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Category Archives: Homemaking

Dear Me: I Think It’s Time You Clean Your House (an open letter to myself)


Dear me,

So…yea. Let’s talk about your kitchen.

Yes, I know, it’s summer and the blue skies and pool water are calling your name. I get it. I do. Your kids are able to swim on their own and you can actually lounge in the pool chair and read a book. Several, in fact. Lovely.

However, back to the kitchen. You do realize you haven’t cleaned it, really cleaned it, since summer began? I mean, honey, that’s just nasty. And because I care about you and saving your face, we won’t even talk about the showering situation. But for real, you need an intervention. Enough with the plastic cups and paper plates. Wash your stinking dishes! K? K.

The kids rooms. We both know they are old enough to clean them. You have taught them, and they have been fairly steady with the cleaning regimen during the school year. WHAT HAS HAPPENED?! Why do you not make them clean consistently in the summer? Are you just giving up? Don’t do that. Remember what you always say, KEEP ON.

Your bedroom. FOR THE LOVE. We can’t. Let’s just not even go there. When you have to tell your children not to step on something as they climb in bed with you in the mornings, yea, Sarah, that’s bad.

Here’s what I’m really trying to say: TAKE A DAY OFF FROM THE POOL AND GET YOUR HOUSE TOGETHER. Seriously. You have a book coming out in April on cleaning. Your in-laws are totally right when they say you are profiting off your disability. I know, I hear you, you speak in solidarity of those who aren’t awesome at cleaning. But I mean, come on. You resorted to wearing your husbands T-shirt to the 4th of July pool sleepover because YOU HAD NO CLEAN LAUNDRY.

It’s time, friend. It’s time to step away from the pool. And the reading of great books. It’s time to make dinner and not get another pizza for takeout.

I love you, I do. I’m telling you all these things because I care. And your husband needs his T-shirts (stop wearing them!).

Also, go shower.

Love, the sane side of yourself

P.S. Longing for Paris is still only $8 on Amazon!! Get it HERE!

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A True Joy of Motherhood: When Your Children Can Clean the WHOLE Kitchen by Themselves!


My girl, being a good sport for me! Always the ham!

Well, the most glorious thing has happened in my house.

My 9 year old can clean the WHOLE ENTIRE kitchen by herself. The pots and pans, the dishes washed and put into the dishwasher, the counters, the floor, and I am ALL KINDS OF HAPPY DANCING. For some of you this is no big deal, your kids have been cleaning since they are they were born. Practically. But not my kids!

Let me back up a minute.

I was on the phone with my sister-in-law interviewing her for Having a Martha House the Mary Way, (she’s rocks at cleaning) and she told me that her kids clean the kitchen every night after dinner. Her kids are 8 and 6. 8 AND 6!

I have clearly been slacking. My kids unload the dishwasher and set the table. Dude.

So I asked her to tell me more, and she said that her 8 year old son does it all, dishes, pots, pans, counters, BADA-BING-BADA-BOOM. And I was all, “REEEALLY?!” Her 6 year old loads the dishwasher, and she has 15 minutes to do it or she has to do the dishes for her brother the next night. THAT’S some motivation.

Now listen, my sister-in-law is lovely and kind and gentle and is a great mom. She is teaching her children to take care of a home, and she’s knocking it out of the park. Which is why I interviewed her. Which is why I’m going to do everything she tells me to do.

Which brings me back to my kitchen and my 9 year old.

I said to my girl, “Honey, it’s time you learn to clean the kitchen. You are old enough, and I need your help because we are a family and we help each other. Okay?”

She looked at me suspiciously. I could see the challenge in her eyes. But I was going to do this; I was going to teach her to clean the kitchen, top to bottom. And boy did she have her work cut out for her! I made her learn on a Monday, after the weekend, after dishes were everywhere.


Sponge fun, thanks to the awesome folks at ePantry and their new pop-up sponges!

I showed her how to wash off the dishes before putting in the dishwasher. As she did that, I decided to make her a pretty little chart with steps to cleaning the kitchen. When I was finished, I, smile on my face, showed her the chart. She looked at it, grabbed a pen, and PROCEEDED TO PUT SAD FACES ALL OVER IT. Oh, ya’ll, I was not having that.

I told her that in addition to cleaning the kitchen, she was now going to have to make the chart all over again, and she had to copy it just as I had made it.

