Category Archives: Pointers and Tips

FREE Spring/Fall Cleaning Checklist

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Ok I will have to admit, I used TO LOVE Fall! All the leaves changing colors and cooler temps. BUT I don’t love it as much as I used to because it reminds me that WINTER is right around the corner. Ugh for Winter. The only reason I can possibly love or even like that season is seeing the joy on my children’s faces when they see snow falling. That is the only reason.  However with fall here and all the leaves changing color and the cooler temps it is time once again for a fall cleaning overhaul of the house! YEAH for cleaning… Ok I was a little sarcastic there, sorry. But I do love the house so much more when I’m all done. So here is my run down. Hope it helps you get your house cleaned and smelling great!

So for starters you should always remember this rule of thumb when spring cleaning. “Always start from the top and go down”.

In order to get a thorough cleaning “don’t do one room at a time” you will want to start from the top “ceiling” and go down “floor” Remember dust settles. Also base the following list on a one level home. If you have multiple floors always start on the top floor and go down following the cleaning checklist. Give or take depending on what you have on each floor. Remember clean from the top down.

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Here is a run down for cleaning, but for a more precise cleaning checklist click and print the link below

  • Dust cobwebs
  • Clean all light fixtures and fans
  • Remove all wall hangings and head to the washing machine and wash them. once they are done put them on
    clothes line so they get that fresh spring air smell. **make sure to follow cleaning labels accordingly.
  • Dust and wipe down all window frames
  • Wipe down and wash all cupboards
  • Clean your windows inside and in between if possible
  • Clean your window sills – once windows are done leave open and let the fresh spring air in.
  • Remove all pictures and wall hangings and wipe and dust them including tv’s and mirrors including the ones in the bathroom
  • Wipe down your walls
  • Wipe down and dust all appliances including your refrigerator, stove and microwave.
  • Clean the inside of all your appliances “look below for how to”
  • Dust and wipe down all other furniture
  • Shampoo those sofas and vacuum under those cushions
  • Wipe down and clean all cupboards and counter tops
  • Remove all bedding from beds and place in the washer and keep cleaning – when the bedding is done place outside on your clothesline and let the spring air freshen them up. You will thank me later.
  • Clean your bathrooms medicine cabinet, sink, tub and toilet.
  • wipe down all baseboards
  • now your floors
  • Carpet – Vacuum and Shampoo those things “You will want to move furniture and possibly only do one or two rooms at a time so the carpet can dry before moving all the furniture back.
    Hard wood floors – Sweep/wipe down or wax/buff
    Linoleum/tile – Sweep and mop

Now take a deep breath your house looks and smells awesome!

For those of you that are curious here are some how to’s for your kitchen.

How to clean that pesky stove and oven – This link is one of the best that I have found.
http://happyhomemaker88.com/2007/10/11/easy-cleaning-with-vinegar-baking-soda/
“I have tried this and it works wonderfully. My only recommendation is to let it sit for a while.

Now to clean the inside of the oven doors.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVdcioALeuA

How to clean your refrigerator
http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/kitchen/how-to- clean-refrigerator-00000000055364/index.html

Don’t forget to defrost your freezer so you have more room in there.
http://www.ehow.com/how_2028449_clean-defrost-refrigerator.html#page=0

Need a copy of the Spring/Fall cleaning checklist? Click this link for your free checklist spring and fall cleaning checklist

Let me know what you thought of our Spring & Fall Cleaning Checklist and if there is anything you would add to it that we didn’t think of. Can’t wait to hear back.

15 unique/crazy ways people have used Duct Tape!

I don’t know about you but I have heard some crazy things that people have used duct tape for. Here are our top 15. Leave a comment below if you have other crazy ideas for how to use duct tape. We would love to hear about them.

Replace a valuable piece on a vehicle

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Use duct tape to help get rid of wort’s. Yes people do, do this.

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Use it on your next vacation.

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Yep so true!

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Fix a tire… Hey you never know it might actually work. but I wouldn’t count on it for too
long if at all. Yikes!

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Can’t find the tools and items you need to put a sink up? Why not use duct tape?

