This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions, tutorial and photographs are mine. #SummerCarCare #CollectiveBias
I know this may sound crazy to some, but one of the phases I was looking forward to in my pregnancy was the nesting phase. As an avid organizer and clean freak when it comes to my living spaces, I was excited to get my second trimester energy burst so that I could get the house into gear.
After spending many weekends on the house, another aspect I couldn't neglect was the car. A few years ago we purchased our Nissan Versa, as we knew it was going to one day be our family car. I love it's pep and spunkiness and it's comfortable and roomy inside for road trips and kiddos. Here we are about to meet our first little son or daughter this summer and I knew it was time to get the car into gear for their arrival.
I started with taking it in for a deep clean, both inside and out, so that it would be ready for the car seat installation once we were past my baby shower. As well as the regular three month check and tune up.
One of the most important aspects to me is that the air is clean inside and the engine runs as efficiently as possible, as filtered air, both for us and the car, is important when you're living in such a dry and dusty climate such as Arizona.
I'm thankful my husband has been patient to teach me about how to care for my car in ways both big and small, so that I can feel confident in the every day tasks, as well as in emergency situations. It's empowering to be a woman or a mom and be able to make these easy swaps to know you're making your car as safe as it can be.
I knew it was probably time to swap out my engines air filter, so that was my next step. We are FRAM fans, as they have an extensive line of wonderful items to help with our car care. Available at Walmart, the FRAM Extra Guard filter was easy for me to locate when it came to finding the right one for my car. On my cars model its super easy to find the filter box under the hood too, which made this a quick and easy task. If you need help locating yours you can look to your cars manual to help you locate it. Below I show you an easy step-by-step tutorial to changing your cars engine filter, once located on your car. I've also included below my step-by-step guide to helping you get your car ready for baby.
Like filtering the air in our homes the FRAM Extra Guard is your engines first line of defense. Which is really important to your car running effectively, increasing acceleration, horsepower, and improving your overall engine performance. Much in the same way that we perform most effectively when we can breathe clean air.
In less than five minutes, with zero tools, I started by locating my filters case and removing the lid. After snapping it off, I opened the new filter, ensuring it wasn't exposed to the elements until it was ready to be installed.
It was actually exciting to see the difference for me! I know, I'm odd, haha, but i love seeing the improvement when I improve or upgrade something in my home or car. And that old filter definitely needed to be changed.
In just a few seconds I popped the clean filter into the holder, slid it back in the case and voila! Done and done. A clean & happy car! A happy & secure mommy to be! Win/win!
For more on how I am getting car ready for baby, click here to see my Top 10 Steps for Preparing Car For Baby.
Do you have any tips on preparing car or home for baby? I'd love to hear them below!
4. Tune Up
This can be scheduled during one of your routine oil changes, but its important to know what may need to be tuned up on your car. Squeaky belts? Loose brakes? All of this should be addressed before your baby's birth date.
This should go without saying, but important piece of information to make the list. Make sure your emissions, tags and registration are up to date.
6. Easy DIY Upgrades
Items like faulty windshield wipers, adding air to your tires, or swapping out easy changes, like your cars engine air filter, can all be done at home to save you on labor costs. See how I easily swapped out my cars engine air filter in under five minutes.
7. Mommy Car Care Kit
Aside from the diaper bag, I created a Mommy Car Care Kit. It's a small box in my trunk that includes a pair of flip flops if I need to pop on some comfy shoes, diaper wipes, a small pack of tissues, an extra changing pad, a few diapers, a hoodie for me, a hoodie for baby and a summer change of clothes for baby as well. Always better to have extra items on hand than not enough I always say. When our babes gets older, the kit reflect that. With non-perishable snacks, color books and a toy or two.
8. Car Emergency Kit
Mr. Charming and I are big into kits, for home, work and car and our car emergency kit consists of items such as flashlights, emergency blankets, water, a few canned foods, a First Aid kit and boots/close toed shoes, as well as the necessities to jack up the car or change a tire.
9. Window Covers
This one is optional, but where we live in Arizona, the summer gets extremely hot. Shaded window covers and a car seat cover are must haves to keep the baby's area cool when we are shopping or out of the car.
10. Car Seat Installation
Once your car is clean and checked its time for the cherry on top, installing car seat for baby! We plan to visit our local Fire House to have them install our model for the first time. To be safe, we can see how to properly install our chosen car seat in our particular car model as they are all so different.
Do you have any additional tips on getting your car ready for baby? I would love to know if I missed anything as we prep for Baby P this summer!
Guest blogging is incredibly fun for multiple reasons.
1.) It allows you to meet new people, find a sense of community and share in things & topics you care about.
2.) It allows you to promote other great content creators and have your work promoted as well.
3.) It allows you to sometimes get outside of your creative comfort zone and write pieces and recipes that may not fit into your own blog.
