Archive for DIY Tips

Mommy’s Time Out!

Wow, I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted something on my blog. The truth is that the last couple of months have just been insane in my house.  I feel like I am never getting anything accomplished.  The worst part about this is that when life gets like this the last thing any of us have time for is a little mommy time, but missing out on that little bit of me time sucks!

In the interest of  getting back some mommy time, I decided a couple of months ago that I would give running a try.  Yes, running!  Any of you that know me know that I hate to run. I have often said that I only run when someone is chasing me.  Well things have changed a bit (or a lot).

About 2 months ago, while at the gym just cruising along on the elliptical machine, I had the idea that I should try to run…just a little.  Well, just a little has turned into quite a bit.  I started out with the goal of running one mile.  Once I ran 1 mile, I felt so proud of myself that I wanted to run 1.5 miles.  Now this had turned into a competition with myself always trying to run just a little bit longer or faster.

I have found that running is actually pretty amazing for me both mentally and physically.  My body feels great after a run and my mind feels great after having 45-60 minutes of mommy time.  Time where no one talks to me, needs a snack, wets their pants or cries. We recently joined the YMCA and wow there is nothing like free babysitting to motivate you to exercise. I find that in those crazy days when I am at my limit, the idea of being able to get a little down time from 2 small children is enough to get my ass on the treadmill.

I have convinced a friend (thanks, Jen) to run with me and that certainly makes it fun too.  One of the things people have asked me is  “how long will this last”?  Truthfully, I am not sure.  I do have a tendency to go full steam head with things and then get bored and stop, never to do it again.   The thing that has been keeping me going is that I keep setting a new goal. These little goals are keeping me motivated right now.

This coming Sunday I am going to be running in my first race ever!  The best part is that three of my best friends will be running right along with me.  Right now I feel like even if I never run again I have already completed a huge achievement considering that just a few months ago I could have barely run to the end of my street.

You may be wondering why I am sharing all this.  Truth is, as I was thinking about a post for my blog, I got to thinking about how it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and how easy it is to cut out the things that seem unnecessary.  This leads us to feeling bored in our routines and having a short fuse (for me) with the people around us.  It is so important when we are raising our kids not to neglect ourselves and just assume that when our kids leave the nest then we will get back to taking time for ourselves.

If I have gotten even on person thinking about what they can do add something fresh into their life then the time I took writing this was worthwhile.   Set a goal for yourself now. Instead of waiting until the new year to make a resolution, make one now with the goal of keeping it up until the new year.  Reframing your goal to be something that you can accomplish in 30 days is much more motivating that one that lasts all year.

What do you do to give yourself some me time?  Do you try to make a little time for yourself each week?  I would love to hear about what you do to take care of yourself or what you plan to do!

. Imagine if it really worked this way! 🙂

If you are interested in running, here is the link to a fantastic running blog called Organic Runner Mom. I went to High school with Sandra and her blog is totally awesome and motivating!

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How to Get Rid of Mineral Deposits and Hard Water Stains

 

Hard water stains and mineral deposits can leave something that is actually clean, looking filthy. Look at the rack that goes under my dish rack.  I clean this at least once a week, but due to the mineral deposits from the water dripping on it, it never “looks” clean.

I have tried everything I can think of to clean it including harsh chemicals and my favorite tool the magic eraser.  Even the magic eraser did nothing to it.  Well finally I have figured out how to clean off these horrible stains.  WHITE VINEGAR!!!!  I guess I should have tried this sooner as I use it to clean everything else in my house. For some reason, I just did not think it would work. Well I was wrong.

All I did was pour some undiluted white vinegar onto the drain board and let it sit about 10 minutes. Then I scrubbed it gently with an old toothbrush and voila!  It looks like new.  This method could be used on shower doors, sinks or anywhere else that gets mineral deposits.  Put it in a spray bottle to clean the shower. It works beautifully.  Check out the pictures of my drain board.  Seeing is believing.  Good old white vinegar proves to be the champion cleaner again. Click here to see how you can use white vinegar to clean your floors.  You may never buy expensive cleaners again.

Before cleaning with white vinegar

After cleaning with white vinegar!

What other things do you use white vinegar to clean?  I would love to hear from you!

 

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Light Your Charcoal Grill with Sugar

This makes me hungry just looking at it!

There are lots of gadgets and ideas out there about how to best light the charcoal in your grill. The fact is, when you are ready to grill and the food is all set, there is nothing more frustrating than charcoal that won’t light.

