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How to Clean Porcelain Sinks without Bleach

Today over at Learning the Frugal Life’s Frugal Tuesday Tip, Sara’s talking about how to get a shiny sink – frugally and by green methods!

Her topic goes perfectly with my blog post on how I keep my grocery budget low using homemade cleaning supplies – Part 2 of my 10 Part Series.

How to Clean Porcelain Sinks without Bleach

I happen to have a  really DIRTY sink. I wish I could tell you that it got that dirty on purpose, so I could write this blog post for you…Alas, that would be a lie! 😉 It just got that dirty…

So after I read Sara’s post this morning, I also tried my hand at cleaning my sink with natural products. I don’t have bleach in my house, yet I would still like a shiny sink from time to time. So here’s how you, too, can get a shiny sink without bleach.blank 

  • Got out my baking soda and scrub brush
  • Got my sink wet
  • Smeared a whole bunch of baking soda on my sink
  • Scrubbed the sink with my scrub brush

The results:blank

A sparkly clean, beautiful sink! Fly Lady would be so proud… 🙂

I am especially thrilled because it required minimal effort and baking soda is non-toxic! My house doesn’t stink and I have a clean sink using natural (and cheap) products.

borax for cleaning porcelain sinks


After cleaning my sink for a while with Baking Soda, I have learned that cleaning my porcelain sink is even easier and yields a better result with BORAX!

Have you tried any homemade cleaners? What do you think?

Here are more posts on frugal and green cleaning methods:

Decrease Toxins with 4 Frugal Cleaning Supplies

Green Carpet Cleaning

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

Do You Know What’s in YOUR Home Cleaning Products


I or me?

It’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Here’s a topic a friend suggested to me on Facebook:

When to use “I” and when to use “me.” These two words are often mixed up, usually at the end of a sentence. Here are the facts:

  • Use “I” as the subject (when you are doing the action).
  • Use “me” as the object (when you are receiving the action)

I or me ~ 5-minute grammar lesson

Here’s something you might hear:

Polly went shopping with Vikki and I. – Sounds formal, right? Must be correct. Well, it’s not. “I” shouldn’t be used because it isn’t the subject of the sentence, Polly is. “Me” should be used because it is the object – it is receiving the action.

Confused? Here’s an easy check. Simply delete the extra information and see if the sentence still makes sense.

Polly went shopping with I. That doesn’t make any sense. So, the correct version is:

Polly went shopping with Vikki and me. Even though it sounds less formal, it’s right.

Make sense?  🙂

Do you have a topic you would like me to address? I’d love to know. Comment on my Facebook page, send me an email, or leave a comment here on the blog. I’ll add it to the list!

Enjoy your Sunday!

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

I’m linking up with Learning the Frugal Life’s Frugal Tuesday Tip again! Last week I wrote about creatively using left-overs so I waste less food. Less waste = less to buy = less money spent!washing strawberries with a diy fruit & veggie wash

This week I’m showing you my fruit and veggie wash to reduce pesticide and bacterial residue. I am torn between the desire to buy organic produce and the reality that it’s just not in our budget right now. I do grow a lot of my own organic produce in the summer, but in the winter I buy conventionally grown produce to keep my family satisfied.

DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

I used to buy special fruit and produce wash at the grocery store. But it’s really quite expensive and I started to wonder how effective it actually was. So, I started researching. Here’s what I found:

  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG – yes, it’s the same group with the sunscreen recommendations) has put together a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. As the names suggest, the Dirty Dozen are the fruits and veggies with the most pesticide residue and the Clean Fifteen have the least. You can read about it here.
  • In 2007, American’s Test Kitchen conducted an experiment to see which types of cleansers might be most effective at removing surface wax, pesticides, and bacteria from fruit and veggies. They concluded that rinsing or soaking in 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar was the most effective – it kills up to 98% of the bacteria in addition to removing wax and pesticides. The data were published in the 11-19-2007 edition of Newsweek magazine.
  • Peeling can also be a good way to remove pesticides, but you want to wash the fruits & veggies well first, so you don’t transfer the pesticides to the inside!

