{Red, White &} Blue Velvet Cupcakes Recipe #MyDawnSummer

This weekend was so super busy for us.  In the midst of 4 soccer games, a baseball game and a dance recital, we had one kid at a slumber party and Father’s Day to celebrate, plus Flag Day and Softball and Baseball night at the New Britain Rock Cats. It’s summer! Summer’s pretty hectic for most of us- we’re short on time and the last thing we want to do after we make a fun recipe (like this blue velvet cupcakes recipe) to bring to a cookout or party is spend our precious time cleaning- yuck! Dawn has always been my go-to detergent- there just isn’t another product I’ve found that can handle tough foods on dishes like Dawn. I need Dawn because I tend to um… well, make a big mess when I cook or bake. Just wait. You’ll see…

{Red, White &} Blue Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

 

red-white-blue-velvet-cupakes-recipe-label

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature (If you don’t have buttermilk, put 1 TBSP vinegar or lemon juice (I usually do lemon juice) in a measuring cup.  Fill to 1 cup line with milk.  Voila. Buttermilk!) 1 TBSP Dark Blue food coloring 1 tiny dab violet gel food coloring 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350- spray a nonstick spray on your cupcake pans or put your cupcake wrappers into the pan Sift together dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry.  Whisk briskly until all ingredients are combined and smooth (I used my mixer, zero issues) Divide batter into cupcake pans, filling each 3/4 full. Bake 17-19 minutes Cool for a few minutes, remove from cupcake pan, allow to cool completely before frosting. Makes 16-20 regular sized cupcakes (Recipe from Tracey @ Tracey’s Culinary Adventures) buttercream-frosting-recipe Check out our buttercream icing recipe! blue-velvet-cupcakes-messy-pan Now, I make a big mess when I bake. I do. I wish I didn’t, but this is SO COMMON in my house and I get all mad at myself because I don’t like doing dishes. Mess, mess mess. And with me not using cupcake wrappers, I’m always needing to clean things. I don’t like doing a lot of bakeware items in my dishwasher, so my two hands do most of those dishes. When I wash those dishes? Dawn.  Dawn Ultra, actually. blue-velvet-cupcakes-mess   A little dab of Dawn (Ultra) goes a really long way for cleaning.  It also makes short work of those pesky dishes so we can go enjoy ourselves with whatever culinary delights we’ve prepared for our friends and family.   Less is more- at least where washing dishes is concerned.  With Dawn Ultra, a little goes a long way for cleaning and cutting grease- which means it makes short work of a tedious task so you can get back to enjoying your friends and family and not spending a lot of time on cleanup. dawn-ultra-prize-pack-giveaway

One reader will win a Dawn Ultra prize pack!

4.9 from 8 reviews
{Red, White &} Blue Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Buttercream frosting and a strawberry make these blue velvet cupcakes a great patriotic dessert!
Author:
Recipe type: Cupcakes
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature (If you don't have buttermilk, put 1 TBSP vinegar or lemon juice (I usually do lemon juice) in a measuring cup. Fill to 1 cup line with milk. Voila. Buttermilk!)
  • 1 TBSP Dark Blue food coloring
  • 1 tiny dab violet gel food coloring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350- spray a nonstick spray on your cupcake pans or put your cupcake wrappers into the pan
  2. Sift together dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl
  3. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry. Whisk briskly until all ingredients are combined and smooth (I used my mixer, zero issues)
  5. Divide batter into cupcake pans, filling each ¾ full.
  6. Bake 17-19 minutes
  7. Cool for a few minutes, remove from cupcake pan, allow to cool completely before frosting.

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Dawn. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

5 Great Plants for Fairy Gardens

5 Great Plants for Fairy Gardens

 5 Great Plants for Fairy Gardens

Planning a Fairy Garden can be a lot of fun! There are so many great accessories from cute little cottages and houses to working ponds and teeny tiny veggie gardens. You can even have wire or wooden furniture for your fairies to relax in after a tough day of bossing those gnomes around! With any good Fairy Garden, you need to have plants that work best in these miniature gardens. Here are five great plants for fairy gardens.

 

  1. Irish Moss is a great cover for hills or little mountains you want to build. It has soft white blooms and spreads quickly. It doesn’t bloom well in extreme heat but the green moss still is quite beautiful.

