How to Make DIY Dishwasher Tabs

I love using dishwasher tabs, but they can get expensive. Our small family can fill the dishwasher twice some days, so it adds up quickly. Did you know that you can make your own instead? Take a look below at an easy and inexpensive tutorial for making your own. Whether you’re trying to use more natural ingredients or are looking for budget friendly cleaning solutions, you’ll love these!

DIY Dishwasher Tabs

Here is what you will need:

2 cups washing soda
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon of basic castile soap
1 cup of baking soda
3 lemons {you will only need the juice of the lemons}
5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice {optional, but a citrus variety works great}
2 ice cube trays
Spoon

Directions:

1. Start by mixing your dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Slowly add the vinegar. Don’t worry if you see some fizzing going on, that is natural!

3. Add in the castile soap as well as the juice of three lemons. Just squeeze the juice right in.

4. Mix well until all of the ingredients are well distributed. A paste will form.

5. Spoon the mixture into your ice cube trays. You should have enough to fill about two trays. Pack the mixture in as tight as possible. You want the cubes to be very compact.

6. Place the trays in a warm, dry space for 24 hours. After the 24 hour period, carefully pop them out. They store great in plastic or glass container with lid.

To use your DIY dishwasher tabs, simply drop them in the load before you begin. If you’re washing a smaller load, feel free to break the tab in half. Run the dishwasher as you normally would, and then brace yourself for the results!

These DIY dishwasher tabs will leave your dishes clean, smelling fresh, and shiny. All of the ingredients work hard at cutting grease, grime, and deodorizing.

Give these easy and super inexpensive DIY dishwasher tabs a try. They are the perfect way to clean your dishes naturally, for less!

Have you ever made your own cleaning products?

12 Healthy Smoothie Recipes to Start the New Year Right

This post is brought to you by Foodie. All opinions are my own.

Just like everyone else, Justin and I have rededicated ourselves to eating better. While we’re definitely cutting down on the junk we eat, we’re even more focused on making sure that we get enough of the good stuff! It’s so much easier to take care of your body and eat the right things when you’re making sure that you reach your daily quota of each healthy food group, rather than denying yourself the bad stuff.

One of my favorite ways to get enough produce in is to drink smoothies. There are all different kinds of smoothies of course, and some are healthier than others, but a good smoothie full of my favorite fruits & veggies is the perfect solution for on-the-go or busy mealtimes. I also use smoothies as a way to “hide” vegetables that I’m less fond of so that I can get the benefits but don’t have to actually eat it! {This trick works on kids, too.}

12 Healthy Smoothie Recipes

Below are 12 smoothies that are next on my to-try list. Some of them are from some of my blogger friends and others were finds from Foodie.com. If you’re looking for a good smoothie recipe to try, start with the slideshow below and check out even more options over on the Foodie website!

[Read more...]

10 New Kids Art Projects to Try in 2015

These creative kids craft ideas are brought to you by a guest contributor.

Most kids love to gather round the kitchen table to get their hands covered in glue and paint with arts and crafts activities. It can be more difficult to find original projects to try their little hands at. To keep on encouraging their creativity, here are some unusual arts activities for the New Year.

10 New Kids Crafts to Try this Year!

Melted Crayon Rocks

Wax-based crayons such as Crayola are the best for this fun, messy activity. All you need is some small smooth rocks and a selection of crayons in various bright colours. All you need to do is heat the rocks in a hot oven and carefully place them on the table (on place mats and foil to protect the surface). Now you can melt the crayons onto the rocks to produce brightly coloured objects. Obviously, make sure the kids are supervised when dealing with the hot rocks.

Yarn Paintings

With only yarn, glue and paint you and your kids can enjoy this fun and tactile activity. Simply dip some short bits of yarn in glue and leave them to dry on some mat board overnight. You then have a textured canvas to paint as you wish. The result will be a painting with a difference.

Blow Paint Monsters

This is a project based on a kid’s art classic. Simply spoon some watered down paint on watercolour paper then blow the paint around with a straw. The weird and wonderful colourful shapes can be turned into monsters by adding googly eyes.

