Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Desert Lovers Dream!

So I tempted our Facebook followers with news that I would posting a video...and then it totally didn't turn out the way I was expecting. It was still a blast to make and I'm glad I did it, but it wasn't quite the internet fodder I thought it would be. Maybe it will grace the pages of Pinstrosity some day, but that day is not today.

What I do have for you today is my newest love/obsession! My dear friend Manny recently gifted me with two precious and ridiculously amazing lamps that belonged to her Grandmother. To say that I feel honored and loved to now have these items in my possession would be an understatement. They are magnificent. While going through some of Grandma's things they saw the lamps and were reminded of my desert inspired home. While I live in Utah, New Mexico will always be home. When we went to Arizona over Spring break I was giddy with the sight of desert mountains, brown everything and saguaro cactus #truelove. Manny and sweet Mama Kay thought that the lamps would look great in my space and offered them to me. There I was staring at the pictures on my phone with tears of love welling up in my eyes. I am tickled that these ladies love me enough to share these treasures with me.

I received the lamps yesterday and they are SO much better in person than in picture.

The first lamp is by a native New Mexican artist whose signature is GH, any ideas?? I've done some research and can't find exactly who made the piece but would love to know more about it.
The second lamp was made by Grandma Nanneman (she was so multi-talented! Her rhubarb jam is divine by the way). I love them! They are PERFECT for my space! Now I have to pick/make some lampshades!
I have pinned a few ideas, but I would love your help Pinstrositeers!

Here are a few of my ideas, but I am open to anything! I know you all have swoon worthy pin boards and I would love for you to share them with me! I can't wait to see what you have in mind!
I will definitely keep you updated on #projectlamp. To leave things off today here are a few of the pins I took inspiration from when thinking about this project.

I would love to try to make this with watercolors and some thin paper to really make the colors and light pop!

I would love to try this with teal colored beads or even real turquoise beading!

I like the hidden design on this, and since it's underneath you could really do something crazy and get away with it!

I love the feel of this lamp, while I have no intentions of replicating it, because there is some serious artistry happening here I love the idea behind it, there is a very subtle power in the inlaid turquoise.

I think it would be fun to do an Aztec-y design with something like this.

Happy Thursday all!

Monday, March 28, 2016

My "Orange" Dress Makeover

So, not too long ago I tried to dye a dress orange. You remember that, right? If not, you can see that adventure here. Just as a refresher...the white dress turned pink. 

Not only was it pink...but it still wasn't flattering and still was quite see through. This bum did not fit in the coverage zone of that tiny built in slip you see there. 

So having only spent $11 on the dress and $9 on dye that didn't work, I decided to take it apart and see if I could remake it into something wearable. And if not, I was only out $20. More than I wanted to be out, but at least it wasn't an expensive dress I was getting set to experiment on! 

So I sat down with my seam ripper and separated it all out. Took the zipper out, separated the skirt from the bodice, and took the lining off the bodice. 

I thought this would be pretty simple. I stitched the edges of the bodice, tucked the back a little and turned it into a jacket. Easy! And then it was time for the skirt. It went fast. I added a back to the waist band and reattached the zipper. And I thought I was done! 

Cameron came home, I put it all on to show him my handiwork, and the skirt wasn't pretty. It lumped funny in back where the zipper was, the waist band folded in on itself, and it made my hips look wider than they already are post 2 kids. And then the weird slip inside still looked weird even with me wearing another slip beneath it. It just wasn't going to cut it. 

So out came the seam ripper again. Off came the zipper. Off came the waist band. Off came the built in slip completely. And off to Walmart I went (because on a Saturday evening, that was my option unless I wanted to drive an hour to the real fabric store). 

I found some decent quality white knit, bought 3 yards of it and some elastic, and headed back home to experiment some more. 

I should have taken step by step pictures, but I wasn't sure this was even going to work and by the time I got sewing it was 10 at night. I just wanted to get it done! But basically I split the knit fabric in two and sewed each section into a tube. I slipped one knit tube in the other, and then put the skirt fabric tube in the center and sewed them all together at the top and turned it right side out. From there I added the elastic, sewed a casing for it, and then hemmed the layers. Voila...a makeshift maxi skirt that was no longer see through! 

It isn't the most beautiful skirt ever, but it is miles better than what the dress was and now I can actually wear it! It was perfect for my Easter outfit yesterday! 

But...there is a Pinstrosity involved...