Then there is the other circumstance, where the content you create on guest blogs will be content that would speak greatly to your readers as well. Now, it is bad form to publish content you've written for another site on your own personal site, but I do like to however point my readers to content that I write that is useful or tasty.
In this case, I believe this to be useful.
Over at Around My Family Table- I wrote an easy to follow guide to check out:
Spring Cleaning Your Home & Office In 5 Easy Steps.
The more and more I look for natural ways to clean and improve my home, the more pleasantly surprised I am. Truth be told, in the beginning when I heard the notion of cleaning with vinegar and scrubbing with baking soda, I believed I needed the chemicals for my house to get clean and to SMELL clean.
But as I've experimented, I've learned that only do some of the recipes get the house CLEAN, that when used with the right natural oils, it can smell heavenly. No chemicals, no worries.
Below you will find an easy mix to spray on kitchen appliances, especially the surfaces where food gets stuck on, like your stove top and oven doors.
What You'll Need
2 C. Warm Water
1 1/2 Tbsp. Baking Soda
1/4 C. White Vinegar
*optional - you may add 5 drops of your favorite essential oil. I myself keep this one unscented to save cost.
Mix all ingredients in spray bottle. Use caution when mixing, as the vinegar and baking soda will foam up when mixed. Spray on stove and inside oven door and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Sprinkle a small amount of added baking soda to really bad stains or areas. Clean with a scrub sponge, one that's abrasive, but still gentle enough for a delicate flat top stove surface.
Wipe with a damp towel to remove any baking soda residue.
This worked WONDERS on my stove top. I have burnt on rings around each burner and soaking them in this solution allowed it to wipe clean with minimal elbow grease! My kind of cleaning and NO chemicals!!
I'd love to hear your natural kitchen remedies!!
Our bedroom is one of my very favorite rooms in our home. It's small and romantic and just so homey. Mr. Charming had the mattresses of all mattresses when I moved in with him and our bed is luxuriously comfortable. Our pups have their own little beds and our room is filled with photos of our travels, our friends and our wedding. It's just such a loving space.
One of the most important things is keeping our room fresh and clean to help lower allergens from the seasonal changes and rooming with two pups. Although they aren't allowed on the bed, the room still gets quite dusty and sometimes musty from four of us sharing the space.
All natural cleansing is at the top of my list when it comes to caring for our home, especially the bedroom because we do spend so much time here, and it's where we sleep and rejuvenate. I wash the bedding weekly with Honest laundry soap and Meyer all natural dryer sheets, but one of my favorite things to do is freshen our pillows and mattresses. I also keep the down pillows and our mattress zipped up in organic covers to eliminate dust mites and allergens from making it from the fabrics to our noses.
Once a month, I unzip the mattress and pillows and sprinkle them deliberately with the recipe below. I love the smell of lavender, as it makes the room smell pretty and promotes sleep and relaxation. Scroll down for the recipe and instructions for this sweet and easy room refresher.
natural mattress refresher.
1 C. Baking Soda
4-5 Drops of Essential Oil (I use Lavender for its relaxing properties & pleasant smell)
Mix baking soda and essential oil in a container with small holes for sprinkling. (I actually used a recycled gluten-free travel oatmeal container and poked holes in the top.) Remove sheets and pillow cases, and sprinkle generously on pillows and mattress and allow to sit for thirty minutes. Vacuum off completely using the hose attachment of your vacuum. Replace bedding.
Honest Co. Review #2. I am in "Home" Blog Posting mode right now because I've been on a "pre-fall" cleaning kick around the house lately. I'm sure Mr. Charming is loving it. I get super-Monica-Gellar (for my FRIENDS fans out there) on everything. I love organization and I love everything to have its place. Which is why later, I must go buy a new jewelry dresser for our room. I've simply bought too many necklaces and they now have no home. And it makes me anxious, haha.
These dishwasher tabs are amazing by the way. I was actually skeptical at first because my old chemical-filled tabs worked well on getting my dishes clean and then one day, every time I did the dishes, or would touch one of the tabs I would sneeze. So I knew something wasn't cool with that, and I decided to give these a go.
And they work SO well, I won't go back to any other tab after using this Mandi-friendly, good for my family tab. Mr. Charming can vouch for the first day I used them, as he heard me excitedly exclaiming, holding up a fork in victory, that I had never seen that fork SO shiny. These are the kinds of things that make me happy.
Yet another positive & happy Honest moment. For when a girl gets excited to do the dishes, you know you've done something right.
*this post is in no way sponsored by honest co. this is my honest review of a product I personally love to use. as with any product, although it's natural, this product could still cause irritation to those allergic to included ingredients.
I've been wanting to do this review for a while. I've been an Honest Co. fan, and member, for about 6 months now and I adore most of what I've used. I wanted to start a short series of the cleaning and beauty products I've used and do "honest" reviews, haha, of my experience using these in our home.
