A Clean Home without the Chemicals: LYSOL® Power & Free™

lysol power free kitchen cleaner A Clean Home without the Chemicals: LYSOL® Power & Free™

Susie Homemaker I am not…but that doesn’t mean I don’t try desperately to work for and with my family to keep our home clean.

I’d hate to confess all the hours I spend researching cleaning methods, checklists and DIY formulas in an effort to find clean house utopia.

In fact, just last month I shared on TV some of the best DIY solutions I’ve come across in those pursuits. One of the reasons I propagated such solutions was quite simply because of this: my children.

Although I enjoy having them help me clean, I’ve feared the harsh effects of the chemicals, particularly bleach.

lysol power and free kids clean A Clean Home without the Chemicals: LYSOL® Power & Free™

You see, my children are not very good at cleaning just yet (they’re only 7 & 8), but it’s my hopes that if I have them help me now, their future spouses won’t hate me later.

(That, and the fact they both love to spray and wipe anything that stands still long enough.)

So when I learned that LYSOL® created a new, powerful cleaner without the harshness of bleach, I was intrigued.

 A Clean Home without the Chemicals: LYSOL® Power & Free™ A Clean Home without the Chemicals: LYSOL® Power & Free™LYSOL® Power & Free™ Multi-Purpose Cleaner can be used on many surfaces throughout the home. The hydrogen peroxide formula releases thousands of micro bubbles that penetrate to dissolve grease and soap scum.

Oh year, and it kills 99.9% of viruses & bacteria. That’s what I’m talking about.
No harsh chemical residue.
No gloves, masks, or protective eye wear needed.
Simple. Fresh. Clean.

I only intended to clean my bathtub when we started, but once I caught the first aroma of the Citrus Sparkle Zest scent, my daughter and I couldn’t stop: we kept going to the vanity, baseboards, shower, toilet…even the door panels!

I don’t have room here to tell you everything there is to know about LYSOL® Power & Free™ Multi-Purpose Cleaner, but you can check out their Facebook page if you want to learn more about how this product can benefit your family.

As a mom, it’s just nice to know I finally have a powerful multi-purpose cleaner in my cabinet that’s both family friendly and a germ-killer! 

What do you love about a clean home? One of my readers will win a bottle of Lysol® Power & Free Multi Purpose cleaner to try in their own home! Comment below to be entered to win!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lysol. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules

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Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget

While we all would love regular trips to the spa, the truth is we can’t all afford weekly beauty treatments like massages, manicures, facials and laser hair removal!

I’ve found some great at-home beauty treatments and spa-substitutes to help carry you through those ‘in between the salon’ times:

 Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget
GEL MANICURES: Sally Hansen Salon InstaGel Strips Manicure Set
—Instead of paying upwards of $30 for a gel manicure, you can grab this Sally Hansen set (and refills usually run around $13).

Just like all CVS beauty purchases, shoppers have 60 days to return any products they purchase for any reason.
Benefits are the same for Nail HQ purchases! All Beauty Club members get $5 back in ExtraBucks Rewards for every $50 spent on qualifying beauty products.

 Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget
LASER HAIR REMOVAL: TRIA BEAUTY Laser Hair Removal

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to hair removal, the FDA-cleared Tria Hair Removal Laser uses the same laser hair removal technology found in the doctor’s office in the convenience of your home for freedom from constant shaving and waxing. It retails at $395 at www.triabeauty.com which I realize doesn’t look like it falls in the ‘budget’ category, but when you consider typical laser removal necessitates multiple office visits and costs thousands of dollars, this is cheap in comparison!

 Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget
*Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget
—I found this at CVS a couple years ago on sale AND with free facial cleanser! It’s under $30 and considering the competition is around $200, you can’t beat it, even if you don’t use it everyday.

 Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget
*Hydroxatone Essential Beauty Box ($49 at Ulta & Ulta.com) & Instant Face Lift $55
—before going under the knife, try a topical alternative that has been proven like this one!

 Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget Spa & At Home Beauty Treatments to Help Your Budget
*Willa Naturals Skin Care – start young, stay young (great for any age – paraben free, sulfate free, DEA free) – $14
—P.S. Look to teen or even men’s products when it comes to skin care – often times they’re more natural and less expensive than female counterparts!

*Vitacost “Be Well” Box
—for $13.99 you can get some of the best health and wellness products sent right to your doorstep each month, with no long term commitment! Plus, when you sign up for Vitacost, you can earn $10 towards a $30 purchase.

Watch my segment from Fox TN Mornings on this topic!

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Disney Cruise Kids Dining Options: Recreating Healthy Fun at Home!

IMG 9147 300x225 Disney Cruise Kids Dining Options: Recreating Healthy Fun at Home!

One thing that has always intrigued me about the Disney brand are their dining option…especially when it comes to kids dining.

