Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Here is a fantastic article I found today that details how to make your own cleaning products. This is a fantastic way to save money...and protect the environment. The article includes numerous recipes for things like furniture polish, window cleaners, & scrubbing powders.

April 21, 2001 - By Tyler Treadway of the Stuart News staff

Old-fashioned, homemade cleaners
outshine store-bought competition
When it comes to '50s sitcoms, maybe Father Knows Best; but Chris Procise says that when it comes to cleaning, it's more like 'Granny knew best.'

"Everything she used for cleaning - vinegar, baking soda, club soda, and ammonia - still work today," says Procise, the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for the University of Florida - Martin County Cooperative Extension Service.

Continue Reading....


Simple Tip - Create a Mobile Car Office

I have a small binder that I keep in my car with tasks that can be completed while I am waiting to pick up my family members from various activities. I use the downtime to create to-do lists, to write birthday cards, to send letters and to balance my checkbook.


Simple Tip - Inexpensive Cheese Snack Stick

I love to feed my kids cheese sticks for a healthy snack. Instead of purchasing the expensive individually packaged ones, I purchase a large block of cheese at at our local wholesale club and cut it into snack-sized sticks. I divide the sticks into two freezer bags and store half of them for later use.



Photo Soap - Very Cool Craft!

A great idea...just in time for Valentine's Day! Wouldn't this make a great, inexpensive gift for a grandmother, spouse or friend?

Click here to learn how to make photo soap.

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Icky Sippies....(Sippy Cup Valves & Disposables)

(This $19.99 disposable feeding center storage center comes from Target.com)


I was cleaning the basement the other day and found a rogue sippy cup that had slipped under the toybox. I quickly carried it upstairs and tossed it without even looking at the contents.

I learned my lesson after I opened a cup that had spent several days in my backyard in mid-August. I *think* it had been filled with milk, but only a N.A.S.A. scientist would be able to figure out where the blob of smelly goo originated. *GAG*.

I am sick of tossing out and losing $6.00 sippy cups so I bought some disposable ones from Target a few months ago. They cost about a buck a piece and come in sets of four. I love them. I take them in the van on long trips. I carry them in my backpack. I used them at the park this summer. They are great for our adventures.

Unfortunately, while they say "spill proof". They aren't. If your toddler shakes it hard enough...he/she WILL be able to dump the contents on the carpet, kitchen floor, or where-ever they want to sprinkle juice, water or milk.

If you aren't ready to toss the real ones yet, check out these sippy cup cleaning tips from About.com. (I especially enjoyed the Denture Cleaner tip!) Pop Pop, Fizz Fizz!

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50 Ideas to Organize Your Home

“Organize” is a familiar word heard on many of today’s popular decorating shows. Every family has its struggles with some type of clutter whether it is stacks of papers or a cluttered and cramped bathroom. In fact, the National Association of Professional Organizers reports that 80% of what we keep we never use, we wear 20% of the clothes we own while the other 80% hangs there just in case, and 25% of adults say they pay bills late because they lost them.

If you have stacks of papers, frazzled mornings, or lost car keys, use the following ideas to help you organize your family and home.


1. If you have rushed mornings, make lunches, set out clothes, and put everything you need for the next day in a designated area the night before. Have kids pack homework and books in their backpack so they will be ready for the next day.

2. Place your purse, briefcase and keys in a designated area every day so you always know where they are.

3. Decide the night before what is on the menu for breakfast the next morning. If the family is to have cereal, set out the cereal boxes, bowls, and spoons.

4. Make a “to do” list for the next day and organize it according to what task needs to be completed first.

5. Fill the gas tank the day before so you won’t have to worry about getting gas if you are running late the next morning.


6. To organize countertop clutter, purchase a plastic tub with a handle on top. Place all of your accessories such as hair spray and lotion, in the tub and place under the counter. Take the tub out when you are ready to use it and then put it back under the counter when you are finished with it.

7. To organize your shower, buy shower caddies to place your soaps and shampoos in. There are numerous styles available in many discount and fine department stores.

