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Let me start by saying this. I HATE cleaning. The less the better! But while I hate cleaning so much, I love when my house is clean and organized. In fact, one of my long term goals is to keep the house in good enough condition that I don’t have to apologize when someone drops by unexpectedly. If this seems silly to you, chapeau to you!!

Especially the kitchen has always been one of those extra difficult areas for me. The countertops got cluttered up, the sink was always messy and the cooktop was greasy and absolutely disgusting.

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It took me almost eight years until I finally found this teeny tiny secret for perfectly clean kitchen countertops!

Let’s recap for a second though. When we got married in 2010, I was excited as a peach to be in charge of my own household. I happily cooked and cleaned and did my chores – which lasted for about all of a couple of months until I kinda lost interest in being the cleaning lady ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOL

During this time I fell in love with Windex. I used it for every surface in our tiny apartment, from mirrors to dining table to kitchen countertops. Everything got Windex-ed. Everything but the cat and the rabbit. That tactic seemed like it was a good idea, not only because it smelled clean and fresh, but because it felt like a fast way of cleaning.

About two years ago I started making my own multipurpose cleaning spray with 20 pumps of LOC (Legacy of Clean) into an empty spray bottle and then filled it with water. It worked like a charm, just like Windex, but wouldn’t hurt my hands and didn’t give me itchy rashes.

Using LOC was definitely a better way to clean and I got rid of most other cleaning supplies I had still in my cleaning closet.

My quick and easy way of cleaning up kitchen messes was to spray n’ wipe with a microfiber cloth. For whatever reason though, my gorgeous, brand new IKEA kitchen kept feeling cluttered, dusty and in certain areas just not clean enough!

Enter my tiny secret for perfectly clean kitchen countertops (drumroll) – a simple, wet microfiber cloth! You read that right. Water and a cloth. (Is this girl nuts now? Seriously? THAT’S the secret!? Hang in there and I’ll tell you why this is so genius!)

Using just the wet cloth somehow makes things even more easy. You quickly get all the lost and forgotten spots. You wipe down the ENTIRE area, versus just the spots that look dirty. And best of all, because it’s so simple and fast to wipe down the entire countertops, there’s no reason why I would keep all the clutter around. It encourages me to keep the clutter under control in order to quickly get behind things like cutting boards or appliances – something I rarely did before.

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I couldn’t even believe when I started to wipe down our dirty induction cooktop with just water – no toweling dry – and it came out spiffy clean after the water had dried! It’s really that simple.

About once a week I now feel extra inspired to do a deep clean – which really just consists of de-cluttering and cleaning the complete and entire kitchen and quickly wiping down any drips or splatters on the cabinets, as well as wiping down the kitchen sink with my BFF Barkeepers Friend.

Have you heard of Barkeepers Friend!? It’s this white powder that you shake into the sink (ceramic or metal) and then wipe down with a wet microfiber cloth. If you have a farmhouse sink like we do, you know how pots and pans can create marks and streaks on the ceramic. Barkeepers Friend easily removes those in a gentle way and leaves those sinks crystal clear and looking brand new!

Tiny Secret for Perfectly Clean Kitchen Countertops

This tip and routine may not be earth shattering, but it’s been a huge deal for me in keeping my kitchen nicer and cleaner and it gives me the feeling of being on top of at least one area in the house ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Last year we had gotten finished with whitewashing and sealing the floors in the old main house, just in time for Christmas. It was a time of dust and all-around mess, but the Christmas tree was up and glowing by the 24th!

This year the mess is more or less contained and I’ve been adding Christmas-y touches throughout the main living areas. There’s SO much one could do, but I’ve decided to take it slow and add to my arsenal of Christmas stuff year by year. It would be fun to just go crazy, but you need two things. One, a decent budget. Two, lots of energy. Both of which I’m lacking these days LOL

But nevertheless, this year I added this amazing hanging wreath from IKEA. I’m smitten by it and it fits so beautifully into our big room with the tall cathedral ceilings and exposed beams. I added a bunch of faux pine around the wreath and hung some warm toned ornaments and straw stars I inherited from my mom. Instead of using twine or ribbon, I ripped some white and red striped fabric into strips, which gives the whole contraption some beautiful texture.

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For whatever reason, I felt like going with a slightly more traditional color scheme. In addition to the natural overall I added bits of red. It’s cute and all, but to be honest, I’m not quite sure if I really love it. I think next year I will commit to a black and white theme, in addition to the usual natural touches.

The dried orange slices look especially cute this year. I’ve added them to all my wreaths on the outside and wrapped a few here and there around block candles and ceramic candle holders. It gives any color scheme such a calm and organic touch.

And by the way, we both are still SO in love with the DIY floating credenza we made from IKEA kitchen upper cabinets! It’s such a great place to add seasonal touches and make this big room more interesting.

