Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My not so Happy Ending with DIY Dishwashing Detergent

When I made my DIY Laundry Detergent that I found on Pinterest I also made a batch of DIY dishwashing powder. I didn't add that post because after a few washes we started noticing white residue left on the dishes. We have stoneware, so it made the dishes feel really gross. I used it for about 2 weeks, thinking it would get better. I even tried adding Lemi Shine liquid to the rinse cycle, which didn't help at all.  Here is a picture one of our bowls after using the detergent for 1 week.
DIY dishwashing detergent with hard water

A lot of people rave about the diy dishwashing soap, it just wasn't right for us. We have a brand new dishwasher but also have hard water. In order to get this residue off, I added Lemi Shine powder to the bottom of the dishwasher and my dishes came out sparkly clean, when using my own store bought detergent.

I have been using Great Value powdered dishwashing detergent with grease fighting action since we got our new dishwasher. (so for about 4 months, other then the two weeks I used the DIY stuff).

The Great Value works awesome for us! It is even better that it only costs $2.64 at Walmart for 45 oz. This will last us about a month, and we run the dishwasher AT LEAST once a day depending on what type of cooking I am doing. That comes out to at most $.08/day. Which I think is an amazing value!

Great Value dishwashing detergent with LemiShine powder. No hard water spots!

If you do use the off brand but hate the residue you may get, I highly suggest adding LemiShine powder to the bottom of the dishwasher when you load it. It really works miracles!! I even tried hand washing all of my dishes to get the residue off from the from the DIY stuff and it didn't work. Lemi Shine is the only thing that helped!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Eggcellent Egg Souffle Recipe

I had a pie crust from Christmas that I never used, and needed to do someting with it before it expired. I have made a few quiche before, always following a strict recipe. I decided to be brave and just wing an extra stuffed one!

I mixed 12 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1 red pepper
1 small onion
6 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tsp. of minced garlic
1 pillsbury double pie crust (make sure to leave it at room temperature for atleast 30 minutes before using.

Heat over to 450 degrees
I wanted to make a bigger souffle so I used a 9x13 glass pan, lightly greased
I then put both pie crust in the pan, they overlapped in the center.
I then put a double layer of tinfoil over the pie crust and popped it in the over for 8 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 4-5 miniutes until your crust starts to look dry and flaky.
Once done, turn down the over to 325 degrees.

Cook onion, pepper, garlic and bacon for about 6 minutes. (I cheated on used the pre- cooked bacon, so I just popped it in the microwave to make it crispy!)

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper. Then stir in onion mixture, crumbling the bacon in as well. Add the cheeses. (You can use less cheese, but the Hubby is a cheese lover so I used a lot!)

Poor egg mixture into the hot pastry shell and bake for about 55 minutes. To check to see if it is done, slide a butter knife into the center, if it's done it should come out clean.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Rule of 3 Challenge

The Rule of Three when it comes to kids clothes. Have three items of each type of clothes, 3 jeans, 3 short sleeves, 3 long sleeves…. You get the picture.

I have seen this rule around the web, when searching for ways to simplify life. I read it laughing, our girls have so many clothes that are so nice. There is no way I could downsize to just three of each type of clothing.  These were my feelings about 6 months ago until the girls started growing out of all their clothes.
So anyways the whole rule of three is starting to look really good right about now.  I haven’t bought any bigger size clothes yet, and the girls are in the same size, so technically I will have 6 of each item, instead of 3 of each.
The girls closet use to be so organized and neat, until Kat learned to open the doors, then it was downhill from there! My  Hubby saw my frustration and ended up putting a lock at the very top of the closet door so they could only get in when allowed. This is great, BUT it is also at times is a hassle. I tell them to run up and grab a sweatshirt before we leave, and they can't open the door. I usually end up leaving the door unlocked now that I am home with them all the time.

