Search Results for: cleaners

The Benefits And Advantages Of Using Green Cleaners

This year, instead of Spring cleaning with conventional cleaners, consider using all natural green cleaners instead. They’re safer for your health, they’re better for the environment, and they are often less expensive. Let’s take a look at what green cleaners are all about:

What Are Green Cleaners?

Green cleaners are simply cleaners that use all natural elements. This means they don’t pollute the water supply. Their fumes don’t contaminate the air you breathe. And there are fewer topical reactions.

Have you ever gotten a rash or a stinging sensation from a household cleaner? What about stinging, watering eyes? Have you ever succumbed to a coughing fit while using a bathroom cleaner? These are common reactions. Your body is having an adverse reaction to the chemicals in the cleaner.

While natural cleaners can still pose a risk if you’re allergic to an element, they don’t contain the same harmful toxins. They break down naturally. And quite often natural cleaners are packaged in recycled or compostable materials. They’re good for your health and they’re good for the planet.

Benefits of using green and homemade cleanersWhat to Avoid In Cleaning Products

  • Phosphates
  • Bleach
  • Petroleum
  • Surfactants
  • Ammonia
  • Lye
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Phenols

These chemicals don’t break down naturally in the soil or your water supply. They kill plant and animal life. They harm and disrupt the environment. Additionally, the manufacturing process for many of these chemicals involves petroleum. The off gasses produce green house emissions and contribute to global warming.

What to Choose In Cleaning Products

  • Essential oils
  • Citrus
  • Glycerin
  • Lauramine
  • Sulfates
  • Water
  • And other natural and recognizable elements

Ingredients that you recognize in nature are typically a good choice. It is getting less difficult to find these ingredients as green cleaning supplies are becoming more popular.  You can usually find many brands at your local big box store or supermarket now. The cost for green cleaning products is coming down also, and is now often less expensive than conventional products.

Making Your Own Cleaning Supplies

Many products you have around the home can be used to make your own cleaning supplies. The most common ingredients are:

  • Distilled white vinegar – commonly used to cut grease and sanitize.
  • Lemon – the acids are great for grease cutting, breaking down stains and of course the lemony scent makes everything smell clean.
  • Baking soda – a good abrasive that works for scrubbing countertops, bath tubs and sinks.

You’d be surprised what you can make yourself. You just need a recipe, a bucket or mixing container and a spray bottle for storage.

If you find that standard cleaning products affect your health or you simply want to embrace a greener lifestyle then consider switching to green cleaning products. Many green companies offer free samples. Check them out. You’ll see they work just as well, if not better. They also don’t have the same harmful side effects.

Frugal Homemade Cleaners, Bean There Meatloaf and Frugal Baked Bean Casserole – Hillbilly Housewife Newsletter

September 30th 2009

Editorial

Our Tuesdays have gotten pretty busy this year for some reason. I’m going to try to get the newsletter out on Wednesdays instead for a while and so far it’s working pretty well.

I had a great time at the blogging conference in Asheville last weekend. Learned quite a bit and made some great new friends, some of whom will be contributing to the HBHW website in the near future.

I came home to a a sick husband and child, but with a little TLC and some homemade chicken soup, both are much better and I got away with nothing more than a little cold.

I’m slowly catching up on emails, approving comments and such. Aside from that it’s been a pretty quiet week so far. Morning are chilly and feel like fall which is kind of nice. I can’t wait for it to get cool enough that I can cook some more stews. They just never taste right when it’s hot outside.

That’s it for this week. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Feel free to email me at susanne@hillbillyhousewife.com

Warm Regards,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

Inspirational Quote

“To have begun is to be half done; dare to be wise; begin!” - Horace

Ready to make a Halloween costume with your child? Homemade Halloween Costumes – no sewing required.

Reader Question

I’ve been trying to make fried chicken, but the breading doesn’t seem to want to stick. I’m using seasoned flour for the breading. It also doesn’t turn out crispy at all. How do I fix good, crispy fried chicken?

Amy

Hi Amy, excellent question. It took me quite a few tries to come up with a way to make really good fried chicken.

Start by patting your chicken dry. Then dip it in some flour. I like to use seasoned flour here. Next, briefly dip your chicken in egg wash. Allow most of the egg to drip off, then coat the chicken either in more seasoned flour or other breading of your choice (I’ve used anything from cracker crumbs to corn flakes).

Move the chicken straight into hot oil. Don’t overcrowd your pot and handle your chicken very gently.

Another option is oven fried chicken.

News From The HBHW Club

This is a new section of the newsletter. Each week I’m going to share some tidbits of what’s going on at the HBHW Club with you. I hope you enjoy these extra tips, recipes and ideas and of course would love to have you join the club.

As a HBHW newsletter subscriber, you can join for only $10 per month here: http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

And to make it even easier, I’ll let you try it out for just a dollar for the first 7 days.

Here’s one of the recipes that were submitted this past week.

Triple Chocolate Fudge

* 1/2 cup butter
* 3 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 can evaporated milk

* 32 large marshmallows

* 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
* 13 oz. Hershey’s Chocolate Bar
* 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 2 cups chopped nuts

In very large saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, both sugars, and can of milk, stirring until the sugars are dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a soft boil, cover the pan and boil for 5 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the marshmallows until they are dissolved.

Take the first chocolate and add it to the saucepan, stirring until melted.
Take the second chocolate and add it to the saucepan, and stir again until that chocolate is melted.
Then, add the last chocolate and do the same, stir until melted completely.

Now, add the vanilla and nuts and stir.
Pour mixture into a 9×13 or equivalent pan that’s been lightly coated with butter.  Chill until firm.

And here are some of the other recipes that have been added in the past few days.

  • Inside-Out Beef and Spinach Ravioli
  • Green Fluff
  • Taste of the Islands Chicken Skillet
  • Angel Food Jell-o Confetti
  • Simple Chicken Divan

All in all, we have over 200 new recipes in the member area already.

