Archive for October, 2013

DIY – Homemade Lemon Air Freshener

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There are times when my house smells a little off.  It could be the dogs, the kids or something I made.  Actually, more than likely, it is Craig….


I have been looking for a solution that agreed with my husband’s sensitive nostrils.  If I burn a candle or use a plug in, he will get a headache.  It is uncanny.  There were times in the past when I tried to do these things on the sly.  I would burn a Macintosh candle and then open all the windows in the house.


The end result was Craig with a headache AND allergies.  Not good.  Especially for Dizee.


I also have a fear of plug-ins (like those from Glade or the Yankee Candle Company).  I read a long time ago they could cause fires if they were left plugged in and I worry about something happening while I am not home.


I even bought unscented Febreze but the hubby still said there was a smell.


After one particular episode, the house really needed some airing out.  Without going into particulars, I was losing my mind over a lingering smell that wasn’t escaping the confines of my house with the windows open.


I remembered reading that a bowl of vinegar was supposed to work to ‘absorb’ smells.  Most people suggested white vinegar with a few drops of essential oil.



Well, I am not on the essential oil bandwagon, so I googled lemons.  Lo & behold someone said you can use sliced up lemons.  Score!


Baking soda is also a big odor absorber – it says so right on the box!  Therefore, I used these three items in the trifecta of odor killing.


I simply added a heaping tablespoon of baking soda, a few lemon slices and covered it with white vinegar.  So simple.


Did it work? Yes.  Or No.  I am not 100% sure.  The smell cleared out pretty quickly afterwards, but it could have been coincidence.  I did notice the smell of lemons whenever I got within 10-15 feet of the bowl.


I let the bowl sit out for approximately 24-30 hours.  It ended up turning all nasty and brown.  In my head, it was evidence of all the odors in my home.  In actuality, it is probably what happens when fresh ingredients are left out, uncovered in a bowl.


Will I use it again? Definitely – especially when lemons are on sale.  I love that everything is harmless to animals too – I am klutzy and can pretty much guarantee at some point or another, a bowl of this will end up on the floor.


Has anyone else tried something like this?  I am interested in hearing if it worked for you!

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Kiddie Craft – Toilet Roll Monsters

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Ok, they are not perfect… but then again, no one is….  Well, unless you are Hugh Jackman… I can’t seem to find his flaw… loves his wife, seems like a good dad, obviously takes care of himself, -oh sorry – digressing… back to monsters.



This is another idea from the Oriental Trading Company’s catalog.  Since I had all the supplies, it didn’t cost me a single penny.  The kiddos got to duke it out / choose each monster’s attributes.   The sky is the limit! (Or the threshold of mom’s crafty-prowess – some of their ideas were waaaay outside my skillset)





1)      Determine what your monster will look like (I did not do this and there were some creative differences, shall we say)

2)      Cut out the body (in my case it was a length of cardstock) and glue around the toilet paper holder (I used the real glue here and it held great!  I just had to be a little patient and forcefully hold the paper for a moment)

3)      Cut out eyes, mouths, teeth, hair, antenna, hands, hats, noses, feet, toenails, etc.  I used a coin to help measure & create circles.  I seriously lack the circle-making-skill

4)      Glue all your pieces on and call it a Monster!
Sorry if the directions are lame – but this is really simple and you can do whatever works for you!  Has anyone made these before?  Or any other toilet paper roll crafts?


Update:  Apparently, Otter loved the blue one… Wop Wop…

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Green Cleaning – Tile Grout

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Ok, the before picture is so utterly embarrassing, but I am posting it anyway.  To my defense, my camera has a million-time zoom.  I swear it did not look this bad while showering or bathing the kiddies.



Cooper has tried drinking the bathwater often enough that I worry about what I use to clean the tub.  Besides, Otter and Pinto love licking the tub after a bath too.


I did some searches online and in a green cleaning book I took out of the library.  Most suggested some sort of mix of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.  Total Deja vou!



This was a little more work than previous ‘cleaning’ and is certainly is more work than using spray-on scrubbing bubbles.  But it was by no means back breaking labor.


I used a damp rag to wet down some of the grout & sprinkled the baking soda on where it would stick (mostly around the edge of the tub).


I waited 10-15 minutes and went back to scrub with Craig’s toothbrush.  KIDDING! (or am I????)


I mixed together 2 parts baking soda to 1 part hydrogen peroxide and used a little elbow grease.


It worked wonders on the tile grout – it cleaned up like it was nobody’s business.  As for the tub caulking – it did a decent job.  Any ‘pink’ mold was taken care of easily.  I had one or two trouble spots I had to really go back to.


All in all, definitely an effective way to clean the shower.

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A Zombie Game my Kids Love

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“Oh Man, Mom! The Zombie ate my brain!”


This phrase is uttered with surprising regularity in my house.


Max is always on the lookout for not-so-scary games.  He likes something spooky, but not overly scary.


Enter Plants Vs. Zombies!  It is an incredibly cute game where you need to defend your home (and your brain)  from a motley crew of comical zombies.  Your arsenal includes various plants (such as a pea-shooter, cat-tails, corn launchers and watermelon catapults).


Honestly, even Craig and I are into this game.  I enjoy having everyone snuggled on the couch playing.  I just suggest lowering the volume when you play the game in public (since the zombies vocabulary consists solely of “BRAINS”… you may get a few odd looks).


I maybe reaching a little (a lot) but there is even a learning component.  You need to save up ‘suns’ in order to purchase your plants, so there is some math involved.  There is even some strategic thinking skills being worked on (where should you place your plants for greater damage).  Yeah, maybe I am reaching.


