Tag Archives: family

5 Quick Stress Busters

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Stress is an everyday occurrence for most of us. Whether we work at home, in an office, or work as a full time parent, stress follows us everywhere and can take a toll physically and mentally.

When I contemplate ways to alleviate my stress, a tropical island getaway immediately bursts into my head like a ray of happy sunshine. A large majority of us stress huggers believe that lying on a beach with a fruity beverage is the only way to oust the routine aches and pains associated with too much to do and not enough time. Not so my friend!

Would you believe me if I told you that five minutes of quiet meditation a day can have a significant impact on controlling your stress and elevating your well being?  Did you know that a couple whiffs of essential oils calms your mind and relieves tension in your neck? A quick cup of green tea a day is a nice respite from an aggravating day and contains antioxidants that are fabulous for extra energy!

Here are five simple ways to reduce stress and lead a more serene lifestyle:

1. Take a walk – It doesn’t have to be a long one. 30 Minutes 3-5 times a week can have a significant impact on your health and well being. Simply put, the endorphins you are releasing make you feel calm, relieve pain, and keep you looking good! Don’t forget to bring your pup. Animals make everything more fun!

2. Start a journal – Writing down your thoughts keeps anxiety at bay, and if you are a worrier like me, helps turn off the part of your brain that constantly performs the worry dance. Clarifying your thoughts and emotions helps with all parts of emotional wellbeing.

3. Reach out and call a friend  – Too often, when we’re depressed and overwhelmed, do we forget to reach out to another person. Grab a quick lunch, a facial, or even a brief chat on the phone with a loved one can assuage the soul. A comforting voice at the other end of the line brightens the mood and lightens depression and anxiety.

4. Commune with nature – Head directly to the closest park or the mountains and just SIT! Even if it’s for five minutes. Feel the sun on your face. Listen to the sounds the wind makes as it blows through the trees. Really hear the birds. Appreciate the lingering smells throughout the park. Taking a nature break is beneficial for our minds and makes us more productive, thereby creating a more relaxed you. This works even when you can’t get away. Just go outside, even if it’s just in the driveway.

5. Reward yourself – This is my favorite one. Give yourself something to look forward to. No one can deal with the daily grind of life day in and day out, and not become a depressed, stressed, mess at least sometimes. Treat yourself to a massage, a hot bath, new running shoes, a stood movie or even just an extra hour of sleep a week. Anything that gets you out of your funk and into a smile. Trust me, you deserve it!

Making a few minor adjustments aimed at relieving your stress and tension can make all the difference in your work and personal relationships. As you make more positive lifestyle changes, you will notice your physical symptoms diminish, which will lead to a more happy and healthy you. Go ahead – I dare you to try one or all of these quick, easy methods to help improve your physical pain and promote emotional wellness. Just don’t forget to tell me all about it!

What is your favorite way to relieve stress? I’d love the hear about it in the comments below.

 

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Filed under Healthy Lifestyle

DIY Bubble (Boba) Tea

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I know some people out there have a problem eating strange textures, I’m just not one of them. When Bubble (Boba) Tea came out, I was thrilled to chew on those big gummy balls. It was equally exciting to suck them up through that fat straw. What a fun drink! Right?

It had been a few years since I had one, so I stopped by the little shop in the mall excited to experience Bubble Tea again. This time I was seeing the place through new eyes. Instead of being lured by the sweet concoctions or swayed by the colorful powders lined up against the wall, I was a little horrified. What on earth is in Bubble Tea anyway?

Just like a million times before, I cursed my nutrition education and walked out of the store without a drink in hand.

Not to be dissuaded from my growing craving, I decided to figure out another way. Did you know that you can order Bobas (tapioca pearls) on Amazon? Of course you can! (Small soapbox: Please buy local when you can.) So, I ordered some Boba, and figured out how to make my own version where the ingredients aren’t a mystery.

