Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jelly Bean Prayer - free printable

I will be using this Jelly Bean Prayer to help my little guy better understand what tomorrow is all about. While Easter is fun for candy and baskets filled with goodies, I want him to understand why this day is important to us, and why we rejoice in the fact that Christ has Risen!

To print and use this cute Prayer, just right click and save to your computer, then print. 

~ Have a joyful Easter, Miranda

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bunny Butt Cupcakes... so easy to make!

I have been a baking fool lately, and I have to admit... it's been fun! These little cuties were so easy to make and it cracks me up to hear my little guy ask for a bunny butt cupcake! 

Here is how to make these fun treats... 

After your cupcakes have cooled completely frost them white. After doing so cut up some marshmallows into a tail and 2 feet for each cupcake and place accordingly. The should stick with the frosting. 

Now with your pink frosting (I just put a dollop in a bowl with a drop or 2 of red food coloring for this part) use a toothpick to draw the details on the feet.

And that's it. Wasn't that easy? And cute as a bunny button too I might add! 

Enjoy~ Miranda

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Door step Bunny drop, last minute Easter fun!

"Some Bunny" loves you! Who doesn't like to feel the love every now and then from friends? What what better way than with a door step bunny drop? I found these cute little felt bunny baskets for $1.00 at Target today. Aren't they cute? I also picked up 2 small containers of Hello Kitty bubbles for $1.00 total. Threw in some Easter basket grass, along with plastic eggs filled with goodies like candy and peeps. Then put a note inside saying "Some Bunny Loves You" and dropped it at some neighbor's door steps. 

What a cute, easy quick way to let someone know you are thinking about them this Easter, and really fun for the kids too!

~ Miranda

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Very Manly Easter Basket

Easter isn't always about the kiddos, sometimes we show our love to a spouse by making a special Easter basket. Here's some ideas for the special man in your life this Easter:

 Fun ones, serious ones or holiday ones, most men appreciate a new tie. Ties are great to roll up and put in an Easter egg too!

Maybe instead of Easter eggs the bunny left something a little more suited to your honey's taste? Individual beer bottles placed here and there in his basket will make him smile wide (especially since most stores are closed on Easter!)

-Bottle Opener

How else are you gonna open all that beer? There are so many cool options for beer openers especially if you've got a nerd for a sweetheart!

Buy him the next book in his favorite series (Game of Thrones, anyone?). Or one he's been drooling over for a while. If he's an electronic reader then maybe a gift card instead.

-Video Game
Speaking of entertainment... the new Army of Two came out just in time for Easter!

-Jewelry or Watch
You can even go big with his basket and slip a new watch (pocket watches are coming back!) or his choice of jewelry into an Easter egg. I bet he'd never expect it.

-Giant Candy!

What guy wouldn't like this?! Find it at

And last but not least:

-Coffee Mug
Get it personalized or nerded out, whatever the mug, just know that he'll never let you use it!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Basket Ideas for kids ages 1 to teens. *NO CANDY*

No candy Easter basket ideas for kids from ages 1 to teens. We even some ideas on fun themed baskets!

AGES 1-2

Pull and go soft race cars
B. Wheeee-Is! Soft Cars 4-pack

Safe car keys set
B. FunKeys

Favorite movies or CD of favorite songs

Clifford's Happy Easter, Norman Bridwell

Easter book
Clifford's Happy Easter, by Norman Bridwell

Easter life the flap book
Where are baby's Easter eggs? By Karen Katz

God Gave Us Easter, by Lisa Tawn Bergren, Laura J Bryant

Mega Bloks Farm Blocks

Sidewalk Chalk
*Couldn't find a link, but the dollar section of Target has some with a holder so it doesn't get messy on little one's hands*

Kids this age love to open up plastic eggs, put fun things inside them in their Easter Basket
*squirt toys
*Little People Princess pack or Super Hero pack
*Coins for piggy bank (it goes without saying, under adult supervision)


Baby safe crayons and Easter coloring book
My First Crayons, Crayola Washable 2 pack

Stuffed bunny or chick

Snack Mix (like Goldfish or Cheerio's)

Spring Time PJ's

Instead of a basket, put gifts inside a bucket or bin that can be used for storage.

