Small Successes ~ Oct 2

OK, I’m a day late on this one, but I’m going to post it and link it anyway. I’ve been inspired by Dianna‘s “small successes” posts, even though with her houseful of kids I think just getting everyone clean, clothed and fed is a LARGE success! I’m feeling like I’m making zero progress lately, so maybe posting about my own small successes will help me stay motivated. This week, I have:
1) Oriented two people to new jobs while still staying on top of my own job.
2) Changed out the family pictures in my office for more recent ones of the kiddos.
3) Trimmed the dog’s nails.
4) Taken my sons out for lunch like I’ve been promising to do for months.
5) Kept herbs alive in my kitchen.
6) Moved some stuff to the new shed in the backyard.
7) Not eaten ANY chocolate.
For that last one alone someone should give me a medal!!

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent!

This post is in honor of The Thrifty Home‘s first Penny Pinching Party on Wednesday! I’m very excited about it, can’t wait to see everyone’s money-saving tips. My recipe is modified from recipes I found on several “frugal blogs”, and is designed to be made in a large pot (like a pasta pot or stock pot) and stored in empty laundry detergent bottles, so save up a few before you make this. It only calls for