DIY Matchbox Car Ornaments

We have already started decorating for Christmas at our house! I know some people think I am crazy, but I can’t help it! 

Since we have a MUCH bigger house, last year we gave the boys their own tree to decorate. (I have mine and they have theirs. Hopefully, they will leave mommy’s tree ALONE! HA!) It is so much fun to let them loose on a tree with no worry about breaking anything or looking perfect. But, I had a problem when I ran out of unbreakable ornaments. 

Ingenuity struck me! I grabbed their box of matchbox Cars and some pipe cleaners and went to work. Using the pipe cleaners, I quickly wrapped the cars and made little loops to hang them on the tree. (warning: I went a little picture crazy! hehehe!)

Kids Car Ornaments-1 Read more

"Clean" Cleaning: Stovetop

There is much debate among us on the topic of household cleaners. Much can be read about the possible toxic fumes and harmful chemicals that are potentially dangerous lurking in your cupboards! I am not one to jump on the band wagon and preach at everyone my opinions. I am kind of on the fence when it comes to household cleaners. I do a little of both natural & homemade as well as common brand name cleaners.

I have been experimenting over the past few years with different homemade recipes. I found a few that I absolutely love! You can see my Laundry Detergent Recipe and Tutorial HERE. The benefits I have found from some of these homemade cleaners is not only are they better for my family’s environment, but also the save me money!

Really, this kind of cleaning is nothing new. My mother often taught me to clean our home with Vinegar and Baking Soda and other such common household products. They may be old school… But they still work!

I love cooking! (Bonus to me, it’s also my JOB!) And with cooking a LOT, my stovetop has suffered a little abuse.

That is soooo GROSS!!! 
(I am happy to report that this is not the worst my stovetop has ever looked… Wait… Should I be admitting that?!)

I started by whipping up as much crud as possible with a soapy rag.
There were some pretty cooked on messes. So, bring on the Baking Soda!
Sprinkle the Baking Soda all over the stains.
Grab your wet rag, moisten the Baking Soda and use a little elbow grease to work those stains out.
Some stains came up quickly, but others I had to work at a bit. I had to add more Baking Powder and concentrated scrubbing on some harder spots.
There were a few spots that just wouldn’t budge. I decided do a science experiment and made a pile of Baking Soda and poured a capful of Vinegar on top. I let it fizz and bubble for a bit before scrubbing it again.
Here is the worst side after about 10 minutes of this process.
Here is the “After” picture! It looks 100 times better! I know it’s not perfect. (I discovered some of the black stains are actually scratches in the finish…bummer)
Looking so much better! I’m going to do this more often! Next up is those burner grates! YIKES! (I’ve pinned a tutorial for cleaning the grates on Pinterest. Going to try it soon. I will let you know how it works!)
What do you for homemade/non-toxic cleaners? Anything you would recommend? I am always on the hunt and totally willing to do a couple science experiments (Of course, please, be careful when doing home science experiments…. At least make sure your insurance will cover an experiment gone wrong! HAHAHA!)


Happy Cleaning! (Or as happy as one can be when cleaning…)


linking up at these fabulous parties!
Living Well Spending Less

Perfect Iced Coffee

I used to like coffee. Then, I loved coffee.
But after my third boy was born…

I enjoy a hot cup of joe in the cold winter mornings in Michigan. But now that it is no longer -50˚, and getting warmer… I am not really in the mood for hot coffee. I was despondent and cranky. I needed coffee, and was becoming desperate for a caffeine replacement. (Diet Coke is not a good substitute for coffee in the morning)

When I discovered Pioneer Woman’s Iced Coffee recipe, my world changed! So simple. So yummy! So Perfect!

Here is my take on it.

Begin by grinding a cup of your favorite coffee. (I am obsessed with Starbucks coffees…)

Pour your grounds into a gallon size pitcher.
(Yikes! Can you tell that this pitcher has been used quite a bit for this coffee recipe? Look at all those stains!)

Fill your pitcher with water. 
Make sure you stir the grounds into the water.
Looks kinda muddy, but trust me… After you let this baby sit overnight…. liquid GOLD!

My sister got this awesome dispenser for under $5! It’s perfect to hold our addiction and keep it cold and ready to dispense!
After letting your coffee grounds steep overnight in the fridge, you need to strain them. You can strain the grounds through a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or I have a flour sack cloth that I use.

Strain away. 
Pour your beautiful liquid into your container.

I really love the insulated re-usable cups. This one came with re-freezable ice cubes! They are perfect to use with iced coffee because they won’t water it down.

I add a little whole milk. You can add a little flavored creamer, some half & half or skim milk. Whatever is your fancy.

I also add a little Truvia packet for some sweetness.

Store your coffee in the fridge. It last up to two weeks. That is if you don’t drink it all in THREE DAYS!