8. To help keep your shower doors clean, buy a water squeegee (like you use on your windows) and place it in the shower. When you are done taking a shower just wipe down the doors with the squeegee and you’ll have a clean and dry shower door. Many of the squeegees come with a whole in the handle, which is convenient for hanging it up in the shower with a suction cup.

9. Install a straight magnet in your medicine cabinet for tweezers, nail clippers, and scissors.

10. Store reading material in a decorative magazine rack. As you add new magazines, throw away the older ones to keep the magazine rack from overflowing.

11. Throw away items in your bathroom that are old or you don’t use anymore, such as make-up, lotions, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, old razors, sunscreen, and perfume.

12. If you are out of space in your bathroom cabinets for towels, roll them up and display them in a decorative basket next to the shower or bath tub.

13. Install hooks on the back of your bathroom door or wall space for towels and robes.

14. Use drawer organizers for makeup, jewelry, ponytail holders, and other loose items.

15. Place a shelving unit above the toilet for storing extra towels, washcloths, and other accessories.

16. Put a clock in each bathroom so everyone can be on time.


17. Place baskets in your closet for laundry and dry cleaning.

18. Sort through your clothes and anything you don’t wear anymore, bag and donate to a local charity. This includes clothes that are no longer in fashion, no longer fit, or clothes you haven’t worn in a year. Also, get rid of those worn out and/or uncomfortable shoes you no longer wear.

19. Separate your clothes by season. If you have a tall closet with several rows of rods, place current seasons clothes on the lowest level and move out of season clothes on the tallest rods.

20. Categorize your clothes by purpose, such as work, casual, and formal.

21. Gather all unused wire hangers and take them to the dry cleaners to recycle.

22. Hang scarves on a hanger or scarf rack. Also, hang belts and ties on hangers or racks.

23. Use a shoe rack to keep shoes organized and throw out shoe boxes that clutter the floor.

24. Install hooks on the closet wall to hang up hats and purses.

25. Store clothes that you want to save in a vacuum sealed plastic bag. These bags pack down for storing under the bed or in a closet. Remember to save only the clothes that you think will be worn!


26. Organize your cabinets into several categories such as plates, glasses, Tupperware, kid’s plates and sippy cups. Place the plates on one shelf, the glasses on another shelf, and so on. This way when you empty the dishwasher, you or other family members will always know where everything goes.

27. Group your foods together in the pantry for easy access and to help you identify when inventory is getting low. For example, group together your canned goods, cereals, pasta, etc.

28. Place all packets (gravy, Jell-O, sauces) in a basket and place on shelf.

29. Purchase a spice rack that works best for your cabinet. Alphabetize your spices and place frequently used spices on the front of the rack and all others towards the back of the rack.

30. For all of those plastic containers and Tupperware items, dedicate one cabinet or drawer for those items and try to purchase stackable containers to maximize your space.

31. Save your countertop space for items you use daily. Only display cookbooks that you really use and if possible store your canister set in your pantry instead of on the counter.

32. If you have a collection of clipped recipes that are filling drawers and countertop space, purchase a three-ring binder in a color that matches your decor, a box of plastic sheet protectors (to protect your recipes), paper, and a set of dividers with tabs. Glue each recipe onto a piece of paper (use front and back of each piece of paper) and then place into a sheet protector. Categorize recipes (breakfast, desert, etc.), label the tabs, and place recipes in binder. Additional tip, if you purchase a binder that has pockets, store clipped recipes that you want to try in the pockets before adding them to your collection.

33. Do you have mounds of plastic bags from the grocery store? Place about 10 bags inside of 1 bag and throw the rest away. You can always get more the next time you go to the grocery store.

34. Get in a habit of cleaning out your refrigerator every time you bring home groceries. Dispose of any food that is no longer edible or your family is not going to eat.

Kid’s Room:

35. In a boy’s room, put a basketball hoop over a laundry basket for slam-dunking dirty clothes.

36. Place a two-compartment hamper in your kid’s room so he or she can sort light clothes from dark clothes as they undress.