 

  1. Lemon Thyme is a pretty trailing plant that has little pink or white blooms. The scent when the fairies brush against it is quite lovely. The fairies also love to put a little into their cooking every now and then too!

 

  1. Miniature Roses are a beautiful compact blooming plant that comes in a myriad of colors. These roses don’t need a lot of room to grow but do love full sun and a good compost thrown on top of them every month or so.

 

  1. Onion Chives are nice to plant if you want a spiky mound with colorful pink blooms. They can be harvested by the fairies

 

  1. Strawberries bring all the fairies to the yard. Not only do they bloom all summer long with beautiful white flowers, but your fairies will love snacking on them on a hot summer day!

 

When choosing plants for your fairy garden pick ones that are easy for your fairies to take care of. Small, compact plants do best and there are so many to choose from that fit quite well in your miniature fairy garden!

 

10 Ways to Get Allergy Relief at Home

Happy spring!  Happy pollen season!

For many of us, spring means enjoying open windows, fresh cut grass…for just as many, spring means allergies flaring up and discomfort. While we can’t necessarily rid ourselves of allergens, there are ways to get some allergy relief at home.

10 Ways to get Allergy Relief at Home

ways to get allergy relief at home

1. Close the windows.

Yes, close them.  Use the air conditioning in your home.  Why?  It’s easy, really- your air conditioner will filter the air.  Less allergens coming into the home.

2. Flooring.

Choose wood or tile.  Not a possibility?  Vacuum frequently.  Clean the rugs frequently.

3. Vacuum.

Choose a vacuum with a HEPA filter.  (I kind of think this is more the norm these days but maybe it isn’t?)

4. Bedding.

Choose mattress covers and pillow covers that are dust-mite proof.  Wash bedding frequently in HOT water.  I like to also do vinegar rinses with our bedding when we wash it.  This does include pillows.

5. Bathing/Showering.

I do not normally shower/bathe my kids daily.  When allergy season kicks in, my son’s in the shower right before bed each and every night.  Quite simply, he’s got hair on his head.  With allergens outside, and hair on the head— allergens are in your hair.  When you lay down to sleep, you put your head on your pillow, and that’s where your face stays.  Taking a quick shower before bed can prevent those allergens from getting on your pillow for you to breathe in all night long.

6. Pets.

Pet dander is not an allergy sufferer’s friend.  I’m not suggesting you get rid of your pets- we still have ours.  But stay on top of the vacuuming.  Try to adopt pets that have less dander given off, pets that don’t shed (as much) if possible.

7. Clutter.

Get rid of it.  Dust can settle on clutter.  Dust is an allergen.

8. No smoking in your house.

Ever.  Period. (I won’t lecture you,  but it can, will and does kill you.  Not worth it).

9. Clean regularly.

I hope you do this anyway but keeping things clean can help keep allergens at bay. This does also include laundry.  Letting laundry sit around the house with allergens on it won’t help anyone.

10.  Air filters.

filtrete-new-allergen-filter

Can’t stress this enough.  Change your air filters regularly (at least every three months). Use an Allergen Defense Filter to have just one more way to help filter allergens from circulating in the air in your home.

filtrete- allergen-defense

The Filtrete Micro Allergen Defense filter  attracts and captures microscopic particles like smoke and smog and large allergens like mold spores and pollen from the air passing through the filter. Outperforms fiberglass, washable and non-electrostatic pleated 1″ filters.

filrete allergen chart

  • Outperforms fiberglass, washable and non-electrostatic pleated 1″ filters

  • Carries a 1000/1085 Microparticle Performance Rating (MPR)

  • Attracts and captures microscopic particles like smoke, smog and large allergens like mold spores and pollen from the air passing through the filter

Register to receive seasonal e-newsletters featuring special offers, filter change reminders, better home living tips and more at www.Filtrete.com.

 

Filtrete Brand Ambassador Badge

This post about 5 things to clean monthly is brought to you as part of my Filtrete Healthy Home Ambassadorship.  I was compensated for my time but opinions are my own.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Have you ever wished for a smart thermostat?

You know, when you get to work and realize you didn’t remember to turn down the heat and no one will be home until super late that night?  

Honeywell sent us their Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat for this review.  This thermostat is easy to install and quick to register.  You can set a schedule for the temperature of your home and you can even change the schedule remotely via the internet or an app.  How cool is that?