Apparently even though it'd been rinsed twice, not all the dye was out of the seams in the jacket. My nice new-to-me white shirt I just got at Savers now has a coral stripe around each arm. Awesome. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What College Taught Me about Turning On Lights

While at Eastern Arizona College I worked for the Astronomy Teacher as his right hand minion. It was my life and I LOVED it. I was a full on astronomy nerd. 

Rather than have labs once a week in the day time and talk about the theoretics of what they would do if they could see the night sky right then, or even a short one a week night lab, we combined a semesters worth of lab time into two weekends. And It. Was. Awesome! Three nights on campus learning everything they could and then three nights out in the desert with telescopes learning hands on. I never missed a lab. Partly because it was my job, but largely because I loved them so much. 

One night after lab was over I got back to my off-campus housing, where I lived with 5 other was a nut house, but so fun! Since it was near 1 in the morning and the house was dark, it appeared everyone was asleep, I was as quiet as I possibly could be. I quietly unlocked the door and stepped in, and slowly slowly shut the door behind me. I didn't want to wake anyone up! Trying to keep my disturbance level low I didn't even turn on any lights. This was before we all had cell phones. I think one of us had one and we all thought she was the coolest and fanciest ever. So I couldn't even use my phone as a light. 

I had leftover dinner with me so I decided to creep to my bedroom by way of the kitchen rather than my normal route through the living room so I could label my food (because that ever works in a college house, baha!) and put it in the fridge. 

Suddenly I ran into something mid-calf high and I was falling. Trying to catch myself I took a step backwards while I turned and ran into something there too! I couldn't stop myself. I so gracefully fell backwards like a breaching whale. I think I may have even made a whale like "bwahhhhhh" as I fell. 

I can see it all slow motion in my head. 

I expected to hit the floor hard. But my fall was broken. 

By standing water! A foot of it! 

I quickly threw off my backpack and camera case to get my stuff out of the water, hoping I was tossing it to safety and not into more water.  

I can't tell you how confused I was. I'd just spent 8 hours teaching at labs, it was late, and my brain just couldn't figure out what was going on. What was I sitting in and why the heck did it have water in it?! I don't remember if I laughed or was grumbling at this point. But I'm pretty sure I wasn't too worried about being quiet any more. 

I turned on the lights. 

It was a swimming pool. A kiddie swimming pool with a little slide. Apparently some of the roommates decided to have an indoor spa, which was a really cool idea. And then being thoughtful they moved it over into the living room so that I wouldn't fall in on my trek through the living room when I got home. They just didn't anticipate the all consuming need to label my food. 

The lesson here? Just turn on the light for a second. You never know when it will save you from a burglar. Or a killer kiddie pool. 

(The next day it was used as a refill pot for an indoor water fight-because that's how college kids roll.)
About the "What College Taught Me" series:

In college I kept a small notebook with me constantly to write down things I learned. Not what I learned from my classes, but what I learned from the whole college experience. 

Looking through the pages you won't see notes about the meter in Shakespeare's sonnets, the chemical formula for silver plating, or the star names in Orion, even though those are all things I learned at college. 

Instead I wrote down life lessons. And man, did I have some good ones. Some were learned through good times. Some were learned through hard times. And some were learned through humor. 

That book has sat in my keepsake box for about 8 years now, and I realized it is well past time to pull it out and go back through the memories and the lessons. There are good lessons in there. Some only pertained to the college years, but some pertain to life. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rollin' With It!

It's March 21st! How did this happen?! Ten seconds ago I was planning for New New Years and 5 seconds ago I was celebrating it! Here! With friends!
Some co-workers and I got together after work and celebrated with Martinelli's, a veggie tray, and as any good adult party would have, streamers, confetti poppers, kazoos and hats.

And as any good hubby would, The Mr. Chips brought me my favorite cookies and flowers to start my favorite month off right.

How is your New New Years Peeps?!
I am feeling loads better with the new year and am feeling better prepared to tackle 2016 (good thing because it's almost April!).
The party was fun, low key and laid back but it was a nice event to physically toast in a new and intentionally good 2016. It gave me time to figure out what I wanted this year, what I really actually wanted and not just the generic New Year's resolutions of years past and faux new years start ups.

I hope you all have had a chance to be living more intentionally this year as well and have had a chance to reset and make this year what you wanted.

