Archive for the ‘Cleaning’ Category

Tips for Cleaning Out the Refrigerator

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Photo Credit: Thomas Lester

This week I really need to do a deep cleaning of my fridge. The science experiments that are growing in there are quite shameful. Now that you know what I will be up to, I wanted to share with you some tips for cleaning out the refrigerator.

I do not enjoy cleaning out my refrigerator, but it one of those things that must be done. I wait until the day before grocery day to do it though because this is the day where there is the least amount of items that need to be moved around. It is also a great time to check my inventory before making the shopping trip to see if I really do need half the things on my list.

When I clean out the fridge, I break out two dishwashing tubs & a cookie sheet to accomplish this task. I fill one of these tubs with two tablespoons of baking soda and one quart of warm water (no need to measure this, just an idea of how much to use). The cookie sheet is used to put all of the condiments on and drawers are emptied into the other dishwashing tub to move items quickly in and out of the fridge.

Before cleaning the interior of the fridge, fill each drawer with the same amount of baking soda solution in each one and let the baking soda solution do the dirty work while you are wiping out the inside of the fridge.
I use a rag to do the interior and just get the rag wet with the baking soda solution. Gently wipe the interior of the refrigerator and wipe off all of the surfaces and interior of the refrigerator. If the washing solution begins to look nasty, be sure to chuck it and get another tub full to clean with.
For stuck on interior stains, you can sprinkle a little baking soda directly on the spot and add just a little water to it to make a paste. Allow this to set on the stain and then scrub gently and allow the paste to remove the gunk.
Go back to your drawers and empty them and wipe the interiors of these. Now place these back into the fridge and then take your dishwashing tub of solution and empty it into the sink. Refill the tub with just warm water and add a dash of lemon juice to the water. Now use your rag to do a final swipe using just this water & lemon juice solution. This will remove any grit that might be left in the fridge and the lemon juice will give it a nice fresh scent throughout too. Dry throughly with a terry towel.
Take your cookie sheet of condiments and make sure to give each of these a quick swipe with the rag before returning them. Half the battle is just not having clean items in your fridge and this is a good way to start fresh. Return all of the items in the other tub, at this time, to their proper homes.
The exterior of your fridge can often be overlooked, but it needs attention too. As a mother of two little ones, tiny little fingerprints and smudges are all over my fridge on any given day. To remove these, use my homemade all-purpose cleaner and spray this on your fridge. I then use a microfiber cloth to clean the outside as it is still gentle on the appliance but also abrasive enough to remove any marks. Any scuffs still left? Break out your Mr. Clean Eraser (a mom’s best friend!) You can find a generic equivalent of one of these at your local dollar store.
If you have a stainless steel appliance, dip your microfiber cloth into a little vinegar and give the outside of the fridge a good swiping with the vinegar. Then give the appliance another swipe with just plain water and dry thoroughly with a terry towel. If you have soft water, that won’t show any water marks, you can just use the water to clean the exterior.
Now when was the last time you saw the top of your fridge? You might want to hop up there on occasion and give that a good wiping too. If you have a handheld vacuum, use that to suck up any crumbs and debris. After that, use the all-purpose cleaner and give that a good wiping down too.
Just as a side note, after I clean out my fridge, I also empty the ice out of our icemaker and clean it with the same solution and dump all of the old ice out. This can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so it is an easy addition to my routine since I already have everything out.

Photo Credit: Webkim

Additional Tips:
When cleaning out your fridge, always use baking soda and warm water to wipe the insides of your refrigerator and freezers- soap or dishwashing liquid will leave a smell and can taint food.
Once every few months, remove all the food, switch off the refrigerator and wipe down all the surfaces. Defrost the freezer at the same time if necessary.
A box of baking soda can be added to your fridge and freezer to neutralize those smells.

Frugal Momma’s Money-Saving Tip:
Make sure that the door seals on the refrigerator, freezer compartment, or freezer are working efficiently by closing the door on a piece of paper. If the paper can be pulled out easily, the seal is worn and should be replaced.
Make sure to vacuum your refrigerator coils (located on the back of your fridge) twice a year. It is recommended that you do this more often if you have pets in the home. Just use your vacuum with the crevice attachment attached to the vacuum hose and give it a good vacuuming. The coils are located either on the bottom of your fridge or in the rear of your fridge. Doing this will save you money because if these are clean, your fridge won’t have to work as hard lowering your bills!

Suggested Reading:


Tips to Keep White Appliances from Looking Yellow (Warning: This does include bleach so be careful with your floors and clothing!)

Refrigerator Repair & Care

Do you have any tips for cleaning out the refrigerator? How often do you do this task in your house?