What else has been going on at the HBHW Club? We’ve been talking about using pressure cookers and other kitchen gadgets, being a “supermom” and of course we’re starting to think about Christmas and various frugal gift ideas. I’m sure you have a lot to contribute to the conversation. Ready to join us? Try The HBHW Club for only $1. We’d love to have you! http://www.hillbillyhousewifeclub.com/special.html

Featured Article

This week’s featured article is about using your own homemade cleaners for your home. Most of what you need to make these frugal cleaners is already sitting in your pantry.

Frugal Cleaning Tips – Being Frugal With Your Cleaning Supplies

Frugal Tips

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Do you have a tip to share? Fill out the submit a frugal tip form and I’ll be glad to add it to the site and share your tip in an upcoming edition of the newsletter.

Recipes

Here are some of the most recent recipes that have been added to the HBHW site. Enjoy!

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Do you have a recipe you would like to share? Click here to send it to me and I’ll be happy to add it to the website.

I’m Looking For:

This section is going to be all about you. If you are looking for a particular recipe or a tip on how to do something, submit it here and I will post it in an upcoming newsletter. I’ll give you my input and other readers of the newsletter will have the opportunity to share their recipes and tips as well. So take a moment to post your questions and of course if you have a tip or idea for any question posted in this section feel free to leave a comment under the appropriate post.


I’m Looking For Requests
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I’m Looking For Responses
Below you will find some of the recent responses to the “I’m Looking For” Requests. You may also want to go directly to this section and browse through all the recent submissions and replies. To do so, click on “I’m Looking for” here, and start looking through them.
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Inspirational Story

THAT I A BETTER PERSON MAY BE

Author Unknown

Light that lies deep inside of me
Come forth in all thy majesty
Show me thy gaze
Teach me thy ways
That I a better person may be

Darkness that lies deep inside of me
Come forth in all thy mystery
Show me thy gaze
Teach me thy ways
That I a better person may be

Love that lies deep inside of me
Come forth in all thy unity
Let me be thy gaze
Let me teach thy ways
That I a better person may be

Final Thought

That’s it for this edition of the Hillbilly Housewife Newsletter. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I had creating it for you. I also hope that you have found the information helpful and useful. And by all means feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends or even better, encourage them to subscribe to it.

Do you have a question, a tip, a recipe or a story you’d like to share with us? Email it to me and I’ll include it in a future issue. Can’t wait to see what you have to say.

Warm Wishes,

Susanne – The Hillbilly Housewife

10 New Habits For A Clean House

Once you’ve gone through all the effort to spring clean don’t you wish your home would stay that clean? It can. With a few new habits you can keep your home sparkling clean.

1. Pick up after yourself

Much of the mess in your home is likely self inflicted. Do you set things down with a quiet promise that you’ll get to them later? Instead of adding extra work for yourself or letting the clutter accumulate, put things where they belong the first time.

2. Make your bed

It seems like such a simple thing but making your bed can set the standard for the day. And you don’t have to set hospital corners when you make your bed. You can simply straighten the covers and fluff the pillows.

10 New Habits For A Clean House3. Clean as you go

How many times do you set things down and leave them for later? For example, when you’re making something in the kitchen do you leave the mess to clean up later? Or do you clean as you go? Cleaning as you go helps you control mess. It also means you don’t have an overwhelming clean up job when you’re done.

4. Corral clutter

Many organization experts recommend a clutter coral. This is generally a box where items can be placed. Then, at the end of the day, you put those items where they belong. If you live with others or have a family this is a good job for them to tackle. Let your children and spouse put things away before they go to bed.

5. Go to bed clean

Generally there is a room in the house where clutter gathers. Spend ten minutes at the beginning or end of each day and pick up. Make it part of your day and you can wake up knowing your home is clean and clutter free.

6. Enlist help

Make your family responsible for tasks and rooms. They can spend ten minutes each night straightening a room. It’s a fast way to make sure your home stays clean and clutter free.

7. Assign a day

Give each room in your home a day for cleaning. While straightening is done every day, the deep cleaning shouldn’t need more than one time a week. And if you’re enlisting help from your family then they can each tackle a room.

8. Keep cleaning products handy

Find or buy a tote bag or bin for each room. Place the cleaners for that room in the tote. Then tuck the tote away. For example, your kitchen cleaners can be stored under your sink. Your bathroom cleaners can be stored in your linen closet and so on.

9. Make it part of the routine

Make cleaning and straightening part of your routine. Each night for example, load and run the dishwasher. Hand wash any dishes. Set the coffee pot to brew ten minutes before you wake and then go to bed. It’ll only take you ten to fifteen minutes each night and it can become part of your bedtime routine. You’ll have the joy of waking each day to a fresh pot of coffee and a clean kitchen.

10. Simplify

The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean. Look around your home and see where you can simplify your life.

These ten habits can change the way you clean your home. They save you energy. They eliminate the stress of a messy home and they help you include the entire family in the household responsibilities. Most importantly, they help you spend less time cleaning and more time on life’s more important tasks and joys.

Easy Appliance Cleaning Step-by-Step

When spring cleaning you’ll want to pay special attention to your appliances. Properly cleaned and maintained appliances last longer. This saves you time, energy and money – buying new appliances can be a hassle.

However, cleaning your appliances is likely to consume most of your spring cleaning time. This is particularly true for the bigger appliances like your refrigerator and your oven. A few simple steps and tips can make the job easier.

Appliance Cleaning  in 5 Easy Steps

1. Instructions. Before you clean any appliance, find the instructions. If you don’t know where the instructions are, you can get them online. Visit the manufacturer’s website and download the instructions. Read them carefully. Most appliances have cleaning instructions. They’ll tell you what steps to take, or not to take. They’ll let you know what cleaning products are safe and how often you should clean the item.

Cleaning your appliances in 5 easy steps2. Organize your cleaners. Once you know how to clean your appliance, organize your cleaners. For example, if you’re cleaning your refrigerator you’ll need: a vacuum, interior cleaner for the shelving and drawers. You’ll also want a surface cleaner to clean the outside of your refrigerator. Gathering your supplies in advance saves you time once you’re cleaning.

