Category Archives: house keeping

Blue Ribbon Food’s – what is it?

blueribbonfoodSome of you who follow me on my personal facebook would have seen me post the photo to the right last week…. A photo that seemed to be great at catching peoples attention haha, because I got a TON of comments on that post. Kinda blew me away. Loved the conversation it created and was cool to pass on information about this company to all those who may find it to be a fit for their family.

To go ahead and get some disclaimers out there
, since I tend to feel the need to do so. I was 1) Not paid to write this post for Blue Ribbon. 2) My family signed up with Blue Ribbon Food’s just like anyone else would, through a friend. 3) I am no expert and I am brand new to this company, so what I am about to talk about is from a newbie’s experience. However, I plan to follow up in 6 mo. from now and share with my readers my thoughts as the time goes. I may even do a 3 mo. check in too, if yall want.

I saw a friend of ours on facebook post a similar image to the right, of their freezer. Packed full of foods. They also mentioned how the food was from a good source of local farms, free range and so forth. I am big on this but will be totally honest. We could not afford to buy all our foods organic… from whole foods, trader joes and other organic food stores in the area. I tried to find ways to make it work… but with our budget, we just couldn’t. We literally live pay check to pay check right now… and as much as I value quality food for my family, it was not worth buying it and then not having enough money to pay our mortgage or utilities. I have learned throughout my years of trying to live well, healthy, feeding my family real food, that living in fear is no way to live… and while everything we eat may not be 100% organic, I try my very best to make do with the resources we have and feed my family well.

So, when I saw these friends post about Blue Ribbon Food’s… I was immediately intrigued. I knew they didn’t live the high life and didn’t live lavishly with lots of money… I knew they had lots of little mouths to feed and shared similar values… and so I decided, why not… why not call the guy they referred me to, and check things out for myself.

So I made an apt. with Blue Ribbon Food’s. The rep who’s name is Matt Albert, came out to our house and cooked our family a meal. Yes, all 6 of us. He asked us prior to coming, what kind of meat we like and would prefer to try… and once he came, he began to cook it up, while talking to us about the company, the farms, the food and so forth. They btw have a list of all their farms. All of them local to the states they service.

Throughout the entire apt. my husband told me, he was just holding his breathe. Waiting for the big price tag to flash across our faces and bid the man goodbye, as he just knew we could not afford something that seemed so nice.

After Matt explained everything to us though, we ate the food, kids enjoyed it… he asked us a lot of questions, like what meats we eat, how often we eat at home, what veggies we eat and so forth… he then was able to quote us a price.

If you go to the Blue Ribbon website you will not see individual pricing. The way their service works isn’t based off a set price on a chicken breast, or a pound of turkey. The price varies depending on your family size… what meats you eat. Do you eat fish, lobster, beef, pork, chicken… or are you a vegetarian and only need their organic veggies. All of these things come into account and that ultimately determines the final price.

I will be honest I am not totally sure how all the numbers work in that regard.

What I do know is once he priced our family cost, my husband was shocked.

It was such a good deal… and even with the freezer we got through the company (commercial grade, frost free), the cost is still within our budget and LESS than what we had been spending at normal grocery stores, buying things on our own. (The freezer btw is something you will want to discuss with Blue Ribbon. It is amazing and so worth getting. It is not “required tho” to use their services. Still, ask about it.)

As soon as my husband heard the price, he was sold.

So, on Wednesday last week, a sweet man in a Blue Ribbon uniform, showed up. My kids were behaving as if this man was Santa :) – so excited about the huge freezer he was about to lug down our drive way and the boxes of food he was going to fill it with.

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The man who delivered our food was very patient with my kids 1,000 questions and remarks.

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ED9A8802As he loaded the freezer into our garage (where we felt it would best fit). I began chatting with him some about the company… and asked him about the largest family he delivers to. He said he has a family with 15 children he delivers to. Many foster kids… What a blessing this service has got to be for families that large… families who may have special needs children… who may not be easily taken to a grocery store. Families who’s husbands may work really late hours, leaving their wife to do all the housework, grocery shopping and tending to the children. I for one, do not enjoy grocery shopping with my kids. While some trips are kinda fun, if its just to pick up a few things here and there… If I had to choose, I would much rather do my grocery shopping alone :) – so that my brain can function properly haha… and I can think while I pick things out.