Part of living intentionally is taking what you have been dealt and making the best of it. #cliché I know, but if you really give that a chance you can come up with some great material.
Am I blogging the amount I feel like I should be or owe to you all and Marquette? No. Does this mean I need to throw a pity party and say sorry every chance I get? No. Not only would that be annoying, but it would be unnecessary. If I were to do that I would not be living to the very motto that probably brings many of you here, and our code of conduct here at Pinstrosity, "Life isn't Pinterest perfect, and neither are we.". We should never have to apologize for trying our very best.
Life can be hard, things that may seem or be easy to some may be challenging to others. Let's remember that.

Tonight as I write at 1:30 A.M. (I'm a reluctant night owl), I could stew about how I wished I had blogged about the party weeks ago, and I could mourn the fact that my closet has gone dirty for three weeks until about an hour ago, OR I could celebrate the fact that I did it! I got those clothes off the floor and put away, I blogged authentically today, AND as a bonus I spent time with my hubby (not an actual bonus, it's the main event ;) ), took a nap AND did a 4 miler around the neighborhood. Go me!

The moral of the story is that if we spent half the effort celebrating our accomplishments (even if little or trivial) that we did beating ourselves up about what we didn't do, or what we should have done, we would be more confident, happy and gracious humans.

What do you say? Give it a try for a day and see how it changes your outlook, if even only for a bit.

Happy New New Years!

Monday, March 21, 2016

How My Dream Decorating Style is Like a Pie

If you ever asked my Grandpa what his favorite kind of pie was, he'd tell you "Round!" Pies are one of the few baked goods I feel like I'm good at. Pie crusts specifically. I can make a mean flaky crust! Learning to make the edges pretty is still a work in progress however.

Recently I joined a group for photographers to connect, do weekly exercises, and to help build each other up and grow. This past week's exercise was to "describe the type of photographic style you aspire to by comparing it to food."

As I thought about that I realized that I not only could I describe my photography with a specific food, but that I could describe my dream decorating and home style to the same food with the same key words.

Inviting. Classy. Comfortable. Authentic. Homey. Subtle. Light (but not too airy). That is what I want my photography to be and what I want my home to be. My dream style is 1920's American Cottage Homestead. NOT Art Deco or Art Nouveau, but more classic and homey. Like these:

So when it came to food, I knew that it had to be something homemade, subtle, and comfortable. I first thought of biscuits and gravy. Comforting, subtle, homey. But not light, and needing a little more class. Suddenly, I knew the perfect food.


Specifically Buttermilk Pie!

A good Buttermilk Pie starts with authentic ingredients. Real butter. Fresh lemons. Buttermilk. Mmmm!

Then you need a well prepared crust to hold it all together.

And when combined and cooked just right you end up with a classy dessert that's comforting, subtly sweet, inviting, homey, and light!

It is fabulous plain, or with some simple garnishes.  Real whipped cream and raspberries...MMMmmm!!

When it comes to my home (current home and dream home), I want to keep it simple and classy. I want people to feel comfortable here. I want it to be a place where people feel like they can just relax, enjoy life, and be themselves. I want it to be inviting and light. I want little splashes of color on top of light neutrals (as with the raspberries on top of the whipped cream and pie) As with pie, I want people to come away from our home with a sweet taste in their mouth. And the garnish on top? Relationships and friendship. I want our home to be a place where we feel safe and connected as a family. Where friends feel they can come and be loved on. Because really, friends and family are the whipped cream of life!

What food would you compare your decorating style to?!

Buttermilk Pie Recipe:


1 1/2 c sugar
3 TBS flour
3 eggs
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c melted butter
1 1/2 tsp loosely packed lemon zest
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk in remaining ingredients. 
  3. Pour into prepared crust. 
  4. Line edges of crust with strips of tin foil to shield them from burning. Remove tin foil (I find it is easier to mold the tin foil at this point when the pan is cool rather than later when it is hot). 
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 
  6. Replace foil lining on edges. 
  7. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the top begins to turn golden. 
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour to let the pie finish setting up. 