There are two versions of Plants vs. Zombies.  The original costs you a buck but the gameplay is a little easier for the youngin’s (and mom) plus it provides a lot of cool features without having to do any in-game purchases.  Plants Vs. Zombies 2 (the screen capture from above) is free, but really pushes the in-game purchases.  A little annoying.


Personally, I am an original PVZ girl – it was a dollar well spent.

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Paper Plate Gourmet : Brussel Sprouts

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Guess What.  I love brussel sprouts.  HA! Who ever thought they would hear THAT coming out of my mouth?  Please pick your jaw up off the ground.


I bought these at the Farmer’s Market by the office  (I felt very sophisticated) .  I liked that I could buy just a little since only Pinto and I enjoy eating them in my house.


They are super easy to make.  When I eat them, I feel as if I have finally grown up.  (Although, I know plenty of adults who won’t eat them. Yep! I am talking about you Eyeball!)




The Aforementioned Brussel Sprouts

1 TBS of Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper, to taste



  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Layer a cookie sheet with aluminum foil
  3. Cut the Brussel Sprouts in half (I sometimes remove the outside leaves if they look unappealing)
  4. Toss with Olive Oil
  5. Spread them out on the cookie sheet, salt & pepper them to your preference
  6. Bake for 8 minutes, stir them up, bake for another 5-7 minutes


I like them best hot.   When I tried reheating them  I wasn’t too happy with them.  It could just be that the microwave is not the answer to reheating everything.


Does anyone else like Brussel Sprouts?  Did seeing this make you run to the store to buy some?   HA!

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Score Another Point for Coconut Oil ! Use it as a Moisturizer.

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Does it seem gross that I have been using oil on my face?


I have  spent a lot of time in the sun, so in order to not look like a shar pei when I finally grow up, I thought I should be using something on my face.     I had been using a (free full size sample) of Olay but stopped after the animal testing epiphany I had recently.


I needed something that went on nice and easy, wasn’t greasy and made my skin baby-bottom soft.  Oh and didn’t cost a boat-load of money.  Enter my favorite non-living thing in the world – coconut oil.


Mentally I had issues scooping it out of the big jar and applying it to my face.  I mean, this is the stuff I use to cook and bake with!  I ended up putting a heaping spoonful into this Tupperware and left it in the bathroom.



I apply it once (sometimes twice) a day right after a shower or washing my face.  I have normal to dry skin and it has worked spectacularly.


My only mistake? Leaving the toilet seat down.  Otter sure had a good time licking the coconut oil out of my tupperware.  Thankfully, it is good for beagles too.


Coconut Oil – King among Oils.    Love this stuff!

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Starting “Craig Diet” & My Meal Plan

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PS – There are two rather annoying typos in this post of which I can’t fix! BOO!!!  Five points for all of you who figure them out!!! SORRY!


T-minus double digits to Disney.  It is crunch time.  Time to put up or shut up.


Should I keep going?


I do not want to spend a million dollars on an awesome vacation only to hate myself in all my pictures.


I loved Weight Watchers and it really does work, but nowadays, I want something a little different (Sorry Gina).  A Jump Start, if you will.    Something that requires Zero thinking.


It is time to call in the big guns….


Craig Diet, as I lovingly call it, is my husband’s tricks to lose weight.  You can read up on all the tenants of the diet, but just remember, he isn’t a doctor or anything, he just knows stuff.    Besides, this is just a ‘jump start to weight loss’ kind of thing to get me motivated and help curtail some of those bad habits (like eating a peanut butter cup at 5:15 AM when I get up).



Did you know the average stomach is the size of a closed adult fist?  Much smaller than a Large Double Cheeseburger Meal with a Giant Coke from McDonalds.


Craig’s theory is you need to ‘shrink’ your stomach back to its normal size, so he likes to eat something small every few hours for the first few days.  He also thinks this will start to ‘rev’ my metabolism.


Here is my “average” day



The dinners I have planned are far from exciting, but can do the job:

4 Dino nuggets

3 Ravioli with Sauce

Lemon Chicken

½ Chicken Roll from the Pizza Place

Chicken Fajitas


This is the plan.   The first day or two I definitely feel hungry, but by day three and four, the smaller size servings do fill me up.  I will let you know on the 21st how it played out.


I need to confess – I had one of these last night…. Beware… They are out there… Waiting….  I thought I only had to battle these demons during Easter!


Does anyone have any Meal Plans for the week?  Or a Diet named after their militant husband?

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Three Green Ways to Clean Your Windows

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I have three dogs and two children who like to smush their face against my windows.  Daily.



I almost always have some sort of snout or slobber imprint on my windows.  This gets old very quickly.  I always used Windex, because, isn’t that the thing to do?


After reading a Green This!  by Deirdre Imus, I started thinking maybe I shouldn’t use chemicals on a surface that 71.4285% of my family uses like a postage stamp.


I tested three different methods and they all worked!!! The Joy!  So, take your pick.  My favorite was choice “C”


a)      Good Ol’ White Vinegar.  I put it in a Dollar Store Spray Bottle by mixing  50% water & 50% vinegar & sprayed that bad boy like it was Windex.  The Positive: Got rid of all the streaks and left a nice looking window.  The Negative: I am not a fan of the smell! Yuck!

b)      Seltzer.  Yes, the bubbly stuff.  I was a little confused on how to use it.  Thankfully, when I opened the bottle, all the seltzer fizzled up and out all over the countertop.  I just wiped it up with a rag and then cleaned the window with it.   The Positive: It got the job done with no foul smell.  The Negative: It’s Seltzer!  Was I only supposed to use it when it fizzed?  Do I just drink the open bottle?  I had more questions than answers.


c)       Water.  Yes, plain water.  The stuff that comes out of my tap.  Can’t get less expensive than that.  I simply wet a rag and ran it over the windows.   Done.  The Positive: Cheap & Always available.  The Negative:  ?


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