The basic ingredients of Bubble Tea are great (tea, milk, a little sweet, and tapioca pearls) and easy to combine on your own.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Obtain your bobas
  2. Cook them up according to the directions. It should take a whole 5 minutes. Note: I learned the hard way that Boba doesn’t store well – only make enough for one day.
  3. Make your tea of choice (fruity, black, green, matcha, rooibos, white)
  4. Choose your creamer (dairy, non-dairy, full fat, non-fat)
  5. Choose your level of sweet (stevia, sugar, honey)
  6. Add your Boba
  7. If you’re really fancy, order the big fat straws too (I used an un-cool but eco-friendly spoon)
  8. Enjoy!

Here are my cooked plump Bobas:

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Here is my finished product … a decaf Chai with full-fat coconut milk and stevia – Yummo!

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Hey that sounds like a Starbucks drink. I wonder why they haven’t boarded this train yet? Let me know what your favorite combination is below. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Filed under Healthy Eating!, Recipes

8 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

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Balancing work and home life can seem next to impossible especially if you throw kids in the mix. Lost time with friends and loved ones is the first victim of life lost in a rollercoaster of PTA meetings, soccer practice, dental appointments, and the dry cleaners. Throw in a full time job, chores, grocery shopping and you can kiss any down time you have left, goodbye. Life is a balancing act and the best way to get through it, is with a plan of action. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve balance.

Set priorities…

Do you really need to bake 32 muffins for the third grade Valentine’s day party? How about saving some time and purchasing them just this once? Enlist your partner to switch off taking the kids to school or watching the baby. It’s okay to skip scrubbing the tub one week. I promise. The kids will grow up just fine if they buy lunch at school once in awhile. Give yourself a break! These little chores you skip will still be there, but your piece of mind won’t be.

The most important event in your calendar…

When scheduling your appointments, don’t forget to add a bit of downtime in between work and home commitments to enjoy yourself. Make a list right now of the 5 things you need more of in your life. For me it’s things like dancing, time with friends and family, spending time outside, and exercise. I’m a much happier and better me with these things included. Now, go to your calendar and actually schedule your list items. Now, it’s up to you to honor it but you won’t have any trouble once you get the hang of it. Balance feels awesome.

Some fun ideas…

Enjoying a night out with friends can vastly improve an overworked body and mind. While you are out on your adventure, plan the NEXT excursion. Always have something to look forward to. Do something you enjoy every day. Watch a movie, go to the library, work on a hobby, or take a relaxing bath. Keep this time protected from other responsibilities. This is YOUR time. No interruptions!

Work for pleasure…

If you find that the only fun you have is outside the office, maybe it’s time to reconsider your career. I know, easier said than done, but really all it takes is the courage to change your circumstances and taking the first step. How empowering is that!

Time is money…

How much is your time worth per hour? Choose an amount. Then add up all the time you spend on things someone else can do for you. It’s a lot. Most of us are on a budget, but in many cases it is worth paying someone else to do things for you. It’s not extravagance, it’s just smart because what you end up with is time to spend with the people you love and do things that make you happy.

Some “let someone else do it” ideas…

Have the groceries delivered. Look for a local CSA that delivers. Local, organic food delivered…doesn’t get better than that. NM people check out Skarsgard Farms. How about paying the extra fee to have the Christmas gifts wrapped? Have the neighbor kid mow your lawn and help with yard work. How about using the loose-change-jar once in awhile and have your house cleaned? Better yet! Have the kids clean the house while you sit by the pool!

Move it…

Exercise is a very powerful tool especially if it’s done in the morning. It impacts your whole mood and puts a positive touch on your entire day. Schedule at least three, twenty minute workout routines a week, and I promise you you’ll fly through your workweek (and you won’t jiggle). Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, get some extra sleep, and voila! Your energy will get a serious makeover.

Be smart with technology…

Stay off the computer, your smartphone, anything where you can access messages, social media, and emails when you first wake up. I am so guilty of this. Nobody should be reading anything that may contain negative or depressing news first thing in the morning. Not to mention, your morning hours are the most productive. Don’t waste your best on Facebook. Save it for after lunch.

