Monday, January 30, 2012

Frugal Home Series Part 5: Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Frugal Home Series Part 5:  Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Is it just me, or does it seem like washing your hands with foaming soap is easier than with regular liquid soap?  Pretty sure you're still supposed to scrub your hands to the tune of "Happy Birthday" regardless of which soap you use (I never do.  I know, awful), but I feel like I am more inclined to wash more thoroughly (or wash at all) if the soap of pre-foamed.  Call me crazy.

I hate paying extra for foaming soap, though.  Plus, I always find luxury soaps for cheap at places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods, but they aren't foaming soaps.  Solution?  You guessed it!  Make your own!

  • A few pumps of regular liquid soap
  • Water
  • Empty foaming soap dispenser
I madeover a Target $1 pump to look more shnazy over the summer, but you can use any one you have on hand.

  • First, pump enough soap into your dispenser to fill it about an inch high. 
  • Second, fill the rest with water. 
  • Put the cap on, give it a shake, and you are done!  It is that easy. 

I will say that you will need to shake it up from time to time, but to be able to fill it with soap we have on hand for free is worth the extra shake.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Frugal Home Series Part 4: Homemade Liquid Hand/Body Soap

Frugal Home Series Part 4: Homemade Liquid Soap
Today's tutorial isn't for anything that includes borax, vinegar, or soda of any kind. No, it's liquid soap. Did you know you can make a gallon of liquid soap from just 8 oz of bar soap?  Yep, it works.

My Grandma gave my sister and I a Philosophy gift set with body wash, hand cream, a bar of body soap, perfume, and lotion.  I really wanted the perfume and lotion and Chris wanted the body wash and hand cream, so we split it down the middle and I got the bar, too. I  hate using bar soap.

Have you ever used Philosophy products?  They smell so good.  I can't describe it.  It's not floral or sweet- just clean and beautiful.  But, you know how much that body wash costs?
$17 for 8 OUNCES.

Love it, but I love the food in our fridge and the roof over our head a little more. So, I figured- let's take the bar I won't ever use and turn it into body wash!  Here is how:

You need:
  • 8 oz of bar soap (Any bar.  Read the label to make sure your are using 8 oz.  For some soaps, that's one bar, for others it is 2 or 3!)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Glycerin (found by the bandaids.  You will not find it by the soap.  Trust me on this!  Invest in the $3 bottle and you will have enough for gallons of soap!)

  • 1 gallon (or 16 cups) of water
  • Stock Pot
  • Container for soap (trusty milk jug for me!)

First, Grate your soap like it's cheese.  You can use the same technique I used when I made laundry soap.  My soap was rich and would not grate (okay, I don't own a cheese grater.  I have a micro plane and it wouldn't work).  I chunked it and it worked fine.
Put it in a stock pot with the water and glycerin.  Heat on medium heat until all of the soap is dissolved.  This will go by faster if you grated the soap.

When all is dissolved, you will have what looks like soapy water.  Don't worry- you are on the right track!

Take off the heat and let cool/coagulate for 10-12 hours.

It should be like thick snot now.  Beat with a hand-held mixer, adding as much water as you want in order to get your desired consistency.  At this point, I added extra perfume to smell extra pretty =)

Funnel into container and you are in bid-naz!

I found Dial Men's care bars- $2 for 3 bars for my husband.  Smells super manly and you will only use 2 bars, which means a gallon of men's body wash costs a whopping $1.34.  He loves it.  Hoo-rah.

*Edit 3.26.12
Yes, the soap is going to be a little "snotty", no matter how much water you add.  It also doesn't foam well, but suds does not equal clean.  In fact, some company add foam boosters to soaps and laundry detergents because we, as consumers, have been brainwashed into thinking suds does equal clean!

Skip To My Lou

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frugal Home Series Part 3: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Frugal Home Series Part 3:  Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I have always been disgusted by how much it costs to wash dishes with the dishwasher.  Even sicker at the thought of wasting money on "convenience" dishwasher tabs (okay, I'll admit.  I used to buy them in my couponing days when I could get an 18-pack for $2.  I hate couponing now!  I would always convince myself I could have something name brand because I got it cheap when couponing.  Whatever.  I spent too much and bought things that weren't very healthy.  Sure, I can get 10 packs of hotdogs for 10 cents.  But really?  Hotdogs?  My allegiance will always be to good 'ole Aldi!). 

