Friday, January 30, 2009

Homemade Non-Toxic Cleaners

I've been using "environmentally friendly" cleaning products for several years, ever since I realized that cleaning the shower would give me a gigantic headache. It was either stop cleaning the shower or use products that didn't give me a headache. (I seriously considered the first option though!)
If you haven't noticed, these "environmentally friendly" products are usually quite a bit more expensive than their Earth damaging counterparts. Making my own cleaning products is cost effective, environmentally friendly, and fun! I've been messing around with some different options for cleaning and here are a few things that I came up with: a dusting aid, a window cleaner, a multi-purpose and I still use my laundry soap. There isn't a homemade cleaner for the toilet, shower or a dish soap. That's because I tried the baking soda and vinegar thing in the toilet but found that I had to clean my toilet several times a week to keep the pink stuff from growing and I just don't like cleaning my toilet that often so I'm using Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner instead. I'm using Seventh Generation in the shower too, because when you use pure soap in the shower, it leaves one heck of a soap ring that is hardly dented by homemade stuff. I did give up my beloved Comet for straight up baking soda to scour with and I think that it works as well. As for dish soap, I tried to convince my husband that using Dr. Bronner's Castile soap cleaned the dishes just as well as the foamy soap, he just wasn't convinced so we compromised on Seventh Generation Dish Soap (I also love Trader Joe's Dish Soap because it smells yummy but the dishwasher (aka Dennis) thinks that it doesn't work as well). You would think that this is an advertisement for Seventh Generation. It isn't. I just use them because I can get it at most supermarkets and at Target and I've been pleased with the results. As for the floors, I just squirt a bit of Dr. Bronner's into warm water and scrub on my hands and knees. This is not an advertisement for Dr. Bronner's either. The guy may be a bit wacky (just read the the label), but his soap is pretty good!
I bought a few ingredients to get me started. Here are the ones that are the most helpful, some you probably already have in your kitchen:
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • Arm and Hammer washing soda
  • Borax
  • Murphy's Wood soap
  • Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap
  • essential oils: tea tree, sweet orange, lavender, and peppermint are a good assortment

I bought the spray bottles at the dollar store and made the labels myself by using (really fun)sticker paper. Have fun and let me know what you think!!

Dusting Aid

  • 1/2 cup Murphy's Soap
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 drops orange essential oil
  • 15 drops cedar essential oil

Window Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. castile soap
  • 8 drops essential oil

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/4 tsp. washing soda
  • 1/2 tsp. castile soap
  • 2 cups water
  • 10 drops essential oil

Monday, January 26, 2009

Color Mixing: Rainbow Goo

Here is a fun color-mixing science activity!
You will need:

1/3 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch
4 cups cold water
red/blue/yellow food coloring

Other Materials
3 bowls
pot and stove
zipper bags

1) Combine sugar, cornstarch and water in a pot. Heat until the mixture begins to thicken (about when it starts to boil), stirring constantly. Cool.
2) Divide the mixture into the three bowls. Add food coloring to mixture so you have one red, one blue and one yellow.
3) Put several tablespoons full of each color into a zipper bag so you have the following combinations: red/yellow, yellow/blue, red/blue, and red/blue yellow. Tape the bag closed.
4) Knead and mix the colors.5) Talk about the new colors you made.When you are finished mixing the colors, use your goo filled bag as a writing tablet for practicing those letters or just for scribbling!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Iceberg Rescue

Oh, No! Some animals got frozen into a gigantic iceberg and need to be rescued before they lose their air supply. Super Eli to the rescue!It's a good thing that Super Eli has the right tools for the job and he uses a towel so he doesn't make a mess: a super hero every mother can love!Can he do it? Yes he can.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I have been looking forward to today for a long time. It is with great pleasure that the USA bid adieu to 8 years of "W", a man who was painful to watch and listen to and who has embarrassed me and my country in numerous ways. Today, we have a new President. A president who inspires, challenges, and promises change. Today, I am proud to be an American. Today, I am hopeful for the future of my country. I am really looking forward to the next four years. President Obama, please don't let us down!
In honor of Inauguration day, I made myself a little Obama Icon. You can make one for yourself over at Obamiconme. Thanks for the tip, Meves!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Little Something I Won

Photo courtesy of: Mountain Mom Alison
Way back in December (yes, I'm a little slow), I won a beautiful covered journal (the blue plaid) from Mountain Mom Alison at her blog Lazy Morning. You can check out more of her handiwork in her etsy shop: LazyMorning. Thanks Alison!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Paper Plate Snowman

It's winter. There's snow on the ground, but you're just too lazy to spend 45 minutes to get your kids ready to go outside and make a real snowman. Instead you sit inside in the warmth and make a snowman at your kitchen table. And this snowman promises to be around long after the snow has melted.

For this project you will need:

  • 2 different sized paper plates
  • pipe cleaners
  • construction paper
  • an assortment of buttons, ribbons, pom-poms, googly eyes, and the like
  • a piece of scrap material
  • glue, scissors and a stapler

1) Mom: attach the head (sm. plate) to the body (large plate) using the stapler. (Don't worry, it will get covered up with the scarf).

2) Kids: design the snowman by adding a face and by decorating the body with the buttons and ribbons that are are provided.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Only Homemade Gift This Year...

...was for my new little nephew, Reid. I made this simple little quilt from felted sweaters that I purchased from the local thrift store. The pattern (not that you really need one) came from Betz White's book Warm Fuzzies. It is my first ever quilt and I'm delighted with the way it turned out.

I was purging old clothes from my closet and found 5(!) very old 100% wool sweaters. They all went into the washing machine on hot. Now, what should I do with my new felted goodness??? I'm thinking Christmas Stockings for next year.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Totally Random: Colorblindness

I have too much catching up to do after arriving back home several days ago. I haven't had time to download pictures from my camera, nor have I had time to do anything crafty for me or with the kids. So, to tide you over, I'm going to post about colorblindness.

You see, Dennis is red/green colorblind. Which means that if you and I see red flowers in the green grass, all he can see is green. Or if he sees something purple, he will call it blue. I always wondered how exactly Dennis sees things. And now I know.

I discovered this website that alters your pictures so it appears the way a person who is colorblind would see the exact same picture. Below are two pictures, the first is a picture that I took. The second, is the way a person with red/green color blindness would see it:Dennis tells me that these pictures look the exact same to him. Get out of town! Crazy. This totally explains why his favorite color is brown; it's the only color he knows! The weird thing is, he can tell me pretty accurately what colors these balls are. I'm floored. I'm amazed.