Play It Again, Momma: Homemade Gold & Silver Jewelry Cleaners

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I like to keep a little dish by my sink to put my jewelry in while I am doing the dishes. I also love to thrift shop so I put my love for thrift and my little dish together and came up with this cute little idea.

I use a thrifted candle holder to put my jewels in. They look so pretty and, if the edge has a nice lip on it, it is a safe way to keep your jewels out of harms way. It also makes your jewelry a pretty display while you are scrubbing your little heart out and cursing your family for not helping you… or praying- whatever you happen to do while washing the dishes.

And, if you so choose, you could also be cleaning your jewelry while scrubbing your heart (as you curse your family or pray).

Here are two handy little recipes to keep tucked away for that special day!

Homemade Silver Jewelry Cleaner:

In a bowl, place strips of aluminum foil in and place your silver jewelry on top of them. Cover the silver with boiling water and then add three tablespoons of baking soda and soak for ten minutes. Mix remaining hot water and a drop of liquid soap into another glass bowl. Place your silver in the soapy water and wash. Rinse with clean water and polish dry your pieces with a soft cotton cloth. Please take care, some solutions that are great for some metals and stones may damage others.

(Side Note- I use this solution for cleaning all my silver jewelry and have never had any problems. This works like a dream!)

Homemade Gold Jewelry Cleaner:

Fill a small bowl with warm water and a drop of liquid dish soap. Allow this to soak for approximately ten minutes. Proceed to brush the pieces with an eyebrow brush (or a similar substation such as a toothbrush) while they are being soaked. Then you should transfer the gold jewelry to a strainer and then proceed to rinsing it off with warm water. Finish by drying with a soft cotton cloth.

Simplifying Our Cleaning Routine Resource List

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

What a fun interview that was and I want to thank Trish Suhr for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with me. I hope that you learned a lot in that half hour and I enjoyed getting to share all of our giveaways this week too.

Click above to listen to this episode at anytime or visit our sidebar on the left-hand side to listen to the episodes anytime throughout the week.
These episodes are also available in iTunes format for you to take on the go!

Here are some of the resources that were highlighted in today’s episode:

Pledge Cleaning Quiz We uploaded this fun little quiz from Pledge to figure out what type of cleaning habits you have. A huge thank you to Pledge Multi-Surface for sponsoring the giveaways for our show this week.

Clean House- Trish hosts this great show on the Style Network. You can catch the show Wednesdays at 10/9 Central.

Gearing Up for Summer- This article will offer some helpful little tips for getting your house ready as summer quickly approaches. Get that grill gleaming again and tidy up that patio furniture so you can really enjoy your time outside this year.

Spring Cleaning For Today’s Mom- This article offers some insight on how to make that spring cleaning a little more manageable this year.

Happy Homemaking the Homemade Way- If you can’t afford the expensive cleaners, this article will guide you into making cleaners at home that are better for the earth and easier on the wallet!

On next week’s show…

Next week we will be joined by Charlene, from My Frugal Adventures, who will be sharing with us her tips on choosing a budget-friendly wine. Charlene has over nine years of experience in the wine industry and brings with that a lot of knowledge on how to spot the best deals on great wines, what pitfalls to watch out for when choosing a wine, and how to care for/store wine so it will last longer.

MomAdvice Simplified: Simplifying Our Cleaning Routines

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

On MomAdvice Simplified, we are joined by Trish Suhr, the amazing co-host of “Clean House” on the Style Network, to help offer us tips on keeping our homes in tip top shape. Trish has some great tips for making our homes the sanctuaries that they should be and offers valuable advice on ditching the clutter in our homes so we can truly enjoy it. Trish is lovely and dynamic and I had the best time interviewing her. Talking to her was like chatting with an old friend and I hope you will enjoy this interview half as much as I enjoyed conducting it!

This podcast airs weekly at 2PM EST each Thursday. Due to Trish’s busy schedule, we did have to pre-record the interview portion, but we will be offering a great giveaway for five of our listeners sponsored by Pledge Multi Surface.

MomAdvice Simplified: Simplifying Home Organization

Thursday, March 26th, 2009


This week on MomAdvice Simplified, my weekly podcast for moms, we will be joined by Stephanie Vozza, the Founder of The Organized Parent and organizational expert, and she will be giving us simple and affordable techniques and tools that moms can used to stay organized in our home.

Stephanie knows that most mothers have been in the workplace (or still are) before their “mom lives” began. She also recognizes that in corporate and home offices, there are tools and standard practices to structure a workday. But when it comes to organizing your personal life, it’s every mom for herself!

Stephanie is going to guide us in this journey towards getting our mom lives as organized as our corporate lives were. That podcast will be airing today at 2PM EST so if you are looking to get your life organized again, be sure to tune in for that episode.

Just for our listeners, we will be giving away a product from The Organized Parent to one lucky caller. Please tune in for this fun and exclusive giveaway!

