While I’m Taking It Easy

I’m afraid that I’ve had to enable full comment moderation. Holy cow, have I been getting the spam the last few days!

Sorry if that causes problems, bear with me while I try and get rid of them permanently. Something with my spam catcher isn’t working right.

No Lie- Homemade Laundry Detergent!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen countless times over in the blogosphere where people have been making their own laundry detergent. I’ve read hundreds of posts on it, and while it totally ingtrigued me, I just wasn’t sold that it actually worked. I have always been particular about the detergent we used- we used Tide with Bleach for years, until they changed to the bleach alternative. Then we had to stop using Tide because the alternative gave my kids a rash. So we switched to Gain with Bleach, because we could find it, and oh, it made laundry smell great, and it worked well. By working well, I mean that it gets my husband’s construction dirt out of his clothes. He works for a company that installs water and sewer… so you can imagine the crud he brings home on his pants. Our laundry detergent must get his clothes clean.

But a few weeks ago, a fellow blogger who’s inspired me several times over shared that she actually switched to homemade detergent, and she found it worked great. Michele, from Ripening On The Vine tweaked a recipe she found to work perfectly for their family. And as the last few weeks went by, I just couldn’t ignore what she had said, so on my last trip to the big grocery store, I picked up the necessary ingredients, because I just had to try this homemade detergent for myself.

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Here are the ingredients necessary. I had the hardest time finding the Fels-Naptha soap, but eventually found it by the bar soap for people. I found this kind of funny, because it says right on the package that it’s a bar soap for laundry. But there it was, at just 99 cents a bar. I picked up two, optimistic that it would work well. The large box of Borax cost me $2.99, the large box of Washing Soda cost me $2.99, the small can of Oxy-Clean cost me $2.99, and the large box of baking soda cost me $1.47. Right there, using one bar of Fels-Naptha, we’re up to not quite $12 for one batch of detergent. I don’t know where you’ve been shopping lately, but I’m having a really difficult time finding quality, additive free detergent for less than $13. And these large boxes of stuff will easily make 10 or more batches, the only things I’ll need to replace after a while will be the Fels Naptha and the Oxy-Clean.

The procedure was crazily easy. Literally, I measured the ingredients and dumped them in a bucket. Then I grabbed my box grater and grated one entire bar of Fels Naptha. I decided that my shreds weren’t fine enough though and gave them a quick whir in the food processor to chop them finer. Then I mixed that into the powdered ingredients, and it was good to go. I wasted no time loading the washer up with a good assortment of laundry, and adding just 3 tablespoons of detergent to the washer.

I was so rewarded when the laundry came out of the dryer. First of all, there was no odor- the laundry just smelled clean and fresh and wonderful. And it was clean! I had a small grease spot on a pair of capris that’s been there for forever. Guess what? It’s gone! We still have to test on Andy’s laundry, but I’ve done several loads, and I am beyond impressed with this homemade detergent. And- I use cold water to wash my laundry! It worked with cold water, which is always a concern here.

I can’t really tell you how thrilled I am that this worked. I don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals ruining our laundry, or giving the kids rashes, and I am going to save a ton of money. Michele figures that one batch of detergent will wash about 40 loads. Like I said, I’ll keep track and try to report back my actual laundry detergent savings over a period of about six months or so. Thanks so much Michele for the encouragement! If you’re reading this and you’re local, Woodman’s markets in Green Bay and Appleton have everything you need. Look for the Fels Naptha by the bath soap- it’s on the bottom shelf.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer baking soda
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1/3 cup of Oxy Clean (I used a generic brand, not the high priced name brand stuff)
One bar of Fels Naptha soap (grated then processed in a food processor – you could use a box graer for this)

Mix everything very well then put it into a storage container. Use 2 to 3 Tbsp. per load.

Very Quick Menu Plan Monday

I’m scrambling a bit this morning, but since I actually have some semblance of a meal plan this morning, I really wanted to get it down. The last few weeks have seen us busy, and also seen us in some hot sticky and unexpected salad weather! This week I only have a partial meal plan, as we’ll be gone for the weekend celebrating with family, so we won’t be home to cook. I do have a whole plethora of goodies and treats I’ll be making to take along, but since I haven’t nailed those down yet, I won’t share them here.

Don’t forget to check out all the other Menu Planning Monday action over at

There’s lots of inspiration out there!

