Monday, July 18, 2011

Big List of USES for Baking Soda , Vinegar , Lemon and Hyrdrogen Peroxide



     It's been a while since we last purchased a spray bottle of commercial cleaner. Like most of you, I've tried a lot of products. Store brand, cheap priced, high priced, organic, naturals.. You name it. I am devoted to cutting our expenses without sacrificing the quality for my family, so i did my fair share of reading through books for safe and inexpensive cleaning supplies. We all know how curious toddlers and kids can be, I did ditched all of my store bought cleaners and switched to green ( homemade) cleaning  for jumping bean and big sister . Aside from cleaning uses , there are a lot more you can do just by using these four common household and kitchen staples.

These four are my best friends. Discover their many amazing uses.


BAKING SODA

Aside from being a kitchen/baking staple..you'll be surprise on its many uses.

  • As a substitute for baking powder by mixing with it with cream of tartar or vinegar.
  • Soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour inside the fridge to remove fishy smell
  • To wash fruits and vegetables with it.
  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water while boiling chicken. Feathers will come off easier, and the flesh will be clean and white.
  • Sprinkle it on your slippers, boots, shoes, and socks to eliminate foul odor.
  • Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon to the water in the vase.
  • Mix half a teaspoon with peroxide paste and use it as toothpaste.
  • Use it as an antacid.
  • Underarm deodorant by applying it with a powder puff.
  • Apply it on rashes, insect bites, and poison ivy irritations. 
  • Freshen the air by mixing baking soda with your favorite essential oils.
  •  Add a cup to the toilet, leave it for an hour, and then flush. It will clean the toilet and absorb the odor.
  • Use it to scrub sinks, showers, plastic and porcelain tubs
  • Add a spoonful to your dishwasher to make scrubbing dishes easier.
  • Remove grease from pots and pans.
  • Dry clean carpets and upholstered furniture by sprinkling baking soda over the fabric and gently brushing it.
  • Boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power by sprinkling a handful on dirty clothes.
  • Combine it with water to make a paste for polishing stainless steel and chrome.
  • To remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls.
  • To remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 mins prior to washing.






DISTILLED VINEGAR

The most economical and ingenuous product you can have. It's many uses doesn't just stop in the cooking department. Here's a few:

  • Remove mineral deposits from coffee makers with white distilled vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle. Run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean. (always check the owners’ manual first.) 
  • Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean. 
  • For stained and smelly plastic food containers, wipe them with a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar.
  • Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar. 
  • Wipe grease off exhaust fan grids, the inside of your oven, or anywhere grease gathers with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar. 
  • To make cleaning the grill easier, spray a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar on the cooking surface. 
  • To remove a label, decal, or price tag, cover with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave the cloth on overnight and the label should slide off. 
  • Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to cover them. Then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Let them soak overnight.
  • Prevent lint from clinging to clothes by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the wash cycle. 
  • To remove soap residue that makes black clothes look dull use white distilled vinegar in your final rinse. 
  • Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight. 
  • Attack spaghetti, barbecue, or ketchup stains with a white distilled vinegar and water solution. 
  • Remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing, as well as those left by deodorants, by spraying full-strength white distilled vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine. 
  • Forgot that you left wet laundry in the machine and it now smells moldy? Pour a few cups of white distilled vinegar in the machine and wash the clothes in hot water. Then run a normal cycle with detergent. 
  • Remove smoky odors from clothes by filling the bathtub with very hot water and 1 cup white distilled vinegar. Hang the garments above the steaming water and shut the door so the steam can penetrate the fibers. 
  • Keep the steam iron clean and in good working order by getting rid of mineral deposits in steam vents and spray nozzles. Fill the water chamber with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and distilled water. Set it in an upright position and let it steam for about 5 minutes. When the iron is cool, rinse the tank with water, refill and shake water through the vents onto an old cloth. Always test before using.
  • Remove scorch marks from an iron by rubbing it with a warmed-up solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt. If that doesn’t work, use a cloth dampened with full-strength white distilled vinegar. 
  • Remove musky smells from cotton clothes by sprinkling them lightly with white distilled vinegar and then pressing them.



