How to Clean Your Oven in 20 minutes without Chemicals!

Is it just me or has the been the SLOWEST week, ever?! 

While the rain hasn't been great for my motivation I did manage to do the dreaded task of cleaning out my oven yesterday. I know. SUPPPPPPER EXCITING! (I mean that in the most sarcastic way, ever.) but it had to be done. And sadly, I wasn't getting any offers from any one else in the house to do it. Which basically leaves me. All alone. To clean my oven. I admit I cried a little. 

In all seriousness though, this time of year I don't actually MIND cleaning. When Spring comes, I like everything to feel fresh & new. I love cleaning out all the forgotten about places and things. Like trash cans, and baseboards. I mean, who actually LIKES to clean baseboards? NOT ME. But I do feel much better once that dreaded task is completed. 

If you've been following along for a bit then you know I sort of like to find chemical free and more natural ways of cleaning my home whenever I can. I'm really weird about that sort of thing. When I was growing up, my Mom cleaned houses for a living, and she was always looking for more cost effective and natural ways of doing things, even back then. I learned a lot of tips and tricks from her that I have carried with me into adult hood. 

But I know you guys aren't here for a back story. You're here because you want to know how to clean out your dang oven, without worrying about inhaling toxic fumes, right? RIGHT. Okay, so let's hop to it. (ha! hop! because Easter is coming..omg I'm such a nerd.)


Ya'll this is serious though- check this out..
Honestly, the pictures make it look a lot cleaner than what it really is.

You'll only need a few things that you probably already have handy:

2 tbs baking soda
1 cup vinegar 
1 cup hot water
an empty spray bottle or glass bottle (I use these.)
and some orange essential oil 

Step 1: 
Put on some good music and turn it up REALLY loud. For some reason, Drake always puts me in the mood to clean. Who knew? #onedance #godsplan #themotto

Next, Start by emptying out your oven. If there is lots of caked up food or crumbs in the bottom, like there was in mine (hey, I really don't like cleaning my oven, okay?!) then go ahead and vacuum all that out.

Step 2:
Next we're going to mix up our cleaner, I love this as my de-greaser! I keep a bottle on hand for situations like this one, I also like to clean out my fridge with this. Because that can be pretty scary sometimes too. It's super easy to make! Just mix up one cup of water, one cup of vinegar & add 20-30 drops of Orange essential oils. I use these.

Shake that up real good and make sure it's all mixed together. 

Step 3: 
Apply the mixture that we just mixed up (that's a bit redundant.) all over your oven, especially paying attention to areas that need a bit more attention. If you're oven is REALLY dirty, I love this Method Heavy Degreaser on top of this vinegar/orange oil essential mixture we just made. 

Step 4: 

Immediately after applying the orange mixture, apply baking soda all over the oven, it will start to bubble and foam. It's working! So you don't have to! YAY!!! 

Step 5: 
Let this sit for awhile, at least 20 minutes, but overnight if you can. 

While this is going- you could clean your sink or cooktop. I love to multi-task!

Step 6:
It's not as clean as it should be but I couldn't let this sit overnight and it was time to go get Nick from school so I had to get this DONE! 

Use some good ole' elbow grease and wipe clean with a damp sponge, you can also use an SOS pad if it's really messy. I had to do that in this case. SOS pads are life.

STEP 6: 
ALL DONE!!! YAY!! A CLEAN OVEN!!! 

Pat yourself on the back because for sure nobody is going to do it for you, also, you should probably know that nobody is going to notice the oven is clean except you. Not that I know from experience or anything. But that's okay, because at least WE know. 

Next week I'll show you how to clean the glass on your oven, It's a pretty big task so yes, it deserves it's on post, on a different day. Let's not get crazy, ummmk?

Who else is doing all the spring cleaning this month/week? I'm actually having fun sharing these cleaning tips with you guys! Thanks so much for always cheering me on and having my back! 

If you watched my stories yesterday, here are the links to everything asked about that I shared! 




Tried this method? Drop a comment below letting me know how it worked for you! Your feedback keeps me troubleshooting to figure out what works and what doesn't! 
Thank YOU!



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How to SAVE & Plan for a tropical getaway!

{disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. thank you so much for making this little blog of mine possible! I couldn't do it without you!} 

Hey babes! I wanted to write up this post while Jamaica is still fresh in my mind. We've been to Jamaica 5 times and it never disappoints, there's something special about Jamaica, it's people and the lush and beautiful tropical island vibes. You can read more about our travels to Jamaica here in this post



One of the things I got asked the most during our recent visit was How do we budget & plan to travel so much, so often. I personally don't feel like we travel that much, not as much as I would like to honestly, and Nick is actually terrified to fly so I'm slowly getting him worked up to venturing to Greece and Italy one day soon. It's on the books for our 10 year anniversary after we take Little Nick to Canada as his graduation gift. (Yes Canada of all places is where he wants to go!) Mind you the kid has been to every tropical destination imaginable except Hawaii. 

Let me preface by saying our goal as young teen parents was always to work as hard as we could in our late teens, early 20's, so that when we hit 30, we'd be able to start traveling and seeing the world. I didn't get to travel as a kid but I had always dreamed about tropical destinations and dreamy cities full of history. Like every goal we set for ourselves, we knew we had to have a plan to make this a reality for us. I'm not saying these "Tips" that I have for traveling and planning your own trips are universal and will work for everyone. I know money is tight for a lot of families, I know what it's like to struggle to put food on the table every week and I know what it's like to have "just enough" to get by. But as a young teen parent growing up I knew I wanted more for myself. Nothing crazy, or extravagant, but just a simple life where we didn't have to struggle about paying electric bills and buying food, like I did so much of as a child. I wanted my kids to worry about being kids instead of dealing with adult stresses and struggles.



Okay so, enough rambling as Nick always says I do way too much, I can't help it, I'm a rambler! I'm going to keep this short & simple. Well, simple for me anyway. 



First off we stayed at the Sandals resort in Negril, Jamacia we alternate usually between Negril and Montego Bay but Sandals has several gorgeous resorts located in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. 



We've been to several other all inclusive resorts and several islands scattered throughout the Caribbean and for us, nothing compares to Sandals. All of their resorts are beautiful and for the most part small and compact. Despite that, they never feel "crowded", I seriously don't think we've waited in a line for anything, ever on any of our Sandals trips. Nothing compares to the service for us. From the time you land in Jamaica until the time you land back home, it's truly, no worries mon'. It's a very special experience that nothing has ever compared to for us. 


Tip #1- HOW TO SAVE FOR YOUR VACATION-
So you can be sippin' a red stripe on the beach mon'

I always book my trips myself, and usually direct through the resort website. Often you'll get an "internet" discount that you can't get by calling and booking. Sometimes when booking 7 or more nights, you'll get resort credits that can be used at the spa, or free tours like a catamaran cruise. We always book our vacations at least 6 months to 1 year in advance. So, for instance, I'm paying on a trip now for next March, and our trips for THIS YEAR are paid for already. Sandals requires you to put a $400 deposit on most bookings, however, sometimes, like RIGHT NOW, they're running a special and you can book your vacation for just $49 per person. This is great because it allows you to secure your trip but also, determine a "payment" plan of sorts for yourself. I divide up the cost of the trip into the remaining months I have to pay on it. So for instance, if I know I have to have a trip paid off by February 2019, that cost $3,500 I know that I need to put back $292 a month to have the trip paid for in time. I pay this payment like a bill each month. I make it a priority for us because IT IS a priority for US. I know every family is different. Even if we're having a month where money is super tight, I figure out how I can cut corners and save some money to get that "bill" paid each month. If it means no Starbucks, clipping coupons to save at the grocery store, I do it. Making your "Travel" a priority, will force you to treat it as such. 



