Friday, February 21, 2014

Toilet Bombs

In my theme of making strange household products, I thought I would try these Toilet Bombs.  Yup, that is what they are called, and they aren't what you think.  I saw them made on TV and because I had all the ingredients on hand, I was able to make them right away.  Here they are. 

I know these look a lot like snowball cookies, but they are NOT.

These are all the ingredients you will need.

Toilet Bombs

1 1/2 cups Baking Soda
1/2 cup Citric Acid

Pour these two ingredients into a bowl and mix together.  Then add whatever scent you like.  I used Lavender.  Make it pretty heavily scented because it will be freshening and cleaning your toilet bowl.  Next spritz the dry mixture with water, a little at a time.  Stir the moisture in until the mixture holds together.  Too much moisture will cause fizzing, and you don't want that until later.  I hadn't made these before so I just made balls with my hands.  You could form them into silicone molds or use a meatball maker utensil.

Let them dry for several hours or overnight.

Close up view.  This recipe makes about 14 of this size.

Now whenever you want to clean and deodorize your toilet bowl, just throw one (or two) into the water.  They will start fizzing and circling the bowl until dissolved.  Before you go to bed is a good time to use them. 

I wasn't going to show my toilet bowl.   Immediately they will start to fizz.

They continue to dissolve leaving a good scent and cleaning the toilet.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Sure Sign of Spring

Yesterday we had a beautiful day.  It was sunny and the snow was melting.  There is nothing better than the smell of Spring with running water and birds singing.  We were on a weather watch today for a snow, rain or ice storm.  The Governor declared a state of emergency for the state of Wisconsin.  Although some of the state was hit with a lot of snow, we lucked out (so far).  Although it is cloudy and dreary looking, the snow is still melting and is hasn't rained or snowed. 

It's a very dreary day, but more and more melting is happening.

The wind is starting to get very strong.  I don't know if we will get will get rain or snow later today, but this is a sure sign of Spring.  My daughter sent a picture of what greeted them as they drove into their garage.  The snow can be melting and the birds can be singing, but this is a sure sign.

Yup, it's a BAT!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our February Thaw

Today is February 19, 2014.  I am writing today to document a little break we are having to this long long winter in Wisconsin.  I think it has been a long winter for a lot of the United States.  Tomorrow we may have an ice or snowstorm.  The weather people are having a hard time determining where the snow/ice line will be.  We could have all rain, all snow or a mixture of the two.  I hope it's snow.

Today it is 45 degrees and it feels fantastic.

Green grass is even peeking through the snow

The robins are back.  I hope they don't regret it and can find enough food.

The temperature is warm enough to start opening up the stream.
Some ducks are gathering on the open water

Even dad decided to sit on the porch to get some fresh air.
Stay tuned, we'll see what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Apple Cranberry Pork Roast

It's Tuesday and that means another recipe.  My daughter gave me this one to try.  It came out of the Amy Hanten cookbook.  Amy has a website,   I have used her recipes often.

Although the photos don't do it justice, it was very good.

Apple Cranberry Pork Roast

  • Boneless pork loin roast
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can (16 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped  
 Season roast with salt and pepper, and rub garlic all over it. Place roast in the slow cooker. In a bowl, whisk together cranberry sauce, brown sugar and juice. Pour it over the roast. Throw apples on top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until nice and tender. Slice and serve with the sauce. You can simmer the sauce in a saucepan on the stove for a few minutes if you want it to reduce down and thicken a bit. 

We enjoyed this roast and and have some leftover for tonight.  We weren't the only ones who got benefit of this meal.  The deer also got a treat of the apple peelings.  I barely put them out and the three girls arrived for a snack.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Cloth Unpaper Towels

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I bought a king sized flannel pillowcase at the Goodwill store for $.99.  From the hemmed section, I made some samples of handwarmers.

After the hem was removed and the seams taken out, I had a nice piece of flannel to use for something else.  Flannel costs $5 or $6 a yard, so I knew I wanted to keep this for something.

Anyone who has read this blog won't be surprised to know that I watch HGTV and crafting shows.  I saw a piece recently where someone made Cloth UnPaper Towels.  They are made with fabric on one side and flannel on the other.  This person made the towels, put two snaps on each piece to snap the towels together and rolled them up on a paper towel holder.  Instead of grabbing a paper towel and throwing it away, they unsnapped a cloth towel.

These towels can be purchased already finished at Etsy stores.

I wanted to do this so I went to the dollar store and bought three microfiber towels.  They were a dollar each.  I figured the microfiber would work great to wipe off the counter and the flannel would be great for shining and drying. 

I cut each towel in half and cut out a piece of flannel the same size as half the towel.  I put right sides together and stitched around leaving a small opening, then turning the towel right side out by pulling it through the opening.  I top stitched the towel folding the opening in as I stitched.  I don't have a serger machine which would overcast and cut at the same time.  It looks like the purchased towels were made that way or just zigzagged around the two layers.  That would be really fast and easy to do.

The blue towels I used the fine textured side of the microfiber towel.

I think these will be very functional but way too ugly to display on my counter.  I found the cute red paper towel holder shown in the finished roll above.  It was only $5 at Dollar General but I didn't buy it.  I'm glad because my towels will be stored in a drawer without the snaps.  If I find some cute fabric someday and need more, I may try to make them again.  I really love how they work.

I got five towels from one king sized pillow case.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Making a Salt Scrub

I'm not sure how good some of these home made products are, but here is another one to try.  Yesterday I posted a process for making body wash.  It works pretty well, but time will tell how stable it is.

The castile soap I use is made out of coconut oil.  It is hypoallergenic and doesn't dry out the skin.  Knowing how coconut oil turns liquid at 76 degrees, it is probably the reason my body wash was gel-like in one part of the house and liquid in the area near our pellet stoves.  Just using the bar of soap would probably work just as well.

This recipe is for a salt scrub.  It works to moisturize dry hands, feet, elbows and knees.  If you use it in the shower be careful because the oil can make the floor very slippery.  I like to rub it on my hands in the winter.  It moisturizes them very well.  They still look craggy and old, but at least they are soft.

Three simple ingredients.

Salt Scrub

1/2 cup oil (I like grapeseed or sunflower)  You can use olive or canola but they have more of an odor.

1 cup Sea Salt  (Here too, you can use table salt or even Epsom Salts which is good for getting magnesium absorbed into your skin.)

A few drops of essential oil (This batch I used Grapefruit essential oil)

Mix all ingredients together and put into a jar.  This is a glass jar which probably is a bad idea.  A zip lock bag would even work.  Some recipes for salt and sugar scrubs use bentonite clay.  This clay absorbs toxins and has healing properties.  It may be a great addition. 

Take a little scoop and rub it on your driest skin.