Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Some friends from the ward, Craig & Jennie (a.k.a. Jennie Craig), invited us over last night for a "pumpkin disemboweling night". :)
Here are the knives:





Obviously there was some anger to get out!
And the bowels. :)

And here are the finished products:

Left is Jennie's, middle is ours (Aaron did the eyes, I did the mouth), and right is Craig's. Obviously Jennie Craig are a bit morbid...
Good times! Thanks so much for the invite!

I hope y'all have a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cleaning With Becky (a new show!?)

This is totally random, but I taught at a "Relief Society Activity" last night mainly on cleaning with vinegar. I thought I'd share with you in case you are interested!

First off--why clean with vinegar?
1. It's inexpensive. 2. No harsh chemicals or fumes. 3. It's an effective sanitizer.

How to do it?
Get a spray bottle. I fill it about 1/4 full with vinegar and the rest with water, but a lot of websites say to use a 1:1 ratio. It really doesn't matter.... just use the amount relating to how dirty the thing is you are cleaning!
Then you simply spray and wipe clean!

As far as I've found, the only surface that vinegar is harmful to is marble. One site also said to not use full strength on tile grout, but I've never tried. Of course, just like every other substance, test on an inconspicuous area.

In the Kitchen--
Spray on countertops and top of stove and wipe off. It's an effective degreaser.
To deodorize or unclog a drain, put in 1/2 c baking soda, then 1/2 c vinegar and let it sit. (Volcano effect!) Then run water through it.
To clean the microwave, combine 1 c water and 1/2 c vinegar, bring it to a boil in your microwave, and then wipe it clean. Not only will it degrease, but it will get rid of the smell!
You can also clean your oven, fridge, and floors with it. To make a scouring cleanser with 1/4 c baking soda, 1 TBSP dishwashing liquid, and then add vinegar to make it creamyish.

In the Bathroom--
Great glass cleaner.
Spray it in the shower to prevent mildew.
Pour undiluted vinegar in the toilet and scrub with the toilet brush. Let it sit if there are stains; it will get rid of them!

Other Uses--
supposedly kills weeds, keeps ants out of your home, removes stickers, and will help remove armpit stains in the laundry, cleans pots and pans, polish silverware, carpet stain remover (I haven't tried all of these, but they were listed on the websites so do a little research if you're interested).

Besides the first three reasons of why to use vinegar, two others that I think brilliant are that 4. Because it is non-toxic, you can have your kids clean with it and not be nervous about them ingesting it or whatever! And 5. It can be your 'food storage' for cleaning... buy a big bottle of vinegar and big bag of soda and you're set for months of cleaning!

The two best websites I've found for hundreds of ideas are www.vinegartips.com and www.armhammer.com.

The only con I've found is the smell. I thought I would hate it, but it seriously disappears and just smells clean very quickly. A friend who didn't like the smell said she would cut a lemon or orange in half and rub it over the top of her countertop after cleaning to have that smell instead.

So that was my little spiel on vinegar. I was introduced to it earlier this year by my friend Stephanie Hansen and I've really found that I love it. I have not yet made it the only product I use, but from everything I've read, it sounds like it can be! Other than the vinegar I shared a couple other random things.

My "Golden Rules of Cleaning"--
1. DON'T HATE IT! You need to do it for the rest of your life so why not enjoy it!? Enjoy the time to think and do a mindless activity! Enjoy seeing what you've accomplished.
2. Spend about five minutes every day tidying. It is amazing how if you do this, that you only have to do a quick, deep clean every other week.
3. Keep cleaners handy and organized. Keep a spray bottle of the vinegar under your kitchen and bathroom sink so you can just pull it out and quickly spray and wipe.
4. After finishing the dishes, quickly spray the vinegar mixture around the sink, faucet, and counter and wipe it up... it's amazing how clean it stays.
5. Clean from top to bottom. Dry to wet.
6. Make your bed daily! It's amazing the difference it can make in the feel of the room and in your attitude!
7. Get yourself in the habit of putting dishes directly in the dishwasher instead of the sink first. If you don't have a dishwasher, simply rinse them as you put them in the sink. Then you pretty much never have to scrub!
8. Dust weekly with a microfiber cloth. You will never have dust buildup and it goes so quick every time!

