The Things That Bring Us Joy

I don’t like cleaning.  I hate cleaning.  I know that’s not a very original or interesting thing to dislike, but don’t worry – that’s not what this post is about.  I just wanted to get that out there, so that you don’t get the wrong idea when you read the rest of what I’m going to say here.  Kate hates cleaning.

So now I’m a stay-at-home mom.  A bona fide housewife.  And it turns out I really, really like that job.  I’m honestly totally happy and satisfied doing it, at least right now.  But it sure does involve a lot of cleaning.  And remember what we talked about?  Kate hates cleaning.

But I’m a big fan of being where you are and making the most of what you’ve got.  And of doing the heck out of whatever it is you’re doing, whether it’s your favorite thing to do or not.  I have a hand-painted, flower-shaped, wooden plaque hanging on the wall upstairs that says “Bloom where you are planted.”  I love that saying.  You often can’t choose your circumstances, but you can almost always choose what you do with them.  Anyway, my point is that if I’m going to spend as much of my time cleaning as this job apparently entails, I better make it mine somehow, so that I can do it like I mean it and not hate getting up in the morning.

Do you know what I like?  1. Making potions.  2. And good smells.  3. Decorating things.  4. And meadows.

One thing that’s making cleaning more fun for me right now is cleaning with potions.  They’re not really potions, but I call them that.  Actually, if a potion is a liquid concoction with the power to change something… maybe they are really potions.  But anyway, I call them potions, and that’s that.  But another name for them would be cleaning products.  And the fun part is making them myself!  (It’s not a potion if I buy it in the store and wipe my counters with it.  Then it’s Mrs. Meyers.)  Now, it’s kind of funny that I would enjoy making my own cleaning products, since it sort of seems like that’s just combining cleaning and cooking.  I don’t like cooking, and you know how I feel about cleaning.  But it’s SO fun!  I’m only just getting into it, but I’m already obsessed.  I want to make potions all day and then clean stuff with them.

What my kitchen counter looks like when I'm mixing up potions

One thing I make is cloth wipe solution.  This is what I use, as you might guess, with cloth wipes to wipe a baby’s butt.  I got the first recipe I tried from my good friend, Jeanna.  (Thanks, Jeanna!)  And then I’ve gotten other recipes and ideas for modifications from the internet, like from here:    It’s a fun kind of project, because it’s pretty hard to mess up.  Every time I make it, I try something a little different, and it’s always fine!  It always smells good, and it’s never once burned holes in the wipes or made red blisters appear on the baby.  Success!

The most recent potion I’ve learned how to make is laundry detergent, inspired and instructed by Anne, another good friend of mine who made an appearance here in our Thanksgiving post.  She gave me some pointers and sent me here for the recipe:  (Anne and I used #3.)  With this one, I didn’t dare modify the recipe, because it seemed like there was some more chemistry involved, and I don’t know anything about that.  And luckily, the recipe was short enough that I could get through reading it without getting bored and inserting my own steps or ingredients, like I do.  That’s why I should never bake – my short attention span and ill-timed creativity when reading recipes make for some nasty baked goods.  But anyway, this recipe I could do.  And I did it!  And it was fun, even though it turns out grating bar soap isn’t as fun as it sounds.  I made laundry detergent and it worked!  It didn’t even turn our clothes yellow or flood the laundry room floor with foamy bubbles!

The finished product, ready to wash some clothes

I added lavender and tea tree essential oils to my detergent, because as I mentioned above, I love good smells.  I think they’re overpowered in the detergent by the smell of the bar soap I used (Fels Naptha), but that’s okay, because that smells good too!

I also said I like decorating things, and that’s another way I discovered that I could make this cleaning stuff my own.  I was thinking about it this morning and about how much laundry I do (a lot), and I decided that if I’m going to spend that much time in the laundry room, I should like being in there.  So today I decorated it!  I basically just found a bunch of stuff I wanted to look at, and I stuck it to the walls. But I love it!

Eila helped me decorate.

Okay, she mostly just lay there in her moses basket.

How Eila really felt about helping me decorate

Wait, why are all these people in my laundry room?

They're crazy.

Now I want to do laundry all day long!

Well, those are some of the ways I’m making my daily life more fun.  And I’m even saving money and cutting back on waste in the process!  And I have the prettiest laundry room ever.  And a pretty laundry room is like a meadow.  There, I had to tie thing-I-like-number-4 in somehow.

So do I like cleaning now?  Well, no.  Why do you think I spent all morning taping stuff to the laundry room wall?  I was putting off cleaning the kitchen.