Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deck The Halls

The halls have officially been decked! Pepper loves the tree, she just stares and stares, unless you put her up close, then of course she wants to eat it. My favorite decoration we own is those old vintage skis. Nothing says 'winter' like skis! What is your favorite decoration you have?
 That reminds me, we need one more stocking!

The Feast and the Museum

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, first with Dave's side the week before Thanksgiving. Dave has a total of 12 kids(10 living) in his family and it's usually a pretty big gathering, but we were missing a few this year and although still nice to get together, it did feel like something was missing. For Thanksgiving Day, we went to my brother's house in Stansbury Park and stayed 2 nights. It was a lot of fun for the boys to play with their cousins and for me to be able to spend time with my siblings which doesn't happen very often. I come from a "yours, mine and ours" family and I happen to be in the "ours" group. My Dad has 4 kids from his first marriage and my Mom has 4 from her first marriage and then they got married and had my younger brother and I. My Dad's side lived with us here and there as teens while I was pretty little, and the only real time I got to spend with them was on camping trips and gatherings. I'm so grateful that I've had the opportunity to be a lot closer to my sister Becky and her boys and a couple of my nieces, but sadly, I don't even know the others that well. Thanksgiving this year was only my Mom's side and I really miss having get-togethers where EVERYBODY is there. Although I don't know my Dad's side as well, I still miss them and they are still my family. Anyways, we had a lot of fun with family in Stansbury Park. My brother, Lynn, was joking and asked when Dave and I are going to "gather to Zion" because they all now live in Tooele County; three of them are in Stansbury and one is in Tooele. Actually, I'd move back to Stansbury Park in a heartbeat! Anyways, I didn't take a single picture the entire weekend. I just really enjoyed sitting back and not worrying about getting the camera out. Next time we're together I will though, I would like to get a picture of all of the little cousins. I love that they are so close in age and that they get to see each other as often as they do. I barely even met my cousins as a child and they are all so much older than me. I'm glad that my kids have that opportunity. On the way home Saturday afternoon, we decided to stop at Hill Air Force Museum(that our kids get so excited about every time we drive by all of those huge airplanes!) The boys really enjoyed it but were anxious to get home so we only stayed for about an hour. I think one BIG boy enjoyed it more than any of us. He's never been so it was pretty exciting for him. PLUS, we had just finished watching Captain America at Lynn's house an hour before, so it was fun to see all that World War 2 stuff. As a child, my Dad had a friend who worked there and I distinctly remembering him letting me get INTO a couple of the big airplanes and getting to sit in the pilot seat. I remember leaving there wanting to be the next Amelia Earhart. I had thought that was just part of the tour, but you can't climb into any of the aircraft now. I guess I was just lucky to have a Dad with connections! Here are pictures from the museum. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Canned Paint

I always hear people saying they love Pinterest, but they never actually DO any of the stuff they see. Well, I do. Mainly because I don't want the time I spend on Pinterest to be a total waste, like Facebook is. Only half kidding. Today we made paint out of condensed milk. It is thick and goopy so it doesn't drip and run. Ashton absolutely loved it. All you do is add food coloring to the milk and paint with it. Super simple, tons of fun. 

