Keeping Clean

Or:
Some sweet cleaning pins I discovered
and can’t imagine Life without them now

People are always saying to me, “Kat, how do you manage it all? Keeping such a spotless house and a cool head.”

That is a complete lie. No one has ever said that to me. In fact, one friend said, “this is the cleanest I’ve ever seen your house!” Once when he came to visit. And he was actually paying me a compliment.

I do not want a Martha Stewart house by any means. I love homes that are lived in by real people. However, there is a certain level of organization that I believe my home lacks.

I have discovered a few Pinterest links that have served me well. I wish to share these with my readers so you can have the same amount of control over one miniscule aspect of your life. These aren’t life hacks. Life isn’t easy and espcially when it comes to keeping a home.

1. Fan Blade Dusting

I can’t imagine returning to Plato’s Cave again. This one is amazing. It is stupid how easy this makes dusting fan blades. Take a pillowcase and pull it over a single fan blade. Add a bit of pressure to the top and bottom of the blade as you pull the pillowcase off.
You won’t get a face full of dust and you won’t sneeze a hundred times. If you missed a spot on the fan blade just recover it with the pillowcase and do it again. Once all the fan blades have been dusted, throw the pillowcase directly into the washer.
Thank you, Apartment Therapy! Source

2. (Sorta) Homemade Fabric Softener

Instead of tossing/recycling the old fabric softener bottle keep it around and refill it. Combine 6 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar and 2 cups hair conditioner. The original poster said to stir not shake to avoid suds. I shook and had no issues.
Thank you, Jillee @ One Good Thing! Source.

3. Liquid Concentrated Laundry Detergent

I tried making a powder laundry detergent but (I assume) because my washer is HE it doesn’t use as much water and the powder ended up clumping. So I took the powder that I had painstakingly put together, added it to water with a bit of dawn soap and boom. Perfection.
Part one includes grating a Fels Naptha bar (optional), Borax, OxyClean washing powder and baking soda. Part two, mix 1 1/2 cups of mixed powder, half cup of dawn dish liquid and warm/hot water shaking as you fill up the jug to ensure all the soap has dissolved.
Thank you, Jillee @ OGT! Source & Source.

4. Clean Front Load Washing Machine

This absolutely needs to be done. We clean our washer about once every two months or so. We should really do it more because after cleaning we can smell a significant difference in the quality of the clean clothes. Run first hot water cycle with empty washer and  2 cups vinegar in the detergent slot. Run second hot water cycle with 2 cups bleach. Run third water cycle with just plain water. Remove the soap dispensers and soak/wash them in the sink. Take a cloth damped with very diluted bleach water and wipe down the rubber gaskets around the door. The last steps sound tedious compared to the press-button cleaning process. I promise it is all worth it.
Thank you, Jillee @ OGT! Source.

5. Homemade Body Wash

There are tons of recipes out there for grate and heat body wash. gratedbarliquidsoapAny old Google search will reveal tons with slight differences. I honestly don’t have all the answers. I feel like each brand of soap will give slightly different results. However I will share my best tips for making it.
Combine 3 tablespoons of glycerine, 6 cups of water and 3 bars of soap (grated) in huge cook pot. Heat on medium to melt soap flakes. Avoid boiling! Burnt soap is a bad, bad thing. Once the soap bits are completely melted turn off the stove and allow the soapy water to sit overnight. Next day use a hand mixer to break things up. Add more water if you feel that the mixture is too thick. Bottle and go.

6. Bathtub Scrub

For some reason I haven’t been able to hunt down the the proper recipe original pinner I copied the idea from. Many apologies to the person I took this idea from. Grab a spray bottle and mix together equal parts of dawn dish liquid and white vinegar. Spray this all over your disgusting shower and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on your free time. As a warning to sensitive people, the combo of these two makes for a strong smell. If you are sensitive you may open a window when you go to wipe down and rinse off the walls of the shower.

7. Organized Cupcake Liners

This is much like the first tip above. Very simple and it makes life just that much easier. Take all the random half cellophane masonjarcraftsblogcupcakelinerorganizationwrappers full of your mismatched  cupcake liners and stack them in a mason or bell jar. My only complaint about this is I usually want the V-day/Xmas/Halloween liners that I have put at the bottom of the stack. It looks pretty in the cabinets I think and you know we all secretly want beautiful cabinets.
Thank you, Mason Jar Crafts Blog! Source.

