Home Maintenance: Cleaning your Vacuum

IMG_6712.jpgI know, I know. It’s hilarious to think that you should clean an appliance that is designed to clean, but really, if you think about it, if a vacuum cleaner is clogged with dirt and hair it can’t do its job.

And that sucks (see what I did there?).

After reading the manual that came with our vacuum, I set to work.

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Freshly Cleaned

First, I took the canister off, dumped it in the trash, removed the filter, and washed them both. I used the blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. For the canister, I used a brush like this.

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Strings, hair, and a PIPE CLEANER???

Then I removed the brush housing assembly, removed the soleplate, and clipped the hair and thread off the beater bar (that’s the thing that goes round and round and has little brushes on it). Once the beater bar was clean, I washed the soleplate and brush housing assembly.

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Before being cleaned, but after being de-fuzzed.

I used a smaller brush like this, and also a straw cleaning brush to get into the tiny nooks and crankies. I think for next time I’ll be ordering a set like this:

It’s got all the size brushes you’ll need to clean out vacuum cleaner’s various parts. 

After everything was clean (it took about an hour, that included interruptions from the kids who needed snacks, cartoons, etc. And of course, the cat was starving and needed food RIGHT.NOW), I set them out on the patio bench on an old worn out towel that I use for cleaning. IMG_6706.jpg

The next day everything was bone dry and I re-assembled the vacuum cleaner and took it for a test drive. It was like using a brand new vacuum!

I clean my vacuum about once every six months. It helps keep it in good running order, which means it will last longer. Our previous Dyson lasted us 11 years, and I’d love for this one to last at least 11 years!

If you want to try it, I recommend that you check the owners manual for tips and instructions!

10 Hair-Saving Tips for Summer!

It’s still summer here in San Diego for a few more months (does it really ever ends??), and I thought this post from Cheryl Locke at Madison Reed is perfect for those of us who may be spending more time outside, in the water, or just having fun adventures and want to keep our locks looking luxurious.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may be compensated (it’s a super small amount!) if you make a purchase after clicking through the links. You can read my Disclosure policy here.
Bright and warm days are ahead. Like our favorite season, summer hair should be effortless in theory. In actuality, you’re battling major beauty bummers like frizz, brassiness, dullness, and sunburn.

How to deal? We’ve rounded up the best defenses–some as simple as just adding water. The sun’s out and fun’s in. Here’s how to beat the heat beautifully.
Madison Reed - Salon Quality At Home Hair Color

  1. Wet hair. It’s simple and effective. Before taking a dip in the pool, drench hair in fresh water. Like a sponge, your strands will soak up water, preventing chlorine and chemicals from penetrating cuticles.
  2. Lock in moisture. Before you take a swim, work in a hair oil; it seals hair from chlorine and the drying effects of the sun. Plus, oil provides a bit of weight to prevent flyaways and frizzing.
  3. Wear a cap. We’re confident you can pull off this look. If you take frequent dips, you’ll want to embrace a hair cap’s retro charm. The additional barrier does wonders on keeping chlorine out.
  4. Rinse off immediately. After pool-time, prevent chemical build-up (and green hair) with a quick rinse. Brownie points if you use a clarifying shampoo followed by an extra-emollient conditioner to bring hair back to its original shine and bounce.
  5. Deep condition. A shea-butter-rich treatment is your best anti-frizz secret. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention. It keeps hair more manageable and less tangled even in salty-windy beach conditions.
  6. Use an SPF. Most of us dutifully slather sunblock all over our face and body, but we often forget our hair and scalp. Don’t make that newbie blunder. UV rays not only fade hair color, they also dry out hair, cause split ends, and weaken hair’s elasticity. Spritz on a liquid SPF (or DIY by combining 2 teaspoons of SPF lotion with one cup of water). For additional protection, summerize products with UV-fortified formulas. Psst: Madison Reed’s shampoo and conditioner come with UV-shielding lupine flower.
  7. Keep hats on. A floppy brim is not just the it-accessory of the season, it offers protection against the color-fading effects of sun.
  8. Skip the blow dryer. For natural curls and waves, just go with it. Work with, not against curls; straight styles that require flat irons and blow-drying will fry ends, deplete moisture, and end up giving you more pouf than sleekness.
  9. Pull it back. Your best line of defense against the pouf is often a sleek bun or topknot.
  10. Don’t touch your hair. Except for occasional flirty hair flips, excessive handling of your hair only causes frizz.

Post courtesy of Cheryl Locke for Madison Reed.

Madison ReedMadison Reed offers salon-quality, handcrafted hair color delivered to your door on your schedule! Clear instructions, all the extras you may need and fabulous results really set Madison Reed apart from other home hair color options! I love the conditioner– smells great and keeps my hair super soft and shiny!

