Homemade Cleaners/Detergents

Pinterest has been full of all sorts of homemade cleaning products tutorials lately and one of my favorite bloggers, Katie J. Gibson, recently did a series called “Frugal Home” in which she provided several tutorials for homemade products.  I thought the idea of making my own cleaners & detergents sounded really interesting so last Friday I packed my little boy off to Wal-Mart and bought up a bunch of stuff to take home and try some recipes.

I decided to make: Katie’s recipe for liquid laundry soap, found here;

Katie’s recipe for fabric softener, found here;

Katie’s recipe for body wash, found here;

and  Aunt Ruthie’s recipe for powder laundry detergent over at Sugar Pie Farmhouse, found here.

All of the supplies for these recipes cost me a whopping 25 dollars, which will seem like nothing when you see how much product I ended up with!

First I made the body wash.  It was really easy but takes a long time because it has to sit overnight (10 to 12 hours) to thicken.  Here are the directions but please follow the link above to see Katie’s post where I got this recipe from.  She has wonderful step by step photos of all her homemade products.  Also, I only made half the amount but here is the full recipe.  It makes A LOT!

Body Wash

Ingredients:  8 oz bar soap of your choice

2 TBSP Glycerin (found in the band-aid aisle)

1 gallon/16 cups   water

Step 1:   Grate soap into large stock pot.  Add water and glycerin.  Cook on medium heat until all soap is dissolved.

Step 2:  Remove from heat and let stand overnight.

Step 3:  Beat with hand-held mixer, adding water as needed to reach desired consistency.

That’s it!  Now you have a gallon of body wash!  I poured mine into a large tupperware but Katie put hers in a milk jug, which is such a good idea.

Next I made the liquid laundry detergent because it also has to sit to thicken.  I left mine out overnight with the body wash and finished them both in the morning.  Again, I only halved the recipe.


Liquid Laundry Detergent

Ingredients: 1 bar Fels-Naptha laundry soap ( I wanted to make a sensitive skin version so I used Kirk’s Castile)

1 cup Borax

1 cup washing soda

1 gallon + 1 quart water

1/2 cup baking soda (optional)

Step 1: Grate the bar of soap.

Step 2:  Bring one quart of water (4 cups) to a boil in a large pot.  Slowly stir in the grated soap.

Step 3:  Reduce heat and let simmer until all the soap is dissolved.

Step 4;  Add borax, washing soda, and optional baking soda.  Stir until dissolved.

Step 5:  Remove from heat and add gallon of hot water.  Stir until well mixed.

Step 6:  Let sit overnight to thicken.

Use 1/2 cup per load. Shake before each use.

I love the way it smells with the Castile soap!  I will definitely be making more of this recipe and never buying store bought detergent again.  This stuff works so well!

Here is the soap and fabric softener:

Next the fabric softener.  I have read many places on the web that instruct to use plain white vinegar as fabric softener but I like this recipe because the vinegar is watered down so it will not rust out your machine.  Also, using the cheap conditioner for scent is so clever!

Fabric Softener

Ingredients: 2 cups conditioner (I bought a bottle of Waterfall Rain scented Suave for 94 cents at Wal-Mart)

6 cups hot water

3 cups white vinegar

Step 1:  Whisk the conditioner into the hot water until completely mixed.

Step 2: Stir in the vinegar until well mixed.

Use 2 TBSP per load.

Is that easy or what?  The waterfall rain scented conditioner makes it smell just like the Sam’s Club fabric softener I was buying, it’s even blue!

Now for the powder laundry detergent.  I made two kinds but the recipe is exactly the same except for which kind of bar soap you choose.  And it is sooo easy!  I wanted to make one with the Fels-Naptha bar and a sensitive skin version with the Kirk’s Castile bar.

Laundry Detergent

Ingredients: 3 bars Fels-Naptha or Kirk’s Castile

4 lb Borax

4 lb Washing Soda

4 lb Baking Soda

Step 1: Grate soap.

Step 2:  Mix together all ingredients and stir until well combined.

Use 2 heaping TBSP per load. Store in an airtight container.

 

I can’t believe I ever paid so much money for store bought laundry detergent!!  I absolutely love all of my homemade goodies!  I use the powder detergent for warm/hot loads like towels and the liquid for cold water loads.  Also, I was concerned about the Fels-Naptha soap being too harsh for my sensitive skin but I washed our sheets with it and have had no problem.   My laundry smells so amazing now, especially when washed with the products using Kirk’s Castile soap.  I do think my laundry isn’t as soft as before so I think I will add a little more vinegar to my next batch of fabric softener and see if that helps.   This experience went so well I am going to try some other homemade products, like glass cleaner and dishwasher detergent.

