7 Easy Ways to Remove Car Odors

This post is brought to you by Lustine Toyota.

Remove Car Odors

Scent is a powerful thing and is often one of the first things people notice when entering a new place.  For drivers that can be bad news.  Some odors can be easily avoided by not smoking or leaving food in the car.  However, other spills, especially with kids, are harder to avoid.  Take hope though, I have some suggestions to help keep you remove car odors to leave your car smelling fresh and clean.

-The easiest way to keep a car smelling good is surprisingly easy.  Grab a pack of dryer sheets, poke a few holes in a baggy, throw them in, and toss them under the seats.  They’re out of sight and will cost only a few dollars a year.  Easy peasy!

-If you’re not a fan of chemicals and want to take a natural approach I’ve heard that you can use fresh herbs to make your car smell lovely.  Buy a few sprigs of basil, lay it on some newspaper, and set it in the car’s back window.  There it will receive sunlight and will dry out.  Other aromatic herbs can work too.  Mint and thyme come to mind as good options to try.

-The next step isn’t too hard as long as you have nice sunny day and a water hose.  Clean your car mats.  The mud and muck can build up and make your car smellier than it needs to be.  A quick rinse and maybe a scrub will help keep your car fresh.

-If you still have a funky smell you can sprinkle baking soda over the seats and carpeted flooring.  Baking soda is one of the world’s best natural fresheners.  Plus, it’s incredibly cheap too!  Leave the baking soda sit for a few hours and simply vacuum it up.

-One unsuspecting place that can hold bacteria and mold is your car’s air conditioning system.  Fortunately, there is a $10 fix that’s easy to implement. Simply buy a can of air conditioner odor treatment spray, turn the air conditioning on high (with the re-circulation button off), and spray the treatment into the exterior air intakes (at the base of the windshield).  Wait ten minutes or so and turn the re-circulation button on and spray the treatment again into the interior vents.  Leave running to another ten minutes or so.

-One of my favorite cleaning products for inside the house can also be beneficial inside the car – vinegar!  White vinegar is super cheap and it works as a great cleaner and deodorizer.  We buy it buy the gallon for roughly $4 a gallon.  Mix equal parts water and vinegar to a spray bottle and go to town.  The temporary smell will dissipate leaving your car cleaner and fresher than before.  It can clean upholstery, windows, and hard surfaces alike.

-This next tip is one that we learned how to do when my husband accidentally left a gallon of milk in the car…for a couple of days.  Oops! He thought he just forgot to buy it.  If you’re a coffee drinker this will be an easy fix for you…and better yet, if you’re like me and continually accidentally buy bags of beans instead of coffee grounds you already have a good supply of coffee on hand. 🙂  Fill a tin or plastic container with about 6-8 ounces of coffee grounds or beans (beans are less messy) and poke holes in the top of the lid.  Simply leave it in the car overnight (or in our extreme case for a couple of nights!)  The oils from the coffee beans absorb and eliminate the odors and leaves a faint delicious coffee smell behind.

There you have it folks, seven ways to remove smelly odors from your car so you and others can enjoy a fresh ride around town.

How to Have Fun While Spring Cleaning With Kids

Spring cleaning season is here and with that comes the need to get the family on board to clean together. Open up those windows, get the air flowing through the home, and get prepared to make spring cleaning with kids a fun event with these ideas. This post contains affiliate links.

Spring Cleaning With Kids

Visual Timer

Use a Timer

Many children work best when a timer is put on. This timer can be set in 10-15 minute increments. This establishes a goal for your children to reach. I recommend visual timers for kids so they can see a picture of how much time is left.  (Here is a great visual timer from Amazon for only $24)  As the timer winds down, your children will know to step up their game and get that cleaning task done before the timer goes off. For each new task, set the timer again. This is a fun way to keep the family motivated when tackling spring cleaning.

