Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

First of all, I apologize for not updating in a couple weeks. It's been more of a mad house around here than usual! I'm working on finding my own sort of groove as far as Time vs. Home Management goes and it is quite a learning experience. On top of trying to settle into some good habits, I recently discovered that I REALLY like Game of Thrones....so that has caused me to just want to cuddle up on the couch and marathon every episode I can watch. Good Grief.

Anyway, I would like to share with you today a recipe for Homemade Laundry detergent that I discovered in many blogs and books on saving money...with a couple of my own tweaks. I love this recipe. At first, it took some getting used to because I was so used to buying expensive bottles of name brand detergent, that forced me to use cap-full in each load of laundry. With my family of five, we go through dirty laundry like my kids can tear through a bag of candy and I found myself buying detergent on a weekly basis.

With this recipe, I spend less than $25 and because it is made up of all laundry aids and enhancers and not fillers, you use one scoop per load and this 16lb concoction lasts for anywhere between 6-8 months. Amazing, in my opinion and anyone that knows me at all knows that I LOVE a good deal and fewer trips to the store.

 What You Need:

2lb container of Oxi Clean
4lb box Arm&Hammer Baking Soda 
4lb 12oz box of Borax
3lb 7oz box of Arm&Hammer Washing Soda
3 bars of Fels-Naptha laundry soap
Downy Unstoppables Scent Booster
Containers that can hold 16lbs of detergent. I use two dry food containers I got from the dollar store a while back and the container that the Oxi Clean came in.

Again, you can find similar recipes in many blogs and books on frugal living. To me, this was one of the most important changes I have made, thus far, to cut down on expenses. My friend, Katie, has a recipe that makes liquid detergent, so for those of you who prefer liquid, I will post that recipe later on.

The first thing I do is grate the bars of Fels-Naptha. This is probably the most tedious part of the process, but must be done regardless...so I get it out of the way.

Now that you have broken down your bars of soap, you have to get ready to mix everything together. It's much easier if you use a tall kitchen trash can and a very strong trash bag (both clean, of course!). Ensure there are no holes in your bag, otherwise you will end up with powder all over your floor...yes, it happened to me the first time I made my detergent...there was a tiny hole and as I was shaking my bag to mix everything up, a handful leaked out on my floor. The upside was that the whole living room smelled fresh!

When pouring the ingredients together in the bag, I just poured half of one ingredient in, the half of the next, and so on, until everything was in the bag. Then take the bag out of the can and, while holding the empty space at the top of the bag, twist the bag closed and give it a few shakes to mix everything up. This is 16lbs of detergent, so it will be pretty heavy and you do want to make sure it doesn't just rip your bag. If it would be easier, you could use a large cooking spoon and stir everything up while the bag is still in the can.

You will want to to tie the top of the bag in a knot and situate the bag so that you are able to cut a corner off the bottom (without all the soap spilling out). Then, carefully pour the detergent into your container or containers.

It may seem like a good bit of work, but it is WELL worth it in my opinion. I definitely prefer to take the time to do this over spending around $50 or so a month and having the run to the store constantly just to keep out laundry clean. Plus, I feel that my clothes are cleaner, brighter and have a pleasant smell. AND I'm saving money on fabric softener as well!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter Eve!

Bippity Boppity Easter is indeed on it's way...

 Being that my children are still very young, I am taking advantage of instilling unto them that this is NOT so much a time for presents, but the celebration of nature's rebirth for the year. They receive small treats in their basket, maybe one thing they will enjoy (a toy, book or movie) and some sweets. Nothing big. I would prefer to save their anticipation for commercialism for the bigger events (i.e. birthdays and Christmas lol).

HOWEVER, I come from a family who LOVES to eat and believes no event is such without some kind of grub...and, of course, time with family. So, today, we spent time at Nathan's mother's house. She spent a good amount of time laying out this scheme of how the Easter Bunny had stopped by their house with a LARGE basket of eggs to spread around in areas where the plants are soon to bloom and while he was out, he left each of them a small bag of goodies. She also made them a cake in the shape of a bunny face. Of course, me being the forgetful person I am, failed to snap a picture before the bunny lost his ears to my kids' mouths. Easter egg hunting lasted for a couple of minutes, but I believe the real joy was spending time with the grandparents.

Tomorrow, we will be spending time with my family and, if weather permits, hunting more treats left by the Easter Bunny. Afterwards, I plan to spring into completing my first round of projects....such as repainting my outdoor bistro set, repainting and personalizing my "new-to-me" desk, and rearranging the boys' bedroom (even though I know it will be a disaster no matter what we do).

Being that tomorrow is Easter, there won't be a blog post, but I plan to update on Monday with the completion of at least one of the projects on my list. So for now:


Friday, March 29, 2013

Rainbow Cakes and Cupcakes

Spring is finally starting to make it's way into our neck of the woods! Apart from itchy eyes and sneezing, I love this weather! So to celebrate, I have started on all my projects with a BANG.

I am here to share those, and my other daily finds, with you all.

To start it off, I recently made a rainbow cake for my daughter's first birthday.

I LOVED the way this turned out! The cake looked tie-dyed on the inside and each cupcake was a different color. Not to mention, it was French Vanilla flavored. YUMMMM!

This is what you need:
-2 Boxes of cake Mix (choose whichever flavor you like, just be sure it's a white cake layer)
-A set of Food Coloring liquids (I just bought the Great Value brand pack that contained Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow)
-Your choice of icing colors and flavors, but enough to decorate your cake and cupcakes. I had three because of the different colors, but it was WAAAAAAAY too much icing!

Mix your ingredients according to the cake mix instructions. I used my handy dandy $4 hand mixer and it only took a couple of minutes.

Now for the fun part!! You will want to equally separate your cake mix into the number of bowls corresponding with the number of colors you want in your cake. I had four colors and I kept them pastel because it was for my little girl's birthday party in the spring...it just made sense to me! If you want more colors, you can always combine your food colors in the cake mix (ex. blue+red = purple), but remember, most of those colors will combine when you start pouring them into the pan.

Pour each bowl of mix into the pan one at a time. My cake pan is actually shaped to make a two layer cake in the form of an over-sized cupcake! You only need one box of cake mix for the cake layers, so when pouring in the cake mix, pour half of the bowl into one side (or round cake pan) and the other half of the mix into the other side/pan. It may not look like enough, but believe me, it will fluff up!!

Bake your cake according to the package directions. Since my pan isn't specified on the box of the cake mix, I went by the times for two round cake pans. Once the cake is done, allow it to cool. Then, using your icing selections, decorate you cake and cupcakes however you please! I used a spatula and a tipped decorating bag...I preferred the spatula because it didn't use NEARLY as much icing as the decorating bag did.

I only fit 10 cupcakes around the large cupcake on a 12in cake board. It was still more than enough confection for my daughter's party!