Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Packing for a Sleep Study Adventure

Between my two boys, we've had 3 sleeps studies and have another one scheduled.  We divided and conqured.  I've done two of them and my husband has done one.  He'll get the next one too (mwah-haha).

Realize that you, the adult, are not going to get much sleep.  People will possibly be coming into the room at various times throughout the night.  Also, you'll be woken up to go home around 5 or 6am, depending on the hospital.

You should arrive to the sleep center with the child already in his or her pajamas.  Follow whatever instructions your doctor gave you, but typically you should avoid sugar/chocolate/caffeine and possibly keep them from napping.

For a baby:
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Snacks
  • Water/Juice/Milk (keep in mind that there might not be a fridge for you, but you can always ask to see if there is)
  • Pacifier
  • Favorite toy(s)
  • A change or two of case of a diaper blowout, spillage, etc

For a toddler or young child:
  • Prepare by showing them several videos of other children having sleep studies.  I told Z about his sleep study 2 days before.  This was enough time for him to get used to the idea, but not so much time as to stress about it.
  • Everything from the baby list that your child might want
  • Their pillow if it is important to them (with a not-white pillow case so that it doesn't get mixed up with the other pillows.
  • The blanket from their room or bed (so that it smells and looks more like home).
  • Items to re-create any bedtime routine that is important to them.  For example, we read 3 books each night, so we brought 3 books to read before lights out.
  • You will not be able to dress them before going home, but I always bring extra clothes just in case.

For the parent:
  • Ask what sort of place they have for you.  Some sleep centers give you a small sofa, others a hospital bed and other just a chair.
  • I can't sleep without my pillow so I bring it with a differently colored pillow case.
  • A blanket.  While they will probably have something for you, it's likely to be thin.
  • A sweater
  • Comfortable clothes that you can sleep in but don't mind people seeing :)
  • Something to entertain you from lights out until you are ready to fall asleep.  I brought my kindle.  My husband brought his work laptop.  You just want it to not distract your child who will need to sleep.
  • Snacks and/or water.  There will be nothing for you to eat or drink.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Pop Up Camper Remodel - Meet Cassie the Camper!

My Mother's Day present was this new-to-us cute little pop up made the same year as my high school diploma!  That's's a 2001 Jayco Qwest.  And we've named her Casita or Cassie for short.

We've been tent camping for a few years.  This is our third season. Setting up our tent was easy for a tent, but it was still about an hour counting getting the tarp under it, putting the beds in, etc.  This little lady should take about 15 minutes.  When you have two active little guys, shaving off 75% of the time is huge!  Also, while our tent was water proof, it would collapse in a strong gust so we could really only go out if the weather was near perfect.

She's not quite old enough to call "vintage".  It's just old.  But she has good bones.  And she's ours.

 There's a table and a sofa.  Our bunk is a king size and the kids is a full.  The guy said it was a queen so I'm a little bit annoyed that it's smaller, but our kids are small so I think that it'll be okay.  Both the sofa and the table could be another bed so it's not like we are hurting for sleeping places...and they usually end up in our bed by the end of the night anyways, so having a king on our side was important.

But, other than the smaller bunk being a bit smaller than hoped for...overall I'm pretty happy and ready to get started renovating it.  Over the past 3 years I've been obsessively pouring over submissions on The Pop up Princess and following threads at The Pop Up Portal so I was already planning on making new cushions, curtains, flooring, painting the cabinets.

I've made a project plan, and my goal is to take her on her maiden voyage (with us anyways) in 5 weeks.  Unfortunately we've got 3 big projects going on right now...the spring garden planting.  It's almost time to get the veggies that are not cold hardy in the ground in our zone...Tomato's 5th birthday party prep and now this...that's not counting the work we need to do in the garage so that Cassie can fit and rig up our van so it can tow.  And my 4 day work trip to San Diego this week.