No Fail Pie Crust Recipe


1 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. + 1 TBS shortening (I like using the butter flavored shortening)
2-4 TBS water

  1. Mix flour and salt together.
  2. Cut in the shortening (don't over mix here, there will be shortening clumps and chunks, that's normal and needed)
  3. Sprinkle in water 1 TBS at a time, mixing between each TBS. I use my hands to mix the dough, and I mix it by folding the dough in half rather than stirring or smashing). You want the dough to hold together and not be sticky.
  4. Sprinkle counter with flour and roll out dough to desired thickness.
  5. Place in pan, and poke 2-3 holes in bottom of crust (to prevent bubbles)
  6. Bake at 475 degrees for 8 minutes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What College Taught Me About Car Washes

One day in college I was on my way to work and realized I was going to be about 20 minutes early. This was a rare summer where I did have a car. Most of the year I was on foot, and that worked out great. But this summer I had a car. This was "way back" when not every college kid had a car or a cell phone, so I felt cool and wanted to keep the car looking nice. 

I figured I had just enough time to take the car through the automatic car wash. This car wash to be exact. 

I love car washes. They still kinda freak me out, but I love them. Rather than the spinning brush, this car wash had the long blue tentacles that slapped your car and made the whole world shake. 

So I was sitting there and a thought entered my head. And then it because a curiosity. And then an urge. I thought it'd be fun to roll down the window. 

Genius, I know. 

So I hit the button. The window came down. And...

I don't know what I was expecting. A gentle cool breeze as the ethereal blue cloths gently swished back and forth over my car? Yeah...not so much. 

Instantly the blue tentacles were bursting through the open window. I was instantly soaked, along with the seat, and all the papers on the seat next to me. 

I started battling the tentacles, trying to push them back out the window as they slapped my face and grabbed my hair. I was sure I was going to get sucked out the window and eaten by this monster posing as a car wash. 

So I started rolling up the window, but the tentacles were grabbing at the window. I was pretty sure they were going to snap the window right off. But I kept battling and shoving the tentacles back out the window as I slowly rolled it up. Finally the last tentacle was out and the window went up the last inch. 

The battle was over. I had survived! 

And I was a wreck! My nice clothes that I'd carefully washed to get out the smell of frying corn chips and refried beans (everyone has to pay their dues and waitress some time, right?) were now soaked and disheveled. My hair was worse than bed head. And the paperwork sitting on the seat next to me was limp. 

What was I going to do?! I couldn't show up to work like that! 

So I had a genius idea. 

When the blowers came by drying off the car, I rolled down the window. 

And the battle of the desert tornado began. 

Instantly papers were flying. My hair tried to eat my face and strangle me. My cheeks were flapping. 

So battling the papers, prying my hair from around my face and neck I found the window button and rolled it up as quickly as I could. 

My hair was much drier, but it was a hopeless rats nest. The car was covered in papers. And I'm pretty sure I looked like I'd just wrestled a bear. 

And then the light turned green telling me I could leave the tunnel of horrors. I flew out of there, catching a glimpse of the guy in the truck behind me in line, laughing hysterically. 

In college I kept a small notebook with me constantly to write down things I learned. Not what I learned from my classes, but what I learned from the whole college experience. 

Looking through the pages you won't see notes about the meter in Shakespeare's sonnets, the chemical formula for silver plating, or the star names in Orion, even though those are all things I learned at college. 

Instead I wrote down life lessons. And man, did I have some good ones. Some were learned through good times. Some were learned through hard times. And some were learned through humor. 

That book has sat in my keepsake box for about 8 years now, and I realized it is well past time to pull it out and go back through the memories and the lessons. There are good lessons in there. Some only pertained to the college years, but some pertain to life. 

While reading through them I realized it would make a great new series in here. Some of these stories and lessons are too good to keep tucked away! 

So today I figured I'd start with my two favorite lessons. 

Lesson #1: 
Don't roll down your window while going through the automatic car wash or you will battle for your life.

Lesson #2: 
Don't roll down your window when the driers turn on in the automatic car wash to try and fix the mistake from the above lesson.

Monday, March 14, 2016

How We Almost Had to Start Using Formula Crates as Furniture

We had a funny experience this past weekend. Because of her prematurity, Ione is on special formula. The hospital gave us a WIC prescription for it, so I went in to the pharmacy early last week to make the order.
I probably really don't need to set the've all been in pharmacy lines. There were people everywhere. The impatience could be felt in the air. It was like barely controlled chaos. But, I needed to put the order in, so there I stood with my two kids in the pharmacy line. 

I handed the lady at the counter my WIC slip and explained what we needed, and that I had 5 total orders for the month. She started to panic. She didn't think they could get the formula in time to meet the expiration date of my slips (which I had just been issued that day). After discussions with others in the pharmacy, some computer work, and a phone call she came back and said that she could only get enough in to fill two of my prescription slips before their expiration date, as they'd reached their max order amount for that day (which seemed odd to me, but oh well).

