Baking Soda: Saving you from smells since long, long ago!

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s that I have two large dogs. Maybe it’s the thousands of pounds of military gear stored in our closets. Whatever it is, my house has been feeling stale, as of late. You know what I’m talking about. I come down the stairs each morning, wrinkle my nose and think, “Yuck. I’ve got to do something about this.” Well, yesterday was the day.

It all started when I was organizing my baking shelf. I was putting chocolate chips of all sizes into mason jars for prettier storage. But when I opened one of my larger jars, I noticed a stink. Old tomato sauce. There were no stains and it had obviously been washed, yet the strong scent of Italy remained. I saw my enormous, BJ’s-sized bag of baking soda on the floor of the pantry and had an idea.Baking Soda Economy SizeI dropped about a tablespoon of baking soda into the jar, replaced the lid and shook and swished and coated the insides with powder. Then I re-opened, dumped the baking soda into the trash, wiped out the jar and took a whiff. I was pleasantly surprised. FRESHNESS! It was in that moment that I realized the bigger fix- I would attempt to deodorize my carpets with baking soda! (Moms of the 1950s are collectively shaking their heads at this millennial.)

Yesterday morning, I vacuumed the downstairs- pulling up all sorts of dust and dog hair. Then as soon as I had put Madeline down for her nap and put the dogs into their crates, I started sprinkling the fairy dust, generously coating all of the carpet.
Baking Soda Carpet DeodorizerNext, I swept the carpets, breaking up big rocks of baking soda, making sure it all really penetrated. Then I put my feet up and watched last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy (this cleaning thing is too easy- somebody pass the bonbons). Finally, just as Madeline was starting to stir, I vacuumed again. I used long, slow strokes on the carpet, making sure all of the debris was picked up.There was a LOT of powder in my canister. I emptied it at least 3-4 times before I was finished. And as was the case with the smelly mason jar, I shoved my nose into the carpet, breathed deep and found…FRESHNESS! No wet dog smells. No spilt milk smells. Just the smell of a clean carpet. Super gratifying.
After Baking Soda Carpet DeoderizerNote: If you don’t have a Dyson or another equally powerful, bagless vacuum, you might want to rethink attempting this project, as it could damage your machine.

This morning I opened my refrigerator and noticed a bit of funk, probably due to the fish I’m defrosting for dinner at my friend’s house tonight. You can bet your bottom dollar I ran to the pantry for a bowl of my beloved baking soda. The odor is already mostly diffused!

So I guess you could say I went old school on this one. Back to basics. Whatever works, I say, and baking soda does just that!

Besides baking and deodorizing, what are you using baking soda for?? Inquiring moms want to know…

Uwharrie National Forest- the perfect place to relax after a busy week.

Uwharrie National ForestSunday morning started out like any other. A kitchen clean-up, coffee, breakfast and milling around. We had the back door cracked and Andrew had re-filled the bird feeder, so we sat looking out at the hints of green grass and chirping birds, as a cool breeze rushed through the house.

“I can’t stay inside today. Let’s go somewhere. The beach. The Biltmore. Something closer. And let’s bring the dogs,” I said.

Andrew had been sitting at the kitchen table and started Googling.

“Okay. We’re going to Uwharrie National Forest,” he said.

We left the house 30 minutes later, the VUE filled to the brim with eager people and puppies.

We stopped for an early lunch in Pinehurst at the only thing open at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning (thanks, The South)- Li’l Dino’s Deli, a deli with a drive through, which I’ve decided is genius, whose sandwich offerings were a generous 8 inches or 16 inches. Andrew chose the Li’l Dino, all the way (does anyone know what all the way means??), and I had the meatball hero. Both were awesome! I suspect Li’l Dino himself is a North Carolina transplant by way of New York, because there was real Italian meats and real Italian sauce. If you ever find yourself passing through Pinehurst, NC (perhaps for a US Open), pay my pal Li’l Dino a visit and try the sweet tea! You won’t regret it.