3. Plan around it. With many appliances you’ll need to let the cleaners set before you can return to the job. Oven cleaning is a classic example. If you have a self cleaning oven then it generally takes one to two hours.

If you’re defrosting the freezer that can take a few hours too. Use this time to your advantage. Plan for it. While your freezer is defrosting you can focus on cleaning the inside of your refrigerator. While your oven is cleaning you can clean out your pantry.

4. Clean inside and out. Remember that appliance cleaning isn’t just about how it looks on the outside. Clean the inside, back, front and bottom too. Pull your oven out from the wall if you can and vacuum underneath. Spring cleaning means leaving no crack or crevice untouched.

5. Create a checklist. Before you begin to clean your appliances consider making a checklist. The checklist can help you maximize your time. It’ll also help you make sure you take care of everything. You can create your own checklist or you can download them online.

Cleaning your appliances can be a big job. However, with a little preparation and a good plan you can minimize the time and effort it takes. Properly maintained appliances last longer and work better. It’s well worth your time to clean them well.

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips and a Checklist

Kitchen spring cleaning can be an overwhelming job. Basics like cleaning the oven are pretty simple. However, when you add washing out the cabinets and vacuuming behind the refrigerator it can be an all day job.

This handy checklist will help you get started. The tips will help you take care of the job in less than two hours.

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist:

  • Spring cleaning tips and checklist for your kitchen.Dust ceiling fan
  • Dust tops of cabinets if they don’t reach the ceiling
  • Dust corners of walls
  • Dust top of refrigerator
  • Launder curtains or dust window treatments
  • Dust any knick knacks, counter top appliances and pictures on display
  • Wash walls and switch plates with mild detergent
  • Wash cabinet fronts
  • Clean oven. If using a self cleaning oven, spray and set.
  • Vacuum behind the appliances
  • Vacuum the area rugs or toss in washing machine
  • Mop floors
  • Wash windows and appliance fronts
  • Scour the top of the oven/stovetop
  • Clean the inside of your refrigerator (Toss any old food. Remove one shelf/drawer at a time and wash down with mild detergent)
  • Clean inside small appliances ex, toaster and microwave
  • Wipe down shelves and inside the cabinets
  • Drawer by drawer, remove items and wipe down. Replace items and organize as you go
  • Wash the counter tops, sink and faucets
  • Clean out and organize your pantry. Wipe down shelves as you go. Label to keep items organized and easily identified.

 

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips:

  1. Group like tasks. For example, when you have your bucket of mild detergent and damp cloth, wash walls, outside of all cabinets and shelves.
  2. Gather all of your supplies before you begin cleaning. Make sure you have everything you need so you don’t have to stop.
  3. Get a label maker. It’s great for identifying areas in your cupboards or labeling jars of pantry items.
  4. Make it fun. Listen to music. Open the windows and let in the fresh air. Use cleaners that you like and smell great.
  5. Use natural cleaners. Eco friendly cleaners won’t irritate your head, lungs and sinus cavities. You’ll feel better during and after your cleaning adventure. Additionally, they smell great. Choose a scent that makes you feel good.
  6. Reward yourself for a job well done. Go out to eat (so you don’t mess up your clean kitchen) or prepare your favorite meal.
  7. Pay attention to the clock. Consider giving yourself a specific amount of time to get the job done. This will help you work efficiently.

Spring cleaning your kitchen doesn’t have to overwhelm. Create a checklist and make sure you have everything you need before you start. Make it fun and spring cleaning can be something you look forward.

 

Bedroom Spring Cleaning Tips and a Checklist

When you think about spring cleaning you probably imagine the big jobs. You think about cleaning the kitchen. Maybe you visualize the closets or your basement. Perhaps the garage is on your list.

Most people don’t think about their bedroom. However, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. A clean bedroom means better sleep. It means a cleaner home. And the good news is, it’s one of the easier rooms to spring clean.

Tips and A Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your BedroomHere’s a quick checklist and some expert tips to help you get started.

  •  Clean ceiling fan.
  • Using your vacuum cleaner extension, vacuum corners of the room from the ceiling down.
  •  Dust all furniture.
  • Dust lamps and bulbs. Be careful to not get cleaner on light bulbs. It’ll make them burn out more quickly.
  • Use a soft cloth and furniture polish on all bedroom furniture.
  • Remove curtains and wash according to instructions. If you have blinds or shutters, dust/wash with a damp cloth
  • Vacuum floor. If you have a steam cleaner, steam clean the carpets.
  • If you have hardwood or tile flooring, sweep then mop the floors.
  • Change your linens. Spring is the perfect time to put on lighter linens. Replace the flannel with a light weight cotton. Change the bedspread to a lighter, more spring like color or texture.
  • Flip your mattress. Vacuum your mattress.
  • Clean under your bed. Move it and vacuum underneath it too.
  • Clean your windows and mirrors.
  • Open your windows and clean the tracks.
  • Using your vacuum cleaner attachment, vacuum heating vents/radiators.
  • With a clean damp cloth and a bucket of soapy water, wash any marks off of your walls.
  • Clean out your drawers/closet. Using the four container method clean out your closet. This is a quick process if you do it twice a year. The four container method is as follows: Keep, sell, donate, trash. If you haven’t worn something in a year or more it needs to go.
  • Dust your shoes if they’re not tucked away in storage containers.

Spring Cleaning Tips for the Bedroom

  1. 1. Group like tasks. For example, when you’re dusting, dust everything. When vacuuming, vacuum everything from ceiling to floor.
  2. 2. Clean your closet last.
  3. 3. Make it fun. Listen to music. Open the curtains and/or windows to let the light and fresh air in. Reward yourself for a job well done.
  4. 4. Set a time limit. Give yourself an hour to accomplish your bedroom spring cleaning.
  5. 5. Gather your tools and cleaners in advance. This saves you time.

Your bedroom is a great place to start your spring cleaning. It doesn’t take long. It’s fairly easy and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something. It’ll help you get in the cleaning mood and ready to tackle the rest of your home.

