3 Homemade Stain Removers You Can Make

3 Simple Homemade Stain Removers You Can Make

With kids you will have stains. It is a given. No sooner do you give birth than you find your nice shirts with stains on them. The amount of stain remover I went through when my children were young was insane, and very costly. Had I know about these 3 Simple Homemade Stain Removers back then, I could have saved my family a lot of money and likely had stains coming out of my clothing a lot better and easier.

Each of these recipes contains different ingredients that may already be in your pantry. I’ve used all of them at one point or another and believe they all work equally well. The biggest thing you have to determine is if you want to go completely natural or if you want to have a more simple and inexpensive version of what you buy in stores. Regardless of your preference, you should easily be able to whip up one of these stain removers in a few minutes to suit your families needs.

3 Simple Homemade Stain Removers

THE BASIC – this one is the least expensive. You can usually pick up 9 oz (just over a cup) of Dawn for just $0.99 at the by shopping the drug store deals and hydrogen peroxide is equally cheap!)

  • 1 Cup Original Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
  • 1 Cup Hydrogen Peroxide
  1. Mix together in spray bottle and spritz onto stain. Let soak for at least 15 minutes prior to wash.

THE NATURAL – if you want a more natural stain remover, this is the one for you. Liquid Castille soap and Vegetable Glycerin used to be hard to find, but now I see it in the natural aisles at my local grocery store and even at Target (although the best prices continue to be on Amazon)

  1. Mix together in spray bottle. May add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent. Spray on before washing.

THE HEAVY DUTY – this is for those heavy duty stains. Use as needed, but remember to never use bleach on loads that have been treated with this stain remover. Bleach and ammonia do not mix safely.

  • 1 Cup Original Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
  • 1 Cup Ammonia
  • 1/3 Cup Baking Soda
  • 3 Cups Water
  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in spray bottle or container out of reach of children.
  2. Use as needed, but remember to never use bleach on loads that have been treated with this stain remover. Bleach and ammonia do not mix safely.

Whether you have simple stains from a spot of food landing on your shirt or a heavy duty pasta sauce or grass stain you have multiple choices here in these 3 simple homemade stain removers that will allow you to clean up anything you need to from your clothing.

Have you ever made your own homemade stain remover?

How To Prepare Your Child For Middle School

How To Prepare Your Child For Middle School

Middle school is a huge year for your child and you should allow it to be a big deal. They are moving on to a brand new school, meeting new people and teachers and growing up before your very eyes. This is a ton of pressure on a parent, but it is doubly so on your kid. There are some things you can do, however, to keep you both from freaking out. This process can actually be rather exciting and calm if you let it be.

Here are ten tips to save you both:

Teach them the value of timeliness

Middle school will literally be a nightmare if your kid is constantly late for class. If your kid drags their feet at home, they likely do the same thing at home. Sit them down and set expectations for being on time. Never waver from the consequences when they test you….they will test you.

Teach them to stay organized

Lockers, book bags, changing classes and after school activities are going to send your child into a whole new world of confusion if you don’t work with them on some basic organizational skills. Teach them about the whole “place for everything” and make sure they have the supplies needed to keep things in order. When you see them getting disorganized, reel them in and make them fix it on the spot. Threaten an during-school locker inspection from mom or dad if they won’t comply.

Show them the way

Getting from point A to point B is so important and new for middle schoolers. It is a large source of the stress that middle schoolers feel during that first year. An easy way to solve this is to take them to the school during the summer and arrange a tour. Take them around and show them where to find everything. If you need to do it more than once to boost their confidence, so be it. Show them where to go and take away that unnecessary problem.

Teach them to read quicker

Reading is something they should be quite proficient at by now and if they are not, this should take precedence over everything else. Virtually everything they do from here on in will require reading skills. If your kid is a good reader already, spend some time teaching them to quickly read and peruse information. Learning to quickly go through something and pull out the main idea is vitally important at this point.

Introduce them heavily to social studies

Social studies and learning about the world around us is an interesting change during middle school. Some of the concepts are downright ugly but they are starting to be addressed at this point in school. This might include war, racism and other uncomfortable subjects. Talk to your kid about these important things. Who do you want to be the voice of these subjects in your kid’s life? Their teacher’s voice or yours?