AGES 2-3
Step 2 Waterwheel play table

Maybe the Easter Bunny left a big present outside, like a water table?
Step 2 Waterwheel play table


Sidewalk Chalk

Snack mix - Like Annie's Pretzel & Cheddar Bunnies

DVDs or CDs

Llama Llama Red Pajama, By Anna Dewdney

Again with the plastic eggs, here are some ideas for this age group
*temporary tattoos
*mini bottles of bubbles
*mini coloring books or note pads
*mini nail polish
*matchbox cars

Water color paint set

Spring Time PJ's Carter's Boys or Carter's Girls

Flip Flops

Hair Bows


T-ball and bat

Again, a bucket or bin that could be used to store toys later would be a good idea, instead of the traditional basket.

Themed Baskets for kiddos!

"Summer Fun Basket/vacation to the beach planned"


Flip flops or crocs

Swim suit

Sand toys, like hand shovels, molds etc. Sizzlin' Cool 11 Piece Beach & Garden Set

Beach ball


Beach towel

Activity book for summer trip car rides

Items could go inside a beach bag instead of basket

"Super Hero Basket"

Spiderman Flipout car

Action figures  Marvel Spider-Man Adventure Playskook Heroes

Peel and stick wall decals Roommates Batman Wall Decals

Bandaids with their favorite super hero

Superhero mask and accessories Spider-Man Marvel Mask

Superhero PJ's

Books about their favorite Superhero Marvel - The Incredible Hulk

A Cape

Superhero shirt

Big boy Superhero undies

"Girly-Girl Basket"


Dress up jewelry

Dress up clothes


Beauty Shop Play Play Circle Beauty Shop Hairdressing Set

Play makeup

Hair bows

Pinkalicious Tickled Pink, by Victoria Kann
Princess Barbie doll

Pinkalicious book Pinkalicious Tickled Pink Paperback, by Victoria Kann

DVD Barbie : The Princess & The Popstar

Princess puzzle, or memory card game

Princess PJ's

Big girl princess undies

"Construction/Working Man Basket"

Instead of a basket, use a large construction truck and put goodies in the bed of the truck...

CD of songs John Deere: Crazy About Tractors

Mini trucks Caterpillar Mini Machines 5 Pack

Building blocks

Hard hat

Tool belt Tomy Talking Tool Belt



Colored pencils (for drawing blue prints!)

Ideas for tweens & teens

For a girl, maybe a new purse instead of a basket and inside...

New phone cover

Amazon gift card- for music, books or anything

Make up


Season pass to local water park or amusement park

Gift card to their favorite store

For a boy, how about a new pair of tennis shoes and inside...

New phone cover

Amazon gift card- for music, books or anything

Season pass to local water park or amusement park

New wallet

Gift card to their favorite store

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Basket Ideas for Babies (no candy!)

When my now 3 year old little boy celebrated his first Easter he was only 6 months old. It was difficult to find cute stuff to put in a basket for a child that age, everything was candy or unsafe little trinket toys he couldn't have. So I had to go the non traditional route with things for him. Here are some ideas for Easter basket goodies for your baby under the age of 1, with some links on specific items!

Teething Rings
Here is a cute chick teether from Target

Plush Blocks
Infantino Discover and Play Plush Blocks

Plush Bunny or Chick
Floopy Bunny Plush Security Blanet

Age appropriate snack foods, like Gerber Puffs

Soft Books
Sassy's Baby's First set of books
photo credit: Leap Frog Leap Frog My Puppy Pal Scout & Violet

Interactive Toy
Leap Frog my Puppy Pal

Sippy Cup Trainer

Spring time PJs

CD with fun songs
Baby Einstein Traveling Melodies

Special night time book
Biscuit's Pet & Play Easter

Simple, Adorable Cotton Candy Easter Cake *frugal alert!*

I had to redeem myself after my pastel colored deviled eggs incident. I thought the best way to do that was with a cake, a treat for everyone! This one was super easy, and super frugal! May I present... cotton candy Easter cake-

I am no baker. Store bought cake mix is usually my go to and was in this case. Here is what I used to make this little cutie...

