DIY All Natural Home Cleaners

DIY Natural Cleaners!

I have been making my own laundry detergent for a few years now and constantly tell my friends and family how much money it saves our family and how good I feel that I know exactly what’s in the detergent. I have read so many times how easy it is to make all your household cleaners, but have never taken the plunge. Well, today’s the day! I threw all my chemical based expensive cleaners away and traded them for some new empty squirt bottles and some everyday natural ingredients, most of which I already had. I hope to get some shiny new glass bottles soon, some colored so my hydrogen peroxide does not lose its potency, but for now all I have are plastic.

Here’s a simple list of the ingredients I needed to create my natural cleaners;
Hydrogen peroxide
White vinegar
Washing Soda
Fels Naptha Bar Soap
Baking Soda
Citric Acid
Natural dish liquid soap
(I like Seventh Generation)
And a few essential oils- there are so many great essential oils you can be using to clean your house, but I started with just a few for these cleaners; lemon e.o.- antibacterial and smells SO good, eucalyptus and tea tree e.o- anti fungal, and grapefruit because of its amazing smell!

Here are the natural cleaners I am currently using that may work for your family. Please remember that although these ingredients are all natural they can still cause skin irritation and be dangerous if ingested.  Always read the labels on all the ingredients, especially the essential oils as they are very strong, keep them out of reach of your children, and test to ensure they do not cause any kind of reaction for your family. Also, remember to keep your hydrogen peroxide in a dark or cloudy bottle as it will lose its potency with light.

My favorite all purpose cleaner– my son has named it indagrease oil- fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and add a few drops of lemon essential oil. I usually only make enough to last a couple days and refill as needed.

Laundry Detergent– grate one bar of fels Naptha and add to a sauce pan with 4 cups of water. Stir until melted over medium/low heat. Fill a five gallon bucket (like a paint bucket from Home Depot) half full with hot water. Add the melted soap, 1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda, and 1/2 cup Borax. Mix well so all ingredients dissolve completely. Fill the rest of the way with hot water. Stir, cover, and let it sit over night. You can add your favorite essential oil when it has cooled if you desire. Use 15-20 drops. This will thicken overnight and will need to be stirred periodically.

Dingy whites laundry booster– add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the wash water and let your clothes sit for 20-30 minutes. Then run your regular cycle.

Dish washing detergent– 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup citric acid, 1/2 cup kosher salt. Use 1 tablespoon per load and fill rinse aid compartment with white vinegar (if desired) I have found the citric acid to be essential so there is no white residue left on my dishes.

Bath tub cleaner– mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Add a couple drops of tea tree and eucalyptus e.o. (these are very strong and can irritate or burn skin so use sparingly and rinse the tub well before giving your child a bath).

Shower and tub wall cleaner– fill a dishwashing brush half full with vinegar and the other half with a natural dishwashing liquid like Dr. Bronners or Seventh Generation. Add a couple drops of grapefruit or lemon essential oils if desired. Use brush on shower walls and rinse away with water. This can be done quickly and easily while you take a shower!

I hope you enjoy these natural cleaners for your home and all the money it will save you!

Warm Bottles Ready Any Time

With each child I have mixed feelings when the time to stop nursing arrives. I feel a bit sad that that phase of their babyhood is coming to an end. I also feel a bit relieved because it can be a struggle to fit in all that nursing time, especially with two other youngsters running around. It also brings about so many new complications. No longer can you feed anywhere and anytime. My biggest struggle is having  warm bottles when needed. With my first two, I would be searching for a gas station to heat up the bottle or trying to entice my little one to drink a cold bottle. Sometimes we would place the bottle near the windshield hoping to heat it enough with the sun.

With our newest little one, I have had to stop nursing sooner than I originally planned due to some complications. I was absolutely dreading going out for the day and having to figure out warm bottles along the way. I woke up one morning and boiled a pot of water to make myself some tea and got a brilliant (well brilliant is a relevant term when you live in mom world) idea. Instead of brewing my tea, I poured the boiling water into a slim thermos that was sitting useless in our cabinet. The thermos slid perfectly into the pocket on the side of my backpack and I knew it was meant to be!

I now boil water each morning when we will be out for the day. I bring along the thermos and a bottle of water with a few empty bottles and formula. When the baby needs a bottle, I fill the bottle half full with the boiling water and the rest of the way with the bottled water to get the perfect temperature. Perfect warm bottles every time with no fuss! I cannot believe it took me three children to figure this out, but I’ve got to say it has made life so much easier.

I am always looking for ideas to keep life simple with little ones. Take some time to share your brilliant ideas below!

Great way to spend a snowy day with kids

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you snow, make snow ice cream!