This guy took care of moving everything into place. He took care of unloading all the boxes himself. I felt like I needed to do something, but nope, he did it all. He didn’t even make that a possibility. He even took the time to properly organize and place all my meats/veggies and other items in the freezer. He explained to me how to use the freezer… its features and so forth. Oh and get this. IF YOU HAVE TO MOVE... as long as you move WITHIN the states that Blue Ribbon Service, they will come to your home on move day, pack up your food and freezer. They will then relocated it for you to your new home, even if that means taking it to a new state! Re-install and re-fill it for you, at no cost. I was blown away at that. They believe in taking care of their customers without a doubt.

Once we checked off the check list, he was on his way and that was it. Could not have been any easier.

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To those curious, all their food is vacuum sealed… it is good in the freezer for up to 12 mo. It wont get all gross and freezer burnt. The way they package their meats is amazing, as well as their organic veggies. I really don’t think Id do it justice to talk about all that here though, you def. need to contact my rep Matt and have him answer all those questions for you.

blue ribbon foodsA few questions I can answer… that some may have.

1. How much food is it? how often do you order?

– You order a 6 mo. supply of food… but you can order as often as you like.
– If you do not use the food within the 6 mo. You do not have to order again after 6 mo. You order when you are ready.

2. Do you have to pay for it all at once?

– Heck no haha. You pay for it weekly. Also, be sure to ask them about what happens if you loose your job… and can’t pay for the food. Their costumer care is UNREAL. It is no wonder most of their clients stay with them for 10+ years.

3. Do you have to order the same stuff all the time?
– No, you can change what you order at any time. So if you end up using more turkey than you thought, but not much of the beef… you can switch it up next order.

There are TONS of questions to ask about the services Blue Ribbon Food’s provides… I don’t really feel I am qualified to answer them all…. However, what I will say is, book an apt. Talk to a rep. Ask a lots of questions and go from there. It cost NOTHING to have a rep come into your home, cook you free food… and tell you about the company. Its free and it is def. no pressure. If they quote the price for your family and you cannot afford it, they understand and its okay. They will work with you and make it work though if it is something you want.

To end, let me say this…

I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country that has the resources it has. You all, we are blessed! I mean look at that freezer! God has blessed this country and I am thankful for everything we have. I do not post any of this to boast… to brag… My family lives frugally…. and while we live very lavishly compared to many in third world countries or even in our own state, where many are homeless and don’t have anything… we have learned to live within our means and with a tight budget. God teaches us to be good stewards of our money… and we truly believe this is going to help us stay within our budget even better.

I look forward to not having to run to a grocery store to buy meat that may be bad… Have you ever purchased an organic chicken (that you paid a lot for) only to get it home and realize its rancid? what a pain… I look forward to trying new recipes with the many choices of food we have here… I also look forward to cutting our bills down even more, by eating at home, real, healthy foods…. rather than running out to eat because we didn’t have a chance to go buy meat, or veggies at the store that week. We have eaten out way to much the last few months and I know that is the culprit. Not being prepared… and not having the time in between home schooling, shooting for my business and keeping a home. Grocery shopping, is last on my list some weeks…

Having Blue Ribbon become a part of our normal, is fine by me :)

To wrap this up….

If you are interested in Blue Ribbon Food’s and live in, GA, NC, SC and parts of VA… contact my rep Matthew Albert on facebook HERE. Or you can email him at: malbert[at]blueribbonfoods.com. I have his phone number too if you want that… but because my blog is a bit to public, if you would like his phone number, just email me drea[at]dreawood.com and I will pass that onto you. One cool thing that Blue Ribbon does do, is offer some great rewards… so any time someone signs up with Blue Ribbon Foods, our family has the opt. to earn money towards paying for our food. So you can help our family out, and others can help you out, etc..etc… The way they have it laid out is great. So if you are interested, be sure to tell Matthew that “Andrea Wood” or “The Wood Family” sent you :) – and we would appreciate it.

