Have Kids…Will Coupon!

How to clean a refrigerator

When was the last time you removed the contents of your refrigerator and gave it a deep clean? If you cannot remember you need this post…badly. Since my New Year’s Resolution to not stock up on too much fresh food (which we never finish) my refrigerator seems to empty out by Saturday (our usually shopping day). When the shelves get really bare, I take the opportunity to clear the entire shelf off and give it a quick cleaning but even when I do that regularly, strange, sticky, gooey, smelly puddles always seem to pop up over time and when that happens, it’s time to Spring Clean the refrigerator!

Cleaning the refrigerator

Step 1: Empty out the contents from the inside and on top of the refrigerator. Now is a great time to check expiration dates of condiments, cheeses and any other food items with a long shelf life. If you cannot find an expiration date, check our shelf life of foods post.

Step 2. Take out all removable shelving, refrigerator drawers and any parts that are heavily soiled and set aside.

Step 3. Spray down the interior of the refrigerator with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water and wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth or sponge. Sticky or stuck on messes can be removed by applying a paste of baking soda and vinegar with an old toothbrush.

To remove dried sticky spills like syrup or jelly, simply saturate a sponge with hot tap water and carefully place on sticky area (use tongs to spare your fingers) Leave for a minute or two and repeat until sticky area can be wiped clean.

Once you have cleaned all interior areas with your vinegar solution and baking soda paste, wipe down on last time with a microfiber cloth damp with plain water to remove any remaining residue. Don’t forget to clean and wipe down all the seals and crevices which tend to collect crumbs and debris.

Hand wash all removable shelving and items using dish soap and water and/or baking soda paste as seen above. Dry items thoroughly and put back in refrigerator.

Step 4. Wipe down the washable exterior areas with a cloth and your vinegar solution (don’t forget the dust and clean the top too!). If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, wipe away dirt and grime with plain water and a microfiber cloth (wipe along the grain of the steel) Once clean, apply a small amount of olive oil to your cloth and apply to stainless steel (once again, go along the grain). The oil will not only remove the fingerprints and smudges but will keep them away longer. Surface scratches will also become less visible. 

Step 5.  Uplug the refrigerator and clean the coils in both the back and bottom (see your appliance manual for specific details). Cleaning the refrigerator coils should be done at least once a year. Regular cleaning  is an important part of refrigerator maintenance and will help your appliance run more efficiently, which in  turn, saves energy and money!


You did it! Your refrigerator is clean and shiny once again and it is time to stuff it back up with all that delicious food but before you do, make sure you keep these tips in mind


I didn’t sign up for all this mess!

This year marks the end of my oldest son’s first year of elementary school and it was certainly an interesting one. There were lots of special moments: the first book he read to me, the first sentence he wrote about me and the times he could not wait to see me at the bus stop so he can tell me about how many spots a lady bug had (there are different species around the US you know…)

My younger son, had his first year of pre-k and had a similar year of firsts. As a work at home mom, I have the pleasure of experiencing all of these special moments as they happen and I could not be happier.

This year was filled with similar firsts that were not so special. The first time my oldest came home with a new term for his little brother AKA “Poopy head”, a new, not-so-pleasant attitude when he had a rough day in kindergarten (is this even possible?) and my favorite…new childhood illness!!

This year was by far, the sickliest year we have had in the six years I have been a parent. There was the flu,stomach flu/virus,  ear infections, sinus infections, viral rashes, strep throat, fifth’s disease and a non-stop flow of mucus in our home. One of the kiddies would bring it home from school and it would cycle through every member of our family but before officially leaving, it would invite a new friend over to infect us with something else.

I wish I was kidding but I am not!

Every illness was a little bit different with it’s own special trademark: fever, boogies, rash. One thing always was a constant: diarrhea. This was such a common occurrence  in our home that I had to nickname a particular outcome of this constant occurrence, Squirtle. Let me give you the “official” definition: Squirtle is the remnants on the bottom of the toilet seat after your children catch the stomach virus running rampant around school.

Because of this constant “Squirtle”  I found myself having to clean the toilet before I even considered using the toilet. If you didn’t, you never knew exactly what you might end up sitting in. On the plus side, my toilet was sparkling, on the negative side, it never stayed that way for long.

Do you have a few of your own terms reflecting your own “ick moment? Share them on www.icktionary.com play some games and see how you can win coupons while supplies last.

Here’s to a healthy summer!!!


Food shelf life: Is it still good?

My husband and I have very different “rules” on what is still good and what needs to be tossed. He goes by what I call “caveman rules” If it’s not black or green and doesn’t smell funny, it’s good to go! I, however, tend to adhere to a different set of standards based on the expiration date of food  and basic shelf life of foods.

 You can find many websites with an extensive listing of food shelf life, here is a list of basic food storage guidelines.
Milk: five days after opening
Eggs: about three weeks, unless the use-by date is earlier.
Hard-boiled eggs: seven days
Hard cheeses: Tightly wrapped hard cheeses can keep up to three weeks.
Fresh fish: Cook same day of purchase
Raw Meat (unopened): three to five days (or use by package date)
Raw Chicken (unopened): One to two days (or use by package date)
Deli meats: Tightly sealed deli meats stay good about three to five days.
Leftovers: Eat within three days. If you’re not sure, toss it out

Most vegetables: one week
Fruit: Varies

Condiments keep for about two months or see expiration date.