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By the way, the fireside lounge has been up for some months now and the room looks like this:

Christmas House Tour / House of Menig

Oooh, and have you seen my new shelves in the kitchen!!?? It’s the newest improvement in the house. They replaced the beautiful painting and I’m utterly smitten by the new look of the kitchen. They make your eye go up and you kinda forget to look at any small cluttery messes that might be happening on the marble countertops.. LOL

Christmas House Tour / House of Menig

And then of course the Christmas tree. My faux flocked baby. I was so giddy to put this darling up after a year of being wrapped up in big black garbage bags and stored away in the basement. What a horrible surprise it was when I opened one of the bags and this big, ugly, completely dried up rat (or mouse?) appeared!! It had made a nest inside my lovely tree, peed all over the branches (and faux snow) and then decided to grace my tree one last time by dying right then and there. Oh well, I guess it’s an honor to have your Christmas tree be the chosen graveyard or some critter…

Long story short, the tree is up and is looking quite darling in its little corner.

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I’m still working on the living room. I’m not happy with the WHITE cotton rug (it’s a mess already!) or the coffee table, but for some reason it’s extra tough to nail down some options. We just hung a TV (yipeeee, after over a year of watching movies on Adrian’s laptop we finally have a real screen again!!) and I have a feeling that now I will be able to pull things together rather quickly. Including FINALLY adding some art to those two frames behind the Christmas tree….. LOL

Christmas House Tour / House of Menig

 

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It’s been 13 weeks since we first announced our big news and lots has happened since. The baby room is prepped, the stroller is set up and ready to go on adventures and my belly is growing in leaps and bounds.

The entire pregnancy has been rather beautiful for us, probably because we take the pains and aches with a happy heart, after all God has granted us this amazing gift that is wiggling and squirming away as I write these lines. We are still in awe that so soon we’ll be joined by this tiny little human being!

I’m SO glad that we’ve been taking these weekly pictures! Here’s 33 weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

Pregnancy Update Week 33 Belly Shot

But let’s see how things are going thus far!

The ring is still on

My belly button is stretched, but still an innie

No stretch marks yet, only a darkening vertical line across the bump

Weight gain: 25lb

Still fitting into my regular winter jacket, although just barely. Bought a XL size one for the home stretch at Aeropostale on sale for $52 instead of $130

Feeling daily hickups

Got some nasty and terribly painful varicose veins in the… ahem… lady zone. Thank God for V2 supporters!

Climbing stairs and walking uphill is slooooooow going due to my high pulse. It’s annoying since my brain wants to be active, but my body says I need to slow down and take them breaks

That’s it for our little update. And now, off to cross yet another item off my “last 7 weeks to do list” that seems to grow instead of shrink ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOL

In the second post of our little Christmas series, we’re looking at the beautiful and classic red & white. It’s a style that can be overdone so easily, by going overboard with the red. But when done right – red pops of color in a sea of white and silver – it can be such a gorgeous and yet still minimal way to decorate for Christmas!

Red & White Christmas Inspiration

Red & White Christmas Inspiration / House of Menig

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A bright winter red pops so beautifully against a backdrop of white and therefore makes for such a perfect Christmas color scheme. Instead of bringing in tons of red colored items, be conscious about when and where you bring in these pops of colors. Unless you love the super traditional approach of more is more, I believe that less is more in this case. Add plenty of items in white and silver and you’ll achieve a stylish yet classic red & white Christmas winter wonderland!

Red & White Christmas Inspiration / House of Menig

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Great ways to bring in the red color are textiles, ornaments and winter berries like rosehip twigs. If you’re lucky you can even find rosehip in the woods – they’re the seed pods of wild roses. To make the look super cozy, add plenty of warm blankets, candles and some lanterns. Merry Christmas!

 

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What’s your Christmas tree tradition? Do you have a specific day when you put up your tree? I’ve been doing it on December 1st for quite a few years now and love the anticipation! I usually make a pot of mulled wine a la Rahel (which basically means 2/3 apple juice and 1/3 red wine) and listen to classical Christmas music all day long!

Usually I go for a natural touch with white and silver ornaments, and just a few in a soft blush. But with the dining area finished, I’m thinking about changing things up a little this year.

In this short blog series we’re going to take a peek at three beautiful Christmas color schemes, starting with the natural Christmas inspiration!

Natural Christmas Inspiration

Natural Christmas Inspiration / House of Menig

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I’m naturally drawn to these simple colors. A backdrop of white with added splashes of different shades of grey, darker greens, and pops of black and natural wood. It’s so soothing and really embodies the quieter months of honkering down and cozying up next to a fire.

Natural Christmas Inspiration / House of Menig

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It’s such a simple style and needs minimal decor. Just pair them well and stick to a strict color scheme and you’re golden!

Natural Christmas Inspiration / House of Menig

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Paper stars, lanterns and tons of candles, that’s the key. You can spiff things up just a tad by adding a few splashes of silver – or bring in a bit of rustic with some pine cones and branches you find in the woods…

 

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