That wasn't the best news, but some formula was better than none and figured we'd just roll with it and see what we could do. So she put in the order and said that it would arrive the next day. 

And it did!

She called me and at the end of the phone call she said, "Now, you'll need to bring someone with you. There's no way you can handle two kids and your shipment." That seemed odd. It was only two orders worth, surely I could handle it. 

So after Cameron got off work we went over to pick the formula up. We got to the pharmacy and we could see "our" basket in the back. It was completely full and overflowing with boxes of formula. It was a mountain of formula! They could barely maneuver the cart it was so full and heavy. Our eyes bugged out. She explained that this was 96 boxes (with 8 bottles each...that's 768 individual bottles!) of formula and that she was going to put another order in on Monday and see if she couldn't get the rest of our shipment in. It made sense then why she couldn't order more the previous day...we probably cleaned the warehouse out. We just stood and stared, and then finally went off pushing this barely mobile cart through Walmart back to the registers. 

Let me tell you, the looks we got were hilarious. There's me with a toddler and a newborn and Cameron pushing the biggest squeakist cart full of just formula. The squeak really made it. It's like it was announcing our arrival to the store and drew even more attention. We felt like we needed a sign, "Hungry baby, clear the path." or "Hoarders Coming Through". We were getting enough awkward stares (not just glances, but stares) that it became really funny and I was just giggling. 

Where were we going to put all of this?! And this was just 2 slips?! We were going to have to start building furniture out of formula boxes. 

We got the register and looked over the prescription slips again and realized a mistake had been made. Each was for 48 2oz. bottles, or 6 of the 8 packs. The pharmacy, understandably trying to go fast to get more people through, had read the one slip as 48 8 packs. It made sense finally why they were feeling so flustered at the idea of trying to get in 5 times that amount! That would have been 240 8 packs! I'm sure grateful there was only a limited amount they could order that first day, bahaha! 

So we got the 30 cases our checks would cover and had to wheel the (still very very full) cart of leftovers back to the pharmacy and explain. The poor lady...once she realized what had happened she laughed...they now had to figure out where to store the rest of the formula until our next order slips are valid. They had ordered enough to fill 2 and a half months worth of prescription slips, thinking that they weren't even ordering enough to fill 1 month's prescription. 

We've been giggling about that ever since. The poor lady was so flustered, and that was the biggest mountain of formula we'd ever seen, and it was just such a weird and funny situation all the way around. We're sure grateful to know though that we're all set on formula for the next little bit and that we don't have to start making couches out of formula cartons. That would take small space living to a whole new level!!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

5 Tips to Save Money

At times I'll have searched out or happened upon an article about "10 Things You Can Do to Save Money" or "7 Things You Can Cut Out to Save Money". I excitedly opened them only to realize that I was already doing most of things suggested...but I still needed to find ways to save money.

We already don't have cable/satellite TV. We don't have credit cards to pay on. We own our car, and are a one car family. We shop at thrift stores. No gym membership. Small house. No coffee runs on the way to work. Cheaper phones and phone plans. 

But sometimes we still need to save a little more each month, and we've found a few small things that have helped us to save some extra pennies and dollars. 

1. Toilet Paper. 

I know, weird. But really! This is one we found out by accident while living in Silver City. I was making a very fast grocery run and knew we needed toilet paper, so I zipped down the tissue aisle, grabbed a 24 pack and raced on with my day. It wasn't until I was home and had put new rolls in the bathrooms that I realized I'd bought the 1 ply. And not just any one ply...the most one-plyest one ply. Maybe even a half-ply. But it was bought and opened, so we decided to just use it and get a new pack when it ran out.  

We didn't buy toilet paper again for 6 months!! That's how long it lasted! And we didn't skimp on usage. No 3-square rule here. We were using it liberally. At first it was weird...but we got used to it. And haven't switched back since then. We pay $2.22 for a 4 pack (1 ply, 1000 sheets a roll, Great Value Brand) and that lasts us a little over a month. That's only $26.64 a year!! 

A 4 pack of nice Charmin is twice as much and lasts half as long. Even the Angel Soft brand tissue, which is definitely cheaper than Charmin, ends up being about $5 a month with their 4 pack and it only lasts about 3 weeks.

