Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Mop and the Shower Door

Well.  I finally caught up on camp/being out of town for a week laundry last night around 10:00.  I made some homemade laundry detergent, combining two different recipes, and so far, so good. I tried liquid homemade laundry detergent about 4 years ago, but I never cared for it.  This time I made a powder, and I really like it.  I'll give an update after another week (I have to see if our smelly running clothes will get clean and fresh enough).

After reading your comments on the blog and also on my Facebook page, I decided to buy this mop from Amazon. It was cheaper than some of the brands recommended to me. I did not want to invest a lot in a mop, so I felt like this one had really good reviews and was not too expensive either.  I did not want a spray mop, nor did I want to buy any special mop spray.  I am mixing up my own floor cleaner which is basically water, vinegar, and a few drops of very low cost (bought on Amazon for about $2/bottle) essential oil. So this is the mop I bought.

18" Professional Microfiber Mop | Stainless Steel Handle | Premium Mop Pads + 2 FREE Microfiber Cloths
(That's how it's listed on Amazon)
(I couldn't figure out how to copy and paste a link to the page.)

I love this mop!  The handle is all one piece and is made of stainless steel.  It also can get longer or shorter, depending on your needs.

The microfiber cloths are just wonderful!  I also bought a 3 pack of additional cloths, because I knew the two that the mop came with would not be enough for me to use at one time.  The mop head swivels, and just glides across the floor.

I mix up my cleaning solution in a mop bucket and put the 5 microfiber cloths in the bucket.  I squeeze out and use one at a time, and then I put the dirty mop cloth away and get out another clean one. 

Mopping can be fun!

The shower door.  No luck yet on any of my reader suggestions (via in person, this blog, or my Facebook page). I have yet to try one more thing....a paste of Bar Keeper's Friend.  I am about to clean the bathrooms, so I will try this. 
I have scrubbed all the filmy stuff off my glass shower door. What is left is like hard water droplets stains.  So the door is clean and shiny with whitish spots all over it.

I am determined to get that shower door crystal clear!

Monday, June 20, 2016


We spent the last week at RYC (Rustic Youth Camp) in Alabama.  This was my family's seventh year to attend this camp, and it proved to be so much fun as always!

Lynn and I stayed with Mrs. Beulah (just like we have the past 6 years), but this time we had only 5 children with us--my two youngest, her two youngest, and her niece.  So, for the first time, we had to take only one vehicle to the camp each day.  Clay, Parker, and Carson were overnight campers, and Olivia served as a bunkhouse counselor for the girls.  She also helped teach the 5 & 6 year olds. I spent my week teaching the 3rd and 4th graders with four other wonderful ladies.  We had 27 children, 18 of which were boys! Over the years I have taught 3 & 4 year olds, 5 & 6 year olds, and 3rd and 4th graders.  For the past three years I have taught the 3rd and 4th graders, and that is my favorite class!  The camp preparation is brutal, but the week is always completely worth it!

Julie spent the week at home with Jimmy (she is too old for camp, and too young to be a counselor). Next year she can join the ranks of hard working counselors.  :)

Olivia's friend Brian also worked as a counselor in the boys' bunkhouse and a camp photographer. Julie's friend Sam came for a visit last weekend, and so we have have a fun house full since arriving home from camp Friday night.  I am still doing camp laundry!

There were many highlights of camp week-----3 girls were baptized in the lake, the Florida College Friends musical group gave a concert on Monday night, Jimmy and Julie visited us twice during the week, Julie and Big Sam came over to camp the last day, Mrs. Beulah braided our hair Thursday night, the kids swam and swam in her pool, and they took a record of 2 baths for the week! (Chlorine cleans dirty kids, right?) Many Bible lessons were studied, many crafts were made, and many friendships were established or rekindled.

A fun, exhausting week!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Running With The King 5K

Bright and early this morning all of us (except Clay who was still at Boys State--he's been gone all week) ran the Running With the King 5K. The "king" is Elvis.  Tupelo has a big Elvis Festival every year to celebrate the fact that Elvis Presley was born here. The race course runs right by his birthplace.  It has become a tradition for our family to run this race each year.

