Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It smells weird... but it's clean!

I, like many of you out there, have become addicted to a certain website that shows all kinds of fantastic ideas and trends and recipes and fashions... yes, you guessed it, it's Pinterest.

I joined up sometime late spring of last year, I think -- I really can't remember -- and to date I have pinned 13,177 different things. And by the time I finish writing this blog post and you read it, that number will likely have risen yet again. In fact, every time I go on, I find at least (bare minimum) half-a-dozen different things to pin.

However, I am probably a little different from many of you out there who are also addicted to Pinterest - I have actually tried some of the things I've pinned! Not many, when you consider the total number of pins I have on all of my boards, but I have tried several different things, mostly recipes.

Some of the recipes have been huge hits in my house - like the Chicken Pot Pie Bundles and the Mac & Cheese Muffins (which I make without the beef and in a glass baking dish, instead of as the recipe prescribes). Others, like the Cheddar-Apple Sausage Mac, not so much. And whenever I try a new recipe, I try to remember to move it from my "Yummy" board to my "Tried & Tested Recipes" board so that I can find them again.

I've also found scrapbook inspiration to help me get out of a rut, ideas for my kids' birthday parties and even gift ideas for loved ones, but one of the strangest things I've found have been some really unique cleaning ideas.

I have some severe allergies and asthma, which prevent me from using a lot of the cleaning supplies you find in your average grocery store or hardware store. I absolutely cannot clean my oven - that is a task left to my husband, who can handle the fumes of standard oven cleaners. And I can't even wear cleaning gloves to protect my skin from breaking out in rashes or eczema because I am severely allergic to latex, which is what most long-length cleaning gloves are made from.

As a result, I'm quite happy to try a new idea here and there, especially when it means using materials that I know I am not allergic to - like microwaving a glass of white vinegar, letting it sit, and then wiping the inside down. The vinegar and steam work wonders, making it so much easier to clean those unrecognizable things that sometimes embed themselves on the inside walls of the microwave.

Another, which didn't work well, was using baking soda in my dishwasher when I ran out of Cascade. Yup, that was a load that had to be re-washed once I had made a trip to the store.

One of the other things that I've tried was a unique cleaner made from, you guessed it, more white vinegar, mixed with regular Dawn dish detergent. I got one of those sponges with the plastic handle, and filled it half with Dawn, and then the rest of the way with the white vinegar, and then gave it a good shake and then went to work on my bathtub and the tiles surrounding it. It took a little elbow grease, but it worked wonders on cleaning the soap scum and I didn't have to inhale those nasty fumes from some of those toxic cleaning supplies.

In desperation, I've even tried the solution on some hard-to-clean dishes! It worked then, too!

There really is something about white vinegar.... It may make my bathroom smell a bit weird, but at least its clean!!!!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Very British Birthday Party

Just a few weeks ago, my hubby hit the big 5-0!

To celebrate, my sons and I decided to throw him a big birthday party.

The first question was - where to have it.

Last year, I had won a photography contest at The Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo through their Facebook page and the prize was the use of the aquarium hall for a private function! Awesome, right?!?! So, last Saturday night, we invited close friends and family to join us for light refreshments, chatter, and private views of the different tanks for a few hours.

It was originally planned to be a surprise, but knowing how impossible it was going to be to simply get him somewhere at some strange time, we decided to tell him, but we did keep most of the details a secret.

Being that hubby is a Brit, my boys knew that the best theme for the night was "Keep Calm & Carry On", using Union Jack's for decorations. And thanks to my sister-in-law, who went shopping and sent stuff from the UK, we had a ton of stuff to use to decorate with!

Hopefully, you'll get an idea of what it looked like (and yes, that's me!!!)

We even made, in addition to 4 dozen cupcakes (which we're STILL eating), this adorable Union Jack layer cake. The layers were all red, white and blue, and the decoration is red Twizzlers and blue M&Ms... cute, huh????

I also made him this cute shirt to wear for the night - gotta love Photoshop, printable iron-on sheets and plain white Hanes T-shirts!

Too cute.. right???

I'm so thankful to my family and a dear friend who helped - my sister-in-law brought a pot of soup, my step-mom ordered a fruit tray and a veggie tray, and my girlfriend brought a tray of sandwiches. So all I had to do was make a giant pot of beef stew (one of hubby's favourites), do the cupcakes and cake, beverages and bring a few bags of bread rolls and some margarine!

To top everything off, we also made him a Candy Bouquet featuring British chocolates (think Cadbury!) as well as a huge movie/slide-show of photos of him from as young as two! In all, I scanned well over 125 photos and then input them into iMovie! (But I'll leave those two things to share with you on another day!!!)

In all, we had a great time and think everything turned out perfect - I know my hubby was pleased with all the hard work and warm birthday wishes he received!

Thanks so much for having a look!