I've Had an Epiphany..DIY Cleaning Supplies

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little obsessed with cleaning supplies. I'm especially very picky about what I use to wash laundry with. It has to smell GREAT and work MIRACLES. And stain spray? Don't even go there girlfriend! With Pepper's adorable baby puke emblazoned on has to be Shout all the way. Especially now that her favorite food is bright orange sweet potatoes, it's the only thing that has worked. And on my budget, it's pricey. (Not to mention Wal-Mart (*hisss) seemingly never has refills in stock!) I am also very OCD about not drying clothes that we wear in the dryer, it wears them out so fast. I hang every shirt and every pair of jeans(even Pepper's clothes and pajamas-that's how they fit her for so long, they don't shrink!) on a hanger in our bedroom. Think about it, you're going to have to hang them up anyway, might as well do it while they are wet and make them last 10 times longer! Liquid fabric softener is a MUST if you are hanging your clothes to dry or they get really stiff. So I've been reading about making your own laundry detergent, stain spray, fabric softener and various cleaning supplies all over the internet..and disregarding it. The fact is, I love the way Arm and Hammer's laundry detergent smells and cleans. I've tried EVERYTHING else. It is all I use. I'm thinking, come on, there is NO WAY home made laundry detergent smells good. It's probably old lady soapy smelling and weird. But Saturday morning, I ran to Walmart in the snowing and blowing wind for Shout, with literally $15 to spend on that and a couple of other cleaning supplies. Alas, they were clean out. I noticed the boxes of Borax and bars of Fels-Naptha on the shelf below the missing Shout bottles and knew that those were the main ingredients I would need to make laundry, I decided to go for it. I grabbed one box of Borax for about $3 and a bar of soap for $0.97. I remembered an ingredient for DIY stain spray was Ammonia so I grabbed that too. (around $2) I knew I already had the rest of the ingredients(baking soda, white vinegar, liquid soap, lemon juice) so I literally spent around $7 total. With which, I was able to make FOUR GALLONS of laundry detergent, TWO GALLONS of stain spray, TWO GALLONS of fabric softener(I know, right?), one gallon of all purpose spray, and one gallon of toilet/tub cleaner. I also made about 2 quarts of powdered dishwasher detergent.
I used less than HALF of the box of borax, so I have enough to make another 4 gallons of laundry detergent. I bought a #10 can of baking soda a while back and only used half of that as well. I only used 2/3 of the bar of Fels-Naptha and have enough for 2 more gallons of laundry detergent.  All of it it was SO simple to make, and FUN!! Dave came into the kitchen and told me I looked like a crazed mad scientist. I felt like one. It's a wonderful feeling, I will tell you!
Ok so you're probably thinking, "Alright, you made the stuff, that's great. But does it work?" 
LOL Does it work. You're funny. 
The first thing I was excited to try was the dishwasher detergent. (excited about loading the dishwasher, didn't know that chore could be connected to THAT emotion) I used one scoop. When I came back to unload the dishwasher a couple of hours later, I was beyond amazed at how sparkling clean the dishes were! We have honestly tried every kind of detergent, and the only one that has REMOTELY worked is the Cascade power packet things. And they are not cheap! We've even stopped using the dishwasher before and went strictly to hand-washing due to the fact that we end up washing the dishes over again because they don't get clean. So, yes, that stuff works. Really well too. 

 The next thing I tried was the stain spray. I was VERY skeptical about this one. There had been a pink and purple pile of puked on Pepper clothes(say that ten times fast!) laying in front of the washer for days at that point because I was out of Shout and couldn't get to the store for it. All I did was spray each item and lay it on the dryer, one on top of the other until they were all sprayed and then threw them into the washer. (so no soaking or letting them sit) I didn't use the new laundry detergent that I made yet because I wanted to make sure it was the stain spray that was working and not whatever was in the detergent. When I came back to pull the clothes out, I was pretty sure I would still be going back to the store for some Shout...But I was wrong! That homemade stuff really worked!!! It even worked on clothes I was given that already had 'set' stains in them! I am beyond excited about this! I'm a total nerd and have been telling everyone I know! 
I usually use LA's Awesome Cleaner from the Dollar Tree because it works really well, but I noticed that I can't breathe when I use it and it makes me cough, so it cannot be healthy for our homes and children(and pets if you have them) Most of this stuff is edible, biodegradable and 100% natural! (smells sooo fresh!)
I used the toilet scrub on the toilets of course and also the sinks in my bathrooms and they are cleaner than they have ever been!
I'm gonna wrap this up now cause I'm getting pretty long winded about soap here, but I'll end by saying that the laundry detergent is amazing, and here's the kicker, it smells so good and so clean!! I didn't use any essential oils in mine because I didn't have any but I'm sure they would smell great too! Next time I might try that just for fun but it doesn't need it. So, without further ado, here are the recipes! (here is the site where I found them originally)

