August 11, 2011

A Thrilling Amendment to Our Dishwashing Detergent Recipe

(I want to amend the recipe below as, by trial and error, I have found a MUCH better and MUCH cheaper method of washing my dishes...I found the citric acid in the previous recipe was causing the detergent to not just "clump" but harden completely, making it useless. So I found a recipe for only half, yes, half the ingredients and it worked beautifully---and the best costs a penny a load!! That means you could wash dishes once a day for a full year at $3.65!! Who wouldn't be thrilled with that!?) 

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent
I wanted take a few days to share some of the changes we are attempting to make in 2011 before Baby Ella gets here. These changes for our family are in order to become more frugal, more eco-friendly, and  become less dependent on sales/coupons as we are slowly starting to see more and more policies in place that do not help the honest couponing person. Coupons are wonderful and have been such a help to my family, however, I wanted to begin incorporating ways of life that wouldn’t be solely dependent upon a good sale, perfect timing, rain checks, etc. I wanted to begin incorporating ways of the past, if you will, that have stood the test of time and won’t pass away with this fad and that.
Below are some of the things my husband and I have tested and are slowly making a way of life. I encourage you to check them out over the next few days if all things homemade interest you. Of course, for my husband, he is thankful mostly for the frugality of it all. I will provide a cost analysis for each of the homemade ideas that will show you how you can’t get a better deal, even with coupons! Hopefully some of these ideas will empower you to become more frugal and self-sufficient as it has my family!
Homemade dishwasher detergent (soap) recipe
  • 1 cup Twenty Mule Team Borax
  • 1 cup washing soda (Arm and Hammer is the preferred/easiest-to-find brand)
Fill rinse agent compartment with 1 Tbsp white vinegar.

Find detailed instructions, cost breakdown, and sources for ingredients below…
  • 1 – 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda = $2.19 - local grocery store
  • 1 – 76 ounce box of Twenty Mule Team Borax = $4.29 - local grocery store
  • 1 – gallon of White Vinegar = $1.79  Yet another excellent use for a nearly universal cleaning agent.
Prior to making our own, we used Finish Quantum Power Ball Tabs that we got a great deal on using coupons. However, we still get a better deal by using the homemade. Here is the breakdown in cost analysis:
  • borax - 76oz = 4.29 | 8oz=.45/batch
  • washing soda -55oz = 2.19 | 8oz=.32/batch
  • total for 24 oz (yields 48 loads) = $.77/batch (UNBEATABLE!!!)
  • white vinegar (as rinse agent) | 1gal = 1.79 | 4oz=.06/fill
(**note** you only need to use 1 rounded tablespoon of this homemade detergent per load.  If you feel it necessary… you may use a heaping tablespoon, but I do not.)
  • Finish Quantum Tabs Can be purchased w/ coupons at $1.75 for 10ct = $.18 per load. (So you see, even with coupons, the homemade method cannot be beat.)
  • Our homemade powder – $0.77 – 48 loads = $0.01 per load
Here are the cost savings for a homemade rinse agent that goes along with this recipe. We are satisfied with the result of the cleaner alone and do not feel the need for a rinse agent, however I have posted a cost analysis below in the event that you prefer a rinse agent:
  • FINISH® JET-DRY® Rinse Agent 4.22 ounce solution – $3.99 – 1 fill = $3.99 per fill
  • White Vinegar as a Rinse Agent 1 gallon solution – $1.79 – 1 fill = $0.06 per fill
If you choose to use a rinse agent, that is a savings of 6650% on an effective rinse agent! 
Give it a try! You just may be surprised how much money you’ll save by incorporating small changes here and there. I store my detergent in a small plastic container and keep a tbsp scoop inside for perfect portions every time. These are just items I had already lying around. There is no need in going out to buy a special container for this. Happy Homemaking!!

Interview with Mark Chanski--Author of "Manly Dominion" and "Womanly Dominion"

Here is a great interview worth posting in regards to the roles of Christian men and women. I've read "Womanly Dominion" twice over and think it's due time to pick it up again. I'm not a huge reader, yet I flew through this book because it was such an encouragement. I encourage any woman looking for biblical wisdom to find her proper role in the home to check this book out. Below is the interview with Mark Chanski to give you an idea of what the books entail.

