To Buy or DIY Baby Picture Frames – Short Practical Guide

diy, picture frames

For the longest time, buying baby picture frames meant looking for something pink or blue. Maybe perhaps finding a theme that might in some way be related to your child. That has changed recently, as you can find just about anything you would like to have on a frame.

Buy or DIY Picture Frames?

Some people who are handy with wood, paint and other crafting tools like to make them on their own. Others like to shop, hoping to find the perfect frame. However, personalized and special frames for pictures of your children are a lot closer than you might think.

picture frames, diy

Let’s say that you want to make your own baby picture frames. All you have to do is find a plain frame in the right color. If you can’t find it anywhere, look in your local craft stores. They usually have something for just about everyone. You can then decide what you want to do with your baby picture frames. Check out your local thrift stores. Frames are usually found in many different types, shapes, sizes and colors of frames.

If you like to paint, you can add your own design if you wish. To simplify your design, you can find many great things you can simply attach to the frame with a bit of glue. You can add a theme or even your child’s name. You can do both if you wish. Let your imagination guide you.

diy, picture frames

Places to Buy Frames

If you feel you don’t have the talent or the time to make your own baby picture frames, don’t worry, there are many great ones out there now. If you look around online, you can find places that sell things you may never have imagined. Some online vendors may even customize any frame you want (usually for a nominal fee). Also, they will then mail them out to you in a secure package to minimize breakage during shipping. These can be personalized with almost anything you wish, and don’t have to cost a lot of money either.

There are also a number of arts and crafts stores located throughout the U.S.

Be Safe When Choosing Picture Frames

There is one thing you should keep in mind if you are making or buying your own baby picture frames. Even though many will go on the wall and little hands will never touch them, some are placed on nightstands or other places that are in reach.

If this is the case for the frame you are going to buy, make sure they do not have small pieces that can come off and be a choking hazard. Therefore, sure that the paint is safe if your child were to put the frame in their mouth. Children under the age of two often explore the world with their mouth, so keep that in mind as you choose.

picture frames, diy

I certainly hope that this helps! Do you have a picture frame that you created from scratch or one that you may have rehabbed that you would like to share? We would love to see it and add it to the post.

diy, picture frames

Emergency Cleaning Plan For the Busy Home

cleaning plan

My Ultimate Cleaning Plan For Those”Oh crap, I am the busiest woman in the world and the guests are coming for dinner tonight!” Moments

There are moments when I get lazy and a cleaning plan is furthest from my vocabulary.

  • with raising a four year old
  • staying on top of my family’s meds and appointments
  • caring for our geriatric dog (she swears she’s still a puppy!)
  • working at the family restaurant
  • preparing for all of the events (family and social)
  • school work!

The home still needs to be maintained, at least to where it does not look as though I have completely lost my mind. I needed a cleaning plan for those “oh crap” moments.

I thought I could consolidate all of my cleaning and organizing tasks into two, maybe three days.  Pre-hubby and pre-pumpkin (Cecilia) I was able to do that.  I could come home after working 8-9 hours and do two hours worth of cleaning – the energy was there and more so was the time.  Looking back, though I realize that I had no life and I could work miracles!

It took me a while to accept the change in routine because for over thirty years I was responsible only to myself and my dog.

But, as time went on I realized that I needed to have some sort of cleaning plan in place – a (gasp!) plan! “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!”

cleaning plan, cleaning routine

Ah yes, the dreaded plans and schedules – I was not always so clean and organized. Only during my active duty stint and it was usually when an inspection was looming was I ever truly clean, neat and organized.

Historically speaking I was terrible at keeping any type of schedule, much less a cleaning schedule.  But, in 2009 I had to learn fast when I accepted a housekeeping job at the Hilton in my hometown (what can I say, dry job market).  I was on a very strict cleaning schedule while working there and I learned some cleaning tips from one of the best hotel supervisors I have ever laid eyes on (thanks Ms. Mary!).

