Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I am back....

Alrighty... I am back! My last post was weeks before my silly body decided to have a stroke. Yep! I am ok! It was a mild stroke, but a full stroke nonetheless. So... I have been doing MUCH more "old school" type stuff in my life... basics! You know... like learning to walk, talk, write, and run. Kind of important no? (bwahahahaha)

I am excited to get back in the saddle again and continue my journey! *GRIN*

Thought I would post an update of sorts:
* Still LOVING our homemade dishwasher soap. Half homemade/Half Cascade. Pennies a wash. Excellent results.
* Almost out of bottled beef... watching for sales!
* Completely out of bottle chicken and butter! Next time butter drops below $3 again (Can you even believe it???) I will stock back up!
* We gave our chickens away. They started to eat their own eggs (*shudder*) We tried all the "remedies" and decided 1 egg a week not cracked open and eaten was not worth it. I was not strong enough to slaughter (dang... maybe next time! ;) ) so we gave them away. We have 8 new chickens and are anxiously awaiting our first egg.
* We are moving (long story) in the next few weeks, so I am trying out my vegetable  garden in pots. So far so good. I will post pics shortly.
* I have refinished a patio table that Suzie gave me. It looks LOVELY and all brand new! I just wish I had remembered before and after photos! dern.
* I will also be refinishing my kitchen table and a piano we were given in the next few months! Also I have more recipes to try and share!

And so! I am back! Let's keep exploring together!! *wink*

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Now... how many of you are disgusted as of late with how your dishwashers have been cleaning your dishes?

Say "aye!" Common... it's ok. You can admit it.

That is because here in Utah (and quickly lots of other places too) they are removing the environmentally damaging phosphorus out of the soap. And so... we no longer get clean dishes anymore unless we wash them... before we wash them! LOL

Many have tried adding vinegar to their dishwasher and run it a few times that way. That is only a fix for a few loads and then you are back to re-washing! Not so fun...

Well...I have been busy creating a Ward Cookbook (so fun!) and was pleased to add to it a recipe for homemade dishwasher soap! I was feeling desperate at that time... my dishes looked terrible... and it was dirt cheap to make! So I tried it. And guess what??? IT WORKS AWESOME!!!

So, without further ado, here is the recipe and my successes with this homemade marvel.

1 cup salt
1 cup Borax (found on the laundry isle at the grocery store)
2 cups baking soda

Mix all together and put in an airtight container. (Keep out of the reach of children, just as with any other soap)

TO USE: Add 1 T. in each soap compartment and wash normally. (you can add more or less depending on how well your dishwasher cleans)

Here are a few of the things I noticed:
1st - My spotty/hard water stained glasses were almost immediately improved. My stoneware as well!
2nd - Just like other dish soaps, it makes tin type pans turn a little darker in color (muffin tins and the sort) so I just keep hand washing them because I like them pretty!
3rd - it cleaned out my dishwasher and made it have no smell anymore at all! sweet!
4th - it cleans *really* well, however plastics tend to have a cloudy film on them, so, since I often wash a lot of plastic kid dishes with my other dishes, I improvised:

I use 1 T. of the homemade soap in the first washing compartment, and then use my old standby demoted Cascade in the other. It is as if I still had my awesome friend Cascade with Shine in my washer! I LOVE it! You would never know the phosphorous' are gone!

And so my friends... don't call the dishwasher repair man! Make you some SUPER cheap soap (Each batch costs about $1.50 to make and makes 4 cups of soap!) and never have to wash your dishes before you wash your dishes again! :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recycle and Make it new!

This little piece of furniture was listed on headed to the junk yard if no one wanted it. I brought it home and got to work!
I wish I had remembered to take a before photo! This is a mid-way photo. It was really dinged up and drawn all over. I took some wood putty and filled all the holes and sanded it smooth. I taped off the inside that was beat up and trashed and spray painted it white.

This must have been a highschool woodshop project because it had a name and room number written on it. We had to re-allign the doors and drawers, but it wasn't too hard to do. I decided to paint it a shiny black. It didn't look as nice as I had hoped and so I began to sand the shine off to add a flat to it when I realized it looked AWESOME! I left the sanded edges look - you could see some of the burgandy stain on the corners and such! After about 6 hours of effort - and a few more waiting for paint to dry... we added some new hardware and...