Honeywell Wi-fi thermostat

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat Model # RTH9580WF retails for $224.  But, before you purchase it, go HERE and make sure your heating system is compatible.  We had to run new wire and to get ours installed but if you check the home compatibility and make sure you have a “C” wire it will go smoothly for you.

Smart technology made simple

  • Control from Anywhere – Honeywell’s reliable and highly-rated app allows you to program your thermostat from your computer, tablet and smartphone, whether you’re across the room or around the world
  • Simple Setup – The Wi-Fi smart thermostat’s simple setup guides you through a few basic questions to get your 7-day program up and running and save you money fast
  • Customizable Color Touchscreen – The bright, easy-to-read touchscreen can be color customized to fit your mood, match your paint, or support your favorite team!
  • Smart, Flexible Scheduling – Our Wi-Fi smart thermostat offers flexible programming options for business and residential needs
  • Smart Response – This smart thermostat even learns your heating and cooling cycle times to deliver just the right temperature, right when you want it
  • Advanced Fan/Comfort Control – Improves air circulation and helps regulate the temperature throughout your home
  • Auto Alerts – Extreme temperature alerts and filter change reminders are sent to your connected network devices and are display on your Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat, so whether you’re home or away, you’ll never miss an alert
  • Reliable App – This highly rated app is backed by Honeywell’s reliable network, for dependable access and peace of mind. Available for iOS and Android devices
  • Indoor Humidity Sensor – Your indoor humidity is displayed right below the temperature
  • Locking Touchscreen – Advanced locking features and password options provide smart security and convenience
  • Compatible with heating, cooling and heat pumps
  • Does not work with heat pumps with electric baseboard heat (120-240V)
  • 1-Year Warranty

Once we ran the wires and connected them to the furnace, the set up was quick and easy.  I took a picture of the information I needed to set up the free online account and app.  Setting up the account was easy and now I can manage the climate of my house from anywhere in the world.  Technology is amazing!  Our previous thermostat was programmable but not user friendly.  This Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat will help us save money without sacrificing comfort.

Money saving thermostat

Three readers will win a Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat!

Honeywell provided this thermostat for the review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Going green in the bathroom #Moms4JNJConsumer

Happy Earth Month, my friends. We try to make all months Earth Month, but especially in April, it’s good to raise awareness and see what’s going on in the world to protect this beautiful planet we live on.This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

green bathroom for earth month

Ideas for going green in the bathroom:

Recycled toilet tissue and facial tissue

With or without recycled paper products, it’s nice to at least recycle the tissue boxes and toilet paper rolls.

Low flow showerheads and faucets

We’ve had a low flow showerhead for several years now.  I thought I’d hate it.  I  was crabby when my husband installed ours.  But then I realized, we still have pressure.  There’s just less extra water being wasted for a shower or bath.  That’s good for our planet, and good for water bills.

Low flow toilets-

Use less water when you flush.  There aren’t that many times a day when you need that extra water. Love your planet.  Bonus?  If you are on city water, you’ll save on your water bills!

Reuse product containers.

 If you can’t think of a way to re-purpose that shower gel container, recycle it! BUT…. My kids actually love using product containers to squirt water on the (back) wall of the shower area while they are in the tub.  Containers without the caps make it easy for them to rinse their hair, and it’s fun to fill them up over and over again. The containers that have a pump on them?  Tons of fun in the tub (or washing cars, Barbies, action figures).

Buy what you need!

This is one I’m working on. I used to buy things like Tylenol and Motrin in bulk- with a coupon, a great savings.  But we haven’t once come close to using it up anywhere near the expiration date.  That’s just a waste all around.  We stay stocked, but in smaller amounts.

Recycling made easy

Keep a second bin for recyclables in your bathroom.  Even if it’s tucked under the sink.  It’s a lot easier to get others on board with recycling when there’s a visual reminder to do so.
Before you recycle medicine bottles and containers, please contact your town or city to find out where to safely dispose of unused medications. Those shouldn’t just go into the trash.

HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® Products Have You Covered for Earth Day – Remember to Recycle Packaging in the Bathroom,

HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® is offering amazing printable coupons, tips & tools and so much more for all the products you and your family love. You can save over $55 by visiting http://www.HealthyEssentials.com in April and signing up for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® program coupons and offers.