Surface Spray:
  • 16 oz spray bottle
  • 2 tsp. borax
  • ¼ tsp. liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • hot water
All Purpose Liquid Cleaner:
  • 1 gal. hot water
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
All Purpose Abrasive Cleaner:
  • liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 2 tbsp. baking soda
Mix to make a foamy paste.
Refrigerator Cleaner:
  • 2 tbs. baking soda in 1 qt warm water
Wipe down inside and out and rinse with a clean wet cloth.
Oven Cleaner:
  • Dampen with water
  • Sprinkle liberally with baking soda
Leave 20 minutes, then scrub until clean.
Microwave Cleaner:
  • ½ c. vinegar
  • 2 c. water
Combine in microwave safe bowl, heat on high for 3-4 minutes, remove bowl and wipe down inside of microwave.
Dishwasher Detergent:
  • 2 c. borax
  • 2 c. baking soda
  • 4 little packages of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid (or generic)
Mix together and store. You can substitute ½ c. of citric acid for the Kool-Aid but it’s harder to find.
Gorgeously Green All-Purpose Spray:
  • 32-ounce plastic spray bottle
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure castile soap (peppermint)
  • 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 20 drops tea tree oil
  • 20 drops of lavender essential oil
Fruit and Vegetable Wash:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 20 drops grapefruit seed extract
Spray on produce, rinse after 5 minutes.
Fruit and Vegetable Wash #2:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
Spray on produce, wipe after 5 minutes.
Drain Cleaner:
  • 1 c. baking soda first
  • 1 c. white vinegar second
  • 1 gallon boiling water
Allow to foam for 5 minutes before adding water.
Window, Glass and Chrome Cleaner:
  • 5 parts water to 1 part white vinegar, OR
  • 1 c. water, 1 c. vinegar, ½ tsp. castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
Toilet Bowl Cleaners:
  • Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • Baking soda or borax
Scrub with a toilet brush.
Tub And Tile Cleaner:
  • Apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe
  • Scour with baking soda
Soft Scrub for Fixtures:
  • ½ c. baking soda
  • Castile soap
  • 10 drops of antibacterial essential oil (optional)
Add enough castile soap until you have a frosting like consistency. Scrub, then rinse with water.
Mildew/Germ Killer:
  • 2 c. water
  • 25 drops of tea tree oil
  • 25 drops of lavender oil

Spray on tile and do not wipe off.
Mildew/Germ Killer 2:
  • 16 oz spray bottle
  • 1 part hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 parts water
Spray, let sit. Rinse after 1 hour.
Wood Floor Cleaner:
  • ¼ c. vinegar
  • 1 gal. warm water
Mop or rag should be slightly damp for cleaning.
Linoleum Floor Cleaner:
  • 1 c. vinegar
  • 2 gal. warm water
Mop or rag can be fully wet for cleaning.
Carpet Stain Remover:
  • 1 part borax
  • 10 parts warm water
Combine in spray bottle. Spray on stain, wait 5 minutes, blot with clean rag.
Carpet Stain Remover:
  • vinegar
  • baking soda
Mix vinegar and baking soda into a paste. Gently work into stain with a toothbrush. Let dry then vacuum completely.
Carpet Deodorizer:
  • Baking soda
  • 10 drops of essential oil (optional)
Mix together then sprinkle generously on carpet, wait 15 minutes and vacuum.
All-Purpose Carpet Cleaner:
After vacuuming first,
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 3 c. boiling water
Blot mixture onto nap of rug with a wet rag, Dry and air thoroughly. Vacuum.
Air Freshener:
  • 2 parts water
  • 1 part rubbing alcohol
  • Essential oil
Mix in spray bottle, don’t spray on silks or delicates. Experiment with how much oil to add, but start with 5 drops.
Air Freshener 2:
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 c. hot water
Mix in spray bottle, don’t spray on silks or delicates.
 Furniture Polish:
  • ½ tsp. olive oil
  • ¼ c. vinegar or lemon juice
Mix in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces.
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1  part vegetable oil
Rub into the scratches and polish.
Rust Remover:
  • Sprinkle area with salt
  • Squeeze lime onto salt
Leave sit for 2-3 hours, then scrub w/ lime rind (or try Almost-Doctor Dan’s method).
Metal Polish (copper and brass):
  • 2 tbsp. salt
Add vinegar until you make a paste. Rub on metal with a clean rag. Wipe clean.
Powdered Laundry Detergent:
  • 1 c. grated Fels Naptha soap
  • ½ c. washing soda
  • ½ c. borax
For light load, use 1 tablespoon. For heavy or soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.
Liquid Laundry Detergent:
  • 3 pints water
  • 1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
  • ½ c. washing soda
  • ½ c. borax
  • 2 gallon bucket
  • 1 quart hot water
Mix soap in saucepan with 3 pints of water. Heat on low until dissolved. Stir in soda and borax until thickened. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to bucket, then soap mixture, mix well. Fill rest of bucket with hot water, mix and let sit for 24 hours. Use ½ c. per laundry load.
Laundry Pre-treatment:
  • ½ c. ammonia
  • ½ c. white vinegar
  • ¼ c. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. liquid soap or laundry detergent
  • 2 quarts water
Mix in spray bottle. Spray spot.
Fabric Softener
cups water
  • cups white vinegar

  • cups hair conditioner (I used the .99 Sauve coconut kind)

  • Mix water, vinegar, and hair conditioner in a 1 gallon container; stir. Do not shake it; it will cause foaming.

  • Use the same amount you normally use in a rinse cycle or spritz it on a wash cloth and throw in dryer.

  • Bleach Alternative (Laundry):
    • ¼ c. hydrogen peroxide