I figure if I can strip down an entire guest room – sheets, towels, shower curtain, deep clean a bathroom, clean out a mini fridge, dust, polish vacuum, etc in 30 minutes (multiply this by approx. 10 rooms a day) I can take 30 minutes to pick up around my house:


Believe it or not I start with the bathroom, especially if there was a lot of traffic in and out lately.  This is the area where I let the chemicals do 90% of the work for me – I douse the sink and toilet with my heavy duty bathroom cleaner. Then I’ll spray down the countertop with a not so heavy bathroom cleaner (keeps from ruining the surface) and then while the cleaners are working I will move on to the next room. (2 minutes)

cleaning plan, cleaning routine

Living room

This is our daughter’s play land and also the family movie gathering place – probably where a good cleaning plan is needed most.  I start by clearing all surfaces (table tops, mantle, side tables) and spraying them with a light mist of furniture polish – we have a lot of hardwood furniture. While the furniture is “marinating” in Liquid Gold, I place any remaining toys into their cubbies – I also keep a small garbage bag with me for the occasional stray lollipop or two and anything else I may find.  From there I go back and wipe down the furniture and it looks and smells great when I’m done! (12 minutes)


I’m not gonna lie, I do cheat a little here.  If the sink has dishes I will not hesitate to place them in the dishwasher – by the way, i’m praying that they were rinsed!  Anyway, as the hot water is running I am placing the dishes in the dishwasher, being careful to not overlap them as, of course, this can cause HUGE disappointment later.  I’ll also place a power boost packet in there as well for any hard stuff. I’ll get my hubby to empty that later 🙂

I spray down the countertops, let the cleaner work for a few minutes while I sweep the floor.  A good chunk of my cleaning plan depends on letting the chemicals do the heavy lifting for me 🙂 Once I’m done sweeping the floor. I wipe down the countertops. By the way when sweeping anything that I find gets swept onto the carpet because I have to vacuum anyway. Then empty the trash and recycling. (5 minutes)

cleaning plan, cleaning routine

Dining room

I treat this room like I did the living room. I spray the table, buffet, other surfaces with a light mist of furniture polish (I’ve received complaints that I use too much of this stuff so I’m weaning myself down, LOL). From here I will vacuum the floor and then I will go back and wipe down the furniture.  (5 minutes)

Back to the bathroom. By the time I’m done with everything else the cleaner that I sprayed in the bathroom should be finished working for me.  I wipe down the countertops, wipe out the sink basin and tub first. The tub tends to be fairly easy to wash, as my husband is pretty good about spraying the shower when he’s done.  All that’s left is the toilet.  I learned this while working at the hotel – I wipe down the seat portion first, the tank second and then everything else.  The base tends to be the dirtiest (visually speaking that is). (5 minutes)

Holy cow, I have one (1) minute to spare – I’m keeping that minute 🙂

For me there are a few key takeaways here:

  • Most people understand that your house will not be perfect, especially if they know your life and what you’re up against.
  • I’m not looking for it to be perfect, just presentable. We have a four year old and a somewhat geriatric dog (she’s in denial, though) that has the occasional accident. Having a cleaning plan helps a lot and keeps me somewhat sane.
  • It helps to have the family involved – it’s the simple things that make the difference.  I instituted a rule for whoever used the shower last they need to spray it with the shower cleaner. Our four year old is learning to pick up after herself. This actually helps me out a lot!
  • It pays to pay particular attention to the tasks. See if there are any possible shortcuts that can be taken. Our kitchen has linoleum flooring that leads into a carpeted living room and dining room. Whatever I find while sweeping (unless it’s big) gets swept onto the carpet.  If my Shark can handle it, it’s going to handle it. Besides, I think our daughter took the dust pan out back somewhere, it’s been MIA for about three months.
  • I failed to mention that I was listening to music the entire time.  I never did like when  a room is really quiet.  Quiet rooms do not motivate me at all – but bossa nova does!  Whatever your favorite tunes are, listen to them while you’re working – it actually makes cleaning more enjoyable.
  • The time just flies by and it makes the larger tasks much easier.
  • Please note – the bedroom is not included in this listing simply because I am concentrating on the common areas (places that will be seen) of our home 🙂

I hope this cleaning plan helps!  If you’re good with multitasking then this will be a cakewalk for you.  If you have any questions, comments or if you want to share ideas, please do so below.  Have a blessed day!

cleaning plan, cleaning routine

50+ Easy & Time Saving Home Cleaning Ideas

Recently I posted an article entitled “Emergency Cleaning Plan For the Busy Home” Here are 50+ home cleaning ideas you can use to simplify your home cleaning routine and keep your home neat and clean.


Only have a minute for cleaning? No problem. This first set of tips will give you some ideas for chores that take less than a minute.

