By kristinabjornbak | Category: Healthy Living, It Worked 4 Me, Moneywi$e, Recipes & Kitchen Tips | Posted Monday, November 21, 2011
Getting ready for company coming over this week for Thanksgiving?
I’ll admit that cleaning the windows, mirros, and glass doors of our house is something that frequently goes by the wayside. When I do remember, I generally use a store bought window cleaner like most other people, but I find I need to wear gloves to use it. The smell just stays on my hands. But what else besides the scent is staying on my hands? Whatever it is, I figure that it can’t be healthy.
Eventually, I ran out of my usual window cleaner and decided to look around for some of the green recipes that I knew were out there somewhere. In my search, I came across Crunchy Betty, a site that I have never heard of before. However, in the archives I found something wonderful: Battle of the Homemade Glass Cleaners! Ms. Crunchy Betty was kind enough to test drive several glass cleaning recipes and report back the results of her tests and therefore the best glass cleaning recipe. The winning recipe contained alcohol, water, vinegar, and cornstarch. Yes, cornstarch! She wasn’t wrong when she assumed that readers would find it an odd addition. I certainly did. But, with a whole morning and a lot of dirty glass before me, I decided to give her “Alvin Corn Homemade Glass Cleaner” a try.
When I first sprayed it and wiped it (best done with a lint free cloth), it seemed like it was going to leave a cloudy film. Nope! After wiping until almost dry, the glass cleared right up and wowee wow wow! This recipe worked even better than the store bought stuff! I quickly went through the house, cleaning mirrors, doors, and windows. Everything was sparkly, even where the dog plants her nose prints and the dreaded mirrored closet doors in the kids’ room.
As a final note, I want to say that I was really worried that the cornstarch would scratch the glass. I didn’t notice any scratches that I’m pretty sure weren’t already there, but if you are worried, test on a small area first before you go all out. Also, I know some people don’t like using rubbing alcohol. If that’s the case, check out Heather’s glass recipe instead.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Creating a Home, Moneywi$e, Recipes & Kitchen Tips, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Finding natural alternatives to chemical household products is something I enjoy so when I recently came across a recipe for homemade dryer spray to replace dryer sheets I was curious to give it a try. As I often find with homemade recipes, the ingredient list was short and it was quick and easy to put together. This frequently leads me to start out skeptical that it will even work (after all, we seem to be programed to believe we need a LONG list of unknown ingredients if we are really going to have a product that works). Once again my skepticism melted away to astonished surprise when this simple spray repeatedly proved its ability to tackle the static clean in my dryer. Want to try it yourself?
1 Cup Water (distilled or filtered is best)
1/2 Cup alcohol (isopropyl or vodka)
20 drops of your favorite essential oil combo (such as lemon and grapefruit or peppermint and eucalyptus or orange and geranium)
Add all ingredients together in a spray bottle and spritz 4-5 times over your wet clothing in the dryer and dry as usual. This mix can also be used as a linen spray or room freshener.
My mother-in-law has also been using this simple spray and loves it. Give it a try for yourself!
Another option that I have not yet tried is to simply use a clean cloth and place a few drops of essential oil on the cloth and toss in the dryer. In between loads, refresh it with a few new drops of oil. After every few loads launder it in the washing machine.
Someday I may also attempt to make my own laundry detergent but for now I am content to let Kim’s Rockin’ Green concoction work its magic on our cloth diapers and clothing. If you haven’t yet had a chance to watch the Rockin’ Green Laundry Soap review video I made with Kim, you should. In it you will see how Kim’s soap compares to some of the top competing brands of cloth diaper detergent and how effective it is at renewing the absorbency in your cloth diaper inserts.
How about you? I would love to hear if you have found something to replace your dryer sheets or if you even have any desire to do so.
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Healthy Living, Moneywi$e, Recipes & Kitchen Tips, The Journey of Motherhood | Posted Thursday, May 27, 2010
You may recall that one of my goals this year was to start making my own cleaning products. The reason for this is two fold:
1) I want to have products in my home that are safe for our family and don’t add extra allergens.
2) I want to save money.
The first homemade cleaning product I tried was a scrub that would be used in place of Comet. I love this easy, inexpensive mix. Just this week I let a friend of mine try it. She cleans houses for a living. After using it she was so impressed, she asked me for the recipe!