I counted the clothes that are in their closet right now, 20 shorts sleeve shirts, 9 pairs of jeans ( only 3 pairs actually still fit them, so why are they still in the drawer!?), 14 long sleeve shirts, 11 sweatshirts, 8 skirts, 10 pairs of leggings, 2 pairs of overalls, 5 everyday dresses, 2 formal dresses.  WHEW! Now, it may not seem like a lot for two little girls, but remember, they wear the same size!
So here is a sneak at the "before" of the closet. Notice all of the empty hangers? Those shirts are on the floor... in a pile of some clean and some dirty clothes. Thanks Kit n' Kat! Those little organizers hanging worked great for baby clothes, and as closet dividers for when they were younger and in different sizes. We use them now for pajamas, but as you can see, they are pretty empty which means the pj's are on the floor too. You can also tell that pj's have just been wadded up and throw in. GRRR...  I think I end up re-washing a lot of clothes that aren't even dirty.
It is time for a total overhaul! Big girls closet here we come! (tears... my Kit n' Kat are growing up, and no matter how unhappy I am about the state of this closet, it is sad to think I wont be sorting and organizing their clothes for very many more years.)

 First things first, sort the clothes.

I have been slowly giving away clothes that are too small, and look how many I still have!! I think it's time for a mom-to-mom sale!

I ended up putting these clothes on a shelf in their closet.

The box on the left I wrapped in a toddler size bed sheet we didn't need, just to dress it up a little. I am a gift bag hoarder and store them here, with the wrapping paper. I stacked the clothes I need to sell  up, safely tucked away until spring.

I cleaned out and organized the girls dresser so everything would be easier to find, and get to.
Drawer 1 is for sock, undies, and undershirts.
I needed drawer dividers to make this work, but didn't want to go buy anything. I had two flat rate boxes that were the perfect size soo.....
I put Kit and Kat to work painting the boxes with some leftover paint. Aren't they cute!

Here is the finished product, they aren't perfect, but it was free, and work great!

Here is drawer number two. One half is skirts and leggings. There are always worn together, which is why I put the in the same area. I ended up with 7 skirts and 8 pairs of leggings. As you can see, I folded everything, then turned them on their side so we could easily see everything, and take it out of the drawer without digging through other clothes.
This side of the drawer is for pajamas, here are four pairs, I have about 3 more pairs in the wash right now, which makes a total of 7 pairs. I folded them with the shirts tucked into the pant fold so they stay in pairs easily. I divided the drawer with cardboard.(FREE!)
Drawer 3 has 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of overalls, 2 pairs of dressy pants, 5 pairs of "comfy" pants, and 6 "comfy" t-shirts.

Now, on the the clothes rack.

Ahh, look at the organization! The baskets up top are for stained up play clothes. These are a few shirts that I wont let the girls wear "out" but we need to keep for paint days, muddy play days.... The other basket is for empty hangers so we can easily bring them down on laundry days.

Here is the number run down of what we kept. 4 fancy dresses, 7 sweatshirts, 2 turtlenecks, 2  3/4 sleeve shirts, 3 cardigans, 3 sweaters, 5 tunic/everyday dresses. 8 t-shirts, 8 long sleeve shirts.

Let's take one more look at
As you can tell, I didn't stick to the rule of 3, I changed it to the rule of 4. I had to make the rule functional for us. We travel a lot and sometimes need to pack clothes for 4 or 5 days and don't always have access to a washer and dryer.

I kept all of my socks and undies for them, as we always seem to be looking for those items! I also am going to add another painted box to put on there shelf for "Lonely socks" That way I will hopefully be able to find matches for their socks easier.

This project has been a long time coming, waiting for me to have enough time to re-do it. So glad I finally did!
Happy Organizing!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kramer Family Chore Store

Have you ever tried to get young kids to do chores? Well, I have! It was a very unsuccessful try. Kids love money, but then they want to spend it right away. We tried teaching them to save, give, spend, and that didn't work. To them, saving was having more then three dollars. I came across an amazing idea from The Idea Room. A family chore store. Kids complete chores for little prizes, kind of like Chuck E. Cheese!

I used one of the handy fancy beer boxes that I talked about in my DIY Closet Organization Project. I had dollar store white frames at our house already that I was going to use for our daughters bedroom and never got around to it.

As you can see, our store is only open on Saturday from 9am-9:30am. I will of course open it promptly, because I hate it when a store I go to doesn't open on time! To make the Store sign, I just used cardstock I had leftover from a scrapbook project.