What we though would be an hour and a half drive ended up being closer to two and a half hours, by the time we got to the Robins Branch Road Trailhead. That was fine by us, since we had the windows rolled down the whole time, soaking up all 70 of the degrees this first day of March had to offer.

We started off for our trail, Andrew with his backpack of water and snacks (that I insisted on), me with Madeline on my back in the Becco and the dogs, just happy to be out of the car and off-leash. Less than half a mile into the woods, we came the start of our hike- Hannah’s Creek Trail.

This trail was perfect for us- about three miles out and back, not too steep (just a few rolling hills), soft ground and gorgeous scenery- a dome of trees overhead for much of the trail, ferns (apparently this trail gets called Fern Gully), huge boulders and a creek perfect for the dogs to cool down in. We passed a few other hikers, young and old, lots of dogs and even a few riders on horseback, but for the most part we found ourselves alone on the trail with no one in sight. It was intimate and relaxing- exactly what we needed after a busy week.

When we made it back to the car, we pulled off our shoes and socks, wiggled our toes and rolled the windows back down for the lovely drive home to Fort Bragg. As a treat, we even stopped at McDonalds for dipped and un-dipped ice cream cones!

If all Sundays could be like yesterday- good weather, good food, hiking in nature with the ones I love and ice cream- I could never complain.

weathering the storm.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled reading to bring you:

Snowpocalypse Version 2.0.

A huge snow storm hit North Carolina last week, and Mother Nature tried her hardest to foil all of our plans. Andrew’s mom, Helen, was supposed to fly in Wednesday night for a visit, but on Tuesday night her flight was cancelled ahead of the weather. After some finagling and a call to Jet Blue, we got her switched to a flight first thing Wednesday morning, one of the only ones to make it into Raleigh all week.

The moment Helen stepped foot in our house, the snow started falling and didn’t stop for two whole days.

We spent a lot of our time together catching up and telling stories and laughing and playing with Madeline and watching Olympics and playing Scrabble and eating and drinking wine in our sweatpants. It was actually some much-apprecaited forced relaxation/fun.

Our Valentine’s day was super fun, but unfortunately, our Valentine’s gift to Grandmother- a shipment of Jack Stack BBQ, from her hometown of Kansas City- was delayed due to the weather and didn’t arrive while she was here. Anyone who has tried their baked beans and brisket knows what a HUGE disappointment this was for us.

On Saturday morning, the sun finally came out and melted the snow, and we fled the house! My mother-in-law treated me to a rejuvenating pedicure and eyebrow wax, while Andrew picked up more wine, crayons and sidewalk chalk with Maddie. We grabbed lunch from Chik-fil-a, a treat for our West Coast mama. Then Madeline napped, while Helen and I caught up on Downton Abbey (can we give Anna a break yet!?! seriously…). Late that afternoon, we took the puppies to the lake for a much-needed romp and release of cabin-fever energy- theirs and ours.

Another casualty of the storm was our squadron’s military formal, which had been scheduled for Thursday evening. The ball ended up being rescheduled for Sunday, but by then our built-in-babysitter, Grandmother, had already flown home. Luckily, our regular sitter was available last minute, so we gussied up for a lovely night out at the famous Pinehurst Resort.
5 73 CAV Ball

Just when we thought we’d weathered the storm, my mom, who was scheduled to fly in this morning texted me last night- her flight had been cancelled due to impending weather in New York. If we learned anything from Helen’s traveling debacle, it’s that it’s better to get stuck at your destination than to be stuck in an airport like Tom Hanks in The Terminal. So Grandma got herself onto a late-night flight last night- one complete with a fuel problem (no fuel in the plane before take off), a car accident (that prevented the fuel truck from reaching their plane) and an on-board fight (over a loud-talker being told by another passenger to use her inside voice) – and landed in Raleigh at 11:15PM. We made it home to Fort Bragg by 1AM and were up with the chirping birds this morning.

It’s looking and feeling a lot like spring today- temps will be soaring up to the high sixties and low seventies all week, the grass is starting to turn green and our chalk and bubbles are ready to go! Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of the snow…