Now that spring is here, I am noticing that my windows are *ahem* not very sparkly. So I decided to whip up some glass cleaner. This glass cleaning recipe is so darn easy that you will have NO excuse for not giving it a try:)! Ready?
1) Find a spray bottle (I used my empty Windex bottle).
2) Fill it half way with water.
3) Fill it the rest of the way with white vinegar
This mixture works wonderfully, has no after odor and no chemicals. Plus it is CHEAP! I buy my vinegar at Costco. You can get (2) 1 gallon jugs for $3.99. Now lets say that you used this vinegar ONLY to make glass cleaner. Once you mixed the vinegar with water (1 to 1 ratio) you would get 4 gallons cleaner total. One gallon = 128 fluid oz.
This means you would get 512 oz. of glass cleaner for $3.99. Compare this to buying a 32 oz. container of Windex at Walmart ($2.48) or Target ($2.49). To get 512 oz. of Windex you would pay about $39.84! This means that making your own glass cleaner is a savings of 898%! I will never buy another bottle of Windex again.
Another alternative is the E-cloth. I have these for cleaning and they work really well! You
can get one for glass and polishing for $9.99 (they have other options
depending on what you are cleaning). Because it can be washed and reused
needed, you will find your costs being saved in the long run. You can
see Ashlyn with the blue E-cloth in the image below (at her feet). And sorry, you can’t hire her to clean your windows–we keep her far to busy cleaning our house!
Happy spring cleaning!
How about you, do you have any favorite methods for cleaning glass?
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Moneywi$e | Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010
On Tuesday I shared with you 5 iphone apps for kids that we love. BUT who am I kidding, I didn't get my phone for my kids, I got it for me:)! So here are 5 of my favorite apps that I use all the time. The great thing is that they are also free AND if you don't have a phone that can utilize these apps, they all have a web interface that will allow you to enjoy their services as well.
1. Facebook (free)
If you use facebook, you will love the option of updating your status on the go with your iphone. It is super easy to take a photo, add a caption and instantly update your status or check your favorite fan pages to see what the latest specials or discounts or new products are (i.e. Mom 4 Life
2. Fotobabble (free)
Take a photo, add your voice and share, easy peesy! I love this. It is easy but fun. A great new way to quickly share personality plus photos with friends or family. I have already used it for both business and for fun. You can check out my Fotobabbles here. Don't have an iphone? Just go to the Fotobabble website to set up your free account and use their fun service there!
3. Pandora (free)
If you haven't tried out Pandora I think you will love this. You start by creating your own personal "station" based on an artist, song or classical composer whose music you like. Then, sit back as Pandora plays their music and music that is similar! Like the songs they choose? You can give them a "thumbs up" and it will continue to adjust your personal station to your preferences. Don't like a song choice? Give it a "thumbs down" and it won't play that one again! If you have a music docking station for your iphone this is a great option for listening to your own personalized music in your home. Again, even if you don't have an iphone, you can enjoy Pandora on your computer! Oh and I just have to clarify that the little screen shot images in this post are not from my phone cause I have no idea what "Swizz Beatz" music is and I am pretty sure I wouldn't like it.
4. Google Reader (free)
I have a hard time keeping up with blogs. Using Google Reader on my iphone allows me to catch up as I am waiting in line at the store or having some "private" time in the bathroom (just be very careful, iphones and toilets don't mix well). I am automatically updated when a blog that I follow has a new update. As I read the posts, it is noted. I can "star" posts that I really like to come back to later. Don't have an iphone? Use Google Reader directly on your computer.
5. Allrecipes' Dinner Spinner (free)
When I decided to start cooking with more beans, this app was the first one I turned to. I asked it to give me "main dishes" using "legumes" and "any cook time" and gave it a spin! There were 62 matches awaiting me including the Mexican Bean Burgers that we have now had twice (they are super yummy!). I also love the option to email a recipe to a friend (or myself) and the fact that I can read all the reviews and feedback from others who have tried the recipe (including their suggested changes). No iphone, go directly to All recipes and explore directly on your computer!