Here’s the very easy process I use to clean my fruits and veggies:


First, I soak my fruits and veggies in water and vinegar. I am not very scientific, so I just fill an old bowl with water and dump in vinegar. I swish the fruits and veggies around for a few minutes shortly before I want to prepare them. From my experience, if I do this too soon, they spoil much faster. So I wait until we are ready to eat them.

Next, I then dump them into a colander and then rinse well with cold running water. Then I prepare them however I need to and we eat them!

Unfortunately, I am not a scientist, and I cannot guarantee that this method is 100% effective at removing all harmful substances that may be on commercially grown food. In my opinion, buying or growing our own organic produce is the best way to stay safe. However, cleaning my fruits and veggies in this manner reassures me that I am doing my best to keep my family safe from harmful substances.

Do you use a fruit and veggie wash? I’d love to hear what you do! For more frugal tips, be sure to visit Learning the Frugal’s Life Tuesday Tip!

Want more DIY Cleaning Products that are healthier for you and your family?

Decrease Toxins with 4 Frugal Cleaning Supplies

Green Carpet Cleaning

Do You Know What’s in YOUR Home Cleaning Products

Lay or Lie? – 5 Minute Grammar Lesson

LAY and LIE are two words that cause a lot of confusion (And I have been guilty of using them incorrectly, too) This is my best attempt to explain the difference. It’s a little technical, so bear with me! 🙂

Lay or Lie 5 minutes grammar lesson

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog.*

Lay or Lie?

According to the Everyday Writer, the textbook I use in the college composition classes I teach:

How to use Lay

1. LAY means to “place” or “put.” Its main forms are lay, laid, laid. If you are putting a book on the table, you will say, “I am laying a book on the table.” It usually takes a direct object (the word specifying WHAT has been placed), in this case, a book.

One way you can test the usage is to replace the word LAY with PLACE or PUT. In this case they all make sense: I will lay the book on the table. I will place the book on the table. I will put the book on the table. Good.

How to use Lie

2. LIE means to “recline” or “be positioned” and does not take a direct object.  Its main forms are lie, lay, lain. This is the form that most people use incorrectly. For instance, these forms are all wrong:

  • I will lay down.
  • To a dog: LAY down!
  • At the doctor’s office: LAY back, please.

See, there is no direct object used in the above sentences. And if that’s too confusing, use the test I mentioned above, and replace LIE with “put.”

  • I will PUT down? Nope.
  • PUT down, Dog! Nope.
  • PUT back, please. Again, nope!! So instead of LAY, use LIE.

I will LIE down. Yes.
LIE down, Dog. Yes.
LIE back, please. Yes.

Here’s my best advice, though: when in doubt, use a different word! For example:

I’m going to rest.
Platz. (German for Lie down.)
Put your head on the pillow! 🙂

Hopefully, that will help you use LAY and LIE correctly. And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson.

Lay or Lie ~5 minute grammar lesson

Here are more grammar posts you may like:

How to make the word PEOPLE possessive

Bias or Biased?

Do to or Due to?

Less or Fewer?

Should have gone or Should have went?

And if you’re looking for helpful grammar resources, here are my top picks:

Grammarly – Instantly fix over 250 types of errors with this free web-based grammar checker!

Strunk & White Elements of Style

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 

The Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing


Check back next Sunday for another quick grammar lesson! And if you’d like to get weekly grammar tips delivered straight to your inbox, please subscribe to my once a week newsletter. I promise I won’t spam you. 🙂

5 Minute Grammar Lesson :: How to Use a Semicolon

Welcome to another 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Today’s topic includes easy to follow rules so you can learn how to use a semicolon!

;     ;     ;    ;    ;     ;      ;     ;     ;      ;     ;
How to use a semi-colon. 5 Minute Grammar Lesson with SimplifyLiveLove*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog.*

How to Use a Semicolon

Semicolons baffle a lot of people, but they shouldn’t because they are really pretty easy. As long as you can tell the difference between a complete sentence and a fragment, semicolons are very straightforward. They have two  main uses:

1. To separate items in a complex list.
Usually, when we separate items in a list, we use a comma: I like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Sometimes, the list is more complicated and we use semicolons instead: When my husband was in the military we lived in Sacramento, California; Tempe, Arizona; Okinawa, Japan; and, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Too easy, right?

