New things and experiments

So lately I’ve been making some changes in my household cleaning and personal maintenance routines that I thought I’d share. 🙂 Probably none of it will be “new” to anyone, but it might pique your interest in some of this stuff too. Especially when I tell you that you can save OODLES of moo-lah when you make small changes. Okay, well it won’t be oodles right away, but over the long run it does add up. 😉

One thing I’ve been doing is to use vinegar a lot more in my cleaning routines. I use it in my rise cycle when washing clothes instead of fabric softener, and it works great!! And lest you think we’re all walking around in vinegar flavored clothes, it rinses completely out with not even a trace of the smell. In fact it does a good job of eliminating other unpleasant smells with a side benifit of keeping your washer a lot cleaner! So give that one a whirl if you dare. It really does work well.

Vinegar also works good as just an all purpose cleaner for mopping, counter tops, bathrooms, you name it! Well… nonporous surfaces. 😉 I’m sure you could guess that though! I’m going to work into using it more once I use up all the rest of my chemical products. Yes, I have a hard time wasting things even to avoid all the icky chemicals that they now say not to use. Ha! But really if you hop online and do a little browsing about vinegar you’ll find all kinds of amazing uses for it.

One of my favorite, that I’m so glad we found, was using it on bug bites to kill the sting! Myles has had his share, poor dude, of nasty bites! First it was the hornet that stung him a couple of times, and then he’s recently had run-ins with some red ants. As soon as I can get the bug off I dab on vinegar to the spot and the sting immediately stops. At least the crying immediately stops so I assume the stinging does too. Try it next time you have a bug bite. It works!!

So that’s some of it, then not to long ago a friend of mine posted on her blog an experiment she’d been doing with making herself stop pre rinsing dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. I have to admit that I was a pretty diehard pre-rinser! I think it had something to do with washer that were honestly pathetic! 😉 But we got a new dishwasher this year so I thought, hey, I should give this a whirl! After all what’s the point of having a dishwasher if you have to “wash” the dishes before you wash them?? Emily pointed out something that she had read about just how much water you really waste when you pre-rinse dishes and it was something like 28 gallons, so there you go, even more incentive. Well, I experimented with it and think that I’ve found the balance. I realized a couple of things. One, I can’t even slightly overload the dishwasher or stuff won’t come clean! That’s probably fine though, I’m sure it’s better for me to do smaller loads. It usually works out for me to do 2 loads of dishes a day, especially now that I’ve got extra kids in the house. And two, I also learned that SOME things just have to be rinsed out first. For example, and this is the biggest one, the pan I cook oatmeal in will NOT get clean in the dishwasher unless it’s mostly rinsed out. I’m pretty sure that somewhere in time oatmeal was used as a base for cement, so no big surprises there. 🙂 But I have really enjoyed the time it saves in not pre-rinsing dishes and also the happy feeling of not using all that water for nothing. Really the dishes have been coming out clean and sparkling, and I finally have a dishwasher that lives up to it’s name!!!

Next one of my good friends (I claim her for a sis) has started this awesome blog called Beauty and Inspiration. I’ve gotten a lot of great tips and ideas from her. This one I ‘discovered’ before she published her post, but I didn’t try it till she had been the guinea pig first. 😉 It’s been several weeks since I used regular shampoo now because I’ve been using a baking soda wash!! It’s supposed to be mucho better for your hair because you’re not constantly subjecting it to a lot of harsh chemicals that are used in shampoos. I have to tell you though, that while I’ve read of a lot of people have really great success with this method, I’m not so in love with it. Honestly it works as far as getting your hair clean, but it doesn’t make my hair feel OR look nice. I’ve been struggling with pretty dry icky hair anyway through this pregnancy (a friend told me it’s because when you are having a girl she “steals” your beauty) so my hair needed something more than what the baking soda could do for it. I also added an apple cider vinegar rinse to the routine, yes another amazing use for vinegar and it does a great job of making your hair pretty and shiny, but even that didn’t seem to help as much as I needed. SOOOO not one to be daunted I searched online for other “non shampoo” options and found to my delight a co-wash method which is basically conditioner only wash. It had some interesting tips and testimonials, of course, but sounded like something that my hair could really use! So last night I tried it with a twist. They say to use a CUP of conditioner on your hair, and I just can’t really see doing that, plus to leave it in for 10-15 min. Well our water pressure won’t stand up to a shower like that so I made some modifications. First, I added a tablespoon of baking soda to the conditioner, which I used about 1/2 cup. Then I also added about a tablespoon of some coconut oil that I just got in the mail and am already crazy about!! I stirred up my concoction and plastered it into my mid-back length hair. I think part of the reason I wasn’t so thrilled with just the soda wash was because of the length of my hair. It caused many more tangles and and over all ickyness to the long part. So anyway, after my co-wash (sorta) I did use a vinegar rinse to end it, and yes the smell rinses right out, not an issue. I could tell right away that my hair felt MUCH better! Ahhhhhhh!!! I could actually run my fingers through it without snags! Yes!!! I mean, what’s the point of long hair if you, or your hubby ;-), can’t run your fingers through it?? So the verdict this morning after my hair had dried is that while I’m going to have to tweak the measurments a little, I love it!!! My hair is super soft and very shiny and just feels so much better! I’m enjoying it being long today which I haven’t lately and was contemplating something drastic!! I think the coconut oil was a little too much so I’ll save it for “deep conditioning” treatments from now on. Besides I have another use for that!

On the Beauty and Inspiration blog I mentioned there was also a post about OCM (oil cleansing method) that I’ve seen in several other places too. Apparently a lot of this “old” stuff is coming back and a good thing too!! It’s amazing the skin/hair issues we have with all the “products” we use to prevent those very things! Anyway, this is basically to use oil to clean your face. You get a dab of quality oil like olive or coconut and gently massage it into the skin of your face and neck for a few minutes. Wow, is it ever relaxing!! I thought I would hate it because I’m not a huge fan of that “greasy” feel on my face. I bought the coconut oil for this express purpose because I don’t care for the smell of olive oil on me. It didn’t feel heavy or greasy at all, it felt great!!! Then when you’ve finished the massage you gently wipe it off with a warm cloth! I couldn’t get over how good it made my face feel!! It’s still as soft as can be… probably softer than I ever even remember it being! And this morning it looked very healthy and even, if that makes any sense. Still really soft too, I can’t stop touching it! Ha! 🙂 So I’m sold on the OCM for sure!! The smell of the oil was awesome and I felt so relaxed after doing it. I too often brush off “pampering” myself because I feel too tired from papering the lads all day. Ha ha (excuse the diaper pun!) But just a tiny thing can make such a big difference!!! I’d like to thank my friends, Kilika and Emily for helping me branch out of my routine (rut) a little bit and try some new things that make life easier/better/more affordable! 🙂

Happy weekend everyone! Try something new even if it seems weird to you, you might just be surprised!

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