Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Simple Honest Living

Anyone who uses social networks
such as Facebook, Blogs, or  Pinterest,
 can see there is a huge trend
 toward consumers making  more frugal choices.

Homemade laundry soap.
Refurbishing their old furniture instead of buying new.
Making simple home cooked meals instead of eating out.

Not too long ago,
It seemed that everyone was trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Buy Bigger!  Buy Better!

It was a cause for embarrassment to admit that you were
making frugal choices, budgeting, 
and looking for ways to cut back on spending.
It meant that you were not quite successful enough.

I think that this is the one good thing 
that has come out of this recession.
People are making better choices.
We are no longer afraid to admit that money is tight
And that we are doing the best we can to hold on to
Whatever it is we have.

We are reusing,
And trying to live more simply.

We’ve gone back to simple pleasures such as,
Hanging our laundry to dry in the sun,
Growing our own vegetables,
Creating beauty from things we already have.

Can you imagine dumpster diving or “shopping the curb”
Just ten short years ago?
If you did, you certainly didn’t tell anyone about it.

If you’re a Pinterest user like I am,
You probably have the same phobia that I do.
The fear of throwing something away that you could possibly reuse.

“Well, I guess I’ll just throw this empty tomato can away.”
But wait…..what if I just…..

“This old suitcase is about to fall apart, I should just toss it.”
But hold on a minute, maybe I could….

I enjoy learning new ways to
live more simply.
Ways to save money.
Paying down our debt.

I'm amazed at the number of women 
who have been willing to open up
on their blogs
and share their financial hardships
and their ideas for saving money.
And so thankful for that.

And it's a good thing.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grab It Fore It Bolts

The garden looks a little crazy right now.
New to gardening, 
we may not have planned it as well as we thought.
The potatoes have taken over.
Perhaps we planted too many.

Perhaps we have not a clue what we are doing.

We're hoping to see them flower and fall over soon
which will tell us that they are ready to harvest.

The lettuce is looking lovely though
and looks like it may bolt soon

so I picked some for a salad tonight.

They are soaking right now in my kitchen sink
in a bath of vinegar and cold water.

I'm not really fooled into thinking
that this will take care of every single tiny bug.
We will probably have a couple of bugs mixed in 
with our croutons.

You're not coming for dinner?

I'm having issues with our strawberry plants.
I don't think I provided enough drainage
and I should have mixed a little sand in with the soil.

See that strawberry?
That's what we are getting out of these.
Teensy, weensy.
Advice, anyone?

I've planted some sweet potato vines in 
a wine barrel in the yard.
Hopefully, we will have a nice trailing vine
this summer.

I thought for the longest time that
this thing was a weed
but stopped myself from pulling it out several times.

the beautiful Gerbera Daisies opened up.
So glad I didn't pull it out.

We bought three gardenia bushes
and planted them under the kitchen window
where they get plenty of shade.
Hard to come by here in Arizona.

Such pretty fragrant blooms!

We're looking at a high of 84 degrees today.
Low 90's for the weekend.

Can't wait to use this
for the first time!

Have a Happy Tuesday!!



Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Cleaning on the Cheap

The windows are all open
and the breeze through the house feels wonderful.

Looks like a high of 84 degrees today
and in the 90's later this week.

Makes a woman feel like cleaning!

I don't have children at home anymore 
so cleaning is not such a chore for me.

Brian is relatively neat,
never misses the waste basket and
never leaves dirty clothes on the floor.

I consider myself blessed.

What I don't care for are the prices of store bought 
cleaning products.
About a year ago I began to make my own.

It took a lot of trial and error
to find the products that worked for me.

Everything I use was either found on 
Elaine's blog: Sunny Simple Life

I've had a few friends ask me what I use
and for the recipes to these
so I thought I would just post them here.

All you will ever need to buy:
Dawn Dish Soap
Rubbing alcohol
Baking Soda
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
Mule Team Borax
Cheap Hair Conditioner (Suave)
essential oils (optional)

Here are my tried and true favorite homemade cleaners.

Homemade Laundry Stain Remover - from Elaine

1 part Ammonia
1 part Dawn 
1 part water

 Put in squeeze bottle.  
Apply to stain, wait 15 minutes then wash.

Homemade Laundry Soap

3 Tablespoons Borax

3 Tablespoons Washing Soda
4 Tablespoons Dawn Dish soap

Put these ingredients in a large jug.
Pour 4 cups hot water into the jug.
Swirl until ingredients are dissolved in the liquid.
Then fill almost to the top with cold water.
(I've done the grated soap method before and found
this one above works just as well and only take 1 minute to make) 
Also, it's low sudsing so I can use it in my high efficiency washer.
For my whites, I add some OxyClean to the load.

Granite Cleaner or Pergo Floor Cleaner

½ cup rubbing alcohol
1 tsp Dawn 

14 drops of essential oil (lemon or orange)

Fill spray bottle to top with hot water
(When I had formica counters,
I used vinegar instead of alcohol, granite doesn't like vinegar)

Carpet Cleaner

2 ½ cups vinegar
2 scoops Oxyclean

Dissolve and add to carpet cleaning machine 
and fill the rest of the way with hot water.  

Homemade Fabric Softener

6 cups of hot water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups of Suave hair conditioner

Mix conditioner and hot water until conditioner is dissolved.  
Add vinegar.  Use 1/8 cup per load

      Bathtub Cleaner

1 part vinegar
1 part Dawn dish soap
Mix in a spray bottle, and spray on tub.  
Let sit for 15 minutes and then wipe.

      Toilet Cleaner

1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup baking soda
sprinkle baking soda in the toilet.
Add vinegar and smile when you see the bubbles.
Because bubbles are fun.
Swish with your toilet brush and then flush.
(I also keep a bleach tablet in the toilet tank)

I buy my vinegar, baking soda and alcohol in bulk at Costco.
Everything goes a long way and will last for several months.

I have several others that I use
and you can find them on my
Pinterest Board marked Favorite Homemade Cleaners.

Another trick I've learned is to make my own 
cleaning wipes.

Pull about 10 paper towels off the roll
and shove them into a mason jar with a lid.
I pour my granite cleaner over these
just enough to moisten them
and keep the sealed jar under my bathroom sinks.
Removes hairspray off the counter tops really well.
Just pull one out and tear it off.

I've also made my own
Swiffer Wet Jet Pads using old microfiber cloths.
I stitched Velcro on them to hold them in place.
I refill the Swiffer bottle with the 
homemade Pergo floor cleaner above.

Hope you're enjoying your spring weather,
whatever it may be.

Let me know if you try any of these
and how they work for you.

Elaine, thanks for all your great advice!