Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Newspaper for Washing Windows

Maybe this is common sense and maybe everyone knows about this little trick already but its new to me and I love it. Newspaper to wash your windows! My grandmother used this trick back in the day and she swears by it so I had to give it a shot.

The first thing I think of when I think about newspaper is the awful black smudges that get all over my hands and, subsequently, all over my face. So the thought of using something that produces those black smudges to wash my windows didn't seem, to me, like it would work. However, I do get these junky newspapers twice a week in the mail and I'm all for using less paper towels so I was definitely up for testing it out.

I had used a dirty washcloth to go over this mirror really fast. Obviously, it left some pretty bad streaks, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the newspaper method. I used it with my homemade window cleaner I found here. I'll probably be testing a few new window cleaning recipes when I run out. I'm just not a huge fan of using ammonia in anything.

Doesn't that look great? I never would have guessed that newspaper could produce results like that. I now have a little stack of newspaper under my kitchen sink for the next time I need to clean my windows/mirrors.

Do you know of any great homemade ammonia-free window cleaning recipes I should try? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pinterest Challenge #5: Zucchini Chips

Let me start by saying that I am grateful for this challenge. It pushed me to accomplish some of the projects/recipes/concoctions that I probably would've procrastinated on for a few more years, but 3 out of 5 so far have been huge flops. My sweater revamp (granted, I didn't follow directions on this one) and homemade granola bars didn't quite turn out how I'd hoped. Same story with these zucchini chips. In one word- BLEH! I swear, I followed the directions (click here to get to the pin) as carefully as I could, but for some reason, they  came out just awful. Normally I wouldn't share anything on here that turns out absolutely horrible, but since I committed to make it for the Pinterest Challenge, here it is. 

I covered a cookie sheet with tin foil and cooking spray and sliced the zucchini as thin as I could and laid them in a single layer on the cookie sheet. I sprayed the zucchini lightly with the cooking spray and seasoned them with salt and pepper.

I put them in the oven at 225 degrees for 45 minutes. Then, I flipped them all over and put them back in the oven for about another 45. I kept checking on them and waited until they got nice and crispy to take them out. 

Here are a couple pictures of the finished product. They don't look too bad, but trust me, they tasted horrible. Maybe they're totally fine and I just have weird taste buds, but I will not be making them again.

I texted my family about this catastrophe and told them that I didn't know what I had done wrong. My brother-in-law said, "I know what you did wrong... you made chips, out of zucchini..." He might have had a point.

Have you made anything recently that just didn't work out? What was it and are you going to try again?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Motherhood on The Awful Waffle Blog

Check out my guest post over on the Awful Waffle blog today. They are celebrating mothers this month and the gorgeous, smart, super business savvy owner, Ashley, who happens to be a mother herself, asked me to write a little about what being a mother means to me. Go check it out!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Clean your Washing Machine

If you're like me, you hardly ever think about cleaning the appliances that are responsible for cleaning other things. I mean, a washing machine sounds like it would be self-cleaning, right? But think about it; You clean yourself in the tub, but you still have to wash the tub itself otherwise you get a big, dirty ring around the top. Same goes for your washer. I found this super easy technique here and it makes the whole thing seem so much less daunting. I try to clean my washer every couple months, especially with the hard water build-up we deal with here in Utah. 

I hope you can see in the pictures how gross my washer was cause it was pretty bad. That ring around the top of the drum in the right picture was just disgusting.

I set my washer for the hottest water, longest cycle, and biggest load size. I even added water I'd brought to a boil on the stove to get it super hot. Then I added a quart of bleach, let it agitate for a minute, and let it sit for about an hour. After that, I let let it run through the rest of the cycle. 

After the bleach cycle, I immediately started my washer again on the same settings, adding some more hot water from my stove. I then added a quart of white distilled vinegar and, after letting it agitate for a minute, let it sit for an hour again before letting it run through the cycle.