Sam and Julie both set a PR (personal record) in a road race 5K.  The rest of us were happy with our finish times too.

Jimmy and Sam

 We still look sleepy, don't we?

We found my nephew, Causey, at the race too!

Last weekend I made another quick road trip.  I drove 4 other ladies from my church to a wedding in Clinton, about 3.5 hours away.  We had a delightful time!  At the reception there was a photo booth (which was the cutest idea, by the way), and we laughed and laughed at our experience!  

Here is our printout!
Sheila, Lynn, Leanna, Mary Alice, and Me

What a blast!
The wedding and reception were both lovely, and we are all so happy for Josh and Emily. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Housecleaning, Soap Scum, and Mops

Back in March, my friend Heather W. shared with me her spring cleaning list.  It was from CleanMama.net. Although I did not do much spring cleaning in March (I mostly did yard work), I spent a good bit of time reading through the Clean Mama website.  I loved it!  I ordered her book, The Organically Clean Home, and I have tried several cleaning recipes from it.  I like the way the cleaners work and smell, and I have enjoyed making them too.  So far I have tried some of the bathroom, kitchen, and floor cleaners.

My next homemade cleaning project will be laundry detergent.  I made laundry detergent a few years ago, but it was liquid, and I really wash not happy with it.  This time I plan to make powdered detergent.  I'll let you know how it works when I make it.

Soap scum:  Yuk!  I have a build up of soap scum on my glass shower door, and I can not get it off. I have tried everything I can think of---ideas both from my new cleaning recipe book as well as ideas from Pinterest.  Here is what I have tried, that did not work:

  • a mixture of borax and hot water
  • a cut lemon, rubbed on the door
  • rubbing alcohol
  • magic eraser
  • vinegar
  • baking soda
  • vinegar and baking soda together
  • lime away cleaner
  • comet
  • bleach
  • windex

The soap scum is still there!  Do you have anything that you have used to clean a shower door that actually works?

Mops: I am searching for the perfect mop.  
  • I really, really do not like using a traditional mop and mop bucket.  After one rinsing of the dirty mop, I feel like I am mopping the rest of the floors with dirty mop water.
  • I have been through 2 steam mops over the years. (I like them, but I keep wearing them out).
  • I have tried making my own reusable wipes for a swiffer (and I really like these cloths I am making --recipe is in The Organically Clean Home, but I can tell that I will be breaking my swiffer pole soon.  It is so flimsy.  And my microfiber cloths are too big for the swiffer head (I actually cut and serged the edges of a couple to them to make them fit)
  • I think I want a sturdy mop pole with washable cloths that stay on the mop head (like with elastic or something). I need several of the cloths so I can mop many rooms at one time. 
Do any of you know of a mop and mop cloth set that works?  I think I want microfiber since all of my floors are hardwood.  Any suggestions?

Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Our Trip to Wyoming

Earlier in May our whole family plus Big Sam (Julie's friend) went on a week long vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  We spent most of our time at the Grand Teton National Park, but we drove to Yellowstone for one day. We packed a picnic lunch each day and spent the day hiking....most days 6-8 miles. Our most exciting hike of all was 10 miles. At night we just hung out at the condo--reading, talking, playing cards, and resting. 

It was a fantastic trip! Jimmy took hundreds of pictures, and I have narrowed them down to about 60 to share.

First of all, it was cold!  May in Mississippi is pretty warm, and my children have been swimming since April. In Wyoming, the temperatures dropped below freezing some nights, and there was still snow in some places. 

 Big Sam, Leah, Julie, Olivia, Me, Sam, and Clay

 Big Sam, Little Sam, and Clay
Throughout this trip, if there was a rock, the kids would climb on it.  No exceptions.  No matter how tall the rock was.

 There are very few pictures with Jimmy in them because he is our family photographer!

 Sam will climb on pretty much anything.

