A Note On Laundry Soap

So I know most of you make your own laundry soap and love it.  We make it and love it as well.  I use it on my diapers and they come out perfectly clean and have had no build up issues like other moms have.  The only thing I hate is the way this soap looks.  I know it sounds crazy but in my own mind it just doesn't look right and so I sometimes cringe when I use it.  A while back I found a solution to my problem.

Let me back up and say that I use this recipe that Michele posted long ago and it is a keeper.  I don't use a full 2 gallon bucket though.  I use an old laundry soap bucket from Costco.(the ones with the spouts)  They are not quite two gallons but I'm not too worried.

So here is what I do.  I make the soap up with only one gallon of water.  I let it sit until it is cool.  Usually mine has turned into a hard mass that I have to break up.  Then, this is the good part so pay attention, I take my had mixer to it and break those parts up.  Yep thats right!  I whip that stuff to death.  Then I add the other gallon of water(or however much will fit into my bucket).  I keep using my mixer and adding the water until all is smooth and looks like real laundry soap.

What I will say though is that is will still kind of clump up when you leave it just sitting there.  Each time I go do a load of laundry I give my bucket a little shake or stir and all the clumps are gone.  I then have this beautiful soap that looks so much less gross.  I've tried to get it to come out of those spout containers but it won't so don't try it.  Well try it if you want to and if you have success then tell me your secret!

Thats my news for today mostly because I just made tons of laundry soap.  After we get sick(which we just did, yuck!) I end up doing just about a million loads of laundry. Hence running out of laundry soap.  Happy mixing!


Hard Water?

Hear is 2 simple tricks I learned about making your dishes shine without having to always hand wash them.

#1) Dish washing soaps are made to cut through grease and food, so do yourself the favor and stop pre-washing them. I just scrape off the food and throw it in the dish washer.
#2) put a cup of vinegar on the top rack before you start a washing cycle. The vinegar will help keep the hard water from building up on your dishes and it is also an antibacterial so it makes your dishes germ free too :)

Happy Cleaning!!!


Prudent Homemaker

I follow this blog:
She has lots of fun "prudent" ideas.  Some of her posts overwhelm me, but I have found some good recipes and fun tips.  And her pictures are always so beautiful.
Here is the tip she had today that I LOVED:
If you do not own a pastry brush, you can purchase a 1" chip brush at the hardware store for around .25 (instead of the same thing in the kitchen department for $7).
So clever!


Homemade Veggie/Fruit Spray

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 TBS baking soda
2 TBS lemon juice
  • Mix ingredients then pour in clean spray bottle. Spray fresh produce generously. Sit for 5 minutes then rinse off well.
  • Note: Make sure to first mix ingredients in deep container since there will be some fizzing from the baking soda & vinegar.
Ok, I just mixed this (in a pitcher...it foamed A LOT) and used it on my grapes and green onions.  What do you gals think?  I'm looking for a quick way to clean my fresh food that doesn't cost me an arm and a leg...and I know what's in it!

Next I'm making homemade detangler...so stay tuned!


Marcy's Homemade Deodorant

I have been using this recipe now for quite a while and I really like it.  I put it in an empty deodorant container so that I don't have to use my fingers to apply it.  The last 2 times I made it I used tea tree oil and a lemon one (I'll have to check to see which one for sure).

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
essential oils/Vitamin E oil
2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Combine the cornstarch and baking soda in a bowl.  Add a few drops of essential or vitamin E oils and mix.  Add coconut oil and mush together until it starts to form a silky mass.  Add more of the coconut oil or dry ingredients to adjust (you'll get the feel of it by your second batch).  Pack the mass into your deodorant container.  Let set for 1-2 days (depending on temperature).

1. I put about 1/2 inch in container, then I put a little "flag" (I used a triangle from the little craft foamy shapes the girls have).  Then pack the rest.  That way, when I am using the deodorant and get to the flag, I know its time to make more!
2. Apply lightly.  It only takes a very little amount (not like store-bought deodorant)...that will avoid getting "chunks" under your arm or on your clothes.
3. You really only need a few drops of the essential oils.
4. Some great essential oils for deodorant also act as antimicrobials (since bacteria is what causes the small, using something to get rid of them is very helpful!).  Tea Tree, sandalwood, lavender, lemon, and neem oils are all good (alternatives to bay, cinnamon, clove and thyme that are really better, but can lead to major sensitivity in the pit-ular area).
5. If after a few days it is not a consistancy that will rub under your arm, dump it out in a bowl and add more dry ingredients.  I like to make up a container well before I need it...I had one batch that was a little "wet" and I was too lazy to do anything about it.  It sat for a long time and then eventually was dry enough to use-weird!


