Oh-So-Easy Fridge Mats (DIY)

Wow!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  This April marked my blog’s first anniversary.  Thanks to all of you reading my rants and raves on the One Whimsy Housewife blog!!

I have a rave for you today.  Pinterest has once again given me a winner.  (There have been quite a few duds that I’ve tried, too.)

Have you seen these fun things called fridge coasters?  They are so cute and really practical.  Fridge Coasters are mats that line the shelves in your fridge.  So, when you have a spill, instead of cleaning the entire fridge, just remove the coaster and wash it.  Genius!

But…they are not permanent.  They are a cardboard-like material that soaks up the spill, but can only be washed a few times then you throw them away.  A consumable product…great for Fridge Coaster…but not great for me and my wallet.

I found this simple and inexpensive idea from It’s An Organized Chaos blog.  She takes flexible plastic placemats and cuts them to size, then lines her fridge shelves with them.  How easy is that?!

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning, and cleaning the fridge was my weekend project this past Sunday.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.  It’s about all I can manage with a full-time job and an almost 3-year-old.

Fridge Before Here is the lovely before picture of my refrigerator.  Sorry, but this is after I cleaned it.  I’m not quite brave enough to share my family’s messiness with you just yet…  It does make me realize that I need to do some serious grocery shopping.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon some of these plastic placemats at Target.  Originally they were about $2.50 each, not bad.  But they were on sale for $1.88!  Even better!  They only had a couple in each color, but that was okay with me.  I only have four shelves, but I bought 5 placemats, just in case I messed one up.


I took a tape measure and measured the shelves.  Cut the placemats to size (lengthwise) with a pair of scissors. Then placed them on the shelves.  They don’t fit perfectly.  There is still a half-inch or so of glass showing at the back of the shelf, but I’m okay with that.

Fridge After 1 Fridge After 2

I love how it adds some whimsy to my fridge.

Maybe it will inspire me to keep it clean!

One thing that I’m not thrilled about is that it makes the lower shelves pretty dark.  The light doesn’t filter through the plastic very well.  Since this was so cheap and simple, I don’t feel bad about trying other colors and options!

Cost breakdown – 5 placemats at $1.88 each= $9.40!

Like my Facebook page and share your weekend projects with me!


Little Ills Need a Little Nurse

About every 3 months or so, I can usually guarantee that my son will get some sort of upper respiratory yuckiness.  It usually begins with a runny nose, then progresses to an ear infection, then follow that up with a cough that seems to last forever.

He has terrible nasal allergies, but we have been fortunate to find a Rx nasal spray that has relieved most of those symptoms.  But a week or so ago, the nasal drip started and it wouldn’t go away.  A trip to the doctor was our next step once the cough started.  We found out he had an ear infection. So, they sent us home with an antibiotic to battle the ear infection.  But since he is only 2, he cannot have any cough medicine…sigh.

That night was absolutely terrible!  He didn’t sleep hardly at all, because of the coughing fits.  We, as parents, feel so helpless when our little ones aren’t feeling well.

I did some research the next day about how to help a little ones cough.  I kept coming across this little tip about putting menthol rub on the bottom of your feet.  There is absolutely no shred of research to back up that this works, but if you’re a parent, you will try anything to help your children feel better.  So, being the whimsy woman who I am, I decided to give it a try.

That evening I broke out my cold fighting arsenal: saline spray for his nose, the infamous blue booger sucker, the humidifier, and the Mentholatum in the green jar.

We did our typical routine–bath, books and songs.  Then I began the cold remedies…

  • I plugged in the Vicks humidifier with the Vicks Vapo Steam added to the water.
  • Saline and suctioned his little nose.
  • Gently massaged his little chest with the Mentholatum rub
  • Finally, I slathered the bottom of his feet with the Mentholatum Rub.  Then put a pair of socks on him.

After he was asleep, he coughed for about 5-10 minutes.  Then….silence.  Ahhhh, sweet silence!

Around 3 in the morning, I heard him cough again.  I went in to check on him.  He had taken off one of his socks.  I put more of the Mentholatum on that foot and put the sock back on.  No more coughing the rest of the night!!

Now, I don’t know if it was the foot trick, or the humidifier, or a combination of everything, but all I know is something helped him sleep better.  He was a much happier kid the next day, and that’s good enough for this momma!

Usually his coughs will last about a week before getting better.  But after using this routine for 3 nights, the cough was gone!  That’s proof enough for me.  I am keeping this in my medicine cabinet and will have to try it on the next cold that darkens our door.

An added bonus with the Mentholatum Rub is that you can use it on mosquito bites!  It’s suppose to reduce the swelling and take away the itchiness.  Plus, it soothes minor skin irritations like sunburns, scrapes and scratches.  You can also use it for muscle aches.  Who knew?!  I wonder what other “miracle” products I have in my cabinet?