Track your time…

Lastly, track your time. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how much time we waste during the day on frivolous activities. Cut out unnecessary time on the computer, phone, or errands that can be skipped or combined.

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton

 

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Makeover your Medicine Cabinet with Essential Oils

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Do you want safer, cheaper, more effective healthcare? We have two choices when it comes to treating illness…modern medicine or nature’s medicine.  Over the past few years I’ve slowly replaced all of my modern medicines with essential oils. I used them during my pregnancy to ease my symptoms and now that my son is born they’re helping him too. I love that there is a natural alternative for healing my family.

Modern vs. Nature’s Medicine

Modern medicine…

  • Designed to manage symptoms
  • Made from isolated synthetic agents
  • Side effects (some unknown)
  • 4.5 Trillion/yr. is spent on global healthcare
  • Are we healthier today because of it?

Nature’s Medicine…

  • Helps minimize symptoms, addresses the root causes
  • Made of hundreds of natural compounds found in plants that enhance physical and emotional health
  • Safe benefits without side effects
  • Pennies per dose, no time/$ at the doctor, and no copay

Did you know that essential oils are: 

  • 50-70 times more powerful than herbs
  • Inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses
  • The plant’s own natural medicine cabinet

There are three ways to use essential oils: 

1. Aromatic:

  • Breathe in or use diffuser to:
  • Kill germs in the air
  • Open airways
  • Affect mood, including depression

2. Topical:

Apply to head, feet, ears, chest, back of the neck, and or troubled areas. From the bottom of the feet, enter the bloodstream to affect the entire body within 30 seconds.

3. Internal:

  • Taking internally is specific to Doterra oils
  • Take under the tongue, in a gel capsule, or in water
  • Relieves issues in the digestive system, mouth, throat, and liver

MEDICINE CABINET SWITCHES

T = topically; I = Internal; A = Aromatic

Oregano: T, I

  • Cold/flu
  • Immune system support
  • Fungal/Bacterial Conditions

PastTense™: T

  • Headaches
  • Bumps/Bruises
  • Pains/Sprains

Breathe™: A, T

  • Asthma/Allergies
  • Respiratory issues
  • Cough/Bronchitis/Croup

Lavender: A, T, I

  • Anxiety/Stress Relief
  • Burns/Cuts/Wounds
  • Skin Soothing
  • Bites/Stings
  • Calming/Sleep Issues
  • Nose Bleeds

OnGuard™: ATI

  • Air/Surface Purification
  • Cold/Flu/Viruses
  • Toothache

Malaleuca: T, I

  • Skin Eruptions/Conditions
  • Yeast Infections
  • Wound Disinfectant
  • Cold/Flu/Cold Sores

Deep Blue™: T/LemonGrass: T,I/AromaTouch™: T

  • Muscle soreness
  • Arthritic/Chronic Pain
  • Ciculation/Inflammation
  • Pre-/Post-Workout Application

TerraShield™: A, T

  • Repelling Bugs/Other Pests

Solace™: T

  • Menstrual/Hormonal Issues
  • Cramping/Hot Flashes

Purify™: A, T

  • Bites/Stings
  • Air/Surface Purification

DigestZen™: T, I

  • Constipation/Diarrhea
  • Heartburn/Indigestion
  • Colic/Acid Reflux
  • Digestive Issues
  • Food Poisoning
  • Nausea/Motion Sickness

Frankincense: A, T, I

  • Inflammation
  • Stress
  • Brain Support
  • Cellular Regeneration
  • Moles/Wrinkles/Sun Spots
  • Wound Care/Scarring
  • Heavy Metal Cleansing