Toilet Roll Tube Characters

Decorate old toilet roll tubes with coloured paper, tissue paper, paint and felt tips to make them into characters. Add feet and hats to make them look even more like little people.

Melted Crayon Finger Painting

This is another really fun activity using melted crayons. Simply melt the wax in an oven, ensure it is a safe temperature (you may have to let it harden slightly), and dip in and paint with your fingertips. The textured images that you get will look great on the fridge.

Snake Modelling

Using modelling clay (many varieties are available from Artifolk) create some slippery snakes. Let the clay dry and then paint the pattern of your choice.

Mondrian Collage

Introduce your little ones to the Dutch modernist painter by cutting out colourful shapes from coloured paper and arranging them in a similar style to the paintings of the legendary De Stijl artist.

Watercolours with a hint of Lemon

Lemon juice bleaches watercolours. Paint some basic water colour patterns then drip on some lemon juice and draw around the shapes.

Celery Flowers Stamps

This is a variation on the potato stamp theme. The chopped-off base of celery dipped in paint can faithfully represent a flower. Stamp on fabric for a nice floral pattern.

Button Tree

Draw a basic tree trunk with branches and then use buttons to decorate, gives a simple but lovely effect.

Which craft would you like to try?

 

4 Tips to Make Bathroom Cleaning Easier

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Scrubbing Bubbles®. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

We all have that chore that we just hate to do. Some can’t stand washing dishes, others despise folding laundry. My least favorite chore? Cleaning the bathroom!

My house is full of boys, and they can make quite the mess. It’s not even just what you’re thinking- I sometimes find bath toys in the toilet, bandages stuck to cabinets, and of course bath crayon drawings all over the walls. I’m not one to get too uptight about a mess generally- but the bathroom is just so germy. I don’t want my kids playing with something that was in a dirty toilet, or drawing on walls that are already decorated with hard water stains. I just don’t want to be the one to clean it!

Since I hate the job so much, and since I hardly ever have time to clean it, I’ve come up with some hacks to try to keep my time cleaning the bathroom as short as possible.

Scrubbing Bubbles under sink

1. Keep your supplies handy. If you have to go downstairs to the “cleaning closet” or even into the hallway to grab your cleaning supplies, you’re probably not going to clean as often as you could. I keep a basket of cleaning supplies in each bathroom so that whenever I notice something needs a touch-up, I can take care of it quickly.

2. Break the job up into pieces. I never have time to clean the full bathroom all at once, so I do it in bits and pieces. It also allows me to multi-task! I will often clean the mirror while waiting for my flat iron to heat up, or wipe spilled powder or toothpaste off the counter with my makeup remover cloths.

3. Keep counters clear. While it’s hard to remove everything from your counter, it’s good practice to keep counters mostly clear for a few reasons. The most practical reason is that it’s easier to wipe your counters down when you don’t have to rearrange fifteen bottles of perfume. The more important reason is that if you flush your toilet with the lid up {like sixty percent of people do}, each time you flush you’re covering your bathroom with a fine layer of bacteria. Eew.

4. Work smarter, not harder. Make sure you’re using products that work for you- literally. Scrubbing Bubbles® Multi Surface Bathroom Cleaner expands into hard-to-reach places to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria- and it can even wipe out the hard water stains embedded in the caulking of your tub! {Ask me how I know.} I love Scrubbing Bubbles® for all my bathroom cleaning needs because all I have to do is spray it, walk away for a few minutes to let it work, and then come back and tackle it. That’s it!

Scrubbing Bubbles

I’ve used various Scrubbing Bubbles® products for years- we have some seriously hard water here and it’s the only brand that’s been able to cut through the stains that leaves behind. I also love that it is so effective against viruses and bacteria- which is especially helpful this time of year when someone or other’s always sniffling. And according to the Scrubbing Bubbles® The Dirty Work Index, which revealed some hilarious and unconventional bathroom behaviors found that 23% of people don’t wash their hands when they’re done in the bathroom, I need to make sure ours are as clean as possible!