You can do things to support Earth Month in so many ways.

donate a photo

Donate A Photo. The free Donate A Photo (DAP) app allows consumers to make a difference by raising money and awareness for causes that they care about through one simple act – taking a photo. For every photo shared through Donate A Photo, Johnson & Johnson will donate one dollar to one of its non-profit partners, which each consumer can choose from a rotating list.

Earth Day. You can help support and protect a clean environment. It doesn’t have to be complicated or Visit this website to find recycling solutions near you: Earth911

For additional tips and facts on what and where to recycle: Care to Recycle

 

We hope you will join us for the #Moms4JNJConsumer  Twitter party on April 17th from 1-2 pm EST. There will be prizes- 15 of them!  Follow along with the #Moms4JNJConsumer Hashtag! 

5 tips for hosting a garden party

Hosting a garden party can be tons of fun. Garden parties are great because they are almost always laid back and casual. Kind of like a perfect ladies’ night. I have this idea in my head that I want to have a Garden Party with my girlfriends this spring. Parties are fun. Parties have food. Who doesn’t like food? Parties with girlfriends are as fun as date night at home, just in a different way :) This post is brought to you as part of my partnership with Ristorante pizza.  Opinions are my own.

 

Truth be told, I’m turning 40 in May (gulp) and I think it would be fun to have a little something to celebrate. In a dream world, we’d have wonderful comfy seating and a large screen to watch a movie outdoors, plus lots of fun snacks and beverages. There’d be all kinds of little paths to wander down and fresh flowers everywhere (as I type this, we still have snow on the ground in places).

 

In reality, we’ll laugh and eat and drink and watch no movie, and probably won’t even notice! But the garden party setting is still a fun idea, and a great change of pace from being indoors for so long during the winter months. Regardless of weather, I came up with 5 tips for hosting a garden party.

tips for hosting a garden party

1. Lighting– I always envision garden parties being in the evening or at night. That generally means you’ll want some kind of lighting available for your guests.  You don’t want someone stumbling in the dark and falling.  You also don’t want a spotlight on someone’s face that makes them feel like they are about to perform a solo on broadway! Illuminated Garden has these Fairy Berries lights that look just awesome- and would be great for so many party themes, not just a garden party!

fairy berries

Photo Credit: IlluminatedGarden.com

2. Space – Are you trying to keep guests to a patio area? Do you want to encourage them to meander? Once you make that decision, plan to define your party area either with your seating, lighting, and/or a combo of both. If you don’t have tons of space, be creative. I saw a great idea on Pinterest for using a wheelbarrow filled with ice for cold drinks. This image is part of so many breathtaking photos of a backyard wedding – so many amazing garden party ideas – taken by Mel Lawrence Photography. You can place it at the edge of the area you want your guests to be – it’s fun, free if you already have a wheelbarrow, and easy to access.

wheelbarrow drinks

Photo credit: Mellawrencephotography.com.au

3. Theme and Décor – Do you want a theme? Do you want to go simple, sans theme? Match your decor to your vision for the party. If it’s just laid-back and casual, then make sure your decorations and plates, glasses, etc, reflect that vibe. Mason jars are a versatile decorative item for a garden party – you can use them as lanterns, beverage holders or centerpieces. They are fun, casual and pretty inexpensive. These mason jar centerpieces from Studio DIY are so simple and so beautiful!

Yellow-Mason-Jar-Centerpieces

I’m loving these utensil holders from Simply Seleta the bright colors are fun but they are so practical. Plus you can reuse them!

 display utensils

4. Bugs – Plan for a way to keep the pests away from you and your guests. Bug spray isn’t always fun to wear, but some strategically placed citronella candles or propane/butane operated mosquito traps and devices can make a world of difference to keep guests happy.

 

5. Food – Stick with simple.  It’s a garden party, so it’s fun, relaxed and casual. Go for easy-to-prepare meals. Think finger foods, but with a little bit of a sophisticated twist like tea sandwiches, cheese and crackers and crudité. Cut things into pretty shapes. My favorite go-to quick and easy food is Ristorante Pizza – with their gourmet toppings and thin crust, it makes a great finger food for adults. Just cut into small pieces and serve!

 

To see if Ristorante pizzas are available near you, check out the Store Locator. Don’t see Ristorante in your supermarket? You can put in a request with the store manager!

