Archive | December 2011

Hot fudge sauce (peppermint)

I have been searching for a chocolate sauce for my ice cream and since my son seems to think that anytime we buy chocolate sauce that it’s his and only his and he goes thru it making chocolate milk before I get to use it for my ice cream.  Well needless to say I didn’t find my chocolate sauce recipe but I found this wonderful hot fudge sauce — now it’s not as thick at hot fudge sauce that you can buy in the stores but it’s pretty darn good – I mean it’s sitting on the counter cooling right now as we speak and I”m really trying not to run over there with a spoon and eat it. I can see us making this many times a year and I’m wondering how good it would taste as hot cocoa???? HMMMMM I may have to try that this weekend.

I’m still on my trek for the chocolate sauce but so glad I stumpled on this.

Christmas at our house

Christmas here is not traditional by any means. Much of that has to do with the fact that I am divorced from my son’s dad and that there is a 12 year age gap between my son and my daughter and since he no longer believes in Santa and Megan doesn’t quite get it yet then there isn’t that anticipation like in years past. David splits his Christmas holiday break from school between his dad and I we alternate who has him the week before and the week after Christmas thru New Year’s Day. This year for some reason I agreed to let David’s dad take him for a Christmas eve party at his step grandfather’s home and then I get him back for the 27th (his dad and step mom’s wedding anniversary) so we didn’t get to see him very much on Christmas eve and not much on Christmas day – we did have a good time opening gifts and he got some things that he really really wanted (football and San Francisco 49er stuff) and some that he didn’t really want but could use. I think my little boy is becoming a young man because I know that there were things that he didn’t really want but he was really gracious and kind about it, not like a few years ago when he lost all of his gifts because he was so darn ungrateful. Megan of course wasn’t too interested in things she would open a present and then put it aside then look at things then go find another present – I think Tim and I opened more of her presents than she did.  A lot of them were clothes and things that she needed but she was given a little Dora the explorer lunch box type thing — super small tho it won’t hold much lol – and it came with 4 lip glosses.  SHE LOVES IT – wouldn’t put it down and wouldn’t open any other gifts and just played with it, kept putting on lip gloss.  Tim had put together a breakfast casserole last night so when we got up this am we put it in the oven right away Then we all got ready for church and went to church – just had a quick sacrament meeting and then home. We’ve just been relaxing and not doing much — well Tim is running like crazy around the kitchen making dinner, and since I can’t stand the way he cooks — like a tornado hit the kitchen I stay out and let him cook and clean up lol.  I have to clean up after myself so why should I clean up after him lol. So we’re just waiting for everything to cook and a couple of friends to come over. Then we’ll over eat and put ourselves into a food coma then hopefully we will all crash early lol

Creamer

Again with the saving money thing — I thought that since we go thru a lot of creamer in this house (we like it in our hot chocolate) I would try to find a cheap way of making it. So off to the internet I went — I found a recipe that uses

1 can (14 oz ) of sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups milk  – whatever you have in the  house –  we have used whole, nonfat and 2% – no flavor changes really just thickness of the creamer

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Mix this up – with a wisk, blender, electric mixer, whatever you wanna use

 

then add whatever flavoring you  like –  if you go for that kind of creamer

so far we have tried:

Chocolate (4 tablespoons of chocolate baking powder)

Peppermint Mocha (4 tablespoons of chocolate baking powder and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract) we do think the peppermint was a bit much so next batch I will drop it down to 3/4 teaspoon and see how that works

 

Now lets say you don’t have a can of sweetened condensed milk in your cupboard – I thought I did but no it was the evaporated milk — so not the same – so again I go to the internet to find a recipe for that and I found one on allrecipes.com (man that site rocks). Now I have all that here at home – dry milk is a staple in my house (don’t tell my family but when the milk gallon is about half full then all of a sudden it’s full again — it sure has helped our milk budget – especially with a teenage boy who grows like a foot over night) so this isn’t a stretch for me to make it

 

 

Homemade Laundry Soap and Fabric Softener

This is a recipe we’ve been using for a good 3 or more years, we started using it to save some money because at the time we had my niece and nephew living with us and adding 2 kiddo’s under the age of 3 and potty training them – this added ALOT of laundry to do. We were spending at least $30 a month on just laundry detergent at Costco not to mention the fabric softener. So we searched and searched and searched for something cheaper and worked just as well as the stuff you buy at the store and this is what we found. This is very similar to the recipe the Duggar’s use, it could be the same one so I’ve added the link just in case (I”m not going to rob someone of the credit they deserve – I didn’t make the recipe up I just copied it). This is a very low suds detergent so don’t expect to see much.

