Embracing Frugality

In honor of being so completely behind on my laundry I decided to make some laundry soap. A.) Cuz anything DIY tickes me pink and B.) I’m cheap

Also the laundry is wayyyyy backed up so I needed something in bulk!

This is so easy to make I am shocked more people don’t do it. Especially considering the price and ingredients in commercial detergents.

Here’s what you need

A box grater

A pot

A stirring spoon. Please note if you are using plastic which is porous you shouldn’t use it for cooking. I got this out of my fabric dying stuff. Any cheapy stirring thingy will work so take a trip to the dollar store or find a nice stick in your yard.

A five gallon bucket with lid. I got mine at the bakery department at our grocery store. It is the bucket the icing comes in (ick, so glad I make mine from scratch). They charged me $1. But if your bakery won’t part with their lard icing buckets than any hardware store would have one pretty cheap.

Fels Naphta, washing powder and Borax. All three can be found in the laundry soap aisle and are super cheap. Double bonus…you can use the borax and washing powder to make homemade dishwasher detergent! Seriously, the Fels naptha is like 97 cents and the other 2 boxes are less than $3 bucks each and you only need a little so it will last you a crazy long time.

Directions: I did not invent this, this recipe is ALL over the internet. I’m just sharing with you so you don’t have to hunt it down. You’re wlecome

Grate the fels naphta with the box grater into the pot. It smells yummy (don’t eat it, unless you have a cussing problem. It’s soap) Add 4 cups hot water and stir over medium heat until it is all melted. Pour the melted soap into your 5 gallon bucket (which I have sitting in the bathtub) and fill half way with hot water. Stir. Add 1 cup washing powder and 1/2 borax. Stir to disolve. You could also add any essential oils if you wanted to scent it. Fill the bucket the rest of the way with hot water, cover with a lid and let sit over night. It will turn ino a gel which on occasion may need a stir. 1/4 cup per load for a regualar top loader washing machine. 1/8 cup for a fancy HE front loader.

 

Enjoy, Please leave a comment and let me know if you tried it!

 

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It was a wonderful Christmas!

It honestly couldn’t have been better. Such a sweet and simple Christmas. We went to Church in the morning and then came home and opened a present or two. During the afternoon I cooked since we had some lovely friends over for supper. Throughout the day we let her open the rest of her presents. I use the word open rather loosely since I didn’t actually wrap most of them. Just displayed them on the piano.

In keeping with the simple, meaningful family rhythm we are trying to have in our home we decided to keep the focus of Christmas on little family traditions, doing nice things for others, special foods and most importantly the birth of Christ. We wanted the gift giving to be small and not extravagant. That is actually hard to do, especially with a first child. It would have been so easy to go over board as I kept seeing so many neat things she would have loved. In the end I edited it down to 3 gifts (like the Wise men brought) and a few simple stocking stuffers. I also did this for Michael.

I dyed lots of playsilks in rainbow colors. Playsilks are great for imaginative play. They can be anything the child dreams up! A super hero cape, a blanket, a tent, a doll sling, a table cloth or a million other things. I dyed some 11×11 hankie size to put in this wooden tissue holder I decorated. Reggie loves emptying the kleenex or wipes box so this was a big hit.

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I found this little wooden sorting game on Etsy. It also has a scoop to practice those fine motor skills. This is also a nice addition to our play kitchen. Acorn soup anyone?

Michael loves the wooden bus and the peg people. Reagan and him played for a good long time. We may need to work on not throwing these little guys all the time. Kind of hurts when you get pegged with one.

Here first reaction…at first I thought she was excited but then realized she was irritated at something..

It seems her new gifts where getting in the was of her morning piano playing! She bangs on the piano first thing every morning. It’s the best way to wake up!

She loved her new doll cradle! It has been a huge hit! Margaret knit her dress. Isn’t it gorgeous!

It came with the cheapest bedding so I had to make it a cute replacement.

This was just a plain wooden tissue box holder I scored at Hobby Lobby for like $2. A quick paint job and piece of scrap paper and doodads and it is a cute container for all the playsilks. Not too shabby for under $4.

All in all it was a top notch day. I hope you had a beautiful holiday with the ones you love.

The crazy is creeping out

For real.

Christmas is in 3.5 days and I have the following things on my to do list. Christmas dress and dress coat for the wee one. Matching Pajamas for the Merry McKissick clan (ok, the three of us) Write out Christmas cards (procrastinate much?) Decorate wooden tissue box to hold playsilks.

MMMMMM, so what did I do today?

Let’s see, I reorganized my kitchen. ReFeathered my diningroom. Hauled in and unpacked 5 boxes from my garage. Cleaned the wee one’s room. Had 5 different visitors drop by at 3 separate times. Read the book ‘No, No Noah” 8x and made fudge.

I also invited 9 people to my house for a Christmas day feast.

Waiting to do my sewing until Friday night will make it more fun right? Who doesn’t love a challenge?

3 Reasons you would want to AVOID my house right now.

1. We are all quarantined with the stomach flu. AHHHHHH! It is AWFUL. Reagan and I are the only ones actually sick so far but Sami and Michael whine so much you would think they were dying of the cholera. The matching Mama/daughter puking/pooping thing is way over-rated.

