Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to make non smelly vinegar cleaner

This is part 2 of my homemade cleaning products discussion.

You can read part 1...my amazing Baking Soda Experiment here :)

I've seen a lot of cleaning tips that combine many products together to clean hard water or the grime along the edge of the faucet. The truth is, all you really need is vinegar.

Vinegar is a real wonder cleaner.

I was pretty amazed when it worked!


The real power of vinegar, however, is as a spray cleaner. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and go to town.

Of course, if you do that, someone will walk in to your home and wonder who spilled vinegar all over.

This is why there are so many recipes to make your vinegar cleaner scented. Typically, this process takes about two weeks.

I have all sorts of yummy herbs growing in my garden and my neighbor's garden. For the first round, I opted to use rosemary and lemon balm. Lemon balm smells AMAZING, btw.


I placed them in a jar with the vinegar.





Shake the jar every few days and when it's done strain it into a spray bottle and add an equal amount of water.

That's it! Ready to use.

I made another batch recently where I used all my old citrus peals. . . and it will be a lovely lemon scented cleaner.

And it cleans so much! It's crazy.

For example, you can soak a paper towel in it, the wrap the towel around the base of your sink faucet (you know, the area where you usually have to use a toothbrush or small scrubbie to reach). Leave it for an hour. When you come back, just use the paper towel to wipe up the area and all that grime stuff is gone!

I decided to see if it would make the burner rings on my gas stove sparkly again.

It didn't.

You win some and you lose some.



 

Linked up at:
Cowgirl Up **Tuesday Confessional **Our Delightful Home ** Reasons to Skip the Housework **Whimsey Wednesday ** Uncommonly Yours ** Back for Seconds Social **Works for Me Wednesday ** Wow Me Wednesday ** Homemade By You ** Show Me What You've Got **Home & Garden Thursday ** Mom on Time Out **House of Hepworths **Creative Thursday **The Shabby NEst **Tater Tots & Jello **Making Space Mondays **


The DIY Dreamer

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Do those homemade cleaning products REALLY work?

This is part 1 in a series I'm doing testing natural cleaning ideas.

If you've followed any cleaning boards on Pinterest, you've seen the pins for homemade cleaners of all kinds.

I went crazy and decided to try some of the ideas to see if they really work. . . Because there isn't any Snopes for Pinterest, and there really ought to be.

Back in January, I tried the homemade laundry soap and ....it works!

When it came to the homemade dishwasher soap...It was a mixed bag. Yes, it works...but so does the $1 a box stuff from the dollar store. And it does about the same number of loads. Oh, and if you can't get bulk citric acid and have to rely on the lemon Kool Aid...it costs the same as just running to the dollar store.

Now, lets get to the meat and potatoes of cleaning...or rather the vinegar and baking soda.

If you plan to make any of your own cleaning products, start with these basics. In fact, just go to Costco or Sam's and skip the grocery store sized containers. I always wondered who bought vinegar and baking soda in such large quantities...now I know...

People who make their own cleaners.

The big question is...does it work? Will Vinegar and baking soda really clean just about anything?

Yes. Yes and YES.

In order to give this a proper test, I had to let my stove get dirty. It wasn't hard. I took one for the team and...didn't clean my stove for several days.

You're welcome.



Gross, right?

The first step to cleaning the cooked on greasy grime is to sprinkle it with baking soda. Next, wet a cloth and rub the baking soda into the grime. Then, wipe up the baking soda.

That's it.

In about a minute, my stove looked like this:



And...it doesn't just work on stoves. You know how pans get grease residue that builds up? It takes that off, too!

The other night, I broiled some meat and then The Boy sent my stainless steal pan through the dishwasher without getting out the burnt on broiler goo...

With a little baking it soda it was sparkling clean!
icky broiler grease!
you totally wanted a picture of my ceiling, didn't you?


Just because the before and after shots are so nice...




Next ... on to vinegar!

And if you're stopping by from one of the link parties that featured this blog post, and have an awesome project if your own to share, please do so at the link party I Co-Host every Thursday! Pin Inspiration Thursday!

Linked up at:

Shaken Together ** Weekend Show Off Party ** The Sunday Stop **Busy Mondays **Mop it Up Mondays **Metamorphosis Monday **It's Overflowing ** The Gunny Sack ** Skip to My Lou's **Creative Me **our delightful home ** handmade tuesday **Cowgirl Up ** Tuesday Confessional ** Reasons to Skip the Housework **Whimsey Wednesday ** Works for Me Wednesday ** Wow Me Wednesday ** Homemade By You ** Show Me What You've Got **Home & Garden Thursday ** Mom On Time Out **House of Hepworths **Creative Thursday **The Shabby Nest **tatertots & jello **

Friday, July 27, 2012

Very Frugal Friday


Happy Friday everyone!