I got all ingredients at Walmart. Gotta admit, I haven't seem little icing decorations for cakes like this in years so I picked up a pack. 

So I got to mixing, all the while my 3 year old is at my feet asking if the birthday cake was for him. "Where are my balloons?", "I want Spiderman party!". My explanation of this being an Easter cake for everyone went unheard. 

I decided to make the batter purple, mixing blue and red food coloring, this part is up to you. I just like purple, it's such a spring-y color!

So just follow the instructions on your cake mix, and let it cool after it's finished baking. In the mean time I mixed up my cotton candy frosting creation! *Note- I had never used this before. It's a good idea to not have your face anywhere near the container of frosting when you begin to mix, the power from the flavor mix pack just exploded everywhere and covered me!*

So after the cake cooled I got to frosting. I am not a good at this step.. don't expect a cake from me to look professional in anyway! :)

The I put the little bunnies around the cake, my little guy was yelling with glee "The bunnies are dancing around the cake!". 

Finished product...

Little Man was trying to sneak some frosting... and then tried to bribe me with kisses for a piece of cake.

So of course I caved in a gave him a piece. 

Happy First Day of Spring! ~ Miranda

Monday, March 18, 2013

Easter Fortune Eggs

Wow, can you believe it's almost Easter?! When time flies by this fast, It can be so easy to lose touch with those who are truly important in our lives. That's why I like to try to make every holiday a family event and that usually means a meal.

This Easter we are having a Pre-Egg Hunt brunch, in order to fill those bellies before the big chase. I wanted everyone to participate in the egg cracking so I decided to have an Easter fortune egg waiting on every plate.

It's can be as simple or elaborate a project as you like!

First start out with the fortunes. I used a heavier paper like construction or scrapbook paper because I wanted it to withstand any torture I might be putting it through in order to suit my needs ;)

There are many different ways you can cut or edge the strips of paper. I decided to forgo the scissors and use the 'fold, lick, rip' tactic in order to get an antique edge. You can also use the kid shape scissors that will give it a ziz zag or scallop edge.

You can also antique the paper with tea staining, just be sure to let the paper dry completely before writing anything on it. This would be really cute if you decide to put a bible verse instead of a fortune for a post-Church brunch!

Now, for the paper to fit nicely into the egg, just roll it up! It turns out well if you wrap it around something like a pencil or pen.

I bought a few eggstra (haha) packages of plastic Easter eggs this year just knowing that I'd use them for some project or another for the holiday and here it is!

Have fun with this! Break out your stamps or paper punches! It's easy and cute and can fit any theme.

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Just cause it ain't pretty, don't mean it ain't yummy!

So the colored deviled eggs seem to be pretty popular on Pinterest  right now with Easter coming right up. I decided to try my hand at it this evening.

Here is my FAILED attempt at this project, and what I learned along the way.

First off, I found a new method (find detailed directions here) for making hard boiled eggs so to avoid getting that grayish/blueish ring around the yolk. It was pretty simple starting off.

Get your eggs out and find a tack. Now poke a hole into the shell of the egg on the bigger end, but don't go too deep.

Now put your eggs in a pot and cover with cold water, put on stove and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling lower the heat to a low boil and let it go for 10 minutes. 

As soon as the 10 minutes are up using a slotted spoon immediately put the eggs into a bowl of ice water. Let them sit until cool.*** Please keep reading to find my experience and advice with this last step***

While the eggs were cooling I got a couple of bowls of water out and put a few drops of red food coloring into one, and then red and blue into the other to make a light purple. Once the eggs were cooled I proceeded to ATTEMPT to remove the shell. This was quite a task. Usually my hard boiled eggs are easy to peel, but I think putting them in the ice water made it more difficult. The shells broke off into tiny pieces and took chunks of the actual egg with them. So next time I attempt this, I will skip the ice water. This was my misstep #1. 