So when I learned that we were going to get to be a part of a Disney Cruise, the first thing I wanted to learn more about was how they come up with their kids meals, how they keep them healthy while still making them fun, and how I could recreate that healthy fun at home!

Once on board, I got to hear first hand how the Disney Cruise Line does exactly that. Not only did the chefs at Lumiere’s lay out an amazing array of their kids’ dining offerings, but I got to hear from someone who has quite a bit of expereince when it comes to Disney Cruise kids cuisine: Marcy Galloway, the Disney Cruise Line specialist for the Disney Parks Moms Panel.
IMG 9138 225x300 Disney Cruise Kids Dining Options: Recreating Healthy Fun at Home!

Just take a look at all the different types of Disney Cruise dining options (and pay special attention to the end of the video to see whether or not kids really will eat what they serve…)

So what were the biggest takeaways for us when it comes to making healthy food fun at home?

Recreating Healthy Fun at Home with Disney Cruise Kids Dining:

1. Always encourage kids to try new things at every meal, just keep portions small and make sure there’s something else you know they’ll like on the same plate

IMG 9149 225x300 Disney Cruise Kids Dining Options: Recreating Healthy Fun at Home!

2. Keep food separated. Most kids don’t like their food to touch and it makes the plate more attractive to have distinct portions.

IMG 9142 300x200 Disney Cruise Kids Dining Options: Recreating Healthy Fun at Home!

3. Create fun shapes with kids’ food. While I’m not a proponent for over-indulging kids when it comes to mealtime by cutting of crusts and making things look like flowers, I will say that sometimes using a little creativity when it comes to presentation will get kids to try foods they normally wouldn’t, like fish & unique vegetables.

IMG 9139 300x225 Disney Cruise Kids Dining Options: Recreating Healthy Fun at Home!

4. Keep your kids’ plate balanced. Make sure every plate consists of a good protein, some veggies/fruit and a small complex carb.

Of course, having fun plates, Mickey shaped pasta and great activity sheets to keep the kids busy while they waited on dinner didn’t hurt either icon wink Disney Cruise Kids Dining Options: Recreating Healthy Fun at Home!

What question would you ask a Disney Chef about feeding your kids and getting them to try new things?

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My Home Office Organization Project: Before

20130111 224100 My Home Office Organization Project: Before
Not only did I start a juice fast today, but at long last, I embarked upon my home office organization project!

You know I love to be as transparent as possible with you all, so I thought I’d give you a peak into the dumping ground this room has become after only 6 months of living in our home:

Hopefully today will be the start of an office transformation that will motivate me to do the same in other areas of our home that could be put to better use!

Do you have any great tips for how to organize a home office and keep it organized?

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Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy

PinExt Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy
20120412 090025 Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy

pin it button Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy
I just had to share this girls Indian costume that was homemade by her daddy for her school’s colonial days this week.

When we saw the emails about needing colonial costumes for our kids, I immediately panicked. I’m not exactly what you’d call “crafty”, so to be honest, I ignored it initially. But after constant questions from my type-A first born about all the necessary requirements for her to be a historically correct Natchez Indian (and my Kindergartener’s adamant insisting that he wanted to be George Washington), I couldn’t sit back any longer.

I was comforted by her 2nd grade teacher yesterday after school who assured us we didn’t have to spend money on an actual costume. And I also figured that Britton’s old Captain Hook costume could adequately double as a George Washington costume (though it’s a 2-3 and we’ll have to cover up the pirate icon with an American flag icon wink Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy

So we armed ourselves with the 20% off Michaels coupon this week and invested about $5 in a large white adult t-shirt and some wooden beads.

My handy husband took the shirt and notched all around the collar (being careful not to cut through the seam) and did the same with the sleeves to create fringe.

He also cut about 3 inches up all along the bottom hem to create larger trim. He then took the wooden beads and alternated colors and which fringe he chose to decorate, simply tying a knot at the bottom of the fringe he threaded the beads through.

We paired it with a fake leather belt I bought at H&M years ago and we’ll stick her hair in braids and VOILA! instant Indian princess!

Here is the final result!
PinExt Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy20120413 074836 Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy

20120413 074858 Girls Indian Costume Homemade by DaddyPinExt Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy

UPDATE: It’s been a year, but Kariss wanted to dress like an Indian for a Thanksgiving party at church, and I love how she paired it with jeggings, moccasin boots and a feather in her hair:

IMG 7548 178x300 Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy
PinExt Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy

IMG 7544 225x300 Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy
PinExt Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy


pin it button Girls Indian Costume Homemade by Daddy

The Long Road Home

20120904 104620 The Long Road Home

We’ve started the long road home to Nashville…

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I received the call from my husband that his dad had passed away and hours later I piled our two kids into the mini van to make the 13 hour trek down to South Florida amidst squalls from Hurricane Isaac.