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Child sitting? I highly do not recommend this. It is a unique way to use duct tape but not really sure what these parents or baby sitters were thinking… poor kiddo.

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Why not recover a a piece of furniture that is falling apart?

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Why buy a boat you can build one!

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To many things in your luggage and can’t zip it up? Why not use duct tape?

broken suitcase thanks to tsa

Duct tape someones mouth shut. A great way to keep those that never stop talking,
quiet.

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Hem your pants. Hey why not it works for the moment. Right?

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I bet you feel safe on an airplane that has duct tape on it.

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Duct tape on a paint-roller to help remove pet hair.

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fix a linking pipe? Hey why not.

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I don’t know about you but these are some crazy ways to use duct tape. However if it works, why not try it?What are some of the ways you have used duct tape?

**All pictures were from google images, None of them were my own, Thank you google for the inspiration**

Party tips for throwing a birthday party for $50 or less

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I don’t know about you but I love to throw birthday parties for my little ones. Plus you can have a fantastic one for $50 or less. Not bad huh?
It might just be me getting lucky at this time of the year for sales.
That or I’m just starting to really learn how to be thrifty.
Now all of our kids birthdays fall within a 2 month period of time and 3 months for all 5 of us.
August, September and October are very busy when it comes to birthdays.
I love celebrating each year my children turn another year older. They only get to be that old once.
So I want to make it memorable every year.

Here are some tips for just how I spend $50 or less on a birthday party.

One thing to remember when planning a party is how many people will be attending. More people there are the higher the cost it will be.
A good thing to do is grab a piece of paper, set a budget and DON”T GO OVER IT!
Remember most people won’t even know that you forgot or didn’t have money to buy something.

Goodie Bags and or Treats

Do without the goodie bags. The average kid won’t even know that there are usually “goodie” bags at a birthday party.
They will be to caught up in the moment.
Some birthday parties have a pinata. To save costs you can make one yourself.

Venue

To save money on a “venue” go to a park or host it at your house or a family members house.
I love the park because the kids can play while the food is cooking and there is no need for entertainment because they are otherwise occupied.

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Food

To help save money on food keep it simple! Below is a simple menu an approximate cost for each.

Hot Dogs – .088 cents – First off you don’t need to spend a ton of money on food. stick to the basics. Kids LOVE hotdogs, it’s simple and easy and remember if adults complain about the food remind them the party is not for them it’s for “munchkin ‘s name”. The cost here can vary depending on how many kids and adults come. I usually can get a pack of hot dogs 10 in a pack for .88 cents on sale. Remember your average kid will eat between 1 and 2 hot dogs. So your one package will feed approximately 5 kids.

Buns – You can usually get a package of buns at your local Kwik trip or dollar store for about $1 a package. There are usually 8 in a package. Each package will feed 4 kids. “that is saying each kid will eat 2 hotdogs.

Chips – I will be honest here I love the taste of the potato chips at our local dollar store. They are made from all natural ingredients and they are only $1 a bag.  Each bag will feed between 6-10 kids

Watermelon – .99 – $1.49 a lb depending on the season. This is very cheap to buy and easy to dish up. I don’t know many kids who don’t like to eat it either.

Cake – I know it is easier and faster to buy a cake but this really is where one of the biggest costs come in for a birthday party. However it is cheaper to go buy a couple Betty Crocker cake mixes and whip them up yourself. I use about 1 box cake mix per round birthday cake and 2 box cake mixes for rectangle cakes.  They cost about $1.49 – $2.00 for a box sometimes you get them for $1 if you buy them when they are on sale. You can buy the frosting or click here for making some easy recipes that are really cheap to make and easy. If you have a little extra time you can make your own fondant. Click here for a how to.

Ice Cream – yes it is easier to go out and buy your own. but hey there is nothing like a little excitement in making your very own. This is also a great idea for kids to do at the birthday party themselves. Ice cream in a bag is the way to go. Click Here for a simple and easy how to.

