Friday, May 31, 2013

Kraft Celebration Tour -- Childhood Memories

                                         CHILDHOOD MOMENTS TO LAST A LIFETIME
Childhood memories are some of the most precious moments that are etched in our minds. Whether parents, grandparents or close friends, they have all played a vital role in creating these events.
   Thankfully for me, when I look back to when I was a child, I can do nothing but smile. 'Today's Special,' 'Under the Umbrella Tree' and 'Polkadot Door' were my television favourites. I was brought up by two loving parents and I had one older sister; over time, a small Jack Russell Terrier was brought into the mix as well. We lived in a newly built house in Dundas, Ontario (outside Hamilton) and that is where I lived until moving out at 20. Dundas was a smaller, quiet town of about 15,000 people at the time. You knew a lot of people, but it wasn't small enough that everyone knew each others business.
   What I loved most about that new survey I lived in was that many young families with children resided there too; especially one close family across the street. That is where I met my best friend, Stacey, when I was only 2 years old. To this day, we are still friends--which is very rare these days! Vivid memories of our friendship that really stand out are: taking dancing lessons for the majority of our youth, making friendship bracelets and trying to sell them to other kids in the neighbourhood (I must have been a business woman from a young age!), 'Skip-Its' (how many of you remember those dangerous toys?!) and finally, walking our 'babies' in strollers up and down our street. We often still laugh at that last memory because we were about 12 years old and still walking our dolls, trying to keep it a secret because we thought we were "too old to still be doing so."
   There was also so much room to roam and explore around our neighbourhood. This was before any and all open fields were turned into rows of new houses like any area today. We could climb trees to see who got the highest, hunt frogs and run for miles in the wilderness of the Dundas Valley Conservation area 5 minutes from our homes. In the winter, the Conservation Area became the hot spot for tobogganing--the hill there was MASSIVE, however, was always such a pain to climb back up after sledding to the bottom! Lol.
   In Dundas, sports were popular in the evenings for many families. I was very active and on average I engaged in about 4 different sports a year (baseball, basketball, and both dancing and swimming lessons). For a few summers, soccer was also added in there as well. I was so lucky because my Dad coached my teams for the majority of my athletic years, until I became a teenager and found everything "boring" (aka. boys became my interest.) Typical teen I guess you could say! Hehe.
    A childhood represents pure innocence, where the world is one large playground to explore. Now that I have grown up and become a parent myself, my goal is to help in creating everlasting memories for my children too.
   Our family has recently moved to Port Dover, Ontario (beach town) and I hope for my little ones that they may be surrounded by happiness, great friends, and good health that will shape the adults they will become.

   So what motivated me to reminisce on my past memories as a child? Well, I am introducing this year's Kraft Celebration Tour!  If you are unfamiliar with this contest, both Kraft Canada and TSN have partnered to recognize the passion and community spirit that brings people together and promotes healthy, active lifestyles from all of Canada.  Since 2009, the Kraft Celebration Tour has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians in 40 deserving communities with a total of $1 million toward projects such as skateboard parks, youth centres, renovating sports field or boxing facilities to name a few.
Does your town or city need a much needed upgrade? Well here's your chance to nominate your area by submitting a short essay, along with 5 photos to explain why YOUR community should be a part of the Kraft Celebration Tour and deserve $25,000 to put towards these upgrades. Hurry though, because you only have until JUNE 7TH, 2013 to submit your entry through or Become involved and up to date via social media on the Kraft Celebration Tour Fan Page or on Twitter by using #KCT or #tourneedecelebrationkraft. Judges will select 20 finalists by June 30th, and then it's in Canada's hands from then on!

Good Luck & HAVE FUN! xx


Disclosure – I am participating in the Kraft Celebration Tour Blogger Campaign. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, May 27, 2013

GUEST POST: Couponing Basics from Coupon Christine

Couponing in Canada: Is the savings and time commitment to learn to coupon worth it?


I am sure if you asked any avid couponer in Canada if the savings is worth the investment in time to learn, collect, clip and organize their coupons, they would astoundingly say they wish they had started earlier!  It is true; there is a time commitment with learning to coupon, just like with any other hobby.   You need to learn how to coupon, learn what stores allow you to use coupons, learn how to read and understand the lingo, price matching, scanning code of practice, overage, the list goes on.  This is no different than other skill you are learning – you need to learn the basics before advancing.
When I first started couponing, it took me months to catch on.  Simply, there was an overload of information on Facebook and the internet.  I wished they had workshops in my area; that would have saved me a ton of work hunting around looking for information.  If you are from London and area, Coupon Christine offers extensive 2 hour workshops on learning to coupon regularly.  You can email her at to be included on her email list.

If you are just starting to learn the basics in Canada on couponing, I suggest these 4 tips:
1) Start slowly and read as much as you can! I found myself overwhelmed by the end of the day with the number of bloggers I was following.  Sometimes they would be posting all the same things, other times it was province specific, and often times I was sifting through bloggers who posted 90% external contests to actually find coupon offers.  Find a maximum of 3 coupon bloggers you have found useful and get on their daily email list. At the end of the day you can simply scroll through the posts shared by your favourite blogger sites all the information is streamlined into one email.