Tip #2- FIGURE OUT YOUR BUDGET & FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR VACATION
Set a realistic budget for yourself, honestly, at all of the Sandals resorts we've been too, I didn't notice any "bad rooms" most of the Sandals resorts, like Negril where we stayed most of the resorts have been completely refurbished and updated. Also, since the resort itself its fairly small and compact, you'll always have a nice view, not always of the Ocean, but the grounds are beautifully landscaped and extra "tropical" We've been in the best rooms at the resort before and also at the lowest one, and while they are obviously different, they were both really fabulous. I set up a budget for our trips by figuring out what I want to gain from my vacation, If I know I'm planning a more laid back vacation, relaxing, I'll book a higher category room for less nights, because I'm a room person, I spend more time in my room, and on my balcony then most people do, so I know that I'd appreciate a nicer room, and sometimes we can only afford the nicer room and not more nights. If I'm going to have fun and go out and enjoy all of the entertainment and games the resort offers, a basic ocean view room will do me just fine. Most of those times, I'm able to afford an extra night or two because of the room cost.



Tip #3- BOOK ALL INCLUSIVE- 
BUT especially if it's your first time traveling. We love the all inclusive experience because we don't stress about money while we're vacationing. The restaurants are top notch and there is always a nice blend of foods, Negril for instance has a basic beach bistro that serves chili dogs, and cheeseburgers, and also a yummy pizza place that makes fresh pizza. Our favorite at Sandals Negril is Kimono's which is a Japanese steakhouse, we love it because the food is so good but you can't beat the fun experience! It's also nice to be able to just walk up to the bar and order whatever you want. (They will literally make you whatever you want!) Plus most rooms include a mini-bar and fully stocked fridge with sodas and waters. Sandals is super nice because all of the water sports are included at no extra cost- like kayaking, sailing and snorkeling. 



Tip #4- BUY AIRFARE ON YOUR OWN-

We always fly Southwest. Just because we like to earn points and because Nick is comfortable flying with them, Southwest isn't always the cheapest though. Do your research. Use a website like {kayak.com} to help you find the best flights at the best prices. In my experience, airfare is the absolute cheapest on the 3rd Tuesday of the month and primarily 60 days out from your trip. Remember if you do book via Southwest, you'll be reimbursed for any price decreases in your airfare. I've seen airfare fluctuate so this is a really great way to possibly save some money after booking your trip. 



Tip #5- BOOK IN ADVANCE-

As I mentioned before, I plan most of our trips at least a year in advance. Why? Well, number 1 it gives me time to save more money. and number 2, you'll lock in this years rates before a possible price increase. Booking in advance allows me to get almost everything at a discounted rate- airfare is usually cheap 180 days out from your travel date and then reaches its bottom out price 60 days prior, however if the flight is in high demand they could potentially increase the flight. I know, so stupid. Also, booking in advance and getting your room requests in EARLY will allow you to most likely get the exact room you've been wanting. 



Tip #6- JUST DO IT-
Okay ya'll- get your mind out of the gutter. ;) I mean, JUST PLAN IT. I was seriously so nervous about traveling 5 years ago, we had been to Florida but that was pretty much the extent of it. I was scared about going to another country, scared about leaving my babies, and just overall super anxious about my trip. I had never left Savanna overnight before and she was just a year old at the time. We booked 3 years in a row before I finally said- OKAY. LET'S JUST GO. and I haven't looked back since. After that first trip, I realized more than ever that I needed that time with my husband. I needed that time WITH MYSELF. I have been a Mom for almost 15 beautiful years and I absolutely love it and there is nothing I would change but you guys, us Mom's work hard. And we're so mentally exhausted all the time, it's so nice to get away and just BE YOU, for a few days. It keeps us learning, and keeps us fresh. These days, I don't worry so much about the details or the money, I find that booking it forces you to figure out ways to MAKE IT WORK. I'm warning you though, once you catch the travel bug and fall in love with new people and places, it's really hard to ground yourself again, and you'll be counting down the days until you return to paradise.

Want even more information about booking your own trip to paradise?  CLICK HERE! Currently Sandals is offering the following discounts-

Up to $1,000 booking credit 
One FREE night in select room catagorie's
Up to 65% off rack rates at select resorts
PLUS $100 resort photo shop credit at select resorts


Book online and get an extra $25 off.

You can also book at Beaches which is Sandals FAMILY resort by clicking here..


Shew! I know, so much information to take in, I am not a travel agent by the way. I just speak from experience! Send me a message or leave a comment below if you have a question that wasn't answered in my post! Can't wait to hear from you guys!!



