Make Your Own…Dishwashing Detergent

The other day, I posted an article (see Make Your Own…) about making your own laundry detergent.  While I was making and using it, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I can make my own dish washing detergent”.

A couple of days later, I stumbled on this pin.  I wasn’t even searching for it!  I checked out the ingredients, and already had a few…thanks to making my own laundry detergent.  All I needed to get was the kosher salt and Lemi Shine.

Now, where we live, we don’t have problems with hard water.  However, my mother-in-law does, so I immediately forwarded the info to her.  I don’t know if she’s tried it yet, but I figure, why not?  If it doesn’t work, you’re not worse off than you were before.

I mixed the recipe up yesterday.  The blogger mentions that she had problems with it clumping and getting stuck in the soap dispenser, so she left the mixture out in a bowl for a couple of days before using.  Well, I’m not that patient, so I left the bowl out over night.  I didn’t notice any issues with clumping, so I loaded up the dishwasher and gave it a go.

Normally, I use those little pods that Cascade or another brand make.  They are pretty expensive, so I only get them when I have a coupon that I can use while they’re also on sale at the grocery store.  I hit the jackpot a few weeks ago.  We have a grocery store that buys items that are odd flavors, seasonal items, or near end dates and then sell them at deeply discounted prices.  I found the Cascade pods…110 for $10.99.  They worked great at first, and then I started noticing that not all of the dishes were coming out completely clean.  I also noticed a cloudy build up on the dishes as well…especially the plastic ones.  I don’t know if there was some kind of build up going on in my dishwasher, but I didn’t like it.

How did it turn out?  Well, I should first state that in my excitement, I forgot to add the vinegar rinse aid.  The article says to not add it to where you would normally put the rinse aid, but put it in a container in the top shelf.  I’m going to have to research what kind of container to put it in, so if any of you know…please tell me!

I purposely put some heavily stained/dirty dishes in the dishwasher…just to see how it would do.  One was a crock pot that had gone through a cycle once and had dried on, stuck on stuff left in it.  Another was a platter that had dried brie on it…another Pinterest project that I’ll blog about later.  I have also been having issues with my silverware coming out with streaks on it…and stuck on food left on it.  Normally, I don’t wash my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher.  That’s why I have a dishwasher and I refuse to do all the hard work for it 🙂

Everything came out clean…even the brie platter.  The glasses looked clean.  The silverware was streak free.  I did have a rubbermaid container that is plastic that had a bit of cloudiness on it, but I’m wondering now if that’s a rinse aid issue.  

ImageThis is how much one batch makes up.  You only use 1 tablespoon per load, so you can imagine how long this is going to last!  I’m not as crafty as the blogger…I didn’t go to a lot of trouble to make a cute container with vinyl letters for the soap.  Maybe one of these days…

The costs are hard to figure, since I already had most supplies.  Check your local grocery store or Wal-Mart.  I believe the Borax is almost $4 (but you don’t use the whole box), The A&H washing soda is about the same, and again, you don’t use the entire box.  The kosher salt was about $0.85.  The Lemi-Shine was a little over $3.  Start up costs would be a little high, but if you consider you don’t use the entire amount of anything you buy, it’s pretty economical.  

I find that I am enjoying making my own cleaning supplies.  There is a bit of satisfaction in knowing that I don’t have to rely on the brand name products with added chemicals to keep my home & the stuff in it clean.  I read a very interesting scary article today about the chemicals and *gasp* rodent hair/maggots/feathers that are purposefully left in our foods to add…well, I’m not sure what they want it to “add”.  My hubby and I are discussing looking to can more, cutting out foods with artificial dyes in them, basically moving more towards “clean eating”.  I’m sure I’ll be blogging about that in the future!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!

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Les Miserables

Back around September/October, my brother told me that “they” were making a movie of Les Miserables.  I could hardly contain my excitement.  I immediately went to the website he directed me to and watched a four minute trailer over and over and over again.  Christmas seemed too far away.  The Friday after Christmas, some friends and I went to see the movie.  It was as good as better than I imagined!  I can think of at least 3 or 4 places in the movie where I wished I was at home so I could bawl like a little baby.  The storyline…the music…it was so emotional.

