How to Naturally Clean Your Coffee Pot

 

Here at Glynne’s Soaps we love coffee.  Especially Gayle!

We love coffee so much we’ve even made it into a soap (but that’s another story).

We have this great coffeemaker which grinds the beans just before brewing the coffee! It makes the best coffee and the smell of the freshly ground coffee is delightful! Gayle drinks almost  an entire pot of coffee by herself every morning (Jenn usually limits herself to only one cup) and some mornings we actually make a second pot.  It’s not uncommon for us to make a pot in the evening as well.

Needless to say, our coffee pot gets a workout.

Our coffee pot gets a wash every day. We take out all the moving parts (baskets, pot, grinding area) and give them a clean and at the very least a rinse. However, eventually the coffee begins to taste bitter.

To keep the coffee tasting fresh and not bitter, it’s important to clean out the innards of the pot every so often.

This can be done very simply with just water and vinegar.

The best way to do this is to follow these steps:

  1. Make a mixture that is half water and half vinegar.
  2. Put a filter in your coffee maker, as usual.
  3. Pour the vinegar/water mix where you would normally add the water.
  4. Turn the coffee pot on and let it run.
  5. Throw out the filter and rinse the pot.  You should let your coffee pot cool for about 15 minutes before filling with cold water.  Otherwise, the glass may crack.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 using water only.
  7. Run the cycle with fresh water a second time.

Your coffee pot should now be nice and clean.  It’s probably good to repeat this process every few months or so.

Here is a comparison of the water/vinegar mix after it ran through the coffee pot, and then the second rinse water after it’s cycle.  There is a huge difference in the color of the water.

Water - Vinegar mix

After second rinse

I think you will be pleased with the result.  And the best part?  It’s all natural, no chemicals or other crazy cleaners are used.

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How To Tuesday – Get off the Naughty List

Each year there are many important days - birthdays  anniversaries, holidays and well, just days we like to remember. In my opinion none is more important than today! Because today is Santa’s List Day! If you’re like me and always tottering on the edge of naughty and nice :) This post is for you!

Today as the BIG GUY works out who has been nice this year, and who will just be getting a big lump of coal in their stocking we have suggestions that could just tip the balance for you.

There are probably an unlimited number of places where you can donate some time or money this season and help those in need.  Here are just a few places where you can bring good cheer to people who don’t have a lot this Christmas. Remember, it’s easy to think about giving and volunteering around Christmas, but most opportunities are also available all year long.

Donate to a local food bank.  Food banks are always in need of food to give out, no matter what time of year.  Around the holiday season, however, they are especially busy.  At FeedingAmerica.org you can find a local food bank that is accepting donations and give the gift of food to the hungry.

Give to an animal rescue group.  Although the holidays are not a good time to adopt a new pet, there are many ways you can help out local shelters and rescue groups.  Many groups are in need of food, blankets or even volunteers to give some snuggles to the animals.  You can find a local animal rescue group here, or you can help out our favorite – Dalmatian Rescue of South West Virginia.

Send a Christmas Card to a service member.  The Red Cross program “Holiday Mail for Heros” will allow you to send holiday cards to not only injured service men and women, but also troops stationed all over the world, veterans and their families.  If you would like to send cards through this program, don’t delay – the deadline is December 7th.

Give a toy to a needy child.  The Toys for Tots program, sponsored by the Marines, is a great program where you can donate toys to children who would otherwise not have anything for Christmas.  Their website allows you to search for a local drop off site or donate money online so they can purchase toys.

I am sure that there are many other volunteer opportunities you can participate in.  Check with your local churches or on VolunteerMatch.org for local groups that need assistance.

Gayle and I feel so very blessed that so many of our friends and family are already wonderful volunteers not just around the holidays but all year long! So, leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite charity.  And we want to just say thank you for EVERYTHING you do! You’re already on the nice list in our book!

 

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How To Tuesday: Fight a Cold the Natural Way

We all know that not wearing a hat in cold weather or going outside with wet hair do not cause colds, however there are things you can do that will decrease your immune systems ability to fight off cold germs.  And right now, after a busy weekend with little sleep, Gayle’s immune system needs some help.  So, while Gayle’s fighting her cold we thought we’d share some cold remedies with you.