2) Get a few coupons from sites such as,, and on products you will be using.  That is the key, do not get into the habit of buying products you do not use in your home ~ that isn’t savings!  Then visit your favourite grocery store and use coupons.  Expect to save anywhere between $5 and $10 on your first shopping trip just by using a few coupons.  Don’t forget you can also price match on top of using coupons to add further savings.   To find out which stores accept coupons and allow price matching, you can check out this easy to read guide provided to us by (

3) Ask Questions!  If you need help, just ask!  The best place to get a response is on Coupon Christine’s Fan Page at  You are guaranteed a response on her page as her and Lily are there to help you!

4) Learning to coupon successfully is something that takes time and patience. Do not feel overwhelmed, do not take 80 coupons on your first shopping trip and try to remain calm at checkout.  Best to go shopping during non-peak hours if you want a better experience and start to learn to coupon with a friend, this way you can share deals and shop together for added enjoyment and encouragement.

Quick FAQ section

1) Can you use coupons when products are on sale?  Absolutely!  That is when you will obtain the best savings.  Coupons will say “not to be combined with any other offer”, this pertains to stacking rules out in the west coast of Canada.  This does NOT mean that you cannot buy products using coupons when they are on sale.  That is not correct.  Ask to speak to a manager if a cashier is not clear about the wording of coupons.

2)  How much can I expect to get FREE using coupons?  This depends from month to month.  But trust me when I say you will be shocked at what you can get for FREE using coupons.  Once you start to follow sites such as you will find a lot of great companies want customers to try their new product lines and will over FPCS (free product coupons).  Check out this list of what couponers have received absolutely FREE using coupons -

3) Will stores actually pay me to shop? What is overage?  Overage is when a coupon value is worth more than the product is listed on sale in the store (ex. toothpaste is on sale for .88cents, but your coupon is for $1, where does the .12cents go?).  Walmart and Giant Tiger will pay you the overage towards your other basket purchases in situations like this.  Does it happen a lot? No.  But when it does, it is a couponers dream!  Read this for more information -

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Fitness Success Story

     So I wanted to share my workout success story with all of you for one reason--to motivate others!
At the beginning of my journey, I was comfortable with my weight and for the most part, had accepted my body after giving birth to my two beautiful children; if anything, I would just 'tone' what I already had. With that being said, I hated browsing through my social media hearing about everyone's hard workout that day, friends posting pictures of themselves at the gym or the constant fitness photo quotes spamming my Facebook news feed. This dislike did not come from being jealous of their lifestyle, but it quite frankly became obnoxious and overwhelming. At that time, I just simply wasn't into that type of active life, mainly because my kids and housework left me exhausted on a daily basis!
Ironically, it was during that time that I came across a post on my Facebook news feed that a friend had shared and it truly caught my eye. It was different than most and actually seemed ACHIEVABLE. I researched it a little more and was presented with REAL result photos" that fans had posted. It came from "The Fit Community" and was titled "30 Day Squat Challenge."
It would only take a few minutes out of my day and I was both curious and anxious to see what type of results my body could achieve. So there I went starting my first day of the challenge--from that point on, I promised myself that no matter the burning or pain I felt, I would not stop until the challenge was complete. I then snapped that dreaded "before" picture which I hid very well deep in my phone..haha!
Day One was over and I felt quite a bit of pain in the front of my thighs--strange considering a squat is meant to mainly tone and lift your backside! Anyways, I continued the next day and by day three, I literally could not walk, which was accompanied by so many tears! What was I doing so wrong?! Surely I wasn't in THAT bad of shape. I began asking friends and researching squats on Youtube only to find out I was doing them completely WRONG! So moral of that story is: never jump into something without doing your proper homework!
I began Day Four the following day and considered that previous painful day my 'rest day.' Miraculously (and thankfully) that fourth morning I had woken up in minimal pain! From that point on, I continued the squat challenge, at the same time every morning after eating a big breakfast, right to the end with very little discomfort! A little side note: if mornings do not work with your schedule, try incorporating your little ones (if you have any) into an evening routine. Mornings were hectic for me at times, but I had my two kids doing squats alongside me at 7:30am everyday! If someone saw us, it would be pretty funny to see a six year old and 2 year old attempting their version of a 'squat!' :)
I can honestly say that doing that 30 days opened a door to a NEW me! As mothers, we have a lot resting on our shoulders everyday and can easily become both stressed and depressed. I will admit that I was in a very difficult depression as a result of many factors in my life. I always heard the cliche told to me time and time again, "you need to get out and exercise--you will feel so much better" but as many of us do, I brushed it off with a roll of my eyes. Well, generally cliches are created for one single reason, they are TRUE; how about that!
As I previously said, my workout routine has truly turned my life around! After beginning to do squats, my mindset also began to change. I would wake up in the morning searching through my cupboards for 'healthier alternatives' for breakfast, I started taking vitamins AND I began drinking green tea (my family and friends will attest to my utter disgust for green tea prior to this!)
The feeling you get after exercising becomes an addiction--but a positive one! You want more, so you are continuously searching for ways to better yourself and creating new challenges to conquer.
I did this challenge (and still do) by myself. Some people like a workout 'buddy' or partner to come along as motivation, however, I disagree. I have my own mindset, my own goals and I feel like another person would simply lead me to question myself and compare results. Everyone has their own limits, so stick to what YOU are comfortable with! Also know that it is OKAY to cheat every once in awhile and eat that fatty meal--you are only human. It becomes bad when you don't have the willpower to stop after that!