Sunday: Homemade pizza, fruit salad

Monday: French Toast with fresh strawberry sauce, bacon

Tuesday: Polenta with farmer’s market finds (basically- it’s a surprise!)

Wednesday: Burgers, salad, veg and dip

Thursday: Roasted Chicken, grilled potatoes, fresh veggie medley

Menu Plan Monday: Week of June 8th

It’s been a few weeks since I actually menu planned.  We’ve been a bit busy, and we’ll continue to be quite busy through this week, however, I have a fridge full of leftovers that need to be used in a myriad of ways, so I figured I needed to menu plan to utilize them all.

As always, and even on the weeks I end up not participating, you can always get tons of menu planning inspiration from I’m An Organizing Junkie.

Monday: BBQ Chicken Pizza, Veg & Dip, Fruit

Tuesday: Taco Soup, Salad

Wednesday: Enchiladas, Salad

Thursday: Cheesy Chicken Vermicelli

Friday: Strawberry Waffles

Saturday: TBD

Menu Plan Monday

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I’m on the ball this week!  I actually had my menu plan written Wednesday of last week, and had planned on going grocery shopping Thursday… well, there was a snafu and we didn’t get paid until Friday, so the shopping was done Friday instead.  And that worked out better anyway because we planned an impromptu get-together with friends for Saturday and I was able to pick up a few things while I was out running around.

Anyway.  This week, I decided to force myself to choose a recipe from a cookbook I haven’t cooked from yet.  I chose Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite, because so many of his recipes appeal to me.  I love his philosophy to eat healthfully, and enjoy all things in moderation.  Yet the guy has numerous restaurants with many fancy awards and stars, so clearly, he knows how to cook and how to run a restaurant.  Will his recipes hold up? That is the question.  I have two recipes on the menu, and am contemplating a third for me for lunches for the week.  Wednesday’s shrimp and Friday’s lamb are both from this book.  I will say,the lamb right now is looking like a pretty big if… we have plans for Friday night, and we may decide to do something different.

AS it is with every week I participate in Menu Plan Monday, please don’t forget to stop by the weekly round-up at I’m An Organizing Junkie.  Laura would love to have you drop in- and don’t forget to participate if you have a blog!

Sunday: Big lunch out so mac-n-cheese for kids

Monday: Kebab Pizza (made with kebab leftovers, should be very tasty!)

Tuesday: Hot Dogs, Salad, Pears

Wednesday: Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp (New recipe)

Thursday: Baked Teriyaki Chicken, Creamy Rice, Salad

Friday: Lamb Kebabs with Peppers and Tomatoes (New recipe)

Saturday: Out

Menu Planning Monday: May!

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Happy May! The flipping of the calendar to May certainly has me craving some fresh garden produce!  Our local farmer’s market is scheduled to open in just a few weeks, and I’m intrigued to see what people have had success growing so early in the growing season (at least around here).

I haven’t been in much of a meal planning mood as of late, and I think the last few menus reflect that.  I also haven’t been in much of a mood to cook (gasp!) but last night I decided to sit down and try to make this week different from the last, oh, six or seven weeks of monotony.  I think the standout this week is that I decided to just make nachos for dinner.  I can’t decide if the kids are going to love or hate that. We tend to gravitate more towards the “meat and three” concept here.  When we have pizza it’s almost always with a side of fruit, but we never just have something fun like nachos.  It should be fun!

Sunday seems to be turning into a pizza day around here.   I’m just struggling a bit with figuring out meals with our church schedule.  We don’t get home until 1:00 or so in the afternoon usually, so then we have a late lunch, and then it’s back to church later on, so if we are going to eat dinner before we leave, we need to eat by 5:00 at the latest, and usually, we’re not super hungry yet  by then.  So right now, it’s been pizza, because a few slices will satisfy, and anyone who’s really hungry can nibble on the leftovers later on after coming back home.   Maybe one of these weeks I need to do a calzone again…

Make sure you tune into all the other meal planning madness going on around blog-land this week! I’m An Organizing Junkie so thoughtfully hosts every week, and she’s got a whole bunch of other neat organizing tips as well, so be sure to stop by her and check it out!

Sunday: Pizza, Fruit

Monday: Slow-Roasted Pork, Potato Pancakes, Chopped Salad, Mixed Vegetables

Tuesday: Salmon Chowder, Bread

Wednesday: Puffy Oven Pancake, Blue-Raspberry Sauce, Sausage Balls

Thursday: Turkey Breast (Grilled I hope!), Thyme Roasted Carrots, Green Beans, Applesauce

Friday: Loaded Nachos, Fruit Skewers

Saturday: Turkey Burgers, Baked Beans, Salad

A Fun New Art Supply

markers

Has anyone else seen these while out and about?

