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After living four years in our travel trailer, I came to understand that storage was very important. If it didn’t comfortably fit in the cabinet, it had to go. One item that was not allowed was a full size toaster. For such infrequent use, it was given away.

Growing up my mom and dad always had this sort of flip up toaster with us during camping trips. It stores flat and works on electric and propane ranges.
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The toaster worked great for me while living in the trailer (260 sq. ft.) as well as living in our new house (which is 980 sq. ft.). It doesn’t take up counter space and handy enough to use a couple times a week. The toaster costs appx. $6, not bad, and takes about 5 minutes to toast 4 halves of bagels.
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I was on the site: Organizing Home Life the other day and Ginny, the author, made a post about labeling your leftovers in the fridge using dry erase crayons. *Go to her site here*
Dry erase crayons?! I didn’t even know these existed! After all these years (ok, only about 2) I’ve had to suffer the effect of letting my oldest daughter learn to yield a dry erase marker, getting it all over her hands and things. Crayons are great, dry erase crayons? Even better.

So anyways, I bought a pack of dry erase crayons and found that in addition to being able to write on Pyrex lids, I could write on other things too. Think of some of the benefits. Remember seeing those trendy drinking glasses in the store with the bit of chalkboard paint on them so you can use chalk to label your glass? Well now you can use the glasses and cups you already own. When you’re ready to label things you can mark drinking glasses, wine glasses, plastic cups, glass bowls, heck, I even wrote on my kitchen counter, windows, mirrors and coffee cup. Non-porous surfaces are the key. The crayon writing doesn’t rub off easily but with a little bit of water and a rag it wipes clean.

Trying to rub off with a dry rag

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Rubbing it off with a damp rag

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20120806-201956.jpgI was pondering one day of how I could speed up and improve the shower stall cleaning process when I came up with an idea to use an orbital sander with a magic eraser attached to the unit. It didn’t work out so well, the magic eraser fell apart almost instantly and then there was that lingering question floating around my head “will I get electrocuted?” The orbital sander was plugged into the electric socket. I decided to try something else.

A battery powered drill was safe as far as no electric currents flowing through it and a quick search of drill attachments led me to the idea of a bristled carpet brush. So I ordered it and tried it out and the results were interesting. I feel like you do save time by having the bristles work their magic to get the shower build up off. However, if you think you won’t get a work out, you’re wrong! That drill is a heavy sucker!

Cleaners should majorly help in speeding up the cleaning process, right? Well, in this cleaning experiment I tried Ajax, bleach, and an all purpose cleaner. My take on it all is that the cleaners didn’t seem to pull their weight. The bleach was the best (but also the most dangerous) but even STRAIGHT bleach would not remove the toughest build up. In desperation, I grabbed a pumice stone that was in the shower as my last attempt. Low and behold it worked. It chiseled it right off. So I’d say my quest for a cleaning detergent is not over but I’m glad to say I have found a few unlikely tools to make my time cleaning in the shower more rewarding.

Before
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After
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Difficulty: Easy peasy. Materials needed: Sta-Flo liquid starch, Elmers Glue-All liquid Glue, food coloring, measuring cup (optional), spoon, bowl, scrap newspaper or paper towel, and a airtight jar of some sort for storing it.

This was a rewarding project to do outside with my 5 year old. It turned out just like store bought silly putty but even better because we got to make it.
Arrange your arsenal of supplies:

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Measure out the glue, we used a whole bottle.
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Add the food coloring… Pretty!
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Pour into bowl, then measure the exact same amount of Sta-Flo as you used Elmers Glue. We used a measuring cup because reading about other peoples silly putty adventures, getting equal amounts is key.
Pour Sta-Flo into the bowl now and stir.
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Whoa! Looks crazy! Let it soak for about five minutes, stir again.
Take the gunk out and let sit on newspaper or paper towel for a couple minutes to drain off extra liquid.
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Then squeeze and press the stuff till it resembles silliness.
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And then play.
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This putty is such a cool texture, it stretches and melts but doesn’t leave visible residue on hands or table. Note that if for whatever reason water or liquid gets on it, it will make a horrible mess! Keep it dry for sure.
Store in an airtight container and enjoy day after day.
For a birthday present idea, put the putty in a cool container, and throw in a couple of google-y eyes. For a batch that made about a cup of putty, it cost around $2.37, add $1 for a latch top airtight glass from the dollar store and you’ve got a unique fun gift to give for under $5.

You know how it goes, you spend forever scouring your glass shower door yet those stubborn water stains don’t come off. Not even a little bit.
Well it seems as though a tip passed through a mom to her daughter to her friend to her friends daughter in law to you has saved the day!!
[Cue dryer sheet and applause]

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That’s right, try using a dryer sheet and watch the stains go away. I purchased this box of dryer sheets for .97 and you get 40 sheets. That’s two pennies a sheet, not bad.