When looking at food cost you can use the chart below to help you prepare a little bit for costs

Item                               Cost                                             Feeds
Hot Dogs             .88 – $1 a package                4 – 5 people “saying everyone has 2 hotdogs each
Hod Dog Buns    $1 – $1.49 a package           4 people – “saying everyone has 2 hotdogs each.
Chips                    $1 – $3.49 a bag                   6 – 10 people
Watermelon        $1 – $1.49 a lb                      12 – 15 people
Cake                      $1.49 – $2.00 a box             10 – 15 people
Ice Cream             $2.00 – $4.00                       15 – 36 people “depending on size of container”
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
$7.37 – $13.47                                          4 people approximately
$10.37 – $15.96                                        8 people approximately
$12.25 – $18.45                                        12 people approximately
$15.13 – $24.43                                        16 people approximately

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Now I love the dollar store when it comes to party supplies. Why? Everything is $1!!!!
Usually when I plan a birthday party most everything comes from the dollar store or is made from scratch.

Paper plates – $1 – $3 depending on where you buy and what style.

Last week we celebrated my daughters 1-year-old birthday. I had 15 people attend the party.
“We had more invited, not everyone was able to make it though”
So here is what it cost me

$15 for 3 dozen corn
$3.52 for 4 packages of 8 hotdogs
$4 for 4 packages of hotdog buns
$2 for 24 plates
$2 for 24 cups
$2 for 40 napkins
$1 for ketchup
$0 for mustard – We already had some
$3.99 for a large watermelon
$4.79 for Chips
$1 for cake mix
$1.29 for marshmallows
$1.39 for Powdered sugar
$4 for 4 2 liters of pop
$1 for party bags – I only needed 8
$6 for 6 different party favors and treats

My grand total
$52.98 for a party of 16 people

** Now I wasn’t planning on spending the $15 for 3 dozen corn.
My hubby went and bought that from a farmer and then told me he bought some.
We also never did end up using the watermelon** So without those 2 things my grand total would have been $33.99.
We also didn’t use ice cream since it was too hot that day. So that too helped save us money

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My daughter had a blast at her party. It was simple and didn’t cost us a fortune.
If you have questions or ideas as to also help make a birthday party as cheap as possible please leave a comment below.

The Randomness of Vegetables and Fruit

For all you gardeners out there. Have you ever gotten into your growing season and have found some random vegetable or fruit-growing in a place you never planted it or even close to your garden? Well, I have. I find it on the funny side when it happens and I also see it as an unexpected blessing from God.

To talk about randomness of vegetables. Growing up on a hobby farm we had a compost pile. It was my chore to empty the compost out every day into the compost pile and on one such occasion I found a pumpkin growing up a tree. Yes a pumpkin growing part way up a tree. The crazy thing was it had my initials carved in the pumpkin. Which only meant one thing. My mom had found the pumpkin and had done that. Which by the way it made my day!

Pumpkins and many other “fruits” like it. Yes it is considered a fruit. Now if you want to surprise your kid or kids carve their name or a picture in a small pumpkin or other squash/gourd. As the fruit grows the fruit will scab over and grow with the fruit. It really is a neat thing to see. Also your kids will be overly surprised.

 

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Yes I snatched the picture from the internet. 🙂

two years ago we planted tons of tomatoes and some tomatoes fell to the ground because they were rotten. So last year we were really surprised that we had 15-20 yep 15-20 random tomato plants growing. Granted it was great since we started our garden a little on the late side and missed the chance to plant tomatoes.

This year 20 odd miles from our garden we find a corn-stalk growing by our house. Yeah a corn-stalk.

Conner came running inside a couple of days ago. Very excited. He was talking so fast because he was so excited. he kept saying mama, mama, mommy, mommy, mom, mom. “yes all of those variations” I found some corn-growing  in the yard. I found some corn, I found some corn. Come look mommy, come look. hurry mommy. I can’t believe my eyes. I a little on the skeptical side of things was like ok show me. I half expected to just some really tall grass. don’t know why I wouldn’t be surprised at the randomness of any vegetable or fruit by now.

However here it is.

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It is about knee-high which in this neck of the woods it is very much on the late side of growing. It is about a month late. Corn here needs to be knee-high by July 4th in order for it to be considered a good crop. So we shall see if we actually get any corn from it.