 The Good:

  • There is no substantial water damage.  Subfloor is solid.
  • I love the lay out of the huge wrap around sofa
  • Comes with an oven that can be used inside or moved outside.
  • It has heat and A/C.  It gets really hot in the summer and at the ends of the season it can get pretty cold.  And you never know what you are going to get.  We camped the last weekend of September two years in a row.  One year it had a high in the upper 90s with a "real feel" in the 100's.  The following year it was 45F at night with a high of 55F.  

The Stuff to Work on:

  • The smell.  It's like bug spray and must.  Not good.
  • Door is rotted on the bottom.
  • Canvas is a little gross looking, has a few small rips and while it doesn't leak, the canvas doesn't bead the water, so it needs to be water proofed.
  • There is carpet.  Ew.
  • Cabinet top is chipped and has weird divets built in (for the oven).  I was hoping to just cover the top with something nice, but I think we'll need to rebuild it.
  • Every moving part needs to be lubricated.
  • Did I mention the smell.  I have a very poor sense of smell so I know that if I can smell it, it's got to be AWFUL.

So, let's just say that Pete and I are going to be busy over the next few months and are excited to have it all ready for some new memories!  I'm ready to get out there and make some memories with my guys!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Camping Adventures Part 3 - What I Pack and How I Organize When Camping with Little Kids

As I said...we are tent campers, but the car tent camping style.  Some might call us "glampers" which means that we enjoy comfort while we camp.

There are so many different ways to organize your camping supplies.  What has helped for us to have a few main categories and pack those items together.

I don't have anything about the food here since I'll have it's own blog post.

This post may contain affiliate links.

I use one of the orange utility bins, two stackable plastic bins and a few big blue IKEA bags for clothes and bedding.  I love those IKEA bags.  They are not expensive, super durable, have duffle handles, and backpack loops.

I will say that we do not live in an area with actual bears.  Just Yogi.  But, if you have bears near by you will want to take extra precautions with anything that has food.

Calling out a few of my favorite things

First I will share a few of my favorite camping things and tricks.  Then I will inundate you with our official list.

1) Head Lamps for Kids - Tomato has his own headlamp that he has to wear after dusk.  It helps us keep an eye on where he is and also makes sure he sees where he is going.  We also sometimes have him wear light up shoes which also help us track his movements.

2) Easy place for trash - Pop-up hamper, with clothes pins holding up a trash bag.  This has been one of the BEST things we bring with us.  It's so easy to keep the campsite clean.  I have a few extra bags in the bottom and you can kind of see the rock in there too to help hold the bag down.  At night we move the bag into the car to keep the raccoons from messing with it.

3) Stackable bins (also in the above picture) - The size of which depends on how much stuff you are putting in them, but I really like having them the same size so that they stack well and we look more consistent.

4) Garden wagon - great for hauling stuff around the camp grounds...or hauling kids.  We bring this instead of a stroller.  When Blueberry was big enough to go in this, but too small to not have some sort of padding, we brought the boppy and put it in front of him and a blanket behind.

5) Perfect for them camping chairs.  Blueberry loves his portable highchair.  We also use it for brunch at Gramma's and trips.

6) A footmat - My best buddy, Crystal, got this Coleman foot mat for me for my birthday a couple years ago.  The shoes go inside the zipper areas so they they don't get all dewy at night but can still stay out of the tent.  No shoes inside the tent.  That's a hard and fast rule at our campsites.

Alright, and here is the whole list!

Let's Get It Started Bin --> orange bucket
This bin holds the stuff that we need to get the tent set up.
  • Stakes for the tent

