Sunday, May 19, 2013

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.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tip of the Day #307: Cleaning Oven Racks

The best way to clean your oven racks and bbq grills is to place 6 dryer sheets in the bathtub, put racks on top and fill with warm water just above where the rack sits---leave overnight and by the morning, most 'gunk' will be removed; if any remains, just wipe away with the dryer sheets! Works every time :)


Our contest for a FREE LOCKET WITH CHARMS of your choice has come to an end! Thank you to all who participated and entered! :)

Now for the winner!

Drum roll..........



You will be receiving an email shortly :)

Have a great Monday everyone!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tip of the Day #306: Cleaning Tarnished Jewelry

Line the bottom of a pan with aluminum foil. Set your jewelry on top of the aluminum foil. Make sure it actually touches the aluminum. Heat your water to boiling. Remove it from the heat and place it in your sink in a large bowl. Then, add about one cup of baking soda for each gallon of water. (If you need only half a gallon of water, use half a cup of baking soda.) The mixture will froth a bit and may spill over; this is why you put it in the sink.Pour the hot baking soda and water mixture into the pan with the jewelry item, and completely cover it. Almost immediately, the tarnish will begin to disappear. If the silver is only lightly tarnished, all of the tarnish will disappear within several minutes. If the silver is badly tarnished, you may need to reheat the baking soda and water mixture, and give the silver several treatments to remove all of the tarnish.

Remove and rinse completely and pat dry.

Friday, April 26, 2013


What an exciting prize we have up for grabs! Right now, you have the chance to win a PERSONALIZED LOCKET WITH 3 CHARMS of your choice from Lucy's Lockets!  Choose from a silver, gold or rose gold locket. With Mother's Day fast approaching, this would make an amazing gift to show your Mom just how special she is - OR how about showing off who is important in YOUR life as a Mommy. What about a Teacher gift or showing off you are a SURVIVOR??? The sky's the limit with these beautiful jewelry pieces!

 To enter the contest, please follow ALL instructions below:

1. You must LIKE Lucy's Lockets on Facebook ---->
2. You must be a fan of A Mum 'n the Oven on Facebook
3. SHARE the contest post on A Mum 'n the Ovens Facebook Page (make sure your facebook settings are to share publicly or we cannot see any shares!)
4. Leave your name and email address in the comments and WHAT TYPE OF LOCKET YOU WOULD CHOOSE below this post :)
5. Earn additional entries by referring your friends/family to both Lucy's Lockets & A Mum n the Oven's pages. Your friends MUST write who sent them on  Mum's page so we can keep track :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tip of the Day #305: Understanding Laundry Symbols

So you are doing a load of laundry, and you come across one of your brand new shirts only to find the tag inside has a symbol on it that leaves you completely clueless. This used to happen to me more often than not...thatbis until I came across this wonderful and useful chart that has pretty much every symbol imaginable!
Click to view the chart online:
It would be useful to print out and keep handy in your laundry room for the next time you run into this problem!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tip of the Day #304: Uses for Milk

1. Put frozen fish in a dish of milk to thaw. This improves the flavor and texture so that it tastes like fresh caught fish.

2. Facial Mask – milk has moisturizing properties that you can use for a facial mask. Prepare half a cup of milk powder then add a little water. Stir the mixture until you have a thick paste. Spread the milk facial mask on your face and leave it on for 30 minutes. Wash your face and rinse. Your skin will feel softer.

3. Dab milk onto mild sunburn for a cooling effect and will prevent further damage. Mix powdered milk with water and 2 pinches of salt. Apply to burn.

4. Boost the flavor of corn. Pour some milk in water and boil.  Drop the corn in the boiling milk/water mixture. Leave it in the pot until the mixture boils. Cook corn for as long as you normally, would. You will notice a sweeter taste.

5.Makeup remover and face cleanser. Make a thick paste of powdered milk and water as a make-up remover.  Rinse well after removing the paste.

6. Liquid milk cleans patent leather to a shine. Rub it with a little milk on a soft cloth. Allow to dry and then buff them.

7. Relief for Insect Bites – Milk, relieves the itch and swelling of insect bites.  Make a solution of milk, water and salt, and apply it to the bites.

8. China Repair – fine cracks sometimes are repaired by boiling them in milk. The milk proteins, will react to the china then turn into an adhesive. Remember it doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does.

9. Furniture Cleaner and Polisher – Mix milk and lemon juice and you have an excellent furniture polish. You can add essential oil to the mix for a fresh scent.

10.Plant Cleaner – You can clean your plants using skimmed milk. It will clean dirt, sap and stains off of the leaves. Rinse it off of your plants after cleaning.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tip of the Day #303: Read before your next Grocery Shopping Trip!