Pinterest is chalk full of dishwasher detergent recipes.  Several of them call for citric acid, koolaid, and other concentrated items that come in tiny glass bottles and cost a pretty penny.  This recipe?  Easy Peasy.  Cheap.  If you already invested in borax, washing soda, and vinegar, you already have all of the ingredients except for one {cheap} item.

Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup vinegar
1 cup Borax
1 cup Baking Soda (or, even better- washing soda!  Either work)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice Concentrate in the lemon-shaped bottle (technically citric acid in a tiny {plastic} bottle, but SO much cheaper!)

Mix all ingredient together (use a BIG bowl.  That vinegar and baking soda will rock it out!) and store.  I used an old detergent bottle I had saved for this very occasion.  Shake to mix before each use.

**Please note that you will need to rinse your dishes before loading.  Apparently you are always supposed to do this?  =)  I say this because my husband usually is the dish-loader in our family and I do just about everything else (We've had some clothes.. ehhhem..  ruined. =D) (and I don't mean to say my husband makes me do everything.  I love my home and taking care of it.  Sometimes we argue because I don't want him to help because I love it so much.  And he works hard.  My way of serving him to make up for all the times I am a total b-rat). He says I am the worst dishwasher-loader of all time.  Too many dishes.  Nothing is rinsed.  Salt and Pepper (or something) particles on tops of cups when dry.  Woops!

Other than having to rinse, it works wonderfully.  Even glass was nice and shiny, no residue!

If you want to boost the rinse cycle (which I always do), add 2 tbsp pure vinegar to the rinse/jet dry dispenser.  It is awesome!  Seriously, who would have thought something so bitter as vinegar could be so sweet?!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Frugal Home {Guest Post}

We're taking a break from frugal home care tips today to talk about frugal meal planning.

I've written a Guest Post today at Simply Prudent about how to not only frugally meal plan for your family, but how to also save time during the busy week by investing an hour or two on Sundays getting things organized.

The writer for Simply Prudent is my dear friend, Jenni.  By "friend" I mean I actually know her in real life.  I love having blogger friends- we can share tips, write guest posts, and laugh about jokes only bloggers will get (As in "Oh, did you see what so-and-so's baby did the other day?  She is so cute.  I can't believe how big she is getting", as if we know these people.  It's similar to the I-refer-to-celebrities-by-first-name-like-we-are-friends phenom).  =)  

Jenni, thanks for the opportunity to contribute to your awesome blog!
Check the post out here and become a {blessed} follower of Simply Prudent!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Frugal Home Series Part 2: Homemade Fabric Softener

Frugal Home Series Part 2:  Homemade Fabric Softener

I'm definitely a liquid fabric softener kind of gal.  In college I took the best textiles class ever- we learned how fabric was made and how to care for it.  Once a week (maybe twice?  I can't remember!) we had a "lab" where we sat in a circle, touched fabric, and learned how to identify it.  We learned how it burns, how it reacts to dye, and how they make carpet.  Best class of my life.

Our professor did/does research for some big-name brand like Lands End or Northface and preached about fabric softeners.  How liquid is much better than sheets, how not to use too much.  My mom always used Downy, but I have to admit- I can't handle the price and it almost always lasts half the time the bottle says because I use way too much.

Solution- Make your own.

I found this recipe and was skeptical.  Really?  Hair Conditioner?  Cheap Hair conditioner? VINEGAR?  I feared I'd be walking around smelling like a Šopský salát (google it).

Nope.  Pure awesomeness.  My clothes are SO soft- softer than with store-bought- and smell fresh and clean.  The scent of the conditioner is definitely there.  This recipe makes a lot of softener, so I only made half.  This is the full recipe.

  • 6 cups HOT water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups Suave Conditioner {or other favorite scent-I found it for $1}
  •  Measure out conditioner.

  • Whisk together hot water and conditioner.  Make sure the conditioner is mixed completely with the water- no clumps.  I had to whisk for a minute or so.

  • Add Vinegar and mix well (this is the actual softener- the conditioner I think it just for scent.  Vinegar also helps with static sling).
  • Use 2 tbsp in a Downy ball or in the softener dispenser in your machine, diluted with water (basically use it like it's store bought)
I keep it in this carafe (end of summer sale at Target for $1!) so it's easy to pour into our washer.

