How to Green Your Swiffer ~ Refill and Reusable pads

Mondays are for housework at my house. I find it’s a great way to get the week started fresh – and after the weekend, our home always needs a bit of a sprucing up.
This house has laminate floors (I know, I like hardwood better too, but this is what we have.) For convenience, I like to use a Swiffer wet-jet to mop, but I don’t really like the stuff that comes in the refill bottles.
It seems to leave a film on my floor.
It smells too strong.
And oh mylanta! it’s expensive.

I wanted to refill the bottle with my own solution, but those evil corporate geniuses that created it did not intend for the bottle to be refillable.
However, I’m not one to take no for an answer so I found a way to do it anyway.
First boil about a cup of water. Use the stove top or microwave. Pour water into a coffee cup. Carefully (don’t burn yourself) soak the cap end of your swiffer wet jet bottle in the hot water for a minute or two.
green your swiffer
Remove the bottle from the water and dry it off. Use a wrench or pliers and a tiny bit of elbow grease to remove the cap.
green your swiffer
Rinse it out and refill with your own solution. I added 1/4 cup of white vinegar and few drops of lavender essential oil to my empty bottle, then filled it to the top with warm water. Twist cap back on. You will see that it goes on tight and will not leak.
green your swiffer
Hmm… now to find something to keep me from having to waste my money on those disposable pads.
How about an old washcloth? Yes!
I used binder clips to attach one to my swiffer head, being careful not to cover the nozzle that the cleaner sprays from.
green your swiffer
How does it work? Better than ever!
My floors feel so much cleaner – no sticky filmy residue.
There is no cloying perfumy smell. In fact, once they have dried there’s no scent at all other than a faint hint of lavender.
I have nothing to throw away when I am done mopping, so there is no waste.
Best of all, my refill costs only a few cents.

Mondays are looking even better around here.

Coconut Oil Deodorant and Body Moisturizing Bar

I haven’t used deodorant all summer. Want to hang out?
Actually, I’ve only been accused of smelling a bit funky one time, and I’ve asked my family plenty.
Wow, it’s hot today. Smell my pits!
That was hard work. I’m sweaty. Smell my pits!
So far, I’ve only gotten one P.U.. (Apparently homemade deodorant doesn’t work as well when you wear synthetic fabrics. Then again, conventional deodorants don’t work as well with those types of fabrics either.)
I’d seen several recipes online, but many used ingredients that I didn’t have lying around the house. I wasn’t motivated enough to spend my money on a bunch things that may or may not make a good product and that I had no other use for.
The recipes that seemed the most promising were mainly coconut oil. One day I was using my homemade coconut oil moisturizing bar and thought, what have I got to lose (except people wanting to stand close to me in elevators)? I rubbed some under my arms, and began my experiment.
Eureka (not to be confused with you-reek-a)! It works.
My pits don’t stink.
My skin is feels soft and lovely.
I didn’t have to buy anything new.
This might be my new best friend.

Want to make your own? Of course you do!
Here’s how:
Place your jar of coconut oil in a couple of inches of hot water to melt.
Coconut Oil Moisturizing Bar (and deodorant)

Pour some, say 1/2 a cup or so, into one of those thin plastic storage cups.
Coconut Oil Moisturizing Bar (and deodorant)

Add a few drops of essential oils. I like lavender and tea-tree, both for the scent and for the skin healing properties (great for freshly shaven underarms).
Coconut Oil Moisturizing Bar (and deodorant)

Allow to cool and solidify.
Coconut Oil Moisturizing Bar (and deodorant)

Pop it out of the container.
Coconut Oil Moisturizing Bar (and deodorant)
Rub on skin.
Ooh and ahh.
Put the bar down and rub oil into your skin (and underarms). Allow to absorb for a few moments before getting dressed.
Note: Coconut oil is liquid above 76°.   Now, I know it’s summer. If you don’t have AC and your bar stays soft, you can either just scoop a small amount out to use, or keep your container in the fridge.

Now, who wants to stand next to me on the elevator?