Name Tags

Create Job Titles

For every family member, there should be a job title. This job title will define what tasks and area of the home each family member is in charge of. Giving each family member a job title will make them feel confident and excited to be in charge of their job duties during spring cleaning. Job titles can include fun titles such as Sweeper Upper or such to make spring cleaning a bit more humorous.  If you happen to be like me and have young kids who love stickers of any kind, you might enjoy making personalized name tags for them.

Put Music On

Music is a great motivator for adults and children. Consider making your spring cleaning a family dance party affair instead of a dreary boring day of hosing out the house. Have upbeat dance music playing that’s family-friendly to ensure everyone stays on task and motivated to continue on in their mission to help get spring cleaning done.  The Greatest Showman soundtrack is our current favorite.

Root Beer Float

Celebrate Your Successes

Lastly, be sure to celebrate together as a family whenever a large task has been accomplished. Whether you go out to dinner, make some sweet treats or have some root beer floats, find a way to celebrate together as a family to reward everyone for their hard work. When the children know a reward is the final step in this spring cleaning event, they will be extremely motivated to keep helping.

There you have it 4 fun ways to make spring cleaning with kids fun. It’s great to get the whole family involved in spring cleaning because it will take far less time to complete and it helps teach children the skill of learning what to get rid of and what to donate. As you work to spring clean the home, you can separate piles into junk, yard sale, and donate piles to venture off to the local shelter to donate any reusable items.  Speaking of, you may be interested in my 200 Things to Throw Away post.  I don’t really advocate throwing away everything but only after things can be donated, recycled, etc. do I suggest throwing in the trash.

Things to Throw Away

 

Ways to Refresh Your Home for Fall

Fall is coming!  Ya’ll knew that though, right?  As much as I’m still excited about our upcoming late summer vacation I’m also very excited about the fall season. …and the football, the leaves, the sweaters, the cute boots, and the fragrances of fall that come with it.  Oh, and the fall colors and candles too.  And pumpkins!!  Sigh.  There’s so much to love about fall.  This review was made possible by iConnect Influencer Management, Febreze and Swiffer was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Now where was I?  Oh yes, fall is coming!  To help you usher in the fall season I’ve rounded up 5 ways you can help refresh your home for fall.

Burlap Pumpkin

1.  Add some pumpkins.  Real pumpkins, painted pumpkins, ceramic pumpkins, or wooden pumpkins.  Any kind of pumpkins can do!

Febreze fall scent

2.  Refresh the scents.  To help get your home ready for fall Febreze has fall scented air refreshers.  Not only can they get rid of yucky smells you don’t want in your home but they can fill your home with dreamy wonderful scents.  Scents have been known to boost your mood and my family loves how their Big Sur woods air refresher smells.

3.  Hang a free fall printable.  The internet has a lot of free printables and I’m sure if you look you’ll find one just perfect for your home.  “Happy Fall, Ya’ll!” is one of my favorite fall slogans. 🙂

Sweater Pillow

4.  Bring out some throws.  I love my chunky orange blanket and white sweater pillow.  They both scream fall and are extra comfy while snuggled on the couch reading a book.
Swiffer Green Box

5. Give your home a good cleaning.  Spring cleaning is the season that gets the most attention but fall cleaning is just as necessary.  Fall allergies are up and at em and staying on top of household dust and pollen will help keep allergy sufferers happy.  Plus, who doesn’t love a clean and nice smelling home?

Giveaway! 

Enter to win one full size Swiffer and one full size Febreze product!

To enter simply leave a comment below and let me know what ways do you refresh your home for fall?

Good luck!

How to Winterize Your Vehicle

This post is brought to you by Earnhardt Chrysler Jeep Dodge

Winterize a Vehicle

Preparing your vehicle for the cold winter months is essential. You don’t want to risk breaking down in the snow or ice. You also want to make sure your car is safe for winter driving. Read on to find out how you can winterize your vehicle to avoid any problems!

1. Check the battery and cables.

Make sure there is a good connection between all of battery cables. Look for any cracks or breaks in the cables as well. Remove the cap of the refill hole to check the fluid level of your battery. If needed, refill with distilled water.