  • Mallet & Hammer
  • Fire starter
  • Lighter
  • Fire poker
  • Paper towels/newspaper kindling
  • Bug flame fluid
  • Bright rope (I put around the camp site to denote where the kids need to stay)
  • Knife
  • Duct tape
  • Utility clamps
Kitchen Sink Bin
This is at a high level, anything we use to cook with.  Each time it might vary depending on what food we are having that time.
  • Cooking forks/Marshmallow roasters
  • Paper towels
  • Forks/knives/spoons
  • Plates
  • Napkins
  • Cups
  • Kid water cups
  • Coffee
    • French press
    • Ground beans
    • Cups
  • Table cloth
  • Table cloth Clamps
Supply Bin
To help keep things a bit more together in this bin, I have a few smaller bags for First Aide, Lights, Batteries, etc...otherwise they are all a jumble inside this box.  Or if I had them just in smaller bins, they got lost.  So a bin of bags ended up being a good solution for my family.
  • First aide bin
    • First aide bags
    • Tylenol
    • Bug spray
    • Mosquito bands
  • Grocery bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Extension cords
  • Power strips
  • Small broom with dustbin
  • Trash
    • Pop up hamper
    • Clamps
    • Bags
  • Bug Candles
  • Batteries
    • D for mattress
    • AAA for flashlights
  • Light bag
    • Hangable lights
    • Flash lights
    • Lanterns
    • Zander head lamp
    • Glow sticks

Home Is Where We Are Bag (Ikea Bag)
  • Phone chargers
  • Clothes
  • Dob kit
  • Diapers/wipes
  • A couple of towels
  • Pull ups
  • Door mat

 Kid Bin
Right now they share a small bin, but I think as they get older they might want their own bags with their clothes and toys together so they can manage their own items.
  • Bubbles
  • Bubble machine
  • Binoculars
  • Markers/paper
  • A few small toys
  • Trucks for dirt
  • Kid shovel
  • Pacis
  • Balls 
Bedding Bag(s) - Ikea Bags
  • Tomato's sleeping bag
  • Tomato's pillow
  • Sheets for Blueberry's pack and play
  • Blankets for under their bedding
  • Extra sleeping bag to use as a play blanket
  • Pillows
  • Sleeping bags
  • Blanket for under the air mattress

Large and Loose
These items are just loose in our car
  • Tent
  • Tarps
  • Air mattress
  • Tomato's cot
  • Blueberry's Pack n play
  • Bjorn
  • Hiking pack
  • Diaper bag
  • Garden wagon
  • Chairs
  • Phones
  • Wallet
  • Campground site number
  • Roll extension cord

This sweet brotherly moment brought to you by camping!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Camping Adventures Part 2 - The Basics of Camping

Maybe my first post about why I like to camp has inspired you, but you know nothing about camping.  My goal with this post is to teach some of the basic concepts.  My next post will give a detailed packing and organization list.

These pictures are from our first and second camping trips when Tomato was barely 3 and Blueberry was 13 or 14 months

Types of camping

Backpacking/wilderness - This was what I did as a young person.  You get a special backpack, a light weight tent and take everything you need to camp with you.  The longest I ever did was a 3 night 4 day trip.

Car (tent) camping - This is what we do now.  You load everything into your car, drive to the camp site, unload everything from your car and hang out there.  I love tent camping, but some tents don't handle the weather as well as other tents.  My old backpacking tent did great in all weather, of course.  However our huge family tent (that my brother-in-law dubbed "the Taj-ma-Tent") can't handle wind or heavy rain. After treating the fly (that goes over the top of the tent) with weather treating, it's fine in light rain, but we don't want to risk something stronger with the kids.

RV/Trailer - Some people own RVs/Traiers and others may rent them at certain RV parks.  I flirt with the idea of getting a trailer one day.

Retrofitted bus etc - A guy I used to work with restored a VW bus and he and his family would go camping in it!

Cabin - Some state parks have cabins that you can rent.  You'll still need to supply almost everything including bedding, fire starting, etc.  We plan on cabin camping a couple times this year at further away locations so that we don't have to set up our tent after driving 3+ hours and that we would want to make sure we still went even if the weather was bad.

Glamping - This is just a term for adding some glamour and comfort to your camping trip.  For example, with our air mattresses, we'd probably be called glampers!  As you can see, D even has a fan to help keep him cool!

Places to camp:

In some states you can't just park your car and sleep there.  You'll need to get a reservation

State or national parks-  I enjoy camping at state parks.  I've found them to be very pretty and less expensive than private parks, but they fill up pretty fast.  In Indiana you can book 6 months in advance and you need to make sure you hop on exactly 6 months in advance especially for festival weekends.

