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Diary of a New Homemaker

Sep 22

Me on Family Finance at Mint.com!

I was interviewed on Mint.com!

Aug 16

How to Keep Up with a Tomato Vine

We had a garden this year, for the first time in many.

Newest Article

10 Truly Multi-Purpose Kitchen Tools For A Clutter-Free Kitchen

If you're looking around and wondering how you wound up with 15 spatulas, 12 wooden spoons, eight or so ladles and six kitchen electronics (half of which you have no idea what they do), then it's time to break open some drawers, clear off some shelves and take your kitchen down to its useful and clutter-free basics.

In our kitchen, which is comfortable for one person but a tight squeeze for two, we've narrowed it down to tools -- outside of essentials like pots, pans and mixing bowls, of course -- that are not only used on a regular basis, but serve at least two purposes, if not more.

Autumn, Back to School and Halloween

From House to Home 9/12/07

  • Add elegance to a living room entrance by creating an archway adorned with ornamental plaster moldings. Add columns on either side of the arch to support it in a grand manner.
  • To have a place to sit in a child's tiny bedroom, consider stacking stools with vinyl cushions. Also, instead of a bedspread, buy a duvet cover that can double as a sheet.
  • When issuing invitations to this year's Thanksgiving feast, ask your guests to write down what they most love about their family and friends and what they have to be thankful for this year.

Click through for more ideas!

From Our Archives

Make Your Own Natural Dishwasher/Scouring Powder

For some time now I've been experimenting with making my own dishwasher powder. I've tinkered with the basic formula, even at one point adding Kool-Aid to it (for the citric acid--it turned out to be a crucial step in figuring the formula out). In further experimentation I've discovered it makes a decent no-scratch scouring powder as well, more like Bon Ami than Comet.

What I've discovered is that it doesn't work as well as some of the commercial detergents; however I have found that it works just as well as the major " green alternative" dishwasher detergents, if not a little better, and at a fraction of the cost. If you don't like scraping your dishes and rinsing them off, you won't like homemade powder; I found you had to be diligent about getting all food particles off your dishes because the dishwasher powder will not do it for you. Of course, many dishwashers require you to do this anyway, but oftentimes people are lazy. Like, uh, me. But this is so much easier on the environment and the pocketbook it's worth taking the time to properly prepare the dishes I've found.

The formula
Here, after much experimenting, is the formula for dishwashing powder...

Squaring things away will give you more time to finish projects
Fun to make, and the best washcloths you'll ever own
A simple two-file system for to-do's