As For Me and My House…

Joshua 24:15

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Frugal Friday: Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

15-06-26liquidsoap1One of my favorite bar soaps is a goats milk soap I get from a local store.  When they get down to a sliver, instead of throwing them away I’ve been saving in a zip bag.  There are also a few Ivory soap bar slivers in the bag as well.  Now I’m making a very easy and frugal liquid hand soap.  You don’t have to wait until you have a bag of soap slivers saved up, you can buy your favorite bar soap to shred to make the liquid soap.  Castile is one of the more popular soaps to use, however Dove is one of the few bar soaps that doesn’t really work well with this recipe.

15-06-26liquidsoap2The basic recipe I’m using is 8 ounces of bar soap to 1 gallon of water.  I made mine today with 4 ounces of shredded bar soap and 2 quarts of water.  There are lots of recipes out there and the amounts are generally the same.

The instructions are simple.  Bring your water to a boil.  Shred your soap, remove water from heat and add soap.  Stir until all the soap is melted.  Let cool 12-24 hours.  Once the soap is all melted in the water you can add lotion, vitamin E, coconut oil, essential oil…what ever you like.  I added a tbsp. of coconut oil.  I like to wait until the soap mixtu15-06-26liquidsoap3re is cooled some before adding anything like that because I want to preserve all as much of the health benefits of the ingredients as I can.  Some people also like to add glycerine to the mixture (2 tbsp. per gallon.) That’s up to you, it works just fine without it.   Once the soap is completely cooled it should gel.  Just mix it with a whisk or use a blender to loosen it up enough to pour.  Pour into your waiting recycled pump dispensers and the soap is ready to use.  Use a pretty soap dispenser and homemade label and you have a great gift!

Have you tried making your own liqu15-06-26liquidsoap4id soap?  What is your favorite bar soap to use?

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Decluttering and Minimizing

It’ raining again today.  Seems a lot of people across the country are saying the same thing.  Crazy, soggy weather.  I’d love to share some with those in the drought.  Today will find me doing inside chores.

20150625_090235One of the things I’d like to accomplish today is decluttering.  I have a desire to get rid of half of what we own, but it’s hard to part with things.  I might need it.  A certain person gave it to me.  It belonged to a certain person.  I don’t even know where to start.

I’ve actually done pretty good the past couple years.  I have been able to get rid of quite a bit.  To me it’s quite a bit.  In the big picture it really isn’t much.  One thing that is very difficult for me is getting rid of things that I inherited.  For example, I have a box of plates that belonged to my grandmother that I will never use.  But they belonged to my grandmother.  Nobody else in the family wants them.  I really don’t want to send them to the thrift store, so I thought about selling them.  But I haven’t yet because they belonged to my grandmother.  See what I mean?

This weekend I’m planning to run a load of decluttering to the local mission thrift store.  I’d rather give to them because they are all about helping the needy with the priority being the Gospel.  Hold on, let me pull out my soap box.  I hear about people giving to and helping out animal shelters.  And it is good to do that.  But there are humans beings who are in great need.  The Bible tells us over and over to help the poor and needy.  We can reach out and help those we know are struggling, and give to organizations who do the same.  This isn’t just shelters, soup kitchens and missions, but consider nursing homes, hospitals, prisons etc.  Sometimes just visiting, sharing kind words and a smile is worth more than anything you could donate.  I’m done with the soap box.

I’m looking forward to having a minimized home.  At this rate it will be a life long project, but hey, I didn’t get cluttered overnight either.

That’s it for now.  Grace and peace.

Matthew 25:34-40 – Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Garden Harvesting Begins…

After a late start, (because I hadn’t planned to start a garden at all!) we are finally starting to get some produce.  We are in NE Indiana, zone 5.  It isn’t much, but here’s what we’ve had the past few days:

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Red Romaine lettuce, Slobolt lettuce and a couple hot banana peppers. There is some chives in there also.

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Cilantro and hot banana peppers.

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Red Romaine lettuce, Slobolt lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, and chives.

This isn’t counting the mint and oregano I picked and dried.  Again, it isn’t much but hopefully soon we’ll be in full swing. We’ll be having peas here before too long, several of the tomato plants have blossoms and the beans should be blossoming soon. A small garden, but every little bit helps.  We’ll be getting some fall plants going here soon…cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach.  I may not end up planting the cabbage because quite a few of the local farmers grow and sell them cheap.  So I may end up doubling up on broccoli instead.  Still thinking about it.  Growing in small spaces takes planning.

Anyway, how is your garden doing so far?