If you were to come to our home and ask the kids what the best part of winter is, my guess is you would hear, “snow ice cream”. I tend to make this with the kids pretty much every time it snows. Probably because I love it just as much as they do. And what’s more fun than making a mess in the kitchen with the kids on a snowy day.

My excuse for making it so often is, “this could be the last snow of the year.” This statement it not nearly as believable in December as it is in late April, but my husband smiles at me as we indulge in our sweet treat.

Here are the easy directions for making snow ice cream. Enjoy and make some memories with your kids.

  • Fill a large bowl with clean snow
  • Stir in enough milk to make it your desired consistency. Do this slowly as it doesn’t take much!
  • Then add a few drops of vanilla and some sugar to taste.

The amount of each ingredient depends on how much ice cream you are making at once. Just taste as you go until it tastes just the way you want. It will not keep, so enjoy it quickly after you make it!

Enjoy purposful days with your kids

We just had our third child in October of last year. An amazing baby boy. God must have known that we had our hands full because he has been an easy going, joy from day one.

With this new addition to our family, my husband and I decided that I should stay home from work and just be “mom”. Prior to this decision I was working as an elementary school teacher. Much like parenting, teaching is something you put everything you have into.

I have truly loved being home with the kids and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to experience mom hood in this way. However, after almost a year, I am still trying to get my footholds and figure out exactly what is best for our kids each day. As well as figuring out the best way to spend my time. One day I think I should have played with them more and let the other things go, the next day I am feeling like all we do is play and the kids need to see the other duties of life. It is an emotional, physical, and mental roller coaster that I had not known I was about to ride.

I have come to realize that the best days are the days when we are doing something with purpose, together. When we are all involved and working towards a common goal. Today we went outside to spread grass seed. Something so simple, yet something that was not about any one of us inparticular. We each had a job, my four year old used the hand spreader and ran all around trying to get as much ground covered as possible, my little girl used a small plastic cup, and I raked the ground to spread in the seed. Yes, they took play breaks, my daughter did more digging in the mud than spreading seed, and we had a few tears along the way, but for the most part everyone was cheerful and we really enjoyed each other. I think what I have learned is the kids are proud when they have helped with something, they feel more a part of our family, and we are able to “play” and enjoy our time while doing something with more substance.

Leaving the classroom for a while and becoming an at home mom has left me constantly searching for something more to do. My husband would attest to that, as every night when he comes home, I have a new business venture we should embark on. However, I know that with kids, less is more. I just need to enjoy each moment and involve them in the tasks and adventures of each day, while mixing in some play and crazy kid time!

With all that said, I am looking forward to planting a garden, maybe even adding some animals and/or bees to our little plot of land (if I can talk the family into it), so we can all enjoy some fun projects together that get us outside!



I Just Had to Laugh!

This is how it started…

My two year old opened a package of peanut M&M’s and casually started eating them in the checkout line.

The baby was screaming because we were at the grocery store way too long and he thought he was going to starve.

As I began putting the groceries away, I discovered my thawing shrimp had leaked onto every shelf and into every bin below it in the refrigerator.

I found a hole in the lid to one of the yogurts we had just purchased, which managed to get on everything else that had traveled home in that bag.

During this time, the baby is still crying, my four year old is pulling out all his best tricks to get him to stop, my two year old is singing “Jesus loves me” at the top of her lungs, and I am trying to get dinner to a point where I can sit down and nurse my little one.

There’s a calm moment where I decide to sit down with the baby while the other two look through our library books.

Seconds later, my sweet two year old who is potty training, looks at me and says, “Mommy, I’m pooping.” So I rush to her, still nursing, and try to get her to her little potty in time. We didn’t make it.

Her brother cheers her on for getting a tiny bit of poop in the potty and she is glowing with pride. Neither child seemed to notice the mess all around the potty.

I remain on the floor with her, making sure she didn’t move, while allowing the baby to finish nursing.

I am able to set the baby down, clean up the mess, and finish dinner without another incident…

As I set dinner on the table, my little girl finds the M&M’s she had torn into at the store, picks the bag up, and spills every single one on the floor.

Life is never dull!



Potty Training Days 2 and 3

Day two and three were even easier than day one because she never had to pee! Except at naptime and bedtime when we are putting diapers on her anyway. This either means she is not ready or she will be the easiest kid in the world to train. My guess is we are in for it in the coming weeks, but we already started so here we go!

Day One: No More a Diapers!

Well, we’ve said good-bye to diapers and hello to marshmallows, juice, and a half naked toddler. Yes, we bribe for potty training. One marshmallow every time she tries and three if she gets anything in the potty…even just a drop at this point! All in all it was a pretty successful day! We watched Elmo’s Potty Time 4 times, had three successful attempts on the potty (including one poop!), and were all sick from eating so many marshmallows. We get them too, as long as we cheer her on! Any other day, and I would not have been so happy to be cleaning up so much pee off the floor, but watching her smile every time we cheered for her and realizing what a big step this is for her, made it all worth it! Now I hope I can remember that as she continues to perfect this skill for the coming months!

