Saturday, September 28, 2013

So, laundry detergent, eh?

I was on a roll, I was feeling good, I knew failure was imminent!

But not today, or so I told myself!

As I was busily making my Ghetto Wipes and cleaning fluid I was also chatting with friends on the interwebz doing serious research.  In a facebook group of totally awesome people, many of whom far more skilled than I clearly, a recipe for laundry detergent surfaced.  The idea was born and I was obsessed.

I compared notes with about a million other recipes on Pintercrack.  I wanted a liquid and not a powder, and wound up doing one similar to this.  It is apparently the Duggar's recipe, but mine had slightly different ratios and made less than this one but I am not complaining.  Since it was a recipe shared by someone who makes this to sell it, I am not sharing the exact thing here -- not like I have such huge traffic it would matter but not risking it anyhoo!

So the ingredients are simple ... water, Fels-Naptha soap (or any bar soap apparently), Borax, and Washing Soda.  I made a quick Walmart run for the bar soap, the bucket (cheaper BTW at Home Depot or Lowes, NOT at Wally World go figure), and the washing soda.

Start by grating the bar of soap with a cheese grater.  Try to not be totally appalled at how much it looks like cheese.

Boil 4 cups of water and add the washing soda and borax to it (see, different steps than the Duggar one!) and once it is mixed around a bit add the cheesy soap bits.  I was trying to be really patient and get it to dissolve, but it was only mostly dissolved by the time I gave up and moved on.

I filled my big assed expensive bucket (it was like $5 instead of $3 at the hardware store LOL) with about 3.5 gallons of water by using an empty and rinsed out apple juice bottle.

While doing this step the Beans mocked my superior parenting skills by breaking into a room with a baby proof knob cover that *I* can barely use but he can remove.  Threw it into the bucket of water for good measure to let me know what he really thinks of my attempts to keep him out of my bedroom.

I then dumped that yellowish mixture into the bucket, clapped the lid on and let it sit for 24 hours.

The next day a hard film about a quarter inch thick had formed on the top and I tried to break it up.

Then the messy began.

I had an empty giant Costco-brand-of-Tide bottle and a couple big containers from the dollar store.  No matter how careful I was about it, I wound up smelling very very clean by the time I was done.

End result, we have been using it for a bit and I love it!  I use a full cup that came with the "Tide" of it for a wash load, because I read that somewhere... now that I think about it I may try less and see how that works.

What I Have will last a while.  I do have to occasionally shake the bottle because the chunks settle into the bottom and pug the sucker up.

So while I am not giving you a full how-to here, this should serve as a lesson.  I appear to not have caused any permanent damage to anything and am still off of all the government big brother watch lists (that I know of or wouldn't be on already LOL) ... so you can totally do this too!

So no massive failure yet ... the streak continues and I am not sure what I will do next!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ghetto Wipes

So immediately following the making of my Ghetto All Purpose Cleaner I started butchering a roll of paper towels to make wipes because it appeals greatly to my inner lazy biotch to just have that around.

But let us start at the beginning.

I am a teaching supply hoarder.  Whether it is Sharpies or random containers that I insist on keeping while my husband rolls his eyes and tells me I am nuts, I just cannot help myself.  It is a compulsion.  One that behooves us more than my husband will EVER admit.

Point is, every time he goes through the garage and asks me "can I please throw this out now?!" I find a use for something that saves us money.

So the cylindrical cleaning wipes containers I insisted on keeping because YOU NEVER KNOW wound up being not only insanely useful but also part of saving us money!  Take that Bunyan!

I had my Ghetto All Purpose Cleaner ready to go, so I just needed the container and the "wipes."

This is where it gets messy.

First off, I had a roll of paper towels that are select a size, and I really thought I would like that.  I was wrong.  I may be getting ahead of myself here in reviewing my "product" before I tell ya how to make it, but in case you don't read the whole thing and try to walk in my footsteps (are you mad?) let me tell you now -- your wipes will be tiny!  Do not use the select a size towels if you use a dispenser like I am unless you want tiny wipes.  How tiny you ask?  Let me show you:

So I would prefer, and will do this next time because it is the only complaint I have at present, to use the full sized towels.

