Thursday, January 26, 2012

DIY Teeth Whitening .. Pearly Whites for Pennies!

I LOVE sparkly white teeth, if I had just a smidge less willpower I may actually end up with those teeth that are so white they are almost blue... you know you've seen them!!!!  Those people who need to put down the teeth whitening trays for a few YEARS!  It is a slippery slope and I have teetered on the edge a few times, but thankfully I stepped away from the edge and the whitening gel just in time :)  I actually haven't whitened my teeth in about a year and a half which is a record for me, partly because I was pregnant and since then I've just been too cheap to pay for the treatments.  So I decided to try some of the at home teeth whitening ideas I've seen online, before spending any more money on dentist whitening.  And guess what it works!!!!
Baking Soda is in so many whitening toothpastes so I figured that was a good place to start and I'm pretty excited about the results so far.
To make mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda, with half a teaspoon of water and a squirt of your regular toothpaste.  The regular toothpaste takes the edge off the strong baking soda taste.  I'm a big baby when it comes to things that don't taste great so this was key for me, but if you are tough then you can leave that part out :)
Brush for 2 minutes... 3 times a week for a month... two months if you are looking for a dramatic difference.  Just like the DIY Face Scrub, I keep this in a small plastic container with a lid right next to the sink so I don't forget to use it!

Enjoy, Lindsey :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DIY Exfoliator.. Glowy Fresh Face For Only A Few Pennies :)

I used to be a sucker for any hair and beauty products or treatments that promised the latest greatest results.  You know that over priced shampoo at the salon that made your hair seem so silky, then you get it home and realize it's just shampoo... maybe it was the pampering and not the product that subliminally made my hair seem so much better there... not sure???  But I justified the cost because of my job, I figured I HAD to because my job was to look good on TV.  If you haven't figured this out yet.. I can pretty much talk myself into or justify just about any purchase :) But since I decided to stay at home and be with my little munchkins full-time... the silly spending stopped, no one at my house complains if my hair and skin aren't silky smooth... now if I change the cartoon channel that's a different story!!!  I may not NEED these extra pampering products, but I'm still a girl and I like to look good so I've been trying to have the best of both worlds... and that involves making my own!  Surprisingly you really CAN make some of your favorite products for pennies.  I've tried a few now and I'm really excited to share them with you over the next few days.

  The first is basically micro-dermabrasion using two ingredients you already have... baking soda and water. 
Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda... nothing fancy just the regular old box in your cupboard or fridge and 1 tablespoon of water.  It makes a nice paste consistency.  I mixed mine in a small plastic container with a lid so that I could just pop on the lid and easily save the remaining scrub for future use.
To use just apply the paste liberally to your entire face being careful not to get it in your eyes and lightly rub in a circular motion.
 Once you've given your face a good scrub, let the paste sit for a few minutes. 
 Then rinse with warm water and you are done.  
Ok.. obviously these photos are proof that any fantasy I may have had about someday being a "Neutrogena Girl" are now forever crushed, but I've been doing this twice a week for two weeks and I feel like my skin has NEVER looked better.  It's smooth and "glowy" and WOW do I LOVE the price tag! 
I kept the scrub right next to the sink with the lid on until I used it all, which was about two weeks.  You could keep it in the fridge if you want that cool feeling, but I was too lazy and it still worked great.  Eventually it will dry out, so just add a little water to get it back to a paste or make some more... after all it did only cost a few pennies :)

So grab your baking soda and scrub away... beautiful glowing skin will be yours without that expensive trip to a spa!

Enjoy, Lindsey :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

DIY Shower & Sink Shine Spray

OK, just one more post from my cleaning product frenzy.  I'm afraid if I stop I will never be this motivated again so bear with me :)  After researching how many uses there are for white vinegar outside of the kitchen I was really excited to see just how well it REALLY works cleaning bathrooms.  And I will say cleaning bathrooms is by far the cleaning chore I dislike the most!!!  So once again if something can make that easier and save me money I'm all for it.  Plus, I really like the idea of knowing what is in a product that I'm using around my family.  When it's just a few ingredients that I can actually pronounce I feel like that is better for everyone!  This recipe fits that bill and could not be simpler.
You need White Vinegar, Dawn (I used a generic "dawn") and a spray bottle.
The recipe is just equal parts "Dawn" and White Vinegar.  I had a 24 oz. spray bottle so I used 12 oz. of Soap and 12 oz. of Vinegar, but you could make this to fit any bottle you have handy.

I mixed it right in the bottle, gave it a good shake and that's it!  My "Shower & Sink Shine" as I'm calling it was finished!
I used it on my sinks, faucets, tubs and shower and they all look great! 

