Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Going 'poo Free

Back in January I tested some homemade deodorant. When I clicked on the Pin to get more information about making the deodorant I was taken to a website about going shampoo free.  The website has 3 main reasons for going 'poo free and I was intrigued by them.  So eventually I tried it out.

Shampoo Free
You Will Need:
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Water

Mix ingredients together and pour into a squeeze bottle. In the shower, soak your hair with water, then squeeze a bit of the baking soda mixture on your scalp, starting at the crown. Massage it in as you go, squeezing a bit more here and there, concentrating mostly on the scalp. You can include your hair as well, but since most of the oils originate from the scalp itself, the hair will naturally get cleaned once the scalp is clarified. After a few minutes, rinse it out. Those with curly or thicker hair might need a bit more baking soda, and those with thin or fine hair might need less. Experiment, and see what works for you.

The original poster talks about how she uses apple cider vinegar as a conditioner.  Wanting to keep my hair on my head, I refused to do this and decided to continue using my regular conditioner.

She also says that their could be a transition period where your hair produces excess oil.  This transition period could last a few weeks or a few months.

After reading all this information here was my plan;
-even though my hair is really thick, I was going to stick with the original recipe
-since I refuse to use the apple cider vinegar, I would continue to use my regular conditioner but try to use the bare minimum
-I wanted to at least try it through the transition period so I could see how well it worked once my hair got use it.

I do have to confess, I cheated the first week.  I had a hair appointment I had forgotten about so I washed my hair with regular shampoo the day before.  I didn't want to get this reaction from the beautician

The Verdict: I only made it 2 1/2 weeks until I couldn't stand it anymore and gave up.
Oh how I hated it!  Let me count the ways;
1) It didn't get all my products out of my hair.  The original poster said that she no longer needs any hair products but if I don't use some sort of frizz control spray, I will look like this
 2) My roots felt pretty clean, and they never did get extra oily but the rest of my hair felt dirty.  It felt like I had grabbed a hand full of sand, rubbed it all over my hair and went on with my day

3) Because it was basically water, it was not easy trying to massage it into my scalp, especially around the base of my neck.  I would try to flip my head over so gravity would help but then the baking soda water would run up my nose or into my eyes.

4) Even with using regular conditioner my hair started to dry out and break very easily, especially when blow drying it.

5) I got some awesome static cling.

Maybe this was all part of the transition period and I gave up to soon, but I just couldn't endure one more day of dirty gnarled hair sticking to my face.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Deep Clean Your Linoleum

I know some people prefer hardwood floors or tile, but I'm actually a big fan of linoleum.  It's durable, low maintenance and easy to clean.  However, some types of linoleum like to capture dirt and hold it hostage in it's little grooves and it becomes impossible to clean it out with just regular mopping.

I use to use a Mr. Clean Eraser to scrub the dirt out of the deep grooves and it worked just fine.  The problem was, I would go through several of them and the price could add up.  So I wanted to come up with a cheaper different method. 

Linoleum Deep Cleaner
You Will Need:
Baking Soda
Hydrogen Peroxide 
Scrub brush (stiff enough to scrub, but not stiff enough to do damage)

Combine baking soda and hydrogen peroxide until you get a paste (I like it to be thinner but you may prefer a thicker paste).  Scrub the mixture into the linoleum then use a wet cloth to wipe away the mixture and dirt.  Ta-daa

The Verdict: It does take some scrubbing and it can be time consuming depending on how big your area is, but it works great and the floor always looks fantastic afterwords. 

Depending on the foot traffic and the type of linoleum you have, you might be able to get away with 6-12 months between scrubbings.  Not a bad trade off in my opinion. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Castile Soap Laundry Detergent

According to this site, you should never combine Castile Soap and vinegar because "They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. So, instead of getting the best of both, you’ll be getting the worst of something entirely new."

 When I saw a claim about how a laundry soap with Castile soap and vinegar was a great laundry detergent I was very skeptical, but had to try for myself.

#10 Powdered
You Will Need:
1 cup Vinegar (white)
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup liquid castile soap

Mix well and store in sealed container. I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first). The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring. There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy when first adding). I used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.

I used peppermint Castile soap and mixed everything together. I stirred for about 10 minutes while the mixture went from a cottage cheese texture to a stiff powdery texture.

 I put it into a new container, sealed it tight and didn't use it until the next day. 

The Verdict: if you read the original directions, the person says, "There may be some hard lumps." What they call hard lumps, I call cement.  The mixture was rock solid.  I had to get a knife and small hammer to break off pieces to put in my washer.

 My clothes came out clean but I had to use about a cups worth (I say about because it was hard to measure the chunks)

So even though it worked, if you have to use a hammer with your laundry soap, it's not worth it. Time to try another one.

Monday, July 22, 2013

DIY Sidewalk Chalk

I don't know about your kids, but mine LOVE sidewalk chalk.  There is just something really exciting about being able to draw a 10 ft building. For the first 2 weeks of summer our back patio was constantly covered with all sorts of fun drawings. 

