Category: household (page 1 of 2)

Tutorial: How to make DIY all-natural cleaner. With a 7-year-old helper.

**This post contains affiliate links that provide me with ice cream money to bribe my kids. Thank you in advance for their good behavior.**

Traveler created a super cool cell phone tripod for me to record videos on and we decided to test it out on a FB live post. So, I thought I would post it here to share! Traveler was quite proud of himself.

For those who want to make a recipe like this, here’s what you need:

1.5 C Water

1/3 C White Vinegar

15-20 drops essential oil (we used Young Living Purification.)

Mix together in glass spray bottle. And enjoy!

Top Ten Favorite Thrift Store Finds

I LOVE to shop thrift stores. I mean, I really, really love it. My home decorating style is a bit, um, unconventional to say the least. Actually, my mom calls it “Tacky Chic” and I don’t necessarily disagree. But whatever your style is you can find the craziest cool stuff at thrift stores. Sometimes you just have to be willing to dig deep and think a little outside the box!

So, without further ado, here are my top ten favorite thrift store finds of all time.

1. Jesus and Mary and Angels, oh my! (Forgive me, Lord, if that was sacrilegious. But I do so love these.) If you’ve ever visited my dining room you know that I am very much into religious art. In fact, its kind of the theme for our dining room. And what better place is there to get that type of thing than Goodwill or charity thrift stores? Mary in the egg was one of my favorite finds. And her price tag? A wopping $3.

2. La-Z-Boy and 3. Slightly creepy medical poster – In the past I have been a huge snob about buying upholstered things at thrift stores. I just worried that they would be stinky and absorbent and full of bed bugs. But I made an exception for this chair. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Why on Earth would you make an exception for THAT chair?” Because, as it turns out, it was in great shape. Its a real La-Z-Boy chair. And just the kind of ugly we needed in our family room. It only set us back $20.

The creepy medical poster? LOVE it. That was one of those things where I spent more than I intended because I was afraid I would regret not buying it. It was $60. And I’ve since seen them on Craigslist and Ebay for $300+. The spine is made up of switches and you can turn each one on and see what part of the body it affects. It’s an awesome nightlight. And whether you think it is hideous or not the lesson to be learned here is that when it comes to finding wall art a thrift store is a fantastic place to look for things that you won’t find on everyone else’s walls.

4. Lockers – These are one of my favorite things in the house. They cost a whopping $25 a piece and were worth every penny. They initially didn’t have shelves inside but my handy husband fitted them with shelving and now we use them as our kitchen pantry. Fantastic.

5. Lighting – Okay, I technically didn’t get this from the thrift store since it belonged to my grandpa and I got it after he passed away but since everyone else in the family thought it was ugly it was sure to end up in a thrift store where I am sure some lucky person would have snatched it up. And how cool is it? Very cool.

6. Kid’s clothes – We have this really soft old vintage Copa Cabana tshirt I bought at a thrift store when Kai was Traveler’s age. All three kids have worn it and it gets better with every wash. This vintage kids’ dress is another awesome find. It cost me about $4 at the thrift store and it has been everything from a dress for Ivy when she was little to a cute little shirt to pair with jeans.

7. My Porcelain Ladies – I LOVE these. They were 25 cents a piece at a junk yard sale. How cool is that? And the one in the very back? She’s a lamp! She lights up right under her skirt!

8. Dishware – I have so many platters, plates, bowls and serving dishes that I’ve found at junk shops and thrift stores. I think it is a really fun way to get a cool (and inexpensive!) collection of dishware. This platter is part of a 10 piece set that I got for $12. I just love how retro they are.

9. Kiddie lockers – These were part of a liquidation from a daycare that was either closing or remodeling. They are the refrigerators for an old fashioned wooden kitchen set. And for $5 a piece we snatched them up to use as kiddie lockers for the homeschool room. They hold everything we need and look fun while doing it.

10. My most favoritest table EVER – This one we scored when our local Parisian’s was closing and selling off their displays. It wasn’t super cheap ($150) but I think it was a steal for a huge sturdy steel topped table that we have gotten so much use out of. It is perfect for crafting and now resides in the homeschool room where no matter what my kids put it through it is guaranteed to stand up to their abuse (as you can see by the super messy picture!).

So, that’s it. My Top Ten Favorite Thrift Store finds. For more Top Ten Tuesday, head over to Oh Amanda’s!

The post in which I profess my love of Vinegar…

Here’s how it happened. Traveler, my dear sweet goofy face making boy, will not let me put him down during the day. So, I wear him in a sling. And carry him on my hip. But my little stowaway makes cleaning the house a bit complicated.

My biggest concern was the fumes. Nearly every product I used caused these awful caustic fumes and I refused to use them with Trav (or the girls) around. And I wanted to buy Shaklee, but I am too stinking impatient to order something and wait to get it. So after a Twitter poll the other day my Twitter/Blog friend Mama Hall recommended Vinegar. Which immediately intrigued me. So I did some research and it turns out (though I may be the only person who didn’t already know this) that Vinegar is a great cleaning product. And cheap.