One man's trash is another man's treasure - after some effort and a little love! ;)
Stand - Free
Paint - Free (leftovers in the garage)
Sandpaper - Free (ditto)
Hardward - $10
New TV Stand that hides the games, remotes etc? PRICELESS!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Peaches & Grandma's Preserves

My good friend Maria brought me 3 boxes of peaches last weekend. I have been bottling and drying peaches like a mad woman! LOL Here are some of our favorite ways to use up them peaches! ;)

I blanche them (place in boiling water for about a minute then straight into cold water - it makes their skins slide right off!) and pit them and put them in a bowl full of Dole's Pineapple Strawberry Frozen juice concentrate - made up as if I was going to drink it. It helps to keep them from going brown.

I then put them on my food dehydrator and dry them until they are almost completely dry. My family loves to snack on dehydrated fruits! (and I say the less candy the better! *wink*)
This time while doing peaches, strawberries were on sale at the local market. $6.99 for a full flat! I took half peaches and half strawberries and put them in the blender. We poured the mixture on my drying trays and WALLA! Strawberry Peach fruit leather! YUM! No sugar added! ;)

Grandma's Spiced Peach Preserves
10 cups of peaches
7 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t. ground cloves

Blanche peaches, remove skins and pits and cut into quarters (I always blanche them a few minutes longer and then I can do all of the above almost in one quick movement! *grin*). In a large pot mash peaches with potato masher. (it's better chunky) Add sugar and spices. Cook on low heat until desired consistency (about 60-90 minutes).

Fill into hot sterilized jars, wipe rim and place hot lid and secure with ring. Tip upside down on kitchen towel to cool and seal (I leave them overnight).

According to extension guidelines it is good to process them in a water bath for 10 minutes - but that is to sterilize - so I just do it how Grandma said to and we have never had a problem! :)Tastes great on sandwiches, sugar cookies and warmed up over vanilla icecream! YUM!

We have made 4 batches of this stuff! LOL! We also made Peach Nectar... To use later it is YUMMY added half and half with orange juice!
Peach Nectar
Blanche, peel, pit and put in blender peaches - make a puree.
For every 2 quarts of Peach puree add:
1 T. lemon juice
1 cup boiling water
1 T. sugar

Pour into large pot and heat on low until sugar is dissolved. Laddle into hot jars, wipe rims and top with hot lids and secure with a ring. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Cool on a kitchen towel over night.

I am a tired girl! We also canned tomato juice, pear honey, bottled peaches & strawberry jam & strawberry kiwi jam! It has been a long week! *grin*

Fruit Flies

We have an over abundance of fruit flies since canning this whole last week. They are crazy this year!! I was given an idea we are trying this very night!
Take an over ripe piece of fruit and place it on a foil lined cookie sheet. Place in the oven (with the oven turned off) and leave the door cracked over night. In the morning quietly and quickly shut the door and turn the oven on broil for a few minutes.
Fruit Flies should be gone.
This is what my fruit pieces looked like after only 15 minutes of being in the oven! I will update if it solved my infestation or not...
UPDATE: WOW! Hundreds! It really worked! It did not get every last fly... but it works for a large amount of them!
I also have been putting a bowl of cider vinegar and dish soap on my counter and that catched quite a few too! One of my FLYSisters offer advice to put this mixture in a jar and put a baggie over the top and close with a ring and then use a wooden spoon to push a hole in the bag... she said they fly in but can't always fly out I guess! I am modifying my bowl of mixture to this method today! SWEET! Glad to be taking my house back! *grin*

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This year we have done something that my husband has wanted to do ever since we got married... We are raising our own chickens! He built this AWESOME chicken coop... from plans he created and used out of his own head! It is so cool! We also used almost ALL recycled materials from job site dumpsters or donations. We spent less than $100 on it and we have found similar coops online for $2k! Go sweetheart!

We LOVE our chickens! They are much like pets! The kids hold them and talk to them... they eat all my compost materials (fabulous!) and just last week...

TA-DA! Our 1st egg!! We will be selling eggs to neighbors that would like some as soon as production picks up... and we can not wait for the fresh omlets and homemade mayo try-outs!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Grandma Stoddard's Chocolate Zuchinni Cake

2 C Sugar
1 C oil
3 eggs
2 ½ C Flour
¼ C Cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ C milk
2 C shredded zucchini
1 Tbsp vanilla

In large bowl mix sugar and oil; add eggs 1 at a time beating well after each. Combine dry ingredients and gradually alternate with milk. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Pour into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until done.

While baking make frosting:

½ C butter
¼ powdered cocoa
6 T evaporated milk (I just used regular)
4 C powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla

Mix until creamy – frost HOT cake.

Serve when cooled.