Happy Day!
Enjoy your Coffee!

Old Friends and New Opportunities

I love the age we live in! 
Social Media allows us to reconnect with far away and lost friends and find some pretty cool opportunities.
This past week, God brought a college friend through my social media path. 
Rachel and I met in college in California. She always has been a go-getter! I discovered that she started an exciting blog and business helping people all over the country with saving money and so much more! You need to check out her blog for daily updates on freebies, coupons, deals, and much more. 
Her blog is very appropriately named 
You can also follow her on Facebook and receive news about the latest freebies and deals!
Rachel has given me the awesome opportunity to be a regular contributor on her blog! 
I get to post recipes! If you know me, you know I LOVE to cook. This is right up my alley!
Check out my first recipe on her blog!
(Thanks mom for the recipe!)
Keep checking back here for links to more recipes and of course my ramblings. 
And check out Rachel’s Blog and follow here for Savings and More!

A Little Change…

I don’t know about you…. But I don’t like change. 
(At least the change that wasn’t my idea or in my control!)
It has been said…
“The only thing certain in life is CHANGE!”
How we react to change… How we initiate change… How we adjust with change…
Can tell a lot about ourselves and just where we are in our faith.
Take comfort! Jesus is in control of EVERYTHING!
(Whew! I am soooo glad!)
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He uses change to change us!
About two weeks ago, I challenged our City Sisters Group, to Change for Good in 2013!
We need to make changes in our life.
Good changes.
We need to let God make changes in our life.
Changes that last for good!
It is not enough just to talk about what you want changed or how hard change is…
We need to put it into action!
The City Sisters are working together to raise money for our church parking lot. 
To help us put our “Change for Good” discussion into action right away, with a real & practical illustration, I brought out a big jar and asked for everyone to take out their loose change in their purses.
As we went around the room and dropped our change in the jar, we each in turn said at least one thing we wanted to “Change for Good” in 2013. 
Everything from exercise to working on personal issues was spoken as coins clinked together.
It was awesome, challenging, and encouraging!
Now when I look at coins in my purse or find pennies in my boys pockets, I think of changing. Changing my attitude.
Changing the way eat.
Changing the time I get up.
Changing how I take care of my house.
Changing my prayer habits.
All the things that I can “Change for Good!”
A lot of good change doesn’t cost much…
(We really aren’t going to miss many pennies in my house…)
Changing my attitude doesn’t cost me anything.
Changing my eating habits doesn’t drain my bank account.
Changing what time I get up doesn’t make my wallet thinner.
Changing how I clean my house doesn’t blow my budget.
Changing my prayer habits does not make me have less…rather…
When we add all the pennies and nickels and dimes and quarters together…
WOW! It can be a significant amount of “Change for Good!”
Same idea with small changes that I can control and make happen in my own life. 
I might not be able to change the economy.
I might not be able to change the people that rub me the wrong way.
I might not be able to change a lot of things…
But I can “Change for Good” through Christ!
Phil. 4:13
I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

I am challenged right now to accept the things I cannot Change.
And make changes that I can
“Changes for Good”
(And don’t forget to start saving those Coins!)

Saving a little on Laundry…

Times are tough for everyone these days.
I think everyone is looking for ways to cut on expenses. I am no different! 
These days I feel as if I am doing laundry non-stop! 
The more I do laundry…. the more it multiplies!
(It’s a monster I tell you!!!)

In the past I have attempted to make my own laundry detergent. But I was unhappy with the results.
I felt as if it just didn’t do the job.
This past week, I found another recipe and set out to make this one a winner!
It smells awesome! Cleans little boy stains right out! And keeps up with the never ending piles!
I found the new recipe here

It is super easy and cheap!
(If you use coupons for the Purex Crystals and Oxy Clean, it’s even cheaper!)
Here’s what you need if you feel so led to make it.

1 Container – Oxy Clean (3lb)
1 Box – Borax (4lb 12 oz)
1 Box – Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (3lb 7oz)
4 Bars – Fels Naptha Laundry Bar Soap
1 Bottle – Purex Crystals Fabric Softener (55oz)
1 Large Container to Mix and Store it in
Cheese grater
Kitchen Trash Bag (optional)

You need to grate the soap.
(It kinda looks like cheese…. Hehehe) 

 I used a big tub with a lid and lined it with a trash bag.
Just start dumping everything into the tub

 I used the scoop from the Oxy Clean container to mix everything.

Look at that cute little guy staring at me while I’m working.

Once you are done grating and mixing, start using!
Use 1-2 tablespoons per load!
That’s right. Not that much.
It does feel like you are going to need more,
but we are so used to using detergent full of water and fillers.

This is obviously going to last a long time!
Saving money.
Makes me inspired to do some laundry…..