Simple, safe, effective way of cleaning hard water stains from your toilet bowl

Yes, I know. This is not a very pretty topic, and I don’t know that there is a nice picture to really use for it. How much do you really want to “pin” a picture of a dirty toilet bowl on your Pinterest bowl, right? Well don’t let cleaning hard water stains in your toilet hold you back any longer. I am posting less often so I can get my house and home back in order. This yucky toilet has been making me crazy. I tried everything natural to harsh and couldn’t get it to go away. So I found another way to help with cleaning hard water stains from the toilet.

However, if you are like me and have really hard water stains in your toilet bowl, you will love this. Or if you have a toilet bowl that no matter what product you have put in it, or cleaned with or scrubbed it, and how often, it still looks horrible- like to the point you are making excuses to guests that come by your house, you can feel me.

I didn’t know my toilet bowl stains were due to hard water. Removing hard water stains for your toilet is really difficult until you finally find out this one simple trick. Yes, simple, not a lot of scrubbing- no more than the bowl brush. It requires no chemicals, is harmless to you, kids, or pets. It’s also cheap. Like $1 and mine doesn’t even look used.

toilet bowl cleaning

A pumice stone. Yes those pumice stones used to soften your feet and hands. The pumice stone used to exfoliate can clean your hard water stains from your toilet bowl in under 5 minutes.

Check out this before and after shot of my master bathroom toilet. Yes- its gross. It’s been a struggle. But wow I can’t believe it now. It was cleaned regularly, I promise, but it never looked it.

before and after hard water toilet


I promise its the same toilet. See, you can tell by my blue rug on the floor. It’s the same in the before pic above and this after. It really looks that much better.

hard water stained toilet cleaned with pumice stone

Now lets try to move on from the potty talk and clean the rest of the house. This is part of our house and home series, natural cleaning, and #declutterin1year project for 2015. If you like posts like this, please let me know.

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My Declutter Challenge: Week 1

I have stated several times, my 2015 is going to be about living more freely. Not bogged down, not so weary, not missing out on life because of stuff. Halfway through 2014, I realized what was weighing me down was the “stuff” literally in my home; toys, games, knick knacks, collectibles, products for review, ticket stubs, craft supplies, hoards of clothes, coffee mugs… You get the picture.

I joined the 52 week Organized Home Challenge. You can find it by clicking on that link.

organized home challenge

I like it because it fits my year long journey to declutter which makes it less overwhelming. I can do the tasks in just 15 minutes a day. It focuses on one area at a time. So far January has been all about the kitchen. Cabinet by cabinet, linens, cups, countertops, etc. each area is covered and you can set your timer and walk away. It’s not too much. I can double or triple up on some challenges if I have more time, and free myself up for other things, or to rest.

Here is what I got organized this week.

I don’t always take before pictures because I don’t always plan to actually start the task, it just happens because I had the time at the moment and got it done quickly. The point of the process is not to have magazine ready homes, but to make it functional and meet the needs. I like that it allows me grace. Our lives and homes should be a place of grace, peace, and respite.

We need to find a way to make that happen.

So far, in 2015, I have hauled off 10 bags of decluttered trash, and 8 boxes of donations.

Here are some of my after pictures.

Disney Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid version

“I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network. No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.”


I have seen several bloggers post about the various Disney Legacy music collections. There have been some beautiful covers, the cover art is amazing. I would want it for the art work alone. Disney projects are always so dreamy. We were thrilled to get to review The Little Mermaid release for The Legacy Collection.


The Little Mermaid Disney Legacy

There are two discs included in the set. One is of the movie cast singing. The other is of the music creators singing it. My daughter and I were listening to both to see the difference and she said, “I know, this is of a boy Ariel.” Love the innocence of childhood, don’t you. I  loved listening to the creators singing and hearing their ideas and vision for the music and story. It is like getting to speak to an author about their thoughts on a storyline.

The CD set includes beautiful artwork and imagery from the movie. This is truly a collectors piece, and a wonderful entertaining CD for anyone that love The Little Mermaid or Disney.

