Monday, June 27, 2011

Homemade dishwasher detergent

An update on my homemade dishwasher detergent:

We have been using it for several weeks now and it is great. It's so simple to make and use. And cheap!!

Mix equal parts of borax (completely safe) with baking soda. I filled a quart size paint can with my detergent and used my dymo labeler to label the can. I put a little scoop inside the can to make for easy dispensing.


We use white distilled vinegar as a rinsing agent, and we just fill both detergent compartments in our dishwasher with the homemade detergent. It works great. But, if you're not a pre-rinser, then don't bother using this (we always pre-rinse). Also, just put dishes in the dishwasher. No pots and pans (we always wash those by hand, it keeps them better looking after many many uses). I am not sure how those would wash with this type of detergent in a dishwasher. But anyway-so far so good!

And as for cleaning our kitchen surfaces-Dr. Bronner's liquid castille soap works like a charm and just one bottle of the stuff goes a very very very long way.

Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub

Earlier this year for mother's day, I made my mom and my mother-in-law some Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub. It was so easy to make! I got the idea from this blog: Under the table & dreaming
Thanks Stephanie Lynn!!

You will need:
2.5 cups of sugar
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4 tbs fresh lemon juice


Take a big bowl and add your sugar.


Then add your olive oil. And lemon juice.



And then mix it all up until it's just the right consistency (you want it to be a scrub). Pour it into jars, or whatever you are packaging it in. I used little mason jars. There was only a little bit leftover, and I used it on my hands to test it out. It made my hands so soft and smooth!

I included a little scoop with each jar (I have a bunch of these scoops left over from our wedding candy bar/buffet you can see here and here).


You could double or triple the batch if you want to make a lot-this is perfect in smaller jars given as party favors. Would be really cute as a bridal shower favor, or even a baby shower favor in some tiny little jars like these half pint jars from

You could put a name/label/instructions on a circle that covers the lid.

A friend of mine tried the lemon scrub herself and her fiance tried it on his feet-they loved it. So it's not just a hand works great on feet too!

Last time I was at my sister Bonnie's house, we made some Vanilla Brown Sugar Hand Scrub. The recipe for that is also on the same blog here. It was great and felt like sand. I actually liked it better than the lemon scrub.

The ingredients for the vanilla brown sugar scrub are:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup sunflower oil (we used evoo)
1 tbs pure vanilla extract.

We used the EVOO and it worked out fine for us. Great gift/favor ideas!

Cupcake update

Last year I had a Richmond Cupcake Taste Test. I determined back then that Pearl's was my favorite. Guess what? It still is today. Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe!


Not just because Pearl's cupcakes look so great, but they taste great too. I would recommend them to anyone in the Richmond area looking for a specialty cupcake shop.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Daniel's dream come true

The weekend we were coming back from Roanoke, we drove through downtown Charlottesville to try and find some little place for dinner. We ended up passing an old theater and Daniel saw a poster in the corner of his eye for something he got out of the car and took a photo:


This past Saturday evening we drove out to C-ville just for this special screening. Of course, it was for Jaws. Why else would we drive for 45 minutes just to see a movie? Especially since it's a movie we've seen a hundred times over.


Daniel has always wanted to see Jaws on the big screen. Jaws was also the first movie my parents saw on a date back in the beginning of their relationship, 36 years ago this summer.


We went to The Paramount theater to see the 7pm showing.


We picked up our tickets at will call (we ordered online the day before).


Inside the theater lobby was free food and beer, so that was pretty cool. The theater itself was so gorgeous inside and very very clean. I didn't take any photos once we were inside the place but the outside was pretty cool too. Next time we are out that way and have time, we are definitely going to take a longer stroll through the market place area where the theater is. (When we drove by the theater the weekend before, we were on the side of the street where the BACK of the building is, and they had a small poster advertising it. We notice Jaws that much wherever we go. The front entrance is in a market/shopping area that is pedestrian access only..pretty cool!)


The best part about the whole evening was my husband had a huge grin on his face during the entire showing of the movie. Love!

Did I mention

Did I mention a couple months back I rearranged our bedroom?

I moved the bed over to the side of the room so the window sort of functions as a head board of sorts. The wedding quilt looks a lot better to me on its very own wall.


The marble side table in the corner was actually my grandma's, and it holds books and crosswords and such. Each corner of the room on that side has a bundle of those reeds.


I got this cool platter/tray from Ikea back in early Spring and it's perfect for our dresser.


I use this vintage pyrex dish to give spare items a temporary home. I love the dish, and it's divided so it's like 2 containers in 1.


My paintchip art is hanging on the wall above the dresser. It gives some extra color to the room.


This bookcase in the corner houses a lot of our wedding stuff. I like this stuff here for now even though it is pretty cluttered. I am thinking of putting shelves up some how......that's another project for another time.


The other wall/window inherited these baskets. They hold random things we don't want on display. The big basket on top holds other blankets and pillows when we don't want to use them.


The room is much more functional now than it was before. There's no walking all around the bed to get to the other window on the side, since it is now basically the "headboard" for the bed. Much more space, too. I think when we originally moved in I wanted the bed on this wall, but for some reason we put it on the other wall. It just works so much better this way.