Reason being, step one with the paper towels is to cut them in half.  The whole damn roll.  Have you ever tried to cut a roll of paper towels in half?

It is a messy process.


I couldn't fit a whole roll of paper towels in the containers because they are just a bit too narrow, so I had to set some aside.  I did have the sense to do that before I cut the roll in half at least.

After sawing the roll in half and making your work space look like a blizzard hit, you have to wiggle the cardboard roll out of the center.  This is a lot easier than I figured it would be.  Then squeeze the roll into the container and pour the fluid mixture on it.

Seriously, that simple.

Now I had to clean the front bathroom, the one the boys all use.  I did not take a before picture, frankly who wants to see that?  But the after picture?  Seriously, my toilet was sparkling like a moody vampire on a sunny day!

Did you "ooooo" and "aaaaaa" because you should.

Again, like I said in the last post about making the cleaner, it was not like I was scrubbing obsessively.  It was no more work than a usual cleaner.  I did have to wipe the space dry, so I had one hand with a wet wipe and one with a dry one.  I also can't do a cost break down because again I had to purchase none of this that day, but I am sure it comes out exceptionally cheap when you really figure it out.

Feeling pretty in control of things I set my sites on a bigger battle because something else was running low and I would need to buy more soon ... laundry detergent ... oh yeah.  Stay tuned.

I am on a roll here, maybe I should change the blog up to be about practical cleaning tips ... something like ...

Seems legit.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

All Purpose Cleaner, ghetto style!

I love the idea of making my own stuff.

Okay, no, I don't.  But I almost got that lie out with a straight face.  I am just cheap and being that we are a one income family in a world where two incomes is advisable we are broke enough I consider it.

While cleaning products aren't something I have to constantly buy (I usually did the bulk purchase option which lasted a bit) it seemed like they coordinated when to run out so that it would really bankrupt us.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: "Hey y'all, the stash is getting low out here.  We only have one spare bottle that she will open the next time she cleans!"

Glass cleaner Refill: "Dats good with me, I am almost out too!  I will make sure she spills on the next refill and she will have to replace us at the same time!"

Antibacterial Surface Wipes: "No worries here!  Kids are back in school and you know she will be disinfecting the poo out of them daily!  Ha ha she will have to replace all of us!"

Meanwhile the toilet paper and paper towels are chiming in that we are down to the last roll too.

So the bulk that can be so great stinks when you have to replace three things at 20ish dollars whenever it happens.

So, I again hang my head and turn to the Pintercrack gods and ask if they have something that won't kill me, burn the house down, or land me on some government watch list if I make it in my kitchen.

I started with something that was an all purpose cleaner.  I went with that because my beloved wipes were running low, and in order to MAKE new ones I needed to MAKE the fluid first.

So I looked and looked ... for something supposedly so simple why are there so many options?  Oh and why does vinegar have to work so well for cleaning and smell like vinegar?  I mean really, isn't there a way to not make it smell like athlete's foot in the midst of the throes of death?  After the microwave incident it seems unlikely I will intentionally make my house smell that way, right?

Anyway, I went with this pin, because it did seem simple.

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp dish soap (everyone uses Dawn LOL)
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 cups warm water

Aaaaand apparently I took no pictures during the whole making-it process.

Great.  Well I will tell you that I used the Dawn with Olay in it so it smelled like pomegranate something or other.  This one:

While that may leave a film behind when you clean (since it IS a lotion in the soap) it made the smell of vinegar much less overwhelming and it was the only Dawn I had in the house left over from a homemade scrub making session.

I followed her directions, which are nice and simple and I heart that, and wound up making several batches.

Here are my bottles of completed All Purpose Ghetto Cleaner (yes, a classy and creative name really sells the product) ...

