Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A few favorite recipes for the home

I came across a few fabulous recipes lately and am having fun trying them out and tweaking them. Because I always do! I have three blogs I'm really enjoying.  Thank your body and Maria's self and Being Frugal by Choice.

And then I've been devouring Robin's blog over at Thank your body.  I can't wait to make the dishwasher detergent and when my laundry detergent is empty try her Borax Free Laundry Detergent. I also want to make up some Natural Hair spray Key ingredient- sugar. We will see how that goes. I'm a leeettle bit nervous about bees, but she says she hasn't had a problem. I will trust her and report back :)

At Maria's self,  I made the toilet bombs and I pinned the Homemade Christmas spray for next year. I love fake trees, can't stand no smell and WILL NOT use the fake sprays.  She has a bunch of fun recipes on her blog I can't wait to try.

I loved the  Homemade shower disks in From Sarah at Being Frugal by Choice I can't wait to try her water Kefir recipe. I have my grains and am ready to get started. And I've also been having fun getting my January mantle up! Yes a bit late, but it will be fabulous and totally ready for Jan 1 next year! The kids and I are crafting our way to a beauty! I hope to have that post up shortly complete with pictures! Enjoy!

Dairy free Healthy Chocolate syrup for Dang good Chocolate Milk (Hot or cold)

We've recently re-discovered chocolate milk!! We found a choclate recipe we love over at Penniless Parenting.   I tweaked it a bit to our tastes. This was too dark chocolate tasting for us, so I added a bit more honey. Another recipe I used was too sweet. I can't seem to find the very first one I found that was perfection. Sigh! Need to save that link before I try something JUST IN CASE it's a winner :) Oh well live and learn. In the mean time my  kids are in heaven trying out different chocolate recipes- And I am in heaven because my house is clean. I am a mean mom and when they ask for Chocolate milk ( a TOTAL treat at our house) I say yes as soon as  (fill in the blank with the messiest room) is clean. They sigh and moan a bit and then get to it so they can have this delicious chocolatey treat ASAP! I'm loving my tidy house and they chocolate milk too. It's a toss up which I enjoy more though :) I AM loving that this recipe is totally healthy AND that I can pronounce EVERY ingredient AND  have them all in my cupboard!
 Here you go!

1 cup local honey- give or take. Make it to your taste buds approval. Local is good but raw not necessary because its going to come to a boil and you will kill the good raw honey properties. But if all you have is raw honey- use it :)
1 cup of water.  This made it super thick. Next time I will use more water.
1 cup cocoa powder
2 pinches of salt
1/8 tsp vanilla (optional- I didn't use it. I'm all about simplicity- and my store bought vanilla is missing and my homemade is still brewing. I gave it all away and didn't keep the finished for myself- what was I thinking :) I need to be more Scrooge-like next time I guess!!  )

Mix it all up in a pot and bring it to a boil. Make sure there are no clumps. Store it in a mason jar and wah-lah ready to go! I doubled this recipe and it fit in a quart mason jar.
Enjoy it wil your favorite milk (cow, goat, coconut, rice, hemp, almond or whatever you have in your fridge at the moment! :)

Powdered DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe for Hard Water

Laundry soap is very personal and depends on the type of water you have. I've tried several kinds ofver the years and I either had to use too much or it didn't continue to work on our clothes for a longer period of time. I love this powder. Super simple to mix together, no boiling and no grating. I'm all for ease! There is quite a bit of powder kick back into the air, so you might want to wear a mask and not have the littles nearby when you are dumping the ingredients into your bucket.Our water is pretty hard and since we are on public water so there is some chlorine in the water- which bleaches out the whites more than on a well. This is a the recipe I am trying out. It wad to to me by a friend. I'm not sure where she got it. If it looks familiar to you I'd love to give credit where credit is due.  I've been using it for 3 weeks and it's been great in our hard water so far.So far we've used I've filled my 16 oz jar 3 times. We still have A LOT in the frosting bucket (not sure if it's a 2 or 3 gallon bucket). Will we keep to this recipe?? I don't know.  I think it takes 2-3 months to really find out if the detergent is a keeper and if it keeps the white clean looking and smelling and leaves no build up.