With that said, even if Blue Ribbon Food’s had no reward program. We’d still use them. You really cannot beat the convenience and quality for the price.

Hopefully this post made SOME sense. I know it was really long :)

I leave you with baby Reed, enjoying some of his Blue Ribbon food, the first day we cooked it up last week. We’ve enjoyed many meals since then using their food and loved every single one.

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Grams and our Living Space

Recently while my mom and dad visited. I got the itch to rearrange my living room furniture. Am I the only one who loves moving furniture around? Is it an OCD thing? :) Ive done this numerous times since moving into our current home…. I for some reason could not let it be. I loved our living room, yet something about it bugged me. We originally had our TV on the left side of the room. We placed it there when we moved in because that is where the cable hook up was. Because we had purchased our first home, had to have cable installed and so forth for our internet… we got a special deal on cable. We never had it years prior, but decided why not, since it was discounted. After the year “discount” ran out however, our price got jacked up…. so, we canceled our cable. So now all we have is the internet. Because our TV no longer has to be hooked up to the wall for cable, I figured we could play around a bit with the arrangement now.

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ED9A6199So I relocated the TV to the right side of the room and made the sofa’s into an L. While I loved the open space of no sofa’s cutting the room in half from the kitchen area… for the way this room was shaped and the functionality of all our kids being able to see the TV on movie night and family/friends when visiting, it was what worked.

Once it was all set up, I really did like how it turned out. It makes the living room feel separate yet still part of our kitchen. It created a divide so that when the living room is trashed, it doesn’t bug me as much now. Now all of us can sit and enjoy a movie comfortable… and I feel like this set up works well for family worship too.

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With the rearranging of furniture, I also played with our mantel some. I have had a wonderful painting up our mantel since moving in. A painting my friend Melissa Payne Baker made me. I LOVE IT. So moving it was not easy for me. It however was relocated elsewhere, in a place we still see often. So its ok :) – it will always be a special part of our family decor, even if its not the center piece on a mantel.

*I am debating hanging it right behind the large sofa in the room. It go good there. I just need to get proper hanging screws to do so. So we shall see if I can get that done soon*

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I recently got some Instagram photographs printed by a company called ORIGRAMI.
(cute name huh?) A play off on the word Origami.

I loved the look of them and their price was good IMO for a thick high quality print, so I picked out the SQUARE PRINT option. Its basically $21 for 36 images. So its less than $1 an image. Great price. The quality is thick and well done. The backs of the photographs have the date the image was taken printed on it. They come packaged in the most adorable square camera box.

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I had fun figuring out how to display these… and while I still have more to display, what I have done so far, is a start.

The first place I started displaying them was on the mantel in the window panes I had set up. I got these old windows at a guys house when we first moved into our home. They cost $5.00 each. So a great price… I love windows!

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To attach the images, I used a rustic thread from the dollar tree. So $1.00 :) and tiny little clothes pins I got from the walmart craft dept. I believe they cost around $1.50? It came with a generous amount too. We use these same pins in our school room to display art. To hang them I just taped the thread to the actual window. I taped it generously (with clear scotch tape). You can’t see the tape when looking at the display, but trust me, theres a lot there haha… I suppose you could use small thumb tacs or nails too. I however didn’t have any, so tape it is!

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Another spot I decided to hang some, is located between a deck door and our kitchen area. Its a thin strip of wall. Its to thin to hang much of anything… but is one of the first walls you see as you enter our living room. To hang these I just got sticky adhesive tabs (I had them already for hanging stuff in our home school room). I cut them real thin to fit behind the tiny clothes pin…. and just put them straight onto the wall. Was super easy to do and very fast.

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So if you are looking for a simple and fun way to display your Instagram images. Do check out Origrami. I have hopes of creating a few more fun displays using the rest of the images I have.

Their website btw allows you to download your instagram straight into their photo ordering process. It took me literally 10 minutes or less to do.

