Sunday, September 30, 2012

Headlight Cleaner

For a long time my husband and I washed our cars at a car wash, which was fine by me.  Then one day my husband came home and announced that we should wash our own cars in the driveway to save money, which was fine by me.

But then he went to the auto store to get cleaning supplies, which was not fine by me.  My husband likes the best of the best so it was no surprise that he came home with 5 star cleaning supplies that cost more then many trips to the car wash.

One of the things he came home with was a headlight lens restorer.  This amazing product cleans dull yellowed headlight lenses.  Why replace when you can restore!

Now, I don't blame him for buying that, our headlight lens were looking pretty dull and yellow, but he obviously hadn't heard of the toothpaste trick.

Using toothpaste to clean headlights is a DIY that I had heard about several times through out the years, but had never tried. After we ran out of the 'amazing must have headlight lens restorer,' I decided to try the toothpaste.

using a rag, rub toothpaste all over the headlight until the dirt comes off
clean off the toothpaste with a wet rag

So here is the before shot of the dull yellowed headlight.  Or as I like to call it, the boring chicken headlight, badum tish!

Moving on.... I grabbed one of the million toothpaste samples I have that seem to multiply in my house for some unknown reason, and grabbed an old rag. 

I started to rub the toothpaste on the lens in a circular motion, and naturally I had to say "wax on, wax off" while doing this. (Admit it, you just heard Mr. Miyagi's voice in your head) I couldn't see dirt coming off so I had no idea if the boring chicken was turning into a comedian hawk.  So I just rubbed for a couple minutes until the toothpaste started to get a little dry. I then got a wet rag and it wiped right off.

The verdict: It worked great.  The headlight is so clean now. Look at these before and after photos. 

By the way, the lovely dent you see in the hood..... this is my husbands car. As in, a Man's car, not a Woman's car. So please check your women driver jokes at the door. 
But in his defense, a deer jumped out in front of him.  We assume the deer is fine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Single Serving of Mac and Cheese

My kids use to be macaroni and cheese snobs.  The only kind that they would eat was the single serving Velveeta kind.

Even though I had no hopes of them eating it, I decided to attempt a single serving mac and cheese recipe I found here.

The ingredient list is short, which I was pretty happy about.

Instant Mug o' Mac and Cheese
1/3 cup pasta
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Now lets look at the instructions. For such a small list of ingredients, the instructions are surprisingly high-maintenance.  The red lettering are my thoughts:

Combine the pasta and water in a large mug or bowl. Microwave on high for two minutes, then stir. A lot of times the water will overflow while it heats up. It is OK if this happens. (easy for you to say, you're not the one cleaning it up) If you don’t want it to overflow just make this in a very large microwaveable bowl. Repeat this for at least 2 to 4 more minutes, stirring at each 2-minute interval. (So your saying I have to get a hot boiling-over mug out of the microwave, stir it, put it back in, and repeat. I don't think you know what the definition of 'instant' is) The water should absorb completely and the pasta will be cooked through. If the pasta needs another minute it is okay to add one more teaspoon of water and microwave for another minute.  My pasta cooked through in 4 minutes every time, but my microwaves tends to be very powerful. (show-off) Remove it from the microwave and stir in the milk and cheese. Microwave for another minute.(my microwave now thinks I'm schizophrenic from all the turning on and off and pulling the mugs in and out) Stir the cheese thoroughly into the pasta and eat up!

These instructions were not giving me a lot of confidence, but I went ahead and tried it. I got the biggest mugs I have to try and stop the boiling over part. I couldn't use a 'very large microwaveable bowl' because I was making two single size servings and two large bowls wouldn't fit in the microwave.  Why didn't I just combine them both into a 'very large microwavable bowl' you ask?  Because then they wouldn't be single serving size, duh!
Aaaaaaand because I didn't think of that until later.

Ok, lets get started

Water...... check

boiling over........ big check

Well, at least the microwave was already dirty

But hey, the final product actually turned out good and the kids ate it.

The verdict: two thumbs way down.  Instant mac and cheese is suppose to be easy. If I'm going to make it I don't want to sit by the microwave and babysit it.  Plus, it didn't take 4 minutes to cook, it took 8 (I guess my Steve Urkel microwave is no match for her Schwarzenegger microwave.) It was very annoying to keep pulling those mugs in and out of the microwave to stir them every 2 minutes.