Balance™: A, T

  • Focus/Concentration
  • Mood Swings/Conditions
  • Nerve Related Conditions

Serenity™: A T

  • Anxiety/Stress/Calming
  • Sleep Support/Insomnia

Peppermint: A, T, I

  • Alertness/Focus
  • Oxygen Absorption
  • Digestive Support
  • Menstrual Conditions
  • Allergies/Respiratory Issues
  • Cooling

Slim & Sassy™: T, I

  • Metabolism Support
  • Cellulite Issues
  • Detoxification
  • Digestive Support
  • Energy

TerraZyme™: I

  • Digestive Support
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Food Allergy Issues

Lemon: A, T, I

  • Cleansing
  • Water Retention
  • Kidney/Bladder Conditions
  • Mood Elevation
  • Inflammation Aid

Zendocrine™: I

  • Eliminative Organ Support
  • Nutrient Absorption
  • Detoxification

Tips for treating with oils: 

  • Use common sense
  • Use the Modern Essentials Reference Guide (book)
  • Use oils frequently with an acute problem (every 15 minutes)
  • Use oils a couple times per day with a chronic problem
  • Use caution with sensitive skin, and keep oils out of the eyes and ears
  • For sensitivity, dilute or neutralize with coconut oil, not water

Yeah, but aren’t oils super pricey?

Believe it or not it’s actually cheaper to treat your family with essential oils than all that you would need from the drug store to treat the same symptoms.

Why doTERRA oils rule:

  • Plants are grown and harvested in their natural habitat
  • Each liter of oil undergoes multiple 3rd party laboratory testing
  • Tests ensure oils are pure, genuine, authentic, and potent
  • Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is beyond organic, verified pure, free of fillers, pesticides, and foreign contaminants

 Where can I buy doTERRA oils?

Right here. You can buy individual oils or purchase kits which include many of the oils discussed above and more.

This information is courtesy of doTerra International.

 

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Declutter Your Life

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Does this sound familiar? You walk into your house after an exhausting day, look around at the mess called your living room, and seriously consider walking back out the door. If you’re like me, it’s impossible to relax when my environment is cluttered with junk. Home is supposed to be our refuge – our safe haven from the frantic, loud, lightning-paced track most of us call life.

Clutter and disarray can certainly lead to some serious stress and anxiety for you and your family. It can even make you feel like your life is spinning out of control. So the question is: How do we go about decluttering our lives?

Start small and tackle one room at a time…. 

Begin in your bathroom. Start by choosing to clean one surface at a time. This will help prevent you from getting discouraged early on. I like to start with one cabinet or shelf. If I get discouraged I come back another day to tackle another one. Don’t forget to throw away or donate all the products you’re not using including all that old nail polish.

Donate, recycle, sell, or toss…

Just get rid of it. Your junk is taking up your precious mental energy. How about having a garage sale to earn a little extra cash while freeing up space? Ask your friends to help. Contemplate using sites like Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook to sell unwanted items. Consignment shops are a great place to conveniently sell furniture and housewares for a small fee. Here are several areas where junk tends to accumulate.

Old Electronics: Recycle old appliances and electronics that are littering your garage and laundry room. You can check with your local government for pickup or drop off locations.

Books: Got stacks of romance novels leftover from the college days choking your bookshelves? Consider donating them to your local library or sell them online.

Unworn Clothes: If you haven’t worn it in the last few months (years?), you’re not likely going to know it’s missing. Say goodbye to that decade old bridesmaid dress and that frayed Snoopy t-shirt and say hello to tax deductions!

•Unused Kitchen Items: You can make some serious dough off the appliances you never use in your kitchen. Take those items (that are likely still in the box) and sell them. Don’t forget to declutter the spice rack and utensil drawer. While you’re at it, clean out the pantry and donate what you don’t use to a local food bank.

•Kid’s Stuff: I have never amassed so much crap as I did when I had a baby. Not only is your time more limited but now you have to organize a whole other person’s stuff too. There are many opportunities to sell/donate the items that baby outgrows. Try to stay organized along the way so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting project. I like to buy the XL ziplocks and throw in similar size clothing and toys that baby outgrows.