My Fitness Start-up Tips:
1. Start on a day when its beautiful out--open the windows, go outside for a minute, etc. Beginning on a 'dreary' day wont lift your spirits or get you moving.

2. For the first few days, stand sideways in front of the mirror so you can watch yourself doing squats to ensure you are doing the proper form. (see "The Perfect Squat" below for instructions)

3. Be patient! This is one that I had to tell myself almost everyday. Initially I wasn't seeing the results I had hoped (or wished) for, which was very upsetting.

4. Eat a good breakfast.  Without one, you will not have the energy to complete your workout each day, and you are also essentially wasting your time. Drink plenty of WATER as well! I personally do not like the taste of pure water, so I always add a wedge of lemon to my glass.

5. Create a Motivational Board--you can post anything that will keep you focused-- ie. quotes, magazine clippings, photos, charts, countdowns, etc.

The Perfect Squat
Go Low: Drive butt back (as though sitting on a chair), keeping thighs parallel to floor and knees over toes. This may take awhile to achieve, but as the days pass by, it will become easier on your legs. DO NOT OVER-DO IT  AT FIRST!

Get Grounded: Position feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out with your weight on heels. You should be able to wiggle toes.

Open Up: Place hands behind head. Lift chest, and draw shoulders back and down.

Stay in Line: Keep a neutral spine without arching your back; engage your stomach.

So WHAT'S NEXT??? Once you complete the 30 Day Squat Challenge, I can almost guarantee you will want to continue with some other type of routine. For me, I continued with 40 squats a day--4 sets that consisted of 15-10-8-7 and 45 minutes of cardio (which was generally going for a walk while pulling my kids in their wagon--its tough work!) I also researched other challenges online and am about to begin the  "30 Day AB Challenge!"

Feel free to share your success stories! I would love to hear from you! xx

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tips for Traveling with Children

     As a parent, you know how tough and stressful a long trip with children can be. It can feel more like a chore than a real holiday or vacation! I have spent many road trips in the car with two screaming or bored children, so I have learned a few ways to cope with these situations and help in keeping the kiddos entertained. Hopefully some of these tips can assist you on your next vacay as well!

1. Bring MANY packages of wipes--they are great for any age! From spills to stains, they can quickly clean any area or face. Remember to keep them close up with you in the car, instead of packing in the trunk where you will need to stop to retrieve them (this has happened more than once with us!) ;)

2. Kids always seem to be hungrier during long trips (probably more out of boredom than anything), so packing snacks ahead of time is ideal and prevents you from having to stop for food and saves some cash! Try using a tackle box to store a variety of snacks by placing different ones in each slot.

3. Along with snacks, comes drinks! Freeze juice or water the night before in water bottles or sippy cups. This will allow for a single drink to stay cold and within your child's reach when they need it.

4. If you do not have a problem with your children watching television, I highly suggest investing in a portable dvd player (possibly even two if you have more than one child.) Watching movies or shows will allow you to have some peace and least for a little while :)

5. Make your own DIY games for the road. Create a table on paper and draw or write in objects, letters or numbers for the kids to find along the way. You can even make an 'i-SPY' game like the one in the photo! It will keep your little ones entertained for hours. For full instructions, click here.

6. To prepare yourself and keep all items organized, pack emergency 'theme' packs/bags for the family. Some packages may include other activities, first aid necessities, craft supplies or clean up items.

7. Purchase a plastic cereal container to use as a garbage disposal in the car. There is nothing worse than stinky or messy garbage laying all over the interior of your nice vehicle. Place a sand bag or bean bag in the bottom to keep it from getting tossed around in the car while you drive.

 8. Pack your child's clothing in large Ziploc bags for each day of the week to save room. Bring along a few hangers to hang articles of clothing for the next morning if they get wrinkled.

