Friday, September 28, 2012

Tissue Trash Solution

I. Love. This. I can't believe I never thought of it before! We've got stuffy noses running through work and home, and I stumbled across this tip. It looks nicer with the little boxes, and takes up less space, but is still nice. And while the rubber band isn't exactly classy, it keeps the two boxes right next to each other. I'm sure you could rig up a nice, pretty, fancy version of the box on the right, maybe line it with foil or wax paper so that it's reusable and cover it with pretty wrapping paper, or glue the two boxes together. I like that this requires no extra work, however, and isn't wasting anything extra whatsoever. Even better, you don't have to wait for an empty box. See the tutorial on MeckMom for a simple picture of how to take the box apart in a way that allows you to pull the tissues out of one box so that you neither damage the box nor upset the nice neat stack of tissues (which can refill the full box once it's emptied). Genius!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Healthy Plants, Save the Boiling Water!

When you boil eggs, carrots, potatoes, noodles or any other food, what do you do with the water? If you just pour it down the drain, consider this instead. Pour the water into your houseplants. It's chock full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help the plants grow. You know the orange water you drain off of cooked carrots? That's exactly what is so good for the plants. You can use it on the outdoor plants too, but those plants at least have a higher chance of nutrients being replaced in the soil through natural cycles. To help perk  up your plants as well, the next time you  have a thunderstorm put them outside. Don't put them directly in the wind and rain, but the excess nitrogen in the air is amazing for the plants. It's why everything looks so much greener and prettier after storms hit.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pot and Pan Organization

I've always disliked having a single cabinet to haphazardly stack pot and pans, with a lid that may or may not hold all of the lids above. In the pictures to the left, two very simple organization techniques for organizing. Hang pots on a curtain rod with hooks, and your lids from the inside of a door or on the wall that has a towel rack screwed in. Curtain hooks work for the pots, if you cannot find an alternative you prefer. I love this . It's fantastic. The pots and pans are stored well, and it's easier to find them. They also aren't on the bottom of the cabinet, which means if there is a leak (like our water in the kitchen sink currently) then you don't have to worry about re-cleaning everything. Of course it also leaves extra room as well, so that you can put  a few awkwardly shaped things can fit underneath, like cake pans.Use towel racks on the inside of cabinet doors to hold your pot lids!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

DIY Wood Polish

Dsc_0321_rect540Make your own wood polish. The stuff at the stores is expensive, the aerosol is undesirable if you have any breathing problems whatsoever (or just don't want to inhale the stuff), and can leave unknown chemicals on your furniture as well as waxy buildup. To save money, use  lemon juice, olive oil and water. It smells fantastic, cleans well, and you don't need to save a space to store it. Mix the juice from one lemon with a tablespoon each of olive oil and water, and shake in a small container until it's well mixed. Use on a soft cloth suitable for the wood. Courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reheat Cold Rice

Rice is easy to re-heat, but often dries out in the process. My quick fix, to make it as good as the first time you had it, boil a mug of water (two minutes usually does the trick), then add the rice bowl (without removing the mug). Heat the rice, and the steam will not only keep the rice from drying out too much but will also add more moisture to the rice.
(image is of a garlic rice recipe from Life's Ambrosia. Click it to go to the recipe)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Use Less Water When You Flush the Toilet

I hand't realized that not everyone knew this trick, but it's free. Seriously. You don't need a new toilet to get one that uses less water, just a rock or brick. Don't worry about spending a lot of money to save money, or waiting until you own somewhere so that you can make changes. Put the rock or brick in the tank, to displace some of the water. However, make sure it's not a brick that would be eroded by water flow. Think more cinder block than the pretty red bricks used in house making.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Clean a Messy Mircrowave