Risto-USA-4Formaggi-3D-300dpi

·         Mozzarella: Fresh mozzarella, sun-ripened tomatoes, zesty pesto sauce

·         Spinaci: Savory leaf spinach, mozzarella, garlic sauce

·         Funghi: Aromatic mushrooms, mozzarella, tomato sauce, parsley, oregano

·         Quattro Formaggi: Four premium cheeses: Edam, mozzarella, Emmental, and blue cheese, with basil seasoning

·         Vegetale: Tangy chilies, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, sour cream sauce

·         Speciale: Pepperoni, cooked ham, spicy herbs

·         Pepperoni Pesto: Pepperoni, sliced roma tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella cheese

·         Formaggi & Pomodori: Goat cheese, diced cherry tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella cheese

Ristorante Logo

And, if it’s a specific celebration (like someone’s 40th), a cake is definitely in order.

 

Have you entered Ristorante’s Perfect Night In sweepstakes yet? Visit the Dr. Oetker USA Facebook page, take the quiz and find out what your perfect night in looks like – maybe it’s a garden party!

 garden party prize pack

We’re also hosting a giveaway to get you started with your own garden party planning! Enter for a chance to win some Ristorante coupons, a 1.5-gallon beverage dispenser and Mason jar mugs (ERV ~$100). 

 

5 ways to save time for Easter dinner

Easter is just a few weeks away.  I’m excited to partner with HoneyBaked Ham to bring you this post with ways to save time for Easter Dinner.  Prepping holiday meals can be very time consuming and time isn’t something most people have a lot of these days. I keep thinking about my sister who almost always hosts Easter- she’s taking 3 courses at her college and she’s my dad’s Power of Attorney so she’s got a very, very full plate (pun intended) and yet, I’m sure she’s still going to offer to host for Easter. It’s what she does. That has gotten me thinking about some ways to save time for Easter dinner… who wants to spend the whole day cooking and not being with family?  Especially a year like this one where Easter is later in spring and there’s a good chance (I hope ) for a nice WARM day for everyone to be outside together!

5 Ways to Save Time for Easter Dinner

ways to save time for easter dinner

1. Plan ahead.

Seriously.  Write the menu down.  Write ingredients for each recipe down.  Check your pantry for those ingredients.  Take note of how long dishes take to cook.  Even diagram what needs to be cooked or warmed, for how long and at what temperature.

2. Delegate.

I can’t stress this enough.  As I got older and left home, I was given things to bring for dinner.  It started with rolls (store bought) and slowly I was able to handle actually cooking something that wasn’t going to make my family ill… Just because you are hosting the meal doesn’t mean you have to do everything!

honeybaked-ham-easter

Photo Credit: Garcia Studio, Inc. 933 Fielder Avenue NW Atlanta, GA 30318 404-892-2334

Ideas for others to bring:

  1. beverages
  2. rolls
  3. salad
  4. crudite
  5. dessert
  6. sides
  7. eggs for egg hunt
  8. centerpiece

If you really feel like you want to do ALL of the cooking, that’s fine. I mean, more power to you. But you can delegate other things.  Like most of us have egg hunts at some point on Easter.  So have others bring fillers for eggs and be in charge of hiding said eggs.

3. Set up the night before.

This is a big one.  Set that table for Easter dinner the night before.  Better yet, have your family set it with you or for you.  Even little kids can handle putting napkins on the table, or serving spoons.  Don’t be a martyr.  I promise, it’s a good thing to let the kids help.  Even if the forks are upside down.

4. HoneyBaked Ham-

They have hams.  They have turkey.  They have sides.  If you are short on time, pop in to you local HoneyBaked Ham store and check out what they have to offer.

honeybaked-ham-sides

Photo Credit: Garcia Studio, Inc.933 Fielder Avenue NWAtlanta, GA 30318404-892-2334

 5. Clean Up

Plan ahead for clean up.  Make sure if you are planning to send leftovers home with anyone that you have some containers that you don’t expect to see again (because no one does remember to return them).  Make sure your dishwasher and/or dish drainer are empty before anyone arrives on Easter.  Who wants to clean up from a big meal when the dishwasher is already full of dishes?  Make it easy on yourselves.  Have them ready to fill with dinner dishes and save some time.  (Also, delegate.  I’m a firm believer if you have done the cooking you are NOT going to be doing most of the cleaning.  Totally fair.  Anyone gives you grief, you send them my way).