I am using these picture frames as white boards. I used cardstock and created the chore charts, then I put the list inside the frame and put the glass back in the frame. Now the girls can cross off their chores when they do them, then at the end of the night we clean the glass and it is good as new!

We assigned points to the chores. They have their daily chores that are worth a total of 5 points all together. If you don't do one of them, then you don't get any points. The big frame has "extra" chores that they can do to get more points.
They can also work together on these and both get the points. We assigned points to how hard the tasks are. Feeding the cats is 1 point, cleaning the whole bedroom is 5 points.

We also have -1 cards. If the girls are acting out, being mean or not doing something we asked, then we warn them that one point will be taken away. If they continue, then we give them that card.

We gave each girl different patterned point cards so there would be no confusion down the road of who's they are. The girls keep them in a little coin purse, and I also secretly keep track of how many points they earn just in case they lose them. 

At the end of the week we total up their points and on Saturday morning they get to buy things with their points at the store. I still have to make a chart telling what each thing is worth. I think I am going to get star stickers, you know, the red, gold,  and silver ones? Then I will put the sticker on each product and assign that color points. The bubble bath may be 20 points, the little can of pop may be 10 points.... We also have movie tickets in there that are our "Big Item" This is something that they would have to save up for, so we may make them worth 60 points.

You should have seen our girls doing chores today! They even HELPED each other make beds!?! WHAAAT, my girls can help each other without fighting!
They carried their own laundry upstairs and put it away... umm YES!

Right now we have bubbles, bubble bath, a few cans of small pop, gummy worms, beads,play-doh, a notebook and a thing of candy in the store. We may let them request some things, but for the most part this is stuff that is a treat for them. We never have candy or pop in the house, and only get to go to the movies every once in awhile. Inexpensive, simple things that the kids love!

If you have any questions about how we set up our chore store, write a message and I will be sure to answer them quickly!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Entry Coat Closet

Our coat closet is horrific. I have decided that it is my next project. There are shoes in there from 6 years ago... when we moved in! Did I really think I was ever going to wear these pretty little things?!? Yowzaa!

I could usually find one shoe we wanted in this mess, but it was very hard to find the second shoe! All of the mittens and hats ended up getting thrown on the shelf, which I can barely reach. I would stick my hand up there to find something and would be rewarded with the whole pile falling on top of my head. This would be followed with a few un-lady like remarks from myself, under my breath so the kiddos couldn't hear me!

This is actually a pretty tame picture of the shoes, I took the picture after I started throwing them in that teal bin.
Here are half of our coats, and the VERY un-organized shelf .

This is the other half of the coats on our hooks by the door. This was my solution to the over crowded coat closet. I was aiming for convenience. These hooks would be for backpacks, and every day coats that the GIRLS wore. They would also be for guests coats. As you can see, they became a free for all. Each on eof us had atleast one coat on there, as well as a bunch of random things. At one time there were two little shelves on top of the hooks. We put the mittens and hats for the next day on them. There ended up being SO MUCH STUFF on the shelves that they fell off.. hmmm..

Okay, here we go! This is the finished product of my hard work, and many unwanted holes in the wall that needed to be patched!

Here is the new painted walls, hard to tell, but it is Nantucket Beige (we are trying to go neutral in our house to make it easier to sell down the road)

So excited about this! There is enough room on the side for 4 or 5 "grown-up" coats, the top basket is for grown-up hats and mittens.

The shelves up above are hard to get to, we didn't put anything on the very top shelf. (You can't see it in this picture, in the "before" we had random things up there.)

I had two boxes in the garage that fancy beer came in from our in-laws. I have labeled these for "Winter Fun" which is the girls snow pants, extra mittens and hats, and the snow boots.  The other crate, not labeled yet is going to contain our  Kramer Family Chore Store .

We added a coat rack for the girls, their shoes will go on the shelf, and the Hubby's plus mine will go on the floor.

This is the shelf right above the girls shoes, for now, this basket is for mittens and hats. As Spring and Summer arrive we will change it and make it for routinely used items for that season.

Oh, and here's my "Guest Hooks" This is what they were always suppose to look like all along!

