Thursday, September 17, 2009

Powdered Laundry Detergent

Sometime back, I wanted to make my own laundry detergent. Between eczema and psoriasis in my home, I wanted something gentler on the skin and really can not afford to buy the more expensive brands. I set out to find the ingredients I needed, but was coming up short. The stores in my area do not carry Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda. I called my local Kroger and they ordered it for me.

The recipe is as follows:
2 cups finely grated bar soap (I used Fels Naptha)
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda
Mix ingredients and use 2 tablespoons per load.

Now, I put all of my ingredients into the blender after I mixed them so I could get a finer powder. I washed a load with only 2 tablespoons and my clothes did not smell fresh. I could still smell auto parts store on my husband's uniform. I put them back in the wash and used 3 tablespoons instead. I suspect it was because of the hard water we have here.
I am going to try liquid detergent next, but it takes a large bucket and I don't really have the room for it in my utility room.
I don't know the breakdown of the cost per load, but I have seen that it is significantly cheaper.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home Management Binder

...or what I lovingly call my Control Journal. I originally got the idea from She helped me get my house cleaned up and a binder started to keep my home running smoothly.

My binder has several things to keep me organized. I printed pages such as calenders and phone number lists from another site called It's a wonderful site that offers many different pages. Another one that I used is I loved some of the pretty pages.
I have many sections in my Control Journal. The beginning consists of calendars. I have an eighteen month calendar page and monthly calendar pages. I keep my son's school lunch menu there as well.

I have sections for my daily and weekly routines, household cleaner recipes, weekly menu planners, finances, important family documents, phone numbers and addresses for family and friends as well as emergency numbers such as doctors and insurance companies.

I have a very special section for poems and writings that I find inspirational. I dotted everything with artwork that I have found on various websites to give it a pretty, Victorian feel. I have always loved the Victorian era for the flowers and beautiful dresses.

The sites I linked above can help you to start your own. Each family's binder is unique to their lives.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I need a snappy title for mopping, but can't think of one.

I own a Swiffer Wet Jet. I bought it a few months ago and have to say that the cleaner that came with the mop lasted a good long time, however, I don't want to continue to buy the refills. The fragrance is a little strong for me, anyway. So, I set out to refill the bottle myself.

If you try to unscrew the top from the refill bottle it doesn't want to open. Sneaky little trick from the Swiffer company to make you buy more refills. I boil some water then put it in a large cup. I put the refill bottle in the water, cap down, and let it sit for a bit. I then use pliers to open the cap. I refill it with my homemade disinfectant cleaner (minus the soap), but a 50/50 vinegar water mix would work well too. I was thinking of using a Murphy's oil solution in it next time I need to refill.

Another thing I do to save money with my Swiffer, is to make my own mopping pads. I bought microfiber cloths from my local Dollar Tree, folded them into thirds and sewed around the edges and down the center. It doesn't have to be pretty, just sturdy. Mine are long enough to fold around to the scrubber edge of the mop head. It works just as well and they are machine washable. I made myself two of them. I can use one side and flip it over to the other side to get more use from one cloth before I have to wash it.

I love my Wet Jet. The mop and bucket are a thing of the past in my house. I just can't justify paying the money and adding to the landfills to keep the mop useful.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A greener way to clean?

I'm sure, by now, everyone is aware that there are alternatives to commercial cleaning products. I just found out in January, but I am usually late for everything. lol I have asthma and was looking for a way to clean without using all of the harsh commercial cleaners. They send my bronchial tubes into spasms. Not fun for this good little housewife, not fun at all. So, what I found was some good old fashioned concoctions that not only get the job done, but don't interfere with my breathing.

Vinegar is amazing. It cleans, it disinfects, it deodorizes. Isn't that what we all look for in a good cleaning product? I know that the commercials like to boast that their cleaner does all of these things and more (if the stuff would do my laundry I might revisit buying it again) and at an economical price? Yes, maybe they do, but the effects on our health, the environment and our wallets just isn't worth it to me.

I have a couple of simple recipes for you. These recipes work in my kitchen and bath. The only commercial cleaner I use is Pledge Multi-surface. That stuff is great for dusting because I can dust my computer monitor, desk and pictures with the same cleaner and it doesn't bother my breathing.

Recipe 1

Get yourself a spray bottle and put 50% vinegar and 50% water. You can use that on anything except marble. From what I understand it can dull your marble. I haven't tried it on my endtables because I don't want to risk it.

Recipe 2

You need another spray bottle for this one.


1 cup hot water

1 cup vinegar

1/2 cup alcohol

1/2 teaspoon dish detergent

I use this in my Swiffer Wet Jet too...minus the soap as it makes the floor sticky.

These are just two recipes. I have others so keep watching. Try these out and tell me how you like them.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ever churned your own butter?

This is more fun than it sounds. It's also a much simpler task than our sisters of past generations had to endure. I completely loved making my own then serving it up on some toast for breakfast. It was excellent on fresh baked bread, too.

The ingredients needed are minimal. All it takes it whipping cream and salt. I have seen the method using a jar and a marble, but who has an hour or the strength to invest in shaking it? I use an electric hand mixer.

First you will need one pint of whipping cream. This makes about a half of a pound of butter and one cup of buttermilk. Pour your whipping cream into a bowl and use your mixer on high speed. Whip the cream and whip the cream. You will notice it turning into whipped cream then changing into a curdled concoction. Keep whipping it. After a couple of minutes it will take on a yellow hue and start looking wet. You're almost there. Keep beating until it separates into a solid clump and buttermilk. It should have a pretty yellow color and be thick, just like butter.

Then you need to strain and squeeze it. I put a small colander over a bowl to catch my buttermilk. I don't waste that because it is good for other recipes. I then take my pretty butter and turn it out onto a cloth. I use a shop towel because there is no lint. Wouldn't want my butter to be fuzzy. I squeeze it, over the bowl, until I can't get anymore liquid out. Salt to taste.

How you want to store it is up to you. I use a make shift
butter bell that is really just a mason jar. I pack the butter in the jar, getting as much of the air out as humanly possible. It's easiest to pack small amounts at a time. I smooth out the top and cover it with water then put the lid on it. I can leave it sitting out on my counter so that it stays soft for spreading. When you use the butter, just dump the water, use what you need, then refill the water. You can also refrigerate it, but it isn't soft anymore.

Start to finish, it takes me about thirty minutes to make my butter. It is a delicious treat that tastes so much better than store bought. Give it a try. It's more fun than you might think.

On being a good little housewife.

I am not going to pretend to be a clone of Donna Reed or June Cleaver. That's just not who I am. I strive to be the best wife and mother that I can possibly be, but sometimes fall short of the aforementioned pop icons of our time. Their examples are too much to live up to for even the most dedicated woman. Gotta love television.

With this blog, I wanted to focus on recipes, crafts, frugality, house keeping and the daily musings of my funny life. I hope that readers will enjoy this as much as I will in writing it. It's not TV, it's real life.