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How To Clean An Artificial Christmas Tree

How To Clean An Artificial Christmas Tree

CleanChristmasTreeLast year around Christmas time I was really struggling with my allergies and I noticed that my allergies seemed a lot worse right after we put up our 15 year old artificial Christmas tree.  I didn’t make the connection at first, but I did notice 6 weeks later when we finally packed up our tree that I almost instantly started breathing better.  A light bulb went off in my brain and I realized that my Christmas tree may have been a big part of why I had been so sick during the holidays last year.

This year I’m determined to feel better during the holiday season and I decided it was time to clean my Christmas tree, afterall, we’ve had if for 15 years!  Honestly, I can’t believe that we have had this tree for so long, it’s super ‘old-school’, has individual branches that have to be put on one by one, but it works and it looks really nice once it’s all set up.  Don’t get me started on how long it takes to assemble, add the lights, and ornaments (I hate this job as much as my kids love it), but today I’m thankful that I don’t have a pre-lit tree because if I did I would never be able to clean it so thoroughly.  I’m super envious of all of you out there that have pre-lit trees – the ease, the simplicity…oh man….(drooling over here), but I’ve also heard horror stories about how the lights malfunction.

ANYWAYS, back to the topic at hand….as I was saying, I’ve got this super old, fake tree and I was bound and determined to clean it.  I begged my husband to get out the box from the basement and haul it outside to our back porch – it was warm, 80 degrees the day we did this.  Here’s what you need to do:

Supplied Needed:

  • Spray bottle
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Vinegar
  • Hose
  • Artificial Christmas Tree

Directions:

I gathered up the kids and had them lay out each branch of the tree.  I gave each of them a spray bottle filled with a solution of white vinegar, lemon juice, and water and asked them to spray all sides of each branch.  I let that sit for about 15 minutes and then I got out my hose and sprayed off each branch completely.  After all the branches were thoroughly rinsed, I shook off the excess water from each one and laid them on the dry patio in direct sunlight.  I left them outside to dry for the entire day and flipped them over about 5 hours into the day.  At the end of the day I made sure they were completely dry and then I packed the branches back up in the box and was done.

They smelled GREAT too!  I’m super hopeful that this cuts down on the all the dust and helps keep my crazy allergies at bay.  It sounds time consuming, annoying, and hard to do, but it was super easy, quick and I feel great knowing it’s over and done with!  Hope that helps!  You can do it too!  Let me know if it helps – I’m crossing my fingers that it will help my household breathe better this Christmas!

CleanChristmasTree

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October 25, 20160 commentsRead More
How To Make Dehydrated Bananas

How To Make Dehydrated Bananas

HowToMakeDehydratedBananasHi everyone!! It’s been awhile – and for that I’m sorry!  I’ve been so busy this summer enjoying every last second with my kids that I’ve made a conscience effort to step back from my blog.  It’s been a breath of fresh air actually – just taking a break.  I’ve really needed the time to think and just listen to the Lord speak into my life.

My summer has been great!  I hope yours has been too!  We’ve enjoyed tons of time with our family and friends, doing fun crafts – like making homemade chalk (I’ll discuss this in a later post – it was AWESOME!), spending much-needed time with cousins, lots of runs through the neighborhood and of course, tons of swimming!  My adorable neighbor across the street blessed with me with a hand-me-down food dehydrator and I’m trying it out today!  Which is what this post is really about actually – so Katrina, stop rambling all about ‘what you did this summer’….seriously!

We were at the grocery store this morning and there was an awesome deal on ripe bananas – as well as a of bags of discount apples.  All a sudden I remembered that my neighbor said I could have her old dehydrator and viola!  We purchased  about 3lbs of bananas and a couple pounds of apples and as soon as we got home we started prepping the bananas for the dehydrator.  I had the bright idea that I should spray the apples with lemon juice using a small water bottle instead of hand-dipping each one – just seemed a lot faster, and on a day like today, when I still have to find a place for a ton of cereal that I bought with some HOT coupons for super cheap this morning, I don’t have time to waste!  Plus, my daughter has a friend coming over soon and my oldest has a baseball game in a few hours!  I’m happy to report that it took less than 3o minutes to slice, arrange, and spray about 3lbs of bananas.  My dehydrator only has 4 trays, and I filled them all up, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to process the apples.  I’m super excited for how quick and easy this process was!  I set the temperature to 135 degrees and I guess they should be done in about 10 hours.