Save yourself some time and mess. Just boil the noodles on the stove, drain the water and throw in some milk and cheese to your liking.

As a side note, my kids new favorite mac and cheese is macaroni with Parmesan cheese, and nothing else.  It's so easy to make and they love it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Getting Crayon Off The Walls

6 months ago my husband bought the kids some window markers.  These are markers that are specifically designed to use on glass surfaces without smearing.  Those things are HORRIBLE! They left a film of ink that took several tries of scrubbing to get it off which stained every towel I used.
But worse then that is ever since then, my daughter (who is almost 2) has decided that it's ok to draw on anything. I can't blame her logic.  I let her use a marker on the window so why not on the wall and furniture?   We do our best to hide crayons and pens and markers from her, but she has a gift.  She has some sort of bat like sonar that lets her track a lonely pen that fell into a tiny crevasse that only her little hands can reach into. 

So finding random marks on the wall isn't an uncommon thing.  But a couple weeks ago my little Picasso really had a good time and covered a four foot diameter with a red crayon.  It was hard to scold her when she was so proud of those scribbles.

Usually I use one of two methods to clean the marks off the wall. It depends on what she used to color with and how big of a mess she made. A plain wet towel works great but the towels tend to fall apart if you use it to much. A Mr. Clean Eraser will get off any type of mark, but some times it will leave a permanent shiny mark on the paint.

I wanted to try something new so off to the web I went and found three methods I wanted to try.

A pencil eraser
Baking Soda
and Mayonnaise

Yes you read that right, mayonnaise. I was really excited to try this. It's not often you have an excuse to smear mayo all over your wall.  But seriously, who thought of this?  Who said "huh, there is crayon on the wall, the fridge seems like a logical place to find cleaning supplies"

So I got my tools and hi ho, hi ho, off to the wall I go

NOTE: I tried these methods on a matte tan paint. I don't know if the results will vary depending on the paint.

I started with the eraser because it was the easiest and less messy.

The Verdict: Not only did it NOT work, but it made it worse.  The eraser just smeared the wax deeper into the paint and it made it harder to clean later. The person who said "huh, there is crayon on the wall, the desk drawer seems like a logical place to find a cleaning supply," should have kept looking.  Check the fridge next time buddy.

After failing miserably with the eraser I moved onto the baking soda. The instructions said to pour a little baking soda on a damp cloth, rub clean and rinse. I don't think the person who wrote those instructions had a Michelangelo in training who covered the whole wall in mind. A little bit on a rag was not going to cut it, so I poured baking soda and water in a bowl until I had a nice paste, then I used a rag to scrub the crayon off the wall.

I really didn't have to scrub very hard for it to start coming off.
The Verdict: This worked great.  It was easy to use and the crayon came right off.  However, as the paste on the wall dried it started to fall off in chunks and I ended up with pink baking soda bits on the floor that I had to vacuum up.  Plus, it took three scrubs with a clean wet towel to get all the gritty baking soda off the wall.  So even though it worked really well, who wants a cleaning method that adds more cleaning?

That brings us to the Mayo.  The instructions tell you to rub it on the wall, wait a minute or so then scrub it off with a damp rag.

So that's what I did.  I smeared some mayo on the crayon (making sure my little artist was in her crib so there was no chance of her seeing me do this and decide she wants to join in the fun) then went back to cleaning up the baking soda mess for a few minutes.

The Verdict: HOLY MOLY!!! I did 2 quick scrubs and the crayon was gone.  It took very little effort.  I wiped over it once to get the rest of the mayo off and that was it.  For three days I kept starring at the wall, convinced that a grease mark was going to show up. But it's been a week, and still no grease mark on the wall.  Way to go mayo. There was no evidence of the crayon left on the wall.

But you know, that was a lot of work for me.  I was pretty hungry after all that scrubbing. A BLT sounded pretty good...

hmmmm out of Mayo........

Not to worry, I know where some extra mayo is, and hey, I don't even need to dirty a knife to get the mayo on the bread.

Update: 2.8.13 - I have used Mayonnaise to get crayons off my walls several more times since posting this blog and I have learned something, Mayonnaise is picky.  Some crayon marks will wipe right off while others take some serious scrubbing.  I think it has to do with what brand the crayon is but I don't know for sure because I have yet to catch my little artist in the act.  Even if I did catch her it probably wouldn't  help because all my crayons look like they have been through a massacre and the labels are either torn off or unreadable.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bathtub Cleaner

I have been making my own soft scrub (that I found here) for several months now.  It works great on bathtubs and on stove tops but I've always had one little gripe about it.