People can easily go overboard when it comes to spending money on groceries! Read the following tips to lower your bill and prevent you from making unnecessary purchases:

1. Create a Meal Plan for the entire
duration of your budgeted grocery bill. For example, if you are buying 2 weeks worth of groceries, plan meals for the entire two weeks.
Read about effective meal planning here:

2. In addition to the meal plans, make a list of all items needed and STICK TO IT! Only go down the necessary aisles and do not browse--this will, no doubt, lead to impulse purchases.

3. When making your lists, browse through your local flyers if they are delivered to your home (or you can usually find them online as well). Many people believe that hitting multiple stores for amazing sales is a good idea and will help save them money--WRONG! It is definitely not worth shopping at multiple grocers because of the gas you are spending. Check your favourite store to see if they 'Price Match.' That way, you can get the same featured deal from the alternate store all in one place! Many stores do practise this these days to stay competitive.

4. If you have small children, ALWAYS keep them home if you can. We all know kids can be unpredictable and whine or throw temper tantrums once they spot something they want. I know this firsthand with my son who throws the WORST fits while out, and I admit to giving in sometimes just to keep him quiet! So, keeping them home will allow you to get in and out by only sticking to what you need.

5. Last but not least, NEVER GO GROCERY SHOPPING WHEN HUNGRY! I am, again, guilty of this without even being aware; spending more money than wanting to because so much more 'appealed' to me. Plain and simple, fill your tummy or go shopping AFTER a meal!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Organizing your Closet

To begin, I always tell people that if something seems too overwhelming or time consuming, to start out small. For instance, try the hall closet first to build your confidence and find what works best for YOU.

Step 1: Begin by selecting your messiest closet and removing its contents. During this process, take a good look at what you have and consider donating or tossing items that have not been touched in years. You have to remember these items are taking up VALUBLE storage space. Be honest with yourself and make the effort to purge the old, the size-challenged, and the "what was I thinking?" . If you can't bring yourself to part with some of these items (even though you know that you should) box them up, put the date on the box and store it in the basement or attic. If you haven't touched the box in one year toss or donate it without opening as this will leave you second guessing your initial decision.

Step 2: Now it's time to put away the items you have decided to keep. As you put things back, keep like things together (for example long-sleeved shirts) and remember to store items based on how they are used as well as their frequency of use. Placement is important -- store special occasion dressings in the back , while frequently worn items should be up front and between shoulder and knee height. I also hang by colour--it may seem tedoous at first, but once complete, it is so nice to find a specific article of clothing easily when you are in a rush! Now, don't forget about the floor space under your short hanging items. Purchase clear containers or the white & clear plastic drawers and store out of season sweaters and shoes (no, not together); don't forget to label, so next year there will be no unnecessary dumping. If you are storing sweaters or non-hang shirts on your top shelf consider shelf dividers; these keep those stacks from tumbling into one another, which ALWAYS seems to happen!

Step 3: Finally consider ways to maximize the space you have. The back of the closet door provides some wonderful untouched storage space. Add dollar store hooks for robes and your comfy sweats or suit jackets if you plan to wear it again soon.Another storage option is hatboxes (or make your own by covering boxes in scrapbook paper); they are great for storing small accessories and look really nice on your shelf or neatly stacked on the floor.

Step 4: What you hang your clothes on really does make a difference. All your hangers should be the same type (yes -- get rid of those wire hangers from the dry cleaners). Replacing hangers can be as costly or as inexpensive as your taste and budget dictate. You can pick up a pack of nice WOOD hangers at the dollar store. You have gone through all this effort to make things organized and this last detail can really pull it all together and looks so much nicer; which will be more rewarding in the end.
I am often asked, "What should I do to organize my hats, belts and scarves" and I always have the same answer--use dollar store plastic shower rings, loop your items through and hang on a hanger. They stay in place, and look so neat when hung in the closet.
There is no need to spend a lot of money on organization when items from your local dollar store are beautiful and serve the same purpose!

Once everything has a place and fits, you are encouraged to keep it organized and clutter free. Maintenance is KEY and will only require minimal effort if completed daily or when necessary. A few minutes of hanging, folding and tossing in the designated basket keeps everything in its place.
I always encourage people to use the rule: if you purchase a new article of clothing, another must go. This ensures your newly organized closet never becomes too full or crammed, which oftens turns back into MESSY!


Our contest for a FREE BOX OF WOOLZIES DRYER BALLS has come to an end! Thank you to all who participated and entered! :)

Now for the winner!

Drum roll..........