You can grab this CD for your collection in the new Disney Music Emporium


“If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner”

New Year, Wellness plans

Why are wellness plans important?

My family has suffered through some wellness issues the last couple weeks. Doctors say we have the flu, but it is a very very mild case if that is true. I took one of the kids to the doctor because of three days of fever. I felt mostly like a sinus infection- or a cold. My oils, eating soup- especially hot and sour soup, cleaning, resting, eating lots of citrus fruits, and staying hydrated would help us bounce back quick enough. And it did. If this was the flu- the only way you would have known is because my child spiked a fever and snuggled more. Once they got ibuprofen- which I gave because the fevers were 102-103, brought it right down and they would eat, play, and look normal.

care of your body

We were diffusing thieves oil, RC, and applying peppermint to the back of the head.

We kept in and rested, playing games, and drinking hot lemon tea with honey.

We ate a lot of cuties, and drank natural citrus drinks like orange juice.

We all took my homemade elderberry syrup regularly and our vitamins.

We used saline rinses, like NeilMed Sinus Rinse, twice a day.

We bounced back exceptionally well, minus the husband. Let’s say he is not fully on board with my natural tendancies. He will try it if desperate, but he does not use them regularly, which makes the biggest difference.

So the question is, did we have a mild case overall, or was it just mild because of the wellness plans we have in motion? I think that is hard to answer quantitatively. We have not been sick at all in over 2 years prior to this. We do not get the flu shot (-allergy issues so don’t fight me and ultimately it is my choice).

What is the plan for 2015? Helping with your wellness plans.

I am going through training to help discern what symptoms mean and what our bodies are deficient of to help alleviate those symptoms. I have seen the focus on a healthy body alleviate so many of my son’s issues, that I am ready to take it to the next level.

You will see regular posts here about what I am learning, and how it can benefit your family. If you would like a private consultation and allow me to provide feedback on what you could try, my best suggestions, feel free to email me (


The changes this site have brought me over the last few years have shown me that while I love crafts and DIY, my passion is in so many things. When I rebranded Begin To Craft away from solely crafts into crafting a life of passion, I knew one day we would be looking at a new domain name.

Savvy Southern Parent, my other page, is a great parenting and local resource for my area, but I want to combine the outlets into one place with different categories. I had been playing with new themes and colors over the last several months and am ready to make this change to kick of 2015.

Keep watching because you will still be able to find us from this domain, but it will redirect you to the new site. Just giving you a heads up!

Monster Jam 2015 coming to Time Warner Cable Arena


It’s 2015, and you can kick off family time in Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena by enjoying Feld’s Monster Jam.

We enjoyed attending Monster Jam last year so much that our son got two Grave Digger toys for Christmas. One actually does jumps on ramps and such, and the other is a Hot Wheels version. He is seriously excited about this show. Monster Jam is not just for boys but it is nice to have some items that have nothing to do with princesses and fairy tales. My 7 year old daughter loved the show last year and we waited around to talk with the drivers after the show.

Psst: Gravedigger won last year.

Monster Jam fans are extremely loyal, and they enjoy unprecedented access to the stars of the show – the performers and their Monster Jam trucks. Unlike traditional sporting events or other family entertainment shows, every fan attending a Monster Jam event is given the unique opportunity to meet the stars of the show during the pre-show Party in the Pits and post-show autograph sessions. The stars of Monster Jam will stay until the last autograph is signed. For decades, Monster Jam has been one of the biggest and most successful touring family shows in the world, and it is still showing yearly growth in all areas!

You can still grab tickets at Ticketmaster – Monster Jam

We are giving away a 4 pack of tickets to the show on Friday January 9th at 7:30pm. Tell all your friends so everyone has a chance to win. Winner will be announced Tuesday at noon. To enter, tell me below:
What you love about Monster Jam, or Who you think would love going, where you shared the link, or what friend you shared this giveaway with.

Each comment is an entry and can win you tickets.

Our Winner has been notified and claimed their tickets. Congratulations Lynne!

Review 2014 Goals, how did we do?