It dries out easily, so sometimes I have to add water and give it a good shake before I can use it again. The more I add water then less potent it becomes, so I end up using more.

It was time for me and this soft scrub to part ways.  Sorry soft scrub, it's not you, it's me...... wait a minute, I take that back, it is you.

I kept seeing a Pintrest pin about Martha Stewart's DIY bathtub scrubber and how it was the "greatest of all time." Every time someone says "it's the best" or "the greatest" I always think of this clip.

But since I was accepting applications for a new soft scrub, I decided to give Martha's tub scrub a shot.

1 tsp liquid soap
Several drops of an antibacterial essential oil.
1 cup of baking soda
enough water to make a paste

I added all my ingredients and was ready to go.  I have no idea what soap I used.  There is a soap dispenser attached to my sink and I can't remember what I put in there. (I have two little kids, I'm lucky that I remember to put deodorant on every day.) But I do know I used On Guard essential oil.

My shower has little grooves on the bottom that like to adopt all the dirt that comes off me while I shower.  It doesn't matter what I say or do to those little grooves, they just let all the specks of dirt move right in.  This makes my shower look like this every few weeks and the only way to get it off  is by using a Mr. Clean Eraser.

 I decided to scrub half of the shower floor to see if this stuff really is the greatest as everyone claimed it was. 

The Verdict:

That is how I felt when I used this scrub. So deliriously happy!

It took some scrubbing, but my shower floor was actually clean.  YEAH!!! Now, it didn't get rid of ALL the dirt, but most of it came off. Towards the left of the picture you can see that one perfect white line where I really scrubbed. 

I only used about 1/3 of what I had mixed up so I put the rest in an air tight jar.  Two days later I checked on it. The oil and soap had separated from the baking soda, but after a couple of good shakes it was as good as new.
Three cheers for Martha Stewart.  How dare I even doubt her homemaking abilities. Of course her stuff is going to be THE GREATEST!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Glass Cleaner

 Let me introduce you to Bud.  Our beagle boxer mix.

He's a dog, so naturally he spends an abnormal amount of time looking out his favorite window.  When he does this, he leaves behind a strange slobber goo that gets baked onto the window by the sun.

I have tried SO many cleaners to try and get this goo off.  The only way I could get it off was to spray Lime Away and let it sit for several minutes, then scrub until my fingers bled. 

Then I found this homemade glass cleaner


This is the greatest glass cleaner of all time.

Just put everything into a spray bottle, shake it up and viola.  (you need to shake before every use because the cornstarch will settle)

The Verdict:   Let me show you why this is the best glass cleaner out there.

 Here we have Bud looking longingly at the other dogs going for a walk and wondering when his lazy owner will pry herself away from the computer long enough to take him outside. 

 Here we have the Bud slobber goo left on the window. 

But after a little bit of scrubbing.......aaaawwwwwww, look how clear that is. I didn't get around the edges so you can see the difference between the clean and unclean...... ok fine, I was late taking my son to school and I wanted to get a quick picture so I cleaned as fast as I could, took a picture and didn't see the sloppy edges until I uploaded the photo.

But seriously, I put in half as much effort and it cleans great.  I will warn you though, when you first start to wipe the window it looks like it's going to smear but just keep wiping until all the cleaner is off.

I'm not exaggerating, this glass cleaner truly is amazing.  The first time I used it the sun was blinding and I had to run away like a vampire..... a real vampire, not the fruity sparkly kind.

Windex Powerized Formula Glass Cleaner w/Ammonia-D, 1 qt. Capped (Google Affiliate Ad)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cooking Spray

I never put much thought into cooking spray.  It's just one of those things that is always around, I automatically us it, then automatically replace it.

When I saw this tutorial for making your own
I thought "wow, I love how smart other people are and I get to benefit from it."

So I followed the instructions
  • 1 part olive oil (or your choice of oil)
  • 4-5 parts water
  • 1 misting spray bottle
  1. Sterilize your spray bottle in boiling water.
  2. Place oil and water into spray bottle.
  3. Shake well before use.
  4. Store in the fridge for no longer than a week or so.
So, I'm a little lazy and didn't sterilize my spray bottle. But it had just come out of the dishwasher, so lets pretend that is good enough.