Peer pressure is upon you

This is when peer pressure really takes center stage in your kid’s life. Take the time to sit down and have a real heart to heart with your kid. Initially you will get the eye rolling, pre-teen indifference on the subject. If you hang in there with the conversation, however, you will get down to the nitty gritty. More importantly, when your kid experiences their first episode of peer pressure, it is your advice they will hear speaking into their ears. Give them a chance to win and choose the right options.

The dreaded math word problems

Precious few people actually enjoy this form of slow torture and the odds of your kid being one of them will probably not be very good, but you can prepare them to at least deal with them. Word problems are introduced to a large degree in middle school and they do present a wonderful learning opportunity. Have your kids work on these regularly and they will have a huge leg up on the rest of their classmates when the teacher whips one out.

Talk about science and what is coming

This is the best time for science because your little ones will get to head to the lab. It is time for them to start mixing explosive liquids and dissecting frogs and such. While this is fun, it is also somewhat dangerous….well, the explosive parts anyway. Spend time explaining the dangers of science with your kids if only to give them a healthy respect when it is placed before them.

Prepare for the fast paced atmosphere

Kids are always a bit shocked by middle school speed. The changing classes and quick locker shifts are something that they need to get used to. Try to simulate that fast pace at home sometimes. Show them what is coming and talk to them about what they fear. Your kids are going to do just fine, but why not help them where you can? Speed up their lives just for giggles and see how they respond!

Set the study standard right away

Middle school is where study habits will become absolutely necessary. There is no way your kid will make it through middle school without having some type of schedule in place and your expectations will be set early on. Make it perfectly clear what is expected each day and then follow through. If you have them on a schedule from day one, they will eventually adapt to it and make it their habit. This will be invaluable when they get to high school and beyond.

An Open Letter To Those Suffering From Depression

depression-is-a-lying-bastard

This is to every person with depression who has considered suicide because they think that everyone would be better off without them…or that they are just a “burden” to others.

I admit – I have never had to battle  serious depression (aside from some Post-Partum) and I understand that depression can be a debilitating illness. This letter is written from the perspective of those left behind. Your pain has ended. Everyone else’s pain has just begun!

Dear friend,

Hey – you! Stop thinking that I or anyone will be better off without you because believe me when I say “I won’t be”. I need you in my life, with all of your flaws. Other people need you in their life. There is nothing that you have done that can’t be fixed. The consequences may suck, but it can be fixed!

Depression is one huge lying sack of crap. Remember that.

Depression can make you think that there is no hope.

It lies

Depression can make you think that the world will be better off without you

It lies.

Your daughter will always be sad that she has to find someone else to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. You may not have been perfect, but you were her Daddy.

Your sons, no matter how “strong” you think they are, will be reduced to a blubbering mess several years later thinking about why you weren’t there for a major event in their life.

Your friends and family will forever question if there was something that they could do to help you, but didn’t.

Your seat will be empty at holiday dinners, and it will be noticed and there will be sadness, even several years later.

If your wife/children/friend was the one to find you, that will forever be burned in to their mind as their last image of you. Not the good times..the laughter..the fun times…just seeing your dead lifeless body.

And we don’t feel relief when you are gone. We feel sadness at first. Deep and uncontrollable sadness. Heaving sobs of sadness. No matter what you did in your life or how much you think that you screwed up, I assure you that nobody in your family is going to say “I am glad that he is gone!”

Because depression lies like that lying sack of shit that it is.

And then the sadness turns to anger. And we are angry at you.

Angry for not keeping up the fight. Angry for giving up. Angry because we may not quite understand your illness, but understand enough to know that help was there if you wanted it enough and were willing to work on it (and had good insurance, but that is another issue). Angry that you honestly thought so little of our love for you that you thought that we would be better off without you.

Right or wrong, that is how we feel.

And while we may be comforted that you are finally at peace, for some of us, the Hell is just beginning.