Love. It.  I don't think I've ever been so happy with a DIY cleaning remedy as I am with this one!
Here is a printable label:


Skip To My Lou

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Frugal Home Series Part 1: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Frugal Home Series Part 1:  Homemade Laundry Detergent

I love me some laundry.  It reminds me of my mom.  She loves it, too, and growing up our house always smelled like clean laundry detergent and softener.  Our clothes were always perfectly cared for, folded when they were warm so that they wouldn't wrinkle.  She never taught us how to really do laundry until it was time to go to college.  I thought it used to be because she didn't want us to ruin our clothes (or hers), but I really think it was because she loved to do it.

{Side story- when we were living in Prague, my Mom and Dad had to fly to the states to go house hunting in Kansas.  I was a sophomore in high school and my brother was a freshman in college.  My sister was 13.  My parents left Danny me in charge for a few days while they were out of the country.  It was awesome- I cooked, cleaned, and did laundry (thanks to a cheat sheet my mom left for me!  This is where my love affair with laundry began). I made sure the doors were locked at night, that we made it to school every morning, that we had lunch money (which had to be rationed because the star of this story hoarded her lunch money for a week to pierce her belly button when she was 13.  Yeeep).  Mini-mom at work.  It went great, except for when my little sister decided to sneak out of the house, run downtown with one of her friends, and then go "missing" for a few hours until her friend's sister tracked them down.  O. M. G. what a brat.  You might be thinking, "WHAT were her parents thinking?!"  My brother was in college, so I don't think they were thinking anything except that we are great kids and I was born with the soul of a 30-year-old (so says my mom).  That Chrissy- always been a rat!  Gotta love her!}

In the fall, I made dry detergent with my students (they loved it, as did their parents) and used it until I ran out (I loved it, too).  Can I make a confession?  Even though it's not true, I feel like dry soap doesn't get things as clean as liquid does.  Lame, I know.  It's in my crazy head.
SO, I figured I'd try making the same detergent, but in liquid form.  Love it 10x more!

I left the baking soda out this time, but if you want BRIGHT whites, add 1/2 cup to the whole mix.
  •  1 Bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap {not natural, but only $1!  If this irritates your skin, or your baby's, then my sis-in-law uses 2 bars Ivory and you can also use Castile.  I made some with Ivory as well and love it, too.  Don't use anything with a lot of oil- it's awful for your clothes (but great for your skin!)}
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1 gallon + 1 pint water
  • Optional- 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Grate the bar of soap as explained in this post (cheese grater!).
  • Bring a quart of water (4 cups) to a boil on the stove and slowly add the soap, stirring gently (not all at once.  Trust me).
  • Reduce the heat and let it simmer gently until all of the pieces of soap are melted/dissolved.

  • Add the borax and washing soda and stir until they are dissolved.
  • Pour the soap/borax/soda mixture into a large container and slowly add a gallon of hot water to it.
  • Stir until the mixture is well mixed.
  • Let it sit overnight. It will "gel" together.
  • Stir or shake the soap each time you use it.
  • Use 1/4 cup for a front loading washer. Use 1/2 cup for a top loading washer. 
There are 16 cups in one gallon.  We made 1 gallon + 1 quart, which is 20 cups total.  One load is 1/2 cup, so this recipe will make 40 loads.  Total cost is:
Bar of soap:  $1
Water:  Free
Borax: $.34 (9 cups per box, $3 per box.  We use 1 cup)
Washing Soda:  $.40 (same reason as Borax)
$1.75 for 40 loads, or about a nickel per load.
Using Ivory soap is even a little cheaper.

The dry detergent post I linked to will have a printable, or you can use this one!

Next- Cheap, amazing fabric softener.  You are going to hide in a cave in embarrassment after you see how much money you are wasting on Downy!

*Edit 3.25.12:
The first time I made this, it came out to be a nice, consistent thickness without any "glops".  I think it's because I was so anxious for it to cool and be ready for use that I kept shaking it.  Since then, I have made it countless time (I have been using this detergent for several months and love it more and more everyday!) and there are several "glops".  Now, once cool, I like to run it through a sieve so it's a nice, even consistency.  Works like a charm.
I have been making batching with Ivory soap to use on my gentle cycle in place of Woolite and it's great.  For a full batch, I use 2 bars of soap.
A recycled gallon-size vinegar container is the perfect storage!