The next thing I knew I was in the kitchen concocting cleaning solutions to use around the house. And after having used them for the last couple weeks I must say, they are AWESOME! And totally cute in their little mason jars and pretty spray bottles. Very charming. Maybe even a bit Little House on the Prairie.

So, I thought I’d share my recipes (I came up with these spending two days searching on the internet so I don’t really have a source to credit. But, in the interest of full disclosure, just know they aren’t my invention.) and you can use them or Google others or recommend some to me that you’ve used.

All Purpose Cleaner:

Spray Bottle
1 part Vinegar
1 part Water

This All-Purpose Cleaner is awesome. I used it to clean my counters and refrigerator one minute and then turned around and used it on Traveler’s exersaucer the next. I didn’t have to worry about any harmful residue or fumes. Later, I was able to spray it on the girls wet hair to help remove the chlorine residue from swimming before washing it. It’s truly multipurpose!


Spray Bottle
1/2 C Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Tea Tree Oil
1/4 C Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Seventh Generation Unscented detergent
10 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
fill remainder of bottle with water

Mix the ingredients together (don’t forget Vinegar + Baking Soda makes fizzy foam so be careful when mixing!) and shake bottle well. Use anywhere you need to clean and disinfect. It works great at cleaning shower stalls and bathroom areas.

Abrasive Scrub:

Medium sized Mason Jar
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
Seventh Generation Unscented detergent

Put the Baking Soda in a bowl and add the detergent until the mixture has the consistency of cake frosting. Then put in a mason jar and seal. You can add a few drops of Olive Oil to keep the mixture moist. Use for cleaning the oven, bathtubs, or anywhere you need a scrub.

Swiffer Hack:

I added a mixture of 1/3 C Vinegar and 2/3 C Water (You can use 2/3 C Vinegar and 1/3 C Olive Oil for more of a polish) and a few drops of Sweet Orange essential oil to my Swiffer WetJet. Here’s how.

Completely use up all of the Swiffer WetJet Cleaning solution. Make small hole in the top of the container. Using a very small funnel (or I use a turkey injector without the needle) add the solution to the bottle. Then apply a small piece of duct tape over the top to keep it sealed. That way you can keep the convenience of the WetJet but have a healthier & less expensive cleaning solution to use with it!

Thanks again to Mama Hall for opening my eyes to a new cleaning product! 

So there you have it! My new obsession. Got any recipes for cleaning products you’ve used in your house? Feel free to leave them or links to them in the comments!

The Big Switch, Continued

I mentioned a while back that we were switching out Family Room and Dining Room. And, in the process, we decided to change our dining room decor up a bit. We didn’t really have much of a decorating scheme in the Dining Room before. It was more of a combination of funky pieces we’d found at antique stores and junk shops. Have I mentioned my love of all things funky, cheesy, and junky? That may be it’s own separate post…

Anyway, when we switched things out, we ended up working my love of religious art into the room and used it throughout the room. We’re still in the process of collecting enough pieces to give the room the right flavor (if you’ve ever been to the Pope Room at Buca Di Beppo you’ve seen where we’re going with this) and it might take a while to get it complete. But, in the meantime, check out my favorite part of the room.

My Dining Room mantle:

(when it was actually a Living Room mantle)
Not the best before picture, I’ll admit. But, you get the idea.


I am pretty excited about the way it turned out. The candles are the $1 candles from Kroger and when lit they smell absolutely heavenly (no pun intended, I swear!).

So, there you have it. My Tuesday Tackle. Go see what other folks are tackling out there over at 5 Minutes for Mom!

And we have a nursery…

I’ve blogged before about the fact that it was taken me WAY longer to finish this little one’s nursery than either of my girls. Partially because things are crazy around here with a pre-schooler and a kindergartener and partially because the boy thing was really stumping me.

But, we finally picked a “theme” and are getting the nursery almost finished. It isn’t quite complete and we’ve still got to add some artwork that Thomas is designing this week, but it has come a LONG way!

Keeping in mind it’s still a work in progress, I wanted to share what “we” (read: Thomas) accomplished with painting. Check out the before and after pics:

Before – Kai and Ivy’s bedroom

After – T’s almost finished nursery!

So, that was my tackle this week. Go check out what other people are tackling for Tackle it Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom!

Escape from the 1960’s

This weekend was such a whirlwind. We’re getting ready for a big Thanksgiving practice party (more on that later) and parties like that always remind me of everything that needs to be done in our house. Couple that with a serious case of preggo nesting and we’ve been quite the productive family the last couple weeks.

And my favorite thing is doing make-overs on a budget because it forces some serious creativity.