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5 ways to Decorate with Faux Florals {and where to buy them!}

Hey my beautiful people! Have I mentioned how Thankful I am for ya'll? LIKE. REALLY SUPER THANKFUL. You know what they say about finding your tribe? Yep. Totally found mine. So thank you! 

Okay. Thanks for letting me say that and get it off my chest. Now that I put that out there, Can we just talk Spring for a minute? 

I mean, YOU GUYS KNOW HOW EXCITED I AM IT'S FINALLY MARCH.

Sorry I'm screaming.

Also, I'm just going to go ahead and apologize for my excessive use of !!!!!!!! exclamation points, also. You know me, I just get really excited about things. 

Like Spring, and the fact that it's finally March. Which doesn't actually mean a whole lot here on the Northeast, It's still pretty chilly and it's not completely uncommon for us to get snow in March. However, I can say that I've woken up to some birds chirping recently and if that doesn't put a smile on your face, I'm not sure what will. 

I want to chat about something a little taboo today. Okay, so maybe not really. But Faux Flowers. If you would have told me even just 3 years ago I'd be decorating with Faux flowers I probably would have laughed directly in your face. IN YOUR FACE. Because Faux flowers remind me of my grandma, I mean, I love my grandma, but her decorating skills? MEH. (if you're reading this Gramma, I'm sorry. I still want that old rocking chair you have though..) 

But back to my point, Faux Flowers have really come a long way. I mean, they don't even really get dusty anymore. And they almost look, well. REAL. So today, I wanted to do a quick round up of some of my favorite Faux Flowers for you guys in hopes that it helps some of ya'll struggling to find the perfect ones. Also, sharing a few ways you can easily decorate with them in your own home to bring in some major Spring Vibes you can enjoy all season long. You know, ones that don't scream in your face, fake? Yep, those are the ones I'm rounding up for you today.

I love Peonies, but I'm lucky if I can keep fresh ones alive for longer then 2 days. Plus, they're pretty expensive. So when I found this gorgeous bundle I knew they'd be perfect for the galvaized wall vases I have! 

So just how can you decorate with faux flowers this season? Easy! I'll share 5 easy ways below to help inspire you!

1. Stuff them in Wall Vases, or Mason Jars.

2. Use them in old buckets or on trays.

These would also be really pretty in dough bowls, wreaths, or even in big ole' chippy rustic buckets like, I did here in our entryway. I also really love lambs ear year round because it's so versatile. You can snag that here!


3. Put them in a cute tote & hang it on your door as a wreath!
{See pic above}

I was able to snag this cute french market tote for a steal here. I plan to hang it up on my door as a wreath, I just haven't gotten around to hanging it up just yet. But seriously, how fresh do these peonies look in this cute basket for Spring?

If tulips are your jam, then you definitely want to grab these tulips. They're soft to the touch and look so real, everyone always asks me "are those real tulips?" Even my gramma was blown away when she touched them! She said they even FELT real. I love these in pretty white vases tucked everywhere for Spring/Summer. So pretty and fresh!

4. Hang a Garland

I snagged this gorgeous peony garland last year from Pier 1 Imports and even though it's a little expensive, it's worth every single penny I paid. I'm obsessed with it. The leaves and flowers are so gorgeous and this garland is so pretty draped over an old mirror, like I did below, as a table centerpiece for Easter, or even hung on an old blanket ladder or old clock. They also have this one in white if you're more into the neutral vibes. 

I basically stuff fake flowers everyone and it instantly makes it feel like Spring to me, I get really crabby this time of year after being cooped up in the house all Winter and I'm always thankful to add lots of color and floral prints into my home! {succulents} are really great too! I love them tucked in lanterns, on trays or in dough bowls. 

5. Use them on trays.

I'm linking up this tray here in case you wanted to snag it!! 

There ya go! 5 easy ways to you can decorate with faux florals in your decor! A lot easier than what you thought, right? Honestly the ideas are endless! 

You can shop all of my favorites for Spring on my Amazon Shop Page! 

So, what's the verdict? Are faux flowers officially a trend you can get behind? Or do you prefer to skip it? Leave a comment below with your thoughts or come say "hey!" over on the gram! I'm always super excited to hear from you guys! 


Happy Friday Eve, friends! 


Shop some of my favorite faux flowers below!




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