2. Get the right tires put on your vehicle.

If you live in an area where there is lots of snow, make the switch to stronger tires in the winter. Make sure you change all four. It’s not a good idea to drive with two winter tires and two summer tires. If you live in a very rural area, you may want to look in snow tires with studs so you can make it to work safely every day during the winter.

3. Replace washer fluid and wipers.

Driving in the ice and snow can make it difficult to see where you are going. This is especially true if you get behind a vehicle that is slinging the mushy ice and dirt your way. Replace your wipers so you have fresh, strong ones to take on the winter. Refill the washer fluid basin with an antifreeze solution, to keep your windshield clean at all times.

4. Create an emergency kit.

If your car were to break down in the cold of winter, there are a few things you need to have on hand. Water, non-perishable food, blankets, boots, and a change of clothes are all things you need to include in your winter car kit. Keep these items in your trunk all winter, just in case.

5. Don’t forget the ice scraper!

You don’t want to sit in your cold car for several minutes, waiting on the ice to thaw. Especially when you need to get to work or home! Place an ice scraper in your glove compartment or door pocket, so it’s easy to grab every morning when you need to use it.

6. Switch the oil.

Make sure you get an oil change when it is recommended for your car. In the winter, your vehicle needs thinner oil. So, for example, if you usually use 10W-30 oil in the warmer months, switch to 5W-30 oil during the winter.

Receutics Acne Clearing System Experience

This post was sponsored on behalf of Receutics. All opinions stated are my own.

Receutics

My skin is moody.  Truly.  It’s moodier than I am.  Some days it’s lovely, some days it’s oily, some days dry, and the worst are days when it’s full of breakouts.  It’s awful.  I feel like a 14 year old trying to cover up zits before school in the morning.  Flashbacks flood my mind from days gone by, I can see myself with my Seventeen magazine on the bathroom counter as I’m focused on my reflection while trying the newest remedy to prevent acne.  Oh my, you think that I would have outgrown acne by now.  Sigh.

Lazy Mom

This is a picture of me in my 30s with no makeup on and clearly no shower since I have leftover mascara under my eyes.  What can I say it was a “color my jammie shirt kind of day?”  Sometimes I’ll let my kids color on the back of my pj shirt with washable crayons and it makes for a nice little massage.  When their masterpiece is complete I’ll rotate the shirt around to give them a new canvas…and me a few more minutes of rest.  I know what you’re thinking, yes, I know, I’m a lazy mom sometimes.  I’ll admit it.

Because of the unevenness of my skin and regular breakouts I was open to trying a skin care product line from Rite Aid, Receutics Active Skin Repair.  Their Acne Clearing set comes in three separate steps.

Step 1: The Cleanser

Step 2: Breakout Treatment

Step 3: Clear Tone & Complexion Correction

My skin care

I’ve used this set for 12 weeks now and the results are truly noticeable.  My skin is smoother.  The blackheads on my nose are fewer, the whiteheads on my forehead are almost completely gone.  I still get the occasional zit but much less frequently than before…and my baseline is much better.  Even the “good skin” days that I had before aren’t as good as the bad ones now.  Being a beauty blogger (have you seen my beauty site, EmbracingBeauty.com) I’ve tried a lot, A LOT of skin care products.  Some have been great, many not so great for my skin, but this set is honestly my favorite acne line I’ve tried.  It makes me want to check out their Anti-Aging and Skin Care sets too.

This whole set was only $49.99!  In my opinion, that’s a great value for such an effective product.  For more information visit Receutics.com or swing by your local Rite Aid to try it for yourself.

 

 

Wet Ones Six Flags Giveaway!

I am that mom.  Yes, that one.  I always have wipes with me.  Baby wipes?  Maybe.  Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes?  Always.  As a parent I want my kid to have fun playing at the playground and with friends but when it’s time to leave they know to grab a Wet One.  Germs don’t stand a chance with me. 🙂  As a part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network, I am partnering with Wet Ones wipes to get the word out about the Wet Ones Six Flags Kid’s Ticket Offer (which is totally awesome I might add!!).  As a #WetOnesAmbassador I am being compensated by Wet Ones to participate in this campaign.