You will need-

5 gallon bucket with a lid – we got ours at Fred Meyer, I’m sure any home improvment store has them

Laundry soap dispenser – the last one you had to buy

1 bar of soap – I have heard many different brands most people swear by Fels-Naptha, I was concerned about skin sensitivity issues that Meimei has so we went with Zote soap – we found it at Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer’s in the laundry detergent isle

1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda – not baking soda – also found at Fred Meyer in the laundry detergent isle – I’ve not seen it anywhere else but I know it can be ordered online thru Arm and Hammer as well

1/2 cup Borax – I have seen this at every place we have gone that has a laundry detergent isle

Essential oils – (optional) any scent that you happen to like is good

How to make it –

Grate the soap in a sauce pan and cover with hot water. Heat of medium -low heat stirring until the soap dissolves. Put the washing soda and the borax in the 5 gallon bucket and pour in the hot soap mixture. Mix until the powders are dissolved. Fill the bucket with more hot water. Stir and cover with lid tightly and let sit overnight. The next morning it’s ready to use, stir the mixture and fill the old laundry soap dispenser half with water and half with the soap mixture. (We fill ours about half with water then 1/4 with soap – I shake the heck out of it to mix them then add some more soap, shake and keep adding until the dispenser is full. I always leave a little room in the dispenser so you can shake it because it will seperate as it sits).  Also each time you need to fill your dispenser you will need to mix the soap in the 5 gallon bucket before you put it in the dispenser.

We used to use the big soap dispenser that you can get at Costco – but I was having such a hard time shaking it before I used it we went down to a smaller sized one. Now we are using an old bleach bottle – 60 oz size – and it is good for about a 7-10 days of laundry before we have to refill it.

You use 1 cup for the typical top loading machines and 1/3 cup for the HE/front loading machines. I know lots of people question weither or not it can be used in the HE washers but that’s what the Duggar’s use and I know lots of other people that use them also and use this sort of laundry detergent without any problems with their HE Washers.

This will make about 10 gallons of soap or about 160 loads worth.  Tim did the math and this equals about 2 cents a load.

Here’s a link to my husband’s facebook page – he posted a video on making the laundry soap for one of the classes he was taking.  But don’t mind the disary of the kitchen — we were in a much smaller place and had to stuff stuff where ever we could.

Fabric Softener

This is so super easy and we love it.  We use — sit down for it – WHITE VINEGAR – yep we do and no we don’t walk around smelling like Easter Eggs 24/7 . I also put some Lavender essential oil (about 20 drops for a gallon bottle and shake it a bit to distribute) in the bottle. We  usually get it at Costco – two 1 gallon bottles for $5. I use anywhere between 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup per load — just depends on what I’ve got in the load and if there’s alot of static cling at the moment. The more the static cling the more I put in and usually for towels they get 1/2 cup. I don’t pour it in the bucket I use the bleach dispenser.

Lotion Bars

Again because of our daughter having such sensitive skin and needing to help her when she would dry out, we ran to the internet to find a recipe for something that we could use on her skin instead of the creams and prescription medications that we were being told to use. So I found this one recipe as well as a website to order it from.  Then I did more research and found that not only do they have lotion making supplies but the company had originally been established to enhance her love of soap making. And until I get over my fear of using lye I will visit them to make my lotion bars for Meimei (and the others who have fallen in love with them)

I found two blog sites that are associated with www.brambleberry.com, The Soap King and The Soap Queen – each of those links will take you to their lotion bar tutorials. There is even a retail store in Bellingham, WA that I went to and picked up the supplies I needed. It was a little more expensive than the Bramble Berry website but I was able to get the stuff I wanted RIGHT NOW — and well I”m just one of those girls lol. They offer classes in soap making I can’t wait to get to go to one of those, www.otionsoap.com.