0223_microwave00_rect540Microwaves can be so convenient, but are a pain to clean cooked-on food out of. Courtesy of Apartment Therapy, here is an easy way to clean those messes. Heat a mug of water for five minutes, and remove it. With a mitt please, or you'll burn yourself! Immediately clean the tray in the sink, closing the door as soon as the tray is out to keep the microwave hot and the steam in. Once the tray's clean, wipe the inside with a soft cloth. Replace the clean food tray. Viola! Nice, clean microwave.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Get Rid of Fruit Flies

I despise fruit flies. Granted, whenever I see them my high school biology class teachings come up, and I look at them to see their eye color and wing type. But I cannot stand them in my home, on any food that is not under wraps. My husband managed to come up with a solution that gets rid of fruit flies quickly and easily. They are attracted to apple cider vinegar, though I don't know why. If you add a few drops of dish soap, the surface tension disappears and when the flies try to land they will drown. Viola, no more fruit flies! This works better than any trap with a funnel, as there is no way for them to fly back out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blessing Bags

This tip doesn't help you clean your home, or entertain your kids. However, it's a great kit to keep on hand to help those in need. Colder weather is fast approaching, and when it hits you may want to modify the contents (include some gloves, for example). Fill a large Ziploc bag with snacks and hygiene things, including toothpaste, soap, deodorant, granola bars, a fruit cup, and chapstick. A good list of things to put in the bag can be found at KWAVS, and is pictured here. Keep a few in your car to give away to someone who is in need. So easy, and you're really making a difference, always ready to help someone, even if it's in a smaller way.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Single Use Antibiotic Packets

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches
I like to carry antibiotic ointment in many places, from my purse to the diaper bag to the center console of the car to my husbands backpack, and of course the medicine cabinet. However, I either don't have the room for a whole tube, or don't have a whole tube available to me. A wonderful solution I found is from Brian's Backpacking Blog, and requires nothing more than a straw, antibiotic ointment, a lighter and a pair of scissors. Having a pair of pliers makes it much easier, but it can be done without one. Simply cut the straw into hatever size strips you wish, fill them with some ointment, and use the lighter to melt the ends of the straw and seal the container.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Homemade Glitter

Glitter is so much fun to play with. It can be insanely annoying to clean, as well. However, when it comes to our kids their fun and smiles usually wins out over our convenience. All you need is salt, food coloring, and if you want sparkly glitter (a must, at least in my world!), silver dust as well. It requires some shaking in a container to distribute the food coloring evenly, and some oven time to dry the salt out. If you are fine waiting a few days and don't want to use the oven you can let the salt air-dry. It would also work to put the colored glitter into a dehydrator to remove the water from the coloring. Either way, what an ingenious way to save money on glitter, and not have to worry about finding the colors that you need or want! For a full tutorial, go to Say Yes to Hoboken.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Diaper Rash

There are all sorts of things out there that say they will cure diaper rash, but not all work well. And many kids have sensitive bottoms, which makes it even more difficult when trying to cure it and provide relief. If you are still lactating, the best, most hypoallergenic, fastest working cure is breast milk. Even bleeding rashes can heal fully in two days with breast milk on them, applied each diaper change or as you think necessary (from the experience of personal friends).

Second would be coconut oil. This is something I personally always keep in my home, as it can be used so many ways. I don't know how quickly this works on the very bad rashes, as my daughter has been fortunate not to have any. It can be used the same way as breast milk.

Third on my list- only because it's not one I always have on hand - is CJ's Butter (found here. I love this online store, the customer service is amazing and the owner is so helpful and kind!). You need very little to help your child, and it last's forever (I was given a sample size with one order nearly a year ago, and still have most of it). Like breast milk and coconut oil, it has more uses than just diaper rash. It works quickly, and has never caused any issues on either my daughters or my sensitive skin.

If you are cloth diapering, have no fear. All three options above are safe for cloth and spoosie diapers both,
and are fantastic natural or close-to-nature alternatives to many of the creams out there already.

If the rash lasts longer than five days, or is severe for more than three please contact your child's doctor. And if at any time it appears infected or for some reason looks "worse" than your child's normal rashes, please get ahold of your child's doctor immediately.