Stunning, I know.  Yes, that is an empty Squirt bottle re-purposed for a life of holding the back up refills.  I made a ton of this stuff, mostly because I had the supplies and it was easy.  I found that with the Dawn I used that the vinegar smell was actually very tolerable, so I was stoked to use it.

I did use the spray to clean somethings and oh em gee it was a fantastic cleaner!  Like seriously, I was genuinely impressed.  I honestly thought when people raved about their homemade cleaners it was just them patting themselves on the back for having made it and scrubbing their asses off in order to fool themselves into thinking they worked.  Sorta like the whole microwave thing, I figured my new exercise plan would be that all my home cleaners sucked and I had to work four times as hard to make the house passably clean.  Not so!  I was actually impressed at how clean stuff looked.  I do have to follow up my wet wiping with a dry wipe, probably because I used the Dawn with Olay and it streaks if I don't.  But it smells pretty decent, cleans well, and costs very very little.

Usually in posts like this people tell you that it only cost them $0.08 a bottle or something, honestly I have no clue.  I do know that I had all the ingredients, including the empty 2 liter bottle and dollar store spray bottle, so technically it cost me nothing to make it that day.  Having had this in the house for over a week I can tell you that I use it pretty often but I am not running out yet, so it is certainly economical.

So, I didn't blow anything up and didn't even make a big mess this time!  Well, at least I didn't until I started to make the wipes ... but that is tomorrow's story ...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

our drug stash

Given that our bathrooms are the size of a matchbox we are very chosey on what we chose to store in them.  As a result, all the medication is held in the storage capacity of the only-slightly-larger kitchen.  Top shelf of a cabinet is where all our cold and flu, pain meds, prescriptions, and ointments reside out of the reach of children and only slightly convenient.

However, it was getting a tad messy.   I also stuck our sunblock and bug repellents up there and it was chaotic. It looked okay from the ground but you couldn't actually find anything without removing everything.  There is nothing less cool than needing medicine (which probably means you aren't feeling super) and being attacked by a crapalanch of fourteen different bottles.  Makes for a grumpier and sicker feeling mama.

True confessions -- I have had to explain the bruise on my forehead from a rogue can of spray sunblock more than once and was a little sick of it.

So in the interest of house peace and preservation of my sanity (and vanity!) when I am not feeling super-dee-duper I gutted it and started over.  With the use of some Dollar Tree baskets, chalkboard Contact paper and my Cricut I took this:

The bottles in the back hold the useful shit.

Mystery baskets, add to the excitement of your
search for heartburn relief!!!

This post is not about the Tupperware vomit.
Or that whole bottom shelf,
just ignore that please.  

And turned it into this:

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
... or the other two shelves!

So what was a mess of bottles, half of which were expired by the way, is now four baskets with the Ibuprofen, Tylenol and Aspirin in the middle and easily accessible.

Here we have the daily crap for the family.

Here we have the adult medication
that isn't alcohol.

Kid meds so we can dose the minions

Sunblocks and bug goo
Now I can find everything and drug myself and my family accordingly!  Wait ... that sounded worse than I meant it to.  Well, its not like I am going for a mom of the year nomination here anyway!

Monday, September 23, 2013

vinegar + microwave filth

So on my list of forty things that just needed done so desperately around here (that I swear will get done before I die) was the microwave.  I had put the microwave in the Meatball's chore sticks because it wasn't like I was expecting to do surgery in there or anything.  However, since the previous homeowners chose to grace posterity with off white appliances it was getting a tad icky looking.  So I of course turned to Pintercrack to help me find a totally effective yet lazy way to not humiliate myself when people are over and need to zap food.

Cue this pin.

Well I happen to have a butt load of vinegar here from my science teacher days and a dirty microwave, lets do this!!!

Note: She lists a toothpick as an optional supply.  I would suggest a jackhammer if the grime in your microwave has the sheer stubborn staying power mine had.