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I think the emotion came partially from the fact that the actors were live singing…something that is not typically done in movie musicals.  Normally, what happens is the actors record the songs in a studio.  Months later, they  lip synch while filming.  Their acting is not determined while filming…it was determined months ago, while they were in a small studio.

Les Mis takes it a bit further.  Each actor had a small ear piece.  Off stage, was a piano playing their music and they sang while acting…while filming.  Then, later in editing, a large orchestra was dubbed over the piano, giving movie goers a truly unique experience.

I loved it!  I’m looking for any little excuse to go see it again.  I already told my hubby when the soundtrack and DVD come out…well, I really really really want them.  *Sigh*  It was amazing.

If you are not familiar with the storyline, it is ultimately a classic battle between law and grace…something we see played out over history time and time again.  Jean Valjean…a hardened criminal.  A probation violator…a thief, an impostor.  What you might consider all around bad guy.  While stealing from a priest (can you imagine!) receives something he never got in prison.  Grace.  No condemnation.  No retribution.  After stealing the only valuable possessions the priest had, not only does the priest not ask for him to be imprisoned, but gives Valjean even more…the best…the candlesticks.  This is foreign to Valjean.  He spends a whole scene just trying to comprehend this new concept.  What does he do with this?  He decides then and there to change his ways.  To show love, compassion and grace to others…the way it was shown to him.

Enter Javert.  The law.  He has made it his lifelong career goal to track down and arrest Valjean.  At one point, he has Valjean right where he wants him…only to let him slip through his fingers.  Time after time, Javert is one step behind his arch nemesis.  In one pivotal scene, Valjean has the opportunity (and some might consider right) to kill Javert.  Instead, he allows him to leave, knowing full well Javert will come back and try to arrest him.  Many times in the movie, Javert is shown standing on the edge of rooftops, pacing back and forth, trying to figure Valjean out.  The vision of him walking the fine line from edge to nothingness is very significant.  He is walking the line between law and grace.  Judgement and forgiveness.

Grace is an amazing and confusing concept.  We are the recipients of God’s grace, and yet, we are so undeserving.  Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, died innocent…yet, if he had not done so, we would be eternally lost.   How can we, as humans, wrap our minds around that??

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is, not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10.

Nothing we have done, can do or will do in the future can “earn” us the grace that God freely gives to us.  We are so much like Javert…we can’t comprehend why we are given grace when we deserve justice.  What do we do with such a gift?  The last part of the scripture says we were created in Jesus to do good works, which God has already prepared for us to do.  This is our purpose.  Earlier, it says that we can’t save ourselves through works.  This almost seems contradictory.  We are saved by grace…not by works…but we were created to do works.  What?  How does this work?  My husband explains it wonderfully.  He describes our life as a “thank you note” to God.  We are not trying to “earn” the gift of grace by doing things…you can’t earn a gift…but by serving and following God’s will, we are in a way, saying “thank you” for this wonderful, amazing gift.

When Valjean was shown grace by the priest on that life changing night, he decided to change his life.  From then on, everything he did was to show others love, mercy and grace.  Because he changed his life, his actions…his works…were also changing the lives of others.

What will you do  with your gift?  Will you hold onto it tightly, or will you share it with others?  When will you start writing your own “Thank You” note to God?

How To Make Your Own…

Happy Friday everyone!!   We made it 🙂  With almost 1 week of 2013 under our belt, I started reflecting on things.  A week from tomorrow marks the 5 year anniversary when my family uprooted and moved from Oklahoma to Virginia.  What an adventure it has been.  My hubby originally came to be the Involvement and Small Groups Minister and that position has evolved into the full time Pulpit Minister.   God has an amazing way of working His plan.  

