Archive | March 2013

Blowing Out Easter Eggs

Now that our kids are older, we thought we would combine science and Easter eggs and teach them about blowing out eggs. My husband took the lead on this project and he and the kids had a blast. They followed these instructions for blowing out eggs.

A couple of tips he learned: Egg blowing

  1. Be sure to enlarge the hole that you want the egg yolk to fall through, but do it gently. He found that “pecking” around the initial puncture hole produced the best results with minimal cracking.
  2. Take the time using tweezers or cuticle scissors to really puncture the egg membrane, even slightly pulling the membrane out of the hole. This will speed up the process and make sure the egg gets emptied when your kids try to blow on the egg.

Once blown out, decorate your eggs any way you choose. These can be saved to use as decorations in future years.

 

Recycling Broken Crayons

Around our house we have tons of broken, tiny crayon pieces. Between kids, school, and small groups, our DSCN2610crayon needs seem to be never-ending. As we were cleaning up the playroom one afternoon I decided to go through all the crayons (we literally have buckets-full!) and throw away all the broken bits. Then my frugal brain kicked in and we decided it was a waste to throw what amounted to a huge pile of crayons away. I put the kids to work sorting crayons by color and then we decided to melt down and reform the crayon bits into something that was once again useable.

You can sort crayons by color or just make a mix of colors in one shape but here are the basics to once again get useable crayons from broken bits.

  • Pre-heat your oven to 275°F.
  • Line muffin tin (or any small shaped pan) with liners. This step isn’t necessary but will keep any of the crayon dyes from staining your pans.
  • Fill muffin cups with crayons up to about 3/4 full. The actual size of the new crayon will be less. Try to make the tins equally filled to allow for the same cooking times.
  • Bake for 10-20 minutes until all crayons are liquified. Time will vary depending on the size and content of your crayons.
  • Let the crayons cool in the pan 1-2 hours until they are solidified.
  • The crayons should drop right out of an inverted pan thanks to the wax in them.

 

Saturday Project: Natural Dyed Easter Eggs

Natural-Dyed-Eggs-51Easter is fast approaching! This year we wanted to try a more science-oriented approach to our Easter egg dyeing so we decided to use natural ingredients we have at home or we can easily find to see what those do to the color of the eggs. Just Short of Crazy has a great list of natural dyed Easter eggs and ingredients. Check it out.

Homemade Granite Cleaner

DSCN2574These days a lot of us have granite in our kitchens or bathrooms. Keeping granite counters clean can be an
expensive chore. Granite cleaners can be purchased for $7-$15 per small bottle. And if you are anything like us, we use our counters for everything from school to rolling dough and cutting pizzas, so they get messy. I have been looking for a good, less-chemical way to clean and not harm our counters. After trying out many recipes and ideas, here is what I like best:

  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (actually any alcohol will work) – This provides streak-free cleaning
  • 3 drops Dawn dishwashing soap – Yes the brand is important because it cuts grease and grime better than others. And yes, it really only takes 3 drops.
  • Water – this amount will vary from 1-2 cups, depending on how you keep the solution.

Many people suggest using a spray bottle but I have found that I like using an empty alcohol bottle. The bottles we get have a lid with a small hole for easy pouring. I put the alcohol and Dawn in the bottle and fill with water. Then I pour some our on the counters and use a soft cotton cloth to clean. I get fabulous results, with lots of shine and no streaking. In the picture you can see how shiny and clean the counters look!

Home Inventory: How To Take and Keep Home Inventory Records

Most of us don’t have and will never need a home inventory. I know, that’s a great way to get you interested in doing one. But the truth is that if you do encounter a disastrous situation where you need to know what you have and how to replace it, a home inventory will prove invaluable.

There are a lot of apps and software programs that you can buy to help you with taking a home inventory, but the truth is that you can do this with your own camera, computer, and scanner.

Start by setting up a spreadsheet with tabs for each room plus one separate tab for electronics. This will help you organize everything.

Next, pick a room and start. List each item in the spreadsheet. List the item’s name, brand, model number, serial number, and  purchase price.

After you have the information for an item listed, scan in any manuals, warranties, receipts, and other paperwork into your computer. Save these scans in a file labeled with the item name.

The third step is to take a photograph of the item. If possible, take one of the face of the item and another of the items tag or sticker with model and serial number. Save these photos in the same file as the scans of documents related to the file.

The last step is to back up everything! Be sure that these files are on your computer and on another storage device. Use a flash drive that is with your emergency binder or go bag so that you can grab it and go in the event of a fire or disaster. For added security, consider using an online file storage system, like Dropbox, to keep the files accessible from any location. If you don’t have a Dropbox account and would like to start one, please contact me and I will send you the information. This is a free online storage and sharing system. You can pay for additional storage if needed, but I have found that the free storage is plenty for my needs.

Tea Tree Oil Spray: Natural Disinfectant

Tea Tree Oil is becoming increasingly popular for uses around the house. This amazing natural oil has incredible disinfectant properties. Tea Tree Oil can be used to make household cleaners that remove mold and mildew, as well as for various health purposes.

Tea Tree Oil Cleaning Spray:0060538881745_500X500

  • 2 tablespoons Tea Tree Oil
  • 2 cups of water

Combine in a spray bottle and use this as a bath and kitchen cleaner or anywhere mold or mildew occurs. You can also use this spray as a disinfectant on children’s toys, on anything where someone sick has been, and on doorknobs and other areas that get touched by a lot of people and harbor germs.