  1. SLEEP – This doesn’t mean lay on the couch and watch TV or play with your phone / iPad or computer. Sleep, as in close your eyes and snore! Your body can heal itself, but you must allow it to do just that and sleep is just what the doctor ordered.
  2. DRINK – sorry to break the bad news, but drink water. Your body really needs to flush out the toxins, break down the mucus and those sugary sodas and juices aren’t gonna do a daggon thing to help. So have a few if you must but chug-a-lug some water!
  3. Combat cold symptoms with eucalyptus

    Get Steamy – A hot and steamy bath will help to open and clear congestion.  You can place a few drops of eucalyptus oil into your bath or you can also use Glynne’s Bath Soak in either the Aussie Rainforest (Eucalyptus) or Rejuvenation (Eucalyptus and Peppermint) varieties.

  4. Neti Pot –  It’s most useful to use it before you are majorly clogged up. As a preventative measure, it can be used daily.  It cleans those pipes out! But the salt water can be drying in cold weather, so follow up with a bit of sesame oil or tea tree essential oil in each nostril. Gayle loves her neti pot and swears by it!
  5. Lavender and Tea Tree oils also have antibacterial properties, and Tea Tree oil will help heal dry nasal passages.  You can mix a few drops of each of these oils (add some eucalyptus as well) with a carrier oil such as olive oil or shea butter and use it as a chest rub.
  6. Enjoy some Ginger Tea – Combine a piece of ginger root with water in a pot. Boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Add a touch of raw local honey or lemon and drink.
  7. Eat Chicken Soup – Turns out Grandma was right chicken soup is good for helping to fight colds. So enjoy some delicious chicken soup (it’s best if someone who loves you makes it for you – DON’T discount the TLC factor <grin>)
  8. Avoid Dairy - Dairy creates excess mucus in the body. So don’t drink milk or eat cheese right now.
  9. Wash Your Hands – nothing prevents the spread of germs like hand washing. You should be doing it often anyway, but do it MORE when you’re fighting a cold or have a cold.
  10. Drink some more and sleep some more!

Start these therapies at the first sign of a cold.  You can decrease the severity of your cold and also alleviate the symptoms.

 

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How To Tuesday: Keep Your Water Bottle Clean

Both Gayle and I are in training.  Gayle is going to walk the Disney Marathon on the day after her 50th birthday and I am racing in a Half Ironman distance triathlon in October.  As part of the training, and just for good health, we are both drinking more water than usual.  Because we try to reduce, reuse and recycle when ever possible, we didn’t like using the disposable water bottles and throwing out (well, recycling) 4 or more every day.

Our Water Bottles

So, we pulled out our nice stainless steel water bottles and realized they needed some TLC, which included a good cleaning.  We even got out the boys’ bottle so they could join the fun!

A few years ago, we discovered the best and safest way to clean out water bottles.  It’s so easy, once you read it you will be saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Fill your bottle with water and add one denture cleaning tablet.  Let sit overnight (or for a few hours), rinse and your bottle is clean and ready to use!

The denture cleaner is, obviously, safe to put in your mouth; there is no danger like if you had used bleach or some other toxic cleaner.  And, it’s quick and easy,  We have been amazed at how well it gets rid of the funk inside a water bottle, either metal or plastic.  It works for both.

So, save yourself some money and keep those disposable water bottles out of the landfills.   Get a reusable water bottle and keep it clean the easy way.

As a side note, I just heard this stat – “By replacing one sugary drink a day with a bottle of water, you can save over 50,000 calories a year.”  That’s a lot of calories, and one more reason to get those water bottles out!

 

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How To Tuesday – Dry Clothes Outside

Gayle and I have decided to try an experiment this spring.  Instead of drying clothes in the dryer, we are using solar energy and hanging our clothes on the line outside.  I’m keeping an eye on the energy bill, just to see if it makes a difference. Electric dryers are one of the biggest energy users in your home, accounting for a full 12% of your total energy use.

Drying clothes outside has benefits besides saving money.  It’s much easier on your clothes.  By not tumbling them together, you can save wear and tear on the fabric.  Your favorite shirt will last longer. Your clothes also get a fresh scent without any harsh perfumes or chemicals.