Wet Ones

I loved going to amusement parks when I was younger and I’m excited about the opportunity to take my kids to Six Flags soon.  We just got our tickets in the mail this week!  Along with my bottle of sunscreen and my tube of Chapstick you can bet I’ll be taking a stash of Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes.  They’re a great way to wipe off dirt and grime from messy tables but are also great for cleaning hands before eating.  They kill 99.9% of germs.  When you can’t get to a sink with soap, this is the next best thing. …or maybe better since you don’t have to wrangle the dirty door knob on your way out of the bathroom.  (Am I the only one who struggles with this?)  I love that Wet Ones are hypoallergenic so they don’t even irritate my son’s sensitive skin.  They’re great for even the littlest of hands.  They have added aloe and lanolin so they don’t dry out your hands – I love that because I’m also a lotion freak.  I just want constantly clean and moisturized hands, is that too much to ask? 🙂

Wet Ones Singles

Because you have to pack light when you go to an amusement park, I’m planning on taking a big handful of the Wet Ones Singles.  I can store them in jean pockets, back pack pockets, or anywhere because they’re so thin.  I usually opt for the travel packs to keep in the van and a canister to keep in my diaper bag.  The canister also fits in a cup holder.  How do I know that?  Well, I might have two containers of Wet Ones in our van.  We have a lot of cup holders and only 4 people so I might as well put them to good use, right?  No matter what the size, Wet Ones has us covered.  If you’d like to find out more about Wet Ones, visit WetOnes.com and see where they are sold near you.

Discounted Six Flags Tickets

If your family would like to plan a trip to Six Flags this summer you’re in luck because Wet Ones has a great offer to help get you get there cheaper.  When you buy participating Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes you can take advantage of a great ticket offer!  First, buy a participating Wet Ones product between 5/1/16 and 7/15/16. Then visit WetOnesSixFlags.com. From there follow the directions and complete your request by 11:59:59 A.M. ET on 7/15/16.  You’ll receive a discount coupon for a FREE Six Flags weekday kids ticket (up to a $51.99 value) with the purchase of a full price general admission ticket on weekdays or $10 off one full price general admission ticket on weekends.

Win FREE Tickets

You heard me right, FREE TICKETS ya’ll!  One reader of Embracing Homemaking will walk away with 8 FREE tickets to Six Flags for the 2016 season.  How does that sound?  To enter, comment below and tell me why Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes are your favorite compared to similar products.  The giveaway ends on July 26, 2016 at midnight EST.  Good luck!

UPDATE: We have a winner!!!  Congratulations goes to TIM!! 

How to Prepare Your Used Car for Summer Vacation

This post is in partnership with Dulles Chrysler Dodge Jeep

How to Prepare a Used Car for Vacation

It’s summer time again – the kids are out of school, the weather is nice, and for many families, it’s vacation time! The last thing you want on a family vacation is for the car to break down on you. Used cars are a great way to save money and get more value for your dollar, but since you aren’t the first owner, you’ll want to make sure things are up to your standards before a trip. Here are some important ways to prepare your used car for your family’s summer vacation:

Check the brakes before any long trip. If the brakes are visibly worn and thin, or if they squeal or pulsate when you press the brakes firmly, you probably need to get them replaced. If you are going on a cross country trip, you might want to have your brake lines checked for leaks or worn areas, too. Brakes are probably one of the single most important items on the car – even if the engine goes out, you need the brakes to get yourself stopped safely.

Check your fluids and tires to make sure everything’s full and in good condition. You may get the oil changed regularly, but have you checked the brake fluid and power steering fluid? How about the washer fluid? It’s easy to overlook until you need to wash something off the windshield and no fluid comes out. Make sure the fluids and tires are all filled according to your car’s manual, and you won’t have to worry about them while on vacation!

