This post was written by our site contributor, Amy. When she’s not herding her Elmo-loving soon, Mason, she’s blogging over at her site, Chasing Tiny Feet!
I have recently come across some interesting information regarding the chemicals in household products we use everyday. I will be discussing this in another post. But, I have been inspired to become more green conscious in my home. OK, I have all said I am going to do it, but do I ever really? Is it worth the time, hassel, and money? I am here to say it is and it is so easy that I am sorry I never did this before.
Recently, my husband and I remodeled out kitchen. With that remodel came the decision between a granite counter top, another natural stone or formica. In the end, we chose the granite. For us, the benefits of granite out weighed the other natural stones or formica.
On the day of installation, the counter top was so shiny and perfect. Then the reality of keeping it clean set in. I only use a soft cloth with mild dish soap and water as suggested, but I find that it leaves water marks and that drives me crazy! I decided to go to the local hardware store and purchase granite cleaner. On the tune of $9.00 per bottle, decided that I needed to find a better solution to cleaning my counter tops and fast.
I completed my research of what to use and what not to use on granite counter tops. Here is my summary:
Like marble, granite, and most natural stones, using acidic cleaners, citrus based cleansers (such as lemon) or vinegar will dull and etch the counter top. Check. Warm water and mild detergent or alcohol seem to be the best cleansers. Check. Using Windex will take the sealing agent off sooner that it would normally wear. Check. Granite cleaning cloth or chamois are recommended because of the ultra smooth nap, it will make for a streak free finish. Check. If you do not have a chamois or cloth, paper towels will work just fine and leave a streak free finish as well. Check.
Ok, now that I am armed with the proper knowledge and feel like I am back in chemistry class, I was ready to mix the solution. Below is the receipe I liked best:
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (you may also use vodka)
3 drops of dish detergent
1 cup water
A few drops of essential oil (to help mask alcohol smell). I used Caramel Apple.
Add the ingredients to a spray bottle, gently mix, and you are done!
I tested this new concoction and could not believe how pleased I was with the results. An added bonus I noted was that the counter top was not prone to fingerprint marks after cleaning with this solution. This is so easy, cheap and the greenest way I know how to clean a counter top. You can also use this natural cleanser on appliances. But, most importantly, it is effective. The alcohol will kill bacteria and this is safe to use around children and pets, as long as they do not drink the mixture. So go ahead, save some money AND make a green cleaning product for your home!
Disclaimer: ALWAYS check a small spot for effectiveness before you clean any surface.
Do you have a picky eater in your house?
There are some great tips and reminders in this free book from YoBaby: 20 Tips for Pleasing the Picky Eater
This past Monday I woke up to realize that it was Lily Bean’s last ballet class before the holiday. While I had her preschool teachers’ gifts taken care of, I had completely forgotten to gather up a dance teacher present.
With about 10 minutes of spare time, in between throwing a waffle at Lily for breakfast, helping her wrangle on her tights and leotard and getting out the door, I came up with a pretty darn cute gift that did NOT break the bank.
Black Friday weekend we found these adorable stockings on doorbuster sale for just $.94/each at the Pottery Barn Outlet!! The entire store was on sale, 10% off everything on top of doorbuster prices… so these stockings were $.84/each when all was said and done. We bought like 10 of them to use as gift holders.
I used a bar of Sunbasilgarden Soap left over from a teacher gift order that I placed last year. I had a Bath and Body Works lotion that was free after a coupon and Burt’s Bee’s lip balm free after a CVS run a few months ago.
Completely frugal gift, but cute and full of good stuff!
What are your last-minute, go-to tips and tricks for frugally fabulous gifts?
It’s Thanksgiving Eve and that means two things: turkey AND holiday shopping are HERE!As we dive head first into another holiday shopping season, many of you are trying harder than ever before to create an amazing holiday without breaking the bank. Check out these tips for how to maximize your holiday savings- and stay tuned for more to come!1) Online vs. Store Deals: We’ve all seen the stories on the news of the people who have camped outside of stores the night before Black Friday to get hugely discounted merchandise. I even have a sister who I recall camping outside of a certain Circuit City years ago to snag a cheap laptop. What you may not be aware of, is that MANY stores have exclusive offers on their WEBSITES as well as in the stores. Get a copy of the store circulars (pick up newspapers on Thanksgiving Day – TOMORROW- to get the sale info!)… look sales to state “available in stores and online.” Some sales even become available at MIDNIGHT Black Friday morning, so just plan for a late night and start shopping.I like to browse the circulars to get an idea of what I’d like to grab online. I also make a note of what time the sales start. I set my alarm for early in the morning and go to sleep with my laptop and credit cards next to the bed. Then I wake up and shop in my pjs!2) Early Doorbusters: As many of you already know, MANY stores have ALREADY started their Black Friday deals! These deals are great because you can spread out your spending over time and get an idea of what kind of sales Black Friday and beyond might bring. Walmart, Target, Amazon and Kohl’s are just a few of the stores already offering online savings.3) Make a List: Just like when you go to the grocery store- MAKE A LIST. Write down every single person who you’d like to find a present for. As you start to browse circulars and make your Black Friday gameplan, jot down possible gift ideas for each person on your list. Stick to your list to help limit or eliminate your impulse shopping. Just because something is a great price does not mean that you have to buy it. Remember- there will always be another sale- get what you need and be done.4) Price Matching/Price Protection Guarantee: This one might take you a little more legwork than the others, but it can definitely be worth it. Scour the ads to see who has the best price on items on your list. Let’s say Target has 3 things on your list that you really want to buy, but store X has 1 thing on your list that you need. Take that current store X ad to Target and get them to price match. You just cut out an entire stop on your trip- you saved time, gas, and mostly likely, aggravation.Check to see if stores (especially online) offer price protection guarantee. This cuts out the need to second guess whether or not you should buy a product on sale or wait it out to see if the price will go even lower. With the guarantee, if the price does go lower, you will be refunded the difference!5) Free shipping Day: With so many websites offering free shipping deals, you shouldn’t have a problem getting your orders shipped for free. Plus, December 17th is Free Shipping Day! On that day, you can purchase from one of the retailers listed on Free Shipping Day’s website (120 and counting) and they will offer free shipping on that day- and delivery by Christmas Eve is guaranteed!This is just the tip of the iceberg- but I wanted to get you thinking! Leave your tips for rocking out Black Friday sales below!
New Sweeps from Right@Home:
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