Life, How To's, and Other Various Ramblings

How 2 Cups of Flour and 2 Cups of Water Saved My Sanity April 22, 2013

By the time the milk paintings were complete, I thought that B was ready to calmly face the world. HOLY MOSES WAS I WRONG!!

What to do? What to do?

Then I remembered reading a post a while back about “Magic Playdough” The woman who wrote the post makes astronomical amounts of plain play dough every year for the first day of school. She separated the dough into individual balls (saving two balls to use later), pushed a well into the top and added 7-10 drops of food coloring into the well. Then, she took took the two balls she had held back, and used little pieces to plug the hole in the others. The goal is to have a collection of plain colored balls that look like there is nothing special about them. She then wrapped them up, added a little note about “mix and mash and if color should appear, it will be a great school year”. I thought this was adorable and wanted to try it at home…sort of.

We obviously did not need 50 balls of play dough so I scaled the recipe WAY back and added a little extra something to it. Here is what I came up with.

Magic Play Dough

2 cups of flour

2 cups of water

Lavender Essential Oil

place all ingredients in a pan on the stove and cook slowly (while stirring regularly) until it comes together and looks like dough. When it is done, place it on a piece of wax paper and knead it until it is nice and smooth. Divide into 6 balls and put two back. With the remaining 4, use your thumb to push a well into the balls. Add 7-10 drops of food coloring per ball. Fill hole with pieces of dough from extra 2 balls and GENTLY form them so that they look like a plain white ball of dough.


As the dough was cooling, I lined the table with some wax paper and taped it down and got some plastic silverware and other small things that would make fun imprints in the dough.


Then I unleashed the wild child on his first real encounter with play dough…

We mushed, and folded, and mushed and folded and mushed and folded and mushed and folded…


And ended up with these (I would add more red food coloring next time)


It took no time for him to discover that it smelled good (and all that lavender helped calm him down…like, whoa)


And it felt good


And because I made it, I knew exactly what was in it and I didn’t freak out when he did this…


Let the games begin…





And THAT is how 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water (and a little Lavender Oil)  saved my sanity!

The dough will store nicely in ziploc bags and keep for quite some time. Best use of flour and water I have seen in weeks!


PS: As I sat, enjoying the quiet stillness that this activity blessed me with, I couldn’t help but think that this would make for a GREAT party favor for your little ones birthday party…especially if it is a Magic theme!


This is just plain helpful! February 25, 2013

I am an avid reader of the blog at I LOVE her suggestions and how to’s.

These are two of my favorites:

How To Clean Your Washing Machine

Top Loader


Front Loader:


How To Clean Your Dryer:


These are the best things I have done in my house….period! I was given a hand-me, hand-me, hand-me down washer and dryer. They work fine but needed some SERIOUS love and affection. I knew that Jill would have the answer so I looked and low and behold, I got the answer I was looking for. They take some time, but they are SO worth it. These few steps restored my machines to an almost new condition. I am a believer! If you try them, let me know what you think!






Pantry Staples February 20, 2013

There are a few things that I think anyone who is going to give this whole “homemade cleaning” thing a go, should have in their pantry. Some of the ingredients also double as ingredients for kid projects. (Kid projects are tomorrows topic)

Baking Soda (the biggest you can find. In my opinion it’s not worth buying the little boxes. You will go through them entirely too fast)

White Vinegar (I buy by the gallon…sometimes 2 depending on what I need to do with it)

Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap (I prefer Dr Bronner’s. You can get it in a wide variety of scents…Lavender being my favorite)

Tea Tree Oil (also known as Melaleuca oil. I prefer JASON brand the best, but that’s just personal choice)

Washing Soda


Fels Naptha Bar Soap

Spray Bottles (plastic, not metallic. I like to raid the Walmart garden dept and get the ones they have for about $1.00 and they come in fun colors)

Stock Pot

Wooden Spoon (s)

Grater/Food Processor

Hand Blender

All of these things will come in so very handy…trust me. Check your local thrift store for the stock pot other kitchen related goodies. No sense going out to buy new ones when we are just going to use them for cleaning products.

I think that’s a pretty comprehensive list. If you have other suggestions, or questions, feel free to contribute/ask.

Til the Next Time!


I’m sorry…you tossed your cookies on my wha??

Filed under: Cleaning — threefunnyvoices @ 8:05 pm
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My son has an uncanny knack for throwing up anywhere but somewhere that is easy to clean up. One day we were on our way home from Country Cupboard. We were about 5 minutes from our house and I heard it. I knew, without checking my little baby finder mirror, what had just happened. He just ralphed chocolate milk all over my new car’s leather interior and carpeting. (Please join in the collective gasp and groan of everyone reading this who has ever experienced such a thing) Now I am faced with trying to clean up a toddler, his car seat and cleaning the interior of my car. (WHY did I not date a nurse or doctor or some guy down at the local car detailing shop??)

I got B out of the car and cleaned up and decided to take on the car seat because I was running out of daylight. I wasn’t about to take it into my house, so with the sun setting I was standing at our well’s pump with a cell phone to my ear, tapping the knowledge of one of my more experienced mommy friends. Between her hysterical laughter and gasping for breath she informed me she wasn’t sure what to do. *sigh*

I finally took it apart and dumped boiling water over the car seat ( I don’t advise this). I got to the car and was praising Jesus that he had not succeeded at throwing up on my seats, but my floor, on the other hand was not so lucky. Another friend of mine suggested scrubbing, blotting and applying a liberal amount of baking soda to the spot over night and then vacuuming it up. So that’s what I did.