Ever wonder what those date stamps on food actually mean?

Pack Date refers to when a product was packaged and not necessarily an indicator of freshness.
Sell-by Date: is the last day a retailer sell product. The food should remain safe to eat for as many as 10 days afterward if refrigerated properly.
Use-by Date: A food is safe to eat until this date. Keep in mind that improper storage at home or the store is not considered so if it has a foul odor, toss it.
Best-if-used-by Date: This is the most reliable one to follow, because it takes possible mishandling into account.


Financial Stresses of a Baby

Preparing to give birth was a fantastic experience for me. I am a regular nerd when it comes to organization and preparation. I read so many blogs and books to help understand what having a baby would entail. I planned as much as I could: financially, physically, emotionally… I knew that I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mommy. That means, less income at our house. Having to solely rely on my husband’s income, I focused on financial preparedness. I shopped around for the best diaper prices and started stocking up ahead of time. I was worried about all the necessary costs of adding a little one to our family.

Getting ready for one child was stress enough and I often thought what if I was carrying multiples? I’d have the weight of buying twice as many diapers-yikes! Parents of multiples must be very stressed! Fortunately, there are programs available to parents of multiples to help out. One in particular is the Multiple Birth Program by Little Me. They understand that having multiples is stressful (especially financially) to new parents.

Little Me knows that, expecting a multiple birth is a wonderful and stressful time in your life. The Little Me Multiple Birth Program is a way they’d like to help you keep your attention on the double (triple, quadruple or more) sweet giggles & coos soon on their way. Little Me is offering you a “Welcome to the World” gift after your children’s births. To receive your free gift, all you have to do is register. They know that you’ve already got enough on your plates so they want you to receive your gift as easily as possible!


Four Ways To Save Money On Makeup

Most women apply make-up to their faces every morning in order to get a more mature look that enhances their best features.  Eye shadow makeup, mascara, lipstick, and eyeliner are just a few examples of products that women use to turn their features into eye-catching works of art.  As with many products, it’s typically true with makeup that you get what you pay for.  Cheap drugstore brands can be damaging to your skin and may rub off halfway through the day.  But the higher priced brands can be extremely out of reach for the everyday woman.  With the following four tips, you can look great with high quality cosmetic products that increase your confidence and protect your skin.

Wait For A Bonus Gift
Many higher end cosmetic companies will offer a bonus gift throughout the year when you purchase a certain amount of their products.  If possible, wait to buy your necessities when these gifts are being given.  Gifts typically come with a small sample of lipstick, lotion, eye shadow, and several other products that the maker is hoping to promote.  When you purchase your cosmetics during gift time, you get the product you needed plus a whole new supply of several new kinds of makeup that you haven’t even tried.  You may quickly discover a love for a new product, and be able to purchase a full size bottle in order to get your next free gift.

Reuse Your Empty Packaging
Other higher end cosmetic companies will take back your empty containers and give you a product for free.  For example, if you save seven empty containers of products from one major retailer, you are then given a free lipstick.  This is a great way to get free products and reuse the materials that were used to make your original product.

Sign Up For Promotional Codes
Almost every major company offers email updates and coupon codes if you sign up to receive their emails.  For the cosmetic companies that you use the most, sign up to receive emails and make sure to save the coupon codes.  If you notice a special for something that you use, purchase it while it is on sale rather than waiting until you absolutely must have it.  If you pay close attention to what is on promotion, you can stock up on your supplies before they get low and always have a backup plan.  This also allows you to buy your products when you have the money, and not when you run out.

Collect Samples
Everywhere you turn someone is trying to give you a sample of something, and makeup is no different.  Every magazine offers several samples of perfume, and many cosmetic companies will also offer samples of their products in magazines or in the mail.  Sign up to receive these promotional pieces, and hold onto any samples you come across.  Even if you don’t like the product right now, you may find that you are willing to try it in the future.  Create a backup stash that can sustain you when you run out of products.

Going without makeup products simply isn’t an option for most women.  The finished look and confidence that cosmetics can bring you shouldn’t be sacrificed because you are running low on cash.  With these tips, you can use high quality makeup brands and not break the bank at the same time.


Is North Carolina the place to be?

I recently had a dear friend move from around the corner all the way back to her home state of North Carolina. I was so sad to see her go but she tried to help me feel better about it by telling me  that I always had a vacation spot with free lodging (FREE? I like FREE!). I always thought that the only reason I would want to go to NC would be for just a visit to see my friend but the last 11 months of Facebook posts and pictures have definitely changed how I see this state.

Until she moved, I did not know about all the Golf Clubs in North Carolina. She is surrounded by them! Now my husband and I are not big golfers but these clubs offer amenities that we are into like swimming, shopping, dining and just plain beauty! Since my boys are getting bigger they want to play outside more and it would be pretty nice to actually be outside for more than a few minutes in the wintertime. My friend might be on to something!

I hope to get out to my friend this summer and see what this state is all about. Maybe she can turn this NY girl into an NC girl…ya’ll!

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