Skip To My Lou

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Frugal Home Series

Over the past few weeks I've been experimenting with some DIY recipes for home cleaners.  All I have to say is WOW.  There are so many natural and cheap ways to clean your home that I often catch myself saying out loud, "Wow, God, you really knew what you were doing when you made creation".  Well, Duh.
 I thought I would share some of the "recipes" I use over the next week or so in a series.
Yep, a series.  Never thought I would do that!  It's called the "Frugal Home Series".  I'm not so much concerned with naturally cleaning my home (although it is a plus in some of the recipes!).  I'm more concerned with cleaning my home cheaply.

A lot of DIY home cleaning products include the following "ingredients".  The majority of DIY cleaners have Borax, Washing Soda, Water, and Vinegar, or any combination of these 4 (plus or minus soap in some cases).  As far as I am concerned they are bomb and I wanted to know where these natural things came from.  So, here is a little background info for you:
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. Borax is generally found embedded deep in the ground, along with clay and other substances.  According to 20 Mule Team Borax, it improves cleaning power of detergent, helps remove tough stains, is a natural alternative to colorsafe bleach, deodorizes and freshens, and naturally softens hard water.  You can use it in the bathroom to remove Soap Scum, Hard Water Deposits and Dirt, and eliminate odors- same with the kitchen.  Cleaning gold

Washing Soda 

 According to Arm and Hammer, Washing soda adds extra cleaning and freshening power for tough household jobs. Works as a laundry detergent booster and as a household cleaner. It's not only an effective cleaner, it is an all-natural product.  Saweet.

According to Vinegar Tips, White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. In laundry, it makes whites whiter and brights brighter.  It is also a fabric softener!  Vinegar is made from distilled corn alcohol.  Coolio.

During the series, I will blog about (and tell you whether I found it to work!) the following "recipes":
  • Dishwasher Detergent
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Liquid hand or body soap (okay, no borax, WS, or Vinegar in that one!)
  • Foaming hand soap (yep, none in that either)
  • Carpet and clothing stain remover
  • Bathroom cleaner
Do yourself a favor and invest in:
  • 1 box borax
  • 1 box washing soda
  • 1 HUGE jug of vinegar (I bought the jug pictured for only $2.15 at Walmart)
  • Dawn Soap ( I bought the clear hypoallergenic kind!)
See you soon for some awesome cleaning tutorials!

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Autumn Nicole Paul

    Our tiny, lovely, perfect niece came into the world early Sunday morning at 1:05 am.

    I have never been so closely related to a baby and-to be honest- the feeling is overwhelming (in the best sense of the word).  I cannot think about my sister in law, her husband, and that baby without starting to cry.  For the past two days, a wave of pride, joy, love, honor- all things perfect- has flooded our family and it is wonderful.  We already have such a great family.  I didn't know that there could be more love.  But, oh, how much more we have now!
    We adore her!

    I can only imagine how much more this love is magnified when it is your own child.  Holding that little girl and seeing Daniel with her made my heart ache.  Not in a bad way, not in a jealous way.  It's hard to describe in words.  I think it was a combination of loving that little lovely girl so much and looking forward to getting to experience that for yourself, with your own children someday.  To know our (someday) babies will grow up together and love each other as if they were siblings.  I know she is new, but we are completely obsessed with her.  We have been praying for her for a long time and are so glad she is finally here!

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Bring it.

    Forgive me for my, yet again, total blog fail.  School has started back up and it's taking over my life.  That and I have been falling asleep at 8pm with voices of middle schoolers dancing in my head. 
    No, but seriously.  Love it.
    Sucks the life out of me!

    I was on facebook the other day- yep, stalking away- and ran across a post by the husband of one of the girls in my college bible study.  It said, "If the Lord is pleased to bring disaster and distress upon us so that his people may know he answers prayer, we are willing.  If God cannot be trusted in the fire, then he cannot be trusted at all.  He only afflicts in faithfulness".