Dust One Thing
If a minute is all that you have, it only takes a minute to choose one thing and dust it. You can either use a feather duster, a dust spray and a rag, or a dust wipe. Here are some things you can dust quickly:

  • TV screens
  • Shelves
  • Blinds
  • Ceiling fans
  • Air Vents

Change Vacuum Bag
In the age of canister-style vacuums, vacuum bags do still exist!  It doesn’t take much time at all to change your vacuum bag, and it can make your vacuum run more efficiently. A good tip is to take your vacuum outside to change it so the dust from the bag doesn’t go back into the room.

Clean a Mirror
A clean mirror makes a room look cleaner. If you don’t have glass cleaner and paper towels, try vinegar and old newspaper. This is a lot less expensive and it works just as well.

Change Towels
Fresh towels make a room smell great, whether they’re in the kitchen or the bathroom. It takes less than a minute, and it freshens up the whole room.

Change Trash Bags
Even if you don’t have time to take the trash all the way out, just taking full bags out of the cans and replacing them with clean bags can help tidy up when you only have a minute.

Sort Today’s Mail
Mail can really pile up if left alone. If you take 60 seconds every day to organize that day’s mail, you’ll have a lot less clutter. Don’t be afraid to throw away junk mail.  We are lucky enough to have found this awesome desk complete with a mail sorting station.

Treat a Stain
Got an extra minute? Treat that nasty stain that you noticed last week. Here are some tips:

  • Flush stains with water.
  • Blot the stain with a dry cloth.
  • Apply a mild cleaner and let set.
  • Blot again.

Take Care of Plants
A minute is more than enough time to care for your favorite houseplants. If they need water, fill a pitcher so you can water them all faster. Take a pair of scissors with you to snip off dead vines or leaves.

Wipe Down Forgotten Areas
Grab a wet washcloth and quickly wipe down areas that might be forgotten when cleaning. Areas like:

  • Doorknobs
  • Remote controls
  • Light switches
  • Handles
  • Telephones

Sweep Entryways
Most entryways are small and take less than a minute to sweep. Grab your broom and dustpan and you’ll be finished before you begin. You can even cheat and sweep dust onto the carpet, then use the carpet-sweeper to clean it up.

Shake out a Floor Mat
Floor mats are sometimes forgotten during cleaning. If you have an extra minute, grab a mat or two and shake them out outside. This will reduce the amount of dust in your home as well as keep those mats fresh and clean.

Collect Garbage in a Room
If you don’t have time to clean a whole room but want to make it look a little bit better, clear out the garbage. Grab a trash bag or a waste paper basket and start stuffing. You’ll find that this improves the look of a room dramatically.


No doubt, one of the most important ideas to implement for a clean home. As you start developing simple house cleaning habits, you’ll notice that your work will get easier and easier. This next set of tips will give you some great ideas of good habits to start.

Housework can be a huge job. One of the best ideas to offer is to learn to delegate if you haven’t already. Make chore charts for everyone in your house. Even small children can help pick up toys and other things. As you learn that you don’t have to do it all, housework will become much easier.

Fill the Sink
A good habit to start is filling your sink with hot soapy water every time you start to cook. This way you can “clean as you go.” As you get done with each pot or dish, wash it quickly. This makes clean-up a snap.

Spray the Oven
Time for take-out? If there’s a day when you’re not using your oven, give it a quick spray of oven cleaner and forget about it. The next day, before you turn on your oven, give it a quick wipe down. You’ll find that the baked-on stuff comes off much easier

Have a Charity Box
It’s a good idea to keep a box or bag in your front closet that you put things you don’t need anymore. This really helps get rid of clutter in your home. When the box is full, simply drop it off at your local Goodwill store.

Rinse Your Plate
Of all of the cleaning ideas, this is one that I remember from my childhood. This may be a small tip, but it can help in big ways. If you simply make it a habit to rinse your plate after dinner (and have all family members do the same), it will make washing them a lot easier. No one likes trying to wash dried food off dishes.

Tackle the Small Jobs
Housework can be overwhelming. Learn to break it down and tackle the smaller jobs first. As you do, each job will become easier. Also, if you clean the small messes before they get big, it’ll be a lot easier to clean up

Keep Cleaner in the Shower
A great shortcut for cleaning your tub and shower is to keep a bottle of shower cleaner handy. After you take a bath or shower, spray it down. You can take it a step further and keep a squeegee in it as well.

Fast Pick Up Before Bed
If you make it a habit to do a quick pick up before going to bed, it’ll really help. You’ll find that it’s easier to wake up and feel good about the day if even one room is clean.