Sidewalk chalk isn't that expensive, but when your going through a pack a day (yes, I'm exaggerating) then it can add up so I wanted to try and make my own

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk
You Will Need:
Plaster of Paris
Tempera Paint
Warm Water
Plastic Cup
Plastic knife
Empty toilet paper/ paper towel tubes
Wax Paper

 Prepare your tubes by cutting down the middle and line the inside with the wax paper.  Roll the tube back up to the size you want it to be and tape close.  Cover one end with wax paper so your mixture doesn't come out. Mix 1 cup of Plaster of Paris with 3/4 cup warm water, then added a couple squirts of tempera paint and stir. Pour mixture into your prepared rolls and let dry for several hours.
Note: don’t add too much paint, it will change the consistency of the chalk, and will crumble easy. A couple of squirts, or no more than 2 teaspoons will work fine.
I had no idea what Plaster of Paris was, but I found it in the craft section of Walmart.

Instead of wax paper, I used Saran Wrap Press N Seal.  It worked well and I didn't have to worry about it shifting around when it was time to pour the mixture in.

As I started to mix everything together I realized I was in trouble.  The mixture was hardening VERY quickly.  By the time everything was mixed I had a pretty thick putty that was hard to get into the tubes.
  It took about 5 hours for it to be completely dry and the tubes pealed away very easily

 The Verdict: Lets do a pro and con list for this one shall we?
It worked

That sums up the pro list

-It was very messy.  The Plaster of Paris got all over the place, especially when I was frantically trying to get the mixture into the tubes before it got to hard. 
-It took 30 minutes of work, then another 15 to scrub everything
-It was more expensive.  For 1 piece of homemade chalk it cost .37.  For walmart chalk it cost .12
-The color didn't last. By the end of the day all of the kids drawings were bleached to white.

Unless you want a huge mess, I would skip this one and stick to the store bought.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pepe Le Pew

My dog was in the backyard when very suddenly he started barking madly. I went outside, called for him and saw him crawl out from under the shed.  Not a good sign.  I walked towards him and was punched in the face by skunk odor. A really bad sign.  I bent over, smelled my dogs head and for the first time in my life was overwhelmingly grateful for a head cold.  I don't even want to know how bad the smell would have been with out a stuffy nose. 

At this point I'm sure your thinking "tomato juice"  But believe it or not, that method doesn't work so well. How do I know this you ask?

Meet Butch, my pet skunk. I was his mamma for a few months and he was very sweet to me, but one day the dog jumped at him and the little guy didn't have very good aim so my arm became the victim instead of the dog. 

 Notice my "truck stop" shirt? I was pretty glamorous back then.

Knowing tomato juice doesn't work very well and that dog fur is different from human skin I headed to the Internet. Several websites said using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide was the best combo

De Skunk a Dog
You Will Need:
Plastic container
1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tsp of liquid soap
disposable gloves to protect your hands from the smell
old clothes to wear in case the scent gets on you

Mix the peroxide, soda and soap then immediately apply it to DRY fur.  Skunk goo is oil based, so if you get your dog wet you will only succeed in making the dog more smelly. Rub the solution into your dogs fur until the fur is wet. Allow the solution to sit on your dog for 5 minutes.  Rinse your dog and repeat if necessary. 

I tied my dog to the back porch then I slathered the mixture all over him, focusing on his head.  He's 40lbs and this mixture was enough to cover everything but his belly.  As we were waiting the 5 minutes I realized that I was in the middle of a DIY and I grabbed my camera. 

The Verdict: there was still a slight smell on  him but by the time he was dry it was gone.  This was easy and effective and and it didn't seem to irritate my dogs skin at all.

 You think I would have been really annoyed at this, but actually I was grateful, grateful that it was the dog and not one of my kids that found the skunk. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Whiten Those Nails

About 2 months ago I spent half a day in the front yard working on the landscape. A majority of the work I did was digging up two dead bushes and replanting new ones.  By the time I was done my "I am woman, hear me roar" mantra had turned into "I am out of shape, hear me moan." Sean T would be disappointed in me

Even after I scrubbed off several layers of dirt and skin, my fingernails were still looking pretty gross.  Over the years I've heard of a few different ways to get your fingernails white so I chose two of those and tried them out.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Nail Whitener
You Will Need:
Baking soda
Hydrogen peroxide

Mix the two together until you have a thick paste.  Dip your nails into the mixture and let them soak for 10 minutes.  Rinse

 I put my left hand into the bowl and wiggled my fingers around until my nails were completely covered in the mixture.  Then I kicked back and enjoyed a frustrating game of Candy Crush

 The Verdict: It worked great.  My thumb was still a bit dark but I don't think the mixture had gotten to the inside of the nail.  The down side to this was the pain from all the fresh cuts and scratches I had from working in the yard.  The mixture found it's way to each tiny wound and was not sympathetic. 