This last weekend we made over our terrible straight from the 1960’s bathroom. The counters were original to the house (built in ’67) and most of the fixtures were from that era as well. I couldn’t handle it one more second (there’s that preggo nesting coming into play) and we couldn’t afford to overhaul the bathroom completely either.

Here’s our before:

Sorry for the terrible picture. It’s one we had left over from the previous owner’s real estate info. Just in case you thought that clock was my idea, it wasn’t. And it didn’t stay in the bathroom. Who needs a clock in the bathroom anyways? That seems like a lot of pressure to get things done quickly…

Anyways, it’s a little difficult to get a good pic of the interior because of a funky angle. But, you get the idea. Boring. Even a little ugly. And, unfortunately, the counter top isn’t nearly as hideous in this pic as it is in person. But, with a new coat of paint, some inexpensive curtains & fixtures from Ikea, we turned that into this:

We hung the shower curtains from the highest point on the wall in an attempt to make the room seem taller and added the pop of orange on the curtain sash and a small medicine cabinet to make things a little more interesting in there.

But, my favorite part is the new finish on the bathroom cabinet. Did you realize you can paint your laminate countertops? It’s true. You can put a new finish on almost anything with the right process. For countertops, all you need is a quick sanding with some rough grit sand paper, a couple (or 3) coats of paint, and a thick coat of polyurethane and voila a new counter top without all the bad fake marbling that came with a 1960’s counter top. I LOVE the way it turned out:

Gone, Baby, Gone

Okay, I swear the Loving family is not as granola and green as we might sound. Not that there is anything wrong with being granola or green, but I just don’t want to sound like I think I’m doing anything huge for the environment when, in fact, I don’t deserve that much credit.

Anyways, that said, we made the decision to ditch my favorite kitchen appliance this weekend. It’s taken me a few months to finally do it and I’m a little scared to see whether we can make it without it. But, folks, we did it. We axed the microwave.

To be honest, it always kind of creeped me out. My relationship with the microwave was always love/hate. I love the convenience. I hate the idea that I am doing some horrible damage to my family’s health by microwaving every thing they eat.

And, in the end, it was some ridiculously funky smell inside that finally pushed me over the edge. I suspect I microwaved one too many bowls of spaghetti-o’s and that’s what accounts for the smell. Though, with my kids, there could be a million reasons for a mysterious smell to appear in my microwave.

Either way, it’s gone. Well, gone to the basement (just in case I change my mind). And other than a meat thawing conundrum we had this weekend, we haven’t missed it all that much.

Did you know you can heat spaghetti-o’s on the stove? Amazing!

So, how about you guys? Anyone get rid of a modern household convenience that they discovered they didn’t need so much after all?

Good-bye Friend…

We finally sold our Nissan Xterra tonight. It was yet another thing we sold on Craigslist and I am very thankful to have finally done it.

But, it was bittersweet since it was the very first car Thomas and I bought as a married couple. It was actually doubly important to me ’cause by buying this car it allowed Thomas to get out of a car loan cosigned with an ex-girlfriend. Yeah, he’ll never live that one down.

In the end, it was the drinking that made it impossible to keep. It had such a drinking problem we ended up having to cut ties with it. All it wanted to do was get high on gasoline 24/7. It started stealing from us. Lying just to get a fix. It had a problem and we just couldn’t subject our family to it anymore.

In all seriousness, we couldn’t deal with the crappy fuel mileage. We’re hoping to cut our $500/month fuel costs in half. Maybe more. That would be awesome.

And, so, we’re planning to join the ranks of subcompact car owners. It looks like the Yaris will be making an appearance at our house soon. It’s attractive, inexpensive and gets about 31 miles to the gallon. Since the Xterra was paid off, we don’t want to get into a huge payment. And, the Yaris is the commuter car we’re looking for.

I’m just hoping Thomas doesn’t end up feeling like Mr. Incredible driving that car. They don’t call it subcompact for nothin’….

Oh, Birthday Fairy please bring me this…

Is it possible to be in love with a kitchen appliance? This thing is amazing.

Now if only I can convince my husband to spend $2000 on a cooktop. Do you think telling him it boils water in 90 seconds would win me any points?

Yeah, I didn’t think so…

Today is THE Day!

Check out the First Ever Carnival of Modern Home Dwelling over at Today’s Homemaker. It is going to have some amazing tips/tricks/projects from some totally great bloggers (and a few from me, too!).

This isn’t your grandma’s homemaking carnival. Did you grandma even have a homemaking carnival?

Nope. And if she did it could never have been this cool. (No offense Grandma!)

This is a totally modern, totally amazing homemaking carnival. Great for moms with kids, women without kids, women who work outside the home, and women who work within their home, people with houses, apartments, condos, and townhomes. Basically, it’s for everyone! Whether you be a novice homemaker or a pro, this carnival is sure to have something cool for you to take away.

So, why are you still here? Go there and check it out!


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