Egg carton playing card holder

It was a cold and cloudy weekend, so we spent yesterday playing games together. ‘Trouble’ is a current favourite in our house – just when you think you are winning you end up losing and vice versa, so it keeps us all on our toes! But we also like card games. And they are great to play with kids, helping them firstly to recognise and learn numbers, then with simple mental arithmetic. But fun at the same time! I’ve played games like Snap and Go Fish with my son from when he was very little. If you have played card games with your children, you will also have had to deal with them not being able to hold all their cards comfortably in their hands. When I saw this idea on No Time For Flash Cards I thought it was definitely worth a try! So yesterday I found an empty egg carton, turned it upside down, and cut slits in the cups with a craft knife. The cards fitted very easily into the slits, making it very simple to organise and see what you are holding. Egg carton card holder . And that’s it! Problem sorted! Kim comments that hers tipped over easily, but we didn’t have that problem. Perhaps because our egg cartons are cardboard and hers look like polystyrene? Anyway, I guess if you have that problem it would be easy to put some blocks or marbles whatever in the carton to make it a bit more stable.

Has your child found a way to hold all their cards?

Check out this pin, and plenty more great ideas for kids on my ‘Kids’ Pinterest board 😉

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Toilet bombs – a fun way to clean your toilet, even the kids will want to do it!

While we were making Eucalyptus Shower Disks last week, I remembered another ‘disk’ we had made before – toilet bombs! The method for making them is very similar to the shower disks, but the ingredients are slightly different.

When you drop one of these bombs in your toilet, they start fizzing which means they are cleaning and deodorising your toilet bowl. And once your children see this, they will want to ‘clean’ the toilet regularly!

I found this idea on Maria’s Self blog, and it is pinned on my Organisation and Cleaning Pinterest board 🙂

If you ever had a go making bath bombs when they first became popular (was it in the 90s? Perhaps…) you will recognise these fizzy bombs 😉

So, Maria’s recipe is:

–1 1/3 cup Baking Soda – amazing for all-natural cleaning AND deodorizing!
–1/2 cup Citric Acid(low-strength acid that exists naturally in fruits like lemons & oranges) – used in many kitchen & bathroom cleaners for its cleaning, whitening & deodorizing properties

–30 drops Lavender Essential Oil***

–30 drops Peppermint Essential Oil***

–30 drops Lemon Essential Oil***
Medical Mask
Baking soda is soda bicarbonate – or bicarb for short. It is not to be confused with baking powder. You can buy bicarb and citric acid in the baking section of your supermarket. It would be cheaper to buy them in bulk if you can locate a supplier, but they are only a couple of dollars each at the supermarket.
Apart from using Citric Acid in your home made jam and cordial, it is great for cleaning. Try it in your dishwasher or coffee maker to keep them sparkling!
Not having essential oils at hand, I used tea tree oil instead:
3 ingredient toilet bombs . (1024x661)

So, put your bicarb and citric acid in a bowl, then very slowly add your oil. As in drip by drip. You need to constantly stir the mix as you want it to not fizz….well, not until it goes in your toilet! It helps to have someone to help, so I poured the oil while my son did a great job stirring

toilet bombs (1024x683)

I added a drop or two of blue food colouring as we had just made the shower disks and didn’t want to get them confused!

I just kept adding the tea tree oil until the mixture held together. Maria suggests adding a little water to get the right consistency. Whatever you do, do it slowly and don’t let it fizz!

Once it holds together, spoon it into your moulds and squash it down. I used silicone cupcake moulds again, but use what you have 🙂

Toilet bombs - (683x1024)

Leave to dry for several hours, then pop them out of the moulds and let them dry completely. Then you can store them in a container in your bathroom, ready for use!

I drop one in after flushing the toilet. Watch it fizz and dissolve, then you can leave it to do its work. You can even leave it overnight, then give a bit of a scrub and flush again. If your toilet bomb doesn’t fizz terribly much it could be because the citric acid was not fresh, or perhaps it fizzed too much while the bomb was being made. So it just won’t do as good a job.

As far as I am aware, this is good to use in septic systems, but as we don’t have one you might want to check with whoever would know for sure.

Maria also uses her disks in several other ways, such as washing her fruit and as a facial cleanser. I haven’t tried those and not sure I would. But I might try cleaning under my fingernails with them, or using one in the dishwasher!

In what ways have you ever used citric acid?

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Eucalyptus Shower Disks – for when you’re a little ‘stuffed up’

Here in Sydney we are almost in the middle of winter. And whilst our days at the moment are mostly clear and sunny, it is definitely cold and flu season. Unlike many others at the moment our household is, thankfully, mostly healthy but my young son has developed a bit of a sniffle. So I thought we would make some Eucalyptus Shower Disks.

We made these a couple of years ago and found them quite effective. And being a bit of a novelty, kids are more than happy to use one 😉 They are very simple to use – just put one in the bottom of your shower and the hot water releases the Eucalyptus and dissolves the disk. We put it in the corner of the shower so it dissolves slowly. And I’m sure it would work in the bath as well, but we haven’t got one to test it out.

I found this idea on the blog Being Frugal by Choice, and you can find it and other health related ideas on my ‘Health‘ Pinterest board.

We started with making just a small batch, using Sarah’s recipe of:

1 cup baking (bicarb) soda

1/3 cup water

which was mixed together in a small bowl. It needs to be damp enough to hold it’s shape when squashed, Sarah describes it as being like putty. We needed to add a little more water…but just a little.

Then add your oils. We just added Eucalyptus oil, a couple of teaspoonsful. And we didn’t use essential oil, but the big household bottle you get from the supermarket. The original recipe calls for 15 drops each of 3 essential oils: lavender, eucalyptus and rosemary. Do what works for you 🙂

Eucalyptus Shower Disks

Strangely, when we spooned this mixture into silicone cupcake moulds, it looked much wetter:

Eucalyptus Shower Disks .

Half filling these moulds gave us 7 shower disks. We will be making a larger batch next time!

The first time we made these I didn’t have these silicone moulds and just used paper cupcake cases. I let them dry completely in the cases, and when we went to use them they were stuck to the paper. If you do this, try removing the disks before they have completely dried. Of course, they still worked perfectly well even when in the paper, just make sure you don’t leave your rubbish in the shower!

These were left to dry for several hours, then I turned them out onto a drying rack until they were completely dry. Depending on the weather/temperature, overnight would probably be long enough.

Drying shower disks and toilet bombs

Oh, you noticed some blue disks in with the white ones? You’ll have to wait for my next post to find out what they are!!

If you are making these when it is pouring rain, and it seems there is no chance they will dry in under a week, you can bake them instead. Pop them in a very low oven for half an hour or so. We did this the first time we made them. They turned out very crumbly, but still worked.

If you are going to dry them this way, it is very important not to add your oils until after they are dry. I nearly lost my eyebrows and eyelashes opening the door from an oven full of eucalyptus fumes! Boy did my sinuses feel that! Just dribble your selection of oils onto each dry disk when cool.

I find letting them dry naturally works better, but it’s good to have another option.

Once dry, pop them in a airtight container, and use when required. Of course, if you have any concerns using these with your family, consult a professional.

Recently I came across a different idea, but with the same result of sinus cleansing fumes – Vicks ice blocks. They look like a good idea too – mix 2 tablespoons of Vicks with boiling water, then freeze into ice blocks. But have you seen how much Vicks costs? From the Woolworths website, a 50g tub of Vicks Vaporub is $8 and a 100g tub is $12. You’d use most of a 50g tub for a batch of ice blocks.

Compared to the shower disks: also taken from the Woolworths site, 500g of brand name bicarb costs $2.50, while the 500g generic brand costs $1.80. Roughly, two cups is a bit less than 500g. Eucalyptus oil costs depends on whether you use essential oils or not, and what brand. But the total cost is going to be much less than the $6 or $7 for the ice blocks.

So I know what we’ll continue to make in our house!

Have you tried one of these ideas to help with the winter sniffles?

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