Your pain has ended – we get to spend the next 20 – 50 years mourning you….thinking of you..wondering what might have been if you would have just realized how much you were loved. Every wedding, every family event…we say “Oh – He would have loved to be here for this!”

I lost a dear relative and friend just over 3 years ago to a depression-related suicide.  I have lost several friends over the years to the same horrible lying sack of shit disease.

My life is NOT better without them. I loved them.  I still miss them, “warts and all”.  And in one case, I am pissed off that his boys have to spend the rest of their lives without him. Because he really was an awesome dad!

If you are thinking of suicide and think that people will be better off without you…think again.

And help is out there for you. Please take it!

Because you are too important. You are too loved. You are YOU!

How to Prepare Your Child For 4th or 5th Grade

Prepare Your Child For 4th or 5th Grade

Preparing for any back to school school year is tough but the fourth and fifth grades are particularly so. These grades are tough for a number of reasons. One reason why they can be difficult is because they are kind of tweener grades. The first, second and third grades are exciting because they are new. The sixth begins middle school and the ninth begins high school. The fourth and fifth are kind of….well they are kind of just there. Another challenge is the curriculum. Tough stuff is coming during these key years and getting them ready has never been more vital.

Fourth Grade

I like to call this the “growing up” grade. The bloom is off the rose and the student is beginning to see that school is not all parties and playgrounds. This is where the student truly becomes a student so you need to make sure they are prepared.

Review everything you can think of

The teacher in fourth grade will likely be holding your child responsible for knowing what has come before fourth grade and move on to newer and grander things. For this reason, any lingering problems your kid might have had in previous years should be addressed. Talk with your kid and if you need to, give them a grade specific quiz to see where they stand. Try to fix any problems ahead of time.

Work hard on comprehension reading

Have your child read…then read…then read some more during the summer. This should be a very busy summer for your child reading simply because it will play such a key role in everything they learn during fourth grade. More specifically, your kid needs to learn to understand everything they are reading. Sit regularly with your child and have them read out loud. Then have them summarize what they read in small bunches. This will help a great deal with reading comprehension.

Socialize whenever possible

Fourth grade is kind of like high school on a miniature level. Kids will begin to group off and find those that share their interests. This may exclude or include your kids and they should know how to react in both of these situations. Teach them about how to treat others and what to do when they are excluded. Talk about bullying in particular from both ends of the spectrum.

Neatness counts

While this is true in all grades, fourth grade is the first year they are likely to start taking away points for sloppiness. Have your child practice their handwriting until it is pleasant and neat. If they struggle with it, that simply means they need more practice. Address the mechanics and then let them learn through practice.

Fifth grade

As for fifth grade, you can pretty much copy and paste what is said up above. All the things mentioned above are doubly true when they hit fifth grade. There are some grade specific things that you might want to address though:

Talk about boys/girls

Although this is happening at varying ages now, boys and girls in fifth grade are certainly starting to talk about boyfriends and girlfriends. Innocent as it may be, you need to start having the talk with them. You would be shocked at how many “kids” are becoming active these days in ways you don’t want to think about. Talk to your kids about sex, drugs and rock and roll. You can’t afford not to anymore.

Start to focus on science and social studies too

Fifth grade is a key year in science and the social studies areas and students will begin to learn a great deal about other cultures. Prepping them ahead of time will help to smooth that process and keep them moving in the right direction. Spend some time exploring the world around them and figuring out how things work.

Do you have any other tips to help prepare your children for 4th or 5th grade?

How To Make Peanut Butter

How to Make Peanut Butter

If you are looking for an easy way to lower your grocery bill while still serving your family food that is delicious and healthy, the answer is simple: start making some of your own foods from scratch. When you make your own foods, you are better able to control what goes into them so they are made out of only real ingredients, without all of the harmful additives, preservatives and food dyes that are all too often found in store-bought foods. Plus, homemade foods tend to be cheaper as well.

You can make almost anything from scratch, including homemade fruit roll ups and this homemade hot fudge sauce recipe. You can even learn how to make peanut butter. It’s easy! And it’s a lot of fun, as well.