While I waited for the vinegar to finish soaking, I did a little bit of scrubbing. Seriously, though, a very minimal amount of scrubbing. There were a couple places that the water didn't quite reach so I grabbed my scrub brush, dipped it in the vinegar water and went to town around the top of the drum and that thing in the middle (does anyone know what that's called?) Then I grabbed a rag and did a little bit of detailing around the nooks and crannies and outside the machine.

Here is the after shot. It looks so shiny and white and new! 

And here are the pictures next to each other so you can hopefully see the difference. I know I can!

What appliance do you have that you thought should be self-cleaning but isn't quite hitting the mark? How do you get it clean?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

I've started to notice a trend in my life- the more boys I have and the longer I have them, the girlier I become. I think I'm just trying to balance out all of the insect flashcards and laughter when poop is mentioned. Anyway, with my ever increasing girly-ness comes more makeup. Okay, maybe not more makeup per se, but definitely makeup more often. I've also developed a good little army of makeup brushes that require some thorough cleaning with my increase in makeup application. I've tried a couple different recipes and I really liked this one. Anne-Marie posted this recipe over on The Beauty Book.

Makeup Brush Cleaner:

3 parts antibacterial soap (I just used the Dawn dish soap I had on hand)

1 part olive oil

I used the same technique she described in her post- get the brush wet, get some of the makeup brush cleaner on the brush and stroke back and forth on the palm of your hand. Do the same thing under running water to rinse it. 

Anne-Marie recommends wiping off the handles of your brushes as well. I used one of my new homemade, reusable, knock-off Clorox wipes (tutorial to come soon). You can see all the makeup that was just hanging out on my brush handles. 

I hung the bristles of my brushes over the edge of my desk so the water doesn't sit on the hairs and form mildew or eat away at the adhesive holding it all together. 

I really like this method. With this recipe, I KNOW that my brushes are getting squeaky clean and I'm eliminating any bacteria that might have started to lay down some roots.

What's your makeup brush cleaning method?

Monday, April 15, 2013


Can you believe that sky?
Seriously, love.
Stacking rocks.
You can tell it was a hardcore hike by my shoe choice.
Throwing rocks over the cliff.

The past week or so has been lousy weather, but a couple really great days snuck in there beforehand. On days like that, my family loves to go hiking. I hear about how Mitch grew up outdoors and I want that same experience for my children. O is such a curious little soul that I'm always amazed at what he notices while we're walking. The fact that it allows him to release some energy isn't bad either. And L is such a trooper. He is so content no matter how long the hike we take. He's seriously the most chill baby you can imagine.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Homemade Deodorant

I have to apologize for arguably the longest hiatus ever. My family was in town last week and then I spent the better part of this week getting back in the swing of things, but now I'm back and ready to report on my latest homemade project.

I know- this may seem like I'm taking the homemade thing a little to the extreme, but when you see how simple it is to make, you just might reconsider.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a One Good Thing by Jillee groupie, but she's got some great homemade products! I found this recipe on her blog (go figure) and she says that the reason we get underarm stains is because of the aluminum in regular deodorants. So this deodorant theoretically eliminates armpit stains! How great is that? So there would be absolutely no need for the underarm stain remover I wrote about a couple weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to test this on a new white shirt yet, but when I do, I'll update you on how it goes.

Homemade Deodorant

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup corn starch

5 tbsp coconut oil

I mixed the baking soda and corn starch together and then heated up the coconut oil in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Once it melted, I added the coconut oil in a little at a time until I got a thick paste.

The consistency is a tiny bit gritty, like you would expect anything with baking soda in it to be, but it's really not bad at all. You apply it like you would lotion- but on your armpits. As a deodorant, I found it very effective (no BO for this gal), but I'm not crazy about rubbing it in with my hands. I think next time I'll try Jillee's other recipe for a solid deodorant. I promise to let you know how that goes when I do.