Lemon Juice Nail Whitener
You Will Need:
Lemon juice

Place your fingers in a bowl.  Pour in enough lemon juice to cover your finger nails.  Soak them for 10 minutes then rinse. 

I got my right hand situated in the lemon juice then went back to Candy Crush, determined to finish the level I was stuck on. 

The Verdict: For some reason my right hand had no little cuts, so this soak was much more enjoyable, but it didn't work well.  The stains were lighter, but still pretty noticeable. 

The Overall Verdict: Three cheers for baking soda and hydrogen peroxide!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cocoa Tanner

Recently a friend of mine sent me a Pin in Pinterest about using cocoa powder to tan your skin.  Intrigued, I clicked on the pin only to be taken to a picture that had no additional information ..... intrigue turned to doubt.

When a pin takes you right to a picture then there is a good chance it won't work, but there is only one way to find out.

Cocoa Tanner

This is the information taken right from the pin; 
What to do:- 1-Get some cocoa powder 2tbps depending in how tan you want to be. (I used 2) 2-any moisturizer you have 3-a empty bottle 4-cotton buds, or anything that can help you apply the cream 5-mix it all together you should end up with a brown mix. Don't worry, it won't be that dark on your skin. Good for super light girls! Interesting

Interesting indeed original pinner. 

I grabbed the the cocoa powder and the only lotion I currently have and started to mix the two together.
Am I the only one who can no longer see or hear the words Nestle Toll House without hearing Phoebe Buffay say "Nestle Toulouse?"

 It didn't say how much moisturizer to use, so I just kept squirting some in until I had a good creamy mixture. Then using the cotton ball, I spread it all over my legs doing the best I could to get it even.

The Verdict:  NAILED IT!!!!!

Hmmmm, not quite as glamorous as the original picture.  Clearly my mixture was a lot thicker then it needed to be. I decided to add more lotion to the mixture until I had the consistency of lotion.  Apparently cocoa is a moisture killer because I ended up using 1/3 of the bottle of lotion.  Just for good measure, I re-shaved my legs and buffed them with my body scrub.  After all that prep I was ready to try again....

 Fortunately, it washed right off. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Battle Of The Headlight Cleaners

About 2 months ago a comment was left on my Headlight Cleaner post about using baking soda and water to clean a headlight.  I love how easily and effective using toothpaste is but naturally I wanted to see if baking soda and water was better.

Baking Soda Headlight Cleaner
You Will Need:
Baking soda

Mix baking soda and water together until you get a thick paste.  Using a damp rag, rub the mixture all over your headlight until all the dirt and gunk is off. Wipe the headlight clean with a wet rag.

Both headlights on my husbands car were looking pretty grungy and in serious need of a make over. 

I scrubbed baking soda all over one headlight.....

 Then rubbed toothpaste all over the other one.

The Verdict: Both headlights looked equally clean and the baking soda was just as easy to use as the toothpaste was.  However, the headlight with the baking soda stayed cleaner longer. The headlight with the toothpaste started to look foggy again in just about 2 days while the headlight with the baking soda stayed clean for a week. 

Baking Soda:1; Toothpaste:0

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4th Of July Drinks

Have you seen those 4th of July drinks on Pinterest?  The red, white and blue ones?  I've seen so many different photos of them that I didn't doubt that it actually worked, what I wanted to know was how it tasted.

4th of July Drink
You Will Need:
Cranberry Juice
Blue Frost Gatorade
Diet 7-Up

Fill your glass completely full with ice.  Pour in Cranberry Juice.  Pour in the Blue Gatorade Frost. Make sure to pour gently onto the ice so that it does not mix with the red juice. Pour in the Diet 7up, also pour onto an ice cube to prevent them from mixing.

First of all, the vast amount of ice is key.  No matter how carefully you pour the drink in, if you don't have ice you get this.

So I grabbed my a couple of glasses and filled them both with ice.  With all that ice I realized things might get interesting when I tried to drink it, so I shoved a straw into one. 

Very slowly I started to pour.  The Gatorade did mix with the cranberry juice a little bit but not enough to change the color. 

 The Verdict: I didn't want to attempt a huge spill, so I went for the drink with the straw.  I took a sip and not surprisingly all I tasted was cranberry juice.  I pulled the straw higher and sure enough I could only taste the Gatorade.  Those liquids were pretty determined to stay separated.  I decided to put a stop to all that segregation and gave my drink a good stir.
 I wasn't a fan.  I thought it tasted like watered down cranberry juice.  My husband thought it was great and finished his and mine.

I have only tried this one combination, but looking at other sites it looks like this drink is very customizable.  You can choose any drink for the red, blue and white. It's the sugar content that matters.  The drink with the most sugar needs to be on the bottom while a sugar free drink will sit on the top.  So if you plan on making this then you might want to attempt a few combinations until you find the one that your taste buds prefer.