The Easiest and Cheapest DIY Car Air Freshener You Will Ever Make

One of my new favorite places here in Wisconsin is the recycling center, or, as we have dubbed it, the dump.

Less than a 1/4 mile from our house is the center where the entire township brings their trash, recyclables, and things they no longer need or want.

It is this last category of items that makes the dump so exciting.  The couple that manages it sets aside what they deem usable and allow people to grab items that others have discarded.  Literally, one man’s trash becomes another man’s treasure at this place.

I have come home with something almost every week from the dump, ranging from toys, lamps, furniture, and the least of all this:

coffee filters.

 

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The woman managing the dump suggested I put these in the bottom of my potted plants to keep soil from leaking out.  Although this is a fabulous idea, I had another thing in mind for these babies.

 

I poured in 1/2 cup baking soda.  Then I added 30 drops of essential oils.  IMG_0756

I made two air fresheners:  for the van I mostly drive I used a stress relief blend that my sister sent me; it has a few citrus oils and ylang ylang, and it is lovely.  For my husband’s commuter car, I made the manliest blend I could think of:  10 drops each frankincense, cedarwood, and pine needle.

I smooshed the baking soda and essential oils around a bit and tied these off with some twine.  IMG_0760

This was the quickest, easiest DIY project I think I’ve ever done!

(And it helps to keep our cars fresh!)

For Those of Us Who Don’t Have Self-Cleaning Ovens..

A few nights ago, Beard and I made some homemade pizza.  It came out pretty tasty, but the baking process was less than pleasant.  Since we moved into our house, I’ve never cleaned the oven.  I’m not sure if the people who lived here before us cleaned the oven either because they weren’t here very long.  So I can safely assume that the reason our oven smoked and stank like death was because it hadn’t been cleaned in over two years.  Until this morning, that is.

For this job I rounded up my favorite cleaning products:  baking soda and distilled vinegar.  Consequently these two ingredients also make a nifty “volcano”. 😉

(I’m also very glad I threw the washcloth in this picture, because I was able to take a shot of that after cleaning.)

Here is what my oven looked like before I started:

Lovely, isn’t it?  There was also a chunk of charred stuff on the bottom that I couldn’t photograph properly, but I’m pretty sure that is what was causing my smoking, smelly mess.

To get started, I poured some straight vinegar in the spray bottle and sprayed the whole oven generously.  Then I grabbed a mug and sprinkled my baking soda over as much of the oven as I could.  Again, this was a generous sprinkling.  The baking soda and vinegar fizzled and made crazy bubbles, so I left it for about a half an hour to work it’s magic.

This is how it looked after that half hour:

The fizzing settled down, and the vinegar was able to loosen up some of the grimey stuff in my oven.

I filled a clean bucket part way with hot water and used my washcloth to scrub out as much nastiness as I could.  The baking soda really helped to scrape off some of the baked on stuff without scratching the surface of my oven.

This was my finished product:

Admittedly this is not perfectly clean, but in comparison to what it looked like before, this is beautiful!

But the easiest way for me to tell how much gunk I got out of my oven:

And that was my third bucket of water for this job!

 

 

A British Treat for an Anglophile

First of all, let me just say that this has been quite the busy week around here.  Bitsy Girl turned one year old last week, and Beard and I had family staying in the house and visiting for several days.  Plus we had a cookout birthday party for the little Bits.  It’s not that I don’t love blogging, but I couldn’t really fit it in last week.

And boy am I glad to be back.

🙂

This weekend is a baby shower for my sister-in-law, and she wanted an afternoon tea party.  As a fellow anglophile (one who loves English things) I thought I would try one of the most traditional tea time treats:

Scones and Clotted Cream

I, of course, had to look up recipes for both, because no matter how many scones I have consumed in my relatively short lifetime (and it’s a lot) I can’t figure out exactly what it would take to make their flaky, fluffy, delicious texture.

So I did find a scone recipe here.