When we first moved here, I noticed a few things there were different in Virginia. There’s one conversation I had with some mom’s that stands out in my mind.  We were on a playdate with our kiddos (I only had one at the time) and a couple of moms were discussing laundry detergent and cleaning supplies.  Now, that might sound boring to you, but what caught my attention is that they were making their own laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies.  This was a totally foreign concept to me.  At the time, I believe I might have even inwardly rolled me eyes!  It sounded like a lot of work & for me, it was just easier to drive to the store & pick it up.  It was a little too hippy, granola-y  🙂

Fast forward almost 5 years.  I’m surfing Pinterest and I find this pin.  I’ve seen other “recipes” for laundry detergent on Pinterest before, but this was the first powdered kind I’ve seen.  Reviews of the liquid detergents haven’t been too great, but this one seemed different.  I checked it out and thought, why not??

I took a look at the ingredients.  I already had a partial box of OxyClean and Borax from another “project” (Check out “You Gotta Check Your Pockets!”).  The blog with the recipe shows that it makes a lot of detergent, so before I made full batch, I thought I’d better make a little, just to make sure I liked it.  I cut the recipe in half, and this is what I got:

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It filled an entire OxyClean box, the bottle that the Purex came in & part of a gallon size ziplock baggie…and this was half!!  I figure the costs (keep in mind, I already had 2 of the more expensive ingredients) were about $8, give or take a few.

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This is the amount I use for a large load.  You can use the Purex bottle cap to measure out the detergent.  I’m also using the scoop that came with the OxyClean.  Keep in mind, this won’t produce suds…and that’s ok…it’s not supposed to!

So far, I have done at least 10 loads of laundry…some big, some small.  I started out using the soap in the ziplock baggie.  There is still a lot left in it, so I imagine this will last me a long time.  

I waited to write this blog, because I wanted to see if anything reacted to our skin, and so far, nothing.  The laundry is coming out clean.  I don’t know if I’m imagining things, but some of the white wash rags I have seem brighter (maybe due to the OxyClean?).  I even washed my hubby’s stinky gym clothes & they came out clean and non-stinky 🙂

When I was hearing these moms talk about making their own cleaning supplies, I thought “who has time for that?”  Well, when I went to prepare the laundry detergent, I timed myself.  I did take a short cut.  Instead of grating the bar of soap, I used my food processor.  Note:  If you do that, you will want to cut the bar into small pieces…about the size of fudge.  That really made the job a lot easier.  The whole process to make the detergent took me about 20 minutes or so.  I did mix it in a big, 5 gallon bucket.  At first, I was trying to stir with a large wooden spoon, but later, I decided to just dig in and use my hands to mix it up.  I felt that worked really well.

My only complaint is that I wasn’t too crazy with the scents that Purex has available.  I did read some comments where some were thinking about using Downey Unstoppables or the Gain version.  I think those smell better (although, they’re a bit more pricey).  

So, my verdict right now??  Keep using it…see how long it lasts…and how our clothes look over a longer amount of time.  I have to say, I do feel a bit of Domestic Engineer pride…knowing I MADE my own laundry detergent 🙂

Five Minutes With God

Well, we are 3 days into 2013.  How’s it going???  For me, pretty good.  My son went back to school yesterday, but we had a great Christmas break with everyone at home.  When I dropped him off at school this morning, after he got out of the car, my daughter whispered “I miss you Bubba!”  It was so sweet…really melts a momma’s heart.  I love it that my kids get along so well, even if there’s about 4 1/2 years between them.

The new year brings a lot of things, one of which is New Years Resolutions.  People resolve to do a lot of things in the new year.  Most are very good and ambitious.  You see stores putting workout equipment on sale…not a coincidence 🙂  I work for Weight Watchers, and the first few weeks of the year, we add extra staff at our meetings to help with the crowds.

If this year, your resolution is to have more personal Bible study time, I have the perfect tool for you!!  This is a brand new FREE app that has been in the App Store only a few days.  Here’s the link to it!