Conner has been very diligent in watering this corn-stalk. He will ask me every day if he can go water it’s roots.
So randomness in our gardens no matter the distance always seems to happen and I will always welcome it with open arms. 🙂

Have you ever found any random fruit or vegetables growing?
What was your response to the randomness?

Benifits of Bacon?

I LOVE Bacon! I feel horrible for those of you that can’t have bacon or have chosen to not eat it! I just can’t resist that smell in the morning when bacon is frying up in the pan. Not to mention the crisp taste as I bite down. Yep I love bacon! and I so easily could eat a pound by myself. However I’m a mom and must share with my kiddos 😉

There are benefits to cooking and frying up bacon and eating your heart out. Here are a few of them.

  1. Bacon is healthier for you than some cuts of meat.
    •  Bacon has less total fat, cholesterol and saturated fat than some cuts of chicken and beef
  2. Bacon helps to fully satisfy your appetite with high protein and low carbs. Bacon will actually help you lose weight because it helps one’s metabolism and it will build healthier muscles that are leaner and stronger.
  3. Bacon has choline in it which is a very important nutrient. Choline is known for helping increasing memory and intelligence which is great from conception all the way to senior status. Even University studies have been able to show that it helps fight debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease and many other chronic mental conditions.
  4. What are the nutrients that are found in bacon you may ask?
    • Vitamin b1 “Thiamin” – 65% of our Recommended daily intake
    • Vitamin B3 “Niacin” – 47% of our recommended daily intake
    • Vitamin B12 – 38% o of our RDI
    • Zinc – 36% of our RDI
    • Vitamin B6 – 24% of our RDI
    • Vitamin B2 “Riboflavin” – 22% of our RDI
    • Phosphorus – 22% of  our RDI
    • Pantothenate – 10% of our RDI
    • Magnesium – 10% of our RDI
    • Iron – 9% of our RDI
    • The protein  to fat is 4 to 1 which is one of the highest fat to protein ratios in any meat that is found on earth.
  5. Feeling sad? Bacon will help you feel happy, blissful and satisfied. It also helps reduce stress and it also helps relieve negative frustrations. So in other words feeling depressed a serving of bacon will pick you up.

Now when I cook bacon up I save all that wonderful bacon fat that is sitting in the bottom of the pan.

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By saving your bacon fat you will save money on buying cooking sprays, butter and anything else you use to keep food from sticking on the bottom of your pans. To save your bacon fat, place it in a container that can handle heat. “Microwavable container or glass jar with a lid”.

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Once you have placed that excess fat in a container put it in your fridge for the next time you need to pull it out and use it. I love using bacon fat whenever I make eggs. “Which is quite often”. When your ready to use it grab a spoon or knife and take about a tablespoon or two out and place in your pan.

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Once it has melted add your eggs or other food that you like bacon flavoring in.

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Yummy! Once my eggs are done cooking my pan. It looks like this once I have dished up my eggs onto plates.

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Ahh a success and it didn’t cost me extra money and I get a little bit of bacon flavoring in my eggs. A double whammy:-)

Have you ever saved bacon fat before? If so what foods have you used it for?

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Breastfeeding versus Formula Feeding

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “breast is better”. To tell you the truth I would have to agree. Right now my daughter is 10 months old and sad to say she has been weening herself for the last couple months. She now only wants to eat when she goes down for a nap or bedtime. I have only made it this long because I would remove her from the distractions around her and go to a quiet room. It helped but she was still a pistol pie at times. I love breast feeding and I’m sure those that use formula love that too. There was a point in time where I was about to give up and go the formula route but I knew I needed to hang in there. The cost of formula didn’t fit our budget.

But here are the reasons for breastfeeding and why I did it with all 3 of my kids until they were almost a year old.