8. Cheaters Car Wash

This is a great in-between washes way of making your car a bit more presentable. Use Pledge or a similar off brand furniture polish. This cuts the nasty road grease. After you wipe away all the nasty get a fakeitfrugalpledgecarwashclean microfiber cloth or paper towels and buff the residue until you can see your face. I bought the cheap store brand version and it worked just as promise.
Thank you Fake-It Frugal! Source.

9. Denture Clean Water Bottle

This is another easy one to help avoid the soapy taste and nasty bacterial smell after filling up your reusable bottle. Grab two of the denture cleanser tablets and toss them into your bottle with warm water. Allow to soak before dumping and rinsing the bottle.
Thank you, Jenny @ Popsugar! Source.

10. Homemade Windex

Easy to mix up and works better than the store brand. You’ll a spray bottle, 1/8 cup white ammonia, 1/4 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol and 1 drop of laundry detergent and warm water to fill the bottle up. This is great in the bathroom for good cleaning and doesn’t leave streaks on mirrors/windows.
Thank you, Fake-It Frugal! Source.

Cold: Workouts, Car Troubles, and Dogs

I have been trying to work out daily or every other day. This week has been a trial, however, because my car has been going super gimp mode. Trouble starting mostly and I am getting to the point where jumping is part of my normal routine.

Thankfully we found out the issue. The Cold Cranking Amps or CCA on a battery really matters when your temps get down into freezing or single digits. The CCA was 500 for my bug and my mechanic informed me it simply isn’t enough power to start my diesel in this cold weather. I was so thankful to find out it wasn’t the alternator or something else worse and unimaginable.

My husband and I went on the hunt last night and bought a battery we were told would fit my car. Once we got it home, Kit found it was too tall. The fusebox lid and also the hood would not close.
So the saga continues. I fully plan to pick up my regular workout routine once my car stops being silly.

Because of the cold weather, we have had a house full of dogs most nights. In addition to my beagle we have two big dogs that dominate the couch.
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They are the most thankful dogs in the world. They have behaved beautifully and adored their warm indoor time. The first night was rough because they aren’t used to crates—lots of whining–but since then they have understood and go right to sleep.

The rest of my winter has been insulated bibs, hot tea, blankets, socks and snuggling up.
Come on Spring……

Hopes, Dreams, Revelations and Resolutions

Happy New Year’s Eve!
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Everyone is talking about their big parties tonight or quiet night alone.
Tomorrow many people will begin their resolutions.

I never have kept a resolution, the closest I got was to May or June. I had decided to stop cursing because my language was terrible at the time. After I found out I had been cheated on in the spring, I decided to give boys a break and try cursing again.

I don’t want to call them resolutions I want to be more free flowing. Why set yourself up for a guilt trip later? Why not list your hopes and dreams for the new year?

My hopes and dreams always far outweigh my accomplishments bucket, but I slowly plug away and get a few more things done.

A few hopes and dreams for the coming year for myself and others:

• I wish to keep trying new recipes with my hubbster. Maybe try another country/culture specific dish.

• Expand our chicken flock, build a simple coop and get free eggs all summer.

• Play with our kids daily or every other day so they learn to love people. (Goat kids are due in May or June)

• Start another garden!
Buy seeds, plan, start and plant.
We skipped 2013 and we were pretty sad every day we didn’t have fresh produce in the backyard.

• Go on more dates with Hubbster. My Christmas present of monthly dates should do the trick. (I will likely post about them later)

• Read more for fun.
Get a book, read it all the way through in two weeks. Quit hanging onto one tiny paperback for two months and then barely finishing it.

• Spread more joy.
Visit people, just to sit and have tea. Talk about happy things, really listen and respond to stories from their life and how they are feeling. Like plants; I need to tend to my relationship garden more.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. There are more serious hopes like, finding a solid job that doesn’t kill my spirit, paying off bills so I can travel, and exercising more. However, I don’t need a new year to start these things.

Do you have hopes, dreams, goals, resolutions for the new year, or have you had revelations in 2013?

