Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Product Hits and Misses: "Squeeze That Nickel" Edition

Squeeze that nickel till the buffalo hollers, dear readers! (OK, I guess that would have been the LAST depression when buffalo nickels were around. And they weren't even buffalo, they were bison. But still.)

Yes, today I've got several money-saving goodies to review. First up is a little trick I've been using for homemade diaper wipes. A friend of mine passed this tip along to me in a greeting card when Rose was born, and I've been using it ever since. (I trust that one of these years I'll be able to give it up. But that time does not appear to be close.)

So, how do you do homemade diaper wipes? Here's the recipe:

1/2 roll good-quality paper towels (I use Bounty)
2 c. water
1 T. mineral oil
1 T. baby shampoo

To get a half-roll of paper towels, you'll have to cut the roll with a serrated knife, as if you were sawing a log. I usually trim off any raggedy bits with scissors.

For a storage container, I use a one-gallon plastic lettuce tub:

Lettuce tub for diaper wipes
I just bought a new one recently. The first two lasted me through seven and a half years... ohhhh I've been doing this for tooooo long....

Anyway. Mix up the water, oil and shampoo, and then plop the half-roll in, cut side up. Give it a few seconds to soak up a bunch of liquid, then take out the half-roll and flip it upside down so the smooth side is up.

Homemade wipes, top view #1

Put on the lid (you may need to squish the roll down just a bit first, but that's OK). And there you have it. I was initially told to pull out the center core and pull the wipes from the middle, but for me it works best to take them from the outside. After the roll gets a little smaller, you can turn the roll on its side within the tub to make the wipes even easier to grab:

Homemade wipes, top view #2


OK, next item is in honor of the late, loud pitch-man Billy Mays:

Tub of OxiClean
How does this fit the "Squeeze That Nickel" theme? I'll tell you how. This stuff WORKS to take out stains. And if you can take stains out, you can put the clothes back in the drawer to wear again. And you don't have to buy new ones. And you save a TON.

Joy's clothes always seem to pick up more stains than anyone elses in this house, most often food-related. She eats enthusiastically and well, preferring to use her fingers. She does use fork or spoon when encouraged to do so, but does not always keep her mind on the task... She also tends to stuff her mouth a little too full, resulting in interesting driblets and droplets.

Yesterday I used OxiClean to get out mulberry stains from a white onesie, and dried-on red wine stains from the back of her dress. (Huh? Oh, yeah. No, there was no wine in her sippy. That wouldn't have spilled, right? Actually I was silly enough to go chasing across the yard after her with a glass of wine in my hand. Clumsy mommy!) Anyway, the stains totally vanished.

These last couple of days I've been seeing post-Billy-Mays OxiClean ads. And, as much as I was annoyed by his outsized voice and his impossibly-dyed-black hair and beard... the more moderated female voice that does these new ads does not make ANY kind of impression. I can't believe I actually kinda miss the guy.


OK, one more product.


The lowly pinwheel may set you back all of a buck at the dollar store. But oh, the joy we get out of these things!

We can't leave pinwheels lying around for Joy to play with at random, because she doesn't take too long to crumple the wheel and bend the stick beyond all use. However, they're great when one of Joy's baristas needs to put a guaranteed distraction into her hand for just a minute while they jot something down or program something into the GoTalk. We've also had good success lately with turn-taking games -- Mama will blow on the pinwheel, Joy giggles hysterically, Joy reaches up a hand to spin the wheel herself, Joy giggles hysterically, Joy pushes the pinwheel back toward Mama, Mama blows on the pinwheel, Joy giggles hysterically... You get the picture. How many giggles can you usually buy for a buck, huh?


OK, that's all for today... must go make more applesauce... squeeze those windfall apples till the worms holler, or something like that!


jess said...

ooh! ooh! i have one! pick me!

white vinegar takes oil and grease and anything else off of any stainless steel surfaces in the kitchen. it takes next to none to work its magic (just a little on the sponge mixed with water) and it's dirt cheap (especially when you buy the big container). it smells, yes - but if you simply follow it with water the smell fades almost immediately.

don't ask me for another one. that's all i got.


AuntieS said...

These are all great ideas!! I will use some of them around here, even though I don't have anyone still in the diaper stage. Not sure that any of Joy and Rose's cousins here would still be fascinated by the pinwheel, but I like it!! (That pinwheel in the picture looks familiar, like the one the Easter Bunny left here for Joy this year????) I think the diaper wipe idea could be used for wet wipes that aren't just for the diaper area!!! And I have used the white vinegar to clean many things, and to remove the hard white stuff that builds up on faucets. I also use rubbing alcohol to clean glass. It can be diluted a little with water, but works well full strength too. I learned about this when I worked in the candy dept. at Sears, many moons ago, and had to keep all of the glass windows and countertops clean and shiny to show off the candy!
Do you think Elvis ever used any of these things?? (I just had that random thought to kind of connect this all back to your blog...ya know, Elvis Sightings!! LOL!)

-AuntieS aka ARatK (I think I earned back this title today!)

Anonymous said...

i miss billy mays! wah!
i was laughing about joy having red wine stains on her dress... are you sure she didn't shake it out of her sippy cup over her back? 8)

mama edge said...

Excellent wipe substitute. And I bet they're flushable too! I just laid out big moola for those flushable Kandoos at the store, but Taz refuses to use them because "they're for babies". I will be making some of those wipes per your "recipe", and then I just have to figure out a suitable container. Maybe

JoyMama said...

mama edge - how 'bout using Brawny towels instead of Bounty, and be sure to let Taz know! (Big men use Brawny, right?)

Also, an family-size ice cream tub would make a decent holder.