The process of making homemade peanut butter is easy. Simply put peanuts in the food processer and grind them until they reach the desired consistency. That’s all! It may take a few minutes, but just keep holding down the button, and you’ll reach the perfect smooth and creamy texture before you know it. Then, simply spread on toast, on a sandwich or on celery for an Ants on a Log Snack. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t settle for a store-bought peanut butter with questionable ingredients. Instead, learn how to make peanut butter yourself. It is easy, cost-effective and most importantly, delicious. One bite of the smooth, peanuty texture and you’ll wonder why you didn’t learn how to make your own peanut butter years ago!

How To Make Peanut Butter

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1/2 cup peanut butter

How To Make Peanut Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Peanuts
  • Honey (optional)
  • Salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place peanuts in a food processor or high-powered blender
  2. Run for about a minute, scraping down the sides if necessary.
  3. Process for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until peanut butter has reached desired consistency.
  4. If you want a sweeter peanut butter, add 1 tsp honey per 1 cup of peanuts
  5. If you are using salted peanuts, you shouldn't need to add any additional salt
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How To Stick To Your Diet on a Cruise

How To Stick To Your Diet On a Cruise

You have figured out how to afford a cruise and even decided which cruise is right for you. Now it is time to talk about one of the biggest issues with a cruise – not gaining 25 pounds in a week!

For food lovers, a cruise is a dream come true. With a nearly endless buffet of offerings, plenty of specialty restaurants, and snack options at every turn – not to mention 24-hour room service, you never have to be hungry. But if you’re more interested in watching your weight than going on a food-binge it can be a struggle. Today most cruise lines recognize that they have people on board with special diets whether that is by choice or necessity. They do their best to meet the needs of their passengers with a wide variety of options. If you’re planning a cruise there are many ways that you can stick to your diet on-board.

One of the quickest ways to use up your daily calorie allotment is through empty calories in things like alcoholic beverages. Some drinks can total over 1000 calories each! Avoid indulging in too many drinks while on vacation or stick with lower calorie options. Ask for a skinny or lite version if available. While sipping on your beverage it’s easy to succumb to snacking. Before you know it you can finish off a bowl of nuts of chips. Instead ask for fresh fruit or a pick up a tray of vegetables and low fat dressing off the buffet. These options will help you stay on track.

Do you love dining in restaurants on board or participating in the formal dinner evenings? Did you know that you can ask for half portions of the meals? Or that you don’t have to order one of each course on the menu? Ask your server what low calorie options they have. You can skip dessert or the appetizer if you want to eliminate some extra calories.

If you just can’t avoid the buffet line don’t feel like you have to load up your plate. Pick the things that you truly want to eat and put together a plate that is made up of normal sized portions. Resist the urge to go back for seconds and take your time eating. This gives your stomach time to digest and then you can see if you’re really full or not. Try to stick to three main meals a day and a small, healthy snack or two during the day (avoid the unlimited pizza and fries that always seem to be available in the pool area!). You’ll also want to drink plenty of water as it will help keep you full and avoid dehydration.

If you really want to treat yourself to a special meal, do it! You’re on vacation and shouldn’t completely limit yourself from enjoying your time. If you plan to have a big breakfast, keep the rest of the day light and vice versa. Don’t forget cruise ships usually have some amazing exercise facilities and group exercise classes. Sure – working out might not be your idea of vacationing but even taking a few laps around the top deck can help you offset extra calories.

It may be difficult to avoid temptation when it’s around every corner but with a little bit of planning and making smart swaps you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!

Do you have any tips for how to stick to your diet on a cruise?

How To Prepare Your Child For 2nd or 3rd Grade

How To Prepare Your Child For 2nd or 3rd Grade

With the coming second or third grade school year, your little students are starting to really grow up and become more mature. They are beginning to advance in many ways, actually. Not only are their studies becoming more important, but their social skills are beginning to take form as well. Preparing your child for the coming school year should include both areas of their lives and the “middle years” at elementary school are vastly different than getting them ready for first grade!

