Category Archives: Laundry and Cleaning Tips

OPPS! I accidentally erased this blog; so if the second time around is better than the first, I’m happy to re-present “Sponge Wars- an Epic Day of House Cleaning!” for your reading enjoyment.


If they held a draft for the American Domestic Olympics today, my name would be listed in the top ten competitors having nailed Sponge Wars yesterday! In preliminary drug testing, I was clean, (unless decaf and cardiac drugs are factored into control calculations).

cleaning supplies


I channeled Aunt Bea’s near OCD reorganization and kitchen cleaning skills, and sporting my 50 Shades of Beige smocked apron, I was off like a shot, at 8 in the morning!   Competition broke for a quick PBJ around noon, but was back in full swing within a half hour.  The games ended at 5:30 when competitors were required by law to initiate dinner mealtime preparations.  (Spectators were bummed, but in the end, found themselves agreeing with referees on that particular call.)

I must admit, but not to Olympic officials, I had an unfair advantage over other competitors.  From somewhere in the distance, Aunt Bea emerged wearing the most adorable aqua blue printed Jersey dress, cinched at the waist with a thin silver roped belt.  I could tell the belt was silver by its dainty buckle, but the rest disappeared, dividing Aunt Bea into two distinct segments, like one grapefruit precariously balance on another.

happy face

As quickly as I recognized the sweet little old lady, I heard the word “Borax.” ( telepathically, I believe).

Borax has been used for cleaning and laundry for over 100 years.  It is a naturally occurring mineral.  I remember my mom always having a box of 20 Mule Team Borax around, but paid little attention to it.  These days, I find myself trying to find ways to cut back on spending.  The price of staying clean keeps rising, but using Aunt Bea logic, there many, many ways to keep your money while keeping a sparkling clean house.

I pay around $3.60 for a large box of Borax.  It goes into the laundry for stain and odor control as it boosts general clothes cleaning.  Using one combination or another of borax, white vinegar, Dawn dishwashing soap, and baking soda, I’ve cut out spending money on all other cleaning products, except laundry detergent and bleach.  I don’t buy shampoo or conditioner anymore either.  Shopping is simple, check-out less painful, the house is spiffy clean, and our hair is in better shape than it has ever been before.


So yesterday’s game began with borax in a bucket of water, a couple of sponges, about 6 clean rags from the rag bag, and a spray bottle of water and beach, and I was good to go!

Dinner last night was an old favorite from Marlene Koch’s first Eat What You Love book, so I flubbed up, missing my goal of trying a new recipe a day, but the kitchen was so clean and smelled fresh, it was easy to justify falling off the wagon, so to speak.

Corkscrew Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo quickly became Bowtie Chicken and Mixed Vegetable Alfredo as I used ingredients I had on hand.  Delish!

Tonight is Vegetarian night so I’m back in Marlene’s new book and going for Sautéed Cabbage, Onions and Apples.  A few ingredients in this dish include cider vinegar, caraway seeds, (which I may substitute with another kind of seed since Rich isn’t a caraway fan),  chicken broth, and brown sugar.

Nutritionally speaking, it’s 45 calories a serving.  Say what?!  In the Food Exchange it counts as 1 vegetable and ½ carb choice.  The Weight Watcher Plus Point comparison is 1 point.  The numbers on this dish are so good, I’m attempting a second untried recipe, this one straight from the American Diabetes Association.  It’s Low Fat Corn Bread and counts as 2 starches on the exchange.  At 150 calories a serving, tonight’s meal will be low calorie, but we’’ll have to wait and see if it tastes good and leaves us feeling satisfied!  (No wimpy food for Rich!)

So no Olympics today, but it is bread day and daylight’s burning, so it’s the blue gingham apron for Aunt Bea Me today!  Stay for dinner anyone?

retro-kitchen set table




Welcome to Aunt-Bea-Me, my world of domestic adventure!


Hi!  I’m Itty.  I could describe myself in several different ways, but  since I believe our passions and the choices we make every day illustrate our most basic qualities, I have to say that in my heart of hearts, I am and always have been a consummate home maker.  My personality is generally upbeat.  On the surface I sometimes appear to have a tendency to romanticize life, but the fact is, I’m much too practical to actually qualify as a dreamer.

Let’s just say my childhood was rather Bohemian in practice, a lot of moving around, shallow roots, big family loyalty, but nothing that embraced those outside our small inner circle. There was Mom and Dad, my brother and sister, and me.  I used to actually think we were pirates, and our car, the ship we used to travel to new lands in search of treasure.  The truth is I never wanted to find anything more than I already had.  I never wanted to be rich or famous, but the one thing I secretly desired was the planting of deep roots.

Like many Baby Boomers, I grew up watching tame television programs where every messy dilemma was solved in 30 minutes minus commercial breaks.  That’s when I met Aunt Bea, Andy Griffith’s jovial, organized, slightly a-twitter, (surrogate mother to his son, Opie), resident matriarch of the  house.  For me, Aunt Bea epitomized the concept of consistency, thus feeding my hunger for tradition and the roots that held everything else in place.  It wasn’t long until Aunt Bea trumped my list of heroines, that to that point, consisted of Mrs. Santa Clause and Ethyl Mertz.

Aunt-Bea-Me reflects that side of me; anything else I consider remotely descriptive falls terribly short of the bar I set as a child.  My fascination with Pinterest proved there are lots of women interested in reviving the fine arts and treasured traditions of home making.  There is nothing like the satisfaction you feel when creating something yourself; the only thing better is sharing the results of  your creative efforts with the people you love.    So welcome to Aunt-Bea-Me and lets have some fun as I, metaphorically speaking, channel Aunt Bea with all her dizzying energy across these pages.