You will be receiving an email shortly :)

Have a great Sunday everyone!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tip of the Day #302: The Lowdown on Essential Oils

Not only do essential oils fill a room with a wonderful aroma, but they are considered to possess certain qualities or serve special purposes when used properly. Find out what your favourites can do for you below:

clary sage


clary sage


clary sage
Juniper berry


If you are unfamiliar with essential oils, you can pick them up at your local health store!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tip of the Day #301: Tabs on Aluminum Foil Box

It sounds silly, but many of us have experienced what are supposed to be simple tasks, but end up being a lot more complicated every time you do it--for example, trying to tear a sheet of aluminum foil out of the box without pulling the entire roll out! Well, check the ends of your aluminum foil or saran wrap boxes for a handy little circle or triangle. If you punch it in, it will hold the roll in the box and prevent it from popping out when you rip off a piece!

Another quick tip - placing your plastic wrap in the refrigerator will make it easier to handle :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tip of the Day #300: Preventing Ticks

How to Prevent Ticks on your Pets:

1. Garlic –given as a dietary supplement makes your animal less appealing to ticks. The smell is excreted through the skin and repels both ticks and fleas. However, garlic contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia in dogs. If you use garlic as your tick prevention, use it SPARINGLY.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar adds acidity to your pet’s blood, making it less appealing to ticks and fleas. Add 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar to the his or her food or water bowl as a preventative.

Prevention on Humans:

1. Always wear an insect repellant of at least 20% DEET whenever outside

2  Dress in light-coloured clothing! When coming inside, place your clothing for 10 minutes in the dryer on the hottest setting--it will kill any ticks that may be lingering. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tip of the Day #299: Keeping Flowers FRESH

A fresh bouquet of flowers will brighten up any room, especially if they last. Surprisingly, a number of household items will help do the trick. Here are a few interesting products and tips that can help your blooms stay fresh longer:

1. Cut your stems with a knife instead of scissors. The gauge on scissors is set for paper or fabric, not for flower stems, which are bulkier. Using scissors will crush their vascular systems and prevent proper water uptake.
2. What you put in your water makes a world of difference!
A) Dissolved aspirin is a tried and true method to keeping your flowers fresh, but lemon-lime soda can work too. Mix one part of the soda with three parts water. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of household bleach per quart, which will help the water stay clear.
B) Lemon juice is another great ingredient to put in your vase. Mix 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of bleach in a quart of warm water. Another 1/4 teaspoon of bleach can be added to the vase water every four days.
C) One of the strangest products that will help your bouquet last is Listerine. According to, just 2 ounces of the mouthwash added to every gallon of water will act as plant food and create a bacteria-fighting environment for the flowers. It's also acidic like many of the other solutions, which helps the water to move up cut stems.

Tip of the Day #298: Uses for Clear Nail Polish

We all know clear nail polish can do a great job on a manicure, but many of you may not know the other wonderful and useful benefits it posseses! It can aid in:

1. Making jewelry last. To extend the life of costume jewelry and to keep it looking bright and glossy, give beads a thin layer of polish. It helps prevent fading and tarnishing. It also helps your fingers turning green from rings!

2. Sealing envelopes. In lieu of licking the envelope flaps to seal them (not only can this be ineffective, but does anyone find that taste as gross as I do?) dab on a little polish to keep them glued nice and tight. 

3. Threading needles. Rather than get frustrated when attempting to thread a needle, run the cut side of the thread through the polish brush. Roll the thread between your fingers a couple times; the polish will dry pretty much immediately and the thread becomes stiffer (and much more easy to get through the eye of the needle). 

4. Keeping belt buckles pristine. To ensure belt buckles stay bright and shiny, shellac them with a coat of polish to prevent oxidation.

5. Securing buttons. Brush on a dollop of polish in the center of your buttons to keep the threads from coming undone. If you have a sweater or dress with delicate pearly buttons, give the whole thing a coat of polish to keep them luminous. 

6.Fixing window screens or shades. If you have a tear or small hole in a window shade or screen, paint on some polish to keep it from getting worse. 

7. Waterproofing matches. As any camper can attest, there are few bigger drags than a box of soggy matches. To waterproof them, paint the flammable tips with polish. 

8. Wood floor repairs. A bit of clear polish is fantastic to touch-up minor dents and little scuffs on wood floors.

9. Avoiding rust stains. You know those rust rings that form on your tub if you leave shaving cream in the shower? Just varnish the underside of the can with a little polish to keep the metal from staining. 

10. Shoelace protector. To stop shoelaces from unraveling and fraying, dip the ends in clear polish. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I recently had the pleasure of receiving a box of Woolzies Dryer Balls to review. I cannot tell you how excited I was to see them show up in the mail two days ago--so much so that I immediately did a load of laundry when I came in the door just to see how they were when it came to drying the items!
I do know about dryer balls as I have purchased other brands in the past when trying to live a 'greener' and more eco-friendly lifestyle, but it is always nice to compare!
For those who are unfamiliar with these products, they are 100% chemical-free,  Wool dryer balls that are made from a natural fabric and when you have enough balls in your dryer it does an excellent job of decreasing drying time--BY UP TO 25%!! Think of all the energy you will be saving--music to your ears! Especially for cloth diapering Mamas!
With that being said, Woolzies are by FAR by favourite for two main reasons:

1. Their dryer balls are made from 100% FINE NEW ZEALAND WOOL--the best of its kind! I especially like this because I suffer from skin sensitivity and often become itchy very easily, but I must say that after using Woolzies, I did not have a single reaction! I also feel safe using them in my kiddos laundry as we all know childrens skin is much more sensitive than us adults.