It’s a blur.

In the past week we’ve planned a funeral, buried my father-in-law, sorted through his belongings, relived a lot of memories and hugged an entire community.

We are emotionally spent.

Yet through it all, we’ve clung to each other and learned so much from so many of you.

1. It’s not about me

I think this is fairly self-explanatory, yet it is something someone very close to me lovingly reminded me of icon wink The Long Road Home It’s easy to be offended when our expectations aren’t met…and I think it’s safe to say that when you bring a large group of people together who are all grieving in their own ways (not to mention exhausted and emotional), it’s not possible to meet everyone’s expectations. So the safest thing to do is to set your own aside. Max Lucado wrote a book on this very topic (It’s Not About Me: Rescue From the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy The Long Road Home) that included the following:

“The brevity of life grants power to abide, not an excuse to bail.”

Yikes. I know I still have a lot to learn in this area.

2. Slow Down

We are busy. And yes, I recognize our lives are even busier than most (at least that’s what I keep hearing from all of you!), but through this we have learned that we need to slow down and make time for God and each other. I think everyone can attest to the fact that there’s never a convenient time for tragedy to strike, but when you’re living your life on fumes, it makes those times even more stressful. In Bill Hybels’ book, “Too Busy Not to Pray The Long Road Home“, he reminds us that true prayer can’t “happen on the fly”, especially in this time when pain & distractions seem to be on the rise. While this week may have been a forced ‘slow down’ for us, I’m grateful for the people we were able to re-connect with (and especially for our multiple employers being so gracious in understanding the need to be with our family to help take care of the issues at hand).

3. Receive Help

Though I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with asking for help in a time of need, I understand how difficult it is to bring yourself to that point. Luckily, we never even had to ask this week icon smile The Long Road Home But for some who are used to being the ones offering aid, it can be equally difficult simply to receive help. This week I learned that as much of a blessing as it is to be the recipient of such a gift, there are those who truly enjoy giving in times such as these…and to deny them that would be robbing them of their joy. Their is an art to graciously receiving and while I am still learning that art, I loved witnessing the act of all of you sharing your blessings with us!

4. Life is a Gift, not a Guarantee

When we found out on June 7 about dad’s brain tumor, we couldn’t fathom that he only had 6-8 weeks left to live. Can you imagine being told that? What would you do differently? But then we realized – none of us know when we will die. Although dad was given a rough estimate, the reality was that any of us could have lost our life before he did. We’re thankful for the memories we were able to make this summer, but also came to the bigger realization that we need to start living each day with more passion & purpose.

Listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast on the road yesterday, I was reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan and how he did exactly what he could do in the moment without shirking his current responsibilities. As we drive home today, I want the memory and lessons of these events to influence my day to day role as a wife, mother, friend, worker & volunteer, while not distracting me from my ultimate goal.

Our lives are fleeting, even if this car ride is not icon wink The Long Road Home

20120904 104629 The Long Road Home

What lessons have you learned in grief?

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Rick Cone Sr. Visitation & Funeral Service: August 2012

IMG 4515 300x200 Rick Cone Sr. Visitation & Funeral Service: August 2012

Even though the kids and I just arrived in Florida (and we’re still so grateful for all your prayers yesterday!), everyone’s been asking for details on the visitation and funeral service for Ricky’s dad, Rick Cone Sr. that will be taking place this week.

I want to be as clear and factual as possible for those of you purely seeking the information and not my emotions right now icon wink Rick Cone Sr. Visitation & Funeral Service: August 2012

Richard Allen Cone, Sr. passed away at 8:14 pm on Sunday, August 26, 2012.

The visitation will be Wednesday, August 29 from 6-8pm at Treasure Coast Seawinds Funeral Home Chapel. Their address is 950 S.E. Monterey Road  Stuart, FL 34994. Their phone number is (772) 287-1985.

The funeral, which will be a “Celebration of Life”, will take place on Thursday, August 30 at 11:07am (dad was always a little late icon wink Rick Cone Sr. Visitation & Funeral Service: August 2012 ) at Hobe Sound Bible Church in Hobe Sound, FL. Their address is 11295 S.E. Gomez Ave, Hobe Sound, FL  33455.

The internment will be at Fernill Memorial Gardens following the service. They are located at 501 South Kanner Highway Stuart, FL 34994.

People have also been asking where they can send condolences for Ricky and his family; Ricky and his siblings will be staying with their mom, Anita, at her house (8865 SE Bahama Circle Hobe Sound, FL  33455). If you would like more information about the services or would like to leave a virtual note, you can do so at this online Book of Memories. I know the Cone family would be grateful for your support this week.

