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Rural Living

0 In Rural Living

Clean Moldy Caulk and KEEP it clean!

I’m going to be really honest.

I think this post may be the reason I started Trails Lead Home. I accidentally found a solution to a problem, and it made me so happy that I started bringing people to our bathroom just to show them the shower caulking. Weird? Yep. Worth it? Absolutely.

So here is what happened: I read somewhere on the world wide web that soaking cotton in bleach would clean tile grout. I have this ridiculous white-on-white shower that I hate (I didn’t choose it, we bought the house… it was built in the early 1900’s and the bathroom was added on in the 50’s).

It’s been tough- the yellowing grout, the crappily-done caulking around the bottom that turned black with mold UNDERNEATH the caulk. Yuck. I was honestly embarrassed to have overnight guests. I did not want them to see that awful caulking.. and even though I scrubbed the grout with a toothbrush and scrubbed the caulk- it was STILL DISGUSTING.

So I bit the bullet and bought ’em:

These long cotton coils, Cotton Coil 100% Pure, 40 Feet Per Bag, (2 Pack), cut into strips and soaked in bleach did like a little for my grout. Maybe it was a LOT whiter, I’m not sure. I was just too astounded…

Because what they DID was a total surprise.

Sections of that moldy, nasty black caulk all around the bottom of my shower had turned a bright, shiny white. WHAT?! The mold is UNDER the caulk! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!

I think it was magic…
but I wasted no time thinking about that before soaking those same cotton strips in more bleach and just laying it on the caulk all around the shower. I turned on the vents in the bathroom and cracked a window, and from that next morning on I have never been embarrassed of my shower again. It looks like a Mr. Clean commercial!

But how to keep the caulk so white? And how to get and keep that grout clean?
I bought this, and I’ve never looked back:

Wet & Forget 801064 1/2 Gal. Shower Cleaner

I just spray it all in the shower and leave it overnight and wipe it down while I’m showering the next day. The result is a CONSTANTLY clean shower. My heart is so happy.

Allow me to recap:

        1. Purchase Cotton Coil 100% Pure, 40 Feet Per Bag, (2 Pack)
          and Wet & Forget 801064 1/2 Gal. Shower Cleaner
        2.  Cut the cotton coils to fit your caulking/grout lines.
        3. Soak the coils in bleach and stick them to the grout lines(they will stick!), and lay them against the caulking. Leave overnight.
        4. Remove the next day and rinse wherever you put the bleach.
        5. Maintain by spraying the shower/tub/grout down weekly with the Wet & Forget! (If I am being totally honest for the first week I sprayed the Wet & Forget like every night just to make sure that grout was good to go.)
        6. Enjoy the SUPER CLEANNESS. So cleeaaaan.


If you have never used bleach on your tub/shower, etc. use with caution.
One of my best friends has this crazy tub that gets rusty every time bleach touches it. Redox reactions are no joke.

0 In Rural Living

4 Buy in Bulk “Deals” that AREN’T!

Living in a park means my life is VERY rural. I don’t have quick access to grocery stores, entertainment or shopping. For my pantry stock list, click here! So when A and I are in a city, which we call “civilization,” we LOAD up.
There is some serious stock-piling…. Grocery bills of $300, and if we didn’t have a deep-freezer.. HA. I can’t imagine life on this mountain without my deep-freezer!

Because of the nature of our grocery shopping, we also have a membership to a big box/warehouse store. You know the type- Costco, Sam’s Club, etc. I’ve known this from the beginning, but once you are in the store with its pallets, concrete walls and lack of amenities, it’s easy to fall into a false sense of security that you are getting great deals… and sometimes that just isn’t so.

Here are 4 Buy-In-Bulk “Deals” that AREN’T!

1. Special K Red Berries

Maybe you consider wal-mart a bulk or warehouse store as well, but considering that you do not have to purchase a membership, I consider it a grocery store. While unpleasant at best, it also boasts some cheap prices. One example is the Value Box of Special K Red Berries at  $3.88 or $.23/oz

At your local Costco, you can get a DOUBLE PACK! Must be a good deal, right? Not considering that sometimes there are literally 2 boxes inside of another bigger box…

Wrong.  It’s $10.49 for 43 oz. That’s $.24/ oz.

While 1 cent per ounce may not mean that much to you, it’s important to realize that this “bulk” deal is literally NOT a deal. There is more packaging, more waste, and it costs more.
Do not even get me started on Wal-mart’s Value boxes of Kashi cereal… the value boxes (IN THE SAME STORE) are more per ounce!

2. Kraft Mac and Cheese

Wal-mart boasts a $.10 win on Kraft macaroni & cheese over Costco, and shall we even discuss the possibilities of Amazon? Don’t be fooled. It’s more expensive on amazon!

3. Chicken of the Sea Tuna

Coscto @$.21/oz  vs. Wal-mart @$.20/oz

Yes, I know I am splitting hairs. HOWEVER, when you buy this huge pack of 12 cans, I just need you to be aware that you are actually NOT getting a “deal.” That is all. Do as you wish.