DIY Essential Oil Cleaner

I am all about saving money… and this truly is a super easy way to save some cash. Although maybe not a HUGE amount of cash. It still yields its savings… and for some weird reason, I enjoy making it ;) – who knows. It also isn’t filled with a lot of chemical junk that most surface cleaners contain…

Lets say you purchase this surface cleaner over at Walmart (SIMPLE GREEN All Purpose Cleaner). For $3.97 a bottle. If you used TWO of those bottles a month, the cost of surface cleaner would be around $95.00+ a year.

Also, in this particular case…
“Simple Green is far from green. It contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent that soaks through the skin and damages red blood cells; even more dangerous is that some people miss the fine print and don’t dilute it.” – source

So while the savings may not seem huge. Consider the damaging of red blood cells and so forth the real reason for trying my recipe ;-)

For this DIY Surface Cleaner you do need a few items that may seem expensive up front… but a little goes a long way!!

So here is what you need:

2 cups of warm water

2 tsp. Dr. Bronner Castile Soap (price ranges from $10-18.00 a bottle)

((( Dr. Bronners for those unfamiliar is a great cleaner for all sorts of uses.. you can even bathe with it! Here is a link to the Dr. Bronner website where you can research it a bit more… will also list ingredients in this particular Dr. Bronners under this….)))

—-Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Lavandin Extract, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
* CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENT
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin
*** It is also certified NON GMO

1 tsp white vinegar (super cheap, I always have this on hand, so no purchase needed)
*Update: I no longer put white vinegar in it. I had someone comment saying that theirs began to thicken up for some reason. As if the vinegar reacted with the dr. bronners. I didn’t notice this the 1st few bottles… but the last time I made it, it did the same. So I omit this now. Left it up though for those who may wonder why it went away from the original post :)

8-10 drops of lemon essential oil (or oil of choice) – $9.00 a bottle through Rocky Mtn. Oils aka NAN

Glass Bottle (never use plastic with lemon oil…)

ED9A5500 copyNow before you think, wow thats expensive…

Think about the amount you are using in each bottle of surface cleaner.

My Dr. Bronner bottle is years old… that stuff last so long. Because you only need 2 tsp. a batch, one bottle of Dr. Bronners could last you 3+ years. So for $18.00 you have saved a considerable amount on surface cleaner cost when you add up the cost of each $3.00+ bottle of normal surface cleaner. Hopefully this is making sense :)

The Lemon Essential Oil is a cost as well but I already had this oil in my oil collection… so I really didn’t have to purchase anything extra. There are lots of great uses for Lemon Essential Oil besides cleaning with it btw…

Here is a list of great uses for Lemon Oil Below:

Lemon is the first oil people think of when they want to clean their home. It has a bright, fresh feel to it that makes you feel clean again.

It helps treat many digestive problems including indigestion, intestinal parasites, and heartburn. It helps cleanse the lymphatic system, and helps stimulate and purifies the glands.

Because it helps the immune system (it may stimulate red and white blood cell formation), it is a key oil to help treat infectious diseases, colds, throat infections, asthma, bronchitis, and flu.

Lemon oil is stimulating to the brain. It clears thought and aids concentration. Is very helpful when treating circulatory issues including anemia, high blood pressure, nosebleeds (stops bleeding), poor circulation, and varicose veins, and it helps tighten blood vessels.

• #1 oil for treating gout
• Is a good oil for treating cellulitis and obesity.
• nervous conditions
• Is a great air disinfectant
• Due to its drying nature, Lemon is good for treating acne.
• Very similar properties to Lime. Can be used interchangeably

— Taken from The Rocky Mountain Oil Website.

If you only used this oil for kitchen cleaner, it last you a pretty long time :) – 8-10 drops a batch, is nothing.

I love this particular recipe. I have used many. Some turn out to soapy… some are to strong. Some aren’t strong enough. This one has been great so far and I love it! The glass bottle I got for about $3.00 at our Local Bread Becker store… (im spoiled by that store). I am pretty sure you can find these at Whole Foods though.

Enjoy!!


Be sure to use my coupon code over at the Rocky Mountain Website on your first purchase. It will save you 10% The coupon expires the end of August… so use it while it is still available. The code is: wood10 —-

***Little tip to remember the ingredient amount for when you have to refill your bottle. Write the recipe on some duck tape or adhesive of choice and stick it to the bottle! I haven’t done this yet but plan too… since my memory often times fails me when it comes time to remix a batch… ****

Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated for time or products used in this recipe. This is a recipe I use and just wanted to share. For those wanting to purchase Dr. Bronners, it is sold at most Target’s, Walgreens and whole foods. Its great stuff!!