So after seeing how gnarly my eggs looked, I thought about nixing this whole thing. But I didn't want to waste perfectly good food just because it didn't look appealing. So I cut them in half and was pleasantly surprised at how brightly yellow the yolks were! No grayish/blueish rings! The insides were perfect. I think I'll stick to the method of putting a hole in the egg before boiling from now on! So I scooped out the yolks and put them in a bowl to mix up later. 

I moved onto the dying of the eggs. Sigh... I thought this would be easy peasy. Not so much. I dropped a half an egg into the pink water and waited a minute them removed. No color. Tried again... still no color. So avoid my mistake of only putting in a few drops of food coloring... seems to me you need a lot for this project. So I put some more drops of food coloring in and dropped the egg in... whoops- I forgot to stir the water! Misstep #2. Now that I had color (albeit not as smooth as I wanted) showing up after pulling them out of the colored water I put them on a paper towel to rest and dry. BIG MISTAKE. The paper towel weaving was imprinted onto my eggs! So this was my misstep #3.

So after sighing and griping about what I thought would be an easy project I got to mixing up the filling for the eggs. My recipe is simple. A dollop of mayo, small drop of mustard, sprinkle of paprika and pepper and super yummy deliciousness ensues. I put the mix back into my weird looking eggs. 

So here is my finished project on pastel colored deviled eggs. 

Not exactly the picture perfect plate floating around on Pinterest. But they were yummy!

So here is what I learned... 

*In my experience peeling an egg that is a bit warmer will probably guarantee a cleaner break in shell, making for a nice looking egg.
*You need more than a few drops to dye a hard boiled egg!
*Don't let your eggs rest on a paper towel after dying them, put them on a plate!
*Just because it ain't pretty don't mean it ain't yummy!

This is not my last attempt at you, pastel colored deviled eggs! I will try and try again, feeding my husband as many of you little suckers as I can until I have perfected you. Or until he tells me his stomach can't take anymore. 

~ Miranda

Thursday, March 14, 2013

'Clean' Spring Cleaning! Guest Post

Spring is literally right around the corner folks! This means warmer weather, 12 hour long days (increasing through the season), blooming flowers and trees, the birds & the bees, and SPRING CLEANING! That’s right everyone’s favorite part of spring is right around the corner. Oh wait….you’re not a big fan of spring cleaning? Well join the club. Who in their right mind would think scrubbing baseboards, emptying closets, de-cluttering every corner of the house is fun?! I’m the first to run outside to soak up the sun, forgetting about the 3 months of dust stored under the bed or the closet that everyone in the house is deathly afraid to open. You know what’s worst then spring cleaning? Yes, there is worse! The chemicals used to clean houses. Did you know that most commercial household cleaners contain; Ammonia, 2-butoxyethanol/ Ethylene glycol butyl ether, Ethoxylated nonyl phenols (NPEs), Methylene chloride, Naphthalene, Silica,  Toluene, Trisodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA, Xylene, Bleach (Sodium hypochlorite), and Phosphates. If you’re like me, you cannot pronounce most of these, let alone know what they are doing to you. So, here is a site to visit if you are feeling gutsy and want to read about it-

You lucky people are so awesome that I’m going to share my natural cleaning solution secrets with you. That’s right NO EXCUSES for cleaning with toxic chemicals. I’m here to help. Plus these formulas will save you money! Who doesn't like making their pockets a little fatter? First thing first, crank up that stereo. I have to clean to music. I don’t care what it is you listen to. I have a confession… I listen to Dubstep while cleaning (I bet my neighbors want to kill me). A bit embarrassing to admit but, hey it works for me. So, find what works for you. Now we get down to the nitty gritty. Make sure you have all your cleaning supplies stocked up.