Random things to share

Here are some random things I wanted to share.

A chocolate fountain in action.


My shiny vintage canisters. Flour, sugar, coffee, and tea. (the coffee holds hot chocolate) I used Bar Keeper's friend on them to get them all nice and shiny. Love it!

my cannisters

Silos. Because every time I see one it makes me happy.


My dad's bluebird house and a bluebird sitting on top. I distorted the photo a bit and I like it.


My spinning card holder. I got this from the clean house yard sale, it was white. I spray painted it black and I like it. This way I can just grab what I need without having to sift through my cards. Each section is dedicated to a type of card..blank, thanks, birthday, congratulations, etc.

card reel

A while back I organized our linen closet. I just hated how bunched up sheets and stuff would get and it seemed like we had a gazillion towels and stuff. So, I consolidated. Donated and gave away a few things, but really just organized it all. And made room for more stuff.

linen closet organized!

You can see the top shelf has our queen size air bed rolled up nicely, with a brown down comforter and a spare pillow up there with it. The second shelf is dedicated to white hand towels/wash cloths, and other hand towels/wash cloths I couldn't part with. The third shelf has pillow cases, flat sheets, and fitted sheets. The fourth has a bin with extra items, like extra shampoo/soap, then in the middle is a first aid kit, and the other bin has travel sized items and things for guests to use. The 5th shelf has bathmats, a small rug, and some table cloths. And the very bottom section has a bed spread, another comforter, and a pack of new sheets I couldn't get rid of but may find someone to give them to (they are jersey pink full size).

It could be more organized but it is way better than it was before, thankfully. And it made me realize it's probably time to invest in a couple packs of just regular sheets. I am not sure why we have such mismatchy sheets..

Guacamole is fun to make. I made some from scratch a while back and just wanted to share this photo.


And here's a photo of some tissue poms I made for Paiges' graduation just started raining when this photo was taken so they didn't last long but they were pretty neat if I do say so myself.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Downtown Roanoke, VA

Last weekend we were in Roanoke, VA for my husband's cousin's graduation from high school, and a family reunion. While there we scoped out the downtown area and visited the Roanoke City Market. The farmers' market in Roanoke is one of the oldest ones in the state of VA (it started in the 1880's), so it was neat to be there on a Saturday afternoon and see everything in action.


The sidewalks were all lined up with different tables from different farms or tables people set up with their own garden stuff or gift items. So, walking down the sidewalk there were shops on one side and the tables on the was neat! I loved the set up like that, it was much better than just having an empty parking lot with tables set up. This was cool because you could go inside shops as you were "shopping" at the market.

We picked up some bing cherries which were really really good. And we took a bunch of photos.



There were all sorts of shops and restaurants that looked cool that we may need to check out in the future. Like Thelma's Chicken & Waffles. We did peek inside Ladles & Linens which was a really cool specialty kitchen shoppe.


There were so many colorful heaps of fruit and veggies & other things all over.





And we also drove around the Warehouse district to get some cool shots. I think warehouse districts are my favorite in every city.







Thursday, June 16, 2011

DIY Kid's Toy

I worked on a little DIY project yesterday I had been thinking about for a while.

Daniel brought home some Voss water a while back and I knew exactly what to do with the empty bottles.

I saw the project on pinterest before but every time in the past I have seen Voss water bottles I have thought about doing this project. This one on pinterest finally made me go for it.

The Voss water Daniel brought home was in smaller bottles, which was just perfect for me. I took 2 bottles and once they were empty I let them dry out and removed the labels from the bottles.

During my last few trips to and from my parents' house, I had collected some little trinkets. I also found some tiny things to fit inside the bottles around my home, too. I collected a penny, a button, a mini pig, and some other little trinkets.


Last night I assembled the bottles. I filled 15 trinkets in each bottle (making sure each item was different in each bottle). Then, I filled it mostly with rice and put the cap back on and shook it up. The point of this is to look for the items, kind of like a game of I Spy. (There are actual toys like this I have seen in the stores called 'I Spy', but they are filled with small beads instead of rice.)

So, I made one for my nephew Joseph and one for my nephew Adam. Some of the trinkets actually belonged to them, which is funny, but that makes it even more fun. They will recognize some of the items in the bottle.

For the game, you can look for each individual item, or you can look for certain characteristics, like colors or types of items. It's really just a fun little identification/discovery game. And would be great for long car rides or if a kid is just plain old bored.

I plan on giving these to my nephews when we go camping in a couple of weeks. It's a surprise and I think they are really going to like them.


Here is the list of what's in Joseph's container:

paper clip
safety pin
shark tooth


And this is what's inside Adam's container:

macaroni wheel
paper clip
safety pin
shark tooth


I am going to wrap these up and include a tag with the contents. I will probably glue/modge podge the contents tag to the cap since it is big enough. I may even put their name on the top of each one so there is no fighting over which one belongs to each of them. Also, the caps are super glued so they can't open them and spill rice everywhere.

Best of all, this project was free! It was fun searching for the little trinkets, but everyone always has little things like that hanging around. The rice we already had, and the water bottles would have just been thrown away after we drank the water anyway, so it was a great thing to make. I hope they like it!