This is a great way to use up those over-ripe bananas that your kids think are too mushy to eat!  We tend to have a lot of those each week – seems like I never know what fruit my kids will want to eat and the poor bananas get ripe so fast!  The ripe ones will taste a lot sweeter too!  I plan to try blueberries soon and of course the apples!  So excited!  I love new ideas like this and also love finding frugal and fun ways to stretch every dollar – especially with our food budget!

How To Make Dehydrated Bananas

You will need:

  • 3-5lbs of ripe bananas (depends on who big your dehydrator is)
  • Food dehydrator
  • Small spray bottle
  • Juice from one lemon or 2 Tbs of bottled lemon juice
  1. Peel and slice the bananas the same thickness so they dry evenly – 1/4″ is perfect
  2. Place bananas in single layer on dehydrator trays
  3. Spray bananas with lemon juice
  4. Turn on the dehydrator and set to 135 degrees
  5. Check bananas in 5 hours and consider flipping over (again depends on the design of your dehydrator)
  6. Cook for a total of 10 hours until bananas are no longer mushy to the touch.
  7. Store in an air-tight bag or container.

Easy, fun, frugal, and so yummy!  Enjoy!

HowToMakeDehydratedBananas

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July 29, 20160 commentsRead More
How To Get Stained Crayon Out Of Your Clothes

How To Get Stained Crayon Out Of Your Clothes

CrayonOhmygosh!  I was frantic – I cried, I screamed, I even yelled at myself and my kids and even my dog who just so happened to be standing in the laundry room as I removed item after item out of my dryer covered in dark blue crayon.  Not just any items, all of my daughters favorite pink shorts and my favorite workout clothes, and these days, I tend to not only workout in those clothes, but live in them daily.  After a few really long screams and a couple deep breaths I grabbed a huge handful of those totally stained clothes and ran upstairs to almost sleeping kids and showed them the effects of what crayon does to your clothes…I yelled some more and then I left them to go to sleep.  Not the best way to end the day, but gosh was I angry.

You see, only about a week ago a chapstick tube missed my pre-wash inspection of all pockets and was washed and then dried with an entire load of my husbands work clothes.  I spent the better part of a morning trying to get oil stains out of all his clothes.  Then today, to have the crayon incident was enough to totally set me off!!!   How I’ve managed to make it 10 years without ever having the “crayon incident” happen is a miracle, but I’m still super upset about it.  While I screamed, my adorable husband got online and found a great post about what we could try from Diary of a Doctor’s Wife Blog.  If this ever happens to you - Try This!

I’ve tried this, washed the clothes and am totally terrified to see how they turned out.  I’ll let you know!

Honestly, I’m still trying to calm down.  Pray for me!  :)

 

UPDATE:  I’ve tried exactly what this post says to do, and after running my clothes through the cycle two times, they look a lot better than they did originally.  The crayon did not come out completely on all the different fabrics that I had in the load.   Thankfully, most of my favorite athletic clothes are basically stain-free.  A couple items were made of a sweatshirt-type textured material and those one are just holding onto the crayon stain.  Sadly, my daughter’s favorite cheerleading light pink shorts are the worst ones in the bunch, the blue stains have faded, but they are still very much a stain and she’s heartbroken over those shorts (these are made of the sweatshirt type material).  We did lose one of my husband’s work shirts, but it was on it’s last leg before the crayon incident.  I did learn that having a front loading washer makes soaking in really hot water very hard.  After I washed my whole load once, I then re-soaked the entire load in my kitchen sink and poured boiling water over it.  I let it soak for a good 3o minutes before I ran the whole load through the washer again.

In hindsight, I would soak in boiling hot water right away and I would probably soak and drain and then re-soak again and then throw directly into the washer and wash on the hottest wash my machine would allow.  The pre-soak is key, and pre-soaking in super hot water.  I did use a Magic Eraser on my dryer drum and that really helped get rid of the blue ring on everything.  All in all, it was not a fun thing to have happen and I’m praying that it doesn’t happen again.  But, if it does happen to you, try the above post and you will probably save some of your load!