9.  Remember to be patient! You are traveling with kids. They are going to act like kids. They will probably fight, yell, get tired and whine and have to pee often. So try to remain as calm as you can and BREATHE.  Factor in that you will probably need to make a few unscheduled pit stops to allow the kids to stretch their legs and 'reset.' 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tip of the Day #323: Planning a New Garden Design

Defining the best contour for a new or expanded planting bed doesn't have to be a frustrating process of trial and error that leaves spade scars in the lawn. A rubber garden hose is an ideal tool for laying out the lazy curves of a flower garden. Shape and reshape the hose along the ground until you're satisfied with the design!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Robyn's Scentsy Review - Independent Consultant

    I am fairly new to the whole "Scentsy World" and this was my first time trying their products! I always loved the idea of a safe, wick-less alternative to scented candles for adding a nice aroma to my home--mainly because of the house fire in our last home! I swore I would never have another candle present since that was the reason our place went up in flames. Plus, candles are just unsafe around small children, plain and simple.
    Recently, I had been thinking how expensive plug-in fresheners cost and how they not only last a short time, but do very little in freshening up a large space. This is when I turned to Scentsy and spoke to consultant, Robyn Gibson, to discuss my options. She was so helpful and caring to say the least. With such a personal approach, she was able to select a warmer and scents that appealed to me perfectly. Her excellent customer service skills really did shine when I received consistent emails informing me of the status of my order--not something you see too often these days with businesses! A job well done, Robyn! I highly recommend her to everyone reading!

    After making my decision, my goodies arrived a few days later and I couldn't have been more excited! Included in my order was: one warmer, 3 scented bars (Perfectly Pomegranate, Camu Camu, Lime & Kiwi Cantaloupe ) and Robyn even threw in a full-sized tube of Layers hand cream for me! Within 10 minutes, I had set up my warmer with 2 cubes of 'Camu Camu' melting in my living room (this is probably my favourite scent out of the 3 I received, it has a really fresh, summer fruity smell.) I even had a neighbour stop by the other nite who said, "Wow, your place smells amazing! What is that?!"

    Many people may wonder how long the wax cubes last while in the warmer. Well, I would say 2 cubes last about 21-24 hours total. I left my Scentsy warmer on for about 7 hours a day, but you can leave it on for as little or long as you want; think of it like a lamp! Plus, it will NEVER get too hot that it becomes worrisome.

    Overall, my experience with Scentsy was wonderful. From the positive customer service, to a timely delivery, to the actual scented experience, I am more than satisfied.
    Again, I highly recommend speaking to Robyn Gibson about how you can begin enjoying Scentsy--I absolutely guarantee you will not be disappointed!

To get in contact with Robyn, visit: or you may like her facebook page here to view offers, specials and other products!

Tip of the Day #322: Lightweight Pot Filler

To conserve soil when planting up large containers, consider how much soil your plants really need, then fill the bottom of the container with lighter-weight materials. An upended plastic nursery pot does a fine job of taking up space; fill in alongside it with Styrofoam peanuts.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tip of the Day #321: Removing a Splinter

NEVER initially squeeze or use tweezers on a splinter as you can do more damage than good.

1. Instead, add water to about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to make a thick paste. 

2. Spread the baking soda paste onto a bandage, then apply the bandage to the affected area and leave for 24 hours.

3. At this time, the splinter may be sticking out of the skin. If it's visible, pick it off with tweezers, and rinse the skin gently. If the splinter is sticking out but not visible, this may wash it away without further complications.

4. Repeat the method with new paste and another bandage every 24 hours until the splinter is gone.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tip of the Day #320: Cleaning Pots & Pans

Every metal has different properties and requires special care. Stainless steel is prone to stains from heat and hard water. To remove them, apply white vinegar with a soft cloth and rub. Always dry thoroughly after washing to prevent a film from forming. Never soak stainless steel cookware; this will result in pitted surfaces.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tip of the Day #319: Easy Furniture moving

To avoid scuffed floors when rearranging heavy pieces of furniture, fold two clean towels (dirty ones can scratch floors), place one under each end, and slide the piece across the floor.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


      I recently had the privilege of reviewing products from the company, Perfect Threads. If you are unaware of the business, they are an online consignment store that sell both infant & children's clothing, from newborn up to size 14.
What I personally love about the idea of an online consignment store is:
1) CONVENIENCE--you do not even need to leave the comfort of your home--my kind of shopping! ;)
2) SAVINGS--as many of you parents know, clothing is one of the largest expenses while raising children, and why pay full price when you do not need to!
When I was initially contacted by Perfect Threads, I quickly jumped on the website and was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the website very easy to navigate, but the selection of clothing was above par! What I admired MOST was to see that proceeds from donated clothing goes straight to charities listed on the site--what a "feel good" moment! Nothing warms my heart more than to see a business assist in helping out the lives of others that are less fortunate.
     Perfect Threads' main mission is to initiate and aid parents in making that first step to "clean out and de-clutter the kids closets!" What music to my ears! If you have been following my blog for awhile, you will know how ORGANIZATION and de-cluttering are essential parts of my life. I had recently spent an entire Saturday clearing my two children's dressers and closets of winter clothing, and swapping with their spring & summer items. Therefore, I was left with over 3 bags of pants and shirts that were either too small or I knew my son would outgrow by this time next year--so Perfect Threads was introduced to me at the absolute perfect moment! On their website, you can choose either to send in and SELL your gently used items, which are then applied as a 'credit' to your account for future purchases OR have the option to have your items considered "donations" and all proceeds from the sales go straight to charity--I chose the latter :) One concern I had though was "would this cost me a large chunk of money to ship my children's used items to their head office?" Well, as I searched online, I was pleased and impressed to see that clothing can be shipped for FREE! How it works is, a large bag is sent to your home--you fill the bag(s)--click "pick up my bags" on the website and UPS is there within little time to take your items. Talk about efficiency!
     So I ordered my items late Thursday evening and they arrived by Tuesday morning. Needless to say, I was eager to see each item in full view. (The attached photo shows the items I purchased for my son). Side Note: since Perfect Threads does not accept returns or exchanges, I highly recommend viewing each item you plan on buying in full view by zooming in to inspect!
   I cannot complain at all about the quality of the clothing--both pairs of shorts and the button-up short sleeve shirt were in mint condition to the point I questioned if they were ever even used!
I also cannot speak negatively in regards to the company's customer service. I had a few questions before ordering and received a response within less than an hour with all the answers. Not to mention, the speedy delivery service was fantastic!
    To be honest, the only negative I can point out is that although I did not have a problem, a 'return policy' would be beneficial to anyone that may run into issues with the clothing, and not list items as final sale. As I previously said, to avoid disappointment, just make sure to look over the items online thoroughly :)