Since it is the end of the year, let’s see how we made out with the 2014 goals, shall we. After all, what is the point of making goals if you don’t review them and hold yourself accountable to them.

Year in review

You can see the whole post on 2014 goals here.

2014 Goals:

  1. Eating NO Processed foods
  2. Using essential oils for health and wellness (I sell them too, look for a new store tab soon)
  3. Using Arbonne for my face and body care (also selling it, and performing 4 facials a month for free)
  4. Setting up my work space for crafts, sewing, health and wellness, and video in our upstairs home. We saved up enough to  convert it properly.
  5. Assistant Organizer for Entertainment New Media Network Conference in Anaheim in February. Includes interviewing celebrities, red carpet events, travel blog training
  6. Scheduled to attend Type A Advanced at Walt Disney World in March
  7. Starting a podcasting and further vlogs and video reviews
  8. Scheduled iRetreat at Hershey Park in PA
  9. Scheduled Type A Conference in Atlanta in September
  10. Writing my first ebook, and hopefully more
  11. Completing one travel review a month


How we did:

1- Failed- I like easy and sweet way too much. We did significantly reduce our processed foods, which is a much better goal and allows us room for grace.

2- Although I don’t sell them any longer, I don’t hold to just one brand, I still use and highly support the use of oils. I will be sharing recipes for health and wellness items we make so you can make them yourself, or purchase from me this year. LOVE MY OILS.

3- I no longer sell Arbonne- and never really got started on it. I don’t feel like I am much of a MLM sales person. I use their make up, primer, and love doing the facials regularly. My regular face and body care is more natural due to my sensitive skin- more details on those routines this year.

4- We converted the dining room to the blog and craft room, and our small room off the master into the video and photography room. A little more organization would be great, but it is working.

5- ENMNCon14 was awesome, and ENMNCon15 will be even better back in Hollywood with some serious goodies coming. Sessions are lining up nicely.

6- Type A WDW was awesome, we had a blast reviewing Universal Studios, and my husband made his first appearance at a blog event.

7- Podcasting has not started yet, but is in the works. I want to sort out exactly what I want to talk about, how often, and plan it better. Vlogging and video reviews have been our focus. We have new intro and outtros done, and our videos are migrating soon to Everyday Epic Media YouTube Channel. For now find us at

8- Had to reschedule IRetreat with hubby’s mission trip and car issues that killed our budget. I rolled it forward to 2015 in New Orleans.

9- TypeACon in Atlanta was amazing. Hubby went at Spouselite and got the bug.

10- First ebook is done and on the site here for sale- a couple actually. I have a few others I am putting together now for devotions, and more.

11- Travel reviews are coming along nicely. You can find great travel tips and reviews by checking out the tag.


Overall, not a bad rate of accomplishments compared to our goals. I got a lot done, and found out a lot about myself in 2014. Failing at plans doesn’t make you a failure, it teaches you a lesson about yourself and what to fix and work on going forward.

10 posts from 2014 that you couldn’t get enough of!

Top Posts of 2014

Year in review

Your Favorite Posts of 2014 are based on how many views, shares and interaction on the posts shared. These comments, and shares are not just from the site itself, but also from social media- Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

I think it is hilarious that the top post is a movie review. Actually 2 movie reviews got top 10 posts this year- Maleficient and Divergent. Movie and book reviews were much more consistent this year. There were more reviews overall, including the Cadenza by Kia. Craft and recycling posts were still very strong. Planning was very strong as well- including topics I am working on now- like choosing and setting up my planner for the year. Here is the list of top posts in order for you to check out. These were fun to look over, and some were surprise contenders because of when they were created in the year, like the Tulip stencils and paint. I love the craft and DIY posts. Check them out and tell me your favorite in this list.

1-      Divergent Movie Review

2-      8 Menu planning tip to enjoy summer  

3-      Pampering Mom

4-      Simple Crafts with Tulip Stencils & Paint

5-      Finding new life in old items

6-      Maleficient Review and related crafts

7-      New Year, New Planner- choosing a planner

8-     My 2014 Planner

9-      My Kia Cadenza Review 

10-   Operation Smile


Now, come back to see what my favorite posts of the year were, as well as the recap of where we stand with our 2014 goals.