Here is before, and I swear it was worse that it looks.  By a lot, I am not even trying to be all "oh it was just a mess from the night before!" nope, y'all I barely every clean it and stuff blows up in that thing all the time.  It was bad, the camera adds ten pounds but subtracts a years worth of slobbery.  Oh, and the marks you DO see are semi permanent, I swear.

I should have taken before and after pictures of me.  They would have been something like this ...

Before ... and ... After
Here is the microwave, after I tried to asphyxiate the hell out of my whole household with the ungodly stench of hot vinegar and scrub like Cinderella.  Ugh.

The original poster says she only had to zap the vinegar once.  Well, I lost count after five 2 minute increments.  Or maybe the stench just killed enough brain cells I couldn't count any higher, hard to know for sure.  Seriously.  It was the stickiest crap ever, it was like trying to take a tattoo off with a dry baby butt wipe, thus why it was still on there after all this time and my paltry attempts at cleaning that proceeded this one.

I found that when I moved the cup directly under or next to the section I was focusing on it made it a lot easier to clean that part.   This is why I had to do it several times, slow and stinky but effective.

In case the whole cup in the microwave thing was hard to understand.
This is for the visual learners.

Gagging the whole time I did it and while I snapped those pictures, but I must say, I am impressed.  I am also annoyed I didn't have the wherewithal to try this when it was nice outside because I'd kill a small village to open a damn window up and ventilate this place.  The pin tellith no lie, it works, but oy vey it smelled worse than I expected for a little while!

Of to pin "how to get rid of vinegar smell" ...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

la purga, part dos

So I sucked at blogging with any regularity again, what else is new right?  Things have been a bit nuts around here but if I start to expalin I will just sound whiney, so leave it at I have been suffering massively, mkay?

Anyhoo, the point of my post was not to whine, but rather to try and redirect my energies and focus on making me and my household as a whole better again.  Yay us!  This has meant for a lot of changes, and I have to be kind with myself on how to inflict, er, I mean institute them.  I have learned/am learning to accept my own boundaries and limitations physically and mentally (again, I would get whiny if I started LOL) and am constantly trying to honor them better than I have been.

While we did a la purga and a 100 Things Challenge a while back I still felt like we had a lot of crap and it was way too easy to not follow through after getting rid of stuff.  After all, all I did was toss stuff, not actually institute any kind of plan on how to not accumulate crap or how to organize the crap I kept.  And, if I am really honest, we just moved and transfered a lot of crap.  We kept tons of it, just moved it.  Not effective in the long run.

Pintercrack, as always, came to my rescue with this gem.

Ah, forty sounds so much less overwhelming than a list of 100 doesn't it?  Truth is with this we are getting rid of waaaay more than 100 things but far more importantly than the fullness of the Goodwill and trash bins around here is that we are trying to actually come up with a place for things.  It is impossible to keep a house clean if things don't ALL have a home.  I know this is obvious, yet somehow we were living in a state of denial about it.  We were also living in a state of chaos as a result.

So, la purga part dos was instituted and I began checking forty things off a list.  I won't share all of them here because, well, some are really boring if nothing else.  However some I will because I might just be soo proud of my accomplishing the impossible.  My hope is that I will see this one through and it will make an actual difference in our little hovel!  As of this writing I have actually already marked off exactly 21 things, so that is a good start!

Without further adieu, here is my list of 40 Things To Purge/Do/Clean:

1. Clean out Food Pantry
2. Outside of fridge
3. Shelves in Kitchen
4. Under Kitchen Sink
5. Inside Kitchen Cabinets
6. Clean the Microwave
7. Clean the Oven
8. Inside of Fridge
9. Buffet Table Thing
10. Bean's Dresser
11. My Dresser
12. Paul Bunyan's Dresser
13. Our Closet
14. Under Our Bed
15. Our Bathroom
16. Meatball's Bathroom
17. Meatball's Closet
18. Meatball's Dresser
19. Meatball's Shelves
20. Beans' Closet
21. Kids Glasses and Cups
22. Pots/Pans/Bowls Cabinet
23. Meatball's desk area
24. Our Desk Area
25. Living Room Toys
26. Living Room Baskets
27. Files
28. Outside Bar Stuff
29. Outdoor Toys
30. Side Yard
31. Shed
32. Washer and Drier Area
33. Cel Phone Apps and Contacts
34. Files on the Computer
35. Pictures
36. Keepsakes
37. Deep Freezer Clean Out & Organize
38. Recipes and Cookbooks, again!
39. Command Center
40. Board Games