When you open the app each day, it will give you a short Bible verse to read.  It’s not a lengthy reading at all…perfect for a person who has just a few minutes at a time to read.  If you want to go a little further into it, you can click on the icon in the top right hand corner, click on “View with devotional of the Day” and it will take you to a short devotional thought that goes with the scriptures you just read.

Once you’ve read the daily verse, you can share it with friends, check mark it as read.  There is also a nice feature you can set to remind you at a certain time of the day that it’s time to stop, take a break, and spend a few minutes with God.

Forgot to read for a week??  That’s ok.  When you open the app, you won’t have seven scriptures to read all at once.  It will just load up the next verse in line and you pick up there.  So, even if you wait a few days to download this app (but why would you wait??), you will still have one scripture in your app to read.

This would also make a nice addition to any personal devotion time you may already be spending.  I like this app, because it’s a nice thought to say “I’m going to read my Bible everyday”.  However, sometimes you need a little guidance as to what you should read.  If you’re like me, you might also need a gentle reminder to have your devotional time.

Did I mention it’s FREE???  Can’t beat that 🙂  Check out the app today & download it to your iPhone.  This is one app you won’t be sorry that you downloaded it!!!

Happy Thursday!

Iron Chef Taste, Rice Krispie Effort

Happy New Year!!  I hope 2013 is treating you well so far!  My family rang in the new year just like I expected.  Kids were in bed by about 8:30.  We did go to one of our favorite frozen yogurt spots (Zinga), to celebrate after dinner.  My hubby went to bed a little later…early for my standards, but he had to get some beauty sleep before his deer hunt today.

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As you can see, we got a little wild and crazy at Zinga…later on, we discovered my son can do the “robot” dance & managed to get it on video.  Very entertaining!

Speaking of dinner, I’d like to share a recipe with you that I found on Pinterest.  One thing you should know about me and cooking.  I like fake out recipes.  You know…the kind that look and taste like they were super hard and took forever.  The kind that after people eat them, they think you must be an Iron Chef or something.  Remember that Rice Krispies Treat commercial a few years back?  The one where the mom was in the kitchen, did hardly any work, made the treats, threw some flour on her face, sighed really big & went to the dinner table with her dessert.  Everyone “oohhhed” and “aahhhed” over her concoction.  She got all the glory, without the headache.  

Well, this is that kind of a recipe.  I’m pretty sure it could be done in the crock pot…making it even less work (as if that were possible).

I followed the recipe 100%, except I used venison instead of beef.  We still have a lot of meat left and I needed some uses for the stew meat we had (besides making stew).  So, I dumped the meat in the 9X13 dish, sprinkled the dry onion soup mix on top.  Then, I mixed the cream of mushroom soup, brown gravy mix and water together, poured it on top of the meat, stirred it around a bit, put foil on top, stuck it in the oven for 3 hours.  Two hours and forty-five minutes later, I opened a can of green beans, heated them on the stove, boiled some water, cooked some egg noodles & threw flour on my face!

At this point, I should tell you I don’t like onions & I’m not crazy about cream of mushroom soup.  So, what made me pin this recipe?  I have no idea, other than the fact it was super easy.

The verdict??  My hubby LOVED it!!  Hours later, long after dinner was over, he was still talking about it.  My son ate every bite of his & told me he wanted to take some for his lunch this week at school!  This is definitely a keeper recipe.  I was able to eat around the onions & you don’t really notice the mushrooms.  About 1 hour into cooking, your house starts smelling amazing!!

One thing I might change next time I make this (and yes, I will be making this a lot) is I will serve it over brown rice instead of egg noodles.  The egg noodles were ok, but they didn’t really soak up the gravy.  My hubby suggested white rice, but I think brown rice will be a little healthier 🙂  The recipe also suggests serving over mashed potatoes, which I can imagine would be equally as yummy!  I ran the recipe through my Weight Watchers recipe builder, and it came out to 6 PPV (when you figure 8 servings) without the noodles.  Considering the amount you get, this is a very hearty meal!  

Make this one of the recipes you try in 2013…I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!!  May God bless you and your family this year!!!