Here are some tips to ease the transition to second and third grade for your little ones:

Second Grade – The second grade gives your child the chance to feel like they are “old pros” when they return to school for the first time. It is a grade that helps to boost their confidence levels and the perfect time to introduce new and exciting things. A confident student is a student that is ready to learn. Here are some tips:

Work on writing neatly

The excitement of writing is key here and your child can be empowered through you. A wonderful handwriting is one thing that has been lost on our society because of computers and so on. Take the time over the summer to truly help your child develop a love of writing. This can be done through journals, calligraphy and constant exposure to paper and pen. The best thing you can do is have them practice. When a pencil gets comfortable in their hands, the rest begins to come naturally.

Up the ante in math

It is time to stretch their math skills and their ideas about numbers. No longer are they stuck in one through ten mode. Now they are moving into the thousands, millions and zillions. Preparing them for those larger numbers is important. Work on tough addition problems with bigger numbers and stretch their minds a bit. Also, break out the change and bills. Kids need to learn about money and use it on a regular basis. Let them pay and recieve change when you go to the grocery store. Every little bit helps.

Third Grade – Socially your child will seem to explode in third grade. They will be exposed to a whole new world of ideas and concepts and things that did not matter when they were “small” will suddenly be a big deal. Here are some tips for the coming third grade year:

The big three

Writing, reading and math will be everything during the third grade. They will be taking all the basics and expanding on them constantly. If you can, spend as much time as possible working on these basics and shoring up any areas where they are struggling. When they hit school for third grade, the basics are expected already.

Start talking about grammar

Grammar is another key area during third grade. Knowing how to write a sentence is a big deal and putting thoughts together on paper in a connected way is as well. Work on telling stories on paper during the summer before third grade. You will be giving them a nice foundation for the teachers to work with. Continue to read a great deal as well.

This might also be a good time to brush up on your own grammar and model it for your child!

Get them outside and thinking about nature

Your third grader is also going to enjoy a whole new world of science. Third graders get exposed to brand new concepts in science all the time and they are often overwhelmed by it if they have never heard of it. Talk about the structure of our bodies, how an ecosystem works and the basics of science often. Every little bit will help a great deal.

Socialize them at every opportunity

Kids begin to take shape socially in third grade in a somewhat different way. They begin to gather in groups and have certain cliques. A certain level of meanness comes along with that and your kid can be harmed a great deal by that. They also can be the one delivering the harm if it is not discussed. Work with your kid on these social issues and make sure they are part of the solution rather than the problem early on. How they begin often will foreshadow how they end. Spend some quality time discussing this with your kids.

Do you have any other tips for preparing your children for 2nd or 3rd grade?

How To Prepare Your Child For First Grade

How To Prepare Your First Grader for Back To School

Now that kindergarten is over and your child has been introduced to the outside educational world, they are ready to move on to the first grade. This is one of the most noteworthy and exciting years that your child will enjoy for many reasons. It also can be one of the most challenging if you do not prepare ahead of time. Here are some awesome tips to help your new 1st grader get the most from this landmark school year:

Pump the positivity

Right out of the gate you need to prepare your 1st grader for a whole new experience. How you present that experience will set the tone for the coming year. Some parents try to “prep” their children for the problems they might encounter and it has a reverse effect. Instead, use a positive approach. Getting them exited about overcoming challenges is much different than spooking them. Present the challenges to them but take a positive approach.

Begin to focus more on math

Although your child probably has been exposed to some simple math skills, first grade will bring several different new concepts in the realm of math. In first grade, they begin working on addition, subtraction, counting and various types of basic word problems and patterns. Begin to go over these math concepts ahead of time and the will be much more comfortable.

Read together constantly

First grade is the ultimate reading grade and almost everything you work on will be somewhat tied back to it. Getting your child to a reading level can happen long before they reach first grade if you work on it all the time. Read books to them and then have them read the book back to you. Visit the library and book stores often. Invest in books, books and more books….you will be glad you did.

Get in a routine ahead of time

If you don’t have a solid routine in place long before school starts, the beginning of the school year is going to be a rude awakening. Start getting your child up early, set aside a study time in the afternoon and etch out time in your schedule to work with your child daily. Now….not later.