Inspect for worn belts, hoses, and leaks, especially for long trips. Replace a worn belt now to save money. Not only will you likely pay more for a replacement and labor or tools while out of town, a broken belt can damage other parts in the engine compartment. Check that all hoses are attached firmly and aren’t leaking. If you’re unsure about a potential leak, make note of it so you can monitor fluid levels each time you stop along your route.

Look over the electrical system. Many auto parts retailers will test your battery and alternator for free to make sure it’s not going to quit on you during the trip. Check all of your lights and turn signals. Then check your dash for any of those pesky warning lights that may need attention.

Get the junk out of the trunk. It’s an easy place to clutter, but you won’t want to wade through a winter’s worth of clutter to find what you need on your trip. While cleaning it out, make sure to check your spare tire (your spare may be under the vehicle or attached to the rear). Make sure it’s inflated, and holds air. Check your compartments to make sure you have a safe jack and a lug wrench, and a jack stand is a great idea to add in there.

5 Tips to Make Your Used Car Feel New

This post is in partnership with Dulles Kia.

Tips to Make Your Used Car Feel New

We’ve all heard the saying that a new car loses its value the instant it’s driven off the lot. That’s why you bought your used vehicle – to save money and get more bang for your buck on a reliable car! But we often fall prey to another tempting saying, “new car smell.” Here are five tips for making your used car feel like it’s new again.

1.  Get an inspection. Whether you are able to inspect it yourself, or prefer to take it to the shop for a once over, get your “new to you” car checked out. If there are any fluids leaking, that new car smell will fade when you open the door to the smell of hot burnt oil. New tires will grip the road more comfortably than worn ones, and feel better when turning and stopping. A lot of items are “wear and tear” parts, and can be replaced cheaply and quickly to make things go smoothly. These include the brakes, spark plugs and wires, fluids, and windshield wipers. Don’t forget the rear wiper if your vehicle has one!

2.  Wash the car, including the engine! Don’t just start spraying under the hood at the car wash, though. Disconnect the negative battery cable and cover sensitive components like the alternator and battery. Then use a degreaser mixed with water to cover the engine and scrub lightly with a nylon wire brush. Wash away the grease with the hose or a pitcher of water. A clean engine allows you to detect leaks and problems sooner, lets the engine cool more easily, and prevents the smell of burning fluids.

3.  Use a detailing or upholstery cleaner on the interior of the car. Be sure to test anything you put on fabric in an inconspicuous place first. Then use the cleaner and a nylon brush (many cleaners have a brush built into the cap) to gently clean the seats and floors, even the ceiling if you are feeling ambitious!

4.  Vacuum the interior to get that final clean! Many upholstery cleaners suggest vacuuming after application. I usually vacuum before cleaning to make sure I’m not scrubbing crumbs into the seats, then I vacuum again afterwards to get any dirt I worked out of the seats. Don’t forget those nooks and crannies between seats and doors or the center console!

5.  Add a personal accessory to complete the package. Set your used car apart from the others with an accessory you wish it had. Whether it’s a third party Bluetooth adapter, a phone mount, or even your favorite scent of air freshener, that little touch of you will make the car really yours.

5 Tips for Buying a Used Car

This is a partnered post with Kayser Chrysler Center of Watertown.

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Every year around this time, people start taking advantage of the nice weather, new inventory, and subsequent sales, and shop for a great price on a used vehicle.  And why not?  Used cars are an amazing deal, and the weather makes for pleasant test drives!  But when you’re searching for a used car, how do you make sure you’re getting a reliable car, instead of a lemon?  Follow these 5 tips for buying a used car to make sure you get the deal without the hassle.

