Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

T2T: Garbage Disposal Cleaner April 24, 2014

I’ve used three lemons in the past week–one for a pasta sauce, one for salad dressing, one on salmon.  Usually I compost the lemon peels, but my garbage disposal was starting to smell, which gives the dishwasher a weird, musty smell as well.  So…the latest T2T (Trash 2 Treasure) is an easy, biodegradable garbage disposal cleaner: tear the lemon peel into a few chunks, cram it down the disposal, run for 30 seconds or so with some cold water flowing, and voila!  Instant freshness (and no worry about contaminating a water source with bleach).

I have tried to drop half a lemon peel in the disposal before, but my disposal didn't like it.  It seems much happier with a few bite-sized pieces.

I have tried to drop half a lemon peel in the disposal before, but my disposal didn’t like it. It seems much happier with a few bite-sized pieces.

I have heard that you can sharpen your garbage disposal blades by putting ice down the disposal, but we honestly don’t use our disposal for much food anyway since we compost–it’s really just the little bits and pieces that get washed down off the plates.

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Lauren: Dumpster Diving (Again) April 14, 2014

We were dropping off some trash when I saw it–an enormous rosemary bush. We’re talking huge. I had to have it!

I admit that there is already a rosemary plant in my yard, but you can’t call it a bush because it only has a couple sprigs on it. This perfectly good plant in the dumpster would save me years of growing! Somebody’s trash was my treasure.

We were on our way to a party, so we had to come back and get it. And I made sure that we did.

I don’t have any action shots because it took both of us–one to hold it and the other to get showered with dirt, I mean, cut through the humongous root ball.

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You would think he would look a little more thrilled, wouldn’t you?

 

Here is our new plant in the trunk:

 

 

And here’s the rest of it we left in the dumpster:

 

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I saw some other good stuff in there, too: a metal shelf, a ladder. . . but Dave said we didn’t need any of that, even if it was free. I tried to get him to go to some other dumpsters for our date night, but he wasn’t having it. I think he just didn’t want any more little scrapes on his hands and arms.

And we planted it. I hope it survives.

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How awesome is that?

I think I’m addicted. I wonder what other treasures the dumpsters are holding for me.

 

Lauren: Dumpster Diving February 12, 2014

I went dumpster diving today. And no, it was not really by choice.

It’s all because we cancelled our trash service. Between recycling, composting, and now, chickens, we don’t create very much trash, maybe a grocery bag a week. So it seemed ridiculous to pay $30 a month for the garbageman (or is sanitation engineer the politically correct term?) to come twice a week. Now we bring that one trash bag a week to the gas station when we fill up with gas, or we’ll go to the dump, or today I used the dumpster behind the butcher shop.

I threw my bag or two of trash into the dumpster . . . as well as my keys. And, of course they sunk to the bottom. I can’t believe this is really happening, I kept mumbling to myself. I’m sure I looked like a homeless person except for my clothes and my kids in the nearby car with huge smiles plastered across their faces. There’s not much cooler to E. than Mom climbing into the dumpster. It’s almost as fun as watching thirty minute YouTube videos of real garbage trucks going about their routes. Almost. I kept hoping I could just reach down and grab the keys, but no. I had to climb all. the. way. in.

I started to imagine what I would have to do if I couldn’t find them. The best I could come up with was going into the butcher shop and, after buying my ground beef and milk, ask them if anyone could help me find my keys. In the dumpster.

Once I got in and moved some bags and boxes, I saw them on the very bottom. Victory was mine. . .  in a loser-who-drops-their-keys-into-the-dumpster kind of way.

I am now seriously regretting not picking up the perfectly fine looking tomatoes I saw in there. Who knows? This might be a new thing.

 

T2T: the humble box February 2, 2014

The best fun is free!

The best fun is free!

Blocks are the best.  Forts, castles, roads, bridges, ramps, houses, train tracks, and hours of imagination can come from a good set of blocks, and toddlers seem to love the large sized blocks.

Sure.  You could buy these for $42.99.

You can find these blocks on Amazon from various sellers.  There are several different companies that make them.  These are from Smart Monkey Toys.

You can find these blocks on Amazon from various sellers. There are several different companies that make them. These are from Smart Monkey Toys.

Or you could just use what you already have in your house and are planning to recycle at some point anyway. It’s T2T (trash to treasure) in the best way!

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Little Bear discovered these building blocks all by herself in the grocery bags as we were putting things away. Voila! Instant fort.

 

Lauren: DIY Double-Layer Infinity Scarf January 7, 2014

My husband was getting rid of two shirts. The white one was a little stained and the blue one showed off his sexy belly when he raised his arms (why he didn’t want to keep wearing it, I don’t know). I rescued them from the goodwill bag. They had a higher purpose.

Here’s the process:

Step One: Find two shirts wherever you can: your drawers, your spouse’s drawers (I guess I should say bureau so there is no confusion, but who says that?), or thrift stores. Take the shirt off your husband’s back, if you have to. This project is soo easy!

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The shirts were size medium, which turned out a little small for me to wrap around my neck twice. I recommend useing size large or extra large shirts for adult scarves.

Step Two: Cut the shirts. Cut horizontally underneath the armpits and right above the bottom seam.

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Step Three: You should be left with two tubes. Layer them. Place one t-shirt tube inside the other one, wrong sides together (make sure you can see both nice sides). The ends will naturally roll, so don’t worry about people seeing the raw edges. You can decide which color you’d like to be the dominate one by placing it on the outside.

Step Four: Find a model, preferably one that’s in a phase where he likes to make funny faces for the camera.

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Goes well with the Buckeyes shirt, right? Well, you get the idea.

 

 

T2T: Baby Dishwasher Basket October 24, 2013

T2T (Trash to Treasure) is a new series we’ll be featuring periodically to offer reuses for common household objects.

 

Before having Little Bear, I bought one of these (albeit at a thrift store), succumbing to the purchasing mania that precedes giving birth.  After actually attempting to use this for bottle parts and pump parts, I realized it was completely impractical: the smallest pump parts would’ve fallen through the basket holes anyway, and the larger pump parts could just hang out in the silverware basket that already came with my dishwasher.  Sooo….

My recent canning mania has given this plastic piece of junk new life.

My recent canning mania has given this plastic piece of junk new life.

Canning bands can either be sterilized in the dishwasher or in a pan of simmering hot water.  Why simmer when your dishwasher can do the work for you?  This basket keeps them from clanking around in the dishwasher and lets you pull them out all together to cut down on the times you have to touch them.

 

T2T: Kitchen Containers September 3, 2013

T2T (Trash to Treasure) is a new series we’ll be featuring periodically to offer reuses for common household objects.

 

Today’s T2T Pick: Kitchen Containers (plastic tubs, wooden spoons, spice jars, metal camping dishes)–who needs to buy plastic sand toys when the old containers from your kitchen are more fun?!

Old camping dishes, plastic cups and bowls, sour cream containers, and a strainer are perfect for the park!

Old camping dishes, plastic cups and bowls, sour cream containers, and a strainer are perfect for the park!

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Little Bear could play in the sand for hours!

 

 
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