Storing Eggs Long Term

We’ve been talking about getting laying hens for several years. We were told that living right in town we couldn’t have them so we had been working to change that. We recently found out that we can, and so we are starting to plan on getting chicks in the spring.

We have a lot of people around this area (especially Amish) who sell fresh eggs so we already enjoy farm fresh eggs. Now we’re looking forward to having an abundance of our own eggs. I already understand about storing eggs short term, but have never really felt comfortable with long term storage…like prepping storage.

I have seen lots of posts about different ways to store eggs for long periods. Since we haven’t raised our own, my preference was to have dehydrated/powdered eggs on hand. They actually don’t taste too bad as scrambled eggs, and there have been times when I’ve had to use it for baking when I’ve run out of eggs (like now) and it works great. But what about storing whole eggs?  Safely?

I came across this video from Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. on YouTube and while they are really more into reenactment than prepping, it’s still good information to chew on. I’m not going to run out and start storing my eggs any of these ways, I honestly think I’ll stick with the dehydrated for long term storage, but maybe at some point when I have an abundance of my own eggs, I will decide that it’s practical.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Have yourself a great day!  Grace and peace!

Leftovers and Labels

When I cook, I cook with the intention of having left overs.  This usually allows me to use the food in some form for another meal, like lunch.  Sometimes if there isn’t enough of something like corn for even one serving it goes into a bag in the freezer that will eventually be made into soup.  I used to reuse all sorts of plastic containers for left overs.  I do still use zip bags for some things.  We’ve recently made the effort to clear out most of the plastic from our kitchen so most of our storage containers are now glass.  Sometimes I’ll use canning jars.  When we were using plastic containers for left overs it posed a problem.  For example…we eat a lot of yogurt and before I started making my own I saved the yogurt containers from the ones we bought.  Storing left overs in the yogurt containers can make it hard to locate the container that actually has yogurt in it.  Not to mention if you have several like containers with left overs, you may have to open a few before you find the mashed potatoes.  Now with the glass containers, I don’t have as much problem locating the green beans, but I still may have hubby asking “is this any good?” when he’s looking for a snack.

My solution here at home is to use freezer tape and a marker to write the contents and date on each container.  The organized people may already be doing this in some form at their home, but it took me some time to figure it out.

I was using masking tape (because it’s cheap), but now I’m using freezer tape.  Masking tape worked fine for containers in the fridge, but started peeling off containers, jars and bags in the freezer…and you end up playing that great freezer game “Guess what this is?”.  Since I try to reuse zip bags when I buy them (I like to buy the freezer bags for that reason) I don’t like to write directly on the bag.  I wrote whole wheat dough on a bag at one point and when I reused it for freezing banana halves it caused some confusion with hubby was making a smoothie.  “Didn’t you just freeze a bunch of bananas?  Where are they?”  Sigh.

So, how do you keep track of left overs in your fridge?

Father’s Day Weekend

This morning started off a bit foggy, outside AND inside. Mondays are like that. But the fog has burned off, I have had my coffee, and chores are in process.

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At the range.

Had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend with hubby and son. Hubby wanted to go to the range for Father’s Day, so that is what we did. Personally, I’d rather shoot with the camera (and I did), but we all had a nice time and hubby was happy.

I also worked a bit in the garden over the weekend. The beans and peas were beginning to push against the bird netting we had put up to keep the rabbits from feasting on them. So we cut the center and folded it back into a make-shift fence. We’ll see how that works out. So far the beans and peas are looking great.

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A visitor while we were at the range. Handsome fellow, huh?

I don’t know about you but we get lots of volunteers in the garden, and I really hate pulling them out. Our onions are planted where the tomatoes were last year and there are so many tomato weeds growing in the onions. The tomato weeds are growing better than the tomato plants we actually planted. Go figure. Anyway…I really don’t have the room for more tomatoes, but I just hate pulling them out. On the other hand, with all the rain we’ve been having (and the 7 day forecast is saying we’ll have 6 days with rain) I may just leave them alone. Some of my tomato plants are struggling and could get taken out with all the rain. I don’t think my onions will be effected too much by the tomato weeds.

Speaking of tomatoes, I went through our tomatoes and pinched off the bottom leaves to help prevent any blight from the wet weather. The weekend was fairly dry so the ground had a little bit of time to dry. I think the peppers are suffering the most. They aren’t growing much and actually have a bit of wilt to them. I’m wondering if getting an organic fertilizer might help.

That’s it for now, I guess. I’ve got laundry going, chore to catch up on from the weekend (mainly dishes), milk on the stove cooling for yogurt, and dinner to figure out. I’ve got ground beef thawed, but not sure what to do with it. Hope your weekend was great and hope your week is as well. Grace and peace…