Even if you plan to do a backpacking/wilderness style trip, you'll still want to get reservations in advance.

Jellystone parks-  I love Jellystones!  They all have a big Yogi bear that can come read the kids a story and pretend to try to steal their picnic baskets.  Each weekend has a different theme and they usually have some sort of water play to do.  We are usually the only tent campers in the whole place, lol, but that's fine!

HOA- Another brand of RV parks.  I have not personally camped at them, but Pete used to when he was a kid.  Like Jellystones, they also have a lot of activities to do with your family.

rivate campgrounds - The quality ranges from place to place so really look at reviews before booking.  Jellystones and HOA have standards to remain in the brand.  Sometimes the parks are super great and sometimes they are more run down.  We've had great experiences at the private campgrounds we've stayed at! This picture is from a Halloween festival at a local private camp ground!

Basics of what you need:

Itinerary of where you will be communicated to others:
This is especially important if you are backpacking or going somewhere remote.  If something happens to you or your family you'll want people to know where to start looking...or that looking is something they'd need to do.

First Aid Kit - Accidents happen in nature and you'll want to be able to handle it.  In my packing post I'll include what we have in our first aid kit.  You'll also want to make sure to grab any prescriptions, of course!

Something to sleep inside of - This would be a tent, RV, trailer, etc...unless you are cabin camping of course...there is something beautiful about the idea of sleeping under the stars, but once the dew starts to come down on your face, you might change your tune :-P

Bedding and something to put under it - You'll want a sleeping bag or something.  But, I would not suggest laying it directly on the ground.  Even when I did backpacking, I still had a sleeping mat.  Albeit a self-inflating super light one.  Now, as I mentioned above, we bring an air mattress.  Z has a cot and D uses a pack and play.  When it's cold, I put a blanket between the ground and our air mattress.  The ground is a huge heat sink.  I'd rather have a blanket under the air mattress to keep what I am sleeping on warm than an extra blanket on top of me.  Usually we bring sheets for the air mattress and make it up like a bed but if the temperatures will get down into the 50's we each have our own sleeping bags.  You can also get double sleeping bags, which we are planning on doing this year since the boys always end up in our bed in the early morning hours.

A way to make fire - First, do not bring your firewood with you.  This can transport insects and diseases to new areas.  You should always buy your firewood where you are camping.  But you will need matches or a fire starter and some kindling.

Food - I'll have a whole post on camping food.  This is one of the most important .  But to start, you don't need to go all out.  My kids are happy with hotdogs, Pringles and apples!

Light - The best part of camping is when the sun goes down!  But if you want to keep the fun going, you'll need some sort of light source.  We have headlamps for the boys so that they can see and that we can see where they are.  We also have lanterns for each adult and an extra one for the camp table...and a string of lights for over the tent door.  We also have citronella candles to give us light and a bug free area.

 This is Part 2 of a 4 Part series
Part 1: Why We Camp with Little Kids
Part 3: What I Pack and How I Organize When Camping with Little Kids
Part 4: More than S'mores and Hotdogs: Favorite Camping Recipes

Some good links with more information:
* REI - Intro to Camping - Lots of links with different reviews of gear.  I love REI and we get most of our gear from either them or Cabella's.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Camping Adventures Part 1 - Why We Camp with Little Kids

Fall is my favorite season to camp.  In my younger days I enjoyed "real camping" where we hiked for several days and stopped and set up camp for the night.  But now I'm a fan of "car camping".  It's only kind of roughing it.  There are air mattresses involved.

We've gone since the boys were 3 and 1.  Back in those days Blueberry used a pulse ox to measure his oxygen levels so we had to get a site with power.  And now that we don't need the pulse-ox anymore, we still get a power site. wouldn't do it any other way.  We often end up being the only tents in our area surrounded by RVs, but they are nice people too :).  All of these pictures are from our first camping trip in September of 2017.  I'll feature other trips in my other posts!

I didn't camp as a child.  But I enjoy sharing this time with my boys.