IMG 4468 300x225 Rick Cone Sr. Visitation & Funeral Service: August 2012

IMG 4472 300x224 Rick Cone Sr. Visitation & Funeral Service: August 2012

 Read the whole story about Dad Cone’s journey from the beginning…

pin it button Rick Cone Sr. Visitation & Funeral Service: August 2012

In Memory of Dad Cone: August 26, 2012

20120615 112251 In Memory of Dad Cone: August 26, 2012

It’s ironic that I posted an update on Dad Cone for the first time tonight in over a month and now, here I am, just hours later with another update. But this one will be my last.

Richard Allen Cone, Sr. passed away tonight at 8:14pm.

Yes, my husband’s father died tonight in Hospice care.

Thankfully, Ricky has been in Florida since Friday and was able to spend these last few days with him. I cannot pretend to know what these next few days will bring, yet I know whatever it is will not be easy.

Tomorrow morning, I will pull my sleeping children out of bed and put them in our minivan to make the 13 hour drive down to Florida in the midst of a hurricane.

Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but the task ahead does seem a bit insurmountable.

Still, I know that it is in fact possible and more important, necessary.

So off I go to pack for the week ahead. I know I’ve asked it before, but please pray for our journey tomorrow. Pray for wisdom as I tell our children the news. Pray for Ricky, his sister, his brother, his mom and all his extended family. Pray for our everyone that will be attending the funeral that God’s name will be lifted high and that sorrow will quickly be replaced with joy.

I’ll be on the road tomorrow, but will try my best to check in as I can on here…

Read the whole story about Dad Cone’s journey from the beginning…

pin it button In Memory of Dad Cone: August 26, 2012

Dad Cone Update: August 26, 2012

20120615 112251 Dad Cone Update: August 26, 2012

It’s been a month and a half since I’ve updated you on Ricky’s dad. Most of you know I stopped sharing regularly on here because I came under some scrutiny for sharing a story that’s not my own.

But when it comes to something that affects our family in such a way as it has this summer, I believe this is a part of our story, and we need your prayers now more than ever.

Dad Cone has been battling this brain tumor since early June, but just a couple days ago he was once again admitted into the Hospice House because of his failing condition. Without knowing or revealing all the details of what’s going on, suffice it to say that Ricky felt that he needed to be back in Florida immediately.

My mom has been staying with us for the past month and also wanted to get back to Florida before Hurricane Isaac hit this weekend, so Ricky planned on leaving with her this past Friday. Thankfully, his good friend Jeremy agreed to caravan down with them on the 13 hour drive so that Ricky would have a companion there and for the ride home.

Of course none of us know when we will be called Heavenward, but it seems like Dad Cone’s health has taken a downward turn more so in the past few days than it has in previous weeks.

I ask that you pray for everyone in Florida that is not only going through Hurricane Isaac presently, but also for the entire Cone family as they continue to deal with the emotions that come along with this health journey.

Read the whole story about Dad Cone’s journey from the beginning…

pin it button Dad Cone Update: August 26, 2012

Dad Cone Update: July 8, 2012

20120615 112251 Dad Cone Update: July 8, 2012

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Dad Cone update, but honestly, since we haven’t been in Florida with him, it’s been hard to share second-hand information. But Ricky just flew back down to Florida on Friday night, so he’s gotten to see dad in person for the first time since mid-June.

When I spoke to dad a couple days ago, it didn’t seem as if much had changed. He honestly sounded quite good, all things considered. He complained of headaches and hip pain, both of which were either present before his current condition or were being further aggravated by it.

Though he needs 24 hour care, he’s still getting out and about, with regular visits to his mom’s, Starbucks and his favorite steak restaurants icon wink Dad Cone Update: July 8, 2012

Ricky’s brother has been spending most days with dad and his sister has been in Florida since the diagnosis as well. Ricky’s mom is a nurse and she has been a tremendous help and support to dad as well. That combined with the hospice care, local family and all his long-standing friends from both Hobe Sound and out-of-town coming to visit and bringing meals, he has definitely been surrounded by love and prayers.

I haven’t been able to talk to my husband in depth since he arrived in Florida, but he did notice a few things since he last saw dad: that he’s having more difficulty walking and staying present in the moment. He continues to tire easily and seems a bit more forgetful. When he complained of having ‘brain freezes’ in the middle of conversations to me, I playfully responded with, “I don’t have a tumor the size of an adult man’s fist in my brain, and that still happens to me, so you’re doing pretty well!” icon smile Dad Cone Update: July 8, 2012

I know so many of you have continued to pray and ask about dad’s condition, so I’m sorry I haven’t had more to share, but just know that he is feeling your prayers. I believe he’s scheduled to have another MRI this week, so I’ll be sure to update you after we know more.

Thanks too for all the sweet comments you’ve left. We’ve shared them with him and they are much appreciated!

Read the whole story about Dad Cone’s journey from the beginning…

pin it button Dad Cone Update: July 8, 2012