Category: DIY & Life Hacks

Life can be messy, make it simpler with these tips and tricks!

Life Hack Test #1…

…Blood stains can be removed by Hydrogen Peroxide

Okay, so I love life hacks probably more than your average person, originally when I set out to create this blog it was going to be solely me testing out life hacks to either boost or diminish credibility to them. However, I decided the variety is always best when it comes to blogging, especially with so many competitors out there. I’ll often stumble across on Pinterest helpful tips and tricks which seem too good to be true. Some of these tricks I’ve found work, others I’ve found may work under certain circumstances but might not always ring true.
One particular life hack which caught my eye while I struggled with writer’s block this week was that hydrogen peroxide could remove blood stains. Now it just so happens I have some blood stained pants (pre washed of course, but stained nonetheless) and some hydrogen peroxide lying around my house. It must be noted that this hack is not very specific about how soon after your clothing becomes stained you need to apply the hydrogen peroxide so like any good scientist, I must first perform a hypothesis:
Hypothesis: If I apply hydrogen peroxide to my blood stained pants the peroxide will remove the offending stain from my pants and make them like new.
Theory 1: The stain is old and having gone through a cycle of wash and dry will remain due to the lack of action upon first receiving the stain.
Theory 2: The peroxide when applied to a fresh stain will help lift the blood for the washer/dryer but not remove it.
Theory 3. It works!
Now that I’ve proposed the hypothesis and three possible outcome theories I will tell you what you need:
1. An article of blood stained clothing FREE thanks to your recklessness.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide which could be picked up at your local dollar store for $1.00
Total Expenses: $1.00
Here’s What I did…
 
1. Propped the offending pair of pants with the dried stain against my bathroom sink. You can see what I’m working with in the picture below.
 
 
2. I doused the stain in Hydrogen Peroxide and let it sit for 5 minutes.
 
 
3. FIRST I tried rubbing the stain out but as you can see below I don’t think this helped a whole lot.
 
 
 
 
4. NEXT I tried something different, after re-soaking the stain, I took out your standard blow dryer and applied heat directly onto the stain.
 
 

5. Voila! While the stain isn’t completely gone, it’s nearly invisible to the naked eye and after a few more repeats of steps 1-4 it was starting to vanish.


 
My verdict: While this life hack DOES work, I feel that it would have worked even better or removed it completely with minimal repetition if done immediately after receiving the stain in question.
Have you or will you try this life hack next time you find a blood stain on your clothes? Leave a comment below discussing your thoughts and suggestions, I love hearing from you!
Love you. Mean it.
Brittany
xoxo

Dr. Seuss and Science…

..These are a few of my favorite things!

 

Spending time with our niece and nephew on the weekends is definitely a top 5 on our list of things my husband and I like to do. As a teacher, I have a special place in my heart for Dr. Seuss, the illustrations, the rhymes, the unforgettable characters which I love to share not only with my students but with Elsie and Ben too.

 One lesson (which I did in April) with my Pre-K class, was such a hit I thought I’d bring in home for the summer holiday and share it on here with both parents and teachers alike! Oobleck is a very easy science experiment that’s reminiscent of it’s 90’s predecessor, Gak and is wonderful fun for kids of all ages. Oobleck gets it’s name from the classic Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck if you’ve never read the book it center’s on an arrogant king who was tired of sunlight, rain, snow and wind falling from the sky so he calls upon his magicians to create something new. Enter the gooey green substance, Oobleck, which fell from the sky and wreaked havoc in the kingdom until the king says “I’m sorry”. Elsie, Tom, Ben and I made Oobleck-but never fear! We made it in a bowl that wreaked havoc in our kitchen, only because we got super carried away playing with it!
The kids really had a blast with it-not to mention it brought out the big kid in my husband, I’d highly recommend it for rainy days or just a day time activity to do with your own children. Want to make Oobleck like we did? Great let’s start!
Here’s what you need and how much it will cost you:
1. 2 Cups of Water – FREE from your faucet
2. 1 Cup of Glue (we used Elmer’s School Glue)- $12.99
3. 2 Tablespoons of Borax (We used ’20 Mule Team’ borax and you can find this in any laundry detergent aisle)- $4.09
4. Food Coloring (we used McCormick Specialty Extracts green food coloring) $2.62
Total Expenses: $19.70
That’s just under $20 for hours of fun, once you’ve got the things you need read below as show you how we did it (with pictures because obviously pictures make everything better).
1. I mixed 1 Cup of water with 1 Cup of glue.
2. Tom (in a separate bowl) mixed the remaining 1 Cup (remember the recipe called for two!) of water with the two tablespoons of borax.
3. Tom and I allowed Elsie and Ben to add a few drops of food coloring to the bowl with the borax in it.
4. Tom and Ben combined their borax and water mixture into Elsie and I’s glue and water mixture SLOWLY while allowing the kids each a spoon to stir.
5. Your mixture should start to become rubbery, when this happens please stop pouring in the Borax mixture.
6. Tom then poured off the excess liquid and let Elsie and Ben play…oh who are we kidding?! We played too and IT WAS FUN!
Word to the wise though this WILL stick to clothes, hair and YES even your carpets so mad scientists beware. Also I felt like this, being the second time I made it, it came out better than my first batch so if your first batch is off don’t get discouraged, keep trying!
Did you try this experiment and enjoy it? Have any others you want me to review? Leave a comment below, I love to hear from you!
Love you. Mean it.
Brittany
xoxo