PROS to Breastfeeding

  • It’s FREE
  • Always available
  • It can help prevent SIDS according to American Academy of Pediatrics
  • It contains infection fighting white blood cells. It also contains natural chemicals that give increased protection from infections.
  • It contains the perfect amount of nutrients for your baby
  • It is easy to digest for the baby
  • Midnight feedings are easy. You can go back to sleep while they nurse. “Co Sleeping” I did this. I was able to get more sleep and I enjoyed the snuggles from my little one.
  • It helps create a bond between mother and baby
  • Perfect temp for baby to drink.
  • Breast milk is sweet. Babies LOVE the taste.
  • It may also help prevent allergies in your baby later on.
  • It may also help decrease obesity later on for them.
  • And for one breastfeeding is absolutely awesome for moms IT HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT FASTER. So you can get back to you pre-baby weight.
  • Your breast milk may also contain fatty acids that help with brain development. I usually just eat a lot more fish or I take DHA. It awesome for you and your baby.
  • Baby spit up doesn’t stain as much if at all on clothes.
  • The older your baby gets the more it eats and your breast milk will also increase to help satisfy your baby. Just remember these 3 simple words Supply and demand

CONS to Breastfeeding

  • It can be time consuming. You can buy a nursing pillow that you attach around your waist. So you can multitask.
  • Your breasts can hurt when you start breastfeeding
  • If you go back to work you have to pump on your breaks click here for the breastfeeding law. By the way in the state I live. We can breastfeed in public and it is not considered indecent exposure. 🙂 Check with your local state legislation on laws that pertain to breastfeeding. You may be surprised.
  • You can become more exhausted because your body is working extra hard to burn more calories to make breast milk. But hey you are losing that extra baby weight faster.
  • You might have to eat differently if your child is reacting to something you are eating.
  • You can become engorged in the beginning as your breasts are trying to figure out how much milk to make for your little one. Click here to find what to do for relief.
  • Hard to feed your child while traveling. You would have to pump.

Pros for Formula feeding

  • Family member’s and friends can help feed your baby while giving you a break or allowing you to go back to work sooner.
  • You don’t have to deal with engorged breasts
  • You can feed your child anywhere that you have clean water available
  • Your breasts won’t hurt
  • Your baby may sleep longer in-between feedings.
  • You can eat and drink whatever you want

Cons for Formula feeding

  • It’s expensive $25 – $40 a week depending on brand. Total cost a year $1300 – $2080.
  • Night time feedings stink. You have to get up and out of bed and make a bottle.
  • You will have to go out and buy more when you are running low.
  • Your baby has a greater chance of having SIDS.
  • Your baby is more prone to sickness and diseases this includes more prone to ear aches and urine infections.
  • When mixing the formula you can get the mixture wrong making it thin, thick, hot or cold.
  • In studies done children that are formula fed are more likely to be obese at least until age 6.
  • Takes a lot of time to sterilize bottles and equipment used to make bottles.
  • It isn’t as easily digestible and you may have to change formula brand and type several times to find the perfect one for your baby.
  • Formula isn’t perfect. Even though manufactures are constantly changing the formula to be more like mother’s milk. It still isn’t perfect.
  • It tastes gross compared to the sweetness of breast milk
  • Baby spit up from formula fed babies stains clothing a lot easier.
  • Your formula can could be recalled

I know there seems to be more cons to formula than to breast milk. But my take on it is this. In both circumstances whatever you choose to do. In the end you will have to decide what is right and what works well for your family.

Below are links that talk more about the advantages of breastfeeding versus formula feeding. I hope you find them useful.

Family DoctorWeb MD
La Leche League international
Breastfeeding.com

I would love to hear your take on why you chose or are choosing to breastfeed or formula feed over the other. Also feel free to ask questions.

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Bats Bats Bats

Yep that nasty word. BATS!

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I will tell you what, I never realized how much I despise those creatures. How much they disgust me beyond measure. Eww Eww Eww is what I have to say to them. I also never realized how much I “fear” them. Until this past Sunday afternoon when I had time to think back to what had just happened that morning. Yes a bat story. One I’m sure that will have you laughing. Needless to say it reminded me of watching my two younger sisters freak out about spiders and how they would pay our younger brother just to come and kill them as they screamed and got as far as they possibly could away from them….. LOL. Yes I laughed at them. Hey in fact I bought fake spiders and well needless to say I wasn’t very nice. So now I feel that God is well, getting back at me. Serves me right I guess. So here it goes.

