How To

How to Clean Hardwood Floors

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How to clean hardwood floor || Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Swiffer Sweeper || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com When we purchased our home in Gaylord, I was beyond excited to have hardwood floors. They look great and are so much better for people who have severe allergies, like my husband. After we moved in I realized I had no idea how to properly care for hardwoods. I was afraid that I would ruin them. Now I know that it's not so bad if you've got the right tools.

This post contains affiliate links. This means, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive commission. 

Everyday Care

No matter how recently I've cleaned, there is always, dirt and dog hair. So, typically everyday I sweep the hardwoods. And, let's be honest, life happen and stuff spills. If it's a dry spill, like flour or cereal, we'll sweep or vacuum it up. For liquid spills, we do our best to it soak up and use a damp rag if it's something sticky. Just make sure you don't have anything liquid sitting on your hardwood for very long! As you probably already know, wood and liquid don't mix well. Over time it can severely damage the planks, and you'll have to replace it.

For a while I was using the Swiffer Sweeper with the wet mopping pads for those spills, but I haven't repurchased them in a few months. I don't know if they are really needed if you're cleaning up after messes as soon as they happen. I've also learned that if you diligently clean spills right away, you're floor will remain looking fresh and clean. This will save you time in the long run, because then you don't have to constantly deep clean your floors.

Deep Cleaning & Added Shine

A couple times a month I want to get a deeper clean and polished shine, and I use my Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. This stuff is amazing! Plus, it's GreenGuard Gold certified, meaning it's environmentally friendly and is even considered safe for sensitive individuals making it acceptable to use in schools and healthcare facilities. Knowing that, it makes me feel good about using it in my own home.

First, I'll sweep or vacuum the floors. Then, I'll put a dry rag on my Swiffer Sweeper, spray a light mist of the floor cleaner, and go over my entire floor. I have read reviews of people who say if you use too much it will leave a film on your floor. I personally haven't had this problem. You really don't need to use a ton anyway, as a little goes a long way.

If there is a hard-to-remove spot, I'll use a rag and a little more floor cleaner and scrub it out. I guess it's not really scrubbing, because you don't need a ton of elbow grease to get those tough spots out when using this cleaner.  Bing, bang, boom! You've got some super-shiny hardwoods.

Do you have any helpful tips for keeping your hardwoods clean? Leave a comment!

This post contains affiliate links. This means, if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive commission. 

How To Make Yogurt In An Instant Pot

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

One thing that sold me on my Instant Pot was the ability to easily make yogurt at home. It's super simple, and only take two products (milk and a starter yogurt). The process takes a whole day, but you really only need a couple hours to prep the milk before incubating it for 8-10 additional hours. Now, I can make a gallon of yogurt just how I like it for less than $2! So, in this post I'll walk you through picking the right Instant Pot to make yogurt, and how to make it.

Getting the Right Instant Pot

The pressure cooker I have is the 7-in-1 Instant Pot in the 6 quart size (yes, that's an affiliate link. Don't be scared. It just means I get commission if you buy something after clicking that link :) ). This is the lowest-priced Instant Pot version you can get that has the yogurt feature. They do have one that is less expensive, the 6-in-1 version, but it does not have the yogurt making feature.

Safety Note: There is definitely a learning curve to cooking in an electronic pressure cooker, and you need tofollow the instructions to ensure you use it correctly. I mean it is a pressure cooker... Improper use could lead to an explosion. Now don't get me wrong, these are very safe when used correctly, and it has a lot of mechanisms to make it safe. BUT! Please, please, please, if you buy one, follow the manufacturer's instructions!

Instructions on How to Make Yogurt in Your Instant Pot

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

What you'll need:

  • Instant Pot with yogurt setting (I have this one << and yes that is an affiliate link :) )

  • 1 gallon of whole milk

  • 4 tablespoons of yogurt with live and active cultures

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

To start, pour the entire gallon of milk into your Instant Pot, and put the lid on. You don't have to worry about the release valve, because the lid does not need to be sealed to make yogurt.

Next, press the "Yogurt" button followed by the "Adjust" button. It should say "boil" on the front of your Instant Pot. Leave it alone until it beeps, which takes around 30-60 minutes.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

After the Instant Pot completes the boiling process and beeps, check the temperature of your milk. It should be between 180° and 185°F. If it hasn't reached that temperature with the boiling mode, don't worry. Just use the "Saute" mode on your Instant Pot and stir it regularly until it reaches a temperature between 180° and 185°F.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

Once you're milk is between 180° and 185°F you need to take it out of your Instant Pot and let it cool down. You need it to be at or below 115°F. If you're not in a rush, you can just take it out, and place it on the counter. If you're like me, and don't want to wait, you can place it in an ice bath. I've seen people put them in deep baking pans full of ice, but I prefer to fill my sink up with cold water and a bunch of ice cubes.

