick up each jar and wipe down the lids, the sides, and underneath. I of course wipe down the counter.  And if the spoons have any build up I clean those and let them dry before returning them.

4.  Clean out the trash can.  Now this one can get a little nasty.  The easiest way for me to do this is take the trash can outside and use a garden hose.  Also bring out a dish cloth already sudsy.  I put dish detergent and either borax or baking soda inside the can and fill it up with water.  I let it settle for a minute or so, then dump it out.  If there are any stains or food left I use the dish cloth and clean.  I then rinse out with the garden hose again. I leave the trash can upside down on our walkway to dry. Then I go back inside to thouroughly wash up to my elbows before fixing my coffee.

5.  Spot clean the fridge. This one is relatively easy if you already do a deep clean to your fridge once a month.  Go through your fridge and throw out any leftovers that are not going to be eaten.  Throw out any expired food. And if you notice any spills or loose food clean it up.  I use a simple mixture of equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle for the spills.  You can also use thr mixture to give the outside of the fridge a quick wipe down.

6.  Change the light bulbs. I have the tendency to allow dead light bulbs to stay in place if they are part of a group, but I shouldn’t.  This is a fairly easy task, but did I mention I have a lazy side.  So this is the perfect thing for me to do while I’m waiting.  I grab a package of light bulbs and go around my house and replace any that need it.  Not much explaining that needs to be done.

7.  Tidy up the laundry room.  My laundry room is right next to my kitchen so it’s just logical that I clean it while waiting.  We do a lot of laundry in my house, so this room gets used several times a day.  My washer and dryer are white so when the lint trap is pulled out to be cleaned,  residue falls on the top and it’s very noticeable.  I use a microfiber cloth to dust.  If I notice any laundry detergent drippings I wipe it up with a warm, damp washcloth.  There is a shelf over the appliances so I straighten that up. Then sweep and I’m good to go.

These are all things that I aim to clean once a week, and they are quick tasks.  Once I’m done I make my coffee and spend about 30 minutes watching the news.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Aha! I Should Probably Teach You Something

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Being a stay at home mom for a little over a month has me stir crazy.  I walk around my house all day finding things that need to be cleaned, organized, or repaired and I tend to focus on that all day.  I take breaks in between to play with my three year old, run errands, and cook.  What I haven’t done was take time out of each day to actually teach my daughter something.  Don’t get me wrong, my girl is extremely intelligent and she can carry on a full conversation like she is much older than three, but with all this time I have I can definitely sit down and have learning time.

I have had her and my six year old signed up for ABCMouse.com for almost a year now, but to be honest my three year old just likes to play with the hamsters or the fish.  She is not even slightly interested in the Learning Path.  I don’t doubt that she will be ready for kindergarten, but I feel I should be doing more in this area.  So today I dug through some of my first grader’s old things and found

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Yay!!!! I know its backwards, but I took the picture with my computer’s cam.  I used to do stuff like this all the time with my first grader.  She was so prepared for kindergarten that they would not even let her into the public school 4K program, they said she was too smart.  See I can be a good parent.

So starting this morning we have been reviewing colors and letters.  It’s still hard to keep her attention for too long, so I figured I would spend about fifteen minutes sitting with her every day and then reinforce what she learned throughout the day.  She already knows orange, green, brown, and white, which seems like the most boring colors to me but she is drawn to them for some reason.  So today we focused on red and now I just keep pointing out red things and asking her to tell me the color.  I hope this works!

Anyone have good ideas on teaching a newly three year old?

You’re Not So Smart After All…Daily Prompt: Are You Being Served?

