How to Clean Disney Mouse Ear Hats
Remember how I told you that we went to Disneyland back in December?  Did I mention that it was the wettest day ever?  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the wettest day on record.  But, there was steady rain throughout the day with the only breaks in the steady drizzle being heavy downpours.  So, we got wet. Really wet.
 
We ended up purchasing Disneyland ponchos for ourselves and also for our stroller so we could keep it and the contents in it dry, shortly after we entered the park.  Only, our master plan didn’t work out so well.  I swear the rain must have been coming down sideways and upside down because our stroller and everything in it were soaked through.   By noon, Littlebug wasn’t able to use the stroller any longer.  But, I guess it was for the best because I could keep her warmer and dryer by wearing her in our carrier.  
 
Anyway, when we got home, I realized that my beloved mouse ear hat had not only gotten soaked but  also really dirty in the rain.  I had tucked them into the stroller when I realized mouse ears and rain don’t mix.  But, they fell onto the ground at one point and, like everything else in our stroller, they were dripping wet by the end of the day.   So, I did some research online to figure out how to clean my mouse ears without ruining them.  But, I came up with nothing.  Literally not one tutorial for cleaning Disney mouse ears.  I couldn’t believe it!  
 
I had to do something so I decided to come up with my own method for cleaning them.  I knew that mild soap would probably work best, but what type?  Dish soap?  Laundry detergent?  And then it hit me…  The hat sits on my head and sometimes my hair is damp or wet when I put the ears on.   So, shampoo would be the most logical option.   So, I held my breath and gave it a whirl.
 
I’m happy to report it worked like a charm!  My ears look like brand new and they smell good too!  
 
 
Here’s how I did it:
Let me start by showing you what my ears looked like before I cleaned them.

Do you see all that dirt on the bottom left of the picture?  Not to mention the dust on the ears!  This hat has seen better days!

To clean my hat, I poured about a tablespoon of mild shampoo in a bowl and added about 1 1/2 to 2 cups warm water, mixing with my hand to make sure the shampoo dissolves.

 

Then, I dipped a washcloth into the mixture and squeezed most of the moisture out.  I started wiping my hat with the damp washcloth, using soft delicate strokes.  I continued dipping, squeezing and wiping and that took care of most of the dirt.  But some areas required more scrubbing.  So, I applied a little more pressure and was a little more aggressive and that seemed to take care of it.  The hat is made of felt and seemed pretty resilient so I would bet that a soft bristle toothbrush would also work on really stubborn stains.

I ended up cleaning both the outside and inside of my hat and wiped down the ears as well.  I kept the washcloth pretty dry so that my hat wouldn’t get soaked through again.  So, it wasn’t really wet, but I still set it outside for 30 minutes to dry, just to be sure.  After it dried, I noticed a couple spots that didn’t clean completely so I touched them up, using the same method, and let it dry again.

And that’s it!  My hat looks as good as new!   Here’s a side by side before and after so you can see the difference.

 

Mickey Ears Before & after

Time to book our next trip to Disney!  Hopefully it won’t rain this time!
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How to Clean an Iron
A while ago, I heard on the radio about a method for cleaning your iron using salt.  I was intrigued and decided to try it.  I followed the instructions and was seriously disappointed.  The results were so minimal that you’d have to use a magnifying glass to see the difference.  Boo. ๐Ÿ™
 
But, now I was on a mission.  So, I researched some other options for cleaning my iron and decided to try a salt and vinegar method I came across online.  I’m happy to report it was super simple to do and it worked like a charm!  My iron looks amazing now!  
 
 
Here are some pictures of my iron before I cleaned it.  
 

Before
Not so pretty…O 1 After

So, here’s how I cleaned it:

O 2 S 1I placed equal parts (about 1/3 of a cup) of white vinegar and salt in a pot over low heat.  I heated the mixture until the salt started melting into the vinegar.  Then, once the vinegar started to boil, I turned off the heat and transferred the mixture to a bowl to cool slightly. 
 

O 2 S 2With the iron OFF, I dipped a clean towel into the mixture and rubbed the stains off the iron’s soleplate.  For tough marks, I had to use a little elbow grease.