And a list of how to make your home look spiffy in a jiffy! (ex. when someone tells you they're coming in 15 min!)
1. A quick vacuum
2. Clean your chrome. Take a rag and spray and shine the faucets... they look fabulous!
3. Organize your clutter. If you've got junk on your counter, straighten it. Or grab a laundry basket and grab all the things that you don't want seen, throw them in it and hide it somewhere they won't see it and put it away later. If you have kids, people expect to see toys on the floor, but if you have a bucket specifically for toys, you can scoop some of them into it.
4. Spray something fresh, open the windows, or light a candle.
5. Check the trash to make sure you don't have a huge pile or a stinky pile.
6. Quickly clean the bathroom, just in case!

And last, some "Green Tips"--
-Instead of using paper towels, use thin rags like this to clean up.
Some people use their dish rags, but I think my dishrags are cute and don't want nasty spaghetti stains on them! I don't care about these ones though and you just throw them in the wash and they work fabulously!
-I never fill up my garbage can before it starts to stink... and I hate tossing the big bags when it's not 143% full! Whenever I forget my 'green bags' at the store, I take home the plastic ones and use one of them a day... I put my chicken strofoam, food remnants, etc in it and then toss it daily. Also, when you've got an empty cereal box, fill it with the junk instead of the bag. (I don't have the ability to recycle.)
-Last, if you've got a baby, make your own baby wipes!
Take a roll of paper towels (the nicer brand) and cut it in half with a knife or whatever. Find a container that will hold the half in it and place it inside. Combine 2 to 2 1/2 cups water, 1 TBSP baby oil, and 1 tsp baby soap and mix them. Then pour it over the paper towels and down the middle. Wait about 5 minutes and pull up on the cardboard in the center and the paper towels will come out of the middle following!

I wouldn't say I'm a clean connoisseur or anything; it's more that I'm OCD. :) I really loving having things fresh and clean and feel so much better about myself when they are.

Friday, October 9, 2009

60 years!

My grandparents celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary!

(Getting them to smile was obviously not the easiest thing.) :)
They have three children, sixteen grandchildren, and currently twelve great-grandchildren.
We had a nice dinner with them to celebrate. I love them and the hilarious memories I have with them.
We even pulled out my grandma's wedding dress and my sister and I tried it on. Way cool. :)

I'm so glad that my grandparents have been part of my life for so many years. I hope we make it 60 years!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Experiment

I have always had a liking for Science Fair Projects... except when I had to do them myself because then I could never come up with anything to do! Ha!

Remember that table quilt I made back Easter time?
Well as we've spilled on it occasionally I've spot cleaned it and some of the red squares have bled onto the white. I was way sad. (Yes I did wash the fabrics before I made it.) Well fall is now here and it is time to put it away. But it definitely needed to be washed for real before going into storage. I was so, so sad at the thought of my hard work being ruined and turning all pink so I thought I'd look online for ideas. I found websites that said that salt would seal the colors, that vinegar would seal the colors, and that neither of those would seal the colors...

So I set out for my Science Fair Project! I got out four bowls, cut up some of the scraps from that quilt, especially the ones that were bleeding, and set up the test!

First Bowl: Cold Water and Salt
Second Bowl: Cold Water and Vinegar
Third Bowl: Cold Water
Fourth Bowl: Warm Water

Within minutes the warm water was turning red, then a few minutes after the cold water. The vinegar and salt stayed clear. A couple hours later the vinegar had started to turn red but the salt was still clear. So I washed my quilt with salt water and detergent and dried it immediately and it worked. Phew!!

After a whole day, these were my final results:

Salt still clear. Vinegar the most red!?!

Waters both a little red.

I was grateful I was able to find a solution (the internet is amazing in that way!) and I thought that maybe some of you craft-doers might find it helpful. The other thing I found while searching that I thought was helpful is to throw a piece of a cut-up white t-shirt into the washing machine with your fabric when you are pre-washing it to make sure that there is still not dye in it... sometimes it can take multiple times to get the dye out (and sometimes it may never all come out!)