If you like my blog. Please help support my family by…

“liking” Drea Wood on facebook.
Following us on Instagram.
Pinning with me on Pinterest.
Subscribing to our Youtube.
and if you tweet, I tweet too.
Thanks for reading. E-mail me with any comments, questions or concerns.
Drea[at]dreawood.com

The Boys Room’s

If you read my previous post from yesterday. You will know where this post is coming from. I talked about how I am not a huge fan of a lot of toys kept in the house. We have some… but I have dramatically cut down the amount by at least 50% over the last year. My boys had way to much… and I found it caused more problems than anything… so to keep that much, made no sense to me what so ever.

My boys rooms are not elaborate IMO. When we moved into our home, we did nothing to the rooms. We did no painting. We didn’t by window treatments. We left everything basically exactly the same as the former home owners left the house. While I would love to pour some money into the boys bedrooms to make them a bit more personal and more eye appealing :) – right now, its not high on the importance list of ways to spend money. They don’t seem to mind thankfully ;-) – and their bedrooms function just fine.

So lets get to it….

First up, Taite & Owen’s bedroom. They share.

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Each child has a dresser. The dressers we did label at one point when they had to learn where to put certain items of clothing away at… but now that they are a little older we really don’t need the labels. I sadly haven’t been able to get the sticky stuff off of Owen’s dresser yet. One day ill get some goo-gone and get to that. ;-) Both dressers we got for free from my parents. They no longer needed them. On each boys dresser we allow them to keep some favorite toy items to play with.

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Taite’s hamster is also in his bedroom. You may or may not have seen Taite’s old hamster Pip go Viral on youtube. You can watch that HERE if you want. Pip has since passed… and with his passing, Taite got a new hamster Daisy. She is a Syrian Hamster though so a lot larger than Pip was… which created more hamster pee. Gross huh? Hamster pee a lot btw. Pip’s old cage (the smaller one under the big cage in these photos) was to tiny for Daisy. So I created a BIN cage for Daisy recently and we love it. Its light weight… was inexpensive to make… and easy to clean. Taite take’s care of feeding Daisy… playing with her and so forth. I do however have to help him clean the cage since Taite is still so young. Eventually though he will tend to his pet completely. Thats the goal any way ;-)

The small table Daisy’s cage is on, we got thrifted for $9.00. Its solid wood but moves easily thanks to the wheels it had already on it.

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Taite’s smaller closet is full of a few favorite books. Misc. Toys. Bags. Belts. Etc. Not much really :)

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We do allow the boys to kind of do their own thing with their bunks. These bunk beds we got in exchange for doing someone’s portraits. The family had to move to Costa Rica… so the beds could not go with them. It was a win win. Thankful for the beds they gave us. They are made in the USA and solid wood. Im a fan of solid wood btw ;)

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As you can see. Those bunks are far from neat as far as bed making goes. Owen sleeps on the top and he is 4 years old. So you can imagine his ability to make a bed that high up is just not going to happen. On occasion ill make it for him, but it is not high up on my things to do. He doesnt mind it messy ;-) – Taite also has a habit of hanging blankets and stuff toys all around his bed. It drives me nuts but its part of being a kid. So I let him have fun and do it.

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They also have a larger closet in the room. It holds some clothing items – extra blankets and shoes. Thats it.

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Now onto Reed’s room….

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When you walk into Reed’s room, this is what you see. :) Nothing fancy. A crib given to us years ago by a former church member in NC. The crib is old and has the dreaded drop down side… but it has given us years of use ever since Owen was a baby. Works great and our boys have loved it.

The bedding in Reed’s bed is so old. The sheets are Caleb’s old crib sheets. So going on 10 years old! They sport Classic POOH hah… I am so not into that any more… but those sheets are so soft because they are old, I just cant part with them. The green blanket was Taite’s, so its 7 years old… almost everything in that crib was passed down. Besides Reed’s knitted blankets (made special just for him by his Nana). The Fox he loves because it sings. It is from IKEA… and he has a few other stuff animals in the crib he likes to play with during nap time.