I'm always excited to share great deals with friends and this week, I'd like all my local readers to stop by River Region Family. This is a great blog dedicated to the awesome deals and activities for families in Alabama's River Region.

And if you aren't in the River Region, I bet you can find a blog just like River Region Family for your area. You will be amazed by all the fun frugal or free activities that happen every week.

Now, on to the savings!

This week was the stock up on protein that always makes my savings look lower. So many coupon bloggers show amazing savings, but rarely show the big trips where the savings aren't always eye popping. I'm keeping it real this week in showing how I spent $55 and got enough protein for two weeks worth of meals and the rest of my groceries for a week.

And as I wallow in my "I'm not a good enough couponer" misery, I have to remember that feeding a family of 8 for $55 for a week is NOTHING to be ashamed over. My weekly budget is actually $100 and I'm usually well under that.


Here's the breakdown this week...keep in mind, I hit the markdown meats at Winn Dixire and shopped Publix. I took one big picture because it's been one of those weeks :P

7 lbs of ground beef @ 2.24/lb
7 lbs chicken breasts @ 1.50/lb
4 lbs round steak @ 2.17/lb
4 zip loc bags $1/2 manu + $1/2 store X2
1/3 lb pepperoni $2 off deli meat WYB 3 ziploc
lettuce
4 kiwi
2 starburst $1/2
toilet paper
7 yogurt @ .25/ea
3 pack pencils
philly indulgence .75/ea
3 boxes cereal
6 ramen noodles
2 bags spinach $1/1 store coupon
2 olive oil $1/1 hangtag X2
2 V8 splash $1/2
2 juicy juice boxes $1/1 X2
nutella $1/1
2 smuckers .35/1 X2
Marie's dressing $1/1 X2

I think that's everything! I also was able to use a $5/30 WD coupon and a $5/25 Save A lot coupon since I went to two stores this week :)

I also had to get food for our special family members...


Penny and Sheldon joined our family almost 3 weeks ago. We adopted them our local shelter. They are shepherd mix puppies and we're going through a small bag of puppy food every 3 days. I haven't found puppy food in a 50 lb bag yet ;)





And our wonderful Josie. We lost our furry friend Steve in a tragic "look both ways before crossing the street" incident in June. Josie was finally happy again (she didn't like Steve) and then we brought the dogs home. And then the kids stuck her in a dress. Josie has always been a really good sport and we just love her to pieces.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pin Inspiration 7/26


 



This week's party hostess is the amazing Jane from Jane's Adventure's in Dinner! 

Happy, Happy Day!
It's time to both give and receive some Pin'inspiration!
Thank you so much for being here and sharing with myself (Adventuresindinner), Micki (ADD Housewife) and Marilyn (ArtsyGirlConnections).
We totally, totally appreciate your efforts and each week we are beyond wowed with what you do!
A few of the projects that we found especially fantastic were....(remember to grab a nifty button if you were featured C:)

 
I totally love these easy and tasty looking teatime treats by Ethereal Plus What I Love



This gorgeous top was a total winner by Tousled Day.


And how about this fabulously refurbished table by The Decorating Chica

Don't you love when an existing piece is given a new life?
Photobucket     What do you have for us this week?


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Christmas in July: Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls-

It's Christmas!

OK, I can dream...dream about cooler weather, pretty lights, decorations, the smell of pine trees and baking...oh yes.

Baking. I miss baking!

The weather has "cooled" down a bit to the mid 90s.

My crockpot is getting a workout because it's too hot to turn on the oven!

But I can still dream about Christmas! And you can start pinning away all these fantastic projects!













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Christmas morning in our house starts with cinnamon rolls. While the kids sit in the living room and rip through the presents, cinnamon rolls are heating up in the oven, making the house smell absolutely amazing. Once the presents are opened, we go right to warm and gooey breakfast without a lot of fuss.

Over the years I've tried several recipes, but this one I created last year was hands down the best. It was so good, it took a blue ribbon at the fair!



Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls


For the cinnamon rolls:
6½ T sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
5½ T. butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3½ cups all purpose flour
1 package instant fleishman's yeast
1 cup plus 2-4 tbsp. whole milk at room temperature 

For the filling:
1½ T butter
3 Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup sugar
½ t cornstarch
¼ t ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 t vanilla extract
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

For the glaze:
4 oz. cream cheese
1 T. butter
3 T. caramel sauce (I made mine from scratch or you can use ice cream topping)
1 T milk
½ t. vanilla extract
1 C powedered sugar

Cream together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in the egg. Mix in the flour, yeast and milk until a dough forms. Knead about 8 minutes until the dough is silky. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the filling. To make the caramelized apples, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until the apples are evenly coated. Cook about 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon to blend; set aside.
On floured surface, roll it out into a rectangle(about 12 x 14 inches for larger rolls or 9 x 18 inches for smaller rolls). Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough. Evenly distribute the caramelized apples over the top of the dough. Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough. Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls. Transfer them to a prepared baking placing the rolls about ½-1 inch apart.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 75-90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
To make the glaze, combine the cream cheese and butter in a small heatproof bowl and microwave in 15-20 second intervals until it is warm enough to whisk together. Whisk in the caramel sauce, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Swirl the glaze over the top of the cinnamon rolls. Let cool at least 15-20 minutes before serving.


*******

Now do you want more great projects?


Monday, July 23rd for Holiday Fare  Melissa's Cuisine, and Go Ahead Take a Bite  You won't want to miss their fabulous recipes!

 Come back on Tuesday,July 24th to get some great ideas on hand crafted items with Stone Gable and Living on Cypress Hill  

Be sure to visit again on Wednesday, July 25th for a Cookie Exchange with Laughter and Grace  

and on Thursday, July 26th, you'll be treated to some beautiful Chrismas Card ideas as well ways to display them with Scraptastic Memories and Mrs. Hines Class  

Then, on Friday it's a Blog Hop! So pull out those old posts and dig through your files and link up your recipes, crafts, and decor ideas at any one of the hostesses blogs 8 hostesses, 1 blog hop.


\linked up to these awesome parties:

Debbie Doos ** Scrumptious Sundays ** Mop it Up Mondays ** It's Overflowing ** The Gunny Sack ** Busy Mondays ** Made by You Mondays ** Show me What You've Got ** Homemade Tuesdays ** Cowgirl Up ** Tuesday Confessional **Simply Sensational Tuesday **Talent Tuesday** uncommonly yours ** Wow me Wednesday ** Homemade by you ** Whimsey Wednesday **Taking a Time Out **Creative Thursday ** House of Hepworths **tater tots & Jello **Back for Seconds Social **
The DIY Dreamer

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Finals & Creamy Polenta

I almost didn't go shopping this week. There wasn't a whole lot in the ad that interested me, but I decided to go through the printed coupons and see if there were any good deals at the store.

I'm really glad I went. I got some fantastic deals by combining store and manufacturer coupons. It was great to get kids' yogurt for 62 cents each!

The other great part of the trip was sampling meal. Publix always has terrific recipes and my kids love hitting the store around dinner time just for the samples. This time, the side dish of creamy polenta was delicious and I just needed the goat cheese to make it!

Polenta is a creamy yellow cornmeal dish. In the south, we call it grits. My kids won't eat grits. They will eat polenta LOL I've included the recipe at the bottom of this post.

My total savings was $65 and my total before taxes was $39.


I'm continuing my stock up of school lunch items and snacks for the summer. I added a few special treats for myself including some chocolate cream cheese and whole fruit bars. Piled in the middle are 10 bags of chex mix. I had a .50/2 coupon and paired it with a $1/1 store coupon. It made the bags about $1 each.




Creamy Polenta

Ingredients
1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Steps
  1. Combine cornmeal, broth, salt, and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH 8–10 minutes, whisking every 3 minutes, or until polenta has thickened.
  2. Stir in goat cheese and serve.


Also, don't forget Christmas in July is starting MONDAY!





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linked up at these great parties!

House of Hepworths ** Fabulous Fridays ** Southern SAvers ** I heart publix **

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Christmas in July!

 
Announcing...
dum,dum da-da, dum....
the CHRISTMAS IN JULY BLOGGER BLOCK PARTY with 8 fabulous hostesses! Each day next week, our hostesses will take turns sharing ideas to help you get ready for the holiday season.

 Check in on Monday, July 23rd for Holiday Fare with ADD Housewife, Melissa's Cuisine, and Go Ahead Take a Bite  You won't want to miss their fabulous recipes!

 Come back on Tuesday,July 24th to get some great ideas on hand crafted items with Stone Gable and Living on Cypress Hill  

Be sure to visit again on Wednesday, July 25th for a Cookie Exchange with Laughter and Grace  

and on Thursday, July 26th, you'll be treated to some beautiful Chrismas Card ideas as well ways to display them with Scraptastic Memories and Mrs. Hines Class  

Then, on Friday it's a Blog Hop! So pull out those old posts and dig through your files and link up your recipes, crafts, and decor ideas at any one of the hostesses blogs 8 hostesses, 1 blog hop.




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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pin Inspiration Thursday 7/19

I'm so inspired by all the projects this week! It was wonderful to come home from vacation and go straight to seeing all the work YOU have done!