How do you keep your bathrooms clean?

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Getting Back to Balance and Taking a Moment for Me {& Paleo Almond Apricot Breakfast Bar Recipe}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BackToBalance #CollectiveBias

Last month was crazy around here. I’m sure you can relate- the holidays throw everyone into chaos. Justin’s job is the busiest in December, so he often worked 12-16 hour days back to back. Of course that was the hardest on him, but it wasn’t easy for me, either. In addition to caring for the kids all day, it also meant I was responsible for all the holiday stuff, from baking to gifting to decorating to wrapping. Then I had to make sure Shane did his homework and got to school, and had to help Zac through the cutting of his first two teeth. Plus, I had my own work to do- and it’s my busy season, too. To say I was stressed would be an understatement! Once Christmas came and the madness was over, I promised myself that I would get back to balance and find a way to take care of myself while juggling all the crazy.

Most of us, especially moms, don’t take enough time for ourselves. We are always running around trying to get stuff done for everyone else, and leave our needs for last. One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to put some more focus on me! That said, I do still have two small children to take care of, so it’s not like I can run off to the spa every weekend or enjoy long, leisurely walks on the beach. Instead, there is one simple but efficient trick that I have been using that helps me keep my life balanced. Want to know my secret?

Coffee-mate natural bliss Hazelnut #shop #backtobalanceI take a moment in the morning for myself. I set the kids up with some toys, make a hot cup of coffee, pull out my calendar, and go over my plan for the day. If I start the day chaotic, I feel like I’m running to put out fires all day long. I’m lucky in that Shane doesn’t go to school until the afternoon, so our mornings are pretty relaxed. However, if your mornings are currently too crazy to do this, try waking up five minutes earlier whenever possible and go over the upcoming day. I know sleep is precious, but five minutes is less than one more “snooze” session, and it can help shape your whole day!

In order to carve out those few precious minutes, I’ve switched to eating homemade, paleo breakfast bars {recipe below} that I can make ahead so I can cut down on time in the kitchen in the mornings. I pair them with my secret weapon: a mug of my favorite coffee, with a splash {or three} of NESTLÉ® Coffee-mate® natural bliss® Hazelnut or NESTLÉ® Coffee-mate® natural bliss® Sweet Cream from Walmart. Each one has just the right amount of sweetness to help me start my day off with something just for me- and that coffee keeps me going once the chaos begins!

If you’re sick of stressful mornings or just want a healthy take on breakfast, be sure to try these bars:

Paleo Almond Apricot Date Bars ingredients #shop #backtobalancePaleo Almond Apricot Breakfast Bars #backtobalance #shop9

4.0 from 1 reviews
Paleo Almond Apricot Breakfast Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (unsalted) almonds
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: Shredded coconut to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine almonds, dates, and apricots. Process until they are completely chopped up and then continue until they just barely begin to form a “dough” ball. {I promise you’ll know when this happens.}
  2. Add in the salt and vanilla extract- and coconut if you’re using it. Continue to process until it’s mostly one big clump. You may have some lingering bits, you can use your hands to press them into the mix.
  3. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap or foil and lay the mix down onto it. Using either your hands or a rolling pin {I use my hands because the mix is sticky}, flatten the mix and shape it into a rectangle.
  4. Place it into the fridge to set until cold- at least 20 minutes should do the trick. Remove from fridge, cut into bars and enjoy!

Even if you don’t have time to set aside every morning, don’t forget to take small moments to yourself when you can. Whether it’s a minute to rest your feet or an hour to catch up on a favorite show, you’re worth it!

Where to find Coffee-mate natural bliss creamer #shop #backtobalance

{Oh, and seriously try that creamer. It makes for an awesome cup of coffee. It has the perfect amount of sweetness and natural flavors- such a great way to start the day!} For more great recipes and ways to help you get back to balance, check out walmart.com/nestle!

How do you find balance amongst the chaos?

 

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