She did it. And when she was done, there were SMILEY FACES all over it. Mom wins.


Back to the kitchen…

I taught her how to do the rest, and she washed and scrubbed and swept, and I as SO proud of her. She had mentioned a few times that making her clean the kitchen would be an excellent punishment. We had a talk about attitude. But here is the best part: when she was finished, I watched her as she walked out of the kitchen, turned around, looked over worked, and SMILED. I could see accomplishment in her eyes. She felt good about her work.

The next time she cleaned the kitchen, she did it without fuss.

This is a glorious new beginning. I mean, truly, I think there are angels singing somewhere on behalf of all moms. HOPE has sprung!

Next I will be teaching my son and youngest to clean the kitchen, because what I know now is that my kids are capable of doing more than I have given them credit for. Also, I just needed to ante up and do the work of teaching them. Because you know what, it’s worth it.

Not only do I know have legitimate help cleaning, but they are learning valuable skills and their characters are being refined. So good.

But mostly, I DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL BY MYSELF!!!!!! WOO HOO!!! Okay, my husband helps. Actually, he’s amazing. But now we also have the kiddos helping, and that just rocks.

Here are some encouraging words in getting our kids to clean from my sister-in-law Sarah, AKA, cleaning ninja:

“As much as I can, I allot to each child according to his/her age and ability, a task.  I work with them and teach them the first one or two times on the “how to’s” and then they are required to help out when asked, needed or scheduled.  The old “many hands make light work” couldn’t be truer. When a job has been well done, I verbally or sometimes monetarily praise the child. If the child inquires is the job “well done”, I often ask them if they did their best and if they would be pleased with the outcome if Jesus were to see it.  I don’t want the effort made to be for me, but for the LORD. I believe having a clean home creates a sense of calm in the home, although keeping it clean can feel meaningless, redundant, and constant. However, if we view our work as serving others and by doing so, loving them, it changes our heart attitudes. When we serve those in our home by taking care of it we become more Christlike. Jesus Himself, came to serve us, we can do the same.

I fail so many times. Our God is not a condemning God, but a gracious one, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness! Ultimately, all our efforts in this life are to glorify Him.”

There you have it! Go forth and clean NOT ALONE!

Keep on!


This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

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For All You Non-Cleaning Types Out There: 5 Tips That Will Help You in Your Cleaning Efforts

bathroomreadyI am cleaner. Hear me ROAR!

Just kidding. I’m totally just psyching myself up to wash the toilet. Ew.

So here’s the thing, I’m not a cleaner.

While I believe in working hard and teaching my children how to take care of a home, if I could afford some help, I’d get it in a hot second. I have no problem with someone helping me take care of my home, and if and when I ever do have someone help me, it doesn’t mean I won’t clean or won’t have my children clean. They will because they must learn and I will because that’s life.

All to say, for those of us who don’t have a cleaning lady, and those of us with a particular visionary bent who would rather do anything else {ahem} we need some tips to keep us motivated. Today, I humbly offer some of the ways I have found help in cleaning.

5 Tips to Help You in Your Cleaning Efforts

Get Your Kids to Help

For real! When my kiddos were babies, I was on my own. Granted, there was less mess, but there was still mess. And diapers. And exhaustion. But now, NOW, I have three little helpers and it is wonderful! I cannot stress enough the glory in having your children help, besides the fact that it’s good for them to learn how to work, it is actually a help. Yes, you will have to train them and there might be some huffing and hawing, but eventually it will get better. I find that when we work together, things get done quickly and we are all happier. I’m always saying to my kids, “We are a team!” and the classic, “Many hands make light work!” I will overhear my kids saying that phrase sometimes and it makes me smile.

Keep on and your kids will be a delight and a help to you!


Good Enough is Good Enough

I am a recovering perfectionist.

My brand of perfectionist looked like this: Oh, I can’t get it all cleaned perfectly because I don’t have time so I just won’t do it all. Makes sense, right? NO! Of course it doesn’t! It’s better to do something than nothing! And honestly, I’m learning, that sometimes good enough is good enough. Maybe I didn’t wash my windows, but I cleaned up my living room. Maybe I didn’t dust the floor boards, but I swept up. Life just keeps on moving and sometimes we have to be willing to let go of the details in order keep on. It’s okay. When you have that magical day that affords you ALL THE TIME, go on and dust those floor boards. Or maybe you’ll be able to hire someone to do that kind of detail work. But in the meantime, get what you need to get done and move on to enjoying your life!

