Archive for the ‘Household Hints & Tips’ Category

After years, and years of washing dishes by hand and pining for a dishwasher. I finally got one. I am loving it!  But true to form, I looked at the dishwasher detergents at the stores and could not bring myself to buying them.  My thoughts went from cost involved, to chemicals added, to how badly they would clog up my new dishwasher, they ended with “just what will I be putting in the ground I plant and harvest food from?”  The idea of buying detergent was soon nixed and I went into finding a homemade version I knew would be safe and cost saving.   Having given these recipes several tries, I am more then pleased with the results.

Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

2 cups borax

2 cups baking soda

Combine and use 2 tbsp of mix in dishwasher.

Spotless Dishwasher Rinse

Fill rinse department with straight white vinegar.  Works great and removes odors.


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For any wondering what your freezer looks like after cooking for two weeks of meals? This is mine after cooking for two weeks worth of “Frozen Dinners.”   This is my “Main” kitchen freezer (One over refrigerator).  As I preserve as much food as possible, my second freezer holds containers of fruits, vegetables, freezer jams, bulk meats (to be pulled out later and remade into freezer meals), frozen herb cubes, onions, celery, mushrooms and other odds and ends for stock or soup making, frozen fresh squeeze fruit juices and the likes.

I can not praise these little containers enough.  Not only are they sturdy, they can go from freezer, to microwave, to dishwasher, back to freezer to be used over an over many, many times before needing to be replaced.  I use them in both freezers.  None divider ones are ideal for storing vegetables, fruits and herb cubes.  Just lay out the vegetable or fruit on a cookie tray, freeze to firm and pack in containers.  Reheat when ready to use.  Soups, stocks and fixings can go into larger or smaller square or round containers.  Everything can be neatly labeled, stacked and right at finger tips.  Definitely a worth while investment and far better then baggies that can bust open or glass jars that break.

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With the start of 2011 right around the corner, today was time for me to sit down and get tools in place to keep the chaos to as much minimum as I can gain control of.  As a parent of an autistic child with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) organization is highly important as are schedules. Here are some links that  I hope help you as much as they aid me.

2011 Monthly Calendar


Meal Planners (Weekly, Bi-weekly, Monthly)


Weekly Shopping List

Click to access Groceries.pdf

Grocery List (Free sign-up wonderful resources)


Cleaning Supplies, Household Cleaning, Garden/Landscape/Plant care, Emergency Information, Babysitter, Grocery Price Comparison and more.


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I seem to be on a clean and de-clutter streak.  During a mission to find printable seed envelopes to use for a party favor, I ran across these wonderful printable embroidery floss (or thread in general) holders.  Just print out on heavy card stock, cut V’s and a slit and you are easily organized.  There is even space to print the thread batch numbers.

If you are interested, you can find this set which is called “Ornate” and a second set called “Whimsical”  here.


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To make your own detergent for washing dishes, which is good for you, the environment and your wallets, you need three simple ingredients.

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent. (20 oz batch)

1 cup borax

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup kosher salt

Pour borax, baking soda and salt into plastic container, secure lid and shake to mix.

**If you want fragrant detergent, add two-three drops of your favorite essential oil.  Lemon grass, rosemary, mint, citrus, lavender, rose, sandlewood…your options are limitless.**

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MYO Febreze

I love Febreze,  but the cost of it really digs into the pocket book.  It is quite simple to make your own version of Febreze from home and at a fraction of the cost.

1 clean 32 oz spray bottle.

4 tbsp fabric softener  (Downy with “Febreze” , other Downy,  or any other brand you might like scent of.)


Place 4 tbsp fabric softener in spray bottle and fill rest with water leaving small space at top.  To use give a few shakes and use as you would fabreze.

One container of fabric softener will last you a long time, even if you use the spray habitually.  It can be used on furniture, rugs, clothing or any fabric or merely sprayed into air.

**Save more money by using a coupon plus a sale when purchasing your  fabric softener.**

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Why waste money on expensive cleaning products that barely do the jobs asked of them, and do more harm to your body then not?  There are three essential natural ingredients that clean just as well if not better and cost far less.

Baking Soda – $1.00

Deodorize carpets: Sprinkle carpets with baking soda, leave overnight and vacuum in morning.

Remove grime: Put on sponge and wipe down bathroom tub, sink, shower.

Freshen Laundry: Add 1/4 cup to your rinse cycle.

White Vinegar – $1.00

Prevent Mildew:  Wipe inside of fridge, shower with a solution of 50/50 vinegar to water.

Brighten Whites: Add 1/2 cup to your rinse cycle.

Clean Windows, Mirrors, Glass: Use a 50/59 solution of vinegar to water.

Disinfect:  Spray fixtures, floors, toilets, counter tops, and other surfaces with a mixture of 50/50 vinegar to water and wiping them clean.

Clean wood surfaces:  Mix with linseed oil and wipe down wooden surfaces.

Lemons – $1.00

Purify microwave: Warm heat resistant bowl with water and slices of lemon for 30 minutes.

Remove Stains: Apply lemon juice to white and colorfast garments, let dry in sun to remove stains.

**I will post far more uses for vinegar in the near future, it truly is an amazing product and definitely something to have plenty of around the house.**

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As I am running low on laundry soap I decided today to mix up a new batch.  These are the recipes I personally use.  I often use Ivory or Fels Naptha soup, but any non perfume bar soap will work. I have even used a box of “hotel soaps” my aunt gave me and they worked just fine.  I find Ivory can be purchased with coupons for near to nothing, and is far less harsh on clothing fibers so it has become my soap of choice.  In addition to the ingredients below I also will add my own fragrances using essential oils.  Lavender, Eucalyptus, Sandalwood and Lemongrass my fragrances of choice.  I order mine from mountainroseherbs.com, but there are plenty of places that carry essential oils.   What I have found when I stopped buying store bought laundry soaps and making my own is  the clothing lasts longer, less fade to fabric, and the washer itself lasts longer with less “clog” issues the synthetic soaps can create.

Liquid Style

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

  • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
  • Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
  • Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
  • Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel)

Powdered Style

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

  • Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
  • Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

*I will triple or quadruple this recipe to have a large pail on hand*

*You don’t need do this, but for me I like a finer powder, so the night before or even days before I grate the soap, then spread on a wire screen or cookie sheets and let the gratings dry out further.  I then take them and place them in either a coffee grinder or blender and powder.  Simple and works wonderful.*

If I have something with a really bad stain or odor.  The following recipe works wonderful.

Stain/Odor Remover

2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
2 cups Baking soda (yes baking soda this time–not washing soda)

  • Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
  • In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
  • Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
  • Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

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