2. To connect complete sentences.
Number 2 is the one that normally confuses people because they try to connect a fragment and a sentence with a semicolon, and that is WRONG.

Wrong: Although the police officer is a very big man; he wasn’t hungry and he wouldn’t eat the donuts. The first part of this sentence is a fragment. Instead of a semicolon, a comma should be used. OR, simply take the “although” off the first part of the sentence and it’s fixed:

Correct: The police officer is a very big man; he wasn’t hungry and he wouldn’t eat the donuts. Here you have two complete sentences linked by a semicolon. No problem, right!

To me, the hard part about semicolons is identifying fragments. As long as you remember that a complete sentence must have both a subject AND a verb, you should be fine!

Learn easy rules for how to use a semi-colon in this 5 minute grammar lesson with simplifylifelove.

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson!

For more grammar help, check out these resources.

Want more grammar posts?

It’s or Its?

Less or Fewer?

Top 10 Mistakes Bloggers Make {and how to stop them}

Who’s or WHOSE?

Who or Whom?

And if you’re looking for helpful grammar resources, here are my top picks:

Grammarly – Instantly fix over 250 types of errors with this free web-based grammar checker!

Strunk & White Elements of Style

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 

The Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing


Check back next Sunday for another quick grammar lesson! And if you’d like to get weekly grammar tips delivered straight to your inbox, please subscribe to my once a week newsletter. I promise I won’t spam you. 🙂

Ukrainian Egg Decorating

Many Hands House hosted a Magic the Gathering card game at her house. We weren’t going to go. I had arranged for a fabulous new babysitter to come over in the afternoon and I was going to get some work done.


*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

Well…the morning dragged on. It was dreary and cold outside and the natives (my children) were restless. So I scrapped my plans for “DW” (doing work) and we headed out to Melanie’s.

Ukrainian Egg Decorating

We were too late for the card game, which was fine because it’s geared for older children anyway. But Melanie had an amazing arts and crafts table set up with the most beautiful egg dyes and other supplies for making Ukrainian eggs. Have you ever tried your hand at Ukrainian egg decorating?blankNow, I grew up in Germany and making Easter trees is a big deal over there. The Germans I know decorate fabulous eggs and hang them on beautiful branches long before Easter. I have been nostalgic for their eggs for a long time as I am UNDERWHELMED every year by the cheap box egg decorating kits (you know, the PAAS kits?) I have been purchasing for my kids. I should have KNOWN there was a better way!


Melanie’s eggs are BEAUTIFUL! My kids were immediately drawn to the egg table and they all made (and broke) several eggs. Ben, especially, was excited and he created for a long time. We only had one near catastrophe when Cora’s hair caught on fire. YES! That little girl is an accident waiting to happen. Luckily, I was right there and freaked her out by beating on her head with my bare hand. I scared her much more than she was hurt by the fire. Neither of us was harmed and her hair is none the worse for wear. BUT – if you make these eggs – BE CAREFUL of the candle that melts the wax. That’s my warning.

Anyhow, here are the fruits of our labor, as well as an update on the wheat grass we planted last Wednesday, also at Melanie’s delightful home. (I think our wheat would look a lot better if it had not been accidentally left outside one night in freezing temperatures.) Our eggs don’t look much like ones in the book, but I think they are lovely nonetheless.


And now I am off to purchase my own Ukrainian Egg Decorating kit so that I my kids can practice their skills! 🙂

What’s going on in your homeschool? How are you preparing for spring?

Easy, Homemade Fruit and Honey Granola

Homemade Fruit and Honey Granola

Granola is a delicious treat at our house. We love to eat it by the handful or mixed with yogurt and berries. Everyone at my house loves it! It’s a fabulous and healthy snack, breakfast, or lunch. But, a good granola is EXPENSIVE! My solution: to make my own! In my opinion, homemade granola is even better than the store bought variety. And it’s much more frugal!