A little back story

Recently my mother in-law has been having some work done on a portion of her house. They had to remove the ceiling “not the roof portion” over  one half of the house. So now she has bats that found their way into the rafters of the family and dining room and occasionally as I found out on Sunday they also have found their way into the bathroom on that side of the house.

My awesome husband had been capturing bats the night before and had already caught 24 of those disgusting things. “Yes he was keeping track” It kinda reminded me of the fairy tale of the man who wore a belt that had killed seven at one time “referring to killing seven flies all at one time”.

Well needless to say I was just happy that he was removing them. Eww and gross all at the same time. Glad it wasn’t me.

We spent the night at my in-laws so we could spend some extra time with my sister in-law that had come for a visit. Sunday morning I got up early so I could go take a bath “I LOVE baths” and it was still quiet in the house and everyone and I mean EVERYONE is still sleeping. I walk to the bathroom and look in the tub. There were toys in the tub from the night before when kids had taken their baths. So I started to pick them up. Mind you I’m still very groggy and tired. I see something that is black/brown and looked like a big turd. I thought to myself “Eww. Oh the joys of motherhood” so as I grabbed a toy that was right by it. It hit me! “EWW, EWW, EWW it’s a bat. GROSS and there are TWO of them!!!!

images“No these are not the actual bats I saw.”

I so very slowly walked out of that bathroom and walked briskly to the bedroom where my hubby was sawing logs and I shook him awake. “By the way that man is very hard to wake up most of the time.” I think because of the tone of my voice he woke up right away and sat up in bed. I told him in a panicky/whining voice “Nathan, there are bats in the tub. Please come get them. They are dead. He very groggily said “ok” Then the next words out of his mouth was not what I wanted to hear he said “go grab the dust pan and the pliers, pick them up by the wing gently and toss them outside the backdoor”. Yep that is what my awesome husband told me. I will tell you what I begged him. I promised him that I would do just about anything for him if he would just take care of the bats. Well needless to say that didn’t work.pACE-954779dtSo I went and got the dustpan and pliers. “all the while freaking out inside” I walked into the bathroom and just stood there looking at those two bats laying in the tub still near some bath toys. I took a deep breath. My hubby walks in right than” Relief spread across my face as I thought “Oh good he is here to do it” Nope not the case. He gently said “Amber just use the pliers and gently pick one up by the wing and take it outside”. I very much begged my husband to please do it. The answer was still a gentle no and I know you can do it hunny. I bent down slowly and touched one of the bats with the pliers. IT MOVED! Yep it moved! IT WASN”T DEAD! I jumped and screamed. My hunny “I love him to pieces with a slight smile on his face told me “Just use the dustpan and scoop it up”. Well I wanted to kill two birds with one stone so I tried to scoop both of them up with the dustpan at the same time.

IT didn’t work. one sorta crawled/fell off the dustpan. Yes I screamed again. I did this little jaunt half run/half walk with my right arm fully extended out and the dust pan as far away from my head as possible. I kept screaming. I didn’t make it to the back door. I made it to the front door which was closer. I yanked that door open with all my might I hit the screen door handled and I tossed the bat off to the side of the porch “Well at least I tried to toss it off to the side” IT CLUNG ONTO the dust pan. I screamed. I practically had to hang unto the dust pan and really shake/throw the bat off. I did this prancing in place. Yep prancing. EWW GROSS. by this time it still hasn’t hit me that I could be waking the whole house up. I started to walk back inside knowing full well that I still had one more bat to go. Relief flooded me as I saw my husband with a huge smile on his face and the last bat in the grasp of the pliers. wiggling and squeaking. He tossed the bat off to the side. I thanked my hubby profusely as we walked back inside the house. He said “your welcome” with a smile on his face and a slight laugh in his voice. No one in the house woke up from my screaming. Which was miraculous. Now when I think back to yesterday. I can’t help but laugh. I might have been a tom boy growing up. However bats can stay in their own little homes and leave EVERY place that I decided to sleep or reside in ALONE!