Here is the quick fix if you are ever in this situation.  Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar (just plain old sugar) on the briquettes and then light the charcoal again.  This works because when you expose sugar to high temperatures it quickly decomposes and catches on fire quickly. I really prefer this to squirting lighter fluid all over the coals that cook my food!

When you are hungry and cursing at the coals because they won’t light, this little trick will save the day.  Happy grilling!

Do you still you a charcoal grill or do you only use gas?  Do you think the food tastes different when cooked over charcoal?  I would love to hear from you!

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“I Spy” Quilt for Kids

An “I Spy” quilt for baby Madison.

My sister is going to be having a baby in a couple more weeks and I wanted to make my new little niece something special.  Typically I would crochet something, but had trouble getting motivated to start a crochet project .  Then I stumbled upon this idea.  An “I Spy” quilt.  I am sure that most of you remember playing this game as a kid. You know, one person says “I spy something green” and then everyone else tries to guess what it is.  This quilt is based on that idea.  Each of the squares on the quilt is different. This makes a great gift for kids as they can enjoy snuggling with their quilt as well as playing the I spy game.  Kids quilts are a great first project for a beginner quilter. They are generally smaller and less intricate, so they can be more manageable.  Oh and I doubt you will ever hear a kid remark on an unstraight line or a missed stitch.  🙂

Here is what I did to make this quilt.  First, I bought 48 different children’s fabrics.  This is much easier than it sounds.  Ebay sells quilt squares for reasonable prices. For this type of project this was a huge time saver.  Next stitch the square together in any pattern you choose. I like the 12 different blocks of 4 squares each, but truly the possibilities are endless.  Next cut out your border and attach it.  Finally you will choose your batting (the fluffy stuff inside the quilt) and your backing. Then you are ready to “quilt” it.  I am not going to go into all the details because there are some amazing tutorials already on the web.  Here are a few.

Quilting Basics (getting started)- piecing, cutting, sewing machines

I Spy Quilt Patterns

Machine Quilting Basics

Tips and Tricks

Best Quilting Books

If you read through these links you will find all of the information necessary to make your first I Spy quilt.  It is such a great feeling to complete a project like this because not only is it challenging, but fun too.  Beware though, quilting is a little addicting.  This quilt kept me up until all hours of the night because I was so excited to work on it and get it done.  Happy quilting.

Have you ever made a quilt before?  Are you a beginning quilter, seasoned quilter or just thinking about making a quilt?  If you have never made a quilt, what has stopped you from making a quilt in the past?  I would love to hear from you!

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Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me

If you have ever had fruit flies invade your kitchen then you know just how pesky these little critters can be.  They seem to almost appear over night and you can quickly go from having one or two of them to a swarm of these pesky little insects.  The easiest way to prevent them is to not leave fruit and veggies out on the counter where they can ferment, but seriously who hasn’t accidentally left out a piece of fruit just to pick it up and see that it is all rotted. I know I have.

It is also helpful to wash your fruits and veggies when you bring them in from the store or the garden.  Over ripe tomatoes are notorious for harboring fruit fly eggs.  Bananas are another likely carrier of fruit fly eggs, so be sure to wash All your fruits and veggies when you bring them home.

Did you know that fruit flies can go from egg to full maturity in just 8 days. Wow! That means that in about a week, those fruit fly eggs on the tomato from your garden will reach full maturity and begin to breed.  Even worse is that they do not need rotting fruit to stay alive.  They can easily breed in a slow draining sink pipe, an old damp mop or even a sour sponge!

A couple of years ago, I left a potato in the hanging basket in my pantry and it attracted about a million fruit flies.  I went kind of crazy trying to get rid of them and eliminated everything they could possibly like.  To my surprise, they did not go away. It was not until a friend said to me “hey I bet they are living in your drain” that I finally got rid of them.  I mean seriously, in my drain!  Well he was right that those little pests had made my kitchen drain pipe into their breeding ground.

How do you get them out of your pipes?  I have read lots of different ways, several of which involve taking the drain and pipes apart.  Now if you want to go this route,  I do believe you will be successful in getting rid of them. Simply take apart the pipes and drain and use a stiff brush to remove all the drain slime that these buggers like to breed in.  If this does not sound like a good option, then I have another solution for you.  In the past, if I have had fruit flies in my drain then I fill my tea kettle and bring it to a boil.  Once the water is screaming hot, I slowly pour it down the drain.  Then I let it sit for about 30 minutes. After thirty minutes, I slowly pour 1-2 cups of bleach down my drain.  I am not sure which of these two methods really kills the fruit flies, but together it works great every time. On a side note, if you have a septic system them it is probably best not to pour bleach down the drain as it may interfere with the good bacteria living in the septic system.  You could try using a baking soda and vinegar solution as I bet that would work too.

