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Clean that Microwave….Painlessly

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I had a bit of a bout with a fever and the chills, but am doing much better now. It’s the last week of school here too – so the upcoming summer months should be exciting. On to today’s project: cleaning the microwave. Without much effort at all. A good thing for a Monday morning.

Our sad microwave takes a beating. We are not the most vigilant people at remembering to consistently cover our leftovers when we microwave them, and so we get splatters. And then some more. And then a couple more. Does it bother me? Yes, a bit. BUT, it is very easy to clean.

Here is all that you need:

Yep. Lemon juice and a cup. And a sponge to wipe things down when you are done.

Step 1: Take a look at your dirty, sad microwave. It is telling you to clean it.

Step 2: Take out your lemon juice, and fill a microwave safe container (I use a mug) about a third of the way full. I usually will put some water in there too just because I want to.

Step 3: Put your microwave safe container into your microwave and turn it on high for 2 minutes, or until you see your lemon juice boiling. Turn it off and LEAVE IT ALONE. Do not open the microwave. Do not be tempted to wipe anything off yet because it won’t work. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Just leave it alone for at LEAST 5 minutes and let your lemon juice steam do its job. I like to set the sponge in front of the microwave so I remember that the lemon juice is in there, and then I leave it alone for a good 10, 20, 30 minutes. This time I left it for about 30 minutes.

Step 4: Open your microwave, and wipe the walls down. Everything should come off easily. You will probably need to rinse your sponge a time or two in this process, or more depending on how dirty your microwave is. You’ll also want to pull out your microwave plate (if you have one) and give it a scrub.

That is IT! Clean microwave.

Here is the inside of the microwave door, right after I opened it. This is after the lemon juice steam had been hanging out in the microwave, but before I wiped it off:

Here is what it looked like after 3 swipes of the sponge:

Yup. Clean. {Cue chorus.}

Here is the rest of the microwave before:

And after:

Easy, easy. It’s nice when you can start something and have the hard part done for you while you get other things done.

Enjoy! :)

PIC 1

Picture Hanging Tip – and DSLR tutorial links

This is a tip for hanging those annoying pictures with the two hooks – the ones where they have a hook on each side to keep things level and distribute the weight evenly. Those ones.

I have a couple of larger pictures like that, and hanging them was a large pain – I measured the distance between the hooks, penciled in two holes that distance apart and hoped they would be level, and then did trial and error until it looked right.

This lovely tip from Aimee @ It’s Overflowing came to me right on time – my mom had sent a picture for our boys that happened to have the two hooks, so I could try it out while I still remembered it.

Hooray for timely tips – this was VERY easy.

You take blue tape (or scotch tape – just something that won’t ruin the backing) and cut a piece that fits from the center of one hook to the center of the other, like so:

Then you take the blue tape of wonder, stick it on your wall at the spot that you would like your picture, and hammer some nails into place (I ended up cutting my tape a little short, so I hammered one of the nails slightly outside of the tape):

Voila! Level, easily hung picture.

The great thing about this is you can actually check the tape visually (or with a level, if you prefer) to see if it looks level. AND you have the nails perfectly spaced. I loved that.

Thank you Aimee!

By the way, Aimee has a bunch of VERY helpful tutorials on how to use a DSLR camera in manual instead of auto. Start at the link I posted, and work your way through. I learned a lot! :)

BUR 11

My Cookie Sheet is CLEAN :)

Yes. It is finally clean. (Cue heavenly chorus.)

When I was cleaning the drip pans from my stove, I remembered that I had read a comment somewhere in the middle of my many cookie sheet cleaning tips that had mentioned using ammonia to clean out her oven. My oven, oddly enough, is not very dirty. I gave it a wipe down with a wet sponge (no other chemicals) and it got most of what was in there cleaned out. I couldn’t remember if the commenter decided to stick her cookie sheet in her oven with ammonia, but decided it was worth a go.