This re-do cost me nothing! We had all the wire racks in a basement closet that we never used. The  wicker baskets I got for Christmas, and as I said, the boxes at the top came as a package for something else.

I have been reading blogs for awhile, and wondered how all these people had these items at their house. I thought, we have nothing here that could be re-used for something else. Boy, was I wrong! You just have to keep an open mind, and remember that everything you have can be re-used for something else, even a diaper box can become a cute storage area!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Is it time for coffee yet?!

As you can tell, this blog is new! I am planning on posting my adventures in Mommy hood, as well as my DIY projects that I am tackling around the house. I will be posting at least twice a week, Monday's and Thursday.

I LOVE blogs, but get tired of seeing the bloggers perfect house, everything neat and in place (which of course they apologize for the mess!) If you want to see mess, seriously come to my house at a random time and look in our playroom... or for that matter, in my closets!! I am a mom and wife and I am also NOT a perfectionist! With this being said you will be seeing the real K. Family household, as it is, 90%of the time. That includes little girls clothes in random places, yes there may be a pair of dirty socks hanging from the front doorknob...seriously girls! The doorknob!
Come on!!
My girls are angels, until you get to see their closet, and the disaster that happens anytime either one of them gets to be alone in it!

You may also see a cluttered counter here and there, and if you are lucky, I will let you in to our office... a.k.a my clean laundry dumping ground!

I have a few projects in the works right now, the horror of my entry/coat closet, and the freak show of my "linen closet" that is actually home to a whole mess of things! I will be posting pictures of before, during and after. Yes, you will get to see the horror of the closets in my house! I will also be posting some fun projects that the girls and I create. We have some fun things planned for Valentines Day already.

Some of the craft ideas and recipes I have found on Pinterest. I will review them and let you know what I think, or what I changed about them. Every recipe I see on there looks so good! (Some of them look great, but do not taste so great!)

You may also see some "Witty" posts from my Hubby, who thinks he is very funny... that has yet to be determined!

Make sure you check back on Thursday and Monday nights for new posts!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I was seriously so sick of spending so much every month on my “extras” shopping trip. This is the trip I took to get my paper towels, laundry detergent, dish washing soap, trash bags.. yadda yadda yadda.  After searching my favorite site Pinterest, I came across this little amazing recipe . The only problem was that it made WAY too much detergent for me store easily. 

This recipe is not for the HUGE batch of detergent that you may find , I halved that one and this is the measurements I used for mine.
                4 cups of Borax
                4 cups of Baking Soda
                3 ½ cups Super Washing Soda
                1 ½  bar of Fels-Naptha grated with a cheese grater.
                2 ¼ cups SunOxygen

Mix all items together really well, I suggest dancing around your kitchen shaking the container. (Yes, my neighbors probably think I am crazy, I am okay with this!)

Funny thing, this was the first time I have used the cheese grater we got for our wedding... in 2007! I don't think our kids even know what one is!

This is the cost breakdown of the items I used for this DIY laundry detergent.
*All items I bought from Walmart, and can be found in the laundry isle pretty close to each other.
                Arm and Hammer Baking Soda $2.16
                Fels-Naptha bar soap $.97 each, I bought two of them.
                Sun Oxygen $1.96 
                        **(off brand of oxy clean, it was about $2.00 cheaper!)
                Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda $3.24
                Borax $3.37
The total for my hopefully 6 month supply of Laundry detergent…. $12.67
I also bought the pitcher that you see to put the DIY laundry detergent in, it cost be $2.96, so let’s add that in too!

I started using my DIY Laundry detergent on January 6, 2012. I will keep you updated on how long it really lasts me!  All I use is 1 Tablespoon and add white vinegar to my Downy ball to act as fabric softener. If you don't like the smell of vinegar, don't worry, your clothes will not smell like it!

I will also let you know if I run into any problems with the detergent. So far I love it though. The Fels-Naptha smells great. Our “laundry room” is really a closet in our bathroom and the detergent keeps the bathroom smelling faintly fresh!

 *If you cannot find Fels-Naptha, or you don’t like the smell of it, then I have been told you can use DOVE bar soap and it works just as well but with no smell. I do want to add that even though Fels-Naptha has a strong scent when you are grating it, your clothes come out of the wash scent free!