Where do we go from here? Planning to make the most of our time together

Let the planning begin!

This is the part of the year I love, starting fresh, creating new ideas, reminiscing. I love looking back over the past year to see what your favorite things were. I work hard planning what to do in the next year to take the blog to the next level. In 2014, I bought a new camera, lens, lighting, video equipment, microphones, started more video work, attended red carpet events, completed several celebrity interviews, edited video, started public speaking, started 3 books, bought a couple more web domains, got my press pass, and covered events as media.

2015 goals

I added my husband as my partner, filed LLC papers, and am taking the business next level. My planner is printing (which is a whole other post and I may put together my own printable planner), and plans for specific posts, projects, and food has been outlined, and planned to make this a planned out year. I want it to be amazing.

So, here’s what you loved.

Pinterest and Instagram- my network on these 2 social media outlets is hot and growing, and you  love it. Find me @jessicawballard I will be outlining my personal goals there using #declutter1year and #cutaddedsugar. Your enouragement is greatly appreciated. If you have recipes to share, or your own goals you are working on, tag me, and we can motivate each other. We all need accountability.

I have started doing more professional videos on YouTube. Check out our channel, for now /ballardjess but migrating to EverydayEpicMedia this year.

Tomorrow check out the Top 10 posts of 2014!

M-Go 12 days of Wonderdays

As a cable free family, we are always looking for new and interesting ways to enjoy being cable free. There are lots of options out there that we use, so you have many choices, but we recently tried out M-Go, a VOD service that allows you to purchase/rent the shows of your choice. To be honest, they gave us $25 credit to use their service, which was fab because we got to watch a lot of Christmas movies with the kids without purchasing them outright.

Turn to M-GO this holiday season, a transactional video-on-demand service, to find a large collection of more than 100 new and classic holiday favorites like FrozenIt’s a Wonderful Life,  How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street, to provide both entertainment and bring holiday to cheer your whole family can enjoy.

There are great movies this holiday season for your family to enjoy, but even better, check out the 12 days of Giveaways they are doing that ends tomorrow.

What started on Friday, December 12, and ends December 23rd, visit to unwrap 12 days of discounts on M-GO content and to enter for a chance to win cool prizes including Roku players, Papa John’s gift cards, Toshiba laptops and more.

But regardless, check out this other great option for cable.

Old Spice

By Jordan Shea Ballard Do you remember last years Old Spice commercial Mom Song? Check out this year’s counter version- The Dad Song

You have to give it to Old Spice for humorous commercials. I can relate to this, on a less dramatic scale, but my mom never wanted me to go out with the guys, let alone a girl. My dad was pushing me out to leave, get a job, and take on life. I was ready to join the Army, and the recruiter came by the house to talk to my parents. I was literally ready to sign the papers, but my mom- well, she did not handle it well. She was convinced the recruiter was a friend of mine calling. Needless to say that did not go well, and I did not join the military. OS Timber Holiday Pack Old Spice is known as the man’s cologne. The smell is what most of us know as the manly man smell.  Old Spice Re-fresh Body Spray, features the brand’s innovative and first-in-category Re-fresh Technology, which eliminates the need for guys to overspray or reapply throughout the day. As many will agree, having the ability for “One Spray Lasts All Day” technology would be a welcome change for the many moms that have smelled the overuse of cologne over the years. They come in a lot of kits perfect for the holidays that make great stocking stuffers and include various scents- like the new timber scent. The kits include shampoo, body wash, body spray, deodorant, and more. Teens can “Scent Responsibly” with this gift that keeps on giving, one spray at a time, making this a perfect gift. What guy wouldn’t want to smell more manly. OS_MomDadSong_Gifting_300x250 In the spirit of the holiday season, Old Spice offered special savings on Old Spice Re-fresh Body Spray in the P&G brandSaver® in newspapers across the U.S. back on Sunday, Nov. 30. But don’t worry, you can download it on for redemption at retailers nationwide.





This post was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Old Spice. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.