When I started writing this article I planned to  include how to make a fruit fly trap. Instead, I am just going to provide you with links to instructions on how to make traps. There are so many great ideas out there that I did not want to limit this to just the trap I think is best.  Here are some of my favorite fruit fly traps.

The dish soap and vinegar trap

Paper cone in the bottle trap

The beer trap

The vacuum method

I prefer the dish soap and vinegar method because the dish soap breaks the surface tension so the flies actually drown when they land on it.  Bingo!

On a side note, it you keep a daily compost bowl in your kitchen be careful not to leave it out. It will quickly attract fruit flies.  Instead, keep your compost bowl in the refrigerator.

Have you ever had fruit flies in your house? What method did you use to get rid of them? I would love to hear from you!

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Refrigerate Your Bulbs Now to Increase Blooms in the Spring

This was called “Holland’s Most Beautiful Flower Garden”

If you are like most gardeners, you plants your bulbs as part of your fall planting and then pretty much forget about them throughout the winter months.  Then on that first beautiful spring day you suddenly remember those bulbs and anxiously wait to see them appear.

If the conditions have been right over the winter  (cold for long periods of time) then your bulbs will likely come up beautifully.  If you have even been disappointed by your bulbs performance and thought “I wonder what I did wrong”, then the answer may not have been something that you did.  Bulbs need a good LONG chill for optimal growth.  A mild winter could leave your bulbs coming up short and you feeling disappointed by the first arrival in your garden.

There is a quick and easy trick that you can do now to help ensure that your bulbs will be beautiful in the spring.  Buy your bulbs now (in July) and store them in the veggie drawer of your refrigerator until you are ready to plant them.  You want to place them in the fridge at least 6-8 weeks before you plan to plant them in  the fall.  When you do this you are adding an additional 6-8 weeks of chill time for your bulbs and they will surely thank you for it with big beautiful blooms.

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Home Remedies Part 2- Weight Loss

I thought I would break down the post on home remedies into a couple different posts so that the information would not be too overwhelming.  Here are the next 8 home remedies on the list.

Here are 8 natural ways to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight

1. Milk- Studies showed that those who drank a glass of fat free milk before lunch experienced decreased appetite and calorie intake compared to those who drank fruit juice.  Click here for more information about drinking milk for weight loss.

2. Almonds : One of the healthiest of all the nuts, research has been found that people with a diet rich in almonds lost more pounds than those without. They also helped with blood pressure.  Shape magazine says that almonds are one of the top 25 natural appetite suppressant.

3. Vinegar : Some studies suggest that vinegar can increase metabolism. This in turn helps the body process food and burn more calories. There is some debate about the effectiveness of vinegar in weight loss.  Here is more about apple cider vinegar.

4. Jalapenos :, The spice found in these peppers can  increase metabolism. In fact, many naturally spicy foods tout similar properties. While these do not burn a ton of extra calories (about 50-75 a day), if you enjoy spicy food then throw them in.  Click here for more on jalapenos for weight loss.

5. Evening Primrose Oil : The oil is extracted from a plant of the same name and contains an essential fatty acid that can help with metabolism. Other benefits include combating cholesterol, fatigue, improper hormone levels, and more. Here is a little more information on evening primrose oil.

7. Coconut : The oil found in coconuts is said to have weight losing properties. I have read about people that take a tablespoon or two before meals and they say it helps with weight loss.  There is quite a bit of research that would support that belief. Click here for more about using coconut oil.

8. Pine Nuts : Use these nuts as a garnish to many dishes to help naturally decrease your appetite.  Pine nut oil contains pinolenic acid, a fatty acid that stimulates the body to produce two natural appetite suppressants.  Click here for more about pine nuts.

9. Flaxseeds : Similar to the above, they also help suppress appetite. The seeds also contains omega-3 fats and fiber as well. I love flaxseeds. They add a delicious nutty flavor to baked goods and oatmeal. Keep flaxseeds in your freezer to extend its shelf life once opened.  Here is a bit more info on flaxseeds.

There you have it. Eight natural additions to your diet that could aid in your weight loss.  Thanks for reading!

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to help maintain a healthy weight? I would love to hear from you!

 

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