Line Your Fridge
If you make it a habit to line your fridge shelves with paper towels, it’ll make it a lot easier to clean. This will work especially well in the crispers, as the paper towels will soak up any extra wetness.

Take a Trash Bag with You
As you leave the house, make it a habit to take the trash out. This is a simple tip, but why make extra trips if you don’t need to? This is also a great job to delegate to a teenager. They’re always coming and going anyway.


Your kitchen gets used every day. Without maintaining small messes, you can have a big cleaning job every day. This next set of ideas will help you keep your kitchen clean and manageable

Here’s a good shortcut to cleaning your microwave: Fill up a cup of water and put it in there on high for a few minutes. The steam from the cup will loosen any stuck-on food, and then you can just wipe it away.

Baking Soda
Baking soda has many practical cleaning uses, especially in the kitchen. Here are a few ideas:

  • Put an open box in your fridge and freezer to eliminate odors and bad tastes.
  • Sprinkle some in the bottom of your trash cans.
  • Sprinkle some down your drain and garbage disposal to eliminate odors.

Cleaning your fridge can be a big job, but here are a few ideas to make it a bit easier:

  • Toss out any bad food.
  • Start with wiping down the top shelves and work down.
  • Baking soda and water make a great cleaner and won’t leave your fridge smelling like harsh cleanser.
  • After you wipe out the crispers, line them with paper towels for easier cleaning next time.

Washing Dishes
Washing dishes can really be overwhelming. Here are more cleaning ideas to make this grueling task a bit easier:

  • Invest in a scrubber that you can put soap in the handle. This way you can “wash as you go,” eliminating huge piles of dirty dishes.
  • Soak all dishes that have dried on food. This lets you use less elbow grease.
  • Wash in groups—silverware, glasses, bowls, plates, pots and pans.

Wipe Down
After the dishes are done and put away, don’t forget the wipe-down. This makes your kitchen have that extra clean look. When you’re wiping down, don’t forget:

  • Countertops
  • Stove
  • Sink
  • Faucets
  • Cupboard doors
  • Table
  • Chair

Sweep and Mop
The very last thing you need to clean in your kitchen is the floor. There are lots of brooms and mops on the market these days. Make sure to use a broom and mop that best fit the needs of your floor.


Cleaning the bathroom is something that nobody likes to do. Unfortunately, it needs to be done, not only to make it look better, but to eliminate germs that can cause illness. Below you’ll find a few ideas to make cleaning your bathroom more effective and easier.

Cleaning the toilet is a grueling job, but fortunately, it can be done fast. Here are a few steps to follow to get it done quickly:

  • 1st—Pour some cleaner in the bowl to soak.
  • 2nd—Wipe down the seat and outside of the bowl with an antibacterial wipe or spray cleaner.
  • 3rd—Scrub the bowl with a toilet brush.
  • 4th—Wipe down everything again with a dry cloth to make it shine.

Mirrors can be very tricky to clean because if you don’t have the right tools, they can look worse than before you started. Make sure you use glass cleaner (usually blue) or vinegar and use paper towels or newspaper to wipe them (not cloth as it will leave residue).

Bathtubs can be awkward to clean, because there are many hard-to-reach places. Here are a few things that may help:

  • Use a cleanser that will foam or bubble. This allows you to “soak” your tub or shower, even if it’s a vertical wall.
  • Shop around for a tub scrubber that fits your needs. Whether it’s a long-handled one or an extra firm one, pick a scrubber that will be easiest for you to use.
  • As mentioned earlier, spraying the tub or shower down after each use can make deep cleaning easier.

Wipe Down the Sink
Wiping down the sink and counter is easier if you first fill the sink with hot soapy water. Keep dipping your washcloth or sponge into it until everything is clean. Don’t forget to dry everything so it’ll really sparkle.


The living room is usually the first thing that visitors see when they come to your home. It’s also the room that can get the messiest. This next set of cleaning ideas will help you keep your living room clean and inviting.

Pick Up
First do a quick pick up. Here are some important points:

  • Put everything in its place (remotes controls, magazines, etc.).
  • Throw trash in the trash can.
  • Put things that don’t belong into laundry baskets, so they’re easier to put away later.