 

So why do I suggest HoneyBaked Ham?

HoneyBaked is currently partnered with Feeding America to give 1 million meals this spring! So when you go to HoneyBaked to fill your belly, you are helping to fill other bellies.  That’s a pretty cool partnership, don’t you agree?

  • HoneyBaked makes serving the best tasting ham the easiest part of your Easter/Mother’s Day feast.
  • Each HoneyBaked Ham is fully cooked and ready to serve, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with family and friends.
  • Underneath that sweet, crunchy glaze is the leanest, most flavorful moist and tender hams and turkey breasts you’ll find anywhere.
  • Hams are available in all sizes to suit any size gathering, and of course, the leftovers that everyone looks forward to.
  • To complete your meal with time to spare, HoneyBaked offers more than 20 side dishes and premium desserts.
  • Stop by your local HoneyBaked store or visit locator.honeybaked.com to reserve yours today.

HoneyBaked Ham would like to send one of my readers a $50 Gift Card to their store!

 

 

Sponsored Video: The Hair Clog Eliminator

I’ve never had a lot of hair come off my head.  Or rather, I never did , until about 4 months post-partum with kid #1.

That’s when things got ugly.

I had no idea I was shedding hair like crazy. I mean, I’ve never had particularly long hair so it just wasn’t on my radar? But my husband noticed, and was getting really annoyed with me.  At one point, in our sleep-deprived zombie state, he asked me if I was clogging the drain with my hair on purpose.

After a full five minutes of the stink eye and sharing some feelings about what he’d said, I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. So he explained.  We both were baffled.

So, naturally, I did what anyone would do. I asked my friends on a message board.

And found out the saddest of the sad news, that hair loss post partum is normal and can last for up to a year.

They weren’t kidding.  Holy MOLY. With my oldest, I lost hair in what seemed like huge fistfuls daily through her first year (It wasn’t, because I’m dramatic and exaggerate but it really SEEMED like oodles, swear).

And it lasted longer for my second post partum year…and still longer for my third post partum year.

I’m not really sure how I have any hair LEFT on my head at this point.

And yea, I know, GROSS! Iew! IwWW!! I totally agree.

But when we shower, hairs fall off our heads.  I think it’s inevitable.  I guess longer hairs just don’t go down the drain as quickly so they are seen more? Not sure. (Please note, I’ve been waffling about adding photos of hair clogs and just couldn’t do it, not to myself or to you. You are welcome).

Hairs in drains=not a good thing.  Hairs in drains=clogs in drains.

Clogged drains=plumbing issues.

That’s where you need some help…..and now Liquid-Plumr has a formula JUST for getting rid of hair clogs in your drains. I’m sure others see a need for this, but I do have to wonder if my husband may have called them. In my defense, I do clean my hairs out of the tub after my showers (and baths) but some of it doesn’t get caught, and plus we have kids with hair now, so there’s 5 of us shedding hairs daily.


This whole conversation is so gross. I totally know it is. But the majority of humans who have taken a shower have shed some hairs at some point and the reality is that sometimes human stuff is gross. But there’s help.  For all of us. Hair clogs be damned, your reign of terror is over!! *ShakingFists*

 

liquid-plumr hair clog

Basically, cleaning product giant Liquid-Plumr has come up with a new way to tackle those hairs that seem to never stop clogging your drains: the Hair Clog Eliminator. It saves you from the dirty work, and their ad is spot on!

 

 

This post has been sponsored by Liquid-Plumr, but concerns my own opinion

Get sharpie off a stuffed animal #BizChallenge #ad

This post about how to get sharpie off a stuffed animal is brought to you by Biz Stain & Odor Eliminator. All opinions are 100% mine.

So my four year old, she really likes to color. It’s rare to see her without a crayon, pencil or marker in her hand.  We’ve always been really diligent about keeping all of the permanent sort of art supplies locked up out of reach, but somehow, she got her little hands on a purple sharpie.

And promptly colored on several of her posessions.  One was a finger mold made at a Brownie field trip to a local orthodontist office. Some sharpie went on the kitchen table, some went on her play kitchen,and some was put onto her beloved Fluffy, a stuffed puppy her Uncie Bill gave her for Christmas 2 years ago.