Sight words

Take a ton of index cards and label everything in your home. Kids seeing what what words look like and associating them with certain items is invaluable at this grade level. Go ahead and make your home an index card playground. The company will understand the mess and if they don’t….you need new company.

Work on telling time

Another key first grade skill is reading your clock. Throughout the summer, your child should wear a watch and you should constantly talk about what time of day it is. Make sure it is a hand watch and not a digital one. Otherwise, you are kind of defeating the purpose, right? Be positive in your approach and remember that it is not an easy skill to learn at first. Your kid will get it quickly enough if you spend time working on it regularly.

While the summer before first grade should be filled with learning opportunities, it should also be filled with fun. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the skills you think they will need and to then pass that on to your child. Take a deep breath and relax…this too shall pass.

Ways To Get Your Kindergartner Ready For School

Prepare Your Kindergartner For School

When your kids head off for kindergarten, life as you know it will change drastically with your little one. Kindergarten means that your wee one will officially be in school and learning without you. Preparing your kid for that experience only half the battle…you best be preparing yourself too. On the bright side, kindergarten will teach your kid some independence, social skills and how to blend those crayon colors on your living room walls.

In addition to the skills they are going to learn, they will also face some challenges. Preparing them ahead of time will benefit you both.

Here are six essential tips to make sure your kid gets the most out of kindergarten:

Talk about their fears - Imagine you are a kid all over again and you are about to leave for the adventure of kindergarten…there is a pretty good chance you were scared stiff! Your kid likely is as well. Sit down with them and talk about it. Most kids will gladly share what they are afraid of. Sometimes it helps them open up if you tell them about fears that you had. Giving them a chance to talk things over is a huge deal and well worth your time.

Take a tour around the school - Kindergarten can be scary for a number of reasons but being unfamiliar is a primary one. Going to a massive school that they know nothing about is intimidating for some kids. Peel back the curtain and let them explore the school one day with you by their side. Walking around with you along will boost their confidence and show them there is nothing to fear. By all means enjoy the back to school night the school has, but call ahead and get some alone time in the school with your child as well. It is far more powerful.

Set up a day to observe - The year before you enroll your child in kindergarten, speak with the school about coming in to observe. Sitting with your child and watching what happens can create an excitement about school in your kid. Why have your kid fearing it when you can have them looking forward to it instead? Sit in and watch what the other children do and you will have them chomping at the bit to join in. Explain to them that only kindergarteners get to do that. By the time the following year rolls around, they will be ready to go with little to no fears at all.

Practice manners and basic skills - Another great way to get your kid ready for kindergarten is to teach them some basic skills and manners. Skills are pretty clear when it comes to kindergarten….you need to work on colors, shapes, numbers, letters and creative thinking.  Manners are another matter. Hopefully by this point you have at least a basic platform to work with and if not, you better get started. A rude or mouthy kid can gain a reputation quickly in kindergarten and though it is sad, it can follow them throughout school. Teach your kid how to raise their hand, not interrupt or talk back and being polite at a minimum.

Not picking their boogers is always a good one to reinforce, too.

Encourage some independence - Yes, your kid is your baby. You have spent years now coddling and protecting them from everything the world has to offer. Now is the time that you have to start letting go just a little bit. Kindergarten is tough on a parent because they have to start letting others have a say in what happens to their kid. Work closely with the teacher and get to know them, but allow your kid to spread their wings a bit. Independence is a good thing at this age. Resist the urge to micromanage your kid’s kindergarten career. They do not need a stage mom no matter how much you might think they do.

Look in the mirror - Your child should be thrilled about their new adventure and you should reflect the same. If you are depressed and scared, your kid will be as well. Be very careful about what you say and resist the urge to put your fears in their minds. Talk those over with your husband or their teachers when the kids are not around. Many parents load up their kids with things to be afraid of and the poor kid never has a chance. Reflect positivity at all times.

Kindergarten is a wonderful time in a kid’s life and it is an important step in parenting growth too. If you work together and keep the positive goal of learning in mind, it will be a memory that you cherish for a lifetime.

What ideas did you use to get your kindergarteners ready for to school?