Here’s how you can make your own Easy, Homemade Fruit and Honey Granola! 

 I found the original recipe on the internet here. But, I have tweaked it to fit our budget and taste. I guarantee it’s different every time I make it, but here’s the tweaked recipe I loosely follow:

Homemade Fruit & Honey Granola

Homemade Fruit and Honey Granola


  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I mix almonds, pecans, walnuts - whatever I have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup dried fruit - cranberries, raisins, whatever I have on hand


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spay a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dried ingredients EXCEPT the dried fruit.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the oil and honey.
  4. Add the oil/honey mix to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Spread on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Then stir and spread it out again. Bake for another 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  6. In a large bowl, break the granola into large chunks. Add the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

fruit and honey granola

As I said, I make this yogurt a little differently each time I make it simply by varying the mix-ins and nuts. I used craisins for this particular batch, but it’s also great with just about any dried fruit and also chocolate chips. When the chocolate melts and then hardens again around the granola, it’s really delicious. Sometimes I omit the flax seeds and the nutmeg. Sometimes I made it exactly as described. However you make it, you really can’t go wrong! We love it eat it by the handful – a double batch does not last long around here!

Would of OR Would have?

I’m really curious how social media and texting affect grammar. I ASSUME that texting and facebooking and twitter have a negative influence on grammar. But you know what they say when a person ASSUMES something… It could be that many people have always had terrible grammar and all these forms of communication make the mistakes that much more noticeable to people who care.

I have an MA in English Linguistics and I conducted a unique study for my thesis to learn how sociolinguistics impacts second language learning. Specifically, I looked at sexist language and found that it can change how language learners may behave. Language is CRAZY powerful.

If you don’t know, sociolinguistics is, “the study of language and linguistic behavior as influenced by social and cultural factors.” It fascinates me! In an ideal world, I would return to school and earn my PhD and I might just focus on social media. Social media and texting were not really around when I earned my MA in 2002. But, I know, linguists at universities are studying this right now. I would love to, too!

 Proper grammar for would of or would have
Anyway, here’s another common grammar error that I see all the time, especially on Facebook:

When we speak, it sometimes sounds like we say WOULD OF because of the way we slur our words together. However, it’s not correct in WRITTEN English.Always write WOULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE, and COULD HAVE. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. No exceptions! It’s just good (and correct) grammar.

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson for the week! 🙂


Here’s another 5 Minute Grammar Lesson. 🙂

A Grammer Lesson on the workd Acrossed ??

When we moved to Iowa 5 years ago, I started saying “Acrossed,” as in “I went acrossed town yesterday.” It’s something a LOT of people say in these here parts 🙂 and I picked it up without realizing it. I was talking to my sister one day on the phone and said something with “acrossed” in it. She started laughing and had me repeat it. Once I repeated it, I was horrified! How could I, an English teacher of all things, say “acrossed?” Needless to say, that day was the last day I uttered that terrible word.

Since then, I hear it everywhere! My hubby, bless his heart, my father in law, friends…it’s rampant in Iowa. Thankfully, my husband quit using it very soon after I pointed it out…

Anyhow, ACROSS is a preposition (He went across the street.) and sometimes an adverb (She ran across to say hello.) It it never used (correctly) in the past tense.

CROSS is the verb that can be used correctly in the past tense: “He crossed the street.”

And there’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson. Do you hear “acrossed” where you live?

5 Minute Grammar Lesson – Everyday or Every Day?

Here’s another 5 Minute Grammar Lesson!

5 minutes grammar lesson - Everyday or Every Day

I see mistakes with every and day almost Every Day! 😉 When should they be combined as one word and when should the be separated into two words?

Everyday means ordinary, normal, commonplace. It’s an adjective that modifies a noun: His everyday coat is dirty.

Every day means “each day.” “Every” is an adjective that modifies the noun “day:” I have to eat chocolate and drink wine every day or I will go nuts.

I am continually surprised by how many, many places mistake the two usages. Have you seen them used incorrectly? 🙂