Monday, July 20, 2015

Clean Day



You might remember me mentioning Young Living's Essential Rewards program several times. I like to let people know about it because it's the best deal out there in essential oils and natural products. Every month I place an order of $50 or more, choosing whatever products I want or subscribing to a set program from Young Living. For the first six months I got 10% cash back to use for Young Living products, but now I get 15% back. In another 6 months I will earn 20% back, and I'm already paying 24% less as a Young Living member! Besides the cash back, each month I meet certain spending levels I get free products added to my order. This month I got the Thieves all purpose cleaner for free, and OMG... this will be a staple in my order from now on! This cleaner is all natural and safe to use around kids and pets. It's safe for the environment, and you can use it for everything in the house from floor to ceiling. If you've been reading this blog regularly you know we have hardly been home for weeks. Our dogs got sick and each had to go to the vet and needed medicine in carefully timed doses and special homemade food, our kids had medical check-ups, we had swim team for hours every day, and swim meets lasting 5 hours on two or three nights each week. Last week during a swim meet we looked down at our 6 year old and saw pus was running from his ear down the side of his face, so now he's on several medicines for a severe ear infection. As a result, our house was a MESS. I'm not talking about a little clutter. I'm talking grime everywhere, suitcases still unpacked from the beach trip three weeks ago, a sink full of dishes, over-flowing laundry hampers, etc, etc. I decided to test out the new cleaner in our extremely filthy bathroom.


Soap scum on the shower door, before.

I cleaned the bathtub first, as shown "after" in the first picture of the post. I really wish I'd taken a "before" shot, because it was unbelievable how well this stuff worked! We have an elderly whirlpool tub. The fiberglass had become stained along the edge in a ring that no amount of scrubbing with various cleaners and tools seemed capable of removing. I diluted the Thieves cleaner for heavy applications: 5 oz cleaner in 25 oz water. I sprayed it on and then let it sit for a few minutes while I did a couple other things. When I returned the previously impossible to remove stain on the fiberglass wiped away instantly with a microfiber cloth. I didn't have to scrub at all! I used a Norwex Envirocloth, since my sister sells these. Once I saw how the Thieves worked in the tub I knew I had to write a blog post, so I went and got my camera.

Dilution for heavy applications: 5 oz cleaner in 25 oz water.

I decided to see if the soap scum on the shower door would come off as easily. I sprayed the same dilution on the door and then went to wipe the counter and stuff off while it set. At this point the cleaner I mixed up was about half used. I knew the counters and glass and stuff needed a far more diluted mixture, so I filled the bottle with water to the 25 oz mark, diluting the cleaner more.


Spray the glass and wait a few minutes.

Scrub with a cloth.

The door after application of heavy cleaner.

When I returned and wiped the shower door it was much cleaner, but still foggy. I decided to use the diluted cleaner as a glass cleaner with a paper towel. I used it on the mirror with great results.


Diluted 1:50, the cleaner can be used for glass and mirrors.

Cleaning the glass with the paper towel really worked, as you can see below! The soap scum still isn't 100% gone, but considering I didn't scrub at all, it's pretty good. It's certainly as clean as it's ever been since we've lived here. This house was rather dirty when we moved in, as it had been a rental and then sat empty for a long while. I must say, I much prefer shower curtains to glass doors, since curtains can be thrown in the wash when they get dirty and easily replaced, and I feel like the glass never gets truly clean. I have a squeegee for the door but no hook to hang it on in the shower, so I never remember to use it. I usually have a lot of trouble cleaning the shower, too, because I'm so allergic to most cleaners and find it really difficult to use them in such an enclosed space. Even when I run the fan I feel like my throat is closing up and wheeze and cough. I didn't have a bit of trouble with the Thieves cleaner, however. I didn't cough or wheeze even once!


After using the diluted cleaner as glass cleaner on the door.

I used a paper towel sprayed with cleaner in place of pre-soaked cleaning wipes for my electronics, like my electric toothbrush. Later on I want to see if I can make my own pre-soaked wipes. Those things are really handy, but so expensive; I'd love to have an all-natural alternative.



Although Thieves cleaner works well on chrome, I thought I'd show you an easy and effective chemical-free chrome polish that's even cheaper than the Thieves. I learned this tip watching my hero, Rick Dale, on American Restoration. I swear, if I didn't have kids I'd call him up and beg to work there for free for a year or so and learn how to fix just about anything!