Vicks Vapo Rub & Mentholatum both recommend using their products on people ages 2 and up.  I am in no way a Dr. and these are my opinions.  Please consult your Dr. before giving this a try.

Knowing When to Throw in the Towel…& Use It as Rags

Grease stains…

My laundry is full of them. Unfortunately, I don’t notice them until after they have been washed and dried.  Now, they are set-in grease stains.

I had one set-in stain in particular that I really wanted to remove.  It was a uniform shirt of mine and I needed to get the stain OUT.  It wasn’t HUGE, but it was annoyingly noticeable.

Attempt #1

  • Wash again (cold water)…hoping the detergent would notice the stain this time.
  • RESULT: no change

Attempt #2

  • Treat stain directly with liquid detergent
  • Wash again (hot water)
  • RESULT: no change

Attempt #3

  • Treat stain with stain remover (Spray n’ Wash)
  • Let stain remover sit over night
  • Wash again (cold water)
  • RESULT: no change…AGHHHHH!!!

Attempt #4

  • Time for a little research…thank you google.
  • I found a few sites that recommended spraying the stain with WD-40.  Crazy, right?!  The “science” behind this theory is that the WD-40 (which is a petroleum product) “reactivates” the set-in grease stain.  You will then treat the old stain as a fresh new stain.  Okay…I guess that makes sense.  I’ve tried crazier things before.
  • Sprayed stain with WD-40.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Then applied Dawn Dish Soap (blue kind) to the “fresh” stain.  I then took a scrub brush to work the soap into the stain.  Let that sit for a while (maybe another 30 minutes.)
  • Wash as usual (cold water)
  • RESULT: An even BIGGER stain than before!!!  Plus, a huge stain on the back of the shirt where the WD-40 soaked through!  Are you kidding me?!?!

Attempt #5

  • Time to break-out the BIG GUNS!
  • Soak entire shirt overnight in full-strength degreaser (Simple Green Cleaner)
  • Treat stain with Dawn AGAIN & Wash AGAIN (cold water)
  • RESULT:  Absolutely NO CHANGE.  There is still a HUGE stain on the front, and now the back.

That’s it…I give up.  I’m throwing in the towel.

Please…..help this Whimsy Housewife!  Comment with your suggestions on removing set-in grease stains, before this T-shirt becomes rags.

No-Fuss Homemade Laundry Soap (Liquid)

As promised, here is another version of homemade laundry detergent.  The other day I showed you my version for powdered laundry detergent.  That recipe is great for babies or anyone with sensitive skin, but our whole family uses it and I love it!  View that post here.

Today’s recipe I can’t take credit for.  I found this version of detergent from one of my favorite bloggers, Jill at One Good Thing by Jillie.  Her blog is so full of useful tips and tricks.  Please take a moment to visit her site here!

In Jill’s post, she has great photos telling exactly how to do each step.  It’s so simple and that’s what I love about it.  Here is her step-by-step tutorial.

This recipe is great for HE washing machines, regular machines, safe but effective on cleaning clothes, and also safe for sensitive skin.

Super Fast & Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent

This makes 1 gallon


  • 3 Tablespoons Borax (found in laundry aisle at most grocery stores)
  • 3 Tablespoons Super Washing Soda (found in laundry aisle at most stores)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dawn dish soap (I use the blue dawn, because it cuts through grease better than any other I’ve tried)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 gallon jug


  1. Pour 4 cups of boiling water into gallon container.
  2. Add Borax, Washing Soda, and Dawn to container.  Swirl around until all ingredients are dissolved.
  3. Let the liquid cool.
  4. Once it’s cool, fill the container almost all the way to the top with water.  Bubbles will come out the top of the container.
  5. Use about one cup for large loads.

A few extra tips for you:

* This is safe for HE machines because it is low-sudsing.

* This detergent is watery, but it cleans really well.  It even removes my husband’s grease stains from his work uniforms.  I tried making it more concentrated by using less water, but the dish soap didn’t dissolve and just sat on top of the water.

* Make 2-3 batches at a time.  Use up rate is about 16-20 loads.  But it only costs about $.17/gallon!!  (My powdered soap recipe does seem to last a bit longer.)

Give this or the powdered version a try and let me know what you think!

Homemade Laundry Soap for Sensitive Skin (or any type of skin)

When did laundry detergent get so expensive?!  Why am I spending $12-$20 on products that I am just washing down the drain?!

We have always been a Tide detergent family.  Liquid…powder…it didn’t matter as long as it smelled good and was Tide.  My husband is a mechanic, so his clothes always come home greasy.  Tide was the only detergent that would remove the stains.

Then my son came along, and our laundry story changed drastically.  He has very sensitive skin, and cannot tolerate anything but a free & clear detergent. (Check out my post on baby powder for sensitive skin)

Free & Clear wasn’t working for me because I like my laundry to smell good.  So, we ended up buying 2 types of detergent: 1 for adults and 1 for baby.  Crazy, huh?