Kids amaze me.  When she saw that there was sharpie on Fluffy, she was beside herself. Remember, she put the sharpie on the dog.  Sigh. Patience.

Now, the other stuff came off with some mommy magic cleaning skills. My two favorite pre-wash stain methods did nothing to this sharpie.

But the puppy? I needed some help. I wanted to weep. Poor Fluffy.  Then I remembered that I’d gotten a bottle of Biz Stain Fighter in the mail and figured I needed to test it out on regular laundry, and I had to wash our napkins…so I figured Fluffy could give the Biz a go as well.  Yes, Biz.  The stuff my grama used to keep in her laundry room.

So, I put some of the Biz Stain Fighter right on Fluffy’s tush. And I waited. Biz contains more stain fighting ingredients so I knew I’d have some success, just not HOW much success.

Into the wash Fluffy went.

39 minutes later, Fluffy came out.  He was about 85% free of his sharpie marks.

A little more Biz, a little more wait…

and guess what?

Fluffy’s good as new!! He looks fab, doesn’t he? At least until my sharpie wielder strikes again.

Now, soccer and baseball start in a few weeks.  Hopefully Biz can keep up with the stinky sweaty uniforms that will be coming home x3 kids!

Want to know where to buy Biz?  Or how to save $1 on Biz? Be sure to follow Biz on Facebook to stay up to date.

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5 things to clean monthly

Being proactive with your cleaning will help keep your home a healthier one, and likely save you money in the long run because your appliances don’t have to work as hard to be efficient. It also means your home will smell fresher and not get stinky. It’s finally spring and a good time to start spring cleaning- but let’s not forget these 5 things to clean monthly.  I’ve also included tips to clean these items without harsh chemicals for a healthier clean!

5 things to clean monthly

1. Washing Machine– There are products available for purchase to clean your washing machine.  Buy them.  Or, better yet, run a cycle with vinegar and call it a day.  You want to run it on a hot cycle with an extra rinse.  Be sure to clean the detergent, softener and bleach compartments when you clean the washer.  For front loaders, be sure to wipe down the rubber gasket.  This is a big part of why people’s washers start giving them stinky clothes.  Stay on top of things save yourself time and money.

We learned the hard way that you have to clean the front loading washing machines on a regular basis.  Somehow, when we first purchased ours, we missed that detail.  Oops.  Lesson learned, after all laundry and our basement smelled gross and we couldn’t figure out why!!  Vinegar.

2. Dishwasher– Again, you can buy cleaner for this, or you can simply run vinegar through a cycle.  Also be sure to clean the drain trap each month.  Build up in there can cause backup and trouble starts with that.  You want your dishwasher running efficiently so be sure to empty the trap and clean your dishwasher!!  This keeps your dishwasher from being stinky, too!
3. Dryer Vent — The foil-ish thing that the air and moisture travel with the lint through?  That totally needs to be cleaned.  Regularly.  It’s a fire hazard.  I’m assuming you clean the lint trap before or after each load goes through the dryer.

4. Ceiling Fans- I actually try to do these when I change the sheets on Saturdays, but often just don’t….and it ends up being monthly.  Any longer than that and we get a build up that is just gross, and I fear we’ll end up turning them on before cleaning them and have all that dust and build up flying all over our bedrooms.  2/3 of our kids have allergies- this is NOT something I want flying around.

When I do my ceiling fans, I either use a pillow case so the dust and stuff fall into my case and not all over the room, or I use a damp microfiber cloth.  No chemicals needed, but still effective.

filtrete odor reducing filter

5. Filter(s) Filters for your furnace, filters for your air conditioning unit- whatever you have, change or clean them once a month.  Filters help to clean the air in your home and really, who wants to breathe in all the stuff filters work to keep OUT of our homes? (GROSS).

The Filtrete Odor Reduction Filter is 65 times more effective than other carbon filters at removing odors from the entire home, such as those from cooking, tobacco smoke, pets, mildew and cleaning chemicals.

Register to receive seasonal e-newsletters featuring special offers, filter change reminders, better home living tips and more at www.Filtrete.com.

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This post about 5 things to clean monthly is brought to you as part of my Filtrete Healthy Home Ambassadorship.  I was compensated for my time but opinions are my own.