    I read it a few days ago and I can't get it out of my head.  I wish I had that attitude.  So many times I pity myself for any and all affliction we experience.  Even on good days, I think, "Well, God will take care of it."  Well, what if that's not what he wants?  I mean, of course Jesus loves me.  He will take care of us.  We will never have to endure something we are unable to survive.  But really, it's not so much about God taking care of me, but more about Him being glorified.  I think being "willing" would be easier if we knew that people would see Christ's glory in our lives.  But, in the end, I figured out that's pretty selfish and self-serving.  It doesn't really matter if they see it or not-the point is that we serve a righteous God that deserves our trust and faithfulness.  He will take care of the rest.  God doesn't need me to glorified anyway.

    Philipians 2:5-11

    In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    If God's glory means there has to be toils and trials, tears and frustration, the mindset of Christ, then- dare I say it- bring it.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012


    Yep, I know.
    It's January 4th.
    I know I'm late with the whole "year in review" thing.
    But, I thought if I joined the blog world of reviews and confessed my resolutions, I would be more apt to keep them.  Some of my resolutions aren't really resolutions- they are changes I want to be more intentional about making permanent in my life- but more on that lataz.

    2011 was wonderful.  Really.  2009 and 2010 were rough for us.  We were still in school (part of the time), I was student teaching (worst. semester. of. my. life. and, at the same time, was so hard/rewarding that I grew immeasurable amounts as a teacher), had my first awful/made me cry every day teaching position, our marriage was in that dreadful 2-year rocky point, we was po, and we stressed.  A lot.  We prayed.  A lot.  We finally learned how to trust the Lord.  For everything.  End of 2010 and 2011, we were blessed with all the things we could never deserve.

    • We bought a house.  Sometimes I catch myself-well- coveting bigger, more perfect houses and I have to stop and think, NO, this is the house God wants us to be in.  We are blessed beyond measure.  We love it and it is our home.  We are thankful for it!
    My hair is sooooo short!  Yuck!
    • Our marriage is totally different (will never be perfect, but it is rockin!).  Never awful, but we hurt each other a lot because we didn't know how to love, respect, and serve each other right.  We still don't all of the time, but a mighty work has been done in our marriage, that's for sure.  I love Daniel with all that is in me and I am so abundantly thankful the Lord has opened my eyes as to how to {read: try!} love him as a husband.
    • Our jobs (as sometimes stressful as they can be) are steady, provide for our needs and pay the bills, and are, for the most part, fulfilling (well, as fulfilling as an earthly thing should be compared to our treasure in Jesus!).  Nothing is ever perfect, but Daniel is adamant that we learn to not complain about work and be "lights" there.  That's a hard one!
    • After going through-what I like to call- a spiritual "funk", we're on the flip side.  Thank God!  I am, again, so thankful we serve a God who is always there, who is always the most fulfilling thing we can set our eyes on. So thankful and in awe that we worship the King who humbled himself to leave a heavenly throne and be born to Earth, having the purpose to die so that sinful people would be reconciled to a Holy God.  Wow.  I was baptized as an adult early 2011 in front of our church family by my Father-in-law.  It was really special for me- both because our church has become my home and family and because Daniel's family has helped me grow spiritually in ways I can even begin to describe.  By the looks of 2009 and 2010, I'm surprised my FIL didn't pin me underwater to punish me.  Hahah kidding.  =)  I love them so much and am so thankful for them!
    Annnd that's all I got.  Daniel had our DEAD camera in the congregation to the left of the picture, but-yep- dead.  Oh well.  I remember getting very upset with him and saying thinking saying, "WELL thanks for giving such a WONDERFUL point in my life enough thought to charge the freaking camera!!"  I said EARLY 2011.  Before I would describe our marriage as "rockin".  Haha.  I am a brat.
     Hmm, proofreading this through, I seem to use "thankful" a lot.  Guess that's not a bad thing, huh?  Never.

    Hopefully, I will blog throughout the year on how these go...
    • Pray for my husband diligently.
    • Read through the bible with Daniel.
    • Exercise more regularly.  Our Zumba class is starting up again {Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!} and we also started the Couch to 5K running program.  So far, so good!  Zumba is more fun than anything (okay, it burns 800 calories an hour. Booo-yaaa), so I am planning on doing one class per week and following the running plan 3 times per week (as it recommends).  Even though I feel like I gained 10 L-B's over break, I am not going to update you on weight.  Our goal is not a number, but to be healthy!
    So- you guessed it- thankful for 2011.  We are so excited for 2012 and are relieved to know that, even though we don't know what the year holds, the Lord knows.  He has it under control.  No worries!
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