Cleaning With Food Stamps – Mirror/Window Cleaner-&-Fabric Softener-In-One… WHAAAT!?

Full disclosure: this post includes a handful of affiliate links, which I do benefit financially from. Thanks to those of you who opt to support me and this blog by buying through the links!

Last week: Homemade Scented Purex Softening Laundry Crystals

Yes, you read that right.

A fabric softener that also cleans your windows and mirrors to a sparkly shine!


This is also the first house hack that makes use of our super duper secret ingredient. Ready for this? Here it is:

Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing!

[waits a minute for the shock to wear off]

The recipe for the cleaning solution:

To use:

  • Add 1/2-1 c mixture to laundry load in fabric softener drawer, or to rinse cycle, instead of fabric softener liquid or sheets
  • spray on window or mirror instead of Windex or similar, wipe with microfiber cloth or newspaper to sparkly, streak-free shine
  • For added fabric fluffy-ness, don’t forget to toss some tennis balls or felted dryer balls into the dryer with each load!

Continue reading

Operation Windowsill Teacup Garden: Planning

You may not have figured this out, largely because I do everything I can to avoid nature in almost all its forms, but…

I REALLY like to garden.

^^What gardening looks like in my mind.  In real life… not so much. 😛

Sure, I’m not very good at it yet, but I really enjoy it.  I had a respectable square foot garden at our last house, but our new home is a 3rd floor apartment.  With no balcony.  And rules prohibiting window boxes of any kind.  So, this is the space I have to work with:

windowsill-garden-available-spaceNote: Please try not to judge the current occupants.  Apparently they really do not like it if you leave for a month without getting them a babysitter.

Needless to say, when I decided I wanted to garden again [last week], I was a little discouraged.  The sill itself is barely 3″ deep, and my budget and newly-discovered design sense [not to mention an impending new baby] rules out anything in the elaborate indoor trellis/shelving department.  With all these limitations, I was quickly feeling that my indoor garden endeavor was over before it had even started.  But, not being overly burdened with a sense of when to give up, I kept at it.

Come to find out, windowsills lend themselves to a variety of herbs and EVEN some small lettuces and veggies!  Hoozah!  A proper veggie garden it may not be, but it WILL be a series of living, air-purifying, money-saving, ego-boosting, nutrition-providing plants.

This blog post by Blake Royer really inspired me – check out all the green he’s growing!  And he’s in a proper city apartment in Chicago.  My windowsill garden hero.

So, after much researching and crossing-off of items on a list [one of my favorite pastimes!], these are the current contenders:

  • basil
  • chives
  • garlic chives
  • tarragon
  • oregano
  • sage
  • green onions
  • dill
  • cilantro
  • flat-leaf parsley
  • mint
  • scented geranium
  • chervil
  • baby kale
  • baby spinach
  • peppers
  • strawberries
  • romaine
  • microgreens

Do I have room for all of these? No.  BUT it was really nice to discover that I have so many options!  Some are even non-herb options!  Double hoozah!

Have any of you ever grown anything in teacups or on a windowsill before? What worked well for you? What, uh, didn’t?  Dying to hear stories – the more amusing, the better!


Better Than Storebought Syrup

Small maple syrup jug with non-functional loop...

Image via Wikipedia

I can’t stand storebought syrup.  Real maple syrup is great and al as a flavoring, but I don’t like using it on my waffles.  This is the stuff.  It’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s long-term food-storage ready/shelf stable and takes up little room to store… it’s great.

No matter how much you’re making, the ratio is the same:

1 c water: 1 c white sugar: 1 c brown sugar: 1 tsp maple flavor


*1 c water
*1 c white granulated sugar
*1 c brown sugar (I like light brown, but dark works too)
*1 tsp maple flavor


  • Boil the water, on a stovetop or in the microwave.  I like the stovetop better, since with my appliances it’s easier to get a rolling boil going on the stove than in my dying microwave.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, dump the sugars and maple flavoring.
  • When the water’s at a rolling boil, pour it over the sugars and flavoring, then quickly stir until the sugar is dissolved.  You’ll probably have some that doesn’t get dissolved, but that’s okay.
  • Using a funnel, pour the syrup into your container of choice, leaving the sugary sediment in the bowl as much as possible, if there is any.  And hey presto, you’re done!  You can serve it hot or cold.
  • Store in the fridge for… I don’t know how long it keeps since we always use it quickly.

Related Links