August 9, 2011

Post-Ella Freezer Project Complete!

(.......sigh of relief.......)

I am thrilled to say that I am finally done with the "Freezer Cooking Project" for Ella. Though I will probably toss in a meal here and there as the mood strikes, I am thrilled that I have the number of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners hoped for in the freezer for those many days that cooking won't be happenin'. I wanted to share with you what worked for us in the process of testing and freezing. I have shared some in the past, but wanted this to be a help to anyone who had any major life changes (be it new children, surgeries with long recoveries, etc) on the way and wanted to put dinners back so more focus could be put on the other necessities of life. I will post a link to each recipe as I could not have done it without the smart blogging women who have shared such wonderful recipes with many families worldwide!

We have been able to put back 60 muffins and 24 breakfast burritos and 8 mixed berry smoothie packets for breakfasts, 24 beef and bean burritos and 15 bbq sandwiches for lunches---these will be most helpful when Danny goes back to work, and finally, we put up 42 supper meals.


Double Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins: - These are fabulous! When baking, I baked 2 dozen, a dozen for now and a dozen for freezing! Yum-o!

Fresh Blueberry Yogurt Muffins: - Thanks to some very sweet friends giving us a bunch of blueberries, I made 4 dozen of these. They are fantastic for those mornings where coffee is a MUST and muffins are a nice add-on. :)

Breakfast Burritos: The ones I like to make are simply sausage, egg and cheese burritos. Per 12, I use a dozen scrambled eggs, 2 cups of shredded cheese of choice, and 1 lb of cooked mild sausage. I mix all ingredients together and spice until satisfied. I simply wrap these guys in a flour tortilla, then in a paper towel, then in aluminum foil, then finally place several in a gallon freezer bag. When it's time to heat them, you simply leave the paper towel wrapped around the burrito and heat. The paper towel will hold in moisture.  This is a recipe you can tweak with different spices to get the heat you like. You can replace the sausage with bacon and also add peppers and onions. We've found that we like the simplicity of sausage, egg and mexican blend cheese with a bit of seasoning salt. These are perfect for having the baby in one hand and breakfast in the other! Very filling and full of protein!

Mixed Berry Smoothie Mixes: These are the Yoplait Smoothie mixes you can get on a deep discount at Publix if you hit the sales right. Ya can't beat 'em; strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with frozen yogurt and you simply add milk or juice (I love to add cranberry juice) and blend for a anti-oxidant packed smoothie on the cheap!


BBQ Sandwiches: My sweet daddy smoked a yummy boston butt for us and I shredded the meat and it made 15 sandwiches worth. We'll simply warm and toss on a bun with sauce and chips for a quick lunch!

Brown Bag Burritos: - Delicious and packed full of protein! Filling for hubby's hard days at work! You can also alter this to your liking, but it's a great base recipe.


Mom's Chicken Pot Pie: This is a comfy and cozy family recipe that is perfect for those evenings in with family! One of those meals that refreshes the memory of how wonderful the blessing of family is!

Spinach Cheese (and Chicken) Casserole: I modified this recipe by adding 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken to make it a one-dish meal. It is so very yummy and filling!

Chicken Spaghetti: - This is by far one of our favorites to eat and reheat! It reheats beautifully! We preferred to leave the peppers and pimentos out, but it is such a creamy comforting meal!

Cheeseburger Pie: - Some sweet friends of ours baked this meal for us one night for a get together and it was a total hit with us both, but Danny requested it again from me only two days later, so I just knew I had to learn to make it. Thanks, Jill for opening your home and for sharing such a wonderful recipe with us!

A few other things I've put away for suppers are quart bags of homemade marinara made from tons of grape tomatoes given to us by some of our church family, several packages of marinated pork chops and chicken for easy thawing and grilling and chicken and beef cut up for adding to stir-fry veggies and rice.

Our sweet moms will also be providing us with their delicious vegetable soup and chili recipes, as I'll never be able to make it quite like they can. This will make several hearty portions! So thankful for them! 

I hope these recipes will be a help to you if you are on a mission to create and put away some healthy (some not-so-much) meals for a busy time in life, whatever it may be!

I'm thankful for all the women, near and far, who were willing to share their recipes with me and make the transition to Mommyhood just a little bit easier. What a blessing!