37. String a clothesline in your child’s room and have your child clothespin his or her favorite artwork.

38. Hang a fish net from the ceiling to store stuffed animals, dolls, or action figures.

39. Add a bookshelf and help your child organize their books.

40. Buy the kids their own alarm clocks and teach them how to get up on time.


41. Make sure everything in your house has a home. Teach all family members to mind their own messes. For example, if you take it out, put it back; if you open it, close it; if you throw it down, pick it up; if you make a mess, clean it up; and so on.

42. Put wastebaskets in every room and place several unused trash bags in the bottom of each one. This will eliminate countless trips to retrieve new trash bags and give all family members a place to throw away their trash.

43. Place a decorative basket on the coffee table to keep remote controls in.

44. Use a plastic caddy (instead of shelf space) to store cleaning supplies in and tote it from room to room.

45. Keep baskets or tubs for toys in every room for fast pickup and play time.

46. For kids’ outdoor toys, purchase a weatherproof, bench-style storage box and store toys inside. Also, gather all outdoor balls and place into a large, mesh drawstring bag and store in garage.

47. Each night before bedtime, have all family members pick up clutter for 15 minutes. Make a game out of it and see who can pick up the most things in the shortest amount of time.

48. Create a family message center on the refrigerator or other prominent place and use it for shopping lists, reminders, calendars, and phone messages.

49. Make a master grocery list on your computer from a spreadsheet or Word document. Categorize the groceries into sections such as frozen, dairy, and so on. In each category, list the most frequent items that you buy. Organize the grocery list according to the way your favorite grocery store’s isles are set up. Print copies and keep one copy handy for the current week. When you see you are low on a product or you’re preparing your grocery list for the week, simply highlight whatever items you need. Keep the document current by adding new items and/or deleting items you no longer buy. Also, create a space on the document for Misc. items where your family members can write down what they need that is not on your list.

50. Create an in box on your desk for papers (bills, permission slips, etc.) that need your attention.

The goal of organizing isn’t to make your home pristine but rather to make your life more calm and functional. Work with the above ideas and you will end up having less clutter, a simplified home, more quality time for yourself and your family, and improved productivity.

Lesley Dietschy is a writer, jewelry designer, and the founder of a network of popular websites including http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com and http://www.HomeGardenExchange.com Both of these websites feature valuable information and resources to assist you in decorating your home and garden.

For beautiful beaded bracelets, please visit: http://www.BeadedBraceletBoutique.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lesley_Dietschy

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I just made a 20 page photo book for $12.00 *shipped*!

I wasn't planning to blog tonight but I am so excited about this site (and the fantastic deal I just got) that I had to share.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't scrapbook. I wish I could. I love the beautiful books my friends make, but I simply can't pull out all of the tools, photos and papers without my two preschoolers having a free-for-all in the kitchen.

I am not sure how I found this site, but I am thrilled I came across the link. I just created a twenty page book for $12.00 (including shipping!)

It was so simple! You download the software and pick the photo layouts you like. Then, you simply drag and drop (and edit) your photos to fit into the arraingements. They have really trendy backgrounds with wedding, birthday, travel (and more) themes to pick from. Really, I could go on...and on...about how cool this site is, but I'll let you give it a spin yourself.

PS....(New customers get a 50% off coupon so that's why I got such a steal of a deal!)

In case you want a preview, here is a sample page of my new book. (Okay, that was just a ploy to show off my babies...) =)

Okay...just one more....

The end. =)

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Search Tool for Kids

I found this site today and thought it was fantastic! Not only is it a great starting point for older kids to search the web, it is a great place for parents to find useful articles, crafts and other activities for younger kids too.

Keep in mind that it does NOT offer an internet filter. It is simply a good jumping off point for finding age-appropriate websites for kids.

From the site....KidsClick! was created by a group of librarians at the Ramapo Catskill Library System, as a logical step in addressing concerns about the role of public libraries in guiding their young users to valuable and age appropriate web sites.

Click on the logo above and check it out!



Tips for organizing your mini-van.

I couldn't have found this post at a better time.

Yesterday when I pulled into my driveway and opened up the automatic doors on my van two fast food lids, a coffee cup, my daughter's preschool paperwork and some random reciepts flew into my neighbors' yard (thanks to a timely gust of wind).