 

O 2 S 3To clean the vents, I dipped a q-tip into the salt vinegar mixture then twisted the soaked q-tip into each vent.

Then, I cleaned the iron off with a clean damp towel.

 

O 2 S 6Lastly, I turned the iron on and set the steam setting to high to flush out anything that may have gotten trapped into the vents.

 
Final
And that’s it!  My iron is super clean and I’m pretty sure it’s going to work more efficiently.
 
 
 
There are still a few marks, but this is far better!  Extra bonus: The pot I cooked the salt vinegar mixture in is a lot cleaner too! ๐Ÿ™‚
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It’s no secret that I love to bake.  And baking is a science.  You have to have exact measurements and temperatures to achieve the results you are looking for.  
I was never great at science.  I got by, but I wouldn’t say that I ever excelled at it, especially at chemistry. I was terrible at chemistry no matter how much I studied.   But, for some reason I’m pretty good at baking.  I think it may have something to do with the fact that I get to devour a yummy treat when I’m done baking, if I do it right.  I never got to do that in chemistry. 
Anyhow, one of the most important steps for baking cookies, cakes and other treats is to start with room temperature eggs and butter, when it is called for.  Room temperature means somewhere around 70 degrees F (68-74* F is acceptable).   Most refrigerators are set to 40 degrees or below F, so using eggs or butter straight out of the refrigerator can really alter the end result of what you are making.  
But, if you are like me, you rarely have the foresight to pull out the eggs or butter when you want to bake.  I shared my method for bringing eggs to room temperature quickly here.  But, how do you get butter to room temperature quickly?  
Well, I simply cut the butter into small pieces and let them sit while I gather my other ingredients.  Usually by the time I have everything I need (about 5 minutes, depending on how warm the kitchen is), the butter is softened.  I typically cut my butter into about tablespoon sized pieces, but will cut it smaller if I am in a real hurry.  
And that’s it!  Smaller pieces have big surface area compared to their size so they will react to temperature faster than larger pieces that have less surface area compared to their size.  So, the smaller you cut the butter, the quicker it will come to room temperature.  

Check me out!!  I guess I picked up more in chemistry than I thought. Ha!
How to bring butter to room temperature quickly
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Earlier this week I shared this chocolate pudding recipe that I dolled up with some whipped cream and chocolate curls for a dinner party.  Chocolate curls take any chocolaty dessert to the next level. They look so elegant and can make a plain Jane dessert, like chocolate pudding, look like it could be served in a five star restaurant.  Your guests will think you spent a lot of time and energy making them when in reality they are incredibly easy to make.  
how to make chocolate shavings

Here’s how:

Materials:
Large chunk of good quality chocolate – I got mine at whole foods
Fruit/Vegetable Peeler
Body heat
Instructions:
I start by holding the chocolate in my hand for about 20-30 seconds.  Natural body heat will start to soften the chocolate. I want the chocolate softened, not melted.

Then I run my fruit/vegetable peeler along the softened chocolate.

If the chocolate is warm enough it will naturally curl.  It it is too cold, it will shave off in straight lines making chocolate shavings.  I find that both curls and/or shavings look great on desserts.  

I usually keep a small bowl under the chocolate to catch the curls/shavings.  That way I don’t have to handle them which could cause breakage.  Once I have enough curls, I place my bowl of chocolate in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes so the chocolate can harden back up.  This way they won’t break or melt when I handle them.

Once my curls have hardened back up, I carefully use them to decorate my desserts.  See, I told you it was super easy to make them.

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Weekends usually start with big tasty breakfasts in our house.  Pancakes, waffles or crepes are often on the menu.  Unfortunately, many of our breakfast recipes call for buttermilk, an ingredient we don’t always have on hand.  So my hubby and I usually play rock, paper, scissors to decide who is running to the store to pick some up.  
Well, I recently learned a way to achieve the same taste / texture of buttermilk with ingredients we always have in the house.  No more early morning trips to the store for us!!
How to make homemade buttermilk

Here’s the recipe for the buttermilk hack:
Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 cup of liquid.  Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.  You’ll end up with curdled milk that can be used in place of buttermilk.  

I hope this is helpful!

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