Cheese Steak sandwiches

{About} 4lbs of Top Round Steak, thinly sliced (I bought mine at costco for $16 and had 2 large steaks)
1 bell pepper
1/3 cup onion
3-4 mushrooms
Mozzarella cheese
Hoagie Rolls


Butter your pan

Brown your steak2011_02_06_999_10
Drain most of the liquid 2011_02_06_999_15food2
cover pan with lid and remove from heat


can you tell I have a sweet tooth?

Raspberry Cream Trifle
• 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
• 1 cup cold water
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
• 1 prepared angel food cake (8 to 10 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
• 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
• 2 cups fresh raspberries
• Chocolate curls and fresh mint
• In a large bowl, beat the milk, water and extract until blended.
• Add pudding mix; whisk for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Cover and chill until mixture is partially set. Fold in the whipped cream.
• Place half of the cake cubes in a 2-qt. glass serving bowl.
• Top with half of the cream mixture. Carefully spread with jam.
• Sprinkle with 1 cup raspberries. Layer with remaining cake cubes,
• cream mixture and raspberries. Garnish with chocolate curls and mint

Chocolate Trifle

-1 Devil's Food cake mix (any chocloate cake or brownie mix may be substituted)
-1 large instant chocolate pudding
-1 large tub of cool whip
-1 package of Heath Bar chips

- Prepare cake mix according to package directions (bake in jelly roll pan) and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.
-In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place 1/3 of the cake, then 1/3 of the pudding mixture and 1/3 of the container of whipped topping, then cover with Heath bar chips. Repeat layers.

Oreo Cup Cakes


1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix

1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup sour cream

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/2 cup warm water

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used miniature)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

*Note: I made cupcakes with this recipe. I ended up with 28 cupcakes that were baked at 350 degrees F for about 24 minutes.

Buttercream Dream Frosting

1 stick salted butter - room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter - room temperature

1 cup shortening

1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract

2 pounds confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)

4-6 tablespoons very cold milk (I used 5 TBS)

8 crushed Oreo cookies with the cream removed before crushing


Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk... one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency. Fold in the Oreo cookie crumbs. Top cooled cupcakes with the buttercream frosting and garnish with 1/2 an Oreo.

Brownie Goody Bars

1 box brownie mix (make according to box)
1- 16 oz. container of vanilla frosting
1/2 cup salted peanuts, (coarsely chopped) The peanuts really could be optional
2 cups rice cereal
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350. (325 for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only. I've used a 8x8 pan and a 9x13. It just depends how thick you want the brownies. Both work fine.

2. Make and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool COMPLETETLY. (I've put them in the freezer or fridge before to help the cooling process when I was under time constraint. They still turn out fine)

3. Frost brownies with frosting. Sprinkle with peanuts; refrigerate while making cereal mixture.

4. Measure cereal into medium bowl; set aside. In 1-quart saucepan, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour over cerial in bowl, stirring until evenly coated. Spread over frosted brownies. Refrigerate 1 hour or until set before cutting.



Being pregnant I keep trying to find ways to eat things that keep me feeling fuller longer. Breakfast is always the hardest time and if I don't eat something to fill me up then I get hungry within an hour. So I found this recipe for granola and it has quickly become the only breakfast I eat. I eat this granola with my favorite yogurt. Josh often eats it with plain yogurt and some fresh fruit. Ben and Will eat the granola plain.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 oil or butter(we use canola oil)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of your favorite nut, chopped(we use almonds)
2 cups old fashioned oats(don't use quick oats)
waxed paper
cookie sheet

- Preheat oven to 325

- Melt the brown sugar, oil, and honey in the microwave until warm and smooth. Add chopped nuts and oats. Mix until well blended.

- Place a piece of wax paper over your cookie sheet and pour the uncooked granola onto the cookie sheet.

- Spread evenly and place in oven for 10 min.

- After 10 min. take the granola out of the oven and stir. You should see the edges start to brown. Place back into oven for another 5-7 min.

- The last few minutes may be faster or slower so keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.

- When it is cooked take off the wax paper and place in a bowl to cool. It will stick to the wax paper if it cools on it.