LEMON
You know that saying " When life gives you a lemon..." ? Well , there's a whole lot you can do with lemon other than a lemonade.
  • Sanitize a chopping block. Run a slice of lemon over the surface to disinfect.
  • Eliminate the browning that occurs when food sits out too long. Sprinkle apple or pear slices with lemon juice before serving, or squeeze a bit into guacamole and give it a stir. 
  • Remove tough food stains from plastic and light-colored wooden cutting boards. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with water. 
  • Fade tea stains on cloth. Dilute lemon juice with an equal amount of water. Use an eyedropper or a Q-tip to make sure the juice targets the stain. Thoroughly flush with cool water. 
  • Decorate on the cheap. Fill a glass bowl with lemons for a sunny centerpiece. Or display a row of them along a windowsill. 
  • Relieve a sore throat. Cut a lemon in half. Skewer one half over a medium flame on a gas stove or an electric burner set on high and roast until the peel turns golden brown. Let cool slightly, then mix the juice with 1 teaspoon of honey. Swallow the mixture. 
  • Whiten fingernails. Rub a wedge on the surface of your nails. 
  • Shine the interior of copper cookware. Sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub. 
  • Brighten laundry whites. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle of a normal-size load. 
  • Remove soft cheese or other sticky foods from a grater. Rub both sides of the grater with the pulp side of a cut lemon.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE


  • As a foot soak. For Foot Fungus -cure a foot fungus, simply spray a 50/50 mixture of Hydrogen peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.
  • Cleaning ears (disinfectant) (1% to 3%)
  • As a toot paste, mixed with baking soda (disinfectant, very mildly bleaching) (1% to 3%)
  •  Douche- Add 2 capfuls of 3% Hydrogen peroxide in warm distilled water once to twice a week to remove even chronic yeast infections.
  • Mouthwash -Many people don’t realize that hydrogen peroxide makes a very effective and inexpensive mouthwash. Use 3% H202 – add a dash of liquid chlorophyll for flavoring if desired. 
  • Toothbrush - just dip your brush in 3% H202 and brush. Soak your toothbrush in Hydrogen peroxide to keep them free of germs.
  •  Mold - Clean with Hydrogen peroxide when your house becomes a biohazard after its invaded by toxic mold, such as those with water damage. 
  •  Humidifiers/Steamers -Use 1 pint 3% Hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of water.
  • Disinfect - countertops. high chairs , toys , door knobs.

Go over your house now and see what chemical cleaners you can swap for these household and kitchen staples! Its not only earth friendly but indeed budget friendly.



Useful Resources:
http://www.vinegartips.com

101-new-uses-for-everyday-things
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_peroxide

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Apple Cranberry Muffin and Banana Muffin

I don't know about you but I have mornings that I am so lazy to even get in front of the stove to cook breakfast. You can make this in batches , good for breakfast and snack too. Easy on the wallet and yummy in our belly.

APPLE CRANBERRY MUFFIN

2 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced  ( $1.79/lb)
1 cup dried cranberries ($3.00 / 1 lb bag)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar



Mix together the diced apples, dried cranberries and brown sugar and fold them into the batter just before  filling up the muffin tin.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 regular size muffin tin wells or In my case i use muffin cups.
Add the eggs, white sugar, oil, milk, vanilla to a stand mixer or mixing bowl.  Mix until smooth.
Add in the dry ingredients (minus the apples, cranberries and brown sugar.) and mix until batter is smooth.
In a smaller mixing bowl, toss the apples, cranberries and brown sugar.  Fold into the muffin batter.  Pour into the greased muffin tin or your baking cups, filling 3/4 full.
Bake for 22 to 24 minutes for regular size,  (Use a toothpick to test for doneness)cool before serving. Serve warm with some butter!



BANANA MUFFIN

1/2 c. honey or sugar is fine
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1 c. mashed bananas ( since we are banana crazy in this house, I always have stocks of very ripe bananas that I freeze for future use.)
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

In a bowl combine salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl combine honey, eggs, oil and banana making sure to mix well. Add banana blend to the flour mixture, careful not to over mix. Pour into greased muffin pans or paper muffin cups. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. (Use a toothpick to test for doneness). Remove pan to rack, and let cool.  Best served warm. Makes 1 dozen muffins.


 

 
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Make your own Play Sandbox

  When we go to the park, Lucy loves to pick up leaves, sticks, wood chips and dirt..yes dirt. She is very curious and that is a good thing. She learns. I wanted to buy her a sandbox which I'm definitely sure she will love. I saw one and it cost around $30-40. Well good news my friends..You can make one for less than $10.00.

 Mine cost around $6-7.




You'll need:

1 (50lb) bag of play sand ( at Lowe's for $5.00)

1 storage bin with lid - the under the bed type of container is better. We already have this so that saved us a lil bit

sand toys - target has a good variety of affordable even dollar sand toys. You can always count on the .99 cents store too.

measuring cups ( extra cups that you have in the kitchen that you rarely use)

Directions:

* Just pour the sand in, add some toys, and you now have a toddler sandbox. The lid comes handy since there's a lot of stray cats here in the area. ( sprinkle a lil bit of cinnamon to avoid ants.)




Easy right? I promise you .. Your kids will love it!