Aging Mascara: Before You Trash It…

try this!

Visine works really well on my go-to favorite mascara!

 


Helpful Hint: In addition to avoiding the dreaded clumpy look, twirling the mascara wand inside the tube rather than pumping it in and out will also keep unwanted bacteria out! – xo Britt

Makeup isn’t cheap, so when I found myself getting ready for a date night consisting of half-price appetizers at Applebee’s and my mascara started drying out before its expiration date, it easily put a damper on our my prep time. It was disappointing, my loyal mascara seemed doomed to fail me, I had only bought it a month ago, it couldn’t already be time to replace it, could it? I was about ready to send Tom out to buy a new one when I had remembered something that I once read on Buzzfeed about adding saline solution to mascara . I was skeptical, I admit it, but I had nothing lose except a couple of dollars if it didn’t work and I had all the materials I needed in my cabinet. Yes, it was a risk but it actually paid off. Before I walk you through step by step, I’d like to toss out a disclaimer stating that you shouldn’t keep mascara more than two months as it’s a total bacteria breeding ground and can cause a wide variety of eye issues. However, if you’re only a month in and your favorite makeup is looking a little stale try this little trick to make it good as new!

What you will need and how much it will cost:
1. Your dried up mascara: Already purchased so no price necessary.
2. Saline Solution (I used Equate Saline Solution for sensitive eyes) : $3.96 at Walmart.
Total cost of materials needed: $3.96
Okay, I’ve got all the things I need! Now what?
1. Un-cap your offending mascara and set wand aside.
2. Place 2-3 drops of the Saline Solution into your mascara.
3. Replace cap and twirl the mascara wand in the tube (DO NOT go up and down as mentioned above because this invites in bacteria)
4. Put on your mascara like normal and note the difference.
As mentioned above, I found this technique to be particularly helpful and as evident in the pictures provided, the myth of saline solutions as adequate moisture suppliers for dry mascaras is fairly accurate. Please use your judgment when adding the drops, the amount my mascara called for might be different than yours, I’d say use two and go from there.

Have you tried this technique and liked it? Do you have a different tick for dry mascara you use just as well? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and feedback, I’d love to hear from you!

Love you. Mean it.
Brittany
xo

Pinterest Gems: 7 Easy and Affordable Tips I Liked…

…To Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal

With regards to curb appeal some of the time that is all it takes is a slap of paint and a little imagination. A few of us simply have a talent for it, while others might require a little motivation to get the thoughts streaming. You’d be astounded at what a distinction even economic changes can make to enhance the curb appeal of your home. Beside the self-evident — arranging, pulling weeds, paint, and general clean it up — here is 7 easy and affordable tips that I plan on doing for my house and pretty much anybody can do!

1. I found this on Pinterest, the person who pinned it ditched the slab foundation look by purchasing fake panels which cover the boring old slab look and are relatively inexpensive. As someone who also has a slab foundation, I did some research and found the fake or “faux” as they are referred to panels can be ordered online in a wide variety of choices. I personally like the faux rock look and will definitely be ordering mine soon.

I was overwhelmed with how many options I found on www.fauxpanels.com


2. Give your front door a much-needed make over! Sometimes ditching an old door and replacing it with a newer one does the trick BUT for most of us on a budget a new door is costly and let’s face it we’re all tight on cash here and there. In this case, take your current door and paint it a bold new color. Once your done with that, add brass numbers to the door to give it extra pizzazz.