- If you want any dried fruit you add it after it is all cooked. We occasionally add a little vanilla, cinnamon, or other flavoring before it is cooked. If you want coconut in the granola add 1/4 when you add the nuts and oats then cook it normally. If you try anything you love let me know...we are always looking for new ways to spice it up.


Honey Popcorn

1/2 cup of un-popped popcorn, popped
1/4 cup of honey
1/6 or an 1/8 cup of butter, melted (optional)
dash of salt

After you have popped your popcorn drizzle butter over top, then drizzle honey over that and stir.
Place popcorn on a cookie sheet drizzle a bit more honey on top
salt it
Bake in oven for 2-3 min. at 250-300 degrees.


“Peanut Butter Bumbles”

Things you’ll need:

- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

- 1/2 cup powered sugar

- 1 tablespoon butter, softened

- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

- 1/4 cup chocolate chips

- 1/2 cup sliced almonds or banana chips

- extra chocolate chips

- scissors

- plastic zip bag

- greased cookie sheet

How to Assemble:

1.Mix together peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and graham cracker crumbs.

2.Shape the peanut butter mixture into ovals for the bees’ bodies, and place them onto a greased cookie sheet.

3.Ask a parent to melt chocolate chips and pour melted chocolate into a plastic zip bag.

4. Use scissors to snip off a tiny corner of the bag, then drizzle stripes onto the bee bodies.

5. Create wings with sliced almonds.

6. Make eyes with the extra chocolate chips.

7.Allow chocolate to dry, then taste and “bee” stung with flavor!


What's for Dinner?

I hear that phrase all the time! Well I have an awesome crock pot recipe that is sure to please.

Super Yummy Chicken Nachos!


4-6 FROZEN Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts
1 can Whole Kernel Corn (drained)
1 can Black Beans (drained)
1 15 oz. jar Medium Salsa
1 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese.

Put first 4 ingredients in greased crock pot in the order above. Cook on high 4-5 hours.
Add cream cheese (just put it on top) in the last half hour.
Shred chicken and stir. Serve on rice or with tortilla chips.

If you have any questions call me.


Creamy Chicken Bake

I made this recipe from page 66 in our WARD cookbooks that Mom got us for Christmas. It was OH SO YUMMY-and fairly easy to make!


Menu planning idea

I was feeling frustrated with meal planning and came up with a lovely idea.

I have picked one cook book a week and have planned the whole week out of that cook book. Last week was Bingham family cookbook which was so much fun!! So here is what I made.

(Josh's) Pizza pg. 68
pear set salad pg. 26 (we thought it would be very yummy with a gram cracker crust)
Lemon Bread pg 46
Creamy chicken noodle soup pg 34
Spanish Rice pg 67
Teen Mix pg 86
Shirley's Favorite oven stew pg 29 (I did it with pork shoulder and in the crockpot)

This was a lot of fun I am doing it again this week I will let you know how it goes.


here is a good recipe for while you are getting ready to move... fast food.
the end.


Mac and Cheese

Taylor and I had his Mac and Cheese tonight (actually it is Alton Brown's) from the family cook book, it was so yummy! I suggest you put it on your menu, it definitely is a grown up Mac and Cheese so if you are more of a bland flavor kind of person or your kids are supper picky, maybe this isn't for you, Dale loves it though.


Yellow Squash Patties

•2 cups grated yellow squash
•1/4 cup all purpose flour
•1/3 cup cornmeal or bread crumbs I like Italian seasoned
•1 small onion, chopped
•1 egg, beaten
•pepper to taste
I have also added a handful of shredded cheese
Mix all ingredients together. Spoon out into hot greased frying pan (I use olive oil). Brown both sides. Drain on paper towel.

So yummy!!


Eye Make-Up Remover

This one is for Marcy-

Dilute a baby shampoo and use with a cotton ball on your eye make-up.

Simple as that.

Dish Soap

Michele asked me about this recipe today so I thought I would post it.

1 part borax
1 part washing soda
1/4 part sea salt(or some other coarse salt)
*Use 1-1.5 TBSP per section of dish soap(total 2-3 TBSP per load)

If you wash your dishes well before you put them in the dish washer then you can use less salt. I also have a very old cheap dishwasher so I use 1 tsp of store bought dish soap in the MAIN WASH compartment. If you have a great dishwasher you may not need that. Good luck!