I decided to do 1 part oil and 5 parts water..... wait what??!?!  5 parts water?  That seems like a lot of water to spray on a hot pan.  I took cooking class in high school, I know what happens when you throw water on a hot pan.

But heck, this recipe is on the internet and the internet NEVER lies *insert sarcasm* so I'm going for it.

So I mixed my oil and water.... wait what?  Oil and water don't mix. In fact they like to separate faster then Kardashian and Humphries.  I guess I'll just try to shake it really good then spray as fast as I can.

So here is my homemade cooking spray all ready to go.  As I was busy putting this together I realized that it was dinner time and I had nothing planned.  Breakfast for dinner it is!  I made eggs and pancakes. A perfect meal to test this new product on. 

If you remember, I had two concerns. The amount of water being used and  that oil and water don't stay mixed. 

Lets address the first one.  These pictures don't do justice to the amount of smoke that came off the griddle, and I'm pretty lucky I didn't get burned with all the water popping around. So yes, it smoked like I thought it would.  Water doesn't appreciate being thrown onto something hot.

Now issue number two. Yep, water and oil really don't like each other.  Have you ever sprayed something while trying to shake it at the same time?  It makes a nice mess.

Lucky for me I didn't have to try the shake and spray method for very long because after about 5 sprays my bottle got clogged. And I mean clogged.  The bottle got so clogged with the oil that I couldn't even move the trigger.  That's kind of ironic to me, isn't oil suppose to lubricate things and not clog them?

The verdict: You know that old show Press Your Luck?  When someone hit a whammie there was this awesome "wha wha wha" noise.  Lets just insert that noise here, and let this picture speak for itself.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Air Freshener

I have an old plug in air freshener that has been sitting in the closet collecting dust for way to long.  It's not that I don't want to use it, I just always forget to buy the replacements.
I came across this website
about how to refill your air freshener using essential oils.  AWESOME!!! Now I don't have to go to the store and once again come home annoyed that I forgot the plug in refill. Now I can just come home annoyed that once again those marketing genuineness got me and I bought something I didn't need.

The instructions sounded very easy
pull the wick out
clean out the bulb
pour in the oil, filling the bulb about 1/3
fill the rest of the bulb with water
put the wick back in
Plug in and enjoy

I decided to try two different oils.  I knew I was going to spend a full day in the office so I thought the citrus twist would be a great one to help keep me awake and the office is right by the entry way so as a bonus, the entry way will smell great if anyone comes.

Once the citrus was done, my plan was to wash it out and refill it with lavender for my room to hopefully bring on a peaceful nights rest.  

For both oils I decided to not fill the bulb all the way up but I still did 1 part of oil to 2 parts of water. 

 I plugged in the citrus scent in the office and waited for the magic to happen....
and waited....
then waited....
more waiting....
finally after 9 hours of being plugged in, I could finally smell it while sitting at the computer.  Eventually the whole room smelled great, but for some reason the scent refused to leave the room.

It's not like it had to travel far, it's right by the door next to the entry way for heavens sake, but apparently there was some invisible air bully that kept beating up the citrus scent when it tried to make it's way out of the office.

After the citrus scent was done, it was time to move onto the Lavender.  I pulled the wick out, rinsed the bulb, filled the bulb with oil and water and......    hmmmmmm........ we have a problem here.  Apparently the wick did not like being yanked out of it's home again, and it fell apart. 
 But don't worry, after some cursing and spilling some oil I got that little sucker back in the bulb.  HA HA! Take that you little piece of fabric!

After leaving the Lavender scent in for MANY hours, I still couldn't smell anything

I had to get thiiiiiiis close in order to enjoy the soothing aromas of the lavender.  How was this going to help me sleep if I couldn't smell it from my bed?

Maybe I can sleep by the air freshener!?!?!

However, after about 5 minutes I remembered that the ground is hard and my bed is soft.  Hmmmmm so how can I enjoy the smell of the lavender AND enjoy the comforts of my bed....

Tie the plug in to my head?

