Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

With a family of 8, laundry is an EVERYDAY chore.  I'm talking 2-3 loads EVERY DAY!!  Now,  a moment of honesty - I HATE laundry!!  I don't mind throwing the loads in the washer, or even switching it over to the dryer.  However, folding and putting them away are not on my list of fun things to do (of course, I don't think any household chores are on that list).

Let's do some math now!  The average bottle of detergent that does around 80 loads costs between $10-$15 depending on what kind you buy (of course you can use coupons and B1G1 deals, but I'm just going with the normal/average cost). At my rate of doing laundry, I was buying one of those bottles about every 2 weeks. I would spend around $20.00/month (I did use coupons and looked for B1G1 deals).  

Now,  another moment of honesty, I was a bit leery of using a homemade detergent.  We live in the land of red dirt, and my kids like to get DiRtY!! Oh, did I mention my boys play football, and I'm responsible for cleaning their jerseys?  Yeah,  that can be a job sometimes!!!  So,  I went into this fully expecting to have to go back to my normal detergent.  I am happy to say that NEVER happened!!  I made my first batch on November 16, 2013 ( I only know this because I wrote the date on the top of the bucket, I do NOT have that good of a memory)  and am using the last of it this week.  That is 5 months for a family of 8.

What did it actually cost?  I spent around $27.00 (that included the one time cost of the 5 gallon bucket to store it in).  Not bad, huh?  If you google homemade laundry detergent,  you will find several different combinations.  This is the one I used this first time, and I love it.  

Here are all the ingredients you need.  The step by step instructions with pictures are on the website I linked you to earlier.  Simply put,  using a kitchen grater, grate the bars of zote soap and then mix all the ingredients together in your 5 gallon bucket.  After it is all mixed together, you can scoop out enough to fill up the purex crystals bottle to sit on you washer for use.  The lid for the crystals is what I use to measure the detergent.

I love the detergent and I love the money I save with it!! I will be looking for other things I can make myself around the house to save me money!!!  

Menu Plan Monday April 21, 2014

Somehow, this never posted on Tuesday either.  Don't know what's going on, but I shall try again.

I sat down and planned my menu yesterday,  but I never had time to post it.  Story of my life; always a day late and a dollar short!!  I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter celebrating our risen Saviour.  I know we did.  You can see what my family did here.

N ow,  let's talk about food  I have a pretty simple menu planned this week.

MONDAY - chicken nuggets and french fries

TUESDAY - grilled pork tenderloin, grilled sweet potatoes, green beans   

WEDNESDAY - homemade pizza

THURSDAY - teryaki chicken and rice

FRIDAY - grilled chicken, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes

SATURDAY - stromboli

SUNDAY - homecoming at church - haven't decided what I'll be fixing to take yet.

For more meal planning ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

What a great Easter Sunday.  We spent the day together as a family, which is something we don't get to do often enough.  

Of course, everyone was excited about their Easter baskets (which I put together that morning):

Surprisingly, we got everyone ready early enough for some family pictures.  Sadly,  getting them ready for the picture was easier than getting a good picture.  
 Note the face on the youngest girl, it doesn't get much better.
 We even moved to where the sun was behind them. Still, no cooperation from little one (she wouldn't even stand in this one).
Finally one with all the kids,  but asking for open eyes was just too much!!!

We then enjoyed a wonderful church service and lunch at home. We had hoped to go on a picnic lunch and hike, but the weather said it would be too windy.  After lunch, we decided to go for the hike anyway.  We got the kitchen cleaned up and headed over to Paris Mountain State Park.  We even took Bella with us. 

 Checking out the lake
 Baby Samuel had a great time being toted around.
 Posing for a picture, while everyone else walks on
 I'm lagging behind - my excuse - I was taking pics
 Moving right along
 The walkway in front of the falls
A little closer on the rocks, but where's Baby Samuel? 
 Oh, there he is!!
 Handsome Mr Gamer
 Bella (better known as puppers)
Bella, "Can I come in the water, please???"
Oh how I wish I had video taped this.  She just jumped off that little wall, right into the water.  Note the girls faces,  they got quite wet when she jumped in.

It was a great day with family.  However,  we could never forget the reason for our celebration - He's alive!!  So thankful Christ willingly laid down his life for me!!  What a thought!  Even better though is that He conquered death and the grave, and on the third day ROSE AGAIN!!!  What a gift.  Our church choir performed a great cantata, which ended with one of my favorite songs, THIS BLOOD.  Enjoy!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Menu Plan Monday April 7, 2014

The past few weeks have been very out of the routine for me.  I had surgery in mid March and was unable to cook, clean, or do much at all for a couple weeks.  Then,  just as I was feeling better,  my Grandma passed away in West Virginia.  So,  we had to take an unexpected trip up there for several days.

We are home now, and trying to get back into our normal routine.  I need to send out a big thank you to my sister-in-law who stayed here for a week after my surgery and took care of my crew.  It's a bit of a change going from cooking for a family of 4 to my crew of 8+ hers,  but she did GREAT!!!