1) Intensive Family Time
We are stuck in pretty close quarters with not a whole lot to distract us.  Without all the noise of our daily lives we really get to focus on the moment and on each other.  Often when I am with the boys, I'm only kind of with them.  There's food to be made, toys to pick up, toilets to be scrubbed, laundry to do.  You get the idea.  It's all about us and being together.  It's about naps in the hammock or just sitting near the fire watching the boys play.

2) No screens
Okay, we do bring the tablets along for when we got out to breakfast, but there's no TV and no possibility of them bugging us to let them watch whatever is their show du jour.  Parents also have a no screen rule unless it's taking pictures!  It's as important for me as it is for the kids.  Let's face it, Facebook is a bit of a siren call to me at times.  I enjoy the opportunity to unplug.

3) Inexpensive and better
You don't have to book a trip to Disney to get great memories.  And honestly, while I'm glad we've done the Disney thing and we will again, I'm sure, I have more fun camping with the boys that I did on the over-loaded-with-magic-Disney-craziness.  And at the end of the day, my boys enjoyed the nature walks poking at bugs, playing on the playground with other kids, the marshmallows roasted over the fire, the glow sticks so much better than any amusement park.

4) Appreciate Nature
Camping forces us to slow down and appreciate the nature around us.  We can hear the sounds of the animals.  This also teaches them about dealing with being a little cold or hot or wet (though we won't camp if it's really rainy, windy or the weather dips to below 50 at night...but still, there's no heat or AC).  They also learn about what plants to stay away from and that fire can be dangerous.  We also use it as an opportunity to talk about different species of plants and animals.  While we point these things out on nature walks and in our neighborhood...there's nothing like being surrounded by it for kids to really notice.

5) Builds confidence
The boys are learning to sleep in a place that is not their bed room.  They are learning to try new things and visit new places.  They are learning new skills like how to start a fire.  And it builds confidence in us parents too!  We gain confidence that we don't need all kinds of stuff to keep the kids happy!

6) Teaches simplicity and mindfulness
We only take a few toys with us when we camp and the kids learn to play with just those toys or make toys out of the natures that is around them.  They don't need all this external entertainment.  They find ways to amuse themselves.  They make up games and focus on the moment.  I do try to prioritize giving them opportunities for free play, but with school and therapies and sports, the length of time isn't what I'd love it to be.  When we camp, it's basically all the time for days!

7) Memories
And really, the most important is that it's creating memories that will last us the rest of our lives.  They get to roll around and get dirty and then no bath (until we get home).  We try to camp at different places throughout the season and seek out local events and festivals.  This takes a bit of advance planning, but adds a lot of fun.  Although some of our best trips have been those that we didn't make it away from the campground except to hike.  But we like to mix it up each time.  Though, certain things are dogs for dinner, going out for breakfast, smores for dessert and glow sticks!  Our older boy recalls events from past camping trips with such fondness and I hope that it continues to be a precious way for us to connect as a family as we grow together!

Now that I hope that I have inspired you!  Here are the next articles in the series:
Part 2: The Basics of Camping
Part 3: What I Pack and How I Organize When Camping with Little Kids
Part 4: More than S'mores and Hotdogs: Favorite Camping Recipes

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Punch Pinata Adventures

At most of our parties we have a homemade piñata.  I'll have to post about how to make one of those at some point.  But for Blueberry's first birthday, I decided that a "punch" piñata was a better idea.  I thought that I'd dig up those old pictures to show you!

You'll need:
  • 2-3 sheets of poster board
  • 24+ sheets of tissue paper
  • 24+ brown paper bags
  • candy or small prizes
We took some poster board and cut out circles big enough for a child to stick their hand into a remove a fist full of candy.  We don't want to make any raccoon traps here!  You'll also want to make sure that the edges of the hole will not give kids any paper cuts!  Make sure you are leaving enough space in between the circles to secure the bags. 

Then tape some colorful tissue paper over the holes and lay out candy on top of the tissue paper.