Spring Cleaning Tips And Checklist – Bathroom

There’s so much to clean in a bathroom, most of it being rather heavy-duty.  Spring cleaning might seem like a bigger job than you can handle. It’s true that there is a lot to clean for such a small space, but with a few tips and a handy checklist, you can spring clean your bathroom in less time than you might think.

Let start with some expert tips that will help you clean your bathroom quickly and easily:

Tip 1 – Use green cleaners

Because bathrooms are enclosed spaces you’re more vulnerable to the fumes from traditional cleaners. Using green cleaners, and turning on the ventilation fan, will help reduce irritation. It’s also better for the environment.

It's time for spring cleaningTip 2 – Make cleaning fun by playing music

Music helps pass the time and the acoustics in your bathroom will make you sound great if you choose to sing along. Choose upbeat music that gets you moving.

Tip 3 – Group similar tasks and similar cleansers

For example, if you have the mirror cleaner out clean the glass shower door and windows at the same time. If you’re cleaning the sink then clean the tub, too. They use the same cleanser and cleaning tools.

Tip 4 – Gather your supplies before you start cleaning

It just makes sense to keep all your supplies and equipment handy and within reach.  Plan ahead so you won’t have to take a break to hunt for what you need.

Tip 5 – Use a toothbrush

Bigger isn’t always better. There are times and places in the bathroom that require a small brush. An old toothbrush works perfectly for cleaning the grout in your shower and around your bathroom sink and faucet.

Tip 6 – Sort the items from cabinets last

You may want to sort after you’ve sprayed or sprinkled your bathtub/shower cleanser on. Letting the cleanser sit for a few minutes often makes the soap residue easier to scrub off. It’s a good time to sort your medicines and other bathroom clutter from the cabinets.

Tip 7 – Work toward the toilet

If you’re going to be using the same sponge, brush, or cloth to clean your shower, sink, and toilet, save the toilet for last. This way you won’t cross contaminate, nor will you have to stop and rinse so often.

Here is a checklist to keep you on track when you clean your bathroom:

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

□ Dust the ceiling corners, then any knickknacks and artwork

□ Dust or vacuum heating and exhaust vents

□ Remove shower curtains, towels, bath mats, and draperies. Launder according to directions

□ Scrub the shower, tub, sinks, and toilet, and sinks. Don’t forget to wash the outside of the toilet

□ Clean the shower door if you have one

□ Clean the mirrors and windows

□ Empty the medicine cabinets and under sink cabinets. Wipe down the inside.

□ Sweep and mop the bathroom floor. Vacuum if it is carpeted

□ Clean the trash can inside and out.

□ Wash the walls.

□ Sort all stuff removed from cabinets, throw out expired medicine, and return what you keep.

Organizing Your Cleaning Products for Quick and Easy Cleaning

The more organized your cleaning products are, the faster you clean. This means you have more time for work and play. It can save you money too! These three simple steps will help you organize your cleaners and keep them organized.

Step One: Baskets in each room.

Buy or find a cleaning basket for each room. Depending on the room you might consider a plastic tote with handles, a cardboard box, a basket or a tote bag. Consider also labeling the basket so it is always returned to the correct room. Keep the totes nearby.

For example, you might keep your kitchen cleaning supplies tote under your kitchen sink. You might keep you bathroom tote in your linen closet. Old buckets and milk crates work well for cleaning supplies too. You don’t have to buy new.

Keep the cleaning products and the tools together. In your kitchen that might include a dry rag, a scrubber, and a toothbrush for the tile grout. When everything is kept together it’s easy to clean a room quickly.

Organizing Your Cleaning SuppliesStep Two: Simplify

You don’t need to buy a different product for each task. For example, your kitchen surface cleaner can clean your bathroom surfaces too. Instead of buying ten different surface cleaners, you can buy in bulk. Buy extra storage containers or spray bottles. You can then use the same cleaner in different rooms without spending a fortune on packaging. Additionally, by using reusable bottles and buying in bulk, you’re reducing the amount of packaging that goes into landfills.

Many natural cleaning products are available in bulk. Taking this extra step means you eliminate harmful chemicals from your home’s air. You also help improve the environment by ensuring fewer toxins enter the air, water and soil.

Step Three: Consider Making your own Cleaning Supplies

You can absolutely buy natural cleaning products in bulk. However, you can also make your own cleaning products. You can prepare them in large batches and use them in most rooms in your home. For example, a home made all purpose cleaner can be made from vinegar, borax, water, dish detergent and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

 

If you’re making your own cleaners or buying in bulk and using additional spray bottles be sure to label each bottle. You can use a simple sharpie marker or a label maker – the choice is yours.

 

Organizing your cleaners takes just a few minutes and it’ll save time each time you clean. It also helps family members take responsibility for some of the cleaning. And buying in bulk or making your own saves money too. Grab a few totes, buy in bulk, simplify and label. It’s that easy!

Homemade Febreeze

Hey, I am a frugal reader on a welfare budget. I found several recipes for homemade cleaners, and the one I use the most is homemade febreeze. Super easy too!
Get fabric softer at the store….I like downey April fresh, but you can use any that the ingredients say Ionic or cationic on the label…this is the smell remover active ingredient…
I usually get the small bottles, because they are the cheapest. You only use a tablespoon of fabric softener to a spray bottle filled the rest of the way up with plain water. Shake well. spray whatever you need to. Removes all odoors and leaves a pleasant fresh smell.
This costs about a nickel to make up, lasts a really long time, and is easy to keep on hand: I keep a bottle in the car, as I have a small child that occaisionally throws up in there, and a large dog that makes the car smell like wet dog in the winter rainey season. This works great to make the car smell good again.
Way better than spending $6 a bottle for a pretty label that does the same thing!!!

Great Glass And Tile Cleaner

I remember reading about 30 years ago, in a book on how to make your own household cleaners that most commercial glass cleaners at the time ( you know the blue ones), were 50-50 water and alcohol plus a couple of drops of detergent, ammonia if you want it (not necessary) and of course blue coloring. LOL
Gingercookie

What Is Your Cleaning Style?