Here are a few questions I asked Perfect Threads:

 1. What do you believe sets you above other 'like' companies?

 A: Unlike other companies that sell gently-used kids clothing on-line, we are a social enterprise and are focused on supporting a social, as well as business agenda:

a.       We take the risk out of buying gently-used clothing with our 100% satisfaction policy.  If any customer is not happy with any item they have purchased, they simply have to let us know and we will make it right
b.      Donations to charity are integral to our business model, not an afterthought.  Our patrons can use their payouts to right-size their kids clothes, or, they can donate that money or their clothes to charity.  Any monetary donations above $20 are eligible for a tax receipt.
c.       We ensure that no article of kids clothing goes unused and are not needlessly discarded into landfills.  We fully support recycling and re-use of kids clothes.

 2. Do you accept items/donations for all seasons, or are there times that a certain season is accepted?

 A: All items are accepted during all seasons.

 3. Will you ever consider buying/selling junior sizes?

 A: We currently accept and sell sizes Newborn to Size 14.  Whether we move into Junior sizes will be determined by market demand.  If the market demands it, we will supply it.  Currently the market seems to focused on smaller children’s sizes.

 4. Do you currently have any sales you would like readers to know about?

 A: We will be having our Summer promotion in June  where our newsletter subscribers will be receiving great discounts.  Only newsletter subscriber will get these great deals and anyone can become a subscriber by entering their  e-mail address in the Newsletter Signup box at the bottom of our web page.

 If you have children or grandchildren, I do highly suggest visiting Perfect Threads website and browsing their inventory. Great quality, great prices & convenience--how can you say no to that?!

Also, you can *like* on Facebook here.


I am absolutely in LOVE with Kale chips! Not only are they super tasty, but they are HEALTHY too!

Try them today:


1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and garlic powder for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, garlic and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.

Tip of the Day #318: Best Mold-Killer

Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, and add about 3-4 drops of tea tree oil (a little goes a long way) Spray on all areas, let sit for approx 1.5 hours, then wipe away!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fact vs. Fiction: Putting Cleaning Myths to Rest!

When it comes to cleaning, everyone has her favorite tips and techniques. But much of what you think you know about keeping your house and clothing spotless and germ-free may not necessarily be true. From which household surface cleaners to use to which laundry settings are the best, find out what’s fact and what’s fiction!

1. Myth: All cleaning products kill all germs.One reason you clean is to keep your family healthy. But not all cleaning products do the same job. There’s a difference between a sanitizer and a disinfectant. Sanitizers kill 99.99% of bacteria, while disinfectants kill a wider array of germs, including viruses that cause colds and flu. Therefore, a sanitizer is fine for surfaces like blinds and cabinets, but you need a disinfectant for germier spots, like the kitchen sink and bathtub, which may harbor disease-causing bugs such as salmonella and e. coli. 

2. Myth: You can wipe up cleaning spray immediately.Solutions need time to remain in contact with the surface before they can kill germs. Sanitizers work in about 30 seconds, but you should always stick to the recommendation on disinfectants’ labels. In general, disinfectants need one to 10 minutes to do their thing. But it’s okay to wipe up a surface that’s still wet if you’ve waited the length of time specified on the bottle.

3. Myth: Bleach is the only cleaner you need.Bleach is a good, inexpensive disinfectant, but besides the fact that many surfaces don’t need disinfecting, bleach can be too harsh for some natural stone surfaces, like marble. It can damage the sealant or cause etching of the surface. If you aren’t cleaning stone and you do need a disinfectant, certain bleaches still may not be the right choice. Scented and color-safe bleaches, for instance, aren’t disinfectants, so they don’t kill bacteria and viruses on household surfaces—they just make clothes brighter in the laundry. 