7 Easy Cleaning Hacks To Try!

7 Easy Cleaning Hacks To Try

We’ve all had that unexpected spill that results in a stain we just don’t know what to do with, or maybe your kids wrote on a wall and you have no clue where to begin with cleaning. Here are 7 Easy Cleaning Hacks that will come in handy for those rare incidents that happen out of the blue. Not only will you have some tips on how to get rid of marks, stains or mess ups, but you’ll find out a few things in your pantry are more versatile than you knew.

7 Easy Cleaning Hacks

Use a paper bag & an iron to remove wax from surfaces: We have all had it happen. You bump into a table or drop a candle on your way to another room and wax ends up on your carpet or flooring. The easiest method of removing wax is to grab a paper bag or heavy cardstock and your iron. Heat the iron and iron over the paper to heat the wax below back to melting. It will stick the paper and lift easily from the surface it was dropped on. Be careful using this method on wood surfaces or flooring as it could strip the finish.

Use toothpaste to remove crayon from surfaces: Squirt a small amount of toothpaste (paste not gel) onto a dampened cloth and scrub the area where crayon is on a wall or surface. The toothpaste acts as an abrasive that will safely lift the crayon from walls or surfaces.

Use a squeegee to remove pet hair from carpet or furniture: It’s as simple as it sounds. Just grab a squeegee like you would use for removing water from glass and use it on your furniture or carpet to help “rake up” the extra pet hair. Saves time and frustration with your vacuum and leads to way less problem with clogs in your attachments.

Use oil to remove adhesive residue on glass: If you don’t have that bottle of Goo Gone handy, simply apply some vegetable or baby oil to the surface and all it to sit for 10-15 minutes. It should dissolve the adhesive enough to easily clean with a cloth or paper towel. Lemon Essential Oil will also work as well!

Pop open a cola to remove rust on metal surfaces: Whether it’s an old skillet or a knife that has become rusty you can alleviate the rust by soaking them in sink or tub of cola for 1-2 hours. The acid in the cola will help dissolve the rust.

Use an egg yolk to remove coffee stains: It sounds strange but a beaten egg yolk scrubbed into a coffee stain can help remove it easily. Just rub the egg yolk into the area, let it stand for 5 minutes then rinse clean. (and don’t forget to check out 3 more homemade stain remover recipes!)

Place a drop of your favorite Essential Oil on the inside of the toilet paper roll to freshen the bathroom: If you want a fresh smelling bathroom but don’t like the traditional sprays or air fresheners, simply add a drop or two of your favorite smelling essential oil to the inside of your toilet paper roll when you replace it each time.

It is easy to clean up spills or treat issues around the house with items you already have on hand when you apply these 7 easy cleaning hacks to your daily routine. Not only will they save you money on supplies, they could save you the cost of replacing products in your home. Add this to your list of favorite life hacks so you don’t forget when you need them in a hurry.

Do you have any cleaning hacks to add?

How To Choose The Right Cruise For You!

How To Choose The Right Cruise For Your Family

When it comes time to choose the right cruise there are many considerations that come into play. We already talked about how you can afford a cruise for the same cost as other vacations, but now it it time to make some serious plans.

Start planning your cruise at least 12 months in advance and as many as 24 months ahead of time. This will give you plenty of time to find the best cruise, make a reservation, and pay for your vacation. With so many options available today, picking the right cruise for you can seem overwhelming.

Budget

Before you start planning you need to set a rough budget. Be sure to include what you can spend not only on the cruise but on transportation to get to the port, gratuities, shore excursions, and any other incidental costs you may experience. There are more costs involved than just the ship reservation. Once you have a general idea of what you can spend it’s time to consider where to go.

Destinations

If you have a small budget you may be limited as to where you can go. Caribbean cruises are plentiful and you can often find really inexpensive deals for vacations. Look at alternative departure ports for a bigger discount. Not only may the cruise itself be cheaper but you can save on airfare in some cases. But don’t’ just go with what you think may save you money. Think that cruising from Miami will be less expensive than San Juan, Puerto Rico? You may be surprised to find in many cases this isn’t true. Not only can flights to San Juan be more affordable but the cruise itself can cost less and go to islands a cruise from mainland Florida doesn’t.