We all have a cleaning style.  That is, we all prefer to clean and organize our house in a certain way.  And, when we start to plan a big cleaning job, our cleaning style becomes very important.

So, what method do you prefer when you clean your house?  There are two basic cleaning styles to consider:

  • Small tasks.
  • Big project.

For instance, are you more apt to break cleaning up into small tasks each day to get your house clean, or are you more likely to clean your house in several big projects?

Do you get the whole family involved, or do you prefer to do it yourself while everyone is out of the house?

Are you more likely to vacuum all the floors in the house at one time and wash all the windows at another time, or do you prefer to clean one entire room, floors and windows, at one time?

It's time for spring cleaningI know spring cleaning for many people is a big “haul everything out and clean it” production. But, have you given any thought to your own preferred cleaning style?

This may be an important issue because it could make the difference between getting your house cleaned and enjoying it, or getting exhausted and frustrated.

It’s easy to imagine that if you are the type of person who really dislikes turning your house upside-down, living in chaos even for a moment, then perhaps a big spring cleaning day or week is not for you. If you were to haul everything out of its resting place for a good cleaning, the disruption may not sit well with you or your family at all. You may want to consider smaller projects spread over a period of time so as not to wreck havoc on your peaceful domicile.

If, however, you are the type of person who likes the challenge of a huge production, then by all means, rip your house apart and start cleaning! Once you get the cooperation of your family (because this method does produce chaos) your spring cleaning should go pretty fast. Yes, you may have to do some tricky maneuvering around dinnertime, but it will be worth it to get the job done in the style you prefer.

Whether you prefer cleaning jobs broken up into small tasks or cleaning jobs tackled in large projects, there are tips for cleaning your house that will make all your jobs go easier.

1) Use multi-purpose cleaners and tools. The fewer bottles and brushes you have to carry around, the better. You’ll basically need something to scrub with and something to shine with. Look at your cleaning products and see if you can narrow down your number of supplies.

2) Gather your products. Use a plastic caddy or similar item to move your cleaning stuff around with you. How you sort your products will depend on your cleaning style, again. If you’re going after a room at a time, then you’ll need everything for that room. If you’re cleaning all the bathtubs first, then you’ll only need your bathtub scrubbing things.

3) Set a timer. Big projects and small projects both need a time limit. Just because you’re tearing apart the refrigerator, for instance, doesn’t mean you should make it a never-ending task. With a timer running, human nature will take over and you’ll try to beat the clock. Dragging a cleaning task out beyond what’s necessary to get the job done is counterproductive; you’ll be less productive and you’ll waste a lot of time. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in less time when you know the timer’s running.

4) Get help when you need it. This used to be one of my worst time-wasters. Rather than ask for help, I’d struggle moving the sofa, beds, dressers, and other furniture around to vacuum around the baseboards. The time it took me to wiggle those big pieces of furniture around could have been cut in half with just one request for help. The same goes for hauling out a step stool, cleaning something above your reach, then putting the step stool back. If someone else can reach what needs cleaning, ask them to clean it. This is a great time-saver that makes sense to me, now. If the kids are at an age to help, you may want to give them the opportunity with their very own kid-friendly cleaning tools. This may or may not be helpful, but at least it will keep the little ones busy.

They may seem simple, but sometimes when we are in a habit of cleaning a certain way, we never spend any time to re-think our methods.

Give your own “cleaning style” some thought before you tackle any spring cleaning you may have planned. If your plans don’t match your style, consider rearranging those plans so you, and your family, emerge with a clean house and smiling faces!

P.S. You’ve got your house cleaned now, but how about organized? Are you as organized as you want to be? If not (and who is?!) we can help you with that, too!

Tracy Roberts of MomsInABlog.com is the author of 30 Days to an Organized Home, and she has a plan!

Work your way through organizing and decluttering every room in your house in 30 days with easy to follow daily tasks that keep you from getting overwhelmed with the task at hand.

You’ll also find helpful printable checklists that will keep you on task and allow you to track your progress.

Get your copy today at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/organizedhome

Homemade Mildew Cleaner

We all have to deal with mildew of some sort in the bathroom. Instead of using a commercial product that contains plenty of harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your lungs, they one of these two homemade mildew cleaners instead. As an added bonus they are also a lot less expensive than the stuff you buy at the store

Homemade Mildew Cleaner #1 – Vinegar Based

Mix equal parts of plain white vinegar and water and fill it into a clean spray bottle. Spray it on bathroom appliances, shower curtains, tiles etc.

Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe the counters etc. with a clean wet rag. In cases of really bad mold you may want to use a stronger vinegar solution.

Homemade Mildew Cleaner # 2 – Bleach Based

Mix 3/4 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gal of water. Put some of this mixture into a spray bottle and use like you would a normal bathroom cleaner. A little elbow grease and some soaking will help remove tough stains.

Remember this is bleach you are using and it will leave spots on your clothes. Wear an old t-shirt and shorts when using this bleach based mildew cleaner.

If mildew is an on-going problem in your home, it may be due to excess humidity. If this is the cause, you can regulate humidity with a home dehumidifier.

Further Reading – Keeping It Clean

This is a 3 ebook series that will help you spend less time and money on your laundry. Tawra and Jill from Living On A Dime share their best frugal laundry, cleaning and home organization tips.

Grab your copy today at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/laundry

Time And Choices

By Ellen C. Brown from CreatingHours.com

Holding HandsOftentimes, morning turns too midnight all too rapidly as we frantically attempt to squeeze chauffeuring three children to four different after-school-activities, grocery shopping, a stop at the bank, picking up the clothing at the dry cleaners, returning neglected library books, and a mad rush to ship a package before the Fed-Ex office closes. Simultaneously, we are fielding phone calls from seven or eight important people and an additional dozen callers of lesser degrees of prestige. Text messages and emails cause our Blackberries to beep nonstop as we juggle the lifestyle of a busy 21st-century parent.

Does it have to be this way? Does everything have to be rushed? When do we get a chance to slow down?