There are a few down sides to drying outside.  I have noticed that I have to plan my laundry more.  I can’t wash a load in the evening or even late afternoon.  The clothes are frequently stiff from hanging outside, but that is easily fixed with a quick tumble in the dryer (set on low heat) before I fold and put them away.

So far, I am very happy with our line drying experiment. I will let you know the results of the energy savings in a few weeks.

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How To Tuesday – Save Money With Coupons

 

There has been a large movement lately toward “extreme couponing”.  I don’t know if you’ve seen the TV show or read anything about this phenomenon, but sometimes these people seem crazy.  I’m still not sure why they need 500 tubes of toothpaste, unless they plan on donating them to people in need.

You don’t have to be this extreme when using coupons.  I try to use them whenever possible, to get foods and other things we need at a great discount.  You can save money with coupons, without having them take over your life.  Here are a few simple ideas to help you get started.

  • Only clip coupons for things you know you will use.  Don’t waste time on coupons that might be a good deal, but are for a food you won’t eat that will just go bad.  It’s a waste of money
  • Look at the manufacturers website for coupons.  The complaint of many people is that most of the coupons in the paper are for sugary foods and discounts on healthy foods are hard to find.  If you take a few minutes to look on websites for foods you are interested in you can often find coupons.  Also, if you take a few minutes to send an e-mail to the company they will send you coupons in the mail.  It just takes a few minutes of searching.
  • Know the coupon policy of the store you shop at.  Some stores will double coupons and others only let you use a certain number of coupons each day.  If you know what the policy is before you go in, you can save time and frustration.
  • Use the store’s ad to plan your menu and shopping trip.  If you know what you want before you go to the store, you will be less likely to make impulse purchases that waste money.  Also, with a plan you can search for and match coupons with things that are on sale, saving even more money.
  • Stockpile – just don’t go crazy.  It really is a good feeling when Gayle says “I am almost out of toothpaste” and I can open the cabinet door and pull out a tube of toothpaste.  Or, we run out of Texas Pete while cooking and there is another in the pantry. (both of these are real life examples, by the way)  If you find an item on sale that you also have a coupon for, or you see that your store is offering extra savings in the form of triple coupons, you might want to buy a few items to keep stored for use later.  If they are things you know you will use and that won’t go bad, you will save money in the long run buy purchasing more when they are on sale.  And you will just feel good when you are able to get what you need from the pantry without having to make a trip to the store.

One of my shopping trips - I saved 47%

By taking just a few minutes before you head to the store, you can save some money and have great meals.

For another way to save some money, here is a coupon you can use right now on our website for 15% off your purchase.  Just enter coupon code SAVINGS  before June 15th, to get your discount.

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How To Tuesday – Support a Green Economy

Today is World Environment Day – the day designated to encourage people to adopt new habits and actions that will help reduce their impact on the environment.  The theme for 2012 is “Green Economy”

Supporting a Green Economy means using your dollars to support environmentally sustainable companies and actions.  A green economy is also rooted in local companies because they are the solution to creating a strong economic foundation.  Local companies are also more likely to be environmentally friendly.

Here are some things you can do right now to give your support to a Green Economy.

  • Support local green businesses – moving money away from big business and toward local green companies is one way to help not only the economy, but also the environment.
  • Reduce and reuse – by shifting focus from consumerism and throwaway purchases, we can move toward a more sustainable way of life.  This includes things like sharing clothes, making gifts and growing your own vegetables.
  • Build Community – get to know your neighbors.  A strong community can lead to things like neighbors helping neighbors to fix a fence, mend a sweater, start a community garden, swap clothing or other goods, saving everyone time and money.
  • Activism – write letters to your local, state and national politicians letting them know how important environmental issues are to you.  But don’t stop there, you can also write to companies that you do business with.  If you own stock in a company, you have the right and also the responsibility to write to management and tell them to do business in a more environmentally friendly way.

Commit yourself today to doing something in support of the environment and a green economy.

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How To Tuesday – Keep Your Ideas Organized with Pinterest

 

Did you ever cut pictures out of a magazine and paste them to a poster board for inspiration?  Or file them away as ideas you’d like to use later?  Do you remember what happened to that folder?  I remember having many of them….food ideas, craft ideas, decorating ideas, all sorts of ideas.  And I kept them filed away in a drawer, rarely if ever looked at them and finally threw them away. Sometimes I remember, vaguely, something I had cut out and wish I could put my hands on it.  But they are long gone.