What I love is that you start with a Hair Profile (kinda like a quiz) and it helps you find a color that you’ll love.

August: New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

Check out the following sites:

One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

Here are a few of my favorite new coupons:

Save $2.00 TWO (2) BOOST® Nutritional Drink or Drink Mix

Save $0.75 on ONE (1) 32 fl. oz. Simply Smoothie™, any variety

Save $0.75 on ONE (1) Monk Fruit In The Raw® 40 Count Box or 4.8oz Bakers Bag

Save $1.00 when you buy ONE any flavor EPIC™ meat bar OR Rise & Grind™ bar

Save $2.00 on ONE (1) pint of So Delicious Dairy Free™ Frozen Mousse

Save $3.00 on any ONE (1) Rimmel Eye Product

Recipe: Pesto Chicken Bake

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That’s Basil, the key ingredient in Pesto

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a couple weeks, but with summer vacation and the kids needing to see me, talk to me, touch me every.moment.of.the.day….. I’ve been a little behind.

This is so easy, so tasty, and so cheesy. And it works with almost every dietary restriction:

If you are vegetarian but omit the chicken.

If you are Gluten-free, substitute GF pasta for what’s the recipe.

If you are vegan, use your favorite vegan “cheese”. And remember to check the pesto- sometimes commercially made pesto contains cheese!

Pesto Chicken Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Pesto (I Like Costco’s Pesto) If you want to make it yourself, I like this recipe.
  • 1 Box Farfalle Pasta. I like Banza– It’s made with chickpea flour and is high in protein.
  • 1 T. Butter or Olive Oil
  • 2 C. chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces. You can also use rotisserie chicken.
  • 2 c. cheese, divided- I like Italian Blend

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking dish with spray release and set aside.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions, drain pasta and toss with butter/oil.
  4. Mix Pesto, pasta, cooked chicken and 1 cup of cheese together.
  5. Pour mixture into baking dish.
  6. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and browned (approximately 20 minutes).
  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving with crusty bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8 as a main dish or 8-10 as a side. This is a great dish for potlucks!

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Yum! 

7/22/19 Meal Plan Monday!

stemarie_1650skitchen

Summer School is over, so we are enjoying our first “real” week of summer break! Besides our usual weekly appointments, we’ll be checking out the zoo, and the local library has some fun events coming up that we’re checking out!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and playtime before or after lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Breakfast for dinner: Bagels with cream cheese, fruit salad, scrambled eggs with cheese
  • Tuesday:  Leftover Night- I’ve got leftovers of the Orange Chicken I made last night. It was a meal kit from my recent visit to Dream Dinners.
  • Wednesday:  Mexican Cesar Salad with chicken (I’m planing a trip to Costco and I’ll be grabbing a rotisserie chicken)
  • Thursday:  Black Bean Soup and Quesadillas
  • Friday:  Date Night- I’m going to the PMJ Concert with a friend- We’ll stop for tacos after the show.
  • Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night (I have leftover dough in the freezer from last week)
  • Sunday: Bolognese Sauce with Zoodles. I planned on making the sauce last week, but never got around to it.

I also plan on doing some batch cooking this week to get some crockpot meals in the freezer.

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?

7/16/19 Weekly Meal Plan

stemarie_1650skitchen

This didn’t get published yesterday- it was so hot, and we just sort of laid around and sweated. Because of the crazy heat this week, we’ll be doing a lot of quick, easy stuff that doesn’t require too much of the stove or oven.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and playtime before or after lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Leftovers for the kids, cereal for the grown-ups
  • Tuesday: breakfast for dinner (I might get motivated to make waffles), watermelon
  • Wednesday:  Frozen Entrees and fruit salad
  • Thursday: Grilled Cheese (with fancy cheese, not American Slices), coleslaw, watermlon
  • Friday:  Date Night
  • Saturday: Spaghetti with homemade bolognese sauce.
  • Sunday: Leftovers

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?

7/8/19 Meal Plan Monday

stemarie_1650skitchen

This week I’m super busy- appointments, deadlines, and events for the kids. So I’m planning meals that are quick and easy. Also, it’s going to get increasingly hot this week, so easy to do meals that don’t involve using the oven.  Today I’m baking bacon (my secret to crispy splatter-free bacon) for meals throughout the week, and cinnamon rolls for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and playtime before or after lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Breakfast for dinner (fruit salad, cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, bacon)
  • Tuesday: Crockpot vegetarian chili (recipe coming up with week)
  • Wednesday:  Pesto Chicken bake (but I’m making it in the crockpot- recipe coming up this week)
  • Thursday: Ramen night (I found a big package of this ramen in the back of the cupboard)
  • Friday:  Date Night
  • Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night (I’ll be making the dough earlier in the week and freezing it, so there is less work on Saturday)
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?