Simplify the Clutter Resource List

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

A big thank you again to Laura, from I’m An Organizing Junkie, for joining us today on MomAdvice Simplified. Laura had some really invaluable tips for cutting the clutter in our homes and ideas for making our lives more organized.

I completely forgot about the code word for the day for the podcast. I apologize about that- I am feeling a bit scattered today. If you email me at amy(at)momadvice(dot)com and tell me one frugal organizing solution that we recommended during the half hour, you will get an extra entry for the iPod Touch!

Here is the resource list from our show:

Menu Planning Mondays
- Join in on the menu-planning round-up each Monday on I’m An Organizing Junkie. Hundreds of people participate and it can help breathe some new life into your menu plans.

Organizing Polly Pockets- One question on the chat was how to organize Polly Pockets and all of their pieces. Laura has a great solution for this that you should definitely check out.

Organize Your Week- This article offers some general guidelines for simplifying your week and routines. By doing this, you will have some time to cut the clutter. I also share my idea for setting aside one day to tackle the one thing you hate.

Simplify the To-Do List- Simplify the to-dos in your life and you will have more time to get organized.

On the Show Next Week…

Does your closet overwhelm you? What key pieces do you need in your wardrobe to look good? My friend and local fashionista, Kathy Friend, is joining me to share her tips for simplifying our closets. With her guidance, we can simplify our closets easily and make a list of what to look for when doing our thrift shopping or wardrobe shopping. Join us next Thursday (02/12) at 2PM EST for some ideas on Simplifying Your Wardrobe.

Simplifying Our Time In the Kitchen Resource List

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to catch the show live and chatted with me while I was on the air. Anyone who listened has to agree that Robin Miller was full of such great information for moms. It was really an incredible interview and I hope you can take a half hour to listen to what she shared with us!

As promised, here is today’s resource links and a couple of recipes from Robin Miller!

Getting to Know Your Freezer- Some inspiration and ideas for ways to stock your freezer!

Starbucks Peppermint Mochas- This is my favorite recipe to share and just one reason to stock those ice cubes in your freezer.

Schedule a Day In Your Kitchen- Recipes for items you can make ahead of time on a scheduled day in your kitchen. This is a great way to save cash and eliminate the convenience foods in your diet.

Bulk It Up- Ideas for maximizing that wholesale club membership to the fullest, if you plan to cook in bulk.

Feed the Freezer Cooking Guide

Sneak Up on Freezer Cooking

Freezer FAQ

30 Day Gourmet

Recipezaar’s Freezer Recipes

Books to Check Out:

Robin to the Rescue

Quick Fix Meals

Dream Dinners Cookbook

Frozen Assets

Super Suppers

Don’t Panic- Dinners in the Freezer

Beef Stroganoff

Recipe Courtesy of Robin Miller and Tyson Foods

Recipe serves 4
Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Time Savings: 30 minutes compared to traditional recipe

Ingredients

8 ounces wide egg-free egg noodles
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 cups sliced fresh cremini or white button mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
1 ½ cups reduced-sodium beef broth
2 packets (6 ounces each) Tyson® Fully Cooked Seasoned Steak Strips
1 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Add thyme (if using) and stir to coat.
4. Add beef broth and steak strips and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes.
5. Stir in cooked egg noodles, sour cream and Dijon mustard. Mix well.
6. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and black pepper. If desired, top with fresh chives just before serving.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Recipe Courtesy of Robin Miller and Tyson Foods

Recipe serves 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Time Savings: 30 minutes compared to traditional recipe

Ingredients

1 pound whole wheat pasta
2 packets (6 ounces each) Tyson® Fully Cooked Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
¾ cup prepared no-salt added tomato sauce (pasta sauce or pizza sauce)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, regular or part-skim
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
Pinch salt and ground black pepper

1. Cook whole wheat pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Arrange chicken breast strips in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over the chicken and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the tomato sauce.
4. In a small bowl, combine the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Mix well and sprinkle the mixture over the mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top of the casserole is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
6. Divide whole wheat pasta among four individual bowls, spoon casserole mixture over the top and serve.

MomAdvice Simplified: Simplifying Our Time in the Kitchen

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I am very excited to have a very special guest on MomAdvice Simplifed this week. Food Network star, Robin Miller, from Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller is joining me today to share her tips for simplifying our time in the kitchen.

I am so incredibly excited about this interview because I am such a big fan of Robin Miller and her time-saving strategies for making healthy meals without cooking for hours and hours. Robin promotes healthy eating and I so admire what she has done with her background in nutrition. During this interview, Robin is going to share with us some ideas for stocking our freezer, some ideas for easy side dishes that aren’t boring, and ideas for ingredients that you can make ahead so you can spend more time with your children, and less time cooking.

