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Make-It-Yourself Monday

Ok, so that’s a new category that I
totally made up. And this will reveal me as uber-granola mom, but
so be it.

I probably make more items around our house than most people; I
make our own yogurt (we’ll talk about that another Monday
– it’s embarrassingly easy, and so much cheaper, that I
have to with the rate we go through yogurt!), my mom makes our
bread, we eat homemade breakfast bars, granola, and so on.
It’s partly the Martha Stewart in me, partly the cheapskate
in me, and partly the environmentally-friendly tree hugger in me.
But this is something anyone can make, regardless of your level of
cooking skills (even you, A. – you know who you are!) because
this requires no cooking, no measuring.

Moms and dads, it’s time to put down the store-bought glass
and surface cleaner.

Look, I know some of you are addicted to
your 409, and there are 12-step programs for that, I’m sure.
But just do this one time, and see how easy it is and how much
money you save. Oh yes, and how much better it is for your family.

Ready? Step one: get an empty, clean spray bottle. Step two: fill
half-full with water. Step three: fill the remainder with white

And you’re done.

Now, I admit, I get a little fancier than that: I’ve got
dried lavender I throw in – about two tablespoons for a
smallish spray bottle – and let it soak for a while. And
before you point out that lavender racks up the cost, it’s
from my backyard, so there. Actually, I fill a big milk jug with
the mixture and add the lavender and let it steep for a few months
until I need to refill my small bottle. It helps cut the vinegar
smell, and lavender is a natural anti-bacterial. If you don’t
have lavender, a few drops of orange oil or lemon oil in the bottle
works really well, too. I confess I’ve grown to like the

I use this every day on my countertops, though I will get out the
all-natural kitchen cleaner for really tough messes. And if I use
this on mirrors with some old newspaper to wipe with, they sparkle
like 409 never achieved. I’m not an Earth freak to the
exclusion of protecting my family: I’ve got an organic
cleaner that’s antibacterial for the times I cut up a lot of
raw chicken or something. But most days I simply use the homemade

And as happy as it makes my inner penny-pincher – and believe
me, since it costs me somewhere between a dime and a quarter a
bottle, it makes me VERY happy – there’s an even better
reason to use it: my girls. We were in a public bathroom the other
day and a woman was cleaning the sinks with a spray bottle and
paper towel. As we left, Maddie wrinkled her nose and said,
“Mommy, why did her cleaner smell so nasty?” That would
be all the chemicals, and with the amount of times I wipe down my
kitchen counters there would be quite a few of them floating around
our breathing space.

Give it a try – I promise, it won’t hurt. You can count
the experiment as your monthly Life of Impact fulfillment, since
it’s good for the environment. And if you want even more
cleaning ideas and ways to green up your household for your kids,
check out href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHealthy-Child-World-Creating-Cleaner%2Fdp%2F0452290198%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1235360967%26sr%3D1-1&tag=1mother2anoth-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325"
target="_blank">Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating A
Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home


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