Despite the vast array of time-saving devices throughout our modern homes (I can count five perched on the kitchen counter alone), we find our time scarcer than ever before. Curiously enough, the very wealthy among us- even the housewives who do not work- find themselves even more pressed for time than average people.

It seems that the more choices we encounter and the more options we view as available, the less free time we have available.

The very wealthy, who have housekeepers and gardeners at their beck and call, have far more choices than average people: Shall we travel to Italy on Monday or Tuesday? Should we schedule a stopover in New York City on the way to California? Shall the new tiles around the pool be aqua or turquoise?

We in the 21st-century have options that our great-grandparents could not have fathomed in their wildest dreams: We can travel around the world, learn a new language or study for a new career in the comfort of our homes, and update all 427 Facebook friends of our status as each new item is accomplished.

Paradoxically, the more options we have in our lives, the more frantic the pace of life becomes, because we feel a virtually addictive need to do more, to see more, to learn more.

None of us can see all the sites in a metropolitan city in the US if we lived to be 200 years old, yet all of us feel the desire to see many of those sites, and experience an array of new adventures.

The fact remains that we are surrounded by a myriad of choices that beckon towards us intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

How can we slow down the frantic pace of our lives within the society in which we live? Is it possible to stop and smell the roses every single day- not just during vacations?

The secret lies in the ability to make choices.

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, states this concept as follows:

“The key to being proactive is remembering that between stimulus and response there is a space. That space represents our choice— how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event. Imagine a pause button between stimulus and response—a button you can engage to pause and think about what is the principle-based response to your given situation.”

Every single one of the hundreds of choices that present themselves to us on a daily basis includes that special “pause” button where we can choose our responses.

In the past, if a friend were to call me and ask me to accompany her to an entertaining charity event on Sunday evening, I would have looked at my calendar. Upon finding that Sunday evening was blank, I would have acquiesced, and attended the event together with her.

Since discovering this secret to slowing down and enjoying a relaxed pace of life, I have a radically different mode of responding to my friend’s invitation. My first step is not to check my calendar, but rather to check my goals. What are the primary pursuits that I am attempting to accomplish at this phase of my life? Perhaps I have a self-determined deadline to finish writing my book, and I have decided that social encounters this month will be minimized to phone conversations, rather than lengthy in-person rendezvous. That being the case, I will turn down the invitation because it is not in line with my current goals.

Of the thousands of choices we encounter each year, it is impossible to choose all of them. Saying yes to one activity automatically means saying no to another activity that is taking place simultaneously.

An ancient proverb that states, “You can’t dance at all the weddings.”

Having a multitude of choices is a blessing of our times, yet the blessing can turn into a curse for those that attempt to choose every option on the table. Eating every delicacy at the buffet is a sure recipe for a stomach ache.

Equally important as choosing what we want to do, the goals we yearn to accomplish, is to choose which ones we are willing to leave by the wayside.

The lesson is: If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

Money, cars, jewels and clothing can always be acquired. On the other hand, once time has passed, it can never be recouped.

We all have limited time, energy, and ability to focus.

Time is a blessing; it’s its compilation is our life.

It was a sad day when I told my 10-year-old son that he could not join a 5-week soccer league. Yet, it was an essential step in maintaining my family’s sense of balance and purpose. (He was already enrolled in hockey lessons, a baseball league, and enrichment studies at the time!)

Sometimes we put tremendous pressure upon ourselves only because the choice is available.

How many times did I used to chop up a huge salad because the vegetables would go bad soon? How often did I rush to the library and miss tucking my children into bed because I wanted to avoid a $1.25 fee?

Now, I wonder: Why?

Why did I feel so pressed to make a massive salad on a day that I already had a headache, two imminent carpools, and a business meeting? Why didn’t I choose to freeze the almost-rotting vegetables for a soup on another day? Was saving one dollar and twenty-five cents at the library really worth the hassle of bundling up all my children and driving across town to the library, on four empty stomachs?

I’ve learned to ask myself an all-important question as I’ve slowed the pace of my life and learned to relax despite my busy schedule.

The question is: What would happen if I did not do this?

In the evenings, as I stare at parts of my home which are in disarray, I ask myself, “What would happen if I did not clean up the living room?” And the answer, obviously, is that the books and toys will wait for me until tomorrow.

On the other hand, as I stare at the grimy kitchen and ask myself the very same question, the answer jumps out at me: Cockroaches and ants will invade my territory if I do not clean up the kitchen quickly!

Therefore, most evenings, I clean only the kitchen. The children can help me clean the rest of the house tomorrow- nothing else is nearly as important as keeping roaches out of my home!

I use this concept when I am invited to events or notice a sale on items I intend to purchase. Asking myself, “What would happen if I did not do this?” has diametrically improved the level of harmony in my home and tranquility in my mind. No longer do I fall asleep under the weight of yet another unfinished To-Do list.

Not only have I chosen the goals I’d like to achieve, I have made peace with the idea of choosing not to accomplish certain things. Time is an irreplaceable resource; I cannot squander it because elephants are on sale at the local fair for a quarter.

When I ask myself the question, “What would happen if I did not do this?” most of the answers look similar to this list below:

“I won’t save seventy-five cents on orange juice.”

“I won’t know what Joe Klein thinks about the war in Afghanistan.”

Just because the sale on juice is taking place around the corner, or Time Magazine arrived in my mailbox, does not make it mandatory for me to utilize my time in these areas!

It comes as liberation to many busy parents, to know that time belongs to us alone, and we are the sole determiners of its use.

You can find many new ideas to create an abundance of time for the people and things you value most in Creating Hours: Time Management Tips & Tricks for Busy Parents

Virtual Cookie Exchange

Virtual Cookie Exchange 2009

Welcome to the first annual Christmas Cookie Exchange.

I had a great time setting this up with my good friends Bridgett from http://www.SpectacularEats.com , Tracy from http://www.MomsInABlog.com and Loretta from http://www.JustNotMartha.com and would love for you to join us as well.

We asked bloggers and website owners to share their favorite cookie recipe with us. Below you will find all of the participants along with some information about them and a link to their cookie recipe.