4. Tide

Last but not least, my favorite laundry detergent. Costco has this HUGE 200 Fl Oz bottle that runs (typically) for $28.99
Per fluid ounce, that’s $.14

Wal-mart doesn’t have the same 200 FL oz bottle, but it does have 150 Fl Oz, and it has it for $17.94, bringing it home at a price of $.12/ fl oz.

Okay, I know these price differences are minimal, and sometimes it is convenient just to have MORE of something in one go, but before you purchase in bulk based on a perceived “deal,” do your homework.


Here are few things I LOVE to buy at Sam’s or Costco because they are a great deal!

  1. Yogurt (Especially Greek God’s)
  2. Granola Bars (Huge savings on Cliff bars!)
  3. Brussel Sprouts (OMG. Love some Brussel sprouts. Check out my go-to recipe here!)


0 In Health/ Rural Living

3 Simple Steps to Optimize your Morning Routine

3 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Morning Routine

Mornings. Some people love them. Irrational, ridiculous people- and while we may not understand them, we must admit that they exist… and try not to punch them in the face.
I admit, I am most productive in the mornings. I just don’t “enjoy” them. Coffee helps quite a bit.

That said, morning people or not, we can all use a little help with our morning routines.
Thinking about habits and the order in which we do normal tasks can open up possibilities for less stress, more time, and maybe even more sleep!

Here are 3 simple steps to optimize your morning routine:

1. Start the night before

Whether your goal is to be able to sleep later, get to work earlier, have more time to cook a healthy breakfast, to be less rushed in the mornings, or if you are just reading this for the sake of efficiency in life, take a moment to consider the task that takes the most time to accomplish.

Hair?     Outfit?     Meal prep?

Maybe you have to bottle-feed a litter of kittens before work, I have no idea- regardless, there is absolutely something you can do the NIGHT BEFORE to make your morning simpler.

For me, it’s coffee.

The evenings I forget to set the coffee pot on auto-brew (I have Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker with Hot Water System!) make my mornings a little less pleasant. Like, I am truly disappointed when I walk into the kitchen and that little green light isn’t on.

When I am really on top of things, I lay out the clothes I plan to wear the night before as well as making coffee. I am very indecisive about outfits, and my husband sleeps later than I do, so instead of tiptoeing around the bedroom with my cell-phone flashlight trying to find some article of clothing, planning an outfit and setting it aside the night before makes my morning that much faster! (and much less irritating.)

2. Optimizing the order

Even when I forget to make coffee, or I haven’t even thought about clothing for the next day, the order in which I do things MATTERS! For example, when I do forget the coffee, making it will be the very first thing I do after waking up. This is the beginning of optimizing tasks. Every task you must do in the morning takes some amount of time. Coffee brewing- 10 minutes, showering- 10 minutes, hair styling- 20 minutes, makeup- 10 minutes, etc.

So, combine tasks. For example, I start the coffee and shower while it brews. I wrap my wet hair up in a microfiber towel like one of these (from this beautiful amazon link that also makes me money to keep writing to you!), 2 Pack Hair Towel Wrap Turban Microfiber Drying Bath Shower Head Towel with Buttons, Quick Magic Dryer, Dry Hair Hat, Wrapped Bath Cap By Duomishu

so it will start drying while I eat breakfast. While I eat, I go over the day’s lessons or read work emails.
These are such simple things, but the time-saving possibilities are huge.
What is there in your morning routine that can be combined? Could you plan for dinner as you pack a lunch? Could you start a load of laundry while breakfast is cooking?
Considering your habits is the first step to making better decisions with your time.
Everyone’s routine is different, but with some thought, you can identify areas in your routine that are taking too much time and pick out opportunities to create more time.

3. Make a Checklist

My husband is a piddler. That’s what I tell him, at least. What piddler means to me, is that before we leave to go anywhere he thinks of SOME 10-minute task he simply must do right then. Does he always really need to? No. Not at all. My favorite example is a time we were checking out of an Airbnb in Hawaii (Um, do you like to save time? How about MONEY? Read this post about Hawaii!), and the lock on the door was set to reset at 12:30… i.e. we had to be out by then. Well, it’s 12:29 and A decides that he simply MUST examine this desk in the living area to see how it works and where all of the drawers are and.. oh what’s this compartment for?
We had been there for a week.

To combat piddlings, or just to give yourself a more confident exit in the morning- make a “leave” list. My list is:

Feed Cats
School Bag
School keys
Exercise Clothes

These are the last things I need to think about, gather or do before I can leave the house. Simply running down my list will 1. Remind me if there is something I have forgotten or 2. Give me a confident jolt that I have done everything I need to do. I leave home without wondering if there is something I have forgotten. I just get in the car, turn on the radio and sip coffee.
Optimizing your morning routine is a simple way to get a better start in the day, and better starts make for better endings.


    1. Be aware of time.  Set a timer if you need to.
    2. If you are one of those people that can hit the snooze 25 times, get one of these alarm clocks.
    3. Go to bed at a decent hour!