DIY Household Cleaning Wipes Made with Viva Vantage

by Jennifer Wieland
Viva Vantage with V-Flex Weave #ad
Many thanks to Viva Vantage and Walmart for sponsoring today’s story and helping me clean up my messes!


The kids went back to school yesterday and while it is nice having some peace and quiet around the house I have to tell you that trying to get into a routine in the morning where everything is not complete chaos can be a real headache. Everyone is in such a rush to get out the door to the bus and the train that I am left staring at a table covered with the remnants of partially and fully eaten breakfasts that are usually sticky, icky messes. Honestly, that is why I am so glad that I have my DIY Household Cleaning Wipes made with Viva Vantage Paper Towels.

 The Viva Vantage Paper Towels are Viva’s newest paper towels and what makes these towels so great? It’s the V-Flex Weave that they have. It helps the towels to be able to stretch and scrub while maintaining the softness you’d expect form a Viva paper towel.  Another plus is that you can get these Viva® Vantage Paper Towels in Choose-A-Size™ rolls. Having the ability to use a small sheet for tiny jobs or more for the bigger jobs is perfect for me.

Viva Vantage with V-Flex Weave #ad


Earlier this week I made some DIY Household Cleaning Wipes in preparation for back to school. I wanted to be able to quickly and easily clean up after everyone left in the morning but I also wanted to be able to start tackling some of the bigger cleaning projects that I need to face but couldn’t with a houseful of kids all summer long. Making these DIY household cleaning wipes is so ridiculously easy that you will never want to waste your money on the store-bought ones again.

 DIY Household Cleaning Wipes made with Viva Vantage with V-Flex Weave #ad

This is often what my tables look like after any of my children have eaten there. Someone please tell me that I am not the only one whose children never seem to eat over their plate?

DIY Household Cleaning Wipes made with Viva Vantage with V-Flex Weave #ad

Getting rid of the mess is easy with my DIY Household Cleaning Wipes made with Viva Vantage.

DIY Household Cleaning Wipes made with Viva Vantage with V-Flex Weave #ad

The chemical free wipes made with Viva Vantage Paper Towels with V-Flex Weave made cleanup a snap! Thanks Viva for making a sponge like paper towel that can really scrub.

DIY Household Cleaning Wipes made with Viva Vantage with V-Flex Weave #ad


1 roll of Viva Vantage Paper Towels

1 4-5 qt. cylindrical container with a lid (I used a 4qt.)

3 c. white vinegar

3 c. filtered water

10 drops of lemon essential oil


  1. Remove the roll of paper towels from it’s packaging. Place the paper towels into the container. If using the smaller size you may need to squeeze a bit and push to get it in.
  2. Mix together the vinegar, water and lemon essential oil. Pour the mixture over the paper towels.
  3. Cover with lid and let sit overnight. In the morning open the top and gently pull the cardboard tube from the center of your paper towels. It should come out easily.
  4. Pull the towels form the center as needed to clean life’s large and small messes with ease.


Be sure to grab some Viva® Vantage Paper Towels the next time you are shopping at Wal-Mart so that you can also make your own DIY Household Cleaning Wipes that work great, are safe around kids and pets and have great stretch and scrubbing action thanks to the Viva Vantage Paper Towels.



Wilton Tour at BlogHer ’13

by Jennifer Wieland

I wanted to take this chance to talk about my Wilton tour in more detail. For those of you unfamiliar with Wilton, they are a company that has been around since 1929. They now teach people all over the world how to decorate cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats. They also manufacture many baking, candy and sweet making foods and tools. Many people have taken their classes and I am happy to include myself amongst them.

The welcome sign with all of our blog logos.

The welcome sign with all of our blog logos.

For many of us bloggers who were invited it was very exciting to get the invite. Many of us were very familiar with Wilton and could not be more happy (or giddy with excitement like 5 year olds) to get a sneak peek inside their test kitchen and product development areas. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint any of us. It was truly an amazing experience and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like being in a building where every square inch smells like cake? It smelled like my idea of heaven! (Yes, my idea of heaven is a bakery that has the best of the best and it all has ZERO calories!)

Me at Wilton headquarters

Me at Wilton headquarters

Our afternoon at Wilton consisted of lunch with a history of the company and a look at current and upcoming products. My favorite current products were the fun summer flavored candy melts and the Shape-N-Amaze Edible Decorating Dough. For anyone who has ever used the candy melts it is nice that Wilton is coming out with more and more seasonal flavors. We were able to try the Raspberry Sherbert, Key Lime Pie and Orange Créme Candy Melts. They were all good but the Raspberry Sherbert Candy Melts were my favorite. The Shape-N-Amaze Edible Decorating Dough is great! If any of you have ever worked in fondant to create cake toppers you know what a pain it can be. The Shape-N-Amaze Edible Decorating Dough is very easy to use, has some great tools you can purchase to work with it and best of all they have some great instructions online already. Honestly, with this anyone could make a cake that looks like it was done by a pro! The instructions are very visual versus wordy so you know how everything should look as you are doing it.

Raspberry Sherbert Candy Melts, Shape-N-Amaze Robot & my goodie bag.

Raspberry Sherbert Candy Melts, Shape-N-Amaze Robot & my goodie bag.

After checking out the new products we went to the product development kitchen and photography area. The product development area was fascinating to see them working on stuff for later this year and next year that is either being created or being decorated to be photographed for packaging or publication. It was interesting to learn all the steps they go through to say, make a new shaped cake pan. We also got to see some of the things being photographed for publication and watch the photo shoot. As someone who photographs food regularly I can tell you I was more than a little envious of their setup.