•Paperwork: I seriously dread our files. I know we’re harboring at least a ton of paper that we don’t need or ever look at but we’re afraid to throw it out. If you don’t need it for taxes, chances are you won’t need it – especially because everything is available online these days. Go ahead – go grab a trash bag and call the shredding company.

Try following these tips to keep your environment decluttered:

1.) Give away one item every day

2.) For every new item you purchase, donate or throw one out

These simple rules can be extremely helpful in keeping ahead of the clutter. Remember: stuff holds us captive! If you’re scared, try to remember that you’ll always have the memory in your heart and now you’ll have all that free space and peace of mind.

Declutter your mind and your senses…

Our society is overstimulated by noise and technology. Reduce the time you spend watching television and listening to the radio. The news can be so depressing!  Limit time on social media. Discovering that your second cousins’ dog had puppies is not as scintillating as you think. Don’t forget to take care of you! Meditate, start journaling, exercise, and have an adventure in nature!

Declutter your time…

Cancel part of your busy day and keep it that way. Schedule in the things that make your heart sing and make you lose all track of time because you’re having so much fun. Consider hiring someone to clean your home, do your laundry, or clean up your yard so you can spend your free time with the ones you love. It’s worth every penny.

“Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

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Filed under Clean Living Tips

DIY Dishwasher Powder That Works

dishwasher soap

By: April Pease, guest blogger

I have a family of 7 (on one income mind you). I am a very frugal mom: I clip coupons, only buy items on sale, we don’t eat out, we make our own lattes at home, and we don’t have many extras. I also always stock up on things like laundry soap, extra paper towels, cleaning supplies, and of course dishwasher powder.

Over the years, I have tried different brands of dishwasher powder because the cheaper brands would leave a residue on my dishes and dishwasher – on top of getting nothing clean! So, I only used brand name, but over the last year, I started tasting the soap. Eww!

I read that if you add LEMINSHINE to the load it helps. I also read you have to use name brand rinse aid.  I felt like the expense to wash my dishes was getting out of hand. We live in a small town and are not close to the big box stores where these products are cheaper. Why should I have to buy 3 products to improve the one product I plan on using? This is crazy!

One night, I realized in a panic that I was out of dishwasher powder and my brand wasn’t on sale. Crap! That’s when I remember I pinned a DIY recipe for dishwasher powder a few months ago and decide to give it a try… pretty sure that it’s never going to actually work.

Basic recipe:

  • 1 cup borax ($5)
  • 1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda) ($4)
  • ¼ citric acid ($4)

I happened to have all the ingredients on hand but you can find them at your local grocery store. I mixed it all together really well for about a minute and then added some doTERRA Purify™ essential oil – about 6 drops (optional). I filled my dishwasher cup with it. I stopped using rinse aid over 6 months ago and use ONLY vinegar in the rinse compartment – so that went in too. To my surprise, it was AMAZING. Clean dishes, clean dishwasher, and NO chemical smell!

This has changed my daily life because I wash 3 loads of dishes a day. Not only am I saving gobs of money, but I also feel smart because I know fewer toxins are getting into my family. Try it, you won’t be disappointed. And let us know how it works for you by leaving a comment below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 10.48.33 AMApril is a frugal mama of four living in White Rock, NM with her husband Robert. She’s one of those, I-don’t-know-how-she-does-it Mamas. Not only is she the queen at saving money, she’s also an all-star crafter. She’s always coming up with great diy stuff. This is a woman to watch and I’m grateful she shared her dishwasher soap with us. Happy washing.

 

 

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Filed under Clean Living Tips, DIY Household Cleaners, Let's Save Money

Easy DIY Household Cleaners That Save You Money

Easy Do-It-Yourself Household Cleaners That Save You Money

DIY Cleaners

It’s hard enough to make dinner. Why on earth would you want to spend time making your own cleaning products, you ask? It’s a good question. Making your own anything (especially the first time) can seem daunting and like too much of a hassle. I hear you but I can tell you that it’s not only easier than you think but also incredibly worthwhile.