I followed this recipe to the letter, making sure I didn’t mess up.  If I knew anything it was that scones are like biscuits, and any good southerner knows that missing a step could really mess up your biscuits.

Like biscuits, these scones were made in just a few basic steps:

Put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and either sift them or mix them together.  I included the sugar with the dry ingredients because the recipe I used wasn’t too clear.  My other alternative would have been to cream the butter and the sugar, but that doesn’t yield the flaky texture I was looking for.

I used cold butter and cut it into about 1″ chunks and mixed it into the dry ingredients with my fingers until the mixture became crumbly.

I beat the eggs, then mixed in the milk, as the recipe called for, then added it to the mixture and stirred it in.  I have no picture of this, and I apologize for that.  I didn’t end up using the entire amount of milk and egg mixture to make a dough; I used closer to 3/4 of it, then saved some for glazing.

As with biscuits, once the dough came together, I kneaded it a few times on a floured surface, then rolled it to about 2″.  I used a wine glass to cut out my scones and placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

**(I may grease the cookie sheets a little bit the next time I do this.  A few of the scones stuck.)

The scones baked for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, and they came out looking this lovely:

Since these are for a party I haven’t tasted them yet, but I will let you know how they taste on Saturday. 🙂

Look for my attempt at clotted cream later this week.

Natural Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

I am a closet germ-a-phobe.  On the outside I tell people that I don’t mind my daughter chewing on the dog’s toys because it will build her immune system, and I don’t have a problem eating a cracker that has dropped on the floor (within time constraints, of course).  That is why yesterday I had a bit of a panic attack when I realized I was out of my Scrub-oxy-super-bleach-bathroom-cleaner-of-doom.  This stuff could sanitize a truck stop bathroom floor so well you’d eat off of it.  (Maybe.)

But it was gone.  I tried the spray handle about 5,000,000 times in hopes of getting every last ounce.  I looked inside to see if I could dilute it with a little water, but alas.  It was gone.

How then, do I sanitize my bathroom (the grossest of all gross places in my home)?  I looked up several online recipes for homemade bathroom cleaners; thank God for the internet.  I found a ton of recipes, but most of them had at least one ingredient that I didn’t have on hand, so I had to study them to determine what really these recipes were trying to accomplish, then make my own recipe.

I determined a good bathroom cleaner recipe requires the following:

Some kind of scrubbing/grainy substance – This is usually baking soda or Borax.  The main purpose of this ingredient is to physically scrub soap scum, etc. off your sink, toilet, tub, and tile.  Both ingredients have an odor-eating element to them, which makes the great for the bathroom.

Some liquid soap – This is either Castille soap or dish detergent.  These have antibacterial properties and just make surfaces look clean.

An antibacterial/santization agent – This can be anything from lemon juice to vinegar to tea tree oil.  Any of these will kill the tiny living creatures the lurk about your bathroom.  Sorry to gross you out, but us admitting they are there is half the battle in getting rid of them.

Water – Self explanatory.  Water just adds a little bit more liquid to make your cleaner the right consistency.

Scent (optional) – You can use an essential oil to give your bathroom cleaner a specific scent.  If you are using lemon juice or tea tree oil for your sanitization agent, your cleaner may already have a pleasant smell to you.  Vinegar, on the other hand, is not a smell everyone loves, and you may want to mask it with something more like orange or lavender essential oil.

 

So the cleaner I made yesterday was:

1 cup baking soda

1 tbsp dish detergent

8 drops tea tree oil

3/4 cup water

15 drops lavender oil

I put all the ingredients except the oils in a Mason jar, closed the lid, and shook very well.  After the ingredients were well mixed, I add the oils and shook again.  I transfer my cleaner to a spray bottle first, but because of the baking soda, this cleaner didn’t spray very well.  It’s more of a paste.  So I used a squirt bottle instead.  Perfect!

Anyone made their own cleaning products before?  Let me know what you think of this breakdown.