Archive for the ‘Frugal & Crunchy Living’ Category

Homemade Scrubbing Bubbles

Monday, July 4th, 2016

2016-07-04-16.22.24.jpg.jpegHard water. The nemesis of all who have ever cleaned a bathroom in the history of ever. It’s awful. Combine that with the inherent dustiness of Colorado, and OH MY WORD I’M GOING TO DIE SCRUBBING.

I have tried every name brand bathroom cleaner I can find–not literally, of course, but enough that I became exasperated with how much elbow grease I had to put into the mildest of hard water stains. It was a lot, okay?

Lo and behold! I came across a version of this on a blog many moons ago, and have since adapted it to my own nefarious anti-hard water designs. This. Will. DESTROY hard water. With minimal work. It’s amazing. It’s safe. And it’s amazing. It’s my favorite homemade cleaner, hands down. Nothing is better. And it’s cheap.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 liter heavy duty spray bottle (HEAVY DUTY)
  • 1/4 c. regular Dawn dish soap
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • empty, clean parmesan/spice contanier with large holes in the lid for sprinkling

Pour the dish soap into the spray bottle, then top it off with white vinegar. Go slowly with the vinegar, to minimize suds. Gently swirl the bottle to mix, until the Dawn is evenly distributed and put the sprayer on. Place baking soda in the empty container.

Sprinkle your tub generously with the baking soda. Be sure to get it to stick to the sides of the tub if you can. You may need to moisten the surface a bit by wiping it with a damp sponge. Sprinkle some more.

Spray the Dawn/vinegar mixture generously over all that baking soda. Any areas that lack fizz need more baking soda and another spray of cleaner. Spray some more. You can’t use too much. Get a good fizz going. (I don’t recommend using this on tile, as vinegar can break down grout. Use it for the tub only.)

Set a timer for 20 minutes, and sit and read blogs. Oh — run the fan in the bathroom or open a window. Vinegar is a potent fragrance, y’all. Do NOT go into the bathroom for 20 minutes. Do NOT cut this time short. Ever. Visit Pinterest, read blogs, scroll through Facebook, read books, call your mom, clean something else. Just leave it alone for 20 minutes.

Put some HOT water in a bucket or bowl, grab a good scrub brush. (You may need a grubby toothbrush for hard to reach corners)That tub will be sparkling in about 5 minutes of scrubbing, probably less. Guaranteed. Rinse REALLY WELL. Turn the shower on and aim it all over the place.



You’re welcome.

PS: I’d share before and after pictures, but I forgot to take them. Seriously though. I don’t care how hard your water is. This cleaner will work. Really well.


Tackle to Win: CLR Challenge

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

It has been more than a month of Sundays (or should I say “Tuesdays”) since I have participated in this great weekly meme. It’s hosted every week by 5 Minutes for Mom, and it’s goal is to encourage each other to tackle some evil, looming chore. It’s pretty cool, actually. This time, though, is a tad different.

It’s a contest. Giveaway. Thing.

It’s called Tackle to Win!

Basically, I have a chance to be one of three winners to receive a $100 cash card, and a bunch of CLR cleaning products. Very nice. In order to participate, I sent in my address, and CLR sent me a FREE bottle of their kitchen & bathroom cleaner!

Did you hear me?

I said FREE. As in “no-moolah”. Zero dollars.

I have never tried CLR before, and the site says it’s free of phosphates, ammonia, and bleach, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Especially because of my bathtub problem. I’m embarrassed to show this to you…but…it’s $100 bucks people! In cash! Call me mercenary. Whatever.


This is my problem. I live in an area with water almost as hard as rocks. It doesn’t take long for my tub to look like this. Nasty, I know. About two weeks between cleanings is all it needs. Combine that with my frequent soaks, as well as filthy short people (dagnab that dirt they love so much!), and my scatter-brained ways, and it’s a disgusting trip to Soapscumgrimehardwaterstain City.


This is my overall Before shot. But – you really need to see some close-ups to appreciate this. That white path leading from the soap dish? That’s not clean. That’s soap scum, which nicely masks the mildew in the ugly tile. (It’s from 1981, so don’t hate. I didn’t choose it!)

Bet you think that soap dish is shiny, don’t you? Who am I kidding? You probably know what’s coming.

Soap Dish Before

Everybody say it with me: “Ewwwwww!!!”

That’s just from plain ol’ Ivory. Pure my foot!

How can something “pure” leave such yuck in my bathtub soap dish? Seriously?

Sigh. This is just sad. Sadsadsadsadsad.

Well, I tackled this job today. With great fervor and gusto, hoping against hope that CLR would be a great improvement over my Scrubbing Bubbles & a stiff-bristled scrub brush. Crossing my fingers in cautious anticipation that it would save me some elbow grease. Because I really have to scrub that tub. Even if I tackle it right away…even if only the thinnest layer appears. It’s often easier to pretend it’s not there.

I tend to shower with my eyes closed now.


Don’t look at me like that. Sheesh. You act like you’ve never seen a ring around the tub before. Ahem.