  




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Toddler Meals and Munchies - part 1( cheap, easy and healthy)

When Big Sister approached 12 months, feeding time became a challenge. She was always a good eater, and i was very proud of that..then she pulled up a stunt on me.. refusing to eat foods that she used to love. We were both "experimenting" i think.. for her its the new world of homemade table foods..and as for me..adjusting to what will work for her appetite. Here's a few recipe that she loves to eat now ( without a fight!).. very easy and healthy and easy on the budget too. Some of these I make in batches, i would just freeze it in small containers ( im a forgetful one. so i put dates on each of the containers). Meaning i didn't have to cook everytime = more playtime with her..more me time..more family time. I added the cost too, though on some ingredients are already available in our fridge/pantry.

POTATO CHOWDER

1/4 C. cubed and cooked potato -- $1.99 / bag (8 lb bag on sale)
3 T. shredded mild Cheddar or American cheese -- $2.50 /package
1/4 C. milk
2 tsp. butter
Peas, carrots and/or corn, or shredded brocolli ( the only way I can get her to eat broccoli) - about $3.00 approx.
1/3 C. diced and cooked boneless breast or ground chicken  ( if you want to add..i didn't add meat this time)

Mix chicken, veggies, potato, milk, and butter in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese. Serve warm.


BOWTIE PASTA WITH KALE 

1 package of bowtie pasta -- $1.00 ( on sale)
1 jar of alfredo sauce ( Ragu) -- $1.50
1/2 cup milk ( whole or 2%..its up to you)
1 cup kale -- .99 cents a bunch
1 cup diced zucchini -- $.89/lb
2 tbsp butter ( or EVOO if you prefer)
salt pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package direction ( add salt and olive oil). Melt butter. Saute kale until tender, then zucchini..add the Alfredo sauce. Mix with cooked bowtie pasta..add salt and pepper to taste.


VERY BERRY SMOOTHIE

1/2  cup Strawberry ( when the store have this on sale. i buy a few packages and freeze the, as they go bad easily..good for pancakes, shakes/smoothies, pies..etc) -- $1.25 /lb
1/2 Boysenberry ( or blueberries) -- $1.99
half sliced of banana - .24 cents ( approximate only)
1 cup whole milk - $2.19 a GALLON

Using a blender  , mix everything if wanted a lil thicker add less milk. I didn't put sugar as fruits is a good source of natural sugar.


GRILLED CHEESE WITH VEGGIE STICK AND AVOCADO DIP

2 slice of whole wheat bread
1-2 slices of Kraft American cheese -- $2.29 / package
butter
Carrots and Celery -- cut to strips
Half of avocado -- $1
milk ( i used Nido powdered milk, 1 tsp)

Heat grill pan or just a frying pan ( no big deal!) spread butter of each side of the whole wheat bread.. put the bread on the grill pan..top with cheese. ( a minute)..cover the bread with the other piece and press a lil. Set aside. For the Avocado dip, just mashed it and sprinkle with NIDO ( or any powdered milk ) ..mix until blended. serve with carrot and celery strips.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade GROWTH CHART - Easy and made with Love ♥

We were hunting for a growth chart for big sister and was surprised on how expensive it was for a chart that is not even 5 ft! Hubby and I thought .."we can make one ourselves!"..and we did.

 At a big box baby store, a growth chart can cost around $30.00 ( w/o the tax, eek!). Ours cost less than $20.00, made with love and we enjoyed making it together.

Here's the supplies you'll need:

1. Can of spray paint ($3.00/can)
2. Sawtooth ( picture hanger) , some screws too,..if u want to secure the chart better. ($3-4/pack)
3. Wood, 6ft x 51/2"
4. 8x10 craft felt cloth ($1 )
5. Cut out Craft animals ( .25 - .50 cents each)
6. tape measure, ruler, painters marker ( sharpie will work too) , Scissor, liquid nail/ Wood Glue, Pencil

Quick tip:
 Instead of using the felt cloth, you can also use cut out letters, or just paint the letters yourself too.
#1-3, can be bought at your local home improvement store, #1 u can also use craft paint. #4-5, bought at our local craft store. #6 supplies that are already in your house :)



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Steps:

1. Since, we already bought a wood that is primed.We just took it outside for the paint job ( no brainer, should well ventilated of course!). We chose bubble gum pink.

2. Let it dry and air out. With a tape measure , make the chart markings (inch and feet marks) in very light pencil. Make longer markings on the feet markings so you can see the difference between the inch and feet marks.

3.Using a paint marker or a sharpie make the markings permanent. . Mark the feet numbers,You can start with 2 feet (you will hang your chart up 2 feet off the ground) so you will have a 2 feet, 3 feet, 4 feet and 5 feet marker on the chart)

4. Attach the Sawtooth hook on the back, make sure this is straight and centered on your chart. We secured our with 2 more screws at the bottom since Lucy loves to pull. For our own peace of mind, its worth it.