I really loved the article about how this door went from ‘Blah’ to ‘Yeah!’ in Melissa’s blog which you can check out at: http://www.320sycamoreblog.com/2011/06/door-details.html
3. Maybe it’s because I think I’m a Disney Princess 90% of the time but I really want window boxes, and I want you to want them too because not only are they super chic but it makes your windows look bigger (look for yourself in the picture below). Plus, it’s a total bonus that it’s almost like bringing a bit of nature indoors because you can see all of the flowers and plants from the interior of the home, too. SHAZAM!
Found on Pinterest
4. I’m dying to ditch that old as the hills mailbox that’s been there since before I moved in! Think about it, our mailbox is literally the first impression of our home. So go outside, look at your mailbox and ask yourself: what does it say about you? Go ahead…I’ll wait! Verdict is? Nothing good? Well that’s okay because since it is so small, it could be as simple as an afternoon project to get it looking like it came straight out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Pinterest has a whole slew of affordable ideas, like one post I read which a woman took a cast stone post surround that she placed over a 4×4 wooden post, it looked gorgeous and turns out it’s much easier than it looks!
Read more about how to do this on http://www.beneathmyheart.net
5. My porch is concrete, not to mention it’s the first thing my friends and family see when they come in the front door. Ever since I found this picture on Pinterest I’ve been dying to create faux tile by the use of concrete stain! The pinner (I’m not entirely sure who the author is when I went to revisit their site from Pinterest the link was broken) created a concrete look like tile by using painter’s tape to make faux grout lines prior to staining. I’ve seen many neighbors use the stain by itself which instantly give walkways, patios, and driveways and entirely new look and its relatively inexpensive at your local Home Depot or Lowes.
Faux tile without the hassle of real tile! Found on Pinterest if anyone knows who took this picture please leave a comment so I can cite them properly.

6. Okay! I saw this on Pinterest and my inner gardening goddess jumped with glee at this planting pottery addresses idea. I mean what a cute DIY idea to enhance curb appeal! The address display I have now was left over from the people who used to live in my house, not to mention you can’t see it from the road, it was then I stumbled across this idea on Pinterest and I couldn’t help but love the simplicity of it, yet how chic it would be to incorporate my address into the garden pots with flowers in them. I may just scratch the numbers on the front door idea and trade it in for the perfect little area on the front corner of my yard where I plan to make this happen!

Pottery addresses add sensational curb appeal to your home
Courtesy of Pinterest

7. Hide your trash! Hide your recycle! This is one of my biggest pet peeves about my own house where my big, ugly trash cans are visible from the street, sometimes open with trash bags peeking out of the top. If you, like me, are forced to keep your trash where it can easily be seen from the street (or from anywhere really), you can put up a small fence, or perhaps even build  a garbage can storage shed to hide any and all offending trash culprits. Gates like the one pictured below, you can find at Lowes in their outdoor gardening section.

Courtesy of Pinterest
So there you have it, some Pinterest gems I definitely plan on doing and will be compiling before and after photos as well as  ‘How To’s as I accomplish each one to share with you, my readers. What ways have you found Pinterest helped give you ideas to enhance your home’s curb appeal? Leave a comment below and join in the discussion because I love hearing from all of you!
Love you. Mean it.
Brittany
xo

Make it rain, make it rain…

make it rain on them jars!

Looking for a cheap way to entertain your children or (in my case) niece and nephew? You’ve come to the right place this week! Parents and teachers alike can use this cool DIY science experiment of the children (and inner child) in their lives. What inspired me to write this post came during Easter weekend, Tom and I found ourselves doing puzzles, coloring in coloring books and reading stories to our niece Elsie (6 years old) and nephew Ben (2 1/2 years old). As a Pre-school teacher, I love science experiments-almost as much as I love food coloring-and what I decided to show Elsie and Ben that particular weekend left them both in awe and begging to try again. Now, I have made rain clouds in a jar a few times in the past with my Pre-K kids, and my students love this activity I found on Pinterest one summer in 2013 more each time we revisit it. My niece and nephew were no exception!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
1. Water, you know the kind from your sink, -FREE

2. Barbasol Original Shaving cream – $1.00 at DollarTree
3. Glass pint jar mugs $1.00 at DollarTree
4. McCormick Specialty Extracts Assorted Food Color and Egg Dye- $3.48 at Walmart. We used blue but you can use any color you want your ‘rain’ to be. ( I’ve also read watercolors work just as well but we did not try them)
5. Super Dropper (2 pack so you can allow two children to conduct the experiment at once)-$4.42 at Walmart.

Total cost of this experiment: $9.90

Okay, got what I need, now how do I do it?
1. Fill the jar with water and top it with shaving cream. Allow the shaving cream a minute or so to settle on top of water before beginning.
2. In a separate regular standard kitchen drinking glass fill it with water, deposit the blue food coloring into it and mix it well.
3. Have the children suction up the blue dyed water with their droppers and deposit it into the top of the shaving cream.
4. Watch the blue dye travel through the shaving cream and begin to “rain” inside the jar.
5. Pat yourself on the back when you see the looks of amazement on the kids’ faces!