Do you have any homemade product recipes you love?  Please share in a comment!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Allison

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review – Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice by Jennifer Becton

Title: Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jennifer Becton

Publisher: CreateSpace

ISBN-13: 9781453740477

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis:

After ten years of marriage to the notoriously dry Mr. Collins, Charlotte finds herself widowed and childless.   Resigned to living a quiet life of solitude in her new cottage (rented from Lady Catherine DeBourgh), Charlotte finds herself in an uncomfortable position when her younger sister Maria asks her to act as parent and chaperone, introducing her to society.  It does not take long for Maria to fall hopelessly in love with a young man, causing Charlotte to revisit her own ideas of love and its place in marriage.  Charlotte finds two men have come into her own life as well.  Unsure of how to continue a friendship with men while maintaining propriety, Charlotte finds herself the center of a scandal.

This novel was a very enjoyable continuation of Pride and Prejudice that  maintained the feel of Jane Austen.  I greatly enjoyed seeing Charlotte’s life unfold and her own journey towards the happy ending she did not receive in Austen’s novel.  However, I did think the story was highly predictable and the plot was too similar to the original.

You can find the book here at Barnes & Nobles.

Chickens!!!

This year God has placed a desire in my heart for a more self-sustained existence.  I think he is working on my heart to not take for granted how easy everything is to acquire nowadays and to appreciate working hard to provide for your family.

God works in everyone’s life differently, but for me I decided to follow this by setting goals for the year that I feel will help me become a more self-sufficient housewife.  The first of these goals was to learn how to cook from scratch.  No more store bought dinners or boxed meals.  Another of these goals was to learn how to grow some food myself, starting with an herb garden.

And for some reason, it has also made me want to raise some chickens.

Like I said, God works differently with everyone, lol.

Unfortunately, after much internet perusing, I found out that my county does not allow residents to keep poultry withing 100 yards of any other dwelling.  Umm, I have a city house and there is maybe two yards between my neighbors and I so I guess I won’t have any chickens – yet!

Nevertheless, I thought it was really interesting to learn about raising chickens.  There are so many helpful websites dedicated to this topic and I thought I would share my favorite in case anyone else is interested.  It is all about raising chickens in the city.  It really has everything you could need to know about the subject, including information on county laws about raising chickens and a very informative database of chicken breeds.

Backyardchickens.com

And of course, if you are going to have some chickens you need a chicken coop!  There are some really adorable ones out there.  Here are a few of my favorites I’ve seen:

Thanks for viewing!

Allison

Book Review – “The Rose Garden” by Susanna Kearsley

Title: The Rose Garden

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.

ISBN-13: 9781402258596

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

After the tragic death of her beloved sister, Eva Ward returns to the English country manor where she spent her childhood summers to spread her sister’s ashes.  With no other living family and no desire to return to her former life in L.A., Eva spends her days at Trelowarth reconnecting with her childhood friends (the owners of Trelowarth) as she attempts to find a new path to follow in her life.

*Spoler Alert*

As Eva’s time at Trelowarth continue, she begins to notice things changing – a mysterious path appears that later vanishes, voices in the empty room next to her.  One day while returning from an outing, Eva approaches Trelowarth and finds a strange man in front of the house, who then disappears.  Thinking it was a ghost, Eva goes about her days but comes upon the man agian, only this time she realizes the house has changed also.  Eva has somehow been taken back in time to Trelowarth during the time of the Jacobite Revolution.  Going back and forth between the Trelowarth of the past and present brings upon many challenges, especially as Eva begins to develop feelings for the man from Trelowarth past, Daniel Butler.

Susanna Kearsley manages to write completely engrossing romances without being ridiculous or risque.  I love the emotion and attention to detail she puts into her books.  Both of the books I have read by Kearsley involve stories in the past and present and her writing easily flows between the two with such clarity that you feel you have taken each journey with the characters.   I can’t wait to read her upcoming novel, Marianna.

You can find Susanna Kearsley’s “The Rose Garden” here.

I hope this review was helpful.  Are you a Kearsley fan?  Let me know what other authors you like, I am always on the lookout for new books to read!

Coconut Cream Pie

I absolutely love baking but I have been eating super healthy lately so I haven’t made any desserts in a really, really long time.  Like, since before Christmas (that’s a really long time for me, no judging!)  So when my mom came over today and we got in the mood for making a dessert our first choice was this Coconut Cream Dream Pie from the Food Network website.  It is sooooo eat-the-whole-thing-in-one-sitting yummy!