Cleaning Supplies
•             Baking Soda - cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
•             Soap - unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
•             Lemon - one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
•             Borax - (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, and cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors. (Borax is a natural substance which is non-carcinogenic, does not accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment.)
•             White Vinegar - cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
•             Washing Soda - or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
•             Isopropyl Alcohol - is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body.)
•             Cornstarch - can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
•             Citrus Solvent - cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)
•             Microfiber Cloths- which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years.

Non-Toxic Formulas
*Before applying any cleaning formulations, test in small hidden areas if possible. Always use caution with any new product in your home.

All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.

Air Freshener: Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell.
• Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.
• Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home.
• Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp. in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.
• Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.
• Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.
• Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
• Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in room.

Bathroom mold: Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.

Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
For fresh grease spots, sprinkle corn starch onto spot and wait 15 - 30 minutes before vacuuming.
For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.

Chopping block cleaner: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.

Coffee and tea stains: Stains in cups can be removed by applying vinegar to a sponge and wiping. To clean a teakettle or coffee maker, add 2 cups water and 1/4 cup vinegar; bring to a boil. Let cool, wipe with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.

• Plastic food storage containers - soak overnight in warm water and baking soda
• In-sink garbage disposal units - grind up lemon or orange peel in the unit
• Carpets - sprinkle baking soda several hours before vacuuming
• Garage, basements - set a sliced onion on a plate in center of room for 12 - 24 hours

Dishwasher Soap: Mix equal parts of borax and washing soda, but increase the washing soda if your water is hard.

Dish washing Soap: Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae which use up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs.

Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.) To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running a load.

Drain Cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener--the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.

Fabric Softener: To reduce static cling, dampen your hands, then shake out your clothes as you remove them from the drier. Line-drying clothing is another alternative.

Floor Cleaner and Polish:
Vinyl and linoleum: mix 1 cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in 1 gallon warm water. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup borax. Use sparingly on linoleum.

Wood: apply a thin coat of 1:1 vegetable oil and vinegar and rub in well.

Painted wood: mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon (4L) hot water.

Brick and stone tiles: mix 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon (4L) water; rinse with clear water.

Most floor surfaces can be easily cleaned using a solution of vinegar and water. For damp-mopping wood floors: mix equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water. Add 15 drops of pure peppermint oil; shake to mix.

Furniture Polish: For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth. For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.

Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads. Commercial natural, biodegradable laundry detergents are also now available online and in select stores.

Lime Deposits: You can reduce lime deposits in your teakettle by putting in 1/2 cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm. To remove lime scale on bathroom fixtures, squeeze lemon juice onto affected areas and let sit for several minutes before wiping clean with a wet cloth.

Marks on walls and painted surfaces: Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.

Metal Cleaners and Polishes:
Aluminum: using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water.

Brass or bronze: polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon and baking-soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution. Another method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.

Chrome: polish with baby oil, vinegar, or aluminum foil shiny side out.

Copper: soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar. Apply to copper while hot; let cool, then wipe clean. For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on a soft cloth, then wipe. For copper cookware, sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub. A simpler method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.

Gold: clean with toothpaste, or a paste of salt, vinegar, and flour.

Silver: line a pan with aluminum foil and fill with water; add a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with soft cloth.

Stainless steel: clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar, or olive oil. For stainless cookware, mix 4 tbs baking soda in 1 qt water, and apply using a soft cloth. Wipe dry using a clean cloth. For stainless steel sinks, pour some club soda on an absorbent cloth to clean, then wipe dry using a clean cloth.

Mold and Mildew: Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.

Mothballs: The common mothball is made of paradichlorobenzene, which is harmful to liver and kidneys. Cedar chips in a cheesecloth square, or cedar oil in an absorbent cloth will repel moths. The cedar should be 'aromatic cedar', also referred to as juniper in some areas. Cedar chips are available at many craft supply stores, or make your own using a plane and a block of cedar from the lumberyard. Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made with lavender, rosemary, vetiver and rose petals. Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent - simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.

Oil and Grease Spots: For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush. Or use CitraSolv nontoxic degreaser.

Oven Cleaner: Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots. Or use Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner, declared nontoxic by Consumers Union.