Though I do like the sound of Ninja Slug-Assassin

garden June 2011
It may not look all that impressive, but my garden is coming along quite nicely, thank you.
At least it is now. This has been a tough year so far.
From what I understand, we Oregonians recently came out of the worst spring on record. It wasn’t quite the wettest (I think it came in 4th) nor the coldest (2nd or 3rd) but combining the extreme cold with the extreme wet made it the worst in at least 70 years.
Why did I choose this year to get a little over excited and start planting too early?
Lettuces should be okay in March right? Nothing sprouted.
Okay, trying again in April. Nada.
May? Sorry, but no.
After three tries with seeds, I switched to seedlings. And they were eaten all up by slugs. Apparently, someone forgot to tell the slugs that this was a terrible spring and they should stay home in bed. They loved the horrible weather and expressed that love, by… well, making lots of babies.
So maybe they did get the memo about staying home in bed.
Anyway – I planted some beet and squash seedlings. The next morning they were full of holes. That evening I checked again and ended up picking 20 – twenty! slugs off one tiny plant. Neither the plant, nor the slugs survived that night. I drowned every last one of the slimy little buggers in a jar full of soapy water. And then I threw away the jar.
I really wanted to find an organic method of slug control that did not require me going ninja slug-assassin every night, so I turned to my good friend google for help. He came through, like always.
Turns out that slugs love to eat cornmeal. They can’t get enough of it.
That is, until they gorge themselves to death! [insert evil laugh]
I put a tablespoon or so in each of several plastic cups and placed them on their sides in the garden. I’ve seen slug trails in and around the cups, but the slugs are not bothering my plants any more.
It seems to be working!
Now if only I could find something in my kitchen cupboard that would kill weeds. Or mow lawns.
Any suggestions?

Works for me Wednesday

Need a gorgoeous holiday gift?

My niece, Lindsey, has just opened a lovely little online shop specializing in knitted hats, headbands and adorable fabric flowers.
Newt agreed to do a bit of modeling for her website so we headed to the park this morning for a photo shoot.
Here she is modeling the Libby-Lou hat and it is even more gorgeous in person. You should feel how soft it is. Heaven. Oh, and the little flower is a detachable pin that could go on a sweater, purse, barrette for your hair… You get the idea. Get your own at Petals and Posh.



Legal Disclaimer: Newt received the hat free in exchange for her services, but I have not received any sort of compensation for this “review”.
It was absolutely unsolicited.
In fact, Lindsey doesn’t even know I’m posting it.
Hope that’s okay…
Maybe I should have asked first…

How to Turn a Chore Into an Adventure

We got up early, both to beat the heat and to heighten the sense of adventure. Everything seems more exciting if you have to get up early for it.
It’s a fact.
Though, I think someone forgot to inform my girl. When I woke her at 6:00, Newt cracked one bleary eye and said, “humnazzzzzz”. Then rolled herself up in her comforter and turned her back to me.
I replied with a whispered, “We’ll stop for donuts” and then had to run to keep up with my eager child.
Everything seems more exciting if donuts are involved.
We arrived at the farm just a bit after seven, fingers still sticky from our sweet morning treat, and the hunt began. We were looking for rows of green in a sea of yellow.
“Look Mom, over there!”
Betty, the farmer’s wife, told me that a leaky irrigation pipe had rendered these few rows too muddy to harvest. The beans were ours for the picking. Betty told me to just rip up the whole plant and stuff it in a lawn bag. I could pull the beans off at home.
Newt and I set to work, pulling plants from the dirt while keeping a weather eye out for snakes. When she got tired, she climbed into the back of the car and started picking beans from the vine.

Four lawn bags later, we headed home, choosing a new way for fun. When we came to a river with no bridge, I asked Newt to scout around for a fairy we could ask for help.
One came, but not the kind she was expecting.
Safely on the other side, we continued our journey pausing only to race a train down the road.
It won.
But we did too.
We arrived home satisfied in the knowledge that an ordinary Thursday had been transformed into an adventure.
Up next? The dishes!

How many days are there in August?

How about November?

I know because my second grade teacher taught me a trick, a trick that I still use all these years later.
Ball your hands into fists.
Now look at them. Do you see how your knuckles make bumps and valleys?
If you assign each bump and valley a month of the year, in order, the bump-months will be the ones with 31 days, while the valleys will be the ones that only have 30 (except for February, which has 28-ish days).
Confused yet?
Maybe a visual will help.
I’ve asked Newt to be my hand model:
How many days in August?
I’ve always been amazed that this works so well.
And it’s not just that every other month has 31 days.
Oh, no.
If you look at July and August, they are both on bumps and they both have 31 days.

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