For those non believers out there I took a before and after picture of a jar that had held my soap bars in my shower for about 2 months. All the dish soap and scrubbing would not get the stains off.
Before
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After
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Thank you Lila for the tip!

Note: I recommend wearing gloves of course, as with any other cleaner.

So my daughter wanted some pasta a while back and we weren’t at home. We swung by the deli isle in Safeway and picked up a tiny portion of Chicken caesar pasta salad and she ate it on the way home. So later, I’m picking up trash from the day and see this long, long, long label staring back at me!

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Just crazy if you ask me. So today I took a crack at the same pasta dish but with a little less ingredients. The pasta wasn’t the most amazing ever, maybe because it was whole wheat… but the caesar dressing was awesome!!
I like to double my efforts so I at least double recipes. Here is the dressing recipe.
Caesar Salad Dressing:
6 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup mayo
4 TBSP parmesan cheese
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 TBSP lemon juice

Blend and chill
Full recipe here

The ingredients in my pasta caesar salad was 16 oz. whole wheat pasta, 1 cup roasted shredded chicken, romaine lettuce. I left the Safeway recommended sodium nitrate out. Goodness.
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Guest Post from Cathy

It pays to be a wise and proactive consumer. I have been an advocate for years now. Even if I don’t hear back from companies after I have filed a complaint or a dissatisfaction of their product, I still feel better by voicing my opinions. I don’t think enough people speak up.
Anyway, I have gotten good results over the years because of my customer/consumer actions.

Recently I purchased a Revlon Colorstay lipstick and it had a defective brush on the lipgloss side.
So, I still had the box and I e-mailed the company about it. We talked on the phone as she wanted the code off of the tube.
I told her that if they wanted it back, I would send it to them in a self address’d stamped envelope from them.
She said that wasn’t necessary and they sent me a $10.00 gift certificate!

I never used to be as strong as I am now, I think it comes with age and maturity and wisdom.
I love my life and I love where I am in it also! I am a more confident woman ~ hear me roar! lol!

    Have you had good results contacting companies about their products or customer service? I’d love to hear about it. Post below.

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Tired of fruit flies? I am. So when I saw Venus Fly Traps for sale I thought… What if it works for my fruit fly situation? I mean how cool is a Venus Fly trap?! For giggles and kicks I put it in a delicate tea cup. I may be the only one who finds it humorous. Probably.
On a side note, it’s been years since Stewart or I had messed around with a plant like this so I had him drop a fly into it’s open mouth. BAM it snapped it’s mouth closed! We both jumped back, surprised and startled. Too funny. I’ll update later if the cool plant took care of my fruit flies or not.

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Rated: Slightly difficult, worth the time
Materials needed: A highchair, an unused banner destined for the garbage can, needle and thread and/or sewing machine, and about two hours of time to kill

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My high chair was a yardsale find and I really liked the cushion but it was all cracked with age 20120727-200617.jpg

I took the pads off…20120727-200629.jpg

And this is the banner I inherited. Ask around local small businesses if you’re in need of a banner
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I tore off the old vinyl and used the boards as a template for cutting my new vinyl. Traced and cut out20120727-200709.jpg

Don’t forget the edge strip.20120727-200728.jpg

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When sewing the vinyl edges together, take time to make sure that you are sewing the backside together. I messed up and had to take my thread out and redo it. The idea is that by sewing it inside out, that when you flip it right side out that the lines are super clean with no visible thread. I recommend reinforcing the thread by making a couple passes through the sewing machine, especially in the corners.20120727-200831.jpg

So this is what the put together pieces would look like. There is ONE piece not sewed shut, if you sew it shut, you won’t be able to get your cushion in!! :D Luckily this did not happen to me but it was definitely a possibility.20120727-200848.jpg

Now man handle it so that the pretty side is seen.20120727-200907.jpg

Time to put the cushion back in and hand stitch it shut. I chose to have my hand stitch facing the back of the high chair so you wouldn’t really see it.20120727-200935.jpg

Hard parts over! Time to put it back where it belongs.20120727-200953.jpg

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And there you have it, totally unique highchair and actually saved me spending $18 at the fabric store.

Anyone who has little ones understands the challenges of decorating your home. Glass items are a definite no, small items will get lost or eaten, house plants fake or real will get dismantled. Most of us just box up things or put way up high on a shelf. Luckily the ‘destroy all precious things’ stage doesn’t last too long but it could last long enough for you to miss those treasured items put away in storage.

Sali has three kids ages 4, 2 and 10 months and thus has mastered the art of display. After seeing an old display case for sale, she bought it up for $75 and is able to keep things neatly and safely displayed for all to see.
The great thing about a display case is that you can change the items or look of it within an hour and a half. When first brought home it displayed her husbands Dodger memorabilia but has since been revamped to suit their chill beach feel in their living room. The best part of all is the kids are safe from the items and vice versa. The only complaint? Display cases seem to be a magnet for fingerprints!

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