Monday, August 29, 2011

Homemade Citrus Enzyme Cleaner - part 1

We were so excited to try this when we found this here. A homemade enzyme cleaner that is made from fruit scrapes, water and brown sugar. This enzyme cleaner is all natural and safe for children and pets! According to the reviews - you can use this cleaner for just about everything!

  • floor wash

  • dishes

  • laundry stains

  • clearing blockages from drains

  • fertilizer for veg, flowering and non-flowering plants

  • cleaning fruits and veggies

  • pet stains

  • insect repellent (ants and cockroaches)

Some people even use it as a skin cleanser!

You can make this with fruit or veggie scrapes, but most people agree that the veggie scraps make it smell bad, and citrus fruits make it smell great!

This recipe is very simple. The tricky part is that it takes 3 months to ferment and make the enzymes! We decided to do this post as a two parter. We just made a batch and thought we would share our results in three months. If you have made this let us know your thoughts, tips and results!

The first article we read about this cleaner had the recipe in metric units we found this recipe that was all ready converted for us at

What you need:

  • a large 2 liter bottle with an airtight lid - a juice bottle works great

  • 2 1/2 cups of fruit peels and scraps - fruit bits are fine to add

  • 7 Tbl. brown sugar

  • 4 cups of water

We started with about 2 large lemons and 2 medium orange peels.

We chopped up the peels until they were small enough to fit in the top of the bottle.

Then we added the brown sugar and the water to the bottle. We closed the lid tight and shook well.

Make sure you label your bottle with the date you made the enzyme cleaner.

For the first month, you want to shake the bottle every day. Store in a cool, dark place where you will see it and remember to give it that shake! We like our pantry for this. After you shake,open the lid to allow gas pressure to escape. Store the bottle with the lid halfway open. As the liquid ferments gas can build up. Some reviewers who kept their lids on tight had explosions when they opened their bottles! If you see a white or black film on the top of the liquid just give the bottle a shake. It is just natural yeast growing. After 3 months strain the liquid with cheese cloth or a fine strainer. Use diluted.

The author of the first article recommended:

1/2 cup enzyme cleaner to 1 liter of water for bathrooms, 2Tbl. cleaner to 3 liters of water for tiled floors, 2Tbl. cleaner to 2 liters of water for windows. Use more or less for depending on the job. The cleaner will last indefinitely.

If you want to makes a smaller or larger batch, you want to use 1 part brown sugar, 3 parts fruit scraps, and 10 parts water. To read more about the homemade enzyme cleaners. read this newspaper article

So far our bottle is looking good. It smells wonderful. It is so hard to wait the three months! We will let you know our results in November! Please send us your results and tips if you have all ready tried this!

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homemade Bread Bag

Need a quick housewarming or hostess gift for someone? Why not give the gift of fresh bread! It's warm, welcoming, and thoughtful. In fact, the only way to make homemade bread even better is to give it in an adorable Homemade Bread Bag! We first saw this idea on Saltwater Kids using a kitchen towel. Not having one on hand, we used a cloth napkin to create our bag. And the results were fantastically cute and simple!

What You Need:
  • 1 cloth napkin
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
First fold your napkin in half, right sides together. Then cut a length of ribbon, fold it in half, and place the ribbon inside the napkin with the fold poking out a bit, placing it a few inches from the side you want to be the opening for your bag. This will be the tie for your finished bag.

Pin along one short side of the napkin and the long side, being sure to pin the ribbon into place.

Now just sew up what will now be the bottom and the side of your bread bag!

Turn it right side out and figure out what kind of yummy bread you will make to put inside (we made carrot bread using this muffin recipe, although if using a cakey quick bread like this one you might want to wrap it in plastic before putting it in your bread bag).

Place your bread in the bag, tie the ribbon, and you are ready to give the gift of deliciousness! this project takes only a matter of minutes to whip up, but the end result is so great. Plus the recipient can reuse it, if they want. We think it would also make a great wine bag!
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Mamas are Back!!