This is what I used for my lotion bars – I used push up tubes (like what is shown in the Soap Queen blog but you can easily pour these into a mold like what is shown in the Soap king blog)

2 oz Beeswax (I used white, only because I wasn’t going to add color and I wanted it to be as white as I could make it)

8 oz Sweet Almond Oil or Avocado Oil (I used the Avocado Oil because it was a little less expensive than the Almond oil)

5 oz Shea Butter

3 oz Cocoa Butter

1/4 oz (7.4 ml) fragrance oil – the oil will seem strong at first (I thought I had put way to much in) but once it cools the fragrance is not as strong.

20 push up tubes

1/4 teaspoon color, if you want color  (not food coloring)

Since I kinda mixed both tutorials I will say here what I did :

Melt the beeswax in a heat safe container (I used an old Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup most of the markings are gone so I rarely use it) It will take about 2-3 minutes to melt it completely. I started at 1 minute then stirred it, then every 30 seconds after that.

Add the two butters and the heat from the melted wax will mostly melt them.

Add the oil then microwave for another minute or so. The oil will make the wax and butters start to solidify.

Add your fragrance and colors at this point, really you don’t need to add them the lotion smells great as it is, but hey if you want to add the color and the scent factor go for it.

Pour into your tubes or molds, if you are using the tubes pour it almost to the top. Then as it cools it may make a slight indentation so if you have some left over just pour it on the top of it to fill it in.

These were really popular – I gave one to a co-worker, kept one for Meimei to use (since she was the one that I was making them for lol) and sold one to a gal on a forum I’m on. My co-worker promptly purchased the ones left over to give as Christmas gifts. I still have some of the lotion left over I poured it into a Rubbermaid container (one of those hard plastic ones) and then will cut it up to remelt it and make a new lotion bar for when Meimei’s runs out.

Sinus Shower tablets

Meimei has been sick lately – on and off for about a month now she’s had this wonderful (I jest lol) sinus crap that just won’t go away. I have been searching high and low for something to help her since there is nothing the dr’s can give her. We have tried warm showers, warm baths, humidifier at night and nothing seems to be working. I had checked out a book from the library – my son loves the name of the book – “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Natural Beauty Products” by Sally Trew and Zonella Gould, and I saw a recipe for these tablets – I remember using this type of thing years ago in the shower. You just put it in the shower – kinda away from you but where the water will hit it and where you can still breathe in the vapors.

I have emailed Sally Trew to get permission to post some of the recipes here on my blog so as soon as I get permission I will.

ETA – I just received an email from Sally Trew and she gave me permission to post as many recipes as I want, she did ask however that I give full credit to the book, I posted the name of the book above and just created a link to purchase it from Amazon, now I just got it from the library, but I also see that you can get it on your kindle too (I love my kindle app on my phone). I”m all for saving a few trees.

These sinus tabs are perfect for those who suffer from allergies and head colds.  Just place a tab in the bottom of your shower/tub were the water will hit it.  While you take your shower, the vapors will help clear out your stuffed nose.  You make them just like regular bath bombs, except you boil the water and use it to melt the menthol crystals.  This recipe makes 24 (1-ounce; 28.4 gram) sinus tabs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (236.6 ml) Baking Soda
  • 1 cup (236.6 ml) Cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.7 ml) Distilled Water
  • 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) Menthol Crystals
  • 1 ounce (28.4 grams) Sweet Almond Oil
  • 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • ½ cup (118.3 ml) Citric Acid

 

  1.  Measure the baking soda and cornstarch, and put in a large bowl.  Mix together well.
  2. Measure the distilled water, and bring it to a boil.  Add menthol crystals, and stir until dissolved.  Add the sweet almond oil and eucalyptus essential oil, and stir well.
  3. Drizzle the liquids into the dry ingredients, and whisk together.  Switch to an electric hand mixer and continue mixing until the liquids are well disbursed throughout the mixture.
  4. Add the citric acid, and mix well.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees F.  Using a small bath bomb soap mold, mold your shower tabs, pack them tight, and place them on a cookie sheet.  Turn off the oven and put the shower tabs in the oven, and close the door for 1 hour.
  6. After the tabs have been in the oven for an hour, remove them and using a knife, remove the tabs from the cookie sheet.  Let the tabs air-dry overnight.  The next day, wrap the tabs in foil candy wrappers.