Needless to say, I was a bit embarassed has he helped me clean *my* mini-van clutter out of his neatly groomed yard.

"Do you need this stuff?" he asked as he handed me the receipts....... "um..no". Ug.

My goal for the weekend...clean my mini-van and organize it. If I don't do it soon we are all going to need tetanus shots before the next road trip.

Here is a great article on organizing a mini-van from a fellow blogger that you might find useful too!


Shopping Lists, Planners, Organizers, Oh MY!

I just found this wonderful site and terrific resource for the *organizationally challenged* folks like me.

Click this link for printable shopping lists, day-planner pages and other useful printables.

There are more great tools on Donnayoung.org.



Speaking of Play Dough....

A few days ago I posted some great playdough recipes. Shortly after my post, I started to clean out my pantry and noticed that I had almost two dozen yellow playdough containers stacked up on my daughter's craft shelf.

Just as I was about to toss them, my son walked up and asked for Cheerios. AH HA!

Since I am way too lazy to stuff the playdough back into the containers (I use zip-lock bags), I started using them as snack holders. They are the perfect size for purses and backpacks and the color-coded lids are great for those of you who are more organized than I am.

Goldfish...blue lids
Cheerios....red lids
Pretzels....green lids, etc.. (you get the point)

I actually pre-filled several containers with healthy "grab-and-go" snacks to prevent my toddler son from pouring a full box of cheerios into a dixie cup. UG.


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Penguins have never been so HOT!

With awesome new movies like "Happy Feet" & "March of the Penguins" hitting the big screen & DVD stores penguins are HOT!

Check out this great recipe for Cream Cheese Penguins. These will be a hit at upcoming Christmas and kids birthday parties.




1001 Vinegar Tips

Here are 7 of them...only 994 to go!

Prevent lint from clinging to clothes by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the wash cycle.

To remove soap residue that makes black clothes look dull use white distilled vinegar in your final rinse.

Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight.

Some stains on clothing and linens can be soaked out using equal parts milk and white distilled vinegar.

Before washing a mustard stain, dab with white distilled vinegar.

Attack spaghetti, barbecue, or ketchup stains with a white distilled vinegar and water solution.

Remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing, as well as those left by deodorants, by spraying full-strength white distilled vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine.

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Hillbilly Housewife

I literally stumbled upon this site today and I fell in love! The site owner offers simple and practical tips for homemakers with a great sense of humor. I consider myself to be a bit "hillbillyish" at times (well, considering I am from Montana, maybe I should say "redneck-ish").

Regardless, I loved this site and am certain you will too.


Playdough Recipes

It has been cold here lately and I have been desperate to find my kids some easy and fun ways to keep busy indoors. After making nearly daily trips to the store for Playdough, I decided it would be easier on my budget to make my own dough. Enjoy these great recipes I collected from the web. Please post your own in the comments section!

Enjoy these simple Playdough Recipes.

Classic Homemade Playdough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tarter
2 cups of water
1 tablespoons mineral oil
food coloring

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until
stiff. Allow to cool, then knead.

Peanut-Butter Play Dough (edible)

3 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
4 cups powdered sugar
4 cups powdered milk
3 1/2 cups corn syrup

Kool-Aid Playdough

3 cups Flour
1/2 cups salt
2 Kool aide packages
2 cups Boiling water

Mix dry ingredients together. Add boiling water. Knead on floured board and add flour by sprinkles until desired consistency.

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Pre-scooping and other clever uses for an ice-cream scoop.

Okay, am I the last person to hear about this clever little trick?

I was listening to a Mom talk radio program the other day and they were talking about simplifying birthday parties. She mentioned that she "pre-scooped" ice cream so the kids wouldn't get antsy while waiting for their plate of cake and ice-cream.

She suggested making ice-cream balls ahead of time and putting them into a Tupperware container to freeze.

I did a little "pre-scooping" search and thought I would share some other great party tricks.

You may also enjoy some of these other fun tips for Ice-Cream Scoops.

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