Well we recently came back from visiting our family in beautiful Pennsylvania. We knew we would have a great time once we got there, but it was the getting there that we weren't so sure about. The trip from Chicago took about 11 hours each way! It was a tight squeeze with 7 of us in the car, but we were prepared with our backseat car organizers, loaded with all kinds of craft supplies, books and activity pages.

Those creative kids came up with all kinds of ideas and uses for the art supplies.

Homemade Nana brought a supply of surprises for each kid to open every hour. Most were small toys, craft supplies or treats from the dollar store. If you are planning a long road trip, we highly recommend this idea! The kids loved the surprises! The new toy or treat kept them busy until it was time for the next one.We all enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

Once in Pennsylvania, the boys had fun climbing old tanks at the park across the street...

wading in the creek behind our Aunt's house, exploring, and of course spending lots of time with our wonderful family!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hittin' The Road!

As we mentioned in our last post, the Homemade Mamas are getting ready for a road trip to parts unknown! So for about the next two weeks we will be taking a bit of a blogging break. But we'll be back with you on August 22nd with more fun projects!

See you soon!!
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Monday, August 1, 2011

On-The-Road Organization

Summer is the official road trip season for families, and the Homemade Mamas are no exception. We're getting ready to hit the road ourselves in a week and so we are doing out best to get organized. One memory of family road trips for Rebecca and Maggie is the backseat car organizer that Homemade Nana made (out of a lovely red, white, and blue funky plaid material!) that hung from the back of the front seats so that the kids in the back could store various art supplies, books, toys, and other things to keep busy with. Nana suggested we make one for our upcoming trip, and since we had all the supplies needed already on hand, we thought we'd give it a whirl!

We should mention that there are some great tutorials out there, we're sure. However, we decided to make this up as we went along, so if anything isn't clear, please let us know and we'll try to clarify!

What You Need:

  • 1 old sheet set (we think ours might have been a twin)

  • sewing machine

  • elastic

  • ribbon

  • ruler

  • pen/pencil

  • some fun things to stuff your organizer with when you're done!
First, measure the backs of the front seats of your car. Then trace and cut that size rectangle out of your flat sheet. We found that the backs of our car was about the same size as our cutting mat, so we just traced and cut around that, making two so we could have one for the back of each front seat.

Then pin and hem the raw edges. This is the base for your organizer.

Now it's time to think about pockets. After much pondering (and cursing) we realized that we could use the elastic edge from the fitted sheet to help the pockets hold in all the stuff our kids are bringing.

So starting with a large bottom pocket that is as wide as your base fabric (perfect for books and paper), measure on your fitted sheet how tall you want your pocket to go, making sure that the elastic trim will be at the top of the pocket. Then stretch your elastic a bit on both sides (we did about 3-4 inches) and draw diagonal lines down for the sides of the pockets. The end result is a trapezoidal-shaped pocket where the elastic top is wider than the base, which will allow for a more roomier pocket. (see the pic if the makes no sense).

Pin your pocket onto your base fabric and sew!

Next, onto the top pocket. Using the same technique as with the large bottom pocket, measure the dimensions for a top pocket that will also be as wide as your base fabric, making sure to again stretch the elastic on both sides a bit and making a trapezoid. Again, pin and sew it to the base fabric.
Don't worry about the wonky shape! The elastic on the pockets pulls it in, but it will lay flat when it's on your car's seats, we promise!

Now you can decide if you would like to make your one long top pocket into smaller pockets, by simply top stiching seam into it. We made on organizer that had two pockets on top, and one with three. It all depends on what kinds of things your kids will be storing.

Once your pockets are done, the hard work is behind you! All that's left is to make the straps that will attach your organizers to your seats. Using your cars seat measurements, cut two lengths of elastic and sew them onto your organizer - one and the top of the top pocket, and one at the top of the bottom pocket. The sew two lengths of ribbon to the top of your organizer so that you can tie it around the base of the head rest.

Now just slip it over your seats and you are ready to hit the road with the kids! We are amazed at how much stuff these hold. The elastic in the pockets really makes a difference! Now our kids are ready to face an 11 hour car trip with tons of toys, books, art supplies, as well as any treasures they find along the way! And the best part is that this whole project cost us absolutely nothing!
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