Pin Inspiration Button


Welcome To Another Create, Share, Inspire,
Pin'Inspirational #42 Party Day Here Today!!
Thanks to all you amazing friends that stop in each week to share you creativity, 
inspirations and so much more! It means SO much to us and we sincerely 
appreciate YOU!! Be Sure To Join Our Board On Pinterest 
And Link All Your Amazing Pin' Worthy Posts!
* TOP FIVE {5FEATURES*
........................................
This chiffon floral clutch is a great way to upcycle a 
thrift store clutch. Kristina J shows us how to do it!
This first project has me in love. Puppy love that is...
The Healthy Branscoms bring us healthy 
treats for our four legged friends.
And check out this rather adorable and cute 
Summer is the perfect time for a no bake dessert like this 
map and a window into a piece of art.
.................................. 
How LOVELY Are These Features..? 
SO MUCH TO Pin' AWAY!!!
Thanks SO much for all the amazing and inspiring links!
Are you ready to create and show off your own today..??
Little Teenie Party Rules To Please Observe
+ Please link your great projects - AS MANY AS YOU WANT!!
+ Please do follow myself and wonderful co-hosts Marilyn  Jane
+ Do snag a button if you are featured / spread the word...
Please link to an exact post so we can indulge in your featured creativity...
+ Tell a friend so they can join on in and be pin'inspired with us!
+Turning off word verification encourages others 
to comment on your wonderful projects.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY TO P A R T Y!
Wishing You A HAPPY WEEK!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I left my heart in New Orleans

Have you ever visited a city and instantly fell in love? That's what is was like for me and New Orleans.

I am a huge history nut and absolutely love that I live in a city that is historically significant. But New Orleans...there's just something magical about it. Maybe it's the merging of so many cultures together? The architecture? The food?

All I know is I really want to go back...without the kids!

The kids had a great time with all the street performers and eating beignets.

mmmmm Cafe du Monde


Across from Cafe du Monde is St. Louis Cathedral. My girls thought it was Cinderella's castle. LOL Once inside, they weren't disappointed Cinderella wasn't there.


The art was amazing. We're not Catholic, so the children and I were fascinated by the ornate details. Our churches are very boring. Very little art and uncomfortable cushioned seats.  And our organs aren't nearly as fancy.




The children were spent, so we didn't have any time to see the cemeteries. That's definitely on the list for next time. And a haunted city tour.

Have you visited New Orleans? What were your favorite things to see or do?


linked up at:

Uncommonly Yours ** Whimsy Wednesday **Wednesday Whatsits **Fridays Unfolded ** Hodge Podge Friday **

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Earthquake Cake

Better late than never seems to be a theme for birthdays at our house. The kids always get around to having cake with the family...eventually.

And, to be honest, this year I did a whole lot better than I did last year for Little B's birthday: celebrating his June birthday in September!

This year, we put off his party and the kids headed to Flint Creek Watertown in Mississippi. Fun with cousins. Sunburns...no complaints from Little B!



And then a day in New Orleans...Munching on beignets at Cafe du Monde and seeing the city. Turns out Little B loves music and recently started playing the trumpet. So this was pretty awesome for him, all around.


Once we were home, it was finally time to have cake. For a special treat, I made an Earthquake Cake. It gets it's name because it looks like there are fissures all through the cake. I've had this recipe for years and pull it out on special occasions...like my youngest son turning 11.



The traditional recipe for this calls for German Chocolate. I changed it up this year and used Red Velvet. mmmmm

Earthquake Cake

  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package cake mix (German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Fudge)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease the bottom and sides of one 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  2. Layer coconut in the bottom of pan.
  3. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions and pour over coconut.
  4. Combine cream cheese, butter or margarine and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. (TIP: Add the confectioners' sugar 1 C at a time in order to avoid a HUGE mess!) Pour over cake mix.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes. Toothpick will not come out clean.





linked up at these great parties!

Debbie Doos ** It's Overflowing ** Show it Off ** Busy Mondays ** Cure for the common Monday ** Scrumptious Sunday ** Mop it Up Mondays ** Nifty Thrifty Tuesday ** Show Me What You've Got ** Handmade Tuesdays ** Cowgirl Up ** Tuesday Confessional ** Simply Sensational Tuesday **Talent Tuesday** Tuesday's Treasures **Uncommonly Yours ** Homemade By You ** Whimsey Wednesday **Wednesday Whatsits **Taking a Time Out **House of Hepworths **Creative Thursday ** Days of Chalk and Chocolate ** Flaunt it Fridays **Whatcha Whipped Up **Shine On Fridays ** Fridays Unfolded ** Kitchen Fun with my 3 sons ** Hodge Podge Friday **


Tip Junkie handmade projects