When it's at or below 115°F take it out of the ice bath, dry off the outside of the pot, and place it back into your instant pot.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

At this point you need to add your starter yogurt. If this is the first time you're making yogurt in your Instant Pot, you'll have to buy yogurt from the store that contains live and active cultures. I used the Chobani plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. However, once you've made yogurt in your Instant Pot, you can use some of your previous batch as your starter yogurt for the new one.

Measure out 4 tablespoons of your starter yogurt and whisk it into your milk for a minute or two. Then, place the top back onto your Instant Pot (you do not need to seal it), and press the "Yogurt" button so it shows 8:00 on the front. This number is how long it's set to incubate. I personally don't like very tart yogurt, so I leave it at an 8 hour incubation time. However, if you would like more tart yogurt adjust this setting to 10 hours using the "+" button. Then, leave it be until the incubation period is finished.

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot || by Hayley Fiser || thehayleyfiser.com

Voila! You've got yogurt! Now once the incubation period is done, I typically place it in the fridge for a little while to cool. However, you can take it straight from the Instant Pot and use a cheesecloth to strain out the whey (this will make it greek yogurt which is tarter), leave it as is and place it into your storage containers, and/or eat it.

I love making my own yogurt, because I don't like it to be overly tart. Plus, my husband and I can add what we want into ours. I like mine with chunky strawberry compote, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and granola. My husband uses a nut/granola mixture, honey or agave to sweeten it, along with chia seeds. We also add it to smoothies! You can find my all-time favorite smoothie recipe on the blog hereHow do you like to eat your homemade yogurt? 

Ways to Make Money with Online Surveys

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Online Survey on Computer You've probably heard about people who make money taking online surveys. It's definitely a great way to make a little extra money during your spare time.  Maybe you've thought about doing this yourself, but didn't know where to start. It can be difficult to figure out which survey companies are scams and which ones are legitimate. But don't worry! In today's post, I'm sharing three survey websites I have personally used to earn some spare change.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links with an asterisk (*), I’ll receive compensation. Let's be honest, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)

MyPoints

MyPoints has to be my favorite of the three. With this site, you earn points by completing different tasks including surveys, and shopping online and in store at different retailers. When you take surveys, you only get the full points if you qualify and complete the surveys. However, if you take the time to answer the preliminary questions and don't qualify, they still give you 5 points. You can also earn points by shopping online (if you have their internet browser plug-in activated), printing manufacturers' coupons through them and using it on in-store purchases, using their online-shopping coupon codes at check out, or even donating to your favorite charities. Once you have enough points you can redeem them for gift cards at popular retailers like Target and Amazon, or have them placed into your PayPal account. You can get $5 gift cards for just under 1,000 points, and up to $100 for almost 16,000 points.

Interested in trying out MyPoints? Sign up here!

SwagBucks

SwagBucks is another survey program that rewards you for more than just taking surveys, but they currently don't offer the in-store rewards that MyPoints does. However, SwagBucks does have the an internet browser add-on to earn points while you shop major online retailers. Also like MyPoints, once you earn a couple hundred to a couple thousand points, you can cash them out for gift cards or a PayPal payout. More points equals more cash. Sign up for SwagBucks here!

YouGov

This one is a little different then the other two. First, you earn points in much larger chucks. Because of this, you also need a lot more points to cash out. In addition to taking surveys, you're also able to participate in discussions and questions that focus on understanding public views. Lastly, instead of using PayPal to get cash like the other two, you have the option for a prepaid Visa gift card. If you're interested in joining YouGov, use this link to sign up and get 2,000 points after you complete your 4th survey!

How to Start a Blog

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Starting a new blog can be a daunting task, especially when you think about how many blogs are out there. It has even been hard for me to continue or even start blogging again, but my love of it means I always return. Because of this, I've learned a lot over the years, and I wanted to share it with you.

1. Always remember that there is only one you!

I think this is the thing that always gets me excited about blogging. On the flip side, forgetting this is what discourages me the most. Blogging is a way to share your story, whether it be through recipes, style tips, parenting advice, workout tips, or even literally telling about what's happening in your life.

You shouldn't start a blog to be like someone else. It makes it too easy to give up because you don't have what they do. There will always be someone out there who has more money, better equipment, or more time to make their blog better than yours.

It's easier to find inspiration when reading other blogs, if you always remember that there's only one person who can tell your story, your way.

2. Decide what you will be writing about

Pay attention to what blogs interest you. This also means bloggers you follow on social media, especially  Pinterest and Instagram. Bloggers use these sites as a way to capture their audience's attention and get them to read their content. Maybe you follow a lot of fashion bloggers on Instagram, you might follow food bloggers on Pinterest, or you could read more posts by mom who share their parenting advice that you Google search.

Knowing what content draws your attention, might help you narrow down your blog subjects. It's very hard to blog about something consistently that doesn't keep your attention. So, picking subjects that you enjoy reading about is extremely important. You also need to build your blog subject list, and find a way to bring them under one umbrella. Keep in mind that your interests might grow and change. So pay attention to that throughout your blogging career, and consider evolving your blog throughout the years.