Sail Days vs. Port Days

This question comes into play when you look at the length of cruise you want to take. Many times a cruise can be longer (7 or 9 days) but have the same number of port stops as a 5 day cruise. If visiting as many ports as possible is important to you, then you’ll want to consider not just how long the cruise is but how many places it stops. There is much to be said for picking a cruise with “at sea days” (you can spend time on ship taking advantage of all those amenities for which you are already paying) vs. a cruise with a new port every day (all those port excursions can add up and bust your vacation budget!)

Shore Excursions

Is there some place you’d really love to visit or an experience you want to be sure to have? Choosing your destination based on shore excursions is one way to cut down on your choices. This can be a handy tool when you have dozens of cruises to choose from. When you only have a few hours in port, a white sandy beach is a white sandy beach, no matter which Carribbean island you are visiting. However, if you want to have a “dolphin experience”, not all ports of call will offer that (but be sure to check out our reasoning for skipping the “dolphin experience”)

On Board Features

One final way to choose the right cruise for you is based on what is available on the ship. If you love partying, dancing, or gambling you’ll want to choose a cruise that has plenty of evening entertainment and options for those over 21. If on the other hand you have young children and prefer quieter activities you’ll want to look for cruises without or that only has a little of this. Review several different cruise lines to see what is offered so that you have an idea what to expect, especially if this is your first experience.

If you’re still worried about how to choose the right cruise, consider visiting a travel agent who specializes in cruises. You can let them know what you do and don’t like along with your budget and they can make recommendations based on their experiences. You may pay a little more for this but in the end it will be less costly than a vacation you end up hating!

6 Natural Headache Remedies For You To Try

6 Natural Headache Remedies

Headaches can wreck havoc on your day! They can sneak up on you and make your day unbearable. Many of us reach for the nearest bottle of over the counter pain medication, but did you know that there are many natural headache remedies out there that you can try? Here are a few natural headache remedies to help you the next time that horrible pounding begins.

Essential Oils

There has been a lot of talk about essential oils lately! They seem to be everywhere! That could be because, surprise, they work! They are great for a wide variety of things including headaches!

You will need:

How to make it:

  • Fill your roller bottle about 3/4 full of the fractionated coconut oil. Then, add a few drops each of lavender and peppermint. Put the lid on and give it a little shake. Roll the mix onto your forehead, temples and neck.

Lots of people also recommend using sweet marjoram and chamomile in treating headaches. My family and I really like the lavender and peppermint combination, but you may also want to try those as well! Each essential oil has lots of uses! Once you start using them you will be amazed at what they can do. I prefer Young Living Essential Oils and there is a great deal (and a freebie from me) going on right now!

A Cold Washcloth

If you are able to lay down for a few minutes, get a washcloth damp with cool water. Head to a dark and quiet room and lay down for 10-15 minutes with the wash cloth on your forehead.

Tension Headache?

If you are suffering from a tension headache, warm up a rice bag or soak a washcloth is hot water and place it at the base of the back of your neck. The heat can help loosen your muscles and send you some relief.

Scalp Massage

Try gently massaging your scalp and your temples. This can help blood flow to your brain. Added bonus if you can find someone who is willing to give you the massage! (Don’t forget to massage your ear lobes as well!)

Try Your Hands

Your hands need massaged too! You can help relieve pain by massaging one place in particular on your hands. It’s really easy.

Hold your hands out in front of you (palms down). You are going to massage the spot in between your thumb and first finger using your thumb and first finger of your opposite hand. By gently swirling your thumb around this are of your hand using light pressure you can help relieve headaches and even earaches or toothaches! Do each hand for about 5 minutes.

If you have someone who can help you, have them massage both hands simultaneously!

Drink a Glass of Water

I used to think my Mother was crazy. Every time I said I had a headache she would give me a glass of water! But did you know that being dehydrated is the number one reason people get headaches? If you feel a headache coming on, drink a glass of water and see if that does the trick!

The next time you have a headache, instead of reaching for a bottle of medicine try one of these natural headache remedies!

How do you usually deal with a headache?