Well, never fear, now there is a way to save all those great ideas without taking up space in a drawer.  And they can be organized easily too.  This online tool for storing all those things you’d love to do is called Pinterest.  You’ve probably heard of it.  It’s now the third largest social media site on the internet.  If you don’t yet have an account, or you have one and aren’t quite sure what to do with it, here are a few tips.

If you don’t have an account, you need an invitation to get one.  Just leave a comment on this post and we will send you an invitation.  Once you are signed up, you can create your profile; add a picture and other “about you” information.  Then you can start pinning.

Your categories are called boards, and you can create as many as you want. Some popular categories include “recipes”, “Places to go”, “wedding ideas”, and “fun stuff”.  Once you create your categories, you can add pictures of things you find interesting that fit in those categories.  There are different ways to “pin” pictures to your boards.  The easiest is probably to add the “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar.  The instructions to do that can be found here.  You can also download pictures to your computer and then upload them to Pinterest.  That works best for pictures that you didn’t find online.

You can then follow other users whose ideas you like.  You can follow everything they pin, or just certain boards that interest you.  And Pinterest is like other social media sites where conversation is key.   If you like something, leave a comment or repin the picture to your board.

It’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.  You will be amazed at the great things you find.  And they are tremendously easy to retrieve when you need them.  You can check out our Pinterest page here.  Make sure to follow us!

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How To Tuesday: Make Your Own Fabric Softener

A few weeks ago, “How To Tuesday” was all about making your own laundry soap, I thought today could be a follow up to that with one way to make your own fabric softener.   We normally don’t use anything, but mostly because of the overly perfume smell and the not so friendly chemicals.

So, when researching how to make all natural fabric softener, I discovered two things.

  1. People don’t really know what all natural means.  I found a plethora of instructions on how to use the least expensive hair conditioner in the store for your laundry.  And yes, this is frugal, but it’s not natural.  The conditioner for your hair can contain just as many harsh chemicals as fabric softener.
  2. Sometimes the answer you are looking for is what you would have least expected.

So, what is this all natural remedy for softer clothes?  Vinegar!  I know, your first thought is the same as mine and as Gayle’s.  ”I do NOT want to smell like a bag of Salt & Vinegar potato chips all day!”  But, if you don’t use too much, the vinegar smell will not survive the rinse cycle. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for an added scent.  (Stay away from citrus oils as they can stain clothes)

Here is the magic formula -

Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup vinegar (use white vinegar because balsamic or apple cider could stain your clothes) to the fabric softener dispenser.  If you want, you can add 1-2 drops of essential oil at the same time.

I have noticed a difference sine I’ve started using vinegar in the laundry.  The clothes are softer and the static cling is much less.  And I have not noticed any vinegar smell.  Give it a try, then leave us a comment on how it worked for you.

 

 

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How To Tuesday – Make a Great Dinner on a Busy Evening

I don’t know about you, but frequently we are busy all day and evening and finding the time to cook a good dinner is all but impossible.  Many evenings we have been saved from eating out or eating junk by using the crock pot.  A few minutes in the afternoon (or morning) and dinner is ready and waiting.  You can reduce the time it takes even more by getting all the ingredients together ahead of time and freezing them.  Then on the day you need it, just take out of the freezer, place in the crock pot and Voila!  Dinner will be ready with just a minimum of stress.

One recipe that we enjoy is “Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings”.  It’s very easy, and can be made ahead of time.  Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1/2 onion diced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 cup milk
1 can Grands Jr. flaky refrigerator biscuits

Directions:
Place chicken in crock pot
Add butter, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and onion
Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours.
Remove chicken and break into pieces with a fork, return to crock pot
Put cornstarch in a bowl and mix with milk, add to crock pot and stir well
Cut each biscuit into fourths and place in pot
Cook an additional 30 minutes

You could add other ingredients if you wanted.  Peas, mushrooms, corn or anything else that you think sounds good.  And this dish can easily be made ahead and frozen.  Just put the chicken, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, butter and onion in a freezer bag and write the directions on the outside (that way you don’t need to look for them on the day you  are ready to cook).

So, with just a small amount of work, you can have a good healthy dinner, even on your busiest day.

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