Please share some of your potty training stories. We would love to hear your method and funny memories!  We are using, though slightly modifying, the 3 day potty training method because it worked with our son, but who knows if it will work this time. Stay tuned!

Keep your house clean without loosing your mind!

Two simple tips to keep your life and house in order without loosing your mind:

  1. Have less stuff: this is always a work in progress for me, but the less stuff that is cluttering up your space, the less stuff you have to clean around, tidy up, put away, find space for, stress about. My advice is, only keep what you truly love. If it doesn’t give you joy then get rid of it. I am still working on this in our house and the area that gets the most out of control for me is the kids play room and our books! I love children’s literature and even though we go to the library on a consistent basis, I still keep an entire library selection of our own books all around the house for the kids.
  2. Clean when you see the need: instead of spending an entire morning cleaning the house, spend 20 minutes here and there when the need arises. I often notice the bathroom needs a clean when I am giving the kids a bath so as they play in the tub, I spend 15 minutes wiping down surfaces, cleaning the toilet, and sanitizing the floor. If there’s a pile of laundry I throw it in the wash. After each meal, I clean a few dishes and wipe down counters, stoves, etc. if needed. If I clean this way, I spend just a few minutes rather than dread a day of cleaning. My house is never perfectly clean, but I would also say it is usually very presentable. I’ve tried cleaning schedules, but I stress about not getting it done if something comes up. Also, don’t forget to give yourself a little grace. Having a clean house is not the most important part of parenting, it is something that you can let go of and enjoy the other parts of parenting a lot more.

I hope you find this helpful and can make your life at least a little easier. Share your tips too. It’s always nice to get tips and tricks from other busy parents!

11 Best Parenting Tips I’ve Ever Received!

The moment you announce you are pregnant, people will be lining up to impart their parenting wisdom on you. Even strangers assume you cannot wait to hear what they have to say. This will continue throughout parenthood, welcomed or not. Some of this advice will stick with you and truly help you along the way, but most you will dismiss. Here are a few things I have learned along the way. I hope you can use something in your parenting adventures!

Get a minivan! 

Don’t be afraid to be a stereo type. Trust me, it will make your life so much easier. No more smashing the kids through a small opening when someone parks to close to you. With a click of a button, the doors in your van will slide wide open! Plus, minivans are made for moms and come equipped with lots of great features just for us!

Don’t change your life (unless, of course, it needed changing) just because you have kids

After you get through the craziness of the first 3 months with an infant you will probably be able to resume many of the same activities you used to do, in a tired fog. If you like to hike, invest in a baby carrier. If you like to run, get a jogging stroller (always follow safety warnings for age and other precautions.). If you enjoy bike riding, find the right bike trailer or carrier (again, please follow all safety instructions).

Laugh at yourself

There will be moments when you mess up and think you have probably messed your children up too. Learn to laugh at yourself instead of being so hard on yourself.

Laugh at your kids

When I say laugh at your kids, I don’t mean make them feel bad. I mean enjoy them! Enjoy the funny things kids do and say. Laugh with your spouse as you’re laying in bed at night thinking about the day. Find humor in even the misbehavior of your young children.

When we were teaching our first child to pick up his toys we used the famous Love and Logic line, ” feel free to keep the toys you pick up.” He quickly learned that some toys were worth picking up and some were not. One day he made a particularly big mess with a basket of toys and when he was done playing he came over to me and said, ” Mom, you can keep those toys.” He was not even two!

Don’t size up the competition

Let your kids be themselves and show you all they are capable of! Don’t worry what other moms’ are saying about their kids. It is probably a little exaggerated anyway! We all love our kids and see them through rose colored glasses.

Praise more than you correct

Try to notice all the great things they do, no matter how small!

Let them be kids

Don’t forget to have fun with your kids.

Well rested kids are happier kids, well rested moms are happier moms

Keep nap time and/or quiet time going as long as you can. If your child doesn’t nap anymore they can still use some down time and so can you!

Let your children see you doing things that you love

Your children will learn to love life and develop hobbies if you show them yours. Plus, if all your children see is the boring stuff adults have to do like dishes, laundry, and going to work, they will probably have no desire to become one!

Spend time without your kids

Go on dates with your spouse. Your children need to see how much you love each other!


This piece of advice came from my 3 year old son and may have had the biggest impact on my parenting. One day as I was doing the dishes I looked up and my son was smiling at me with a big awkward looking smile. I smiled back and he just kept on smiling. When I asked him what he was doing he said, “sometimes I can’t tell if you’re happy or sad because your face doesn’t look that happy, so I am trying to cheer you up!”

Smile often, your children will reciprocate it!