Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Carpet Cleaning 101

I have two kids, one dog, and a husband that wears shoes all of the time.  Answer me this... WHY DID I BUY A HOUSE WITH WHITE BERBER CARPET?  

It seems like I am always fighting this losing battle with stains, high traffic wear and just plain dirt!  

Carpet sprays don't work out too well because the dog is always trying to lick the floor.  Sprinkle powders don't work because then the dog is constantly sniffing the floor and sneezing... why can't he just learn "If I sniff this floor I will sneeze"?  And I really don't relish the thought of having a professional come in and clean my carpets because of the chemicals that they use to clean the carpet which would likely take me right back to a sneezing dog (or worse)!

Which lead me to searching Pinterest for something to try, I must admit when I saw this post I thought "This is too good to be true".  Since I had the ingredients on hand I decided to give it a try!

A large spot right at the top of our entryway stairs!
A small spot on the entryway stairs!

The first step in the direction was to scrape up the liquid, but these stains are long standing... no need for me to do scrape!

Next I needed to sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain to let absorb for 10 minutes and then vacuum.  I suspected that this was likely a step for fresh stains but since it was in the directions I did it anyway.  I was correct, there was absolutely no change or value in this step for me.  How do I know that?  Well the first stain posted above was treated with the Baking Soda and the second stain was not.

Now for the magical solution:  Mix 1 Tablespoon dish washing liquid (the directions said clear but all I had was purple lavender so I used it instead), with 1 Tablespoon white vinegar and two cups of warm water. Give the mixture a little swirl to mix but don't do it vigorously enough to create bubbles.

Using a rag, I dipped it in the solution and sponged, dabbed and a little forcefully scrubbed the stain.  I couldn't believe it... the carpet looked stain free.  But I thought to myself "It looks clean because it is wet, I wonder if it really did the trick".  So I waited for it to dry, even after it dried I couldn't believe that it did that good of a job.  So then I thought "Give it 24 hours and see if it changes back to the big ugly stain".  24 hours later and still no stain.

The final part of the original directions was to sponge off with cold water and blot dry... who has time for that??? I didn't do the last step.

NO SPOT at the top of the entryway stairs!
NO SPOT on the entryway stairs!
Now I just have to figure out how to clean the rest of the carpets without having to be on my hands and knees going section by section!  Maybe just rent one of those Rug Doctors and use this as my solution instead of their cleaner!

Please checkout Lizzy Writes for additional tips and comments about this process.  It worked for some folks and not for others.  I however am a I firm believer, it worked for my carpet!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Breakfast As Easy As Apple Pie

If you are like me your mornings are filled with rushing to get yourself ready and the kids ready and out the door!  In fact most of the time I am so rushed I'm lucky if I remember to grab my purse (I've actually taken to stashing money in my laptop bag).  Trying to lead a healthy lifestyle means getting breakfast and getting it from home not a drive thru or cafeteria.  A couple of weeks ago I came across this recipe on a site called Cooking with Jax.   I decided to give it a try and the worst case scenario was that no one but me liked it but EVERYONE liked it, the kids even ask to have it as an after school snack!

I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe:


1 cup of steel cut oats (sometimes called Irish Oats)
3 diced apples (I used Red Delicious)
1 cup apple juice (I used Mott's)
3 cups water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup raw sugar (not the white stuff)

Just a couple of notes here

I did not peel my apples, it was fine with out peeling them but if you have texture issues then you probably should peel them.  I don't have the time or the patience for that ;o)

If you prefer to use quick oats please check out the Cooking with Jax link above as she does have a version that can be done with quick oats as well as on the stove.  

I make this in a large crock-pot but I also double the recipe as I am making it for a family of 4.

Put oats in crock-pot, add apple juice, water, cinnamon and raw sugar.  De-core the apples.  Dice, slice or however you like your apples cut, toss them in and stir.  Turn the crock-pot on, put the lid on and forget about it!  Wake up in the morning and enjoy a hot yummy breakfast. 

10/23/12 - I like this much better when I only cook it for 4 hours and then put it in containers and just reheat it in the morning.  When I left it overnight it was way too mushy for my liking.

I put the leftovers in 1 cup containers and put them in the refrigerator (they don't stay around for longer than a couple of days so I don't know how long they would actually last).

Nutritional Info is approximate and not verified.
Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 6
  • Amount Per Serving 1 cup
  • Calories: 152.7
  • Total Fat: 1.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 3.6 mg
  • Total Carbs: 33.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.6 g
  • Protein: 4.1 g