As mentioned earlier, dusting doesn’t take very long, but it can really help make your living room look great. Here’s a list of things not to forget:

  • Blinds
  • Air Vents
  • TV screens
  • Shelves
  • Ceiling fans

Vacuuming really finishes a clean room. Use your vacuum attachments to make sure you get the hard to reach places. Don’t forget:

  • Couch cushions
  • Room edges
  • Under the couch
  • Curtains
  • Window sills


You spend almost half of your life in your bedroom, so keeping it clean is important. Here are some cleaning ideas to keep your bedroom looking great:

Make the Bed
Making the bed will make any room cleaner. It doesn’t take very long, and it really pulls the room together. It helps to have a thick, lightweight comforter that can easily be thrown on without a lot of smoothing or tucking. Pillows really make a bed look good as well.

Put Away Clothes
Put away all clothes. Whether they need to be folded and put in a dresser, hung up, or put in the dirty clothes hamper, managing clothes is very important.

Clean off Dresser
Your dresser top can get cluttered very quickly. Make it a habit to clear it off every time you clean your room, and it will get easier each time. It’s also a good idea to wipe down your dresser with a damp cloth.

GENERAL SHORTCUTS (You’re almost there!)

This last set of tips will give you additional shortcuts for cleaning the house. Some of them are hardly conventional, but sometimes you just must get creative—especially when you’re in a hurry.

Fast Window Cleaning
Got a big window that needs to be cleaned super quick? Try only pulling the blinds up halfway, and only cleaning the bottom half of the window. As stated earlier, vinegar and newspaper work well in a pinch.

Carpet Sweeping
It helps to have a carpet sweeper or a cordless hand vacuum handy. This way you don’t need to drag the big vacuum out every time your floor needs a quick clean-up.

Pet Hair
Pet hair can be hard to control, especially on furniture. Here are a couple of ideas for fast clean up:

  • Ball up an old pair of pantyhose and rub them all over your furniture—they’re great at picking up pet hair.
  • Buy a cheap lint roller (the kind with sticky tape) and roll it over the furniture

Do the Towel Shuffle
Who would have thought a house-cleaning tip would mean doing a dance? If your floor needs a good mopping but you don’t have time, simply wet two towels, put one under each foot, and “shuffle” them across the room. You’ll find this quite effective as well as fun.

Cleaner Alternatives
Out of cleaners? Here are some things that you can use to clean instead of store-bought cleaners:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice

Laundry Baskets
Laundry baskets aren’t just for laundry anymore. You can get them at almost any dollar store, and they can really speed up housework. Here are some ideas:

  • When cleaning a room, put all the things that don’t belong in that room in a basket. Then put the baskets in the rooms that they go in.
  • Use a basket to carry dishes from the dining area to the sink.
  • Use baskets to separate magazines.
  • Give each household member a basket. When cleaning, line up the basket in the room you’re cleaning and put belongings in corresponding baskets. Have each family member put away the things in their basket.

Decorative Baskets
Decorative baskets are a great way to hide clutter. Take a trip to your local dollar store and invest in some fancy baskets of all sizes. Use them to organize. Here are some things you can use them for:

  • Mail
  • Magazines
  • Couch pillows
  • Remotes

Go Paper
Don’t be afraid to use paper plates and plastic utensils. This reduces the clean-up time to almost nothing. You can even dress up paper plates with wicker holders, and utensils with colorful ribbon

Spray Dust Mop
No time for a full mopping? Try giving your floor a good spraying with your favorite cleaner, then go over it with a mop. Depending on the cleaner, you may need to then spray your floor again with just water, and mop again to remove any residue.

Of all of the cleaning ideas listed this is my absolute favorite! Every grueling task is easier when music is involved. Find yourself some good music to clean to, and you’ll find that time goes by much faster. In no time, the CD is over, and your house is clean. 

Good Smells
A clean house may be the first thing people see as they come to visit, but what are they smelling? An inviting smell in your home is just as important as keeping it clean. Here are some things you can use:

  • Spray air fresheners
  • Candles
  • Plug-in air fresheners
  • Scented pine cones
  • Scented oil lamps
  • Potpourri

Make Plans
Housework is a lot less overwhelming if you have a plan. If you divide chores up into specific time blocks, or even days, they will be a lot easier to tackle. Don’t forget to make fun chore charts for the kids.

Know When to Quit
With housework, there will always be something else to clean and organize. It’s important to know when to quit. When wiping down a cupboard door, resist the temptation to pull everything out of that cupboard and reorganize; save that for another day.

cleaning ideas