4. Myth: All clean surfaces smell good.Scent comes from the chemicals or natural oils that are added, not from the cleanliness of the surface. Scented and unscented versions of the same product (except bleach) clean equally well. If you enjoy fragrances, go ahead and choose a product that smells good to you or better yet, ADD YOUR OWN SCENT to your homemade cleaners with essential oils. But if a family member has allergies or asthma or is sensitive to strong odors, use unscented cleaning products—and detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets too, for that matter.

5. Myth: You should always wash clothes on “cold” to save money and energy.Using the cold-water setting on your washing machine does save energy, and it’s often necessary for silky delicates. But hot water is more effective at destroying bacteria, mold, viruses and allergens like dust mites. Choose hot water (140 degrees) for loads of undergarments, towels, sheets and clothes of sick family members. Most importantly, treat laundry like you’ve rummaged through the garbage: Wash your hands in between handling dirty and clean loads and before preparing food.

6.  Myth: Your washing machine is clean inside.Not exactly. Germs that can make you sick are on dirty clothes, and they can lurk in your washer and transfer to other clothes in the same load—or to clothes in the next load. Cleaning your washer weekly can reduce the spread of germs. Just run a cup of white vinegar in a hot cycle on the lowest water level (be greener by washing your whites with it). Two more tips: Never let wet laundry sit in the washer overnight because it can become a colony of breeding germs, and always dry clothes on high heat, which, like washing in hot water, also helps kill germs. 

7. Myth: Frequent vacuuming ruins carpets.It’s the opposite, actually: Regular vacuuming helps your carpet last longer. Dirt and grit are abrasive. When they get ground into the carpet, they ruin carpet fibers. So the more often you vacuum, the more dirt and dust you remove before they can damage the carpet. Vacuum at least weekly in overlapping front-to-back motions to dislodge soil, empty the bag or canister when it becomes half-full to maintain good suction and avoid using the power head on the fringe of area rugs so you don’t suck it up and mangle it.

8. Myth: You must use specialty cleaners for different surfaces in your home.It seems like there’s a separate cleaner for everything from stainless steel appliances to mirrors to granite countertops. They’re expensive and not usually necessary. For most tasks, a microfiber cloth without any additional cleaning solution works well. Use a slightly damp one for dusting furniture and floors or getting smears off stainless steel. Use a dry one on mirrors. Microfiber can be used with a disinfectant product, too, if the surface is germy. Wash microfiber cloths in a separate load without fabric softener (which affects their absorbency and effectiveness) and let air-dry. But natural stone surfaces, like those made of marble and travertine, require special cleaners with the proper pH; check product labels to make sure you’re buying the most appropriate one.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tip of the Day #317: Preserving Nuts

Nuts are expensive and I usually take awhile to finish a package. I don’t want them to go to waste by going rancid.

So, to keep nuts fresher a little longer, I put my nuts in the freezer. The great thing about freezing nuts, is they don’t freeze like liquids do. Just take the bags out of the freezer and the nuts are ready to go. No defrosting needed!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tip of the Day #316: Toy Keepsake Frame

Once your child(ren) have outgrown their toys, glue them to a frame and spray paint for a unique picture frame! What a unique keepsake :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tip of the Day #315: Pantyhose as Hair Ties

Great tip for moms & their little girls--

Old tights can make great hair ties by cutting 1 inch strips from the ankle. The thicker the band, the higher your ponytail, top knot or bun will be!

Managing your Time--plus Kitchen Board Instructions!

We all know how easy it is to get overwhelmed by our daily tasks and maintaining a household, so hopefully this post helps out many of you!

The most effective way I find to stay organized (and calm) from day to day is filling out my kitchen board. It is divided into two sections: Menu & Cleaning/Chores. The menu side lays out what is for dinner each evening (I fill this out every Sunday for the week) and the alternate cleaning side displays what chores are designated for each day of the week, so I am not left to do them all at once! This also leaves for less questions from other family members and if they feel inclined to help out with chores (ha!), they know what needs to be done.

As you can see, I don't do laundry everyday, I will only do it on the designated days--Friday and/or Saturday during peak times. This helps out HUGE on the hydro bill! My kids also know these are laundry days and are aware they must be around to assist in putting away their items.

If you are interested in making a mounted kitchen board like mine, it is VERY simple! What you will need is:

1 poster frame (mine is 16x20 from the craft store)
1 can of black chalkboard spray paint (you can also make this yourself if you search online)
Scrapbook paper
Dry Erase Marker
Decorative Accents (optional)


1. Remove glass from frame, measure middle of glass and place one strip of masking tape down direct middle.

2. Apply chalkboard paint to TOP side of glass either on the left or right of the tape (not both) and leave to dry.

3. Repeat step one but with cardboard insert that came with frame behind glass.

4. Adhere scrapbook paper to the alternate side of the tape on cardnoard (ie. if you painted left side of glass, scrapbook paper would go on right side of cardboard). If you have purchased sticky letters or other embellishments, this is when you would attach to paper.