So I thought I would take you along the process of the world’s absolute best pie.  It’s actually pretty easy to make.

First, here are the needed ingredients: Sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, shredded coconut, coconut cream, milk, whipping cream, confectioner’s sugar, and if you are really lazy like me and have some left over from the holidays – frozen pie crust.

Coconut Cream Pie Ingredients

(I just realized I don’t have regular sugar in this photo, but you need it as well)

P.S. The recipe says this is for one pie but I find it always makes oodles of custard filling for two pies, so I made two.  I do double the last part of the recipe, the whipped cream topping, to cover two pies.

Anyways, the first step is to make the pie crust if you are making it from scratch.  In my case, I just thawed the ones in my freezer and baked them for twelve minutes.  Then I set them out to cool.

Next, you toast 1 cup of shredded coconut until nice and golden’y.  I did mine in the toaster oven while the pie crusts baked in the large oven to save on time.

Next, mix the egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixer until pale yellow and fluffy.

Then add cornstarch and melted butter.  Mix until blended and set aside.  Or as I did, leave it in your mixer 🙂

In a saucepan, heat the milk and stir in the coconut cream.   Then add the egg mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken.  The recipe says to cook “until the filling begins to thicken” but I usually let mine thicken for a couple minutes while stirring.  I find it holds up better in pie and is easier to serve if allowed a couple extra minutes to cook.

(it kinda looks like it’s boiling in this picture but that’s just the foamy stuff on top, you do not want it to boil!)

Anywho, add a teaspoon of vanilla and remove from heat.  Now the recipe says to strain cooled custard through a sieve.  I always skip this part, and I have never found a lump in mine.  I find that if you mix everything adequately and stir CONSTANTLY with a whisk while cooking, you really don’t need to worry about lumps and bumps in your custard.   Also I don’t have a sieve, haha.

However, it is very important that you follow the recipe and let the custard completely cool before the next step!

Once cooled, whip up one cup of whipping cream and fold into the custard, along with one cup of shredded coconut (not the toasted stuff).  Then pour the custard into your pie shells.

This picture is not great, but here is what my custard always looks like 🙂

Next, mix the remaining one cup of whipping cream (or two cups if doubling to cover two pies) “until it begins to thicken” and add the confectioner’s sugar (again doubled), and a teaspoon vanilla (or two, I think you get the idea, haha).  Then stir in all that gorgeous toasted coconut into the whipped cream.

I usually save a little bit to sprinkle on top to make it purdy 🙂

Here is the finished pie:

I hope you get a chance to make this pie sometime for you family, it is truly fabulous.  Again, here is the link to where I found the recipe on Food Network. com.

I would love to know any great dessert recipes you have!  Share a link or the recipe in a comment, thanks!

Book Review – Helen Hollick’s I Am The Chosen King

 

 

Title: I Am The Chosen King

Author: Helen Hollick

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1, 2011)

ISBN-13: 978-1402240669

My Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Synopsis:

“I Am The Chosen King” begins in England in 1043 with the coronation of King Edward (later known as Edward the Confessor).  During Edward’s reign, the Godwine family, led by Earl Godwine of Wessex, and his sons become the most powerful family in England.  Godwine’s second eldest son, Harold, becomes Earl of East Anglia, while his other sons, Tostig, and Swegn, are given other earldoms.  The story then follows Earl Harold’s rise to becoming the Earl of Wessex after his father’s death, including the family’s brief exile and his “hand-fast” marriage to his love, Edyth Swanhaels.  Years later, after King Edward dies, Earl Harold is anointed the King of England but is soon challenged by The Duke of Normandy.  Hollick then recounts the infamous battle of Hastings, 1066, from the Saxon point of view in which King Harold II and the English army are defeated by Duke William of Normandy, making Harold the last English King.

Review:

Helen Hollick is an extremely talented writer.  Hollick’s novels are beautifully rich with history, and her characters are complex and intriguing.  She paints such a vivid portrait of the lives of her characters that you feel you are walking with them through their journey’s, seeing what they saw and feeling what they felt.  Hollick takes us through Harolds transformation from a young, immature youth into the competent, diplomatic and brave king of England that sacrificed his own desires for the greater good of his people.

I fell in love with this time period of early English history after reading Hollick’s prequel to this novel, “The Forever Queen”, which tells the story of Edwards mother, Emma of Normandy.  I highly recommend these two novels for all historical fiction fans, and all other readers as well!