We are also working on getting all these yummy recipes into one pdf report that you can download. We will post it here as soon as it is ready. Be sure to also sign up for the Hillbilly Housewife Newsletter and sign up for Spectacular Eats at http://www.SpectacularEats.com (you’ll also receive a free Christmas week meal plan there), so we can also email it to you as soon as it is ready.

Let’s get to the cookies… Below you will find links to all the recipes. Enjoy!

Bridgett shares her Chocolate Thumb Print cookie recipe.

I am a lover of all things food – from cooking it, to reading about it, to styling it to eating it!  I am a fulltime food blogger and also dabble in website design.  I have two college-age children and have been married to my sweetheart for over 20 years. I blog at http://www.spectaculareats.com and my web design site is www.InspiredDesignStudio.com

Lorretta shares her recipe for Nut Horns.

Tracy Roberts sharesfour different Christmas Cookies. They are Maple-Walnut Shortbread, Pecan Snowballs, Magic Cookie Bars and Triple Chocolate Cookies.

Owner of Moms In A Blog, Tracy Roberts is a 40-something mother of four, living in Central Florida with her husband, Jeff and an English Bulldog. In addition to her duties here at Moms In A Blog, Tracy helps online business owners get exposure for their business and provides services for Affiliate Programs at Easy Affiliate Toolbox

Christine Steendahl  shares her recipes for Almond Bars and Lemon Drop Cookies.

Christine Steendahl, “The Menu Mom” is a family menu planning expert!  Be sure to check out her menu planning service (with a free sample menu) at www.dinewithoutwhine.com and www.MenuPlanningCentral.com

Patti Winker shares her recipe for Aunt Bab’s Tiny Green Wreaths.

Can you have fun and get wrinkly at the same time?  You sure can!  Swing by RemarkableWrinklies.com to explore the feelings and fun of reaching that “wrinklies” age, while getting no-nonsense, practical advice for staying sane and feeling healthier than you have in ages. I hope you’ll take time to visit RemarkableWrinklies.com and share this crazy journey with me!

Wendy Wood shares her recipe for Chocolate Goobers.

Wendy Wood is the owner of Mommies Magazine.com, an online website geared to mommies of all ages. Wendy, and her panel of experts, share information on topics from Current Fashion Do’s and Don’ts and Parenting Teens, to Menu Planning and Health-Related Topics that covers all ages of family individuals. Can’t wait to learn more? Visit http://MommiesMagazine.com

Staci Jansma Shares her recipe for Basic Spritz Cookie.

Staci is an internet entrepreneur focusing on helping others by providing assistance virtually. She delivers excellent service in proofreading articles, article and press release marketing, search engine optimization, shopping carts, affiliate programs, autoresponders, blogging, and creative projects. Staci is always eager to tackle a project. Staci is Your Online 24/7 Virtual Assistant ready to help when needed. She welcomes you to join her blog to learn what she has discovered about various online systems and how you can market your business. Check out Staci’s blog today.

Joice Barrett shares her recipe for Norwegian Fatigman.

I am married to Slobokan, Homeschooling mom to three terrific boys and two ornery dogs, all of whom love hiking,birding, and photography. In my spare time, I’m an artist, Unix and Pick coder, seamstress, printmaker, knitter, crocheter, and owner of Buttercup 149… and yes, occasionally we do get to sleep. So, HEY to all ya’ll out there from us folks in Georgia.

Debbie aka GrannyNKy shares her recipe for Cowboy Cookies.

I am Granny to 12 adorable little munchkins and I do live in a Kentucky Holler. I also am virtual Granny to several in the digital scrapbooking community.  I became addicted to digi-scrapping about 2003 and have since created thousands of pages and projects.  I currently serve on several CT Teams and I do offer scrapping-4-hire.  Please visit my blog “Notes From The Holler” for more information.

Cara Riggles shares her recipe for Dirty Thumb Cookies.

Check out my new blog, The Friendly Frugalista, for timely information related to coupons, discounts, freebies, special offers, sweepstakes, and more. Many of the posts are directly related to homeschooling, while others are applicable to a broader audience.

Paula Wethington shares her recipe for her Christmas Coffee Mix.

Monroe on a Budget is a frugal living blog hosted by Paula Wethington of Monroe, Mich.

Mimi Carn shares her recipe for Fudgie Buddies.

I’m the most boring blogger in the world, just a plain mom.  Not much to write home about.

Karen shares her recipe for Almond Delights.

I am a Christian wife and homeschooling mom. A keeper of the home–lover of all things country and things of the past. Enjoying a quiet, simple life with my family. I can be found at my blog, Homespun Simplicity,
http://homespunsimplicity.blogspot.com/

Di shares her recipe for Mini Fruitcake Cookies.

Visit Living in Woodbridge VA for things to do and places to go in that beautiful area of the country.

Annastasia McPherson shares her recipe for Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies.

I am a Military wife and a mom to 3 wonderful children. We are living overseas, and are struggling to live natural, frugal, and vegan! This blog is about my adventures trying to attain that.  I hope to teach others about my “healthy” (or as some of my friends call it “Granola”) living and maybe make a difference in their lives as well.  Our entire family is vegan, and I love to cook!!  I use natural cleaners, and natural home remedies whenever available.

Debbie  (a.k.a. Coffee Mom) shares her recipe for Monster Cookies.

Hi I’m Debbie (aka CoffeeMom).  I’m a Christian stay at home wife and mom.  If I’m not busy chasing my 4 yr old and 2 yr old daughters around, painting fingernails or having Princess tea parties, you can find me blogging at Mommies Coffee Break (http://mommiescoffeebreak. com) or The Queen Mommys Cafe (http://thequeenmommy.com), where I write about Faith, Love, Life, and Motherhood.

Mary Blackburn shares her recipe for Gluten Free Mock Thin Mints.