Paint Brush Cleaner: Non-toxic, citrus oil based solvents are now available commercially under several brand names. Citra-Solve is one brand. This works well for cleaning brushes of oil-based paints. Paint brushes and rollers used for an on-going project can be saved overnight, or even up to a week, without cleaning at all. Simply wrap the brush or roller snugly in a plastic bag, such as a used bread or produce bag. Squeeze out air pockets and store away from light. The paint won't dry because air can't get to it. Simply unwrap the brush or roller the next day and continue with the job.
Fresh paint odors can be reduced by placing a small dish of white vinegar in the room.

Rust Remover: Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 - 3 hours. Use leftover rind to scrub residue.

Scouring Powder: For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.

Shoe Polish: Olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice can be applied to shoes with a thick cotton or terry rag. Leave for a few minutes; wipe and buff with a clean, dry rag.

Stickers on walls: To remove, sponge vinegar over them several times, and wait 15 minutes, then rub off the stickers. This also works for price tags (stickers) on tools, etc.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.

Tub and Tile Cleaner: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)

Wallpaper Remover: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water, apply with sponge over the old wallpaper to soften the adhesive. Peel of the lifting paper and reapply the mixture to stubborn patches. Open the room windows or use a fan to dissipate the pungent vinegar smell.

Water Rings on Wood: Water rings on a wooden table or counter are the result of moisture that is trapped under the topcoat, but not the finish. Try applying toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Be careful not to run too vigorously so as not to mar the finish. Once the ring is removed, buff the entire wood surface.

Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Only use the black and white newspapers, not the colored ones. Don't clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows.

Happy Spring to every one of you! I hope you found this blog post helpful. I also hope that even if you don’t switch from toxic cleaners all together, that you at least try to replace one each week with a safer non toxic cleaner. Challenge yourself this spring! 

- Katie Riemke

Katie Riemke is an out of the home full-time working mom of 2 boys. She volunteers with TheMommiesNetwork as promotions adviser. She also has an online store Abnormal Oddities that offers weird and bizarre items nonetheless they are fantastic.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Please welcome a new contributing writer to '2 Moms and a Blog'

Please welcome our newest addition to '2 Moms and a Blog'. Katie Riemke will be a contributing writer for our blog, and we are so happy and excited to see what she has in store for our readers!

About Katie:

Katie Riemke is an out of the home full-time working mom of 2 boys. She volunteers with TheMommiesNetwork as promotions advisor. She also has an online store Abnormal Oddities that offers weird and bizarre items nonetheless they are fantastic.

Monday, March 11, 2013

5 Minute, $5.00 St. Patty's Day Wreath

Does anyone else think this year is just going by way too quickly? I just realized that St. Patty's day is coming up, and Easter is right after that! Wow, time is FLYING BY!

Anyway, I wanted to put up a wreath for St. Patty's Day, but seeing as it was only going to be up for a short amount of time and I didn't really have any craft funds I had to force myself to get simple and cheap. But that's always a good thing in my book! So here we have a 5 Minute, $5.00 St. Patty's Day Wreath.

Here is what you will need:
*straw wreath (I purchased this from Walmart for under $4.00)
*green streamer (I purchased from the dollar store for $1.00)
*floral pins (like these that I used when making the birthday wreath, so I had on hand)
Birthday Wreath Tutorial
*bright green card stock (I had on hand)
*pipe cleaner (I had on hand, or use whatever method of wreath hanging you like!)

So I took the streamer and wrapped it around the wreath and secured it with tape. It looked like this. 

Then I secured the floral pins and pipe cleaner on the back so I could hang it on my front door.

Then I cut some clovers out of the bright green card stock and taped them to the wreath. I am lacking in the shape cutting skills, I am sure you will do an awesome job. Or if you have a chance to hit up the craft store pick up some wooden clovers, or a rainbow or little leprechaun! You can really get creative with this! Here is the finished product:

This took me only 5 minutes to make. It's not the most elaborate or special St. Patty's Day wreath, but it works for me!

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone- may the luck of the Irish be with you!
~ Miranda