Cut paper bags in half length-wise.  Then cut each edge about 1 inch.  Fold those over and tape them down.

Let the kids go to town!  You might need to make sure everyone only gets 1 or 2.  Otherwise the more aggressive kids will get a lot of prizes and the little kids won't get anything.  Seriously.  It's like feeding time at the zoo with these kids sometimes!

White Fish with Vegetarian Cassolet

We try to have fish at least once a week and with the beans in this dish, it feels heavy enough to fuel us!

Also, of it's six ingredients, four are on my list of foods to eat white TTC (Fish, beans, leafy greens, olive oil).  A Cassolet originates in southern France.  It's a traditional peasant winter food and there are as many variations are there are French grandmothers.   Basically, a cassoulet is a bean based casserole.  That's an oversimplification, but close enough. 

I made this for 4 people, but I only cooked up 3 fish because the boys wouldn't eat a whole fish.

For those of you with larger families: To make for six; cook up 6 fish (or enough fish, if some of your six are little eaters).  Add a diced onion or 16 oz can of mushrooms and put it in with the broccolini and garlic in step 2.  To make for eight: Cook up the number of fish you think your family will eat, follow the instructions for 6 and add another can of white beans

  • White Fish
  • 16 oz can of white beans
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes (or regular tomatoes or 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes)
  • 1 bunch Broccolini (aka Broccoli Rabe) leafy bits and stems chopped in to 1 inch long segments
  • 3 T minced garlic
  • 4 T olive oil  (divided)

1)  Dice up the tomatoes.  Chop the brocolini into 1 inch long sections.

2)  Put the Brocolini, Garlic and 2 T of olive oil in a 12 inch skillet.  Sautee for three minutes over medium-high heat.

3)  Add the beans and tomatoes.  Saute for 3 minutes.

4) Add 1 cup of water.  Turn the heat down to medium and let simmer while you cook the fish.

5)  In another skillet, pour in 2T olive oil.  Place the fish skin side down.  Let simmer at medium heat 2-4 minutes.  Flip the fish and cook another 3-4 minutes.

8)  Dish out the cassolet and serve the fish on top.  I served with a nice crusty bread.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Our Colored Rice Adventure

I made some Kool-Aide dyed rice for a play date we hosted.  Okay, to be fair...this activity was a couple of years ago  when I first had the blog and never posted it.  With the spring weather coming up, I figure it's a great time to post it now!

This was an easter themed play date.

I bought 15 pounds of rice at Kroger on sale.  I put 2.5 pounds of rice in a plastic bag with 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 2-3 packets of Kool-Aid.  Other blogs measured their Kool-Aid but I like to live on the edge.  I shook the bags until the color had gone throughout the rice and then let it dry on cookie sheets overnight.  It smelled amazing and I had to lock the dog away from it because I could see how that would end if I did not.  Let's just say, lots of mess and a very sick dog.  So. we avoided that!

I thought that it looked pretty laid out in bands, in the heading picture.  But of course the rice isn't for looking, it's for playing!  All the kids loved how the rice felt in their hands and the look of the confetti colored rice was super pretty!

I did not take a picture of the mess.  That would scare you off of doing this activity.  They all had fun and the little bit of extra cleaning was worth it to see how much all the toddlers loved playing with the rice!

Though on the subject of mess,  I've heard horror stories of rice breaking vacuum cleaners so I swept most of it up and used the vacuum only for the last bits.  Most of it I used the hose attachment and only rolled up the last pieces. My vacuum is too important to risk!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Vinegar Adventures

Vinegar. Amazing stuff. It's been around for thousands of years, and even in today's post-modern world, we still have few products that can compare. Don't believe me? Read on.

Vinegar was discovered by accidentally leaving wine in the barrel too long. As far back as 5000 BC the Babylonians discovered its uses as a preservative and condiment. They were the first to flavor it with herbs and spices. Cleopatra once bet that she could drink a fortune in a single night. She won it by dissolving pearls in vinegar and then drinking it. (For some reason when I have been sharing that fun-fact with my friends, they have not been as impressed as I have As recently as WW1 vinegar was used to disinfect wounds.