Well, my hopes were not dashed. Neither were they soundly confirmed. I followed their usage guidelines to a “T”, and the results were mildly pleasant. It did take less elbow grease, but not incredibly so. The bottle says to just rinse, but I did still have to scrub, not as hard, but still. I also had to treat some spots twice to get the desired effect. However, it honestly took much less time than it usually does for me to get it sparkly again.



The soap dish came clean much more easily, however, and it’s all pretty and shiny now. Except for one little spot of green stuff. I don’t really know what it is, but it didn’t come clean, even with the scrub brush. My old cleaner did a better job of eating up the green, though it’s incredibly stubborn.

Like a two-year-old.

Oh. And that spot just above the drain? That was there when I moved in, so it doesn’t count. Just so you know.

See how pretty?
Soap Dish After

Soap Dish After

Exept for the green, I mean. And the mildew below. Blech.

Anyway…I only have a couple of complaints about CLR. It didn’t take care of any mildew (look below the soap dish). Of course, the name indicates its specialty in eliminating Calcium, Lime, and Rust. So, I don’t really know if my complaint is justified.

My other complaint is the fumes. Don’t get me wrong – they’re very mild, and not really as “chemical-y” as I expected from reading the instructions to use in a “well-ventilated” area. Though there are no phosphates, ammonia, or bleach, I have to wonder what is causing the fumes? They don’t advertise any natural ingredients, so I’m pretty darn sure it’s a chemical something. And I’m not positive I want to stick with that. What with little ones using that tub and all…I don’t know.

I’ve been wanting to try plain ol’ baking soda and vinegar, similar to what you can reportedly do in an oven. So, I’ll try that next time, and give you a comparison.

In the meantime, I was happy with the product overall, but it doesn’t quite “sit right” with me to continue using it. I’m not sure if “less elbow-grease” is a good trade-off for “relatively mild, possibly not-good-for-you fumes”. It’s a toss-up.

I may be getting more crunchified, but I’m not wholly there yet.

Alrighty then. Time to head over to 5 Minutes for Momand check out everyone else’s dirty messes! Heck. Might make you feel much better about your own house. I’m sure my post did!

So. Now that you’ve seen my deadliest housework sin, ‘fess up. What’s your dirty little secret? Do tell!

Now THAT’s Milk, Baby!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Can you see the cream on top? Probably not in the picture, but boy, you can in real life! Yesterday morning was the first morning I was able to finally start getting raw milk for our family. We bought a “cow share”, and since we now own part of a cow, we are entitled to some of its milk. Selling raw milk is illegal you know, but it’s not illegal to drink the milk from a cow you already own! We pay a “boarding fee” every month, and we get one gallon a week per share. This week, we actually got an extra half-gallon, because one customer didn’t show up! Cool.

The verdict? Delicious! And it’s ever so much better for you than that pasteurized/homogonized junk they sell you in the stores. And just so you know, the milking practices of this dairy meet or exceed all the standards for the stuff you see in the store. Not to mention their practices are far more humane for the cows, who are free-range, grass-fed, happy cows. (Go here to see how we get mass-produced milk in stores. Gross, huh?) It’s organic too. It runs us about $8 a gallon, but it’s going to be worth every penny. For the last few months, we’ve cut down on our milk consumption to one glass per person, per day in order to prepare for only having one gallon a week. It’s working out beautifully, I have to tell you. The kids love it!

In fact, when Monkey had her first glass, she had a milk mustache like those ones in the “got milk” ads! That was because I’d forgotten to stir it first, and her glass was mostly cream! Bubbers glugged it right down! As for myself, who has always loved skim & 1% rather than whole, I am in heaven! It tasted more “milky” than any milk I’ve ever had – if that makes any sense to you! I think it’s because the glass jars keep it so much colder than the plastic jugs. It was ice-ice-baby cold! We are never going back…

In fact, as the weeks go by, I may try my hand at homemade butter or yogurt. Just for fun. If I find the time to do that, I’ll let you know, of course!

As many of you know, Levi & I are trying to little-by-little, make more room in our grocery budget for food that is more wholesome, and better for us. It’s going to be a long process, and we’ve had to set priorities. Milk was one of them. Next up, hopefully, meat! We’re hoping to buy a quarter or half a beef this spring. There’s a local meat market that sells grass-fed beef for about $5 a pound if they butcher it for you (any cuts you want). If we don an apron, wield a knife, and help, it’s only around $2 a pound! Since we now have a freezer, thanks to my friend Kim, I’m itching to fill it up!

The main reason we are doing this is because we have come to believe that it’s better to pay more for groceries now, in small chunks, rather than exorbitant medical bills later. Whole foods – the way God created them – really are the best way to go, and we are working towards that. It’s going to take awhile, but that’s ok. We’re patient.

Anyway, that’s all she wrote for now…

See This.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

It took forever, but I finally got to sit down and watch The Business of Being Born, a movie made by Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein about the birth industry in America. Yes, it has a bias towards homebirth.