Dirty, rusty chrome.
If you have dirty or rusty chrome, such as this lid to my bath salts jar, first wet it.


Wet the chrome.
Then take a ball of aluminum foil and scrub the rust and dirt away.

Scrub with foil.

Then buff the chrome dry with tissues or a soft cloth.


Buff dry with tissues or a soft cloth.
And that's it! As you can see, this restores a mirror finish to the chrome.

The finished chrome

As it turned out, it was a good thing I started cleaning over the weekend, because this morning my sister sent me a text asking me to do something "today when Mom and Dad are at your house". I was like, "Umm, WHAT?". No one said a thing about them coming to visit! Parenting five daughters is evidently extremely confusing, because my parents have a terrible time keeping us straight. They can't tell us apart on the phone (one time I called my mother and my dad answered the phone. As he handed the phone to my mom he said, "It's one of those other ones," because apparently one of my sisters had just been speaking to her!), and they are always assuring me they told me something I am absolutely certain I've never heard. They tell one of us and forget which one. In this case they told my sister they planned to stop at my house on the way home from hers, but forgot to tell me about it! So we spent the morning straightening up but most of the major cleaning was already finished. Luckily I bought a bunch of bratwurst on sale over the July 4th weekend and froze them, because my car was in the shop today and I had no way to get to the store.


Oola Fun and Family is a new favorite diffuser combo.

While we were on vacation in Hilton Head recently I was really impressed with the fragrance in a shop we visited. This art gallery/antique store smelled as though there were huge fresh bouquets of Stargazer Lilies, my favorite flower, all over, but I didn't see any. I wondered what fabulous room spray they used to make the scent so authentic, but didn't see anything. Finally I noticed tiny sprays of flowers tucked here and there in decorative vases. This was some type of lily I've never seen, a tiny flower with a powerful scent. On arriving home I experimented with my oils to see if I could replicate the smell of that store in our house. I hit upon a really close match: 6 drops each Young Living Oola Family and Fun mixed in the diffuser smells like fresh lilies! It's funny; I don't love either of these on their own but together they're just heavenly! It was really helpful today, since it's been raining since early afternoon and both our dogs and my parents' dog got wet and then had to stay indoors, so we had a powerful wet dog smell to combat!


Rainbow over the lake

In reference to my youngest son's ear infection, I just wanted to write a bit about him. I'm fairly private with my feelings about certain things. The culture in which I was raised doesn't encourage over-sharing. Asking someone whether or where they went to church was absolutely taboo. We couldn't believe it when we moved to the South and everyone was always asking us which church we attended. That is tantamount, in Scandinavian culture anyway, to asking a stranger how much salary they draw! So, I don't talk too much about faith. Since we moved away from the church we loved at home we don't attend regularly. I haven't found a place that felt like home the way our old church did. Our youngest son, though, is the most powerful strengthener to my own faith I can think of.

Just imagine, this child who was most likely Buddhist if anything before his adoption, is the most devout Christian I've ever met. Since we got him he begs to go to church and plays "church" at home by building temples of blocks and placing all our toy Viking figures inside in pews. He plays music and preaches to them. He asks if I can "hear church in my head" the way he does and often tells me God told him this or that thing will happen or should be done. Although he has spent his short life being constantly poked and prodded and endures many painful and uncomfortable operations and procedures to correct his cleft lip and palate, he never complains. He cheerfully tells people, "This is how God made me!", even though I've certainly never said anything like that to him. I don't want him blaming God or feeling bitter because of his condition. People are always telling us how lucky our children are that we adopted them. First of all, don't ever say this to an adoptive family. No child is "lucky" to have parents. Each child deserves a loving family and the fact that some do not is a reflection of our own flawed society, not what any child should or should not obtain. More than that, however, I think I am the lucky one, to have the honor to parent these amazing souls. When I am feeling sorry for myself, when I count my disappointments and worries rather than my blessings, I think of this little boy. The other day he had a 6 inch camera stuck up his nose and he did not cry or fuss or complain. His bravery and dignity, his grace, is one of the most inspiring thing I've ever seen, and being with him is the closest I've ever felt to being in the presence of God. It is truly a joy to have him, and all our children, in our lives.

My son, walking with Grandma.

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