Have you done this experiment? Did you use watercolors instead? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts on this cool kids experiment, I love hearing from you!

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

xo

Spring Coming Means…

Ticks on pets (or their humans) is highly probable…

 

Spring, is here! Everybody is itching to get outside and get some fresh air after a long winter of being contained inside and battling jack frost. The trade off with warmer weather is the re-emergence of ticks, insects and other pests which could put a damper on a great time outdoors. This week I’m going to talk about tick removal and a step you can take to have a virtually painless removal of these blood-sucking parasites which you can use on animals, kids and even yourself!

The morning of July 19th 2015 started off like any other morning, I got up, went to work, came home and did my ritual evening walk with Tom and Draco (my Jack Russell terrier) where we discuss our day and allow our fur baby to let off some excess energy. We counted on family bonding and staying out till the sun went down, even watching it on our front porch with stress free wonder. What we didn’t count on was the pest that followed us home that evening. While snuggling on the couch that evening playing with his soft ears, I felt a bump. Upon closer inspection, I noticed what I suspected from the moment I started moving his hair to find, a tick had struck on to him. Now if anyone has been blessed with sharing their home with a Jack Russell Terrier you’ll know they do not stay still long enough to take a set of tweezers and simply pull the offending pest out. That’s when I turned to Pinterest frantically for tips on how to get your dog to stay still long enough to pull it out or alternative options and found this very useful tip I’d love to share with you.

My Jack Russell Terrier: Draco Sirius (yes I’m a Harry Potter fanatic!)
How many of you have Vaseline (also known as white petroleum jelly) laying around your house? Well, so did I at the time. The tip suggested I take a dollop of Vaseline and cover the entire body of the tick and wait 10-15 minutes. After having unsuccessfully tried to hold Draco down with the tweezers several times, I was desperate. I waited for him to settle down and did just as Pinterest had recommended of me, once he calmed down and settled next to me on the couch and dipped my finger in Vaseline and rubbed it over the tick’s entire body and what happened next truly amazed me-the tick began backing out of Draco’s skin on its own until Tom was able to remove it with the tweezers from him (getting the entire body out, head and all!) and burn it over our kitchen sink.
So that prompted me to begin my next web search, why does Vaseline work so well? As it turns out the Vaseline which soaks into your skin within 10-15 minutes acts as a suffocating agent for ticks and the tick-realizing this-tries to back out of you, your child or your pet’s skin to avoid being killed. While this trick will assist you in removing pests, please get it tested if you think it could be a tick which could potentially carry Lyme’s Disease (such as Deer ticks) and don’t forget to dispose of the tick by burning it or flushing it down the toilet to ensure it is killed and prevent it from harming anything else.
Feel free to leave your comments, thoughts or experiences trying this method in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Love you. Mean it.
Brittany
xo

Paint: Updating Your Home On A Budget

 

Without Busting Your Bank Account…

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. The ideas of how we want to update our homes are limitless, however, what isn’t limitless is our budgets. I remember when my husband and I first purchased our new home both sets of our parents told us a homeowner’s work is never done, starry-eyed, besotted with our own space and thrilled at finally being on our own we allowed this piece of foreshadowing advice to go in one ear and out the other, moving in though was another story entirely we realized our parents were on to something.
Our home is not extravagant by any means it was built in the 1950’s ( a modest ranch) in what was once a fisherman’s town on the Jersey Shore. Through the years our home was owned, rented and generally neglected by those who lived there prior to us. To make a long story short, our home needs a lot of updating (it’s livable) and love. I will say this paint is the great makeover! Here’s the before picture (old pic when the former owners still lived there) pano. I want you to get an idea of what we were working with: walls were originally a yellow and orange (the previous people had a southwest looking theme to it) wooden unpainted trim and of course porcelain cactus outlet covers. This is a BEFORE picture for those of you who haven’t seen my house.

Before Picture

To brighten up the room and give it some character we did the walls in Sherwin Williams Sea Salt. This color has been called the new beige because it’s so versatile and I highly recommend it. We also painted the trimming white, got matching outlet covers and light switches both in white. We still need curtains (my Mother has a lovely pair she got from JC Penney’s that match very well) but the overall effect is quite pleasing. It’s crisper, cleaner and makes the room look bigger with the white ceiling concept.

After Picture

If you have any painting tips you wish to share that I did not cover, please leave a comment below and tell me what I might have missed.

Happy Easter and Home Decorating!

Love you. Mean it.

Brittany

xo