Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hang on folks! It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

This is probably the worst time for anyone to start a blog, as I am getting over pneumonia, but I have never been one to do things the easy way. Well, not always. lol.
In this blog I'm hoping to help others, as I help myself, to do things easier and/or cheaper. We all know things in the country are not going as well as we'd like, and money is tight for most people. I've been searching for a few years now on how to make money stretch farther and still feel like my family isn't deprived of all the special treats we like.
Through my searches, I have found a few other websites that I turn to often. The first is This website is very good for cheap delicious recipes. My only problem with it, is the person who runs it seems to live in the south and some of the food that you find cheap there, is actually kind of expensive here. Though alot of the recipes can be changed to fit what food is cheapest where you live. is a good website for ideas on how to do longterm food storage in a way that won't break your budget, as well as ideas on how to use your food storage in your every day cooking. This is actually 3 sister sites dealing with food storage but you'll see that if you check it out.
The last website I frequent is This blog actually belongs to my husbands' cousin. I have found many wonderful recipes and tips here. She has a recipe for making your own laundry detergent. I am very thankful she posted it. When I found it, my husband had been out of work for 7 or 8 months. Money was very tight and laundry soap can be expensive. I was using the cheapest soap I could find, but it still seemed expensive. Long story short, I made it, tried, love it, and the one batch I made in September or October 2009 will run out at the end of this week. To make one batch, it cost me just under $3, not counting the water need. The laundry soap I was using cost just under $12 and would last about 2-3 months. I'll let you do the math.
As you'llsee as I continue writing this blog, I am a big believer in having food storage and knowing how to make things from scratch. When my husband was out of work for 9 months, our food storage was the only thing that made it possible for us to eat and pay our bills.
I have also found that I can usually make convience foods myself and they usually taste better. Does this mean I always do? Of course not. I have a lazy side to me that rears it's ugly head once in awhile. When I'm sick, I also let my kids or husband do the cooking. This is as good for them as it is for me. My husband is a very good cook and my kids are both learning and having fun experimenting. So far there experiments have turned out pretty good.
Well, that's enough of my ramblings for now. Since I plan on making the laundry detergent today or tomorrow, I'll post that recipe first.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

For mixing you'll need:

5 gallon bucket
large spoon
long whisk is nice
saucepan for melting the soap

1 bar soap
1 C. washing soda (not baking soda - washing soda is found in the detergent aisle near the borax)
1 C. borax

Grate 1 bar of soap and place in a saucepan with 2-3 C. water. Turn on medium low heat and stir occasionally as it softens and melts. This can take a while... I just go do something else and check in on it every 10 minutes or so.
In your 5 gallon bucket, put 1 C. washing soda and 1 C. borax. (I use 1/2-1 C. more borax because we have hard water) Pour 1 gallon of very hot water into the bucket. Stir to dissolve. Stir melted soap into the mixture in bucket. Whisk until mixed. Add 3- 3 1/2 gallons more of hot water and stir again. This will be REALLY watery. Don't worry, it will gel as it cools. Put the lid on your bucket and let it cool for a day or so. The mixture will gel fairly thick. Depending on which soap you use, some water may separate off of it. Just mix it back in before measuring. Sometimes I like to scoop right out of the bucket, and other times I pour some of it into an old plastic detergent bottle. (just shake that before you measure - easy!)

Use 1 or 2 cups of detergent per load, depending on how dirty the clothes are.

This mixture does not suds much at all. Fine to use in high efficiency washers and easy on your septic system. If you usually buy a detergent with whiteners, you may want to keep a box of whitener on hand to add to your whites. Most of the time, the actual time spent grating and mixing is about 20 minutes. Waiting for the soap to melt takes the longest, but you are free to do other things while waiting on that.

A 5 gallon batch usually lasts me about 3-4 months. (doing probably 10-15 loads per week)
(This recipe was taken directly from I would recomend, when you are melting the soap, to check it every 5 minutes or so because it can overflow. It's not hard to clean up, and you end up with a nicely washed stove when it happens, but if you've already cleaned the stove, why clean it twice? lol)

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