I love my iphone but the one thing that I don't love is that my battery never
seems to run out at the right time. I carry my charger cord with me in my
purse so I can charge up in the car but somehow I still find myself running
out of juice at the wrong times. If you can relate to this you might be
interested in the mophie juice pack air. This handy little baby almost doubles
my battery life while also serving as a protective case. I was sent one to try
out and I have to say that I am impressed. I have the option of when to utilize
the extra battery life that the morphie provides and it has an indicator so that
I can see how much extra battery time is left. The only downside that I have
come across so far is that I have to remove my iphone from the mophie case
in order to doc it into our stereo. However, because my phone gets charged
when plugged into the stereo it is almost a non issue. Also, because the iphone
is so darn slim adding the mophie case does make it seem bigger. However,
I personally didn't mind and the extra thickness actually made it easier to talk
on the phone while balancing it between my ear and shoulder while I try to do
something mommish like (changing a diaper).
Your turn! What iphone apps do you like? I would love to hear from you.
P.S. This is a totally free bonus. I have to share my friend Kira's blog post about her iphone/toilet "incident". If nothing else it is guaranteed to make you smile, or your money back!
By Heather Ledeboer | Category: Moneywi$e | Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I have an iphone. When they first came out my husband and I watched Steve Jobs present it online with wide eyes. I never really expected to own one, I was pretty content to just drool over them and be happy that such an amazing piece of technology existed in the world.
Although I would consider myself to be pretty savvy online, I couldn't say the same for my cell phone usage. I had never even sent a text until sometime last year when a friend texted me and I was forced to figure out a way to reply. It took me so long to find the right buttons that I realized I could have called her back three times in the time it took me to reply via text. The cell phone I had been using was so very, very basic that my friends loved to tease me about it (no problem though, my self esteem is still pretty intact .
However, last year though some amazing miracle the services that we needed my cell phone to provide for my business made the iphone a better deal overall than the phone I owned at the time. Once I was practically forced to get a new phone, I figured that I may as well embrace this new technology with open arms and started exploring the amazing world of iphone applications. In case a few of you have found yourself in a similar place, I thought I would share 5 of my favorite kids iphone apps. I have a feeling that you might have some good ones to share with me too. If so, please leave a comment letting me know which ones you like so we can all benefit!
1. KidCalc (1.99)
Looking for a great math app? KidCalc covers concepts such as number recognition,
writing numbers, counting (in increments of 1,2,3 on up to 100!),
addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using flash cards,
puzzle games and more. The graphic are cute, the kids voice overs are
fun and because you can customize the game to fit the abilities of your
child, they can use it from preschool age through elementary school as
they learn to count as high as 1,000! They have frequent updates too so
your value continues to improve as they add new games and features.
This one is totally worth the price!
Toddler Teasers Shapes
This free app is simple but it works! It prompts the child to touch the
correct shape. If an incorrect shape is touched it disappears and your
child tries again. Once the correct shape is touched, kids cheer.
After four correct answers your child ears a sticker reward that they
get to "stick" anywhere on the "sticker collection" screen. Ashlyn
loves this game and I like the creative use of the sticker reward.
Farm Friends (0.99)
This is just like the game we had as kids only portable! Especially
ideal for young kids due to the ease of use. Simply touch the middle of
the screen and the pointer spins landing on a random animal causing
that animal to shake and provide its sound.
4. FirstWords ($1.99-there is also a
free lite version)
The FirstWords app has a very simply interface that children can quickly
understand. Simply slide the letters from the bottom of the screen to
the correct place within the word as the letters are repeated out loud
on the phone. A correct word and the app says the letters in order and
then the word all together followed by clapping and the picture coming
alive with sound. The graphics are cute and the reinforcement of using
letters to build words is great. Both Ashlyn (4) and Hunter (6) enjoy
this one. Hunter is learning spelling while he plays and Ashlyn is
learning how words are built plus you are able to adjust the difficult
level to best match the abilities of younger or older children.
Kids Eat For ($2.99)
the Kids Eat For app back in August and since that time the price
has come down by $1. This app shows you local eating places that have
"Kids Eat Free" deal. I shows you which days of the week the deals
with providing the directions to the restaurant and contact info. It is
super awesome on road trips too so grab this one before your next
So which apps do you like? I will be following up on Thursday with a post of my 5 favorite free apps (ones that I use as a mom) so you can be on the lookout for that!