I put my cookie sheet in the cold oven on the bottom rack, put some ammonia in a bowl on the top rack, and let it sit overnight.

Here is what it looked like before (after my 11 different ways to try and get it clean):

And here is what it looks like now:

Clean! Hooray! That used some steel wool and elbow grease too after I took it from the oven, but I had tried steel wool over and over again with many different products and I couldn’t get it all off. The ammonia worked great. It also took off some of the oil splatters on the glass on the inside of the oven that I couldn’t get off earlier with just the wet sponge.

Hooray! :)

BUR 7

Clean Your Stove Drip Pans

For those of you who are fortunate like me to have a non-flat top stove, here is an easy $1 solution to get the drip pans CLEAN. I didn’t realize that was possible. But it is. :)

I found this from Jill @ One Good Thing by Jillee. Hers worked a little more easily than mine did – I’m guessing that is because hers look like they have some kind of teflon coating on them? Some of the stuff came off easily, but I still had to give mine a fair amount of elbow grease with steel wool. But it was worth it.

BEFORE:

Apparently we use the stove a lottle bit over here.

AFTER:

I could cry. Seriously. I love when things are clean, and I get frustrated when I can’t figure out how to get them that way.

And how do you do this?

All you need are four gallon-sized ziploc bags, some ammonia, and your drip pans. And, if you have the old school non-coated drip pans like I do, you may need some steel wool and elbow grease too.

Step 1: Put your drip pans in your ziploc bags.

Step 2: Splash some ammonia in there. You don’t need to cover the drip pans – the ammonia vapor is what does the trick. The vapors act to bind to the oil and fat in your drip pan grime and break it down. Pretty cool.

Step 3: Wait overnight (or, if you are doing this during the day, think 9-12 hours). The longer you let it stay in the bags, the longer the ammonia has to do its work.

Step 4: Get the rest of your stove top clean. Take some time to use toothpicks and Q-tips and get things cleaned out. I cleaned around everything with toothpicks and it looked MUCH better.

Step 5: Open the bag. This seems like a silly step to have alone, but I will tell you – AMMONIA IS VERY PUNGENT. It will make you want to curl up and cry to stand over that bag and get a nice waft of ammonia in your face. So here is how I found it to work best – get water running in your sink, open your ziploc bag a bit (enough for the water to get in), and fill the bag up part way with water. This will not destroy the handy work of your ammonia vapors – it WILL keep your eyes and nose from burning.

Step 6: Wipe the grime off with a sponge (if you are lucky), or give it some elbow grease. This got ALMOST everything off of my drip pans. What was left over may just be the pans aging and changing color or something (with the larger ones). They looked muuuuch better.

 

Ammonia can work very well with other things too – I tried it on something else and was SHOCKED at how well it worked. I’ll post those pictures tomorrow.

Happy cleaning! :)

We Give Books

I just had to share this website because it is pretty cool – wegivebooks.org.There are a bunch of books for kids that they can read online in their “print” format. I love that. A lot of these are the ones that you can find on the ever-popular book orders (especially the non-fiction), so you can even “test drive” some of the books before you buy. Or just enjoy them for free.

This is not only a great resource, but you actually GIVE a book each time you (or your child) reads one online – as in, Penguin Books and the Pearson Foundation will donate a book for each book read online. See? Super cool! There is no limit to your book-giving from your book reading, and if your child has a favorite that they read over and over again, each time they finish it counts as a new book to give away. (Here is a link to the FAQ.) They have given away almost 1,000,000 books since April 2010.

They have ongoing “campaigns” that you can support with your reading (here is a list of the campaigns, current and completed), so you can choose your “cause”, and you are free to switch at any time.

If you’re looking for a fun book to start out with, I would recommend Goodnight iPad. We just checked it out from the library and all got a good laugh over it. That grandma is great. The cultural references are hilarious too.

So – go read a book! And GIVE one too by doing it. It’s a win-win. :)

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