I wouldn't recommend the pearl dissolving use and modern-day disinfectants are much better, however there are many other uses which you might not be aware of. Not only do these work as well or often better than the chemicals on the market, but it is cheaper and better for the environment and non-toxic, which is key for me with my little guys.

I always keep a spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar with water around to spray on various tricky spots. For the super severe I will sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar spray and let sit for a few minutes while it bubbles. Works miracles!

I will say that a FAVORITE activity in our house is the typical vinegar/baking soda.  We posted about using it for color theory and a Halloween take on the classic kid volcano.

Vinegar reduces soap build up. The acidic component of vinegar, acetic acid, is a powerful yet safe disinfectant. It has so many uses. Below are just a few ideas. If I say "vinegar" but do not say which type, assume distilled white vinegar.

Bugs: You actually do not catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If you have a bunch of fruit flies, remove the source of the bugs and then put a cup of vinegar on your ledge.

Carpet Stains (non-oily): As soon as you discover the stain, mix 1 teaspoon liquid detergent, 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar and a pint of lukewarm water. Apply to stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently (I prefer an old toothbrush). Rinse by blotting with a clean wet towel. Dry with a blowdryer.

Coffeepot: To disinfect a coffee pot that hasn't been used in a while or to remove hard water buildup inside it, pour 1 cup vinegar in your coffeepot, fill the rest of the way with water. Run it through a cycle as usual (sans coffee grounds). Rinse the pot out. Fill it with fresh water and run another cycle without coffee to rinse the inside of the coffee maker (as you probably don't want vinegar coffee). I try to do this about twice a year to keep my beloved coffee pot running well.

Clogged Drains: When baking soda mixes with vinegar, it foams and expands. You can use this fact to unclog your drain. Dump 1 cup of baking soda down your drain and follow it with 1 cup of vinegar. Allow a few minutes for the mixture to work, then flush with hot water for several minutes.

Dishwasher: Throw a cup of vinegar in your dishwasher and let it run a full (empty) cycle once a month or so to reduce soap build up and keep your dishwasher safe. (a good thing to add to your monthly cards.)

Icy Car Windows: Spray a mixture of three parts vinegar to one part water on your clean car windows in the winter. It will save you hours of scraping. Reapply every 2-3 weeks (best if right after going to car wash, but not required). Be careful to wipe away any of the mixture that gets in your car or on your paint as it will eat away at the paint or interior.

Fridge Smells: Pour 1 cup of apple cider vinegar into a glass and leave in fridge for 2-3 days.

Frugal Pedicure: All us ladies need one from time to time, but getting one done professionally can be very expensive. Soak two towels in a mixture of 50/50 vinegar to warm water. Wrap the towels around your feet for twenty minutes. When you remove them, wipe your feet and you will notice all the dead skin is gone, leaving you with smooth feet. Paint your toenails and you are good to go!

Mirrors: Mix equal parts vinegar with warm water. Spray onto windows and wipe. If you use a newspaper to wipe the vinegar away, a chemical reaction will occur that will get your mirrors extra shiny.

Shower head: Remove the gross soapscum and corrosion from your showerhead or facuet by wrapping a terry cloth soaked in distilled white vinegar around the showerhead or faucet overnight. Other lime-scaly bathroom products could be removed and then placed in a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water heated in the microwave. Plop the piece into the warmed mixture and remove a half hour later.

Stove-top: Spray full strength vinegar onto the baked on grit on your stove-top (or your 50/50 mixture if you have a container of it laying around, but you will need to use more). Let it set about three minutes and then go back to scrub your gunk away.

Tile Floors: Mix one part vinegar to five parts water and scrub away at your tile floors. If you dislike the smell, add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture.

Water marks on wood: If you forgot to use a coaster and have that icky water mark you can remove it by rubbing it with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and, for best results, polish with wood oil.

There are so many uses of vinegar. Below are a few other conglomerates of vinegar uses. What is your favorite use for vinegar?