To that I say “Amen!!!” All the other homebirthish movies I’ve seen so far are pretty dated, and people just tend to laugh at them. It’s about stinkin’ time a movie like this was made that can really be taken seriously.

I very much encourage any woman who is pregnant, is thinking about becoming pregnant at some point in the future, or who have had children under the traditional ob/gyn model of care, to watch this film. Critically, seriously, and with an open mind.

You may be surprised at what you learn.

It is a great place to start looking at your options for birth. It is not an end-all source of information, but an introduction to the mountain of evidence-based materials that are available for women who want more than the status quo for birth in this country.

As for me, I plan on buying a couple of copies to start my official “doula lending library”.

Click on the link in my sidebar to buy the dvd from their home site.

Just a Quote I Liked…

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

“We are an ownership society, and to a degree that is a good thing. However, it is a little misleading to claim we “own” something when the bank is still listed as a lienholder, and we are making payments to them. Just try missing a couple payments on your prized possession and you will quickly discover who the real owner is. “

Renting Not to Own: Why Renting Sometimes Makes More Sense


Saturday, June 28th, 2008

For the longest time, I haven’t really known what – if anything – I should think about vaccines. My firstborn has been on schedule, and is now “due” for his next round. However, I’ve been hearing some really disturbing things about vaccines. None of which I knew how to confirm, or even if I could.

The information on vaccines is overwhelming. The sheer volume is astounding. To be honest, I’ve never bothered even starting to sort this stuff out. I have had more important things to think about. Up until now, I did know that I at least wanted to delay immunizations, and select only certain ones. I had no idea how to go about doing that, though.

Yesterday, I noticed a link on the sidebar of a friend’s blog to a site called Her specific link led to this page. Disturbing, and horrifying. I had no idea that tissue from two aborted babies (aborted decades ago), are being used to grow the viruses neccessary to some of the most common vaccines.

Absolutely stunned, I wanted to see if this site was created by some extreme, off-the-wall, paranoid, conspiracy theory believing ignoramus.

It’s not.

It’s real.

And there is so much read and see and be flabbergasted by. This is the resource I’ve been looking for, I think.

Besides all of that, I wanted to share something with you. Ever since Bubbers was born, almost a year ago, I planned on waiting until he was at least 6 months to start vaccines. Once that milestone was reached, every time I thought to myself “I’m going to take him in on Monday and get this started”, he would get sick. Every. Time. I really began to wonder if the Lord was telling me something.

On top of that, every time I’ve made plans to take the girls and Turbo in for their next round (the girls are waaaay behind), they have also gotten sick. It made me wonder if Turbo’s eczema and mild allergies have been caused by the vaccines, and if he still would have had them had I delayed them or eliminated them completely. His eczema didn’t show up until after his first round. The girls have never had any problems – Cuteness is only current up to her 18 months shots, and Sunshine has only had one round, given at 6 months. It also made me wonder if little Bubbers would have been that one child who ends up a statistic as a result of an unforseeable reaction to a vaccine, had I taken him in diligently.

I will never know. Because I have made up my mind – no more vaccines for my kids. Pending deep research. Until I can be sure that it would be right and good to take my kids in for their shots, they will not receive any more.

Not only because of the fetal tissue abortion connection either. I just believe that God is telling me, personally, to hold off for now. Honestly, even if His only reason is just so I have a command to obey, that is certainly reason enough for me.

The kids getting sick at vaccine time only started when the idea of departing from the medical community’s immunization schedule presented itself to me via some friends, a few blogs, my midwife, and some other “random” places, forming a persistent presence in my mind. I just kept putting it on the back burner.

No more. Time to research. Time to educate myself to the best of my ability on an issue I now believe to be very important, and very confusing. (Lord, grant me wisdom and clarity!)

Now, I did not post this as a forum for discussion. I’m not changing my mind, and I’m not asking anyone’s opinion here…I’m just sharing my heart. My conflicted, but certain heart. I know what action I’m supposed to take right now, and I firmly believe that God is leading me in that direction.

I do NOT, however, believe that He will lead each of you in the same direction He is leading me. I make no claim on the morality of this issue – other than the abortion thing. I am not attempting to change your minds either. I would, however, like you to think about it.

Frankly, I am afraid of what some of you may say in comment to this post. I don’t want to be lectured, yelled at, or told I’m off my nut. So please, if you disagree, then point me to some legitimate resources I can take a look at in my research, and refrain from judging me, or railing at me about this. And I will certainly do the same for you.


Interesting and Timely Advice

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

This is a blog I just recently started reading, and have found it to be a great source for being frugal, making sound financial decisions, and I wanted to pass it on.

Here is a snippet from an interesting post about the housing market, titled “(Not) Keeping up with our parents: What to do about housing.”

“Figure Out What You Can Afford
This is not the amount of mortgage for which you can qualify. More than likely you can qualify for more than you can afford. You need to sit down with your spouse and make a reasonable budget. Live on that budget for a while. How does it feel? Will you be happy putting 30% of your income into a mortgage payment every month? If it’s comfortable, consider buying. If not, lower your expectations.”