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.

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Walkabout The Snow Day

Snow DateDepending on your line of work (teachers) and your age (still in grade school) you will see a ton of snow days in Kentucky. I don’t get many snow days as I am not a teacher nor am I in school. Snow Days in the South are a big joke to people up North who get snow in feet not inches. Down here, it would be insane to send a standard yellow school bus down curvy country roads that haven’t seen salt trucks ever. We got several inches of snow and several inches of ice overnight and I got a snow day! Sometimes it is good to live on back roads. It took most of the day for the road crews in our area to get the main parkways and interstates clear. We’re still waiting for our main highway to be cleared today (day two).

On our snow day we made a big pot of chicken and dumplings and sipped on hot coffee through the morning.

Veggies in broth

This photo of the chicken stock and the onions, celery and carrots was too beautiful not to share. Isn’t food just BEAUTIFUL! You can tell why my weight loss is so slow going. Hah!

Chicken n' dumplings

I painted my nails blue while we watched tons of episodes of Bones, Leverage and Rules of Engagement. I also caught up on some reading–glorious, glorious reading.

messy blue

In the afternoon, I donned three shirts, two pants, a sweater, hat and insulated overalls. I hadn’t ventured out of the house much because I hate being cold, but given the proper preparation I love it! I romped in just about every snow drift on the farm to show how impressively deep the snow had gotten–Several feet.

I attempted to  throw a snowball at Kit but quickly realized it was much to powdery for any real fun. A snowman would have been out of the question.  However, I had a grand time romping in drifts, making a snow angel, spying tracks of and seeing some actual wildlife.
We brought the camera: 

driftone

One foot on top of snow and the other sunk to what I assume was the ground.

makesnowangel

I remember making dozens of snow angels as a kid until I got the perfect one. Then my brothers usually walked through it.

Drifttwo by fence

Sunken into a drift that built up by the neighbor’s fence row. My knee is below the snow line.

snow angel poseHad to pose by my not-so-perfect snow angel.

geeseonpond

We wanted to see the half frozen pond and had to stop in short to keep from scaring off the pair of moose enjoying the pond. Okay, moose is a weird inside joke and it is what we call Canadian geese. If I explained it you would just think I am more crazy and less funny.

sillysnowfaces

The obligatory Snow Day Selfie! I hope you guys got to stay home with your loved ones. And if you didn’t get to yesterday, then make a point to spend a day with the people who make you smile soon!

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

Fixing the House: Our Progress

Recently, Kit and I have been working on fixing up the spare bedroom. A friend that will be living with us through the winter semester and I can’t wait!
Some of my friends from work came over to help on several occasions and they were so efficient I didn’t have time for pictures.
As my professor would say, if you have time to take photosof people working then you’re not working with everyone else.
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We started out by fixing some nails holes and one random huge hole in the wall. We put on one coat of killz, to keep any evils from seeping through. And put two coats of midnight purple on the walls.
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I’ll go ahead and tell ya, it is a lot of purple. The room looks gorgeous though. If I ever get to decorating it properly, I want to add accents of silver and light gray.
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After the paints were laid, HT and I pulled the carpet and foam underlayment. We removed the carpet tack strips and out to the trash they went. We only found out that kicking the pry bar underneath the strips was crazy. Yes, we had a hammer, but you see, we also had wine-given strength.
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The other day, I reorganized, read: pulled everything out of the closet. Once I had some room, I pulled the carpet in the closet. Tell me, who chooses to put down carpet in a closet so darn awkward!?
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I made the decision not to pull the strips in the closet because I do not plan on putting flooring in there. I will likely change my mind later, but I will wait for the inspiration of a drunken evening to pull up the rest of it.
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Please note the cat taking advantage of the free bed.
My next steps are to paint a second coat of ultra white paint on the brown trim and coat the floor with killz before we put down the laminate.
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We are also replacing some of the particleboard near the doorway, but we haven’t gotten that finished yet. I will be painting around it until we get it all the way pulled up and replaced.

I am so pleased that this 1970s room is getting a face lift. I hope that we can continue reorganizing and replacing bits of our house as we go. It is exciting to find that fixing one’s house is possible.
We are certainly not Weekend Warriors. Perhaps Weeklong Warriors would be more appropriate.

Return of the Kat

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I’m home!!

Had roughly 7 hours of sleep, food, coffee, water and even planned dinner for tonight.

Can you believe my productivity?
I just generally being lazy. I could do more if I wanted.

In fact today’s plan involved washing up my laundry from the trip, but I got sidetracked when I found baby chicken #9 was laid out in the rain.

Slaughtering an animal for food is one thing, but walking away from a baby animal that is on death’s door is not something I can do.

I brought him in and held him in a dry washcloth for a bit so he could get some of my body heat. This may sound irresponsible but it was the best I could do—I gave the chick some human baby electrolytes (like pedialyte).

Drop by drop he was drinking and currently he is holding on. Nursing baby animals, especially birds is not a strong suit of mine. At least I can say he will be warm, dry and somewhat hydrated if I lose him tonight.

In addition to being the Nightingale to the chicken I am getting supper ready.

Dinner is a little bit random because I don’t want to have to make a full shopping list and spend hours at walmart just after vacation.

Supper is spicy quiche! I will put rotel tomatoes, onions, dry red pepper (+other spices), cheese, milk, and eggs in it.

Dessert is flan! I am using a box mix that we got ages ago at the salvage store. It has set up well in the fridge. Fingers crossed that it tastes as good as it looks.

I’ve missed my readers very much.

How have you all been?

Is there something in particular you would like to read a blog about?

Day 330: Toilet Paper Roll Seed Trays

Last week, Kit and I made a seed tray out of empty toilet paper rolls. Much like the expensive peat pots, we will plan these directly into the garden. We bought a five dollar plastic box and cut each roll in half.

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Next, we took out the rolls and put in several inches of dirt. We pressed the rolls down into the dirt, like cookie cutters and filled some of the rolls with more dirt as needed. We left some soil in between the rolls to help the moisture travel between cells when we water them.

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They are doing wonderfully now and almost all the cells are up! We planted San Marzano paste tomatoes, oregano, dill and basil in this tray.
We need to get proper plant markers or popsicle sticks and we need more TP rolls to start another tray!