2. As a result of number 1 I had to postpone a much-needed trip up to WI for a marathon sewing day with my BFF Margaret.  As a result of number 1 and number 2 I am currently in a FOUL mood. It is snark city over here. I had to remind myself to be silent if I ain’t gonna say anything nice. I also had to stay off Face Book since I tend to type snarky also….(We actually have an offical reason to be making a quick trip but that falls under “Pastorial Duties” which is a title I do not wear while in a 50 mile radius of my BFF. So Michael has an official duty, I was just tagging along)

3. My table is laden with delectable and yummy baked goods I was preparing for our little trip. You would be tempted to over indulge. Why would you want to avoid them you ask? Please see number 1.

My baking is good but not worth getting the stomach flu over.

Catching up

I have been a terrible blogger as of late. I have no excuse or explanation. I used to sometimes blog multiple times a day and now I’ve gone a whole month…again. Perhaps it is because I over share on facebook?

Moving on. I have been sewing. Lots actually. Here is a recap from the last month or so.

I actually made two of these. One for Reagan and one for Naomi (my BFF’s daughter)

Also made two of these but I have to stop doing that since Reagan gets all of Naomi’s hand me downs. It’s going to start looking like the poor girl never gets any new clothes.

This is a bad picture of a very adorable set of clothing. It is all mix and match. There are 2 long sleeve knit tops, a sleeveless ruffle top, brown corduroy pants, brown leggings and a patchy skirt. This was for Naomi’s brown month at preschool. I actually made 3 of the ruffle tops and 3 of the skirts for Reagan and another friend’s daughter. This is my favorite fabric collection and I used nearly every scrap.

Just a few of the wardrobe combos 🙂

 

I can’t remember if I showed you Reggie’s fall coat or not. I made 2 of these also.

I love the lining fabric (obviously…its a different colorway of the same fabric as the brown outfits)

The other one I made is cupcake inspired.

Thanks for looking and hopefully I will have some Christmas sewing to share soon.

I will leave you with a pic of the cutie. She is growing so fast.

Excuse her dirty, I just finished lunch face and her creepy baby. She loves that thing (does she look familiar Emily?)

Frugality fun!

I have some fun “make it yourself and save” mixes for you to try out.

In honor of the Lentil recipe I posted previously (have you tried it yet?) I have a french onion soup mix recipe.

3/4 cups instant minced onion

1/3 cup beef bullion powder

4 teaspoons onion powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed celery seed

1/4 teaspoon sugar.

Mix it all up together and store in an airtight container. I use a mason jar. 5 tablespoons equal on of the packets.

I am super thrilled to be making my own dishwasher detergent. The ingredients are very cheap so it saves me a ton over buying commercial. Also it is much more earth friendly.

-1 cup washing soda
-1 cup borax
-1/2 cup citric acid

-1/2 cup kosher salt

Mix it all together.

Add vinegar to the rinse aide compartment and a couple of tablespoons powder to the detergent cup. Viola

We have been on a hot cocoa kick in the evenings. Michael claims it is relaxing but I know he just likes to eat the marshmallows.

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup powdered french vanilla non-dairy creamer

1 cup dry milk powder

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix together and store in an air tight container. 3 heaping spoons full in a mug and you are good to go. I have seen a couple of recipes that call for a package of instant chocolate pudding but I didn’t have any on hand. I will try that next time.

I find all my spices and ingredients at the Amish bulk food store which is kind of out in the country but the prices and selection is amazing so it is worth the trip. If you haven’t located the bulk food store or an amish market you should certainly do that.

Embracing Frugality!

Learning to live on a single income goes beyond just a challenge. Its kind of hard in today’s society….especially if that single income is that of a small town Pastor’s. Let me just say that I feel DH’s salary is both fair and generous, however going from a household with 2 and half incomes and no children to a home with 1 income and a baby is going to take some adjusting.

And with adjusting, a little creativity. Since I am indeed creative I have decided to make a bit of a game out of saving money. Let’s be honest; money save on household stuff is money that is freed up for fabric.

So in that spirit I am “Going Frugal” which is sort of like “Going Green” only this actually saves me money LOL. Of course we will still try to be kind to the earth. It’s all about good stewardship, being responsible with the blessings God has bestowed upon us and also detaching ourselves from today’s excessively materialistic society. (Please note I am excluding fabric in that general statement). So many families have both parents working full-time and then some just to “keep up” and “make ends meet” which leaves children to fend for themselves or be raised by schools, day cares or family members. My goal isn’t to criticize this lifestyle or condemn those who live like this. I merely would like to suggest that by making certain changes it is possible to live on less money and thus be more present at home actively training and raising up your own children.

I am looking at this as an experiment. A game. How thrifty can I be?

Let’s kick things off with a recipe. The new recipe rule is that it has to be made for under $5 and it has to feed a family.

Michael and I have tried so many ways to fix lentils so we would actually want to eat them….but let’s be honest, we didn’t want to eat them no matter how hard we tried. Until now!

Lentils for Lunch

1 bag (16 oz) dried lentils. Ours were brown, I would imagine any color would work – $1.19

1 package dry Onion soup mix -.39 at Aldis

2 low sodium chicken bullion cubes – free in my pantry.

2 slices (rashers?) bacon – I found a package that was reduced for quick sale .99

Mix everything in a pot with 4ish (I am never accurate) cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low. Cut up bacon and mix in lentils, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes….or an hour if you forgot the pot like I did. Either way it was good. VERY good.

It is also healthy. This would have been lunch for our family for 3-4 days but we were so amazed it didn’t taste like crap that we ate a lot…and also shared with the neighbors. We were that amazed. Everyone who stopped by heard “Man, you have to try these lentils…no seriously, they rock”