I finally got tired of spending wasting money on brand name detergent that was mostly water.  I found quite a few recipes online, but none really seemed “easy”.  I admit it…I’m a lazy effortless housewife and like things simple and no-fuss.  A lot of the recipes for homemade laundry detergent required grating, cooking, mixing, and waiting. Basically wasting a whole Saturday morning making soap.   Uh…no thanks!

So here is my no-fuss, super-simple recipe for laundry soap!

I use this for my son’s clothes and have had no problems with his eczema.  My husband usually washes his own clothes (I know….he’s a keeper), and he still doesn’t believe a homemade version works as well as his beloved Tide (which we still have a bottle of because he refuses to switch.) But when I get a load of his clothes, I use the homemade version and he never knows the difference. (Until now…sorry honey, now you know.)

Homemade Laundry Soap (Powdered)

Great for babies, sensitive skin, or anyone really

**NOT RECOMMENDED FOR HE WASHING MACHINES (I have another easy recipe for HE washers, come back later for that recipe!)

***The Zote Flakes are what is not recommended for HE washers, but if you use Fels Naptha soap, I believe that is okay for front loading machines.


  • 4 cups Borax
  • 4 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 2 cups of Oxygen Booster/Cleaner (OxiClean)
  • 1 box Zote Laundry Flakes (or 2 bars of Zote White soap, or 2 bars of Fels Naptha)

All of these ingredients I found in the laundry aisle at Wal-Mart.

The Zote Laundry flakes is a fairly new product, and may not be available everywhere.  If you can’t find it, just grab 2 bars of Zote White, or 2 bars of Fels Naptha (both in laundry aisle).  Put them in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  This causes the soap to break apart and will easily crumble for you.

Grab a large bowl and layer each ingredient, this helps make mixing easier .  Then  grab a spoon and start mixing.

1 tablespoon per load, or 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled clothes.

I store this in a gallon air-tight canister, but use whatever you have.

That’s how easy it is to make your own laundry detergent!  I think it took a whole 5 minutes to make.

Check back soon for my liquid version of homemade laundry soap.

Send me some comments if you have any tips or questions.  I love to hear from you!

**UPDATE – I finally figured out the cost break down for this version of detergent.  The leading sensitive skin/baby detergent costs approximately $.29 per load.  My homemade version only costs $.07 per load, and yields about 200 loads per batch!!!  Let the savings begin!!

mop it up mondays

Whimsy Crock Pot Week-Day 7

We made it through an entire week of Crock Pot cooking!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes.  Try one, try them all.  Send me a comment and let me know what you thought of them.

Here’s a recap of this past week:

Day 1-Pulled Pork

Day 2-Baked Potatoes

Day 3-Chicken Tetrazzini

Day 4-Taco Soup

Day 5-To-Die-For Roast

Day 6-Chicken Fajitas

And now for Day 7’s delight.  I found this recipe on the LiveStrong.com website.  That website is full of so many useful tips on cooking, healthy living and even green cleaning.  I haven’t even scratched the surface of all it has to offer.

This recipe is only 200 calories per serving, so no guilt…unless you eat the whole batch.

Crock Pot Brownies


  • Cooking spray
  • Parchment paper
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup trans fat-free margarine or butter substitute (I didn’t have this, so I used regular butter.  I’m sure it added a few more calories, but it worked just fine.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (may substitute dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Spray the Crock Pot with cooking spray, coating it thoroughly. Line the bottom of the Crock Pot with parchment paper, then spray the parchment with cooking spray.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl and blend well.
  3. Combine evaporated milk, butter, egg and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.  Gently fold in the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts, if desired.
  4. Pour mixture into your Crock Pot, cover and cook on the low setting for 2 to 3 hours.  Check the brownies after 2 hours by inserting a toothpick into the center.  If toothpick comes out clean, turn off the Crock Pot and allow brownies to cool for 15 minutes.
What I found about taking on this week-long challenge is that I LOVE my slow cooker even more than I did before!  My kitchen stayed cooler, and clean-up was so easy!  Try it for a week and let me know what worked for you and what didn’t.

Have a fantastic holiday!  And please take a quick second to like my page on Facebook.  Thanks!

Whimsy Crock Pot Week-Day 6

Today is Day 6 of my Crock Pot cooking week.  I have loved it so far!  Since it’s Saturday and the start of a holiday weekend, today’s recipe will feed quite a few people.  I got this recipe from food.com.

Time is short, so let’s jump right in!

Chicken Fajitas


  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced however you like
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced


  1. Place chicken, onions and pepper in slow-cooker.  Sprinkle spices over all.  Add lime juice and stir well.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  If chicken is frozen, cooking time may be longer.
  3. Serve with warm tortillas, cheese, sour cream or your favorite toppings.

If you have a favorite crock pot recipe you would like to share, please email me at onewhimsyhousewife@gmail.com.  I would love to feature it in another blog post!