Now,  to the meal planning for this week.  I'm hoping we can get one full week in without any surprises.  Of course, with a family of 8 that may be a bit much to hope for.

MONDAY - Potato soup and grilled cheese

TUESDAY - Homemade pizza

WEDNESDAY - Hibachi chicken with fried rice   

THURSDAY - Spaghetti and meatballs, Garlic Parmesan bread

FRIDAY - Breakfast for dinner

SATURDAY - Homemade chicken nuggets and french fries

SUNDAY - Out to eat

For more meal planning ideas, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Overnight Refrigerated Oatmeal

I'm going to be honest here.  I am NOT a morning person.  I should be.  I'm a mommy of 6 and should be up at the crack of dawn, right?  Well,  I am a sleeper.  I LOVE MY SLEEP!!!  I usually do not get into bed before 11, so I prefer to stay in bed in the morning.  Of course hubby would prefer I get up and make him breakfast before he heads to work, BUT..........

So, when these little yogurt/oatmeal jars started popping up on my facebook feed,  hubby and I thought we would give them a try.  I can fix them the night before and he has a healthy breakfast before heading into work.  PLUS,  I get to stay in the bed a bit longer.  I checked the internet and found a couple different sites with recipes.  Like all recipes, you can customize them to your likes and dislikes.  You can do just oats and milk as your base; oats, milk, and plain yogurt; oats, milk, and greek yogurt; or oats, milk, and flavored yogurt.   The options are pretty much endless.

We started with oats, milk, and plain yogurt as the base this time,  but I think I'll try flavored yogurts next.  Hubby said while it's not his favorite breakfast,  he will eat them a couple mornings and I'll STAY IN BED!!!  SCORE!!!

Here's what you need:
        Half pint jar
        1/4 cup rolled oats
        1/4 cup whole milk
        1/4 cup yogurt
        1 tsp chia seeds
        1 tsp honey or maple syrup*
        1/4 cup fruit mixture of your choice*

*The honey or maple syrup is your sweetener.  You can choose which you use based on what else you plan to put in the base mixture.  For example, I used maple syrup with blueberries and the apple/cinnamon ones,  but honey with the strawberry/banana mix.  It's up to you.

*The fruit mixture can be whatever you like; peaches and pecans, raspberries and vanilla, pineapple and coconut, banana and peanut butter, etc.  Again, the choices are endless.  For our first batch,  we used blueberries and maple syrup; applesauce(1/4 cup) and cinnamon(1 tsp); and strawberries and bananas.

It's an easy breakfast for kiddos and the hubby without a lot of prep time, or a healthy afternoon snack.  I like it!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Menu Plan Monday March 10, 2014

It's here!  The week of surgery is upon me, and I'm NOT ready.  Well, I'm ready for the surgery!  However, all the projects I had wanted to get finished before I go under the scalpel will just have to wait a while.  I really thought I could get it all finished, just a little disappointed.  Once again proves to me, I sometimes put too many things on my plate; schooling, working, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and home improvement projects.  How do you all do it?  I just can't seem to get it all done!

Enough with the pity party - life will go on as usual whether I got all the rooms painted and furniture moved or not!!

So, on to this week's plan.  It's time to get things cleaned up, fixed up, and put away.  My sister-in-law will be coming up tomorrow to help with the last minute things and to watch the kiddos while I am in the hospital and a few days after so I can rest and recover.  Then,  we're going to play it by ear and see how I feel.  She has offered to stay longer if we need her.  I am so thankful she's willing to come and put up with my crew.  

Here is the short meal plan:

MONDAY - baked chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans
TUESDAY - taco night

WEDNESDAY - hamburgers, mac n cheese, roasted potatoes

THURSDAY - SURGERY DAY - Sister-in-law is in charge from here on this week.  

FRIDAY - SUNDAY - I'm leaving this up to her.  Once she gets here,  we'll head to the grocery store and get what she needs to feed the crew.  

For more meal planning ideas, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday

Monday, February 24, 2014

Menu Plan Monday February 24, 2014

The last week of February already?  The older I get, the faster time goes!

This week I will be starting some spring cleaning projects, as I will be having surgery the second week of March.  So, for 6 weeks I won't be able to lift anything heavy.  That really limits what you can do as far as cleaning around the house.  So, I hope to get a few things done in the next couple of weeks to get a head start.  My goal is to get some organization in this mess and to have the house looking decent so when people come over I won't be mortified!!! My sister-in-law is nice enough to come for a few days during and after the surgery to manage the kiddos, but they will be on their own housework wise for a couple weeks after that.

With all the projects I have in mind this week, the menu will be quick and easy.

MONDAY - grilled salmon and rice  

TUESDAY - baked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade bread

WEDNESDAY - hamburgers, mac n cheese, peas

THURSDAY - BBQ chicken and roasted potatoes

FRIDAY - pizza

SATURDAY - ham n cheese sliders, fruit salad, chips

SUNDAY - Out to eat for hubby and kiddos (I have to work)

For more meal planning ideas, visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.  Hope everyone has a great week!!