P.S.  If you notice a biannual pattern to my sudden cleaning obsessions do not think that I have some kind of reasonable drive to organize.  My in-laws visit us roughly twice a year, usually just after the purgas.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I know, I will burn for this, but ...

So I guess considering the last post I have here was bemoaning the end of the school year, followed by an absence and now the new school year has resumed one can sense a correlation between blogging time and mom duties?

I am not scientist, but I think we could hypothesize some kind of relationship there.

Can't tell you how many times I have thought "oh I can blog about that" and ... well, I didn't.  I also hardly ever wrote any of those brilliant ideas down, so all the great material I thought I had is lost to my memory.  Unless it involved my taking a picture, because then there may be hope.

The hope, to be fair, is pretty limited though.  Whenever I get around to cleaning my phone's picture storage out there is always about 1,000 pictures in it, no exaggeration there.  Of those 1,000 pictures there are always enviably a good 600 that are crap.  But at least 100 are of food I may blog about, a cleaning thing I might want to share (okay, so there are maybe like 4 of those) and then a lot of "fails" that I may share if I feel like laughing at myself publicly.

In the past three months I have dumped the phone like two or three times, so that means I owe you like a dozen cleaning-related posts and roughly 12,000 failure ones.  Don't know that I am up for that, but I will get close I am sure.

Anyway, it is 11:43 and the Beans is wide awake right now running around quite happily because I accidentally let him nap at 4:00 PM today.  The falling asleep was an accident, he just sorta conked out.  The staying asleep was a colossally bad decision on my part.  But given that I haven;t had good sleep in a while and am now up waaaaay past my usual bed time I am a teeny bit slap happy.  Keep that in mind with this little story as I part ways for tonight ...

The Beans is happily watching the Octonauts because it is what happens to be on right now.  I just heard them say "marine iguanas do it with a salty sneeze" and I nearly pissed myself laughing with completely inappropriate, dirty humor.  Then I started laughing at my own hilarity all over again when I decided that this must make me Octo-naughty.

So, yeah, I have sunk to all new lows and will try to get back to blogging again, but probably not when I am quite this sleep deprived! I will admit, however condemned it may make me, that making inappropriate jokes out of children shows is precisely what makes watching them tolerable for me.

Anyhoo, it feels good to be back, not matter how horrible I may be.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

No Hogwarts Cake this Year

So last year at this time I was busy posting would would eventually be my most clicked on blog posts.  All the Hogwarts stuff for Meatball's 11th birthday.  The cake, the letter, the (damn) owl, all of it was a huge success and Meatball loved it.

This year, I did not make him another letter.  I wasn't sure what I would do to make it exciting again, but I did find a link to make your own Howler which would be totally awesome.  Trouble is the instructions have dead picture links and for me that may as well render the entire thing in Greek because I cannot follow along at all.

So I did something completely different, and ultimately this is also a backhanded attempt at telling you why I have sucked at keeping up the blog.  I did make him something that had a Harry Potter theme, along with something from the Hobbit and something from Star Wars.  While I promise to keep this stuff mostly off of this blog, because it has no place here, Paul Bunyan and I are starting a little side thing that may turn into a business type deal.  But here is a picture of the Meatball's presents from this year.  

Yay, may look more complicated, but truth be told it was soooo much easier and less stress than last year's gift!

P.S. If you would like to check out some of the other stuff we've done you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram or Twitter.  Aaaaaand I am done with the shameless plug now! ;)