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Things I Love Thursday: Tide Washing Machine Cleaner

  • Posted on May 31, 2012 at 6:54 am

There are a ton of household chores and tasks that I just never seem to get to often enough – cleaning behind the fridge, vacuuming behind the couch, that weird spot behind the toilet… I could keep going all day.  But – it really bothers me when the place I’m supposed to clean things is gross.

So I try and keep the kitchen sink pretty clean, the shower and bathtubs clean, and my washing machine clean.  I mean, with two very small kids, the amount of yuck that I put through the washing machine on any given week is astounding.  I was cleaning the machine out with a rag and bleach spray, whenever I managed to get around to it, but it was annoying, hard to reach everywhere, and was one of those tasks I hated.

Then I saw Tide washing machine cleaner – I love Tide detergent, so I figured I’d give it a try.  It works, amazingly well, and leaves my washer smelling fresh and clean. I use it about once a month, and all I do is rinse out the fabric softener holder with hot water to remove the gunk, run a rag around the top of the washer where dust collects, empty a pouch of the cleaner into the washer, and run it with hot water.  I usually do this right before bed, and the whole process takes about 5 minutes.  Then I wake up to a clean washer!

I run an extra wash cycle if someone in the family has had a tummy bug or if I’ve washed something especially gross – it just makes me feel better.  I know there are probably some homemade versions I could use, but this is easy, and I need easy right now.

And that’s what I love about Tide Washing Machine Cleaner.

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!


Things I Love Thursdays: My Kindle

  • Posted on May 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

I am a book person.  Like, a physical book person.  I’m one of those people who likes the feel of the pages, the act of turning them, and the way books smell. So I took a long time to warm up to the idea of a Kindle.

When I was nursing Benjamin, and lamenting about my lack of reading time, someone suggested I check out all the free Kindle titles available – since I could read them on my phone. It was amazingly convenient for nursing/pumping – I had a selection of books, at my fingertips, without dragging paper copies everywhere.  But the screen was too small, and I had to flip pages a lot, and the screen would tire my eyes out after a while, since I basically just stare at a computer screen all day anyway.

I was griping about all of this one day, when someone asked if I had actually looked at a Kindle, and the display on it. They said it was different, and interesting – and wouldn’t wear my eyes out.  Being that usability is what I do, I had to test these claims.  I found one at a store, and it was really different – it felt like looking at paper.  No back lighting, no weird refresh rates.  And I loved it.

But, Kindles are not cheap.  So I hemmed and hawed and put off buying one.  And then Chad bought me one for Christmas (a nicer one than I was going to buy for myself, at that).  You guys, I am totally sold on this thing.  I carry 700+ books around in my purse, all the time.  My cousin in Alabama lends me books via email.  I can buy books anywhere (okay, this one is dangerous).

Now, I’m not going to give up my print copies of books anytime soon.  The lending feature on Kindle is still kind of weird, and I’d like to be able to lend my books to anyone I want whenever I want.  And I still balk if the Kindle book costs more than the paperback.  But – The amount that I get to read has doubled or tripled since I got it.  With Amazon Prime’s Kindle Lending Library, I can read an extra book a month, free. So I’m basically never without a book.

And that’s what I love about my Kindle.

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

Things I Love Thursdays: Android Apps

  • Posted on May 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

So I published something similar to this a year or so ago, but it was removed as part of my blog purging.  So, I’ve revised it, and I’m posing it again.

I love my phone. Love, love, love.  And in my quest to stay on top of everything in my life – it is one of my greatest tools. I use it for everything (except meal planning.  Tried that, but prefer the new post-it system).  Here are some of the apps I use to keep track of all the crazy.

Google Calendar (built into Android OS). I have it set to synch with my work calendar, and Chad’s work calendar.  Mine works really well – Chad’s schedule is a little too fluid to depend on being completely correct – but it gives me a rough idea of what’s going on.

Astrid Tasks (free).  I keep my to do list here – all of it, including recurring tasks that I’m trying to make habits (like the laundry, dishes, meal planning, etc).  You can enter tasks without a due date, schedule a due date (and time, if you want), and set up recurrence if you want.  It includes reminders, which drive Chad nuts because my phone is buzzing ALL THE TIME. But – I can tell at a glance what I need to do right now, and what I’m behind or ahead on.  There are a ton of features I don’t use, like tagging tasks to put them in separate lists, etc.  I’ve heard this works really great with GTD – haven’t incorporated it yet, but I’m working on it.

My Pantry 2 ($0.99).  To be honest, I’m still working on getting this list up to date, and keeping it that way.  But!  I love the idea of it! There is a free version of this app, but I bought the full version so I could use the cool UPC scanner functionality.  Basically, this app holds my pantry (and fridge, and freezer) inventory.  So when I’m at the store, and decide I need something that isn’t on my list – I can double check and see if we already have 4 of them sitting in the pantry.  UPC scanning makes it pretty quick to add things to the list, and I love knowing what I have – it makes meal planning easier as well, as I can plan around what we have and save some money at the store.  It also has features to make a grocery list, but I don’t use it because I use…

Grocery IQ (free). You can add things to your list by scanning the UPC (I’m totally a sucker for scanning UPCs, y’all.  It makes me feel all techy and stuff).  You can set up multiple lists for multiple stores, and you can organize each list by how your store is laid out. You can also put in a price, so you can use the app as your price book for often purchased items. So many great features. As you check items off your list on the store, it hides them so you don’t have to hunt through all the checked off items and risk missing the one more thing you need (I do this all the time with paper lists).   Oh, and the best part? My list is shared to Chad’s phone as well, so he can add or update thing – and, if needed, I can quickly email or text message a copy of list to Chad, if he’s stopping on the way home from work and I don’t want to have to depend on him to check the app.