5. Once all has dried, put frame back together--cardboard first, then fit glass into frame.

6. Add any other decorative accents at this time and your board should be complete!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tip of the Day #314: DIY Sidewalk Paint

Kids always seem to love sidewalk chalk, don't they? Well now you can go a step ABOVE and make them a batch of sidewalk PAINT--how cool!!

1 part cornstarch (1 c.)
1 part water (1 c.)
food coloring
sponge brushes

To keep it organized, pour each colour into a different cup in a muffin tray--that way your little ones are less likely to spill it as they paint! :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Summer Household Tips

1. Save time removing silk from corn cobs by holding the ear under running water, then brushing back and forth with a clean toothbrush.
Place the corn in your microwave for 10 seconds, turn cob upside and shake--the silk will just fall right off.

2. Put a layer of ice in the bottom of the cooler, then add the food, packed in sealed containers or plastic food bags. Top with frozen gel or juice packs or water bottles seven-eighths full and frozen. These will thaw, keep the food cool, and be icy to drink!

3. A reminder to have everyone dust their feet with baby powder or baking soda to remove all sand before getting into the car or walking into the house.

4. Remove sunscreen and summer gunk with baby oil or light cooking oil — it's cheap and safe!

5. To soothe a bee sting, make a thick paste of baking soda and water and apply to the reddened area to soothe.

6. Nourish household plants with leftover water used for cooking or cleaning vegetables.

7. To remove grease spills on tablecloths, pour baby powder or flour onto the spill or rub a piece of white chalk right into it. Let sit a bit, then shake off (outside) before you launder.

8. To freshen sleeping bags--after washing and drying, place several fabric softener sheets inside the bag, then roll it up. When you need it for your next camping trip, it will smell nice and fresh!

9. To clean patio furniture and remove stains, mix 3/4 cup household bleach and 1 tablespoon liquid laundry detergent with 1 gallon water. Wear rubber gloves and scrub the mixture over stained surfaces (but test it first on a hidden area to be sure the plastic doesn't discolor), then let it stay on the chair for 5 to 15 minutes. Rinse well.

10. To freshen smelly beach towels, shake out sand and debris, then wash in the hottest water that's safe for the fabric as soon as you come inside--you do not need detergent--just 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda. Don't cram the washing machine or dryer too full because towels can't get clean or dry properly. If you can't wash them right away, hang towels to air-dry.

11. Reuse plastic tableware-- put sturdy plastic silverware or plates in the dishwasher or clean by hand and use again for summer gatherings. If plastic food containers are stained or smelly, scrub with a paste of baking soda and water. If they are still smelly, fill with crumpled newspaper to absorb odors, then seal with the lids and leave for a couple of days. Wash again.

12. Garden smarter--fill a rolling garbage can with shovels, rakes, hoes, and other tools that you need and hang small ones on S-hooks on the rim. You will have everything you need for gardening or pruning right at your fingertips.

13. Clean your grill by scrunching up a wad of aluminum foil to wipe off grease and debris. Wash in hot, soapy water and dry. Rub with a little cooking oil.

14. Don't thaw food on the counter or let it sit outside the refrigerator for more than two hours. In summer heat of 85 degrees or more, food should not be left out for more than an hour, especially at the beach, a picnic, or barbecue.

Tip of the Day #313: Dealing with Weeds

Pour boiling water on weeds growing between pavers of a pathway. Keep the kettle close to the ground to avoid splashing yourself -- or any nearby plants you want to keep.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tip of the Day #312: Maintaining a Clean Garbage Can

This chore should be a breeze if you first drill several half-inch holes in the bottom of the can. The drainage holes will allow you to hose down the insides of the barrel without having to dump out the dirty water; this will also prevent rainwater from collecting and allow for proper ventilation. Rinse with a hose, scrub interiors with water and dish soap, rinse, and dry in the sun.

10 Bathroom Cleaning Tips

1. Start by tossing harsh scouring powder for the tub. It is too abrasive to use regularly. After showering, take a minute to wipe down the tub and faucets with a terry-cloth towel to help remove soap scum and prevent mineral deposits.

2. Pull the shower curtain closed when not in use, so water can't sit in the folds. Spread towels over two hooks to dry, or hang them on rods instead. Wipe shower walls with a squeegee after every use.

3. To discourage mildew growth in the bathroom, increase the amount of air circulation and light to decrease moisture. Use fans during the shower and for roughly 30 minutes after, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and open windows. If you do not have a window in your bathroom, ensure the bathroom door remains open.

4. Grout is porous and absorbs oils from shampoos, conditioners, and soaps, which can lead to mildew growth that can spread to the tiles it surrounds. Clean mildew with a mix of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach (or ammonia) and a soft-bristled brush. Make sure to thoroughly rinse afterwards.

5. Once a month, give the pipes a good preventative cleaning to keep them clear of grease, oil, and hair clogs. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup white vinegar. The mixture will foam up. Let stand for a few minutes to dissolve fatty acids, then pour boiling water down the drain to wash out any clogs.