Mr. Charming also helped me take pretty, spiffy pictures of them all which is why I was doubly excited to do my reviews. (Thanks honey!)
Today I am reviewing the multi-purpose cleaner and I can tell you, Mr. Charming is certainly thrilled with this product.
When I started "operation de-chemical the house" the first thing to go was the harsh, everyday cleaners. Wanting to still keep the house sparkly, in a natural way, I turned to vinegar. And though it didn't bother me too much, I know he didn't care for the vinegar odor. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the floral, girlie, lavender, pine sol-y smells packed into the cleaners of days gone by.
Then I bought this wonderful cleaner, and it's all natural and grapefruit-scenty and we were both happy!
The best part about it, isn't that it smells wonderful, though that's a perk. But it's a safe, chemical free cleaner that actual cleans AMAZINGLY-WELL. My counters, mirrors, and stove top get super-clean and you get a decent amount for the cost. Of all my products, this is one I go through the quickest, so I always make sure I have plenty on hand. At least two at all time, one for the laundry room/bathroom area of the house and one in the kitchen. That way I always have one handy.
I give this a 5 star-rating for scent, quality, ingredients and performance!
For more information on the ingredients, pricing and how to order your own bundle to try for free, visit www.honest.com*
*this post is in no way sponsored by honest co. this is my honest review of a product I personally love to use. as with any product, although it's natural, this product could still cause irritation to those allergic to included ingredients, so always test in small areas.
Each year I like to make a list of my goals to moving toward more healthy, whole, organic living. I did a Natural Goals post in 2013 for home, food and body. And this year, I am doing the same. I am happy to report that Mr. Charming and I are taking big strides into improving the over-all health and toxin load of our home.
What I've Accomplished Since 2013:
Honest Co. Products Have Become A Staple. I adore the full line of Honest Co. cleaning products and I have replaced most of the cleaning products in my kitchen, living room and laundry room with Honest Co. products. I will be doing full product reviews on this lovely line soon!
Ceramic is my friend. We have moved away from teflon, which was a goal in 2013! We invested in a really nice set of ceramic stovetop cookware. It's SO easy to clean, the food cooks so well in it, and its a beautiful shade of aqua that matches the beachy theme of our kitchen.
Say No To Plastic. I invested in all glass tupperware. I love taking my lunch to work in little glass bowls. Knowing the only option I have is a microwave for one meal of my day, I try to take salads or cold cuts as much as possible, but now when I do have to heat leftover bone broth soup or chili, I heat it in glass instead of plastic, saving me from the chemicals that can leech into food, even if it IS BPA free. We also use glass and ceramic dishes on the daily, all plastic bowls met the trashcan.
Got All New Filters. While spring cleaning, Mr. Charming and I replaced our home AC filters. We also got a new filter for a vacuum and I bought a brand new tile vacuum for our kitchen. Dust is a huge problem in Arizona, so anything I can use to help filter that away from my delicate little nose, the better.
Redecorating and Passion Projects. I realized, that for the well-being of my mind and soul, especially working from home so much, that redecorating and working on passion projects around the house are very important activities. I use to feel guilty for investing money in making our space more of a home and making it pretty and diving into things I found on Pinterest, but overall, writing in a beautiful space or working out in a space that is inspiring makes us so much more creative and productive in the long run.
What I Still Want To Do In 2014:
Get our air ducts professionally cleaned: Sears is one company I found that does this with high pressured tubing ONLY. NO chemicals!! This was a goal in 2013, and though I really want to do this, we invested money elsewhere first.
More Ceramic. I would LOVE ceramic bake ware as well. Now that I've fallen in love with how easy they are to cook with and CLEAN, I'd love ALL my cookware to be ceramic.
Clean out cabinets: This is still a process. Though we switched our everyday cleaners, we still have a lot of old chemical products in the cabinets we don't access much. We need to take a day to just mask up, and dig into these areas and get rid of it ALL.
Continue purging things we don't need. Everyone has areas in there home that just collect, stuff. My type-A personality hates these areas, haha. I want to continue finishing our spring cleaning list.
It's a good place to start, and I was happy to see, looking back, what we've been able to accomplish. It's all about baby-steps in the right direction. Don't stress about changing everything NOW. It will put stress on your family and yourself. Do one small thing at a time towards a better environment.
I'd love to hear what all of you are doing to improve the health in your home! Feel free to leave comments and share your accomplishments and goals!
However, I had to share a little trick I stumbled upon that TOTALLY worked.
Cleaning my microwave!
You heat a small bowl of vinegar and water in the microwave until hot and it will steam clean off EVERYTHING that is stuck on to the inside surface of your microwave. It just WIPES RIGHT OFF. My microwave inside was pretty gross and it looked SPOTLESS when I did this little trick. Even though I want to get away from using a microwave (one step at a time), at least for now its spotless! ;)