2. Water

Our kitchen faucet puts out about 1/2 a gallon of cold water before the hot water reaches us. The bathtub puts out about a gallon of cold before the hot comes in. We started saving this water rather than having it go down the drain. We keep a gallon pitcher by the sink to catch the cool water and use that for our drinking water, water for food prep (when we need to boil water, add water in a recipe or give something a quick rinse), watering plants, and filling the washing machine. This drops our monthly water bill by $8-10. 

3. Clothesline Drying in Good Weather

If it's not raining, freezing, or dust storming, we dry our clothes on the line outside. According to this article, on average you can save almost $10 an hour by line drying rather than using the clothes dryer. I'm not quite as fast as she is, so we may only save $5 an hour, but still...that's pretty good!

4. Wear our clothes more than once per wash

This may gross some people out, but really we don't see a reason for washing clothes that really aren't dirty. So at the end of the day if the clothes we have worn aren't stinky, have food/dirt/smears on them, and don't look limp and dingy than we put them away to wear them again before washing. Generally Darrow's clothes get washed after one wearing...because toddlers are not clean. But Cameron and I can often get away with it with most things. Not always, and not every item, but many. This keeps colors from fading as fast, cuts down on the amount of laundry (which saves money and time, and time is money!), and is easier on the clothes. We don't wear the same shirt for 4 days before changing or washing, don't worry. 

5. Split Garbage Fees with the Neighbor

To get  a dumpster at the end of the driveway would be $25 a month. We don't generate enough trash to fill a dumpster. So once a week I'd haul all the garbage to the household use bin at the dump (the free one). It was free, but often I'd get dribbles in the car that I'd have to clean up. And that was gross.  Once a bag leaked on a blanket and I couldn't get the stain out. Our neighbors noticed and offered to let us share their dumpster, because they don't generate enough garbage to fill it either. 

If you have more of something than you need (space, garden produce, eggs from chickens, etc.), think about sharing the excess with your neighbor (either for free, or splitting the cost). It'll be cheaper for you and them, and it could turn out to be a blessing for you both! 

So none of these 5 things we do will make us millionaires in 3 years, but they help! That's money we can put in savings. That's money we can have a fun family day in town with. That's money that can go towards bills. Whatever we decide to do with it, it's nice to have a little bit of excess sometimes! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


When hashtags first started appearing I rolled my eyes. That would never catch on. And then they did. #likecrazy

But I swore I wasn't going to participate. It was trendy. It was hard to read. #especiallywhenpeoplewrotesentencesinahashtag It just wasn't me.

But as I learned more about marketing I realized that hashtags are important and they give people a way to find you, for you to connect with people with similar interests, and to categorize your work. So I started using them. Sparingly. One or two here and there.

I didn't think they were doing much or that anyone would ever actually find me through hashtags. And then Buzzfeed taught me I was wrong.

While waiting for the Pitocin to really kick in I was playing on my phone. I'd looked at everything on Facebook 3 times, scrolled back 2 years on Instagram (or so it felt), replied to emails, and read my scriptures for the day. I needed something else to do. So I went to Twitter.

Now, I'm not generally witty. And I still wasn't witty when I was in labor. But I gave it my best shot and wrote my 4th tweet on my new Twitter account.

"I can't say that riding in a helicopter at three in the morning was on my to do list today, but apparently it was on this baby's list. #inlabor"

That was it.

And one of my two followers liked it and so I gave myself a twitter high five. #highfive

And then two weeks later Buzzfeed posted an article called, "19 Tweets From Women in the Process of Giving Birth". And check out #4:

From one hashtag Buzzfeed found the tweet and shared it with their worldwide audience.

Now I'd love to say my Twitter followers have multiplied and replenished the earth, and that it led to skyrocketing blog views. Neither happened. But that's okay.

What did happen though wad that I learned hashtags do matter in social media. They can be a great tool, even for those of us with few followers. Especially for those of us with few followers! It's a way to connect, to reach out, to network, market, and search.

So now that this light bulb has turned on, I'm excited to see what light it sheds on the subject!

If you're on Instagram, check out #lareecommunity, #meetmarquette, and #mypinstrositylife for some peeks into my world!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lemon Week: Cleaning with Lemons

Remember a while back I started a series of posts and called them Lemon Week? And remember how that last post I promised just never showed up (but Ione did!). Well today I finally get the chance to finish the Lemon Week series with the final post: Cleaning with Lemons! 