6. Vinyl, synthetic, cotton, and hemp shower-curtain liners can generally be laundered in a washing machine using hot water and a mild laundry detergent. Air-dry the liners promptly. If you can't machine-wash, simply spray the liner with white vinegar and give it a good wipe down.

7. To remove a hard-water ring from the inside the toilet, pour white vinegar into the bowl and let set for an hour. Scrub clean and flush.

8. Clean bacteria and mildew from bath toys by giving them a vinegar-water bath. Fill a bucket or large bowl with warm water, adding 1/2 cup white vinegar per gallon of water. Soak toys for 10 minutes, then rub gently with a sponge and allow to dry. The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through dirt buildup and works as a natural disinfectant.

9. As I have posted before, if a showerhead becomes clogged with mineral deposits, fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar and place the bag over the head so it is submerged; secure and seal the bag with a rubber band. Soak overnight and then scrub the face with a toothbrush.

10. To clean your bathtub, heat 1 cup of vinegar for 90 seconds in the microwave then pour into a spray bottle and add 1/2 cup of dish soap. Let sit for about 15 minutes then wipe away effortlessly! This solution is better than anything, even a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

10 Dishwashing Secrets

1. A Dish Tub Saves Time. Washing the dishes properly, in a plastic dish tub, rather than one at a time under the tap, will not only SAVE WATER & ENERGY, but also save time. If you're not using a tub, line the sink with a rubber or plastic mat.

2. To catch drips, place a baking sheet under your drying rack. Look for sheets with 1-inch vertical sides to prevent runoff from seeping onto your countertop. They'll also resist mildew better than a rubber tray or dish towel.

3. Use very hot water. Fill the tub with one or two squirts of dishwashing liquid. This is more economical than squirting dishwashing liquid directly onto a sponge. The hotter the water, the more likely glass and silver will dry without spots and streaks.

4. Wash in order. Wash dishes in this order: crystal, glassware, clear glass plates, other plates, flatware, serving ware, the greasiest serving dishes, then pots and pans--this prevents your best dishes from cracking or breaking. Drain the dishwater tub and start again as needed. Rinse five or six pieces of dishware at a time, using hot running tap water. Start from the back of the plate or outside of the glass, rinsing the eating or drinking surfaces last.

5. Use cold water to wash off starches and dairy products, because they get gummier in hot water. Bottles are easier to clean if you soak denture cleaner in them overnight, or swish dry rice & water inside, then scrub them with a narrow nylon toothbrush.

6. The sooner you wash pots and pans after using them, the better. Because salt is absorbent and a natural abrasive, it is an excellent antidote to grease. Rub salt into especially dirty pots and pans with a dry sponge until greasy residue is gone.

7. Fill especially dirty pots that have coated, baked-on food with water and 1/4 cup powdered dishwasher detergent or baking soda. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat, and let soak for an hour. Scrape the pot with a spoon or rubber spatula and finish up washing as you normally would.

8. Fill badly burned pots without nonstick coatings, with cold water and 2 or 3 tablespoons salt. Let soak overnight. Slowly bring the water to a boil; the burn marks should disappear. (You may need to repeat a few times.) Then wash as you normally would.

9. When using the dishwasher, put heavy-duty wash jobs on the bottom rack, delicate dishes and glassware on the upper rack. Don't place items over the prongs on the upper rack, but use the prongs to hold glasses and mugs in place.

10. Be safe with silverware. Contrary to what many people think, you can put silverware in the dishwasher. The key is to keep stainless steel out if you put sterling or silver-plate pieces in. The two metals will react with each other and cause irreparable damage to both finishes.
Wash and dry new silverware by hand a few times, then place it in the machine -- but use less detergent than normal and don't run the "dry" cycle. Silver should be removed just before the rinse cycle and dried by hand.

Tip of the Day #311: Prep Time

Time Saver: Make laundry time easier by readying the clothes (zip zippers, close snaps, etc.) before tossing them into the machine.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tip of the Day #310: Citrus Trick--More Juice!

To get every last drop from an overly firm lemon or lime, zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds. The heat will soften the fruit, releasing its liquid. Slice it in two. Using one hand, squeeze half (cut side against your palm) over a bowl. The seeds will collect in your hand as the juice flows into the dish

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tip of the Day #309: Cleaning Shower Heads & Faucets

You probably dont realize how much build-up is on your shower head and faucets! To clean, pour vinegar into a ziploc bag and dip shower head in, then wrap with an elastic band--let sit overnite!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tip of the Day #308: Removing Cooking Odors from Kitchen

Boil spices such as cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg in water or use plain white vinegar. Continue boiling for 20 or 30 minutes, or until the cooking smell is completely gone. I personally like to use the white vinegar--it initially has a smell, but subsides and is the most effective in removing other odors.

One of the most persistent odors in a kitchen is fish. Fish smells can be eliminated in a number of different ways. Again, leave a small bowl of white vinegar by your stove while you're cooking and it will help to absorb the odor particles in the air that saturate open surfaces which can cause smells to linger. You can also boil a small pot of lemon water while cooking.