So there you go – four apps I love!  If only there was an app that would actually do my housework…

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

Things I Love Thursday: Sun Catcher Paint Pens

  • Posted on May 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

Brianna loves crafts.  I mean, loves. Them. Seriously.  And I… love not making a mess.  But! I want her to have fun, and to be able to make things for other people, which she loves to do.

So I do a fair amount of shopping at Oriental Trading Company.  They have a ton of craft kits and supplies for little ones, and Brianna has loved everything we’ve tried from them (and so have my Cubbies at church!).  Their prices are reasonable, and other than having to buy sets of kits, and paying shipping, we’ve had little problems with them

But my latest find is these:

Marvelous Sun Catcher Paint Pens

That’s right.  Sun Catcher PENS.  Brianna can now paint sun catchers, using these great squeeze pens. Sometimes, she goes overboard and overfills a section, or gets paint on her hands, but – for the most part – these things are way less mess than regular paint and brushes.

Brianna loves these.  And uses them every chance she gets.  I actually had to go out and buy her more sun catchers to paint!  And I love that she can make things, and have fun, without creating a mess that takes all night to clean up.

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

Disclaimer: I didn’t get anything for posting this, free products or otherwise.  I just really like these pens!

Things I Love Thursdays! Downy Unstopables

  • Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Apparently, it is laundry week here.  We have to celebrate our wins, I suppose, and laundry is about the only win I can think of at the moment.  So here goes!

I have totally fallen in love with Downy Unstopables. My mother-in-law gave me some at Christmas when she was culling down her coupon stockpile, and neither of us was really sure we needed “extra scent” in our laundry, but i figured I would try it out.

It works amazingly well!  The scent stays in the clothes after you dry them, but it’s not so strong that  it’s over-powering.  I love using it on my towels and sheets, because it makes them smell so fresh!  A bottle lasts a long time, too.

It comes in two scents, Fresh (which is kind of spring smelling) and Was Lush (which is kind of lavender-ish).  I prefer Fresh, but both are good.  Brianna loves putting it it the wash though (we call it “laundry sprinkles”, because that’s just fun – and laundry should be as fun as possible.)

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

I didn’t get anything for posting this, free products or otherwise. But that is an Amazon affiliate link. 

Things I Love Thursdays! Amazon Prime

  • Posted on April 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm

So when first announced their Amazon Prime service, I thought it was crazy.  Who in the world would buy enough books to pay $79 a year for free shipping?  And if you pay $79 a year, is it really free shipping?

But then.  When I was searching for bargain deals on diapers, someone pointed me to the Amazon Mom program.  Which offered free prime shipping benefits, in addition to a discount on diapers and other baby things.  And it was free.  I did some quick math, and discovered that the price on the Pampers diapers I had been using was cheaper on Amazon than even at Sam’s Club – and thus I discovered that Amazon was not just for books, and also Subscribe & Save.  I could save on things we use, every day! And have them ordered and delivered on a schedule!

So when my Mom benefits ran out?  I forked over the $79.  Because honestly, we order a couple of packages a month from Amazon these days (paper towels, soap, diapers, wipes, etc.) – and not all of it is subscribe and save.  It makes it so easy to just sit down and order something (a book, say, or whatever) and not worry about putting together a $25 order to save on shipping.  And the shipping is FAST.  Two days, but sometimes faster.

Since then, they’ve added a lot more services to the Prime Membership – free streaming movies & TV, including some of my kids’ favorite PBS & Nick Jr. shows, a free kindle lending library, and more.  And now that i can access the streaming video from my PS3 – it could fast become a replacement for Netflix, in my house at least.

I cannot say enough good things about Amazon Prime.  For our house, it is totally worth the money we pay – and they are looking at adding even more services in the future.

Links to Amazon are affiliate links, but they didn’t ask for this review or give me anything for writing it.  I just really like Amazon Prime.

Find more Things I Love Thursday posts at Be The Difference!

Things I Love Thursdays! LUSH Cosmetics

  • Posted on April 19, 2012 at 10:30 am

Yay!  I’m so happy Things I Love Thursdays has a new home at Be The Difference!

I love so many things by LUSH Cosmetics, but I am seriously in love with their Retread conditioner. It’s a little weird to dip conditioner out of a pot, but OMG it fixes my hair when it is totally dead, fried from the summer or whatever.  I don’t buy it too often, because I’m cheap and it’s pricey, but it always fixes my hair in within a week.  Ah. Mazing.

Their bath bombs and solid bubble bars are also incredible.  Half or a third of a bubble bar will fill my garden tub with movie-star quality bubbles that last much longer than the hot water :-)   And they smell amazing, and are made out of happy-hippy-organic stuff.

LUSH is definitely my go to for pampering bath/shower/hair supplies.  I just ordered some face wash and toner from them, too, on the advice of a friend – so I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about in a few weeks!

No one paid me or gave me anything free for saying nice things about LUSH.  I just say them anyway!