5.Turn chart back over to front , now place wood animal shapes and letters on how you want it to be.  Piece by piece apply glue to the backs and place back on chart.  Make sure chart stays lying flat until IT DRIES COMPLETELY.

6. Hang it and voila...admire your work :)   ( use a sharpie to mark your kids height and date , if your a sentimental junkie like me)



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The photo did not do the growth chart any justice..trust me..it is very cute!!! :)



** edited 11/7/2013


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Friday, June 10, 2011

KALE CHIPS AND SWEET PEPPER STRIP that your tots will love.

KALE CHIPS

Kale is included in the cruciferous vegetable family that have a lot of healthful benefits. I do have a toddler that have a strong opinion on foods, so I did a small batch of this just to try if she will like it. To sum up kale's benefits : antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive benefits. For a complete info you can refer to this link http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

Here's the easy and yummy recipe for kale chips.

    1 or 2 big bunches kale, leaves chopped to chip sized pieces
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon oil ( EVOO, would be great)
      salt, to taste
    1-2 tablespoons favorite seasoning blend ( i skipped this for Lucy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour the apple cider vinegar, oil and seasoning onto kale (in a bowl). Mix to coat all pieces.
Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy.
Makes: 3  Cooking Time: 10 minutes


YELLOW PEPPER STRIPS

Aside from its sweet taste, yellow bell peppers are known for its high content of Vitamin C. ( as well as the other bell pepper family). For a complete health benefits you can refer to this link ( just so i need to convince you more) http://healthbenefits-of.org/2010/05/the-health-benefits-of-bell-peppers.html

Here's the most simple snack you can give to your tot:

Yellow bell pepper , cut to strips ( be sure that your tot is a good solid eater, and as always, never leave them unattended..as sometimes they have the tendency to over stuff their mouth :) )
 Vanilla Yogurt ( or any flavor depending on your kids choice)
Salad Supreme , just a dash ( u can skip this if you like)

Sprinkle a lil bit of the Salad supreme on top of the yogurt for dipping. Put a fair amount of yellow pepper in your kids favorite plate. Yummy and healthy



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Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Frugal Ways to Entertain a Toddler

Have you ever felt bad about not buying enough toys for your kids? And most of us, finds it challenging to entertain a toddler while trying to keep up with chores. Toddlers gets bored too and they do have a short attention span. There are frugal ways to entertain your toddler. Things around your house that can be interesting to them. Here's a few that our lil one loves to do:


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Sticky 1-2-3 ( 1-2-3 butterflies and planes)

Since they love to pull things down, this is a good play for them to learn numbers . I printed numbers (1-4), put a tape behind the cardstock and stuck it in the fridge ( in order left to right..1-4).  You can also do 1-10.
 Ask them to get it and put it on a basket. Every time he/she catches it, say the number on the




Lucy's Busy Box

It is hard to cook and wash dishes when u have a toddler screaming. As much as we want to give them our 24/7 attention, there are chores we have to do sooner or later.

the kitchen, by our pantry shelves..she loves to touch and play with everything within her reach.  Her busy box includes :  An empty crate, bowls, utensils you do not use..should be safe for them of course.



Lucy's mailbox

This keeps her busy for a while, what you need are:

  • an empty box ( can be a diaper box or a shipping box), -- cut a hole on top similar to a mailbox ( big enough so you van reach
  • mails, flyers, envelopes ( junk mails). 




Make a homemade play dough , it is easy , fun and colorful

Homemade Kool Aid Play dough


You can make a homemade Sandbox , for only $7 



Looking for more ways to entertain young one?




 


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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kool Aid Play Dough



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Here's a fun, cheap and safe play dough recipe for kids!

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup salt
1 - 1 1/2 tsp of oil
1 packet of  Kool aid.
 Gel Food colors

Directions:

 For the Kool Aid: In a small mixing bowl , Mix the flour , salt and the kool aid powder. Add the boiling water ( pls be careful) and the oil. Give it a good stir.  I then placed the dough in my kitchen counter to knead it..it will be hot for a lillte while so you may want to give it a couple minutes to cool down. Just enough so you can knead it. To make different colors , you may do this in several batches or just double or triple the recipe


As for the Gel Food color:  Mix all the dry ingredients : flour and salt. Add the boiling water , a couple drops of gel food color and oil.  THIS IS THE DIFFERENCE : I added another cup of flour and a tbsp more of oil while kneading it. The coloring spread nicely and fast..less kneading.


Both recipe are just good, safe and too cute to look at.



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Store in the fridge using an airtight container.




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