At the lemon night I attended we were given a printout of Cris Carl's fabulous list of "24 Things you Can Clean with Lemon". The teacher of that segment of the night had gone through and tested as many of the tips on the list as she could and reported back on them. Everything she tried worked for her! 

According to Cris Carl's article, lemons and lemon juice are some of the best natural cleaners to use with the high levels of citric acid, low pH, and the natural antibacterial properties. And they smell great! 

There were three main ways that were suggested to us that night for using/prepping the lemons and juice for cleaning.  
  • First: Cut the lemon in half and rub the lemon/lemon juice on the surface of whatever you are cleaning. 
  • Second: Juice the lemon (fresh or frozen) and slightly dilute the juice with water. 
  • Third: Cut lemons in half and juice them. Use or freeze the juice. Cut the rinds into quarters and place in a large glass jar. Pour white vinegar over the top. Let sit for 1 week. Pour the solution through a strainer into a spray bottle. You can then pour new vinegar over the rinds and let sit for 2 weeks to get remaining oils and juices out for a second pouring. 

I found that the first method didn't do a whole lot for me with what I tested, but the 2nd two methods work great! 

I didn't test all 24 items on the list (I don't have brass or copper items to try cleaning, and didn't get to scrubbing my grout, lol), but I did test a good handful of the tips on the list and wanted to report those to you. For the full list, click here! 

Here are the tips on the list that I did test:
  • "You can also shine up your chrome faucets or the chrome on older model cars with lemon and salt."
    • Works! I cleaned all the faucets in my house with diluted lemon juice and they sparkled afterwards with very little scrubbing! The house was remodeled right before we moved in so there weren't hard water stains yet, so I don't know how it would do with that, but for general cleaning and shining, this works fabulous!
  • "Diluted lemon juice not only cleans stains from cutting boards, but helps kill germs as well. Rub the juice full strength onto the stain and let sit until the stain fades. Can be left overnight, then rinsed well and dried."
    • Works great! Our cutting boards were looking pretty nasty, but this got out most of the stains. Not all, but most. They look much better!
  • "Clean your microwave and remove odors. Place a cup ¾ full of water with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the microwave. Heat to boiling. Don’t open the door for another 10 minutes. Then just wipe away food particles with a clean cloth and dry."
    • I'd done something similar to this with vinegar, and that made my whole house smell like vinegar and I still had to scrub the microwave to get gunk off. With this method I literally (and I'm literally using literally correctly here) just had to wipe the gunk off. No scrubbing! And my house didn't smell like vinegar and my eyes didn't burn when I went in the kitchen. Win!! 
  • "Scrub grills and grates with lemon juice and salt."
    • Works! It does take some scrubbing, but the residue and gunk does come off easier than with just regular cleaner. It still probably isn't as easy to scrub the gunk off as oven cleaner, but if you want less chemicals this definitely works better than dish soap at getting your grills and grates looking better!
  • "Soak plastic food storage containers in dilute lemon juice to remove stains and odors. Add baking soda and scrub, rinse and dry."
    • Works! Now our food storage containers don't smell like enchiladas all the time! 
  • "Brighten your clothing by soaking clothes in a hot water and lemon juice mix (about a ½ cup per gallon of water) and then wash as normal. Works best if laundry is then dried in the sun. Lemon juice should not be used on silks or other delicate fabrics. If you are uncertain, test a tiny area first."
    • Okay, I haven't tried this one out personally yet, but the lady that gave the demonstration showed us an example of this and it was amazing! She tested this one some of her whites and the difference was pretty stark. 
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice to your dish soap to boost degreasing ability.
    • Works! Not much more to say here.
  • Clean food preparation smells from your hands with a dilute solution of water and lemon juice.
    • Works! Garlic and onion smells that linger on your hands are gone with this! \
  • Clean windows and mirrors. Put a few tablespoons of lemon juice and water into a spray bottle. Works as well as a vinegar solution and smells better.
    • Works great and smells better than Windex!
  • A dilute lemon juice rinse for your hair cuts soap residue and leaves hair softer and shinier.
    • This is one I haven't tried yet either, but there was a lady at the lemon night that said she has been using dilute lemon juice on her hair for years and it keeps it shiny and soft. Just be sure to dilute and if you spend a lot of time in the sun your hair will lighten some. 
Anyone else clean with lemon? Anything you do that isn't on Cris Carl's list? Share them in the comments, I'd love to try them out!