My wish to all my readers is the warmth of a good meal in their stomachs, happiness in their hearts, and the strength of spirit to achieve their goals for the upcoming year.

Merry new year,
~Kit and Kat~

Pear Pie–Needs Some Adjustments

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Can you see the hidden shapes on top of the crust? I attempted to cut the vent holes with the same shape, but they stretched and lost their awesome.

I used the fantastic apple pie recipe I found online and it is almost perfect. But instead of apples I used pears from our farm. I forgot that I decreased the temperature of the oven the first time I used this recipe. So…my crust was well done and my fruit was still a little hard.

We’ll see what my coworkers think.of it today. I’m nervous and not entirely thrilled that I made such a silly irrevocable mistake.
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Update
My coworkers made it disappear easily during my eight hour work shift. Everyone agreed the crust and flavor was great.

They made some legit recommendations about a future fix. First, being if I have particularly hard fruits, I could cook them down in a sauce pan with the sugar to help soften them up.
Second, they also agreed that 375°F was high for pie and I should lower the temp.
I also hope to cut up my pear chunks into more even sizes. I think the larger pieces were the undercooked ones.

Addition: Mug Hooks

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I have been swooning over the fancy mug rack DIY projects on Pinterest since I first saw them. However, Kit and I agreed we don’t like our cabinets and do not mind if we drill them for of holes.

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I even used the power drill! I was proud of myself for learning and frustrated that I wasn’t an expert immediately. I did put up several of the hooks without completely ruining anything.
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I am super pleased at the final product! My mugs are easy to access, they look pretty on display, and it cleared tons of room in my quite limited cup cabinet.
Yes, I am very aware my hooks aren’t even. My life is a little janky, so it fits me.

What do you think?

More House Work

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You may recall one of my recent blogs about Fixing the House. The epic continued as we stripped off the trim and molding—and I found out we would definitely have to repaint it. Again.—We must have vacuumed about five times to make sure there weren’t a ton of loose bits on the floor. Then we starting unrolling, sticking down and cutting tthe foam underlayment.
I said, “HT, hold the roll up so I can cut along the wall.” And the above picture was her response. I made her hold the pose as I ran for my phone and the hilarious picture of her above.

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After much grumbling, measuring and consultation of the instructions, the first row of boards were laid down. I have to give a shout out to Kit on this one. He read the crummy instructions, got all the tools, measured, cut, hammered and more to get that floor in. He is great!

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Don’t let the pictures fool you, after the first few boards were put in HT and I went to fix a massive pot of spaghetti, breaded and baked mushrooms (very loosely based on this recipe) and a green salad. Another friend came over because he wanted to learn how to install this type of flooring. Kit and I got tons of work done with such willing helpers!

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Kit worked quickly and well. We finally took a break for supper and decided to pick it up the next day. That’s when I helped the most, because everyone was at work on in school.

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The flooring was tedious, there was a lot of fudging and techniques you had to learn along the way to make it work. The last piece wanted to be a monster, but Kit finally make it happen.
Thankfully, after all the cursing, we finally have a completed laminate floor!!
Supper was slamming too, by the way.

Until next time,
Kat

Tour de Louisville Garden

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Last week, Kit and I went to L-ville to visit some dear college friends.
One of my buds is the estate manager for a famous author, so as part of our visit we got a tour of the grounds.
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I loved this statue of Pan and my friend couldn’t help but ham itit up for the camera. Love it!
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One of the owners had a special garden that he personally likes to care for. The shapes happen to be a special part of his studies and teaching.
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Check out that river view!!
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One of the water gardens on the property. This one had adorable floating garden pieces which moved around because of the little waterfalls at the edges of the garden.
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Check out those lemons! My horticulture friend hand pollinated all the flowers to get those enormous fruits! I hope they like lemonade.
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My Hort friend nerding out and explaning the process of making and using compost tea. He is standing next to an amazingly huge African Shield plant.
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Check out these awesome land owners. They have rocket box style bat houses on their property! Anyone who helps make a happy home for bats are alright in my book!

I ended the day by cashing in on a favor and grabbing a cafe miella (cinnamon and honey) latte at Sunergos.
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