Hi!  I’m Mary Blackburn, author of EasyGlutenFreeLiving.  In case you are wondering what gives me the right to write about gluten free living, I have been Gluten Free for over 20 years. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease back in 1987 when my daughter was in 3rd grade.  That was back in the early days of diagnosis, and there really wasn’t much information for me at that time. Over the years I have come up with Gluten Free versions of some of my old favorite foods.  This cookie recipe is one of those recipes.My hope is that with my website I can help to educate people about Celiac Disease and offer helpful information and recipes.

Monique McDonell shares her recipe for Nanna’s Vanilla Kiperls

My site – The Art of Romance – is home to an interactive romance novel as well as my ramblings on writing and life. I am based in Sydney, Australia and in between my writing and ramblings am an avid cook.

Marilyn Jaegly shares her recipe for Dorothy’s Apricot Slovak Cookies

My site is a money saving site, I talk about couponing, food, weight loss, budgeting and life in general.

Amanda shares her recipe for Sour Cream Sugar Cookies.

Amanda is operator of yahoo/face book groups Dustless Cookbook where gleamed, begged, borrowed,~ I would say bullied, but no one is ever bullied- bribed yes~ recipes are stored along with original on the fly out of the air creations assuming they are worthy to make the repeat offender list.At Dustless Cookbook we are always on the look out to find something to bring out the foodie in everybody.

Liz Latham shares her recipe for whoppie pies.

I’m Liz and I blog over at Hoosier Homemade. I share lots of great recipes, home decorating ideas and frugal living.

Brenda shares her recipe for Date and Nut Pinwheel Cookies.

My name is Brenda and This was always my favorite cookie and is now a favorite of my families it was my great grandmothers and it belonged to her mother. So it has been around a long time. When she could no longer make these her self she passed the recipe on.She passed on a few years ago at age 98.   I get requests every year for the recipe. And thought maybe someone out there might be interested in trying it also. Brenda blogs at Trying To Keep It Simple.

Janet Marie Huff shares her recipe for her Mint Meltaways.

My name is Janet Marie Huff.  My first love/passion  is being a wife and a mom.  I like to write cookbooks, learn, do research, and I also truly love to teach.  I’m  an instructor for continuing ed. at two universities in  our area.  Using whole grains/basic foods, and helping  others learn how to do so, is a joy for me.   My sites: dollaradaymeals.com and eatwheat.com

Susan Williams shares her recipe for No Bake Festive Cookie Wreaths.

Susan R. Blaske Williams is the author of “Making It Home: How to Run Your Household Like a Business… And Find Your Heart Along the Way.” Susan lives in the north Georgia mountains with her beloved husband and family pets. She is a mother of four, grandmother, former home school teacher and owner of three successful home-based businesses and enjoys writing articles about home, family and business – and how to successfully combine all three. Visit the Making It Home Blog at http://www.makingithomewebzine.com/blog

Jenn Thorson shares her recipe for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Peanut Cookies in a Jar

As for me, I am a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom to two great kids, Will (almost 4) and Leah (17 months). I keep myself busy spending time with my kids and relearning the lost art of being a housewife. In my spare time, I write freelance articles for The Untrained Housewife (www.untrainedhousewife.com) and volunteer at my local Women’s Pregnancy Center. The purpose of my blog, Mommy Musings and Meditations, is to encourage wives and mothers in their spiritual walk and to share some of my favorite recipes along the way! On Wednesdays you’ll find a cute little quote from my spunky little boy as well (I call them “Will-isms”). I hope to expand my blog with menu plans and other learn-as-I-go homemaking tips. I hope you all will join me as we learn and grow together!

Debbie Hegeman shares her recipe for Oatmeal Date Bars.

My blog  is Debbie’s L’bri. L’Bri is an Aloe based skincare company.  On my blog I talk about natural skincare and natural food, herbs etc.

BobbieSue Hill shares her recipe for Peanut Butter Criss Cross Cookies

My name is BobbieSue Hill. I own Fusion Handcrafts, and I have a new, related blog fusionhandcrafts.blogspot.com.
My blog is generally about the things that I make and saving money.

Amber Hockman shares her recipe for Pretzels with Pizzaz

I’m just a girl who dreamed of being a Wonder Woman one day, and from the looks of my life now, I think I achieved my goal! After receiving my undergrad in Teacher Education and my Master’s degree in Holistic Education, I served for six years in the public school system. I taught gifted students, ranging from Kindergarten-8th grade. I honestly believe Goad gave me all these opportunities to prepare me for the BEST job I’ve EVER had- a home schooling mother! I blog at http://thefantasticfive-hockmana.blogspot.com.

Kathie Schmidt shares her recipe for Russian Tea Balls.

I have a blog titled “The Creation of Possum Manor.”  www.kathieschmidt.com. I am a city girl who moved to the mountains of North Carolina ten years ago. I have learned to can, bake, and tend chickens. I make my own laundry detergent, dish washer detergent ( sorry, no one is getting that machine away from me!), and dryer sheets.  I have had a blast!!!  My New Year’s resolution is to go at least fifty percent non processed in my life.Oh, my full time job is high school English teacher.

Judy Faulkner shares her recipe for Norwegian Oatmeal Lace Cookies.

Hello, my name is Judy and I am sort-of a stay at home mom. I run a small home-based daycare so I could stay at home with my own children (18 & 10 now). I also sell Avon to help make ends meet. I also love to bake and hope to turn that into a money-maker one day. My great-grandfather was born in Norway, so the recipe I’m sharing is a Norwegian Oatmeal Lace Cookie. I hope everyone enjoys it. It is very easy to make.
Last but not least, here are two of my own favorite cookies – Snickerdoodles and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Warmly,

Susanne Myers – The Hillbilly Housewife

P.S. Here are some graphics you can use to help use promote the Virtual Cookie Exchange 2009. Please link them to this page.

Small Cookie Exchange Button

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Getting Rid of Iron Stains in the Shower

My fiberglass shower suround gets really discolored, mostly from iron in our water. I can’t use Bon Ami–it scratches the fiberglass. And the cleaners I’ve looked at in the store either aren’t safe for fiberglass, or haven’t worked. I’ve tried three or four different ones.