3. Pick a name

This can be one of the hardest parts of starting a blog. You want to make sure your blog's name fits with the subject(s) you have decided to cover, but there are two camps on how to name your blog:

  1. Choose a name that clearly defines what your blog covers

  2. Choose a name that allows you the ability to change your blog topics as your interests change

You can probably tell by the name of my blog that I went with option number two. I write about what interests me, and what's happening in my life. So, I was somewhat narcissistic and named my blog after myself. However, that name gives me the opportunity to write about my interest even when they evolve and my life changes.

4. Get your domain

Now that you have a name, it's time to see if it's available as a domain. Honestly, you may need to come up with a few different names before you can find one with an available domain.

If you are going to be a hobbiest blogger, I would recommend starting your blog with Wordpress.com. It's an awesome site and gives you a lot of options for free. With this site however, your free domain will end with .wordpress.com (for example thehayleyfiser.wordpress.com).

However, if you are looking to make money off of your blog and monetize your site, there are two options I would recommend using. First is Squarespace, which is what I’m currnetly using for my blog. It’s super easy to set up and relativly inexpensive. It’s the perfect option for someone who doesn’t have experience with coding a website. They make it super easy to purcahse and host a domain through them with some of the pricing packages they offer.

The second option is for someone who knows website coding and wants more control over the way the blog looks and functions. For those people, I would highly recommend using Bluehost (yes, that is an affiliate link :) ) to purchase your domain and host a Wordpress.org site (this is what I did for my website before I starting using it for my consulting business and it was just a blog). You can use their Domain Name Checker below to see if the name you want to use is available.

If your domain is available, head on over to Bluehost  and purchase your domain. They also make it super easy to install Wordpress.org, and they'll host your site. So once you buy your domain, you can immediately start your blog on a trusted blogging site. They make it super easy, and have professionals available via phone and chat if you have any questions or run into issues when setting your site up. I ran into a ton of issues migrating from a Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org site, and their chat representatives where extremely helpful.

5. Design your site

You officially have a blog! Now it's time to make it shine. There are a ton of different templates and themes to choose from for Squarespace and Wordpress, and they are super easy to put your own stamp on. I am currently using the Squarespace’s Bedford template. Back when I had my site on Wordpress, I paid for the theme Holly & Weave by pipdig and loved the way it looked and functioned.

Have your blog set up?
Read my “Beginner's Guide to Improving SEO” 
here!

This post contains affiliate links for Bluehost, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. Let's be serious, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)


Making a Cleaning Schedule

Making a cleaning schedule has changed my life! I have been super stressed about cleaning, and feeling like I was spending my whole evening and weekend cleaning or worrying about not having time to clean everything. So I went to Pinterest to see what others were doing for their cleaning schedules. Most of the ones I found had a list of every day chores (some  broke it down to morning and evening), another list for with a chore for each day, and a third list of things that don't need to be done every single day or week. I like the idea of a cleaning schedule, because if you miss a day you'll do it next week and the other areas of your house are still staying clean. It's been great having it as a check list before I walk out the door in the morning and when I get home at night. There's no worrying about what I'll clean, and when I'll get to it.

Making My Schedule

I took schedules and ideas from 3 or 4 different cleaning schedules to make my own. Since I work full-time I wanted to split up my morning items and my evening items, so I didn't get overwhelmed when I'm trying to get ready for work or trying to wind-down for bed. Also, I only wanted to spend an extra 15 minutes in the morning for the chore of the day, because I knew I could fit that in my current morning routine. Next, I wanted to make sure I vacuumed at the beginning of the week, because if we have people over or we're working outside there tends to be a lot of dirt tracked throughout the house. However, Buddy sheds a lot and I don't want to have people over on the weekend and have dust bunnies made of dog hair everywhere. So I added a quick vacuum on Thursday when I mop to make sure there's not a bunch of dog hair around my house. Another thing I did to make this schedule better for me is doing a load of laundry each day (wash it in the morning, dry it before dinner, and fold and put it away after dinner). I did this because I was trying to do laundry only on the weekend but we always seem to be gone or have people over and it wouldn't get done. Then most of our clothes would be dirty, and it was really overwhelming to wash, fold and put away 2+ weeks of clothes in a day.

Making Your Own Schedule

The best way to pick a cleaning schedule that works for you is think about your day. You might not find the perfect cleaning schedule for you online, but making a cleaning schedule is super easy to do yourself. Start by finding out what other people are doing (eh hem... Pinterest). Maybe you don't like the idea of the daily chore being all over the house, but would rather designate a room a day. Or maybe you are waaaayyy better at doing all your laundry all in one day (unlike me) and you can choose a day to do laundry. It's honestly super easy to make a cleaning schedule in Word or Publisher, and you can make one that fits your home's decor. Honestly, I'm sooo happy I took the 20 minutes to make my own, because it has saved me from a ton of stress!

Do you have a cleaning schedule?