Next we headed over to the test kitchen where again I was a little envious. I mean really, who does not want a kitchen with eight stoves in it? There are three ladies who work in the test kitchen and I have to tell you a bit of a secret…. I really want one of their jobs. They are great though and do a ton of work testing everything to make sure things work and taste like they are supposed to each and every time.

Finally, we each got to pick two classes from a list of three. Our choices were Buttercream Decorating, 3D Modeling and Shhh, It’s a Secret. Since I had already been through three of the Wilton classes and am fairly proficient in buttercream I opted for the other two. The 3D modeling class was great! We used the Shape-N-Amaze Edible Decorating Dough to make Oliver the Owl. It was utterly adorable!.

3D Modeling Class

3D Modeling Class

Oliver the Owl Not to shabby for my first attempt.

Oliver the Owl
Not to shabby for my first attempt.


The other class I took you will have to wait to learn more about. You will find out more about in September when the new products are released. Let me tell you though that I am ridiculously excited about this! I can’t wait to make this at home and share it with you!

Buttercream Class

Buttercream Class

To close out the day we went to the Wilton School and Store. It was amazing to see some of the cakes that the students there have done! They are utter works of art and if I had made one I would never let anyone eat it. To much work and to pretty to ever meet up with a knife or mouth.

How amazing are these cakes? They were a couple of feet tall. Beautiful!

How amazing are these cakes? They were a couple of feet tall. Beautiful!

This day was just such an honor for me to get picked to go and to be in the company of so many great bloggers. I hope that Wilton invites me back again someday. If not I will make my annual visit to their annual tent sale (held in June) and shop until my little heart is content. You can ask my husband, he can totally vouch for how much I buy there.

The whole group of BlogHer '13 bloggers who attended the Wilton BlogHer Workshop 2013.

The whole group of BlogHer ’13 bloggers who attended the Wilton BlogHer Workshop 2013.

For any of you interested in learning some decorating techniques I totally recommend taking the classes. Especially, if you have kids. Those cakes from the bakeries can cost a small fortune! Check out the Wilton website for some great recipes, videos, how-to’s and ideas. You can follow Wilton Cake Decorating on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Baking When Half Asleep and Making Butter

by Jennifer Wieland

So what happens when your 4-year-old has not slept at all and it’s now morning? Your eyes are burning, you are still putting her in bed repeatedly trying to get sleep to claim her finally and you get the brilliant idea to make cheater cinnamon rolls. You get them in the oven using the last of your butter to only have it dawn on you that you need butter for the icing. So then what do you do? Well you make your own butter of course. I mean it’s the most practical option. You are in no condition to drive let alone brave a shopping trip with a bunch of young ones, one of whom is so tired she is no crying about EVERYTHING!

So this morning I made butter and cheater cinnamon rolls. Both things I will share with you.

I had this wondrous, half-sleep deprived, delirious idea to make a quick cinnamon roll this morning. I had a tube of Pillsbury Crescent Roll Seemless Dough Sheet in the refrigerator that I was going to use as my base. I got the rolls ready to go into the oven and as I am doing this I realize that I just used the last of my butter on my cinnamon rolls. Now in my current bleary eyed state I was in no condition to go traipsing off to the grocery store. So I did what any other crazy sleep deprived person would do… I made my own butter.

Making butter is a pretty quick and simple process and also works as a great science experiment with the kiddies. You know the whole liquid to a solid thing with something other than water and ice.

Butter & Cheater Cinnamon Rolls


Heavy whipping cream ( I used 2 cups today)
small amount of salt, herbs, garlic, onion, cinnamon sugar, etc. (only if you want it to be salted or compound butter)
bowl of ice water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, a blender, or a food processor pour your heavy whipping cream and start mixing/blending on medium speed. You do not want to use a hand mixer as your arm will get very tired. The cream will thicken and turn into whipped cream after several minutes. Keep mixing. You will then after a few more minutes notice liquid forming in the bottom. This is the butter fats separating from the buttermilk. Stop mixing at this point. Have a sieve over a good-sized bowl and pour everything into the sieve. Using the back of a silicone spatula press the curds to get out all of the liquid. At this point you can use the butter. If you want to stabilize it so it lasts more than a few days then you would put the butter back into your mixing container and pour the ice water over it and mix for a minute or two. Drain this using your sieve over another bowl. You can now mix in salt, herbs, garlic, onion, cinnamon sugar, etc. to flavor it. You can break it into small batches and flavor each differently. Place the finished butter(s) in waxed paper and roll them into balls or logs.

Cheater Cinnamon Rolls
makes 9 cinnamon rolls

1 tube Pillsbury Recipe Creations Seemless Dough Sheet
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350° and spray an 8×8 pan with baking spray.

Unroll the Crescent dough and rub the two tablespoons of butter over the unrolled dough, leaving about 1/2 an inch without butter on one of the long sides. Thoroughly mix the brown sugar and cinnamon and then spread evenly over the buttered area. Tightly roll the dough starting from the long side that has butter and mix on it and finish with the un buttered end. Firmly pinch or press the un-buttered end to seal. Using a sharp knife cut into nine equal pieces and place in pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes and the frost with icing while warm.

Cinnamon Roll Icing

4 oz. of cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer place all of the ingredients and mix on low-speed until combined. Then turn up speed to medium and beat for a minute or two. Use to ice cinnamon rolls while still warm.

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