Crayon

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June 27, 20160 commentsRead More
Katrina’s DIY Tip – How To Seal Lots Of Envelopes Quickly

Katrina’s DIY Tip – How To Seal Lots Of Envelopes Quickly

HowToSealEnvelopesIt’s Christmas time and in my house that means I have a lot of Christmas cards and letters to send out!  While I love to write my annual Christmas letter, I really dislike licking all those envelopes!  It takes forever and it tastes horrible, unless you buy the yummy flavored envelopes and I’m too cheap to do that!

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I figured out how to do this.  One of the very first jobs I had was working in a mail room.  My job was to open and process mail, as well as send out a lot of high volume mailings that had a lot of inserts for each envelope.  All day long I would stuff letters and process mail.  It was actually a lot of fun!  I got so quick at this type of thing that I was able to read a book and stuff envelopes without even looking!

This year I had a little over 200 cards and letters to send and I realized when I was sealing them all that I have a pretty quick way to seal a lot envelopes at one time – and my son suggested that he take a quick video and that I share it with my friends!  That is exactly what we did!  Here is a quick video showing how I quickly seal a lot of envelopes at one time: WATCH VIDEO NOW!

envelopoe_video

 

HowToSealEnvelopes

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December 8, 20150 commentsRead More
Homemade Table Top Tiki Torch Fire Pit

Homemade Table Top Tiki Torch Fire Pit

TikiTorchI had the pleasure of creating a really fun craft project this afternoon – a Table Top Tiki Torch Fire Pit!  This was a really fun project!  A couple months ago our family enjoyed a fun summer bbq at a friend’s house and we made smores (and let me tell you, I LOVE smores – I have no idea why, especially because I’m a not a huge fan of marshmallows, but they are soooo heavenly to me – they rate second only to brownies in my book, and for those of you who know me or have been reading my blog for a long time – you know I LOVE brownies more than anything) with a flower pot charcoal fire pit.  My friend told me that she found the idea on…you guessed it…Pinterest.  It was a blast – and I literally was kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner!  So, when I got home that same night I stayed up way to late pinning homemade fire pits – you can see all the neat ideas I found on my Pinterest page – All these great ideas led me to create a similar version of my own!  I really liked the idea of the tiki torch as the flame because it was quick and easy and didn’t need to heat up for a long time.  Plus I really liked the modern look of the semi-buried torches with decorative rocks as the accent.

Supplies I needed to find:

  • Big metal or ceramic flower potTikiTorch2
  • Sand
  • Tiki torch canisters
  • Tiki torch fuel
  • Decorative rocks

I decided to start pricing out my supplies and this is when I got bummed.  Although none of the supplies were super pricey, once I added it all up, we were talking close to about $100 if I bought everything brand new.  Time to move on to Plan B.  I looked around the house to see what I could find that I already had on hand and I found an old stainless steel flower pot that was just sitting on the shelf in my garage.  Then I asked around on a couple free Facebook groups for used tiki torch canisters and ended up finding 4 of them – FREE! Over the next couple weeks as I went to local garage sales, I found a couple different bags of decorative rocks for 50 cents!  Score again!  I still needed sand and remembered that I have a big sand box in the backyard - FREE sand!  The only thing I needed to go out and purchase was tiki fuel – which cost only $5.40 for a big bottle!  So for less than $6 I made a great table top tiki torch fire pit and we had a great time tonight roasting smores!

Would love to see what you come up with!  Post a picture of your homemade fire pit on my Katrina’s World Facebook page of your own homemade fire pit!

 

TikiTorch

 

 

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August 7, 20150 commentsRead More
Katrina’s DIY Tip #1 – Flowers LOVE Mouthwash

Katrina’s DIY Tip #1 – Flowers LOVE Mouthwash

flowersDid you know that fresh clipped and store bought bouquets of flowers LOVE mouthwash?  Oh, yes they do!  If your adoring husband or significant other, brings you a lovely bouquet of beautiful flowers, add just a couple teaspoons of mouthwash to the water in your vase and your flowers will keep much longer than just a few days!

The pictured flowers are from four days ago and they are still looking amazing! I can usually keep my flowers looking and smelling fresh for up to two weeks or more, depending on the flowers of course (Carnations do really well and can last for nearly a month).   Remember to add fresh water and mouthwash every few days (as you can see from the picture, I just use generic mouthwash – nothing too fancy – just use whatever you have a coupon for), as well as trim the stems if they are starting to get slimy.  I also trim my flowers of all leaves that are submerged in the water (just helps to keep the water cleaner).

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January 19, 20150 commentsRead More