 

You can find the first book, “The Forever Queen” here.

and her second book, “I Am The Chosen King”, here.

Are you a lover of historical fiction?  Have you read this novel?  Let me know what you thought of it and what some of your favorite reads are!

Processed Meat vs. Unprocessed Meat – Summit Total Health

My mother was telling me about a news program she watched the other day about the link between eating processed meats and a much higher risk of pancreatic cancer, so I starting looking online for more information and came across this really helpful article by Summit Total Health.

I personally don’t use much processed meat in my own house (my husband does eat sausage sometimes) but after reading this I am going to go ahead and cut them out completely.  I eat maybe one hotdog a year and stopped buying lunch meat awhile ago so it won’t be much of a change for us, but it also got me thinking of buying more organic products.

Here is the article:

Processed Meat vs. Unprocessed Meat – Summit Total Health.

What changes have you made in your family’s diet?  Leave a comment!

Makeup Haul & First Impression – Sephora, MUFE, Clinique

I went shopping with my younger sister at the Galleria yesterday and of course I HAD to stop in at Sephora.  I’ve been wanting to try Makeup Forever’s HD Foundation.  Sephora has the nicest salespeople, clerks, helpers, what do you call them?  Anyways, a very nice lady helped me match my shade. I really like the MUFE line of foundations because they have pale shades with yellow undertones, which suits me because I have olive skin.  Most makeup is very pink in the pale shades.  The saleslady showed me a MUFE “starter kit” with a full size foundation, primer, HD setting powder, and the most unbelievably soft Kabuki I have ever used.  So, of course, I got the kit.  The foundation alone is $40 at Sephora and the kit was $79 so I thought that was pretty cost effective.  Especially because I planned on getting the powder anyways so the primer and brush were a bonus!

Here is what the kit looks like:

First Impressions:

I used all of these products to do my makeup for church this morning and my overall first impression is this:  I couldn’t really tell that the primer made a difference, but I have really oily skin so I don’t usually notice primers.  I do really like the foundation, it blends in easily and gives decent coverage.  I definitely will wear powder over it to make it a little more matte.  The brush is great, I think I will get lots of use out of it for powder application.  I also really like the HD powder, it gave a nice finish to my makeup.

 

I also picked up a Clinique Chubby Stick in Mega Melon for $15.  I like the idea of being able to put this on in the morning and then just use chapstick/lip balm the rest of the day as I don’t carry makeup with me.

First Impression:

I don’t care for the smell, it reminds me of cheap lipsticks, but I really love the color and it is super easy to apply.  It looks really natural which is great because you can glam it up with some gloss or leave it alone for going to school, supermarket, etc.

 

The last item I picked up was a Clinique Eyeshadow quad in Spicy for $25.50.  I have been looking for an eyeshadow palette that I can use everyday for a natural look without having to use lots of different products and palettes.  It’s been harder than I thought because I learned I am really picky about my eyeshadow!  I really hate chunky glitter in eyeshadow, so that knocks out brands like urban decay.  I also wanted warm neutral colors and most of the neutrals I could find were taupes, which I don’t care for.  Here is the shadow:

First Impression:

I love the colors, and the price was great!  The shades don’t have a hyper-pigmented crazy color payoff like a lot of brands do (MAC, MUFE, Illumasqua),  but I like that because the color goes on very naturally.  They also blended well and all four of the colors look beautiful together.  I can definitely see this as my new every day palette.

Have you tried these products?  What did you think?  What are some of your favorite Sephora buys?

Do you Longaberger?

My mother-in-law gave me my first Longaberger basket about two years ago and got me hooked!  They are such beautiful baskets, I have them all over my house.  I especially love them for beautifully organizing my scrapbook supplies in my craft loft.  Here is my longaberger shelf with the carry along basket, cracker basket, and pantry basket, all holding scrapbooking goodies!One of my absolute favorites, the large desktop basket.  I use it on my scrapbooking desk to hold embellishments for current projects.  It keeps all of your goodies accessible but not messy.My scrapbooking desk with several basket on it including three of the 2002 Mother’s Day Precious Memories baskets, another of my favorites.The small wash day basket that holds my sons toys.  Well, some of them! Below is a vintage bookshelf I picked up at a garage sale with the hostess treasures basket on top and the tarragon booking basket and beverage tote basket (which will soon be holding some florals, hopefully)

The basket on the bottom is one of the horizon of hope, I believe its from 2004 or 2005, and the large fruit basket.

Do you have any Longaberger baskets?  What do you use yours for?  I would love to know!  Leave a comment!