If you would like to know more about bats click HERE

If you have bat problems and would like help click HERE

If bats keep sneaking into your house. Click HERE for natural alternatives to keeping them away.

Blogaholic Designs”=What are your thoughts about bats? We would love to hear a bat story from you if you have one.

Car Wash Fun

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Ahh who said car washes had to be boring or expensive. Grab your kids or your spouse ahh heck grab everyone. Even some neighborhood kids who need something to do.

Now just a pre-warning. Everyone and I mean Everyone will get WET!

Now to make the car wash a success you will need the following.

  • Help, No matter how small
  • A little bit of dish soap
  • A Bucket
  • Wash rags “my favorite are the microfiber clothes”
  • Vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Toothpaste
  • Most importantly the garden hose and a water hook-up
  • Some towels to dry your vehicles off if you don’t want water spots

Now the How to:

Add some dish soap to a bucket of water and wash and scrub the vehicles. Once all the dirt is gone. Rinse the soapy water off to make it nice and clean. Grab some towels for drying the vehicle off. “If you don’t want water spots”. Mind you, there are no rules about getting anyone wet. Also “Don’t forget  a corner of the towel dipped in water and twisted and a flick of your wrist will make a nice snapping sound.”  Hehe.

If you want that little extra sparkle and the fogginess to disappear from your headlights. Clean them with toothpaste. Now grab your vinegar and spray bottle and spray your windows inside and out. Clean and rub dry with the microfiber cloths for a sparkling clean.

Now, if not everyone is wet. Now is the time to “rinse the buckets and fill again” Once they’re  filled again. Yep you got it. Go dump it on someone who is dry that was helping you so call wash the vehicles.  🙂

Here is some of our family fun. Granted We didn’t get that wet since it was just the 3 of us. But hey, fun is fun no matter how small.

Yep, here is the youngest. Isn’t she doing a great job overseeing the car washing?

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I’m a little short so the middle of the car gets missed A LOT, unless one of my kids begs me to climb up and clean.
Yep I gave in.

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Now he had so much fun washing the car he had to wash his bike too.

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Now he isn’t very wet. He begged mommy not to get him wet. So I obliged.
I got him earlier this week with the hose. 😉

Now just think about how much money you saved. You washed your own vehicle and had much more fun doing it than watching some brushes spin around at a car wash.

Question of the day:
Do you wash your own vehicles and what are things that you do to make it fun and or less expensive?

Stress Free Vacation with Kids

So we recently went on vacation for a week out to Michigan to see family. I will tell you what, I had a blast and so did my kids. No stress here! We did a few things to make our vacation as cheap as possible plus easy and stress free. So here is how we did it!

1. We planned our vacation up to 4 months ahead of time, We knew where we were going and when we were leaving. It was a 17 hour drive “without potty stops”. Yep 17 hours with 3 kids  that were 4 and under in a 5 passenger vehicle. We knew all this so we didn’t keep a tight schedule we took our time. That is very important to do. Take your time, don’t rush it and most importantly GO WITH THE FLOW. That means whatever happens, happens.michigan-map2. So knowing how long our trip was. I knew I didn’t want our vehicle full of toys and stuff. We needed to only bring the necessities and a few things to help the kids entertain themselves. So my creative brain went to work. I started making the kids a 2 in 1 travel pillow click here for the how to. This 2 in 1 pillow made a huge difference. The kids were able to color or drive their cars on the hard surface or remove the pillow from the hard surface and use it for taking little naps. Plus the pillow worked great when we got to our vacation spot. We didn’t need to bring pillows. So the plus was No HUGE pillows taking up space.

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3. I then chose a select few toys for the kids to bring in the vehicle. 3 cars, a coloring book, crayons, doodle pad and 4 books per kid. That’s it! I knew that they would also be busy looking out the window and watching the new surroundings going by plus they would be busy asking questions about their surroundings. It worked great. Now I didn’t just throw everything into a bag. I made a pocket seat cover for the kids. You can make one as well. I will be showing you how next Wednesday June 26th. It was very easy and simple to do. The pockets are Velcroed on and can be easily removed.