Reed’s room has nothing else in it besides a dresser (which was my old dresser growing up, so another hand me down furniture item). The mobile hanging up was given to us by Aliesha when baby Owen was born. :) The room has no decor other than that… Its pretty plain. One day ill decorate ;-) – I hope.


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Now, Caleb’s room!
:)

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When you walk into Caleb’s room this is what you see. Desk and cages :) – between his bearded dragon… snake and crickets. It is a room full of boy-ness without a doubt. He loves his critters and I am all for it, as long as he tends to the animal care. Caleb takes care of cleaning all his animal cages. Feeding the crickets, dragon and snake. He also takes care of maintaining a clean room in order to properly organize the items needed to care for his animals. His one closet in his room (which I didn’t get a photo of has care items in it and a few shirts/blankets). Caleb does so well with this, if he didn’t, the animals would be gone. ;-)

The Desk Caleb uses to the left we got used at a yard sale for $3.00? – the red table we got for free from a neighbor (its solid!) – from IKEA. The Tank his lizard is in was also thrifted for around $6.00.

The Cricket Tank was also thrifted for $10 (new those types of tanks cost $50+). The dresser in his room (sorry didn’t get a full length one) Was also from my childhood, so given to us. The large red book shelf was given to us by the same lady who gave us the red table. It is also IKEA. We took out one shelf so it has room for Caleb’s snake lamps… the snakes tank was also thrifted for around $6.00.


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Caleb’s bed we did buy back when he was 3 years old or so. Was under $200.00 though.. so nothing expensive. Its held up great to many moves. His bedding I got from ALDI’s one grocery run day for $20.00 (included 2 sets!). They’ve held up well too and look fairly nice I think. Caleb does a bit better at keeping his bed decent since he is older.

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That concludes the dudes room tours. Again, nothing fancy. It functions for its purpose and we are so thankful for what God has provided for us. One day, when my kids are older, it will be fun to pour more into decorating and making it more my style. For now, this suites us perfectly.

To those curious btw, the little lamps clipped to the boys bed are also from IKEA. They love them!

DIY Sofa Cleaner

We have some beautiful Micro Suede Sofa’s. A friend gave us them when we moved into our current home. (I think thats the material it is but im honestly not 100% sure…) We love them… however with 4 boys, the color choice is not the most ideal. Our kids forget to take their shoes off… or sit down with messy clothes… baby drops his bottle upside down… etc. Couches, Sofas, Chairs, Beds :) – it all gets dirty with little boys… so you can imagine with my busy schedule keeping a sofa immaculate does not happen. As each passing day went by though I could not ignore the nastiness any longer. I clean the cushions often – they are washable… but the arms of the sofa you obviously cant unzip and throw into a machine. So I went online and found a few options for suede cleaner… and found one that I had ingredients for… so I had at it!

Here is a before and after shot of one arm on our sofa:

This is one of or sofa arms. So gross! The left side was pre cleaning. Man... Just evidence you do not want nice stuff with kids ;) - any how I used a vodka mixture to clean it and the right side is the result! Took me less than five min to do all the sof

Now…

Here is what you need:

1 Spray bottle (I had a very small 4 ounce glass spray bottle – but you could use any spray bottle from dollar tree)
Vodka
Warm Water
Soft Towel to rub with


Directions:

Take the spray bottle and fill it half way with warm water. Then fill the rest of with Vodka. You can obviously measure this to your liking. If you have a gigantic spray bottle you can maybe put in a 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup vodka. It works fine either way.

Shake it up.

Then spray it to the spots you need to clean. Once wet/damp take your towel and rub stain until it goes away. May take a few applications if the stain is bad.

Then let it air dry.

Thats it!

Some one had mentioned you could use rubbing alcohol… I cant vouch on this though since I did not use rubbing alcohol. I had a cheap small bottle of Vodka from Walmart I used… its inexpensive enough.

Let me know if you use it! Our couches have never looked so good.