*****Note about the menthol crystals — these little buggers are hard to find, not to mention expensive, again being the “I want it now” type of gal that I am and wanting to get these to help Megan with her cold, I was willing to search and finally found a place local to me – well kinda local – we drove to Seattle to get them. We went to Zenith Supplies and we were able get quite a bit of the things we were looking for, and they do ship. Also Mountain Rose Herbs also has them and I have ordered from them before – they have a huge selection of items. Also these suckers pack a punch this recipe just calls for a small amount, so unless you have another use for them or will be making these tablets a bunch I would order the smallest amount you can. Do not adjust the amount of these thinking that they will be even better with more in them — nope you’ll end up with a headache — I will quote from the book how the author’s experience was “One time I decided to make my shower sinus tabs stronger and added a full tablespoon. When I opened the oven door the smell make me light headed and I went down on my knees. We had to open the windows and doors to air out the house.” Tim was getting a headache when I was making them and we had to open the kitchen window and door so trust me don’t add extra to the mix.

Here are the changes I made –

I used a full teaspoon of distilled water to dissolve the menthol crystals.

I also had to add more distilled water to get the tabs to mold together, I don’t remember how much I added but just enough to get the tabs to stick together.

I didn’t have a mold to use so I used a 2 tablespoon scoop and it worked (actually Tim had to do it for me since my hands just aren’t strong enough to do it.  So it made 12 tabs. I also didn’t have any foil but we have plenty of the snack size ziploc baggies so I put them in those instead.

They worked great – gave Megan a shower the next day (when they had dried overnight) and she had a much easier day, not so much wiping of the poor little nose.

 

Homemade Baby Wipes

Since I discovered Pintrest I have found a number of things that I have felt would make our lives a little easier, not necessarily greener but easier. One of those things was this recipe for baby wipes.  I mean we have everything here in the house (except the paper towels and the container) and it’s something that can be kept in your home and easily made up when you run out.We’ve been doing this since September, 2011 and I’m pretty sure that we’ve not saved any money, but I feel better knowing what’s in the wipes (water, baby wash, baby oil and some essential oils- I use a few drops of tea tree oil- to aid in the anti bacterial of it all and lavender – just to make it smell better). not to mention when the paper towels come in the house all concept of re-using goes right out the window. All in all I think these work alot better than the ones you can buy, these can get the worst diaper messes off butts with just a couple of wipes rather than a bunch of the store bought ones.

The container we use, we  found it at Target, is a Michael Graves 2.9 quart airtight cannister, we found it in the kitchen canister isle. We really like it becuase you can open it with one hand while you are wrestling a squirmy baby and since it’s airtight we have yet to have a batch go bad. I’ve read comments on the original blog saying that after a week their wipes are getting moldy. I’ve not had that problem at all.

She recommends only using Bounty paper towels and since I don’t feel like experimenting with the different paper towels that are out there I’ve just stuck with them. However I have found that not all Bounty paper towels are the same — don’t ask me why but they aren’t — on a couple of the batches the layers seperated and I ended up with a wad of mess as I was trying to wipe Meimei’s butt. So we stick to the ones at Target or Wal-Mart.

Someone in the notes said they use more water and more baby wash and oil – I really found that then the wipes got too wet toward the end and had to wring them out to use them (that’s money down the drain).

We also use them to wipe faces and hands and noses when we are out and about — I would never try that with any of the wipes that I buy at the store.

Anyways so here is the link to the blog where I found them and also a link to my husband’s article that he wrote for the examiner, he went over the cost of making the wipes, although he didn’t add the cost of the essential oils.