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4. Once we were 5 days from leaving for our vacation, I went ahead and started the process of packing. Yep 5 days early. I worked a little bit on it everyday starting with washing clothes I knew they would be bringing. Which really made life easy with my NEW laundry schedule and routine. I will share this with you later. I then Ziplocked our kids clothes and sealed the air out. Making 2 little boys clothes fit into a small suitcase very easily. a total set of 10 outfits, 2 beach towels and room to spare. Click here for a how to.

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5. To help cut costs on our vacation we packed a small cooler and filled it with a couple of water bottles. A large tub of egg salad. In one of those canvas bags that you get free just about everywhere. We packed a loaf of bread. paper plates, cups, plastic silverware, chips and wipes. Very important to pack wipes especially with 3 little ones. We froze our water bottles so it would help keep the cooler and food cold. I had made so much egg salad that we used it for day 1 and day 2 of driving. A total of 4 meals. On average when average when we go out to eat we spend anywhere between $20 and $30 per meal and that is with eating at a fast food restaurant. Which is not very healthy. Total savings on food was $60 to $90. On our way home we packed meat sandwiches. We would stop at rest stops along the way and eat. It gave us and the kids a chance to stretch our legs and for the kids to run some energy off.

6. Because we stayed with family on our vacation it saved us a ton of money. There was no need for a hotel. Which saved us approximately $40 – $70 a night Total savings $160 – $280 or more.

7. The family we went and stayed with didn’t have any children or grandchildren that lived near by so they didn’t have any toys for the kids to play with. So I packed a backpack that was filled with some “NEW toys” all came from the dollar store. I packed 2 buckets and shovels “My boys love to dig”, some foam planes they could put together a ball and lots of glow sticks they could share with cousins that were coming too.

8. Because my daughter is still only 9 months I’m still breast-feeding here. So I brought my favorite breast pump that is a manual. I love this pump because it has a let down lever that helps with pumping faster. the cup is soft and not hard. You can position the pumping lever in any direction that is easiest for you. I pumped it directly into a bottle put the bottle top on again and gave it to her. Whenever we did stop to stretch our legs I would nurse her naturally. The worked great and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.  The handheld pump I used was the pictured below. You  can also click here to view it as well.

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This vacation overall was a breeze. No stress. No Worries. No Problems. If I had the chance I would do this vacation again. This is the way to go on a vacation with kids without all the crazy stress.

QUESTION of the DAY – What are things that you do to have a stress free vacation with or without kids?

Dandelion’s

Most people call them weeds, because they take over a gorgeous a landscape of green grass. But do you know the benefits of dandelion’s? Have you ever ate one? Well needless to say I was a little skeptical until I was reading in a nutritional book about cleaning your liver. Dandelions are not a weed but a herb that has many health benefits.

The correct herbal name for this herb is Taraxacum officinale

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Here are some of the benefits of Dandelions.

  • Helps Treat Jaundice
  • Helps yellowing of the skin that is caused by liver dysfunction
  • Helps with Cirrhosis
  • Helps with Hepatitis
  • Helps with Liver disease

Helps treat

  • Infections
  • Water retention
  • swelling
  • breast problems
  • gallbladder problems
  • pneumonia

Dandelion also is used for detoxifying the liver.

Dandelion is also a mild diuretic and contains several vitamins which include Vitamin A, B- Complex, Boron, Vitamin C, Calcium, Choline, Vitamin D, Iron, Magnesium,  Manganese, Potassium and Zinc.

All parts of the dandelion are edible including the root. It has been approved by the FDA and also the Council of Europe.

Dandelions are a not only good for you to eat but they taste pretty good as well. The flower of the Dandelion is sweet along with the leaves. However the longer and more mature the leaves are the more bitter they are.

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There are a multitude of ways you can fix dandelion greens. the main way is to just pick it and eat it on the spot as you are out for a walk. Or you can collect them and place them on a plate or in a bowl for a salad.

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You can even fry them with butter and salt them to taste.

**** Please beware that you should only eat dandelion’s if it has NOT been sprayed with ANY chemicals******

for more information go to Herb Wisdom

QUESTION OF THE DAY – Have you ever eaten a dandelion before? What was your thought on the taste?

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