2. My clothes were softer than normal! Although Woolzies promises a 25% reduction in dryer time, I would say my few loads of laundry were done in closer to 45% of the time (using all 6 balls)--BONUS!! Not only this, but I have found after using other brands of dryer balls that static has still been an issue...well not with Woolzies! Ahhh...I'm in Heaven! :)

So you may be asking "How do Woolzies really work?" Well, to get the best performance out of your dryer balls, you should purchase four or more. Aside from the absorbant fabric, the dryer balls bounce through your clothes as they dry, fluffing and separating the clothes, which is how they cut down on drying time. In addition, if you live in a very dry area, you know the static this can cause--and as i previously explained, Woolzies eliminate this problem! 
Want to wash your pillows? No problem! The dryer balls are excellent in fluffing them and as they circulate around, they remove germs & dust mites up to 99%! You may have heard and think putting tennis balls in the dryer to fluff your pillows is a more reasonable suggestion--however, the rubber odor can be bad, they do not contain an absorbant material and again, are nowhere near NATURAL.

To answer any further questions you may have, I have personally come up with a few Q & A's:

1. How long can you use the same dryer balls for?
Woolzies guarantee 1,000 loads. On average, 3 years, but some people claim they have used the same batch for 4 years and are still going strong.

3. "I use vinegar to soften my clothes. How are dryer balls better than this natural alternative?"
Vinegar IS great at softening clothes, but it does not remove bacteria or dust mites or cut dryer time. It also does not remove static like dryer balls.

4. How are these any better than the plastic (PVC) ones that I got from my local superstore?
They are VERY different actually! The conventional plastic ones you see on TV and in your local store are made from plastic and when heated can emit harmful smells that can irritate the lungs. They also do not speed up your drying time as these 100% wool dryer balls do. Plastic dryer balls can also rip and tear some more delicate clothing items.

If I am being honest, the only NEGATIVE thing I can say about Woolzies is that they are unscented--but that is strictly a personal preference! An solution to this would be to simply inject essential oil into your dryer balls. VOILA!


1. You must LIKE Woolzies Dryer Balls on Facebook ---->

2. You must be a fan of A Mum 'n the Oven on Facebook

3. SHARE the contest post on A Mum 'n the Ovens Facebook Page (make sure you are set to share publicly or we cannot see any shares!)

4. Leave your name and email address in the comments under this post so we can contact you if you win! :)

5. Earn additional entries by referring your friends/family to both Woolzies & A Mum n the Oven's pages. Your friends MUST write who sent them on  Mum's page so we can keep track :)



Tip of the Day #297: The truth about Vitamins

Did you know that your body cannot properly absorb the amount of vitamins and nutrients most supplements contain in a daily dose? Your body will purge what it can't absorb (so you literally flush it away).
This one came from Dr. Oz: Taking your supplements at half a dose twice a day instead of all at once allows your body to better absorb all of the nutrients.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tip of the Day 296: Preserving Potatoes

If you’re peeling and dicing potatoes for a stew or other dish, you can prepare them a few days ahead and store them in the refrigerator, in a container filled with water. To keep them from turning brown or becoming mushy when cooked, add some white vinegar (1 Tbsp. per 2 cups water) before submerging the potatoes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tip of the Day #295: PANCAKES--use Club Soda

Substitute club soda for milk when making pancake batter. Your pancakes will be lighter and fluffier!


2 cups biscuit mix (I use Bisquick)
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups club soda

1Mix ingredients until smooth and blended but don't overbeat.
2.Ladle mix onto hot griddle or pan.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tip of the Day #294: Crumpled Aluminum Foil

When heating or re-heating items in the oven, line the sheet tray with loosely crumpled aluminum foil for a crispier bottom. The crumpled foil allows for better air circulation and drains off excess oil or juices.

Tip of the Day #293: Out of Cooking Oil or Spray?

If you are out of pan spray or oil, put a thin layer of mayo on your fish or chicken to help prevent it from sticking to your grill. This also prevents flare-ups so you get very nice grill marks without excess burning.

Tip of the Day #292: Cooking Pasta

Don't shock pasta in water after cooking! Take the pasta out a minute or 2 early, drain the water, coat with oil and let cool on a tray. It keeps the starch inside the pasta and helps the sauce stick to the pasta.