  • –  Check reviews, both online and word of mouth.  Ask your friends and family where they buy their vehicles and how they enjoyed the experience.  Then look online for reviews of the dealerships you are considering buying from.  If reviews are split, you can’t be sure you’ll get a good experience.  If you are able to find someplace consistently well reviewed, or where your friends all had great help and a smooth process, you’re bound to have success as well.  A reputable location won’t lose their good reputation just to make a quick buck off you!
  • –  Too good to be true? Probably.  You’ve heard this one before: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If a car is priced significantly lower than others with similar features, age, and mileage, some red flags should be popping up.  Or maybe the car is listed at an average price, but lists “new tires, new radiator, new alternator, new AC, new starter…”  Practically a whole new engine!  Something happened.  Maybe it was an accident, or perhaps it was just someone restoring the car, only to move on to a different project.  Don’t run away from these red flags, but do approach them with caution.  Ask a lot of questions to learn the whole story behind the car.  If you aren’t completely comfortable with the situation, back out and keep looking.
  • –  Test cars out.  If you find a car you like, test another one similar to it.  It could be another used one in the area, or if it’s a recent model year you can test a new model.  This will give you an idea of how the car should drive as you notice little differences between them.  A seller won’t be able to tell you “oh that’s how this model year is… they all idle a little rough,” because you’ve already tested them out yourself.  Then test the car you want in multiple scenarios; drive slowly and test the brakes on an empty street, then through town for stop-and-go traffic, and make sure it doesn’t wobble or have trouble at high speeds by driving on the highway.
  • –  Check it out.  Talk to a trusted mechanic before you start looking at cars and ask if they’ll take a look at some used vehicles for you as you test them out.  When you decide on a car, bring it to the mechanic and have it checked out.  Many will do this for free, and it will give you peace of mind about a vehicle before buying.  Make sure to ask the seller if you can take their vehicle to your mechanic to have it checked out first – it’s their car, after all.  But if they refuse, it’s likely they have something they don’t want you to find.  Keep the list the mechanic gives you, so if you do purchase the car you know exactly what needs done.
  • –  Negotiate.  Most sellers, both dealerships and private, list at a higher price in hopes that you’ll pay it.  They expect some amount of negotiation, and that’s worked into the price.  Don’t be afraid to point out a similar vehicle at a lower price somewhere else, or to mention items your mechanic found as a reason to lower the price.  They have a price in mind that they’ll sell for, and it’s almost always lower than they initially listed.

4 Things to Update When Buying a Used Car

This is a partnered post with Kayser Chrysler Center

Used Car Tips

So you’ve just bought a used vehicle.  You got a good price, saved a ton off the sticker of a ‘new’ car, and got the perfect car that’s ‘new to you’!  But, as much as you might take care of your new vehicle, you don’t know how the previous owner did things.  A report can show whether it’s been in an accident, but not whether the owners kept up with scheduled maintenance or fixed parts on the brink of failure.  Follow these four things to always update when you get a used car to make sure you’re ready to go anywhere, anytime.

  • –  Replace the maintenance items first thing, if they’re looking worn or you can’t tell if they’ve been kept up.  Depending where you buy your used vehicle, you may not know if the brakes have ever been replaced, for example.  Check your car’s manual to see what items should have received maintenance up to the current mileage, then inspect or replace them promptly.  Some of them might surprise you, like lubricating and cleaning the seat belt retractor!  These items are in the manual for a reason, and keeping them up to date will help keep your family safe.
  • –  Check the commonly worn down items to make sure they’ve got some life left in them.  Fluids might need topped off or replaced.  Have the battery and alternator checked, especially before winter!  And make sure your tires are inflated properly and still have enough tread left on them.
  • –  Change any worn belts or hoses to prevent a breakage at the worst moment.  You know, like in the middle of a hot or freezing day, with kids in the car, on your way to work.  Having all your hoses in good condition will help prevent leaks and reduce the amount of upkeep you have to do, too!
  • –  Add in the ‘extra’ items.  These items are ones you typically don’t think of until you don’t have them.  Extra fuses of various sizes can be stored in the glove compartment or special slots near the fuse box.  Maybe you like to keep a tire inflator or jump starter in the car?  And always ensure the spare tire, jack, and lug wrench are present and in good condition.  You won’t enjoy that hot or freezing day on the side of the road taking a tire off, only to discover you have no working spare to put back on!

These are my top four things to update when buying a used car.  Did I leave anything off that you would include?