Enjoy, Lindsey :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

 I feel like I need to have a disclaimer here... I am by no means a clean freak or an expert house cleaner.  In fact there are definitely still crumbs from probably breakfast and lunch on my floor and if I'm really honest the serious cleaning around here only happens when I know someone is coming to visit and even then it's begrudgingly :)  So please do not think that with all these cleaning posts lately that I am one of those women who always has a spotless house.  My life, like most moms is crazy and chaotic and often times because the house can't scream or yell mama when it needs something (although it would probably like to :)  it doesn't always get the attention it needs or it at least gets put on the back burner to tackle another day.  But I am all for things that make life easier and save me some pennies.  Since I already had the Borax and Washing soda from making my DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent all I needed was the Lemishine or citric acid and a little salt to give dish washing detergent a try.
 DIY Dishwasher Detergent Recipe
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup lemishine or citric acid (1 cup if you have hard water)
1/2 cup salt
Since I have hard water I used the full one cup of Lemishine, which I found at Walmart on the detergent aisle near the Borax. I used a gallon zip lock bag to mix all the ingredients and plan to just store it in that, but you could use any container you can seal tight.
Use one tablespoon per wash and you will be shocked at the results... at least I was.  It works great!  No more spending a huge chunk of my grocery bill on laundry and dish detergent!  I'm totally sold!!!
Another great trick I tried to clean your dishwasher and get rid of the hard water stains is to use one packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid (lemon is the only flavor that works), put it in an empty dishwasher in place of soap and run a regular cycle.  I have really hard water and was amazed at how well this worked. My dishwasher is squeaky clean and I didn't scrub a single thing!  Oh and one last thing.... I have seen several posts about using white vinegar in place of rinse aid.  The vinegar supposedly naturally gets rid of any spots on your dishes and glassware, I cannot wait to try that one as soon as mine is empty :)

If after using this detergent you notice that your dishes are clean but just a little cloudy, which I did I found a simple fix.. just a few drops of dish soap on top of your one tablespoon of homemade detergent right in the dispenser and wash as usual.  Be sure not to add more than a few small drops or you could have a kitchen full of suds :)  But just those 3 or 4 drops makes all the difference!

Hope this helps!  Lindsey :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

DIY Stain Spray

Since making my homemade laundry detergent last week I have totally jumped onto the DIY cleaning bandwagon!!!  I have been so impressed by how well that simple recipe worked on my clothes and how inexpensive it was that I wondered what other products could I make???  I mean just think of all the shoes I could buy... I mean money I could save for the kids college if I found a few more great money saving recipes :)  So I tried a simple mix that claimed to be like Shout stain remover... and I'll be darned IT WORKS!!!  Once again I'm kicking myself for waiting SOOOOOOO long to actually try this!  To make it, this is what you need.
DIY Stain Remover Recipe:
2/3 cup Dawn
2/3 cup Ammonia
6 tablespoons baking soda
2 cups warm water
*a spray bottle
Mix all of the ingredients together until everything is combined.  I used a generic "Dawn" and it still works great, you just want to make sure the baking soda is dissolved into the liquids.
Put it into a spray bottle (I got this one at the Dollar Store, but you could totally re-use one you already have) and you are done!  A noticed that a small amount of the baking soda did settle at the bottom of the spray bottle after sitting overnight, this is probably because I have no patience and should have stirred the mix a little better, but I just gave it a good shake and it still works perfect!  Watch out stains you are no match for this stuff, just give the bottle a shake, spray it on like you would any other stain spray to pre-treat a spot and then wash as usual.  My kids are rough on clothes and so far this and my new DIY Detergent have won every laundry battle :)  It's sad but true, I'm actually kind of excited to see stains now to give my spray another challenge!!!
 I'm now totally addicted to seeing what I can make. I feel a little like a mad scientist, but I figure I already have all the ingredients now why not try a few more :)

So stay tuned, but until then....