 The Verdict: In my opinion it's not worth the money.  I think you would have to use a lot of oil in order to smell it in a bigger room. Even though the citrus finally filled the office my husband says he couldn't smell it at all.  Plus the wick fell apart.  Maybe other plug in air fresheners would work better, but not the kind I used. I think I'll pass and move onto another method.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DIY Lotion

I'm not a big lotion person, probably because I live in the mid-west with lots of humidity so I don't need it that often. I do use it enough though that I decided to try a home made version.

I found this recipe

1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. beeswax
20 drops essential oil

and decided to go for it.  I found the beeswax at Micheal's for a reasonable price and got to work.

First of all, I made the mistake of buying the beeswax in a bar and not little granules. I spent an insane about of time trying to cut up the thing, then even more time trying to pick up all the blasted little pieces that covered the kitchen due to the Texas chainsaw moment I had when I got frustrated with the thing.

After finally getting all the ingredients together I started the melting process. Then waited, and waited, aaaaaand waited.  FINALLY. It was all done and ready to cool.  It cooled off and instead of having a nice creamy lotion, I had a chunky blob. 

The Verdict: No thank you. This is way to frustrating and time consuming, plus extremely greasy.  Check out the shine on my hand. Whenever I use it I can't touch anything for about 30 min. I would say that it could be used a good overnight cream for deep conditioning for the skin, but it doesn't breath.  I never knew this would be an issue with lotion, but I feel like it clogs my pores and my skin can't breath.  However, I made this lotion about a year ago and it still looks the same so it keeps very well.  

Ice Cream Cake

Is there anything better then an ice cream cake?  Seriously, combing two of the greatest desserts was genius. Good things should be combined, except peanut butter and and jelly in the same jar, those need to stay separate.

Ice cream cakes can get a little pricey though, so for my sons birthday my mom told me about a DIY ice cream cake with just ice cream sandwiches and whip cream.  If your thinking "that isn't a cake and that sounds like it would taste cheap," then you had the same thought process as me. But I trust her judgement so I went with it.

All we did was open enough ice cream sandwiches (we got the cheap store brand kind) to cover the bottom of a cookie sheet.  It took about 20 sandwiches.  Then we spread whip cream over it and put it back into the freezer until it was time to serve. That's it. 

The Verdict: Can I say YUMMY!  I really was surprised at how good this tasted.  I ate way to much, then kept sneaking off to the freezer to eat the left overs.  Hello extra lbs.

Even though it was frozen, it was really easy to cut into squares. The next time I make this I want to add some sort of extract to the whip cream to have different flavors and maybe sprinkle something on top. This is a keeper

All Purpose Cleaner

I have what is known as the Myers nose.  Basically, this means I have inherited an acute sense of smell comparable to a dog.  I like to think of myself as Toucan Sam, I just follow my nose.

While you may think this trait is fantastic because I can lead you to any BBQ in town or accurately point out a smelly offender in an elevator, this trait has actually been a curse.  Smells overpower me and can quickly lead to headaches.  The worse offender is cleaning supplies.

When cleaning my home I use to wear masks to try and save myself from the stench of chemicals but I usually ended up with a headache anyways.  I thought of trying DIY cleaning products but was a little hesitant because I wasn't sure if they would clean as well as the hardcore chemicals I was currently using.  A few months ago I decided to give it a try.

After some searching I decided to try the all purpose cleaner I found on this website

All-Purpose Cleaner
- 3 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 Teaspoon washing soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon castile soap
- 2 Cups hot water

The Castile soap stumped me.  I had never heard of it.  Fortunately it was very easy to find at Target in the natural product section.

After 4 months of use: This was very easy and quick to make and smells great.  No more headaches for me.  The washing soda tends to settle at the bottom but a quick shake fixes that right up.

So far I am really impressed with this product.  It cleans everything, even that gunky stuff that forms around a contact lens and turns into cement. Beware of mirrors though.  This bad boy will smear mirrors with a vengeance.

 I have been using this on everything, even toilets, and so far no one has been sick.  Although, I'm still a bit skeptical about how well it is cleaning. This cleaner is going to have to prove itself through the flu season before I decide if it's a permanent keeper.


Welcome to The DIY Guinea Pig.  I love to try out DIY things but I wish that I could read about the results that other have when they try DIY's.  How many times have you tried a DIY and thought "Wow, that was a waste of time and money!"  With this blog, I hope to save you that time and money by spending it on myself.  Feel free to look around and give any suggestions you may have.