The snow we saw and played in was deeper than any snow our family has ever seen.

All 8 of us!

 Climbing a rock...

 Jumping off a rock.....

 Posing on a rock.....


 Resting on a rock....
I'm guessing this was not a tall rock since I am on it too!

 The scenery was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.  We were in awe of God's marvelous creation every single day.  The pictures cannot capture the beauty!

 Leah and Sam playing in the snow.
There were quite a few snowballs thrown on this trip!

 Another rock climbing....

 I'm just pausing to take it all in....plus I am probably pausing to catch my breath!  The high altitude did affect me.

More risky behavior.
This whole trip was one big risk-taking adventure!

 On this day we visited Yellowstone.
Our family (which at the time included only Olivia, Julie, and Clay) visited Yellowstone once before--14 years ago.

 Sweet Sisters!

 Big Sam sliding down the hill.



 And Sam---head first, of course!

 Old Faithful!

Outside the Old Faithful Inn

 Julie and Sam

This rock was difficult to climb, so Jimmy gave Clay some assistance.

 Only Clay and Big Sam made it to the top of this one.
You can tell how big it is in relation to our car.

 Our family.
My kids are growing up!  Right now they are 21, 18, 17, 12, and 10. 

 The waterfall and canyon below were so beautiful!

 More snow

The following pictures somewhat document the most exciting/scary/near death experience day of all!
Since the snow is just now melting in Wyoming, some of the hiking paths were not completely clear.  Nothing was posted as "closed", so we just picked our hike for the day (called Death Canyon Patrol Cabin) and forged on.  As we began, I wondered out loud why the trail was called Death Canyon?  I was soon to find out.  We almost died by falling in a canyon more than once!  (Not really, but it was super, super scary!)

 Leah and Sam (on a small rock).
The trail started out harmless enough.  We covered many switchbacks down, down, down, to the lake overlook.

 It was so beautiful!

Then we got to the part of the trail that was blocked by snow.  I though we would turn back.  But no!  I was with the adventuresome family that wanted to keep on going. I think they wanted to get to the top of the mountain!  I couldn't very well stay behind and get eaten by a bear, so I bravely (or not so bravely) followed them.  I did text Lynn and Leanna several times with updates......

So here is Jimmy, making the path across the snow-covered raging river safe for us to cross.

 That is a hole in the snow where you could see the water rushing underneath.

 We made it across, and the kids found this neat tree to climb on.

 Wow!  What a view!
How much farther to Death Canyon?

Crossing more slippery snow

Just crossing another obstacle on the trail.

 We are crazy!

 Another rock picture.....

 And everyone else had to climb up there too.

Destination:  The Death Canyon Patrol Cabin.

And now.....we had to go back the way we came!

 Headed back.....

 Playing in the snow

 This is how I felt for most of this hike!
Really? I'm climbing a mountain?

 Here is Jimmy after he slipped and fell on some rocks.
But he did not drop the camera!

 Posing for more pictures on the way down.

 Julie and Big Sam

 It's still precarious.

Wait.  Another rock.

And finally, 10 miles later, we were back at our car.  All in one piece!

On our last day we did one last (short) hike.  The weather was iffy that day--rain was looming, and we did not want to be caught up high on a mountain in a storm. So we chose a short hike.  Up to a peak to eat our picnic lunch, and then back down. Nothing like the excitement of the previous day......

 Headed up the trail

 At the top.
We ate our lunch, and started back down.  Big Sam was in the lead, and after a few minutes he calmly said, "Bear.  There's a mama bear and two cubs!"
I panicked!
 See the bear in the tree?

 Of course Jimmy got close enough to take pictures.
I was far, far away!

 Now the bears are coming down the path---toward us! Jimmy was hollering at the bears, and he and Big Sam both had a can of bear spray (to use to stun the bears if they got too close).
The rest of us just kept backing away....

And then finally, the bears veered off the trail and headed down the mountainside, away from us.

All safe!

Another fun Johnson Family Vacation.