Robin Miller has 18 years of experience as a food writer and nutritionist and is the author of the best-selling cookbook “Quick Fix Meals.” Her popular show, Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller, currently airs on Food Network, and her prime time show, Robin to the Rescue premiered on Food Network in March 2007.

Robin’s recipes and nutrition features can be seen regularly in a variety of magazines, including Clean Eating, Experience Life, Guideposts, Cooking Light, Health, Fit Pregnancy, and Toddler. Robin is also the author of eight books including her latest, Robin to the Rescue.

Robin has been a guest on hundreds of local and national television and radio programs and has hosted home videos (for Jane Fonda), cable television vignettes (for Food Network and a variety of food companies) and spoken at media events in various markets nationwide.

She regularly appears on local, network and cable television, with past appearances including The Early Show (CBS), Regis & Kelly, The View, The Today Show (NBC), Good Morning America(ABC), CNN, ABC Eyewitness News and CBS Evening News.

As a nutrition expert, chef and mother of two, Robin has teamed up with Tyson Foods to give busy families strategies and tips using Tyson® Fully Cooked Chicken and Steak Strips to create faster, lighter and budget-friendly versions of favorite meals.

Just as a reminder, you can listen to the show live every Thursday at 2PM EST or you can listen later right here on my the left sidebar!

I hope you will join me and feel free to chat with me in the chat room or you can even phone in your questions. I think this is going to be an invaluable episode for moms and I am really excited about the information that we are going to share in this half hour.

Cute Jewelry Holder & Jewelry Cleaner Recipes

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

I like to keep a little dish by my sink to put my jewelry in while I am doing the dishes. I also love to thrift shop so I put my love for thrift and my little dish together and came up with this cute little idea.

I use a thrifted candle holder to put my jewels in. They look so pretty and, if the edge has a nice lip on it, it is a safe way to keep your jewels out of harms way. It also makes your jewelry a pretty display while you are scrubbing your little heart out and cursing your family for not helping you… or praying- whatever you happen to do while washing the dishes.

And, if you so choose, you could also be cleaning your jewelry while scrubbing your heart (as you curse your family or pray).

Here are two handy little recipes to keep tucked away for that special day!

Homemade Silver Jewelry Cleaner:

In a bowl, place strips of aluminum foil in and place your silver jewelry on top of them. Cover the silver with boiling water and then add three tablespoons of baking soda and soak for ten minutes. Mix remaining hot water and a drop of liquid soap into another glass bowl. Place your silver in the soapy water and wash. Rinse with clean water and polish dry your pieces with a soft cotton cloth. Please take care, some solutions that are great for some metals and stones may damage others.

(Side Note- I use this solution for cleaning all my silver jewelry and have never had any problems. This works like a dream!)

Homemade Gold Jewelry Cleaner:

Fill a small bowl with warm water and a drop of liquid dish soap. Allow this to soak for approximately ten minutes. Proceed to brush the pieces with an eyebrow brush (or a similar substation such as a toothbrush) while they are being soaked. Then you should transfer the gold jewelry to a strainer and then proceed to rinsing it off with warm water. Finish by drying with a soft cotton cloth.

Spring Cleaning: Organizing The Bookshelves

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Yesterday we spent time organizing our entertainment units and our media. Today we are going to focus on another area common to many family rooms- the bookshelves.

We have two bookshelves in our home and then another bookshelf built-in that resides in our office. I am really good about using our local library though so unless I find a book that I just have to have, I usually limit our book purchases and take advantage of the free service instead.

I worship our library, I would build a shrine to it if I could! I am a big library dork and even subscribe to our libraries blog so I can get the latest information on any books that are coming out or library events. I feel self-confident enough to admit that I am obsessed with my library.

If your home is overrun with books though, there are lots of great sites where you can share and swap books with others. This might be a great way to not add to your collection, but share the collection you already have without buying more.

PaperBack Swap

BookMooch (this site also allows for charitable donations of books to prisoners)

bookins

SwapTree

2Swap

BookCrossing

Frugal Reader

You could also donate these to Goodwill, schools, hospitals, and churches. Call around and see if anyone is interested! If all else fails, check out Freecycle or Craigslist for passing those books on.

Today’s Printable:

Spring Cleaning Your Family Room Day Two

In Case You Missed It (Previous Printables):

Spring Cleaning Introductory Page

Spring Cleaning Recipes

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Three

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen Day Six (newly updated with cabinet instructions)

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day One

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Two

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Three

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Four

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Five

Spring Cleaning Your Bathroom Day Six

Spring Cleaning Your Family Room Day One

Sound Off: Are you a book collector? Do you use any websites for sharing your books or keep a virtual bookshelf anywhere?