As far as cost I'm not sure how much this cost me, since I had quite a few of the ingredients. I'm thinking it was around $22. We have no dollar stores that carry Oxiclean like some of my friends do in other areas. SO if you can get your Oxiclean cheaper or get your Epsom salts at Costco it would save you money. Still $22 for potentially 3-6 months detergent is a great deal. We'll see how long it actually lasts us. I do a lot of laundry. 2 loads a day M-F and 1 on Sat. If you don't wash that much then yours will last longer. I'm super excited that this is working in our hard water!! Fingers crossed that it's good long term!!!  I did tweaked it a bit- more Borax and more Epsom salts. They are both water softeners and we have really hard water and no softener. Here it is:
Hard water powder detergent:
1 1/2 boxes Borax ( 76 ounces each)
1 & 1/2 box Washing Soda ( 55 ounces each)
2 cups of baking soda
1 largest you can find containers of any Oxiclean (I used the big box at target that is around $12- think it’s 128 oz?)
2 1/2 bags Epsom salts (64 ounces each) (Costco- drug stores have them but the cheapest I found was Costco)
Essential oil  (I used 30 drops of lemon)

Add the Essential oil  directly to the salt prior to mixing salt into laundry mix. Mix it all together and use 2 Tablespoons for each load. The Oxiclean came with a scoop that was ever so slightly bigger than 2 scoops- so that's what we use.
I store it in a Frosting bucket I got for free for the asking from the bakery at a grocery store. I put half the contents in the bucket and rolled it around and then added the rest of the contents in layers and rolled it around.

Hope that helps you with your laundry dilemma!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A brief post on the amount of clothes and Laundry routine

A friend posted the question on a group- How do you tame the laundry monster? This has been a work in progress for us. I think we may have found the current solution for us, for now, in this house, with kids these ages. :)
Our home is one level with the laundry room next to the kitchen. The kids share a small room and we don't store their clothes in their room. This helps not only with laundry, but also with keep in their room tidy! Bless my surrogate Aunt Sooze, who gave us this idea when we moved into our current home.
Our laundry room is large enough that we have the space to fit the kids clothes. The kids "dressers" fit nicely. They aren't true dressers, but metals baskets from Ikea.

The kids each get 3 drawers, and then they share a drawer for socks and a drawer for underwear (each drawer has a divider for their items) They have 8 outfits and 2 dressey dresses (I have all girls) I do keep extras not in their drawers. Since we have extra clothes from hand-me-downs and I don't want to respend the money on it when we need it later, and also not clutter up the laundry room, I keep the extra clothes (that we love and are in good shape)  in the attic. I works out well since the attic is just above the laundry room and it's a quick grab if I need it in a hurry. We do one load of laundry daily. We wash on cold unless there's a need for hot( extreme dirt, or bathrooms issues). When we did cloth diapers, we did a load of diapers every other day and one laod daily depending on what stage of toddler we had. Sometimes depending on the kiddo we had to do 2 loads a day. Then everyone folds the one load and puts away. Because the kids drawers are right near the dryer, putting them away is a cinch for all ages. We also have three laundry baskets that sit on shelves for moms clothes, dad;s clothes and linens. So it's super easy to sort the clothes out of the dryer.
On Monday we do laundry catch up- all the church clothes and towels and sheets, and anything that hasn't been washed since Fri. We have 2 of every type of sheet. (Mom and Dad's bed has 3 sets- one is flannel) So the beds are stripped and made immediately. Nothing like going to put to kids to bed and realizing the sheets are still damp or not even washed! That has put a kink into a few bedtimes for us over the  years. Having two sets of sheets for every bed has helped immensely!
I'm learning about space lately. If we have about 80% of our space full- instead of 100% and clutter outside as well there's a certain peace. Drawers shut easily you can find things etc. The key is to have things in the 80% that you use and love. My kids are learning this super important life skill and learning how blessed they are to have and use and love the items they have. This has worked for us. I'm learning that ages and stages will change things up as will where you live and how your house/living space is configured. How do you handle laundry at your house?