It was a normal day for a eight month pregnant woman.  I was sitting around watching some television and Googling random things when I decided that I should give my old Macbook to my younger cousin.  There was one problem, the keyboard was not functioning properly.  I decided to take it to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad solve all my problems.  In my eighth month of pregnancy, getting out of the house for any reason was an adventure.  When I arrived at Best Buy I took the laptop straight to the Geek Squad desk and explained to the rep what was going on.  He said, “No problem, we will have this fixed in an hour tops.  There are just a couple of people ahead of you.”  I was fine with that.  I walked around the store looking at CDs, DVDs, computers, tablets, flat screens, everything.  I covered that store in an hour and was ready to go.  My feet was swelling and I was hungry.  I go back over to the Geek Squad desk to get an update, and the same rep told me, “Someone is working on it now, it should be just a few minutes.”  Ok, I could handle that.  I stood around that desk for another hour as various reps continued to assure me that it would only be a “few minutes”.  As an oversized human, I was exhausted having to stand for another hour. I decided to leave and grab a quick bite to eat while they worked.  I was back in less than twenty minutes.  I go back to the desk, fully expecting someone to present me with my fixed laptop.  That was a negative.  I see Geek Squad members in the back with my laptop, but they are having a hard time removing the keyboard (it was an older Mac), and I realize that those “few minutes” people keep spouting off to me are just words to try to keep me patient while they possibly break the laptop even more.  After I had been waiting on my feet over three hours, and had everyone behind that desk reassure me that the Geek Squad could fix it, a lone rep finally had the guts to tell me that no one knew what they were doing.  I had to keep my cool, because an angry pregnant lady in public is just too embarrassing for me to bear.  So I kindly asked for my money back, yes they had already taken my $150, and my laptop so I could return home.  What made this situation the worse customer service I ever experienced is the fact that I was waiting over three hours when the Geek Squad knew that they had no idea what they were doing, but did not care to tell me that.

When I arrived back at my place, I simply took my current laptop and put my issue into YouTube.  There was a five minute tutorial that showed me how to fix my problem, and I did just that.  I will never waste my time going to the Geek Squad again.  But the lesson I learned is that YouTube can teach me anything  I need to know.

Budgeting Woes

So……my budgeting skills suck!  Trying to budget everything my family needs to have and things that are unneccessary is going to be harder than I imagined.  Being that we have eight million people in our household means we have to go person by person and budget in all their recurring expenses as well.  There are so many expenses that we have that I never think twice about, we just spend money frivolously.  We are going to have to tighten up.  The two kids with jobs will have to begin using their money for their knick knacks instead of throwing them on the belt in the grocery line.  Until I figure out where our money is going and how much is left over after our necessary bills and products, all the superfluous things will have to wait.  This is going to be hard, but I’m proud because I have already made some small changes.

The first thing I tackled was the cell phone bill.  We have six people on our phone bill and everyone has a smartphone.  I’m sure you all can relate to how expensive that is.  I went through and lowered our data usage and also took off unnecessary additions I had added on.  For example three of our phones are due for upgrades, so I took off the $6.99-9.99 insurance because it would be just as expensive to file an insurance claim than to get a new phone.  I also took off roadside assistance from two phones which is $3.99, being that we get roadside assistance through our car insurance company it really is pointless.  I also took off the $0.99 ringback tones, because no one really wants to hear my choice of music when they call me anyway.  All in all I will save $42.94 on my bill a month.

I also called my cable company to see where I could lower my bill.  My bill was coming to around $207 a month for cable and internet.  The company was running a “Triple Play” discount which includes cable, internet and phone, that lowers my bill to $147 a month.  I did have to drop my premium channels, but to be honest I never watched them anyway.  Now if anyone else did watch them, oh well, this is my budget and I do what I please.  If I’m still not happy with the outcome I will drop the cable all together and we will just do Netflix or some other company.  I’m sure that is probably the way to go.  Will the masses be happy?  No, but once again, it is MY budget.  Ok, I may be getting carried away but this is serious business.

Any good tips on reducing monthly costs?

My next goal is to figure out how to reduce food costs.  With six crumb snatchers (my fiancé) included our groceries cost us well over $1000 a month, and that is not including meals we eat out.  What is a woman to do?

I may seem a little concerned, but trust me I am not.  Phillipians 4:19 says “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  I know I need to create a budget, but I have faith that God will continue to provide and make a way for my family and I.

Until next time, I pray you all have a great week.

So It Begins…

Hello everyone!  My name is Shawneequa and I recently became a stay at home mom.  Something I never thought I would do or thought that I wanted to do.  I have a large family that includes my fiancé, myself, our four kids, and my brother-in-law.  We have a lot going on, especially since the ages of the children range from 3-20.  There are a lot of things that I would plan to do around the house when I was working full-time that never got done.  I of course wanted to organize and clean more, and I mean a deep clean that just doesn’t happen when you got four kids and two full-time working adults.  There are also some projects I want to tackle.  I will tell you all about those later, because if I don’t do them I don’t want anyone to be disappointed.  The biggest thing I need to tackle first is our household budget, being that we are now a one income household.  This is going to be a tough one, I am sure we will have to scale back significantly.  Good thing I am up for a challenge.

Well there is some of my goals.  More to come…Image