Spray Away, Lindsey :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent

I still can't believe I actually attempted this project, I thought people who made their own laundry detergent were way more domestic than me or lived in the boonies and beat their clothes on rocks down by the river or had 20 kids!  YES I now know I was sadly mistaken!!!  After seeing several people on pinterest who had tried making thier own and swore they would never go back I jumped in with both feet, tracked down the ingredients, grabbed my five gallon bucket and got to grating :)  I too am now a convert, it was soooo worth the minimal effort!  If your house is anything like mine, the only thing that works more than the washing machine is probably me.. and some days with my two little hurricanes the washing machine wins that contest too!!!  Not only does this homemade detergent work great, it is going to save me tons of money and I'm kind of proud of myself ta boot :) Homemade laundry detergent merit badge... check!
 To make this money saving mix, which I found online from the Duggar family website... yes the family with 900 children.. but that is not a requirement for this detergent!  Basically you need Borax, Washing Soda and a Fels-Naptha soap bar, I found all these on the detergent aisle at Walmart.  The bar is less than $1 and each of the boxes are less than $3 (you will have tons of those left over).  You also need a five gallon bucket with a lid, I picked this one up in the paint section for $2.97 and some plastic containers to store your detergent.  You can re-use milk jugs or old detergent containers.  I didn't have any so I bought this plastic dispenser for about 6 bucks because I liked the easy spout and am saving up milk jugs for the rest.
To get started put four cups of warm water in a pot over medium low heat and add in all of your grated soap bar.  I just grated mine right into the pot to save time and mess :)
 Next, stir until all the flakes are dissolved.  This only takes a few minutes.
 When the soap is almost completely dissolved, grab your bucket and add one cup of the super washing soda and 1/2 a cup of Borax to the bottom then fill it half full with hot tap water.  My sinks aren't very deep so I just I used my sprayer from the kitchen sink.
 Now carefully pour the hot soap mix into the bucket.....
 and give it a good stir with a long spoon or broom handle.
 Next fill the bucket the rest of the way with more warm tap water.
 Put the lid on and leave it overnight, in the morning this is what you should have.  It will be a gloppy, gelled  consistency.  Give it another good stir...
...and then fill your containers half full with this mixture.  I used a funnel and a plastic drink pitcher to make the filling a little easier.
Finally fill the other half of your container with water, screw on the lid, give it a good shake and you are done!
 For a regular top load machine you will use 5/8 of a cup per load and for a front load HE machine use 1/4 of a cup.  We normally use Tide Free and Clear or the Costco Brand Free and Clear because of sensitive skin and not only does this work just as good if not better.... we also haven't had any skin problems :)
 This recipe makes 10 GALLONS of laundry detergent!!! The savings per load is AMAZING, but if you don't have enough children to field you own baseball team you may want to half the recipe or better yet share with you mom, a girlfriend or everyone on your block :)  Because I still have concentrate in my 5 gallon bucket waiting to collect some more containers :)
 This really was so quick and easy.... if only I could say the same for my ever growing pile of laundry!

Wash Away, Lindsey :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Super Spiced Pumpkin Bread

 I know the holidays are over and maybe you are "pumpkin'd out", but if you have a left over can of pumpkin in your pantry that didn't end up in a pie this is a good reason to break it out!  I love pumpkin anything year round, my husband on the other hand does not feel the same :)  So I try and get my fix without torturing him too much and this recipe is great.  I make a big batch and freeze them so I always have some on hand.  I eat this as breakfast, a snack or dessert.  It is great to serve when you have company, to put in gift baskets or to just consume on any day that ends in "y"  :)  This started out as a generic recipe I found online about 2 years ago and since then I kept adding more spices and experimenting with the recipe until I came up with my favorite combo.  Everyone I know loves it.. I hope you do too!

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*Preheat oven 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix first 6 ingredients.  In another bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients.
Now stir the dry into the wet until combined.
Instead of greasing and flouring the pans, I spray with non stick spray and then with a teaspoon sprinkle in some regular sugar just like you would flour.  It adds a little sweet crust and makes this bread extra special.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, this may very depending on the size of your loaves so check at about 45 minutes... mine always seem to need more time, but then again my oven has a mind of it's own :)
This is the glorious goodness your patience rewards!!!  I made a double batch and it made two large loaves and 7 overflowing small ones..  I ran out of pans so these were definitely overfilled, but still delicious!
Add a little butter or even better cinnamon honey butter and you have a delicious treat!

Enjoy!  Lindsey

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Extra Long Scarf Becomes Fun Infinity Scarf in Minutes!

I bought this super long scarf a couple years ago because I thought it would be really fun to wrap around a few times and still have some to hang down.  But the reality is I have NEVER worn it!  Every time I went to put it on all I could imagine was trying to use the restroom or do anything for that matter and still keep this silly scarf off the ground and anywhere else it shouldn't be!  Yeah, not really the glamorous vision I had when I bought it :)  But when I came across it the other day I thought maybe there was hope for it yet!  I really love infinity scarves right now, the kind that are basically a big circle and you can wrap them around a few times for a "cowl" look.
So I decided these feet of fun black and white, could be reborn!
To my surprise when I cut the scarf in half it wasn't just one flat piece of knit it was already a tube.  But if you have a long scarf or piece of material that isn't a tube, no problem just sew the ends together and you are done.
Since mine was a tube, I pinned together the insides of the knit (or maybe a better way of explaining is if the scarf was folded in half with the cut sides at the top.. the two pieces from each side that are touching) slowly sew those together moving the material around bringing the sides together as you go.  Being careful to keep the bottom side away from the needle as you are moving until you get almost all the way around and cant move the material anymore.
 Now just turn it right side out...
...through that opening that is left and hand stitch the opening shut.  Literally in a few minutes you are done!
This not only turned something "destined for donation" into a new trendy scarf, but there was enough material to make two. This are how they looked, one loop and doubled over. I gave one as a gift and naughty me.. kept the other for MYSELF :)
 Super quick and easy!  So glad I gave this scarf a second chance :) 
I just hope my sad attempt at modeling hasn't caused you permanent damage!

Enjoy, Lindsey :)