A week ago or so I spotted some Crayola Window Markers at the grocery store, and I picked them up because I thought it sounded like fun.

Sure enough, they are fun all right.  The kids think it’s a blast writing on the windows- and even Mom and Dad have been seen adding to the doodles.  We all wish there were more colors, but overall, what a fun new product- and much easier to use than window paint!

The window markers wash off with just a damp rag, although you do need to come behind it with a dry rag to fully clean it up.  The only caution is that it says on the package that it doesn’t necessarily wash out of clothing, so these may not be a great idea for the littlest ones.

I had been thinking about investing in a large white board for our schooling this fall… now we may just find ourselves using our windows to figure our math.  How fun is that? I can feel like Charlie Epps while showing my daughter how to do long division the way it’s supposed to be done.

A package of these lists on the Crayola website for $5.49- a little pricey for 8 markers, but given the amount they’ve already been used in our house? A great deal at that.

Menu Planning Monday

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As always, don’t forget to check out all the other amazing meal planning inspiration over at I’m An Organizing Junkie.  If it weren’t for Laura and her weekly event, I think I would have abandoned menu planning way more often than I do.

This week is a pretty basic week for us.  Andy won’t be home for a few days, so I’ll be breaking out the tofu. He is really, really afraid that I’ll cook it up and serve it to him unaware.  Silly man.  I know he’s been eyeing up the block in the fridge, nervous about finding it missing, so I’ll use it in the next day or two to cook something fun for myself.  I’m thinking I may try it in a curry application.  So for the kids, it’s kids choice, which means, well, whatever they decide they want, and we’ll go to the store and pick up ingredients.

Sunday: Homemade Pizza

Monday: Kids Choice, Tofu Curry for Mommy

Tuesday: Tomato-Basil Soup, Cheesy Bread

Wednesday: Pasta (haven’t decided yet what kind), mixed vegetables, fruit

Thursday: Turkey Burgers, Carrot Baked Rice, Green Beans

Friday: Slow-Roasted Pork Roast, Sauerkraut, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Saturday: Pork Tacos, Sober Barrachos, Fruit Salad

Menu Planning Tuesday

Well, after a very busy, but exciting, weekend, I just didn’t feel like getting around to the menu planning until very late last night.  I was also feeling like I didn’t have much inspiration, so I went to the bookshelf and pulled two cookbooks off the shelf, which are serving as this week’s inspiration.

First off, I am using my From Amish And Mennonite Kitchens cookbook to do a little bit of comfort food for Tuesday.  Thursday and Friday I’ll be turning to a completely different cookbook, Vegetarian Express.   Overall, it’s a fairly easy week, and as far as grocery shopping goes, my list is very small this week.  I will share all the new recipes over on Tummy Treasure as they turn out.

Sunday: Fruit and Cereal

Monday: Baked Chicken, new potatoes, lettuce salad

Tuesday: Chili Con Carne, Corn Muffins (BLECH!)

Wednesday: Hot dogs, turkey brats, mac-n-cheese

Thursday: Basic Bean Burritos, Golden Rice, Lettuce Salad

Friday: Tortellini Capri, Garlic Bread, Fruit

Saturday: Throw Something On The Grill Day

This week’s shopping list:

Flour tortillas
green onions
frozen tortellini
broccoli
frozen peas (I think, I need to check freezer)
bottled roasted red peppers
milk
rice milk
all-purpose flour
seasoning salt
something for the grill

MPM: Short and Easy Week

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I almost decided against participating in Menu Plan Monday this week.  I have an easy week on tap… the kids are home for two bonus days this week, and a busy weekend ahead means little cooking for the Tummy Treasure kitchens.   But in the interest of not having to run to the store every day this week, I thought I should come up with some semblance of a plan.

Sunday: Easter dinner at Mom’s

Monday: Homemade Pizzas, Applesauce

Tuesday: Simple Clam Chowder, Homemade bread

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, Veg and Salad

Thursday: Challah French Toast, Bacon/Sausage, Fruit Salad

Friday: Hot Dogs, Mac-n-cheese, Salad, Pickles

Saturday: Out and About

For much better menu planning inspiration, go check out the hundreds of entries this week at I’m An Organizing Junkie.