After the chaos died down and I was able to get B into bed, I decided to research how to remove the smell and such, just in case the previous attempt had not worked. I found all kinds of hints and none of them really seemed logical to me, but some of them had logical parts so I took bits and pieces of this suggestion and that hint and came up with my own idea. My son, being ever so helpful and willing to offer me new opportunities, crawled into my bed that night around 3am and proceeded to barf all over my freshly changed sheets, new pillows and mattress. (YAY!!!!! )

Time to put my concoction to the test.

Here’s what I did.

Obviously, you have to clean up the mess first… a rag, hot water to dampen the rag. Once you have the mess cleared scrub the spot with the following mixture.

In a bucket (yes, ironic, I know) combine,

Hot Water (about 1/2 of the bucket full)

White Vinegar ( a nice hefty amount…3-4 cups)

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (1/2 cup or so)

It will look milky and smell kinda gross, but you are just gonna have to trust me on this one. Scrub the spot thoroughly and then, if you are neurotic like me, scrub it again, just to be safe.

Now, sprinkle a nice thick layer of baking soda on the spot and let the baking soda absorb the remaining moisture. I let my bed sit until mid afternoon just to make sure. (If you have it you can add a mixture of baking soda and a little carpet fresh to the area. The carpet fresh is nice, but not necessary) Once it is dry, vacuum up the baking soda and pat yourself on the back for conquering the mess!

I am sure this sounds slightly odd, but trust me…it is the greatest solution I have found. Try it…I promise you will not be disappointed!




Laundry Detergent ($1.00 for 3 months supply) February 19, 2013

Filed under: Cleaning — threefunnyvoices @ 3:59 pm
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Like I have said before, I am always looking for a way to save a buck. I used to HATE going to the store to buy laundry soap. The stuff is out of control in the price department and half the time it doesn’t get out the crud my child grinds into his clothing.  It USED to drive me nuts… until I discovered the easiest, cheapest alternative EVER!!

All you need is:

Fels-Naptha Soap (one bar)


A Large Sauce Pan

A Cheese Grater or Food Processor

Your Old Laundry Detergent Jug (If you don’t have it, any old gallon jug will work. Just make sure you can seal it well and have a way to measure out the detergent)

A Wooden Spoon (a sturdy one!)

A large mixing bowl

A Hand blender (if you don’t have one, your trusty wooden spoon and a nice set of arm muscles will work but I highly suggest going to Walmart and picking one up. It’s well worth the $10-$20 you will spend.  We will use it a lot throughout our blog adventures)

A Funnel

Rinse your old detergent bottle well and fill it with warm water. Empty half of the water into the pan. Heat the water until it boils and turn off. While you wait for the water to boil , chop your bar of soap into small chunks if you plan to use a food processor. Run through the food processor (using the pulse feature) until it is a mealy texture. Add it to the water on the stove. Turn water back on to low and stir frequently, until soap is dissolved. Once the soap has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and let sit. ( I usually start the process about a half hour before nap time so that it can sit and cool during nap)

You will know its cool when it looks like a gelled pudding. At this point, I take a spatula (or knife or scoop or whatever you want to use) and divide the glop into equal parts. Keeping one section separate from the rest, which I then bag up and put in the bottom of my fridge.(It keeps it from getting gooey and less chance of a mess)

Now, take the portion that you set aside and put it in the mixing bowl. pour the remaining water in the detergent bottle in the bowl. Fully submerged your hand blender and go to town. It will only take a minute to get the soap broken back down.  Once it is combined, pour back into detergent bottle and top off the bottle with a warm water (turn the tap on so that the water runs slowly…too fast and you will end up with serious suds). Once it’s full, place the lid back on the bottle, give it a few good shakes and call it a day.

I LOVE this stuff. It’s all I use. It takes care of the boy crud and any stink…and it has the added bonus of making my laundry area smell delightful. I love it.

You may notice that as it sits, it starts to get thick…just add a little more water to it and give it a shake. If it gets too thick you can always pour it back into the mixing bowl, add water and run the hand blender through it.

Good Luck…let me know what you think!




It is SO important that you do not let this boil. Once it starts it takes it forever to stop and it will do one of three things:

1. Continue to boil even though you have removed it from the hot burner

2. Make a huge mess

3. A combination of 1&2 PLUS the added bonus of boiling up out of the pan and all over your hands. NOT FUN!!

Please be careful!


Are you supposed to use baking soda for actual baking?

Filed under: Cleaning — threefunnyvoices @ 3:13 pm
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So here is what I have noticed about myself. Roughly every other month or so, I find myself in Sam’s Club looking for a mondo satchel of baking soda. The bag is so huge that they have the measurements for the pH of your swimming pool! It’s serious folks.

Here’s the thing though…I rarely use it for baking!

I use it for everything else. It’s in my fabric softener, I use it to clean my stove-top, my bathtub and my toilet. I use it when I have a kid that has the flu and didn’t quite make it to the garbage can or bathroom in time (THAT trick is FABULOUS! I will post the How To’s shortly) and to put in stinky old rain boots that brought home the majority of mud puddles in town. I make my own carpet freshener with it as well.

I also use it in a tooth whitening paste that I found a recipe for on Pinterest. (How did I survive without Pinterest?)

There’s also the old vinegar and baking soda sensory table for kids…

Seriously! This is the greatest stuff ever. It’s right up there with white vinegar!



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Life, How To's, and Other Various Ramblings