Love Yo Self

You are beautiful and glorious and colorful just the way you are! So what if you don’t clean well and you’re not detailed! You are made in the image of God and you have the capacity to do great things for His Kingdom, which yes, most often times involves hidden things, like cleaning. But your identity should never be in what you do or don’t do. Love yourself because God weaved you together and He loves you. You are not more holy because you clean well, and you are not less holy if you don’t. Yea, cleaning is part of life and it’s a way to love others, but it has nothing to do with your identity. So crank the music up and dance yourself silly and get it done, but don’t ever think for one second that you are a worse person or wife or mother because you don’t rock at cleaning. Okay? K.

Use a Subscription Service (Best Decision Ever)

Oh my goodness, having something delivered to my door is THE BEST. I don’t have to think about it, and in the long run it saves me money. I use ePantry and it’s WONDERFUL. Because ePantry is a subscription service, and it “pays attention” to what my family needs when, I don’t have to think about it! It knows when we need paper towels or toilet cleaner or dishwasher detergent. IT KNOWS. And so when we are just about out, we will get a box on our door step! How awesome is that?! But no worries, because just in case they got something wrong, they send an email 7 days before the goods ship so you can quick check to make sure all is well. LOVE IT.

I’m sure there are some wonderful subscription services out there, but I am liking ePantry because the products are ones I used before I found them. Method and Mrs. Myers products in particular.

You must check them out! Head HERE to read more of why I think they rock (including how YOU can get FREE cleaning supplies, potentially, for life). Also, if you decide to give them a go, you will get $10 in credit and a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap! WOOT!

Bit by Bit (Slow it down, sister!)

Sometimes you’ve just got to put on a good podcast or some music and go slow.

Scrub the toilet slowly.

Take your time on the kitchen floor.

Go through your bookshelf, dusting, and carefully placing your babies, I mean books, back on the shelf with love.

There can be a lovely rhythm to cleaning if we allow it. Sometimes the rush is good and fun and practical, but sometimes the slow is just what the soul needs.

Well, there you have it friends, what I have found helpful in getting me to clean.

I’d love to hear your tips! Give it to me!

Until next time…

Love, SM

RELATED: The Great Book Purge of 2015! (I Marie Kondo’d my bookshelves!!!)

Want to get your clean on with me? Go through all the challenge right here on my blog or Pre-order the revised version of 31 Days to Clean, now called Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, by clicking HERE!


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31 Days to Clean, Day 1: Begin the Kitchen!


Don’t judge!

I know. I KNOW. It’s bad. But hello, that’s why I’m doing 31 Days to Clean!


Today is “Begin the Kitchen” day!

Let’s Do This!

Here’s what I’m doing, join in if you’d like!

First up, put in a load of laundry.

After the laundry is started, begin cleaning the kitchen. Focus on the basics:

  • Do the dishes (HOLLA if you have a dishwasher and praise the Lord for it)
  • Also the pans (yes, even the greasy piled up ones you haven’t wanted to touch)
  • Wash out the sink (If you have bleach, plug your sink and fill it with bleach and water and let sit for about a 1⁄2 hour.)
  • Gather all the paperwork and stuff on your counters and put it in a bin or a bag and set it aside, you’ll deal with this on another day!
  • Wipe down the counters.
  • Eat a cookie.

We’ll work more on the kitchen tomorrow!

After pics to come and my “Why” for cleaning will be up later today (I’ll update this post). Stay tuned! OH, and if you want to have your ePantry cleaning products to you by the end of the week, ORDER TODAY!

After Pics!


It’s on.


Clean, clean, it’s CLEAN!!!!



Because my kitchen was clean, I felt freed up to cook! Pork butt. YUM.


Are you drooling? It smells SO good in my house right now.

Ahhhh! And then, I had a brownie. :)


The Online Friends Who Clean Together, Stay Together

Or something like that.

If you want to join the challenge using your social media channels, use the hashtag #31DaysToClean. I’ll be posting updates on my Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter account! Also, if you are blogging through the challenge, feel free to leave the direct link to your blog post in the comments!

Love, SM

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FREE ePantry Cleaning Products for You Plus a $130 Cleaning Supplies GIVEAWAY! UPDATED with Winners!

UPDATE! This giveaway is now over and the winners are listed below!

You know what’s great? Not having to think about buying cleaning supplies.

This always happens to me: I will go to run the dishwasher or dust my table (yes, I actually dust), or clean something, and I’m out of what I need. I just don’t pay attention to details, you know, like seeing when something is low. Maybe I subconsciously ignore it. I don’t know, but here’s the thing, I still need to clean, which means I still need cleaning products. Now, this might come as a shock to you (it’s coming as one for me), but today I am actually a bit giddy about cleaning supplies.

Yes I am! And I’ll tell you why!

I have had the pleasure of working with ePantry, an online store where you can get all of the best (and environmentally safe) cleaning products for less than what you would pay at the grocery store. In fact, according to ePantry, shoppers are saving 26% compared to what they were spending at their grocery store. And here’s the best part: you get the products every 60 days (or whenever you need them). This is brilliant for those of us who like to save money and not have to worry about running out of cleaning supplies.


And we’re talking about the good brands. You know, Like Method. I swoon for method. Especially the almond scent. LOVE.


ePantry offers products from Method, Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation and more!

How Does ePantry Work?

It’s simple and quick. You create an account and then, based on your answers to a few questions, pick the brands you like, and ePantry will help you figure out what and how much of a product you need. No worries if you don’t like their suggestions, you can make changes. It takes about 5 minutes.

There are no lock-ins, fees or anything else. You can cancel, change products or anything else you want at anytime!

Once you’re set up, you’re good to go!

photo (27)

Who doesn’t love getting packages in the mail?!

Good Stuff For YOU Dear Readers!

The AMAZING and generous folks at ePantry have some special goodies for you all to help prepare you for getting your home clean and in order during the 31 Days to Clean challenge! For EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU who wants to give ePantry a try by spending $20 (worth it) you get $10 in ePantry credit AND a FREE Method Squirt & Mop Wood Floor Cleaner in my favorite scent, Almond!

UPDATE! The freebie now is the Method Wood Surface Cleaner!


For you, for free when you try ePantry!

This is an exclusive deal for my readers, so you have to give them a try using this link (or any of the links in this post). Now listen, you know you want to get stocked up before we begin, so you might as well save some money and use ePantry. Also, since they are giving you all this deal because of 31 Days to Clean, they are also giving you FREE shipping.

To Recap:

  1. Get yourself an account stat.
  2. Get the supplies you need so you can join me here for the 31 Days to Clean challenge.
  3. Get $10 in credit and your free Method cleaner. WOOT! The deal will show up automatically in your cart.

Just to help you out, my friends at ePantry also created an ideal basket for you, if you want to try it. It’s $25:

The ideal basket includes:

  • FREE Method Wood Floor Cleaner
  • Bathroom Cleaner
  • Hand Soap
  • Daily Shower Spray
  • Dish Soap
  • Bathroom Tissue
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • and a Pure Soy Candle (just for fun)

To get this basket, just click HERE! The work is done for you! Easy peasy!


I have TWO fully loaded ideal cleaning baskets to giveaway today, worth $130 each! That’s right, TWO OF YOU WILL WIN this cleaning supply basket!





The fully loaded cleaning basket includes:

  • Scrub Sponges
  • Bathroom Cleaner
  • Dishwasher Tablets
  • Trash Bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Hand Soap (2)
  • Toilet Cleaner
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Stain Remover
  • Dish Soap
  • Shower Spray
  • Fabric Softener
  • Bathroom Tissue
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Wood Floor Cleaner (FREE)
  • and a Pure Soy Candle (just for fun)

This is a 48 hour giveaway, which means it ends at 4pm EST Wednesday (January 21st). It is a quick giveaway because we need to get cleaning and have no time to waste! But seriously, you should still get an account and get some supplies just in case…like I said, you’ll have them by the end of the week if you get them today!

Also, how much does ePantry rock? I am so thankful for how they have partnered with us to help us clean!

To Enter the Giveaway

CONGRATS to Jessica Boniface and Kara Jo Garis!!!! You WON!!!!!! :)

I will be emailing you soon! 

Fill out the form below! Good “luck”! I will SEE YOU TOMORROW! Oh, and if you haven’t picked up your copy of the REVISED 31 Days to Clean, GET ON IT! It’s only .99 cents, but for 7 days only!

Love, your cleaning-buddy, Sarah Mae

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