Benefits of DIY Cleaners…

  1. Money saving
  2. Fast and easy to make
  3. Peace of mind
  4. Essential oils actually boost your mood – making you happy while cleaning, imagine that.

Here’s what you need to know about commercial cleaners…

If you were to go to your cleaning cabinet right now and pull out a few of your regulars, you’re likely to find 3 things on the label: directions for use, vague ingredients, and hefty warnings.

Vague ingredients are common on commercial cleaning products because they are not required to be specific. Lack of disclosure makes it very hard for a consumer to decide whether the item is actually safe to bring home.

The warnings are pretty scary. Common ones include:  “harmful if swallowed” “wear gloves when handling this product” “can cause damage to skin and mucous membranes” “keep away from pets and children”.

The truth is that even though we’ve used these products our whole lives and probably watched our parents do the same, they contain dangerous chemicals that can be absorbed and breathed in by every member of the family with a whole slew of side effects that often are not felt immediately.

The good news is that we don’t have to endure such hardcore products to have a clean home because we can achieve the same results for less money.  Sounds good eh?

The alternative…

Using a few common household ingredients like baking soda and vinegar mixed with essential oils will yield the same clean results without the chemical aftermath. Essential oils like lemon, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, and thyme are antibacterial and antiviral. Now that’s harnessing the power of Mother Nature.

What you need to get started…

You will need the ingredients in the recipes you want to try plus something to put it in. I invested $10 and bought a variety of glass spray bottles and other glass containers. Aromatools.com is one resource you can use. The best bet is to use glass because the essential oils will eat at plastic incorporating the same toxins you’re trying to avoid.

You will also need some essential oils. Just like with everything, you get what you pay for with essential oils. There are a few high quality brands out there. My favorite is Doterra. I have friends who love Young Living Oils. Both of these brands can be bought through independent consultants.

The in-between step…

If making your own cleaners is a little too out there for you, there are still plenty of options that you can buy with safer ingredients. Be sure to visit www.EWG.org to see which ones are the safest.

Recipes…

All Purpose Cleaner

2 cups boiling water

2 Tbs white vinegar

½ tsp Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

1 tsp baking soda

5 drops lemon essential oil

Mix baking soda, water and soap together with essential oil in a container. Place container inside a bigger bowl and add vinegar. Mix and add to spray bottle.  

Floor Cleaner

1/8 cup Castile Soap

1/8 cup distilled vinegar

1 gallon water

10 drops essential oil (lemon, maleleuca, lavender)

Combine ingredients in bucket and use to mop any floor.  

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

½ cup baking soda

¼ cup white vinegar

10 drops melaleuca essential oil (tea tree)

Combine all ingredients in the bowl right before toilet wash. Add to toilet bowl. Brush. You’re done.

Glass Cleaner

2 cups water

3 Tbs vinegar

¼- ½ tsp liquid Castile Soap

3-4 drops of lemon essential oil

Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to blend.

Wood Cleaner

¼ cup vinegar

¼ water

½ tsp liquid Castille Soap

1/8 tsp olive oil

10 drops lemon/orange essential oil

Combine ingredients and use in a spray bottle. 

My hope is that you have fun with these recipes creating safe cleaning products. It could be a fun way to get the family involved. Please share your DIY cleaning experience. If you have a favorite DIY cleaning recipe not listed here, I’d love to hear that too.

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Why Cut the Crap? – True radiant health comes from a mixture of healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The cost of our fast-paced and convenient life is chemical toxins in and around us.  Ridding your home and family of chemical toxins that make you sick and drag you down doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In this series, you’ll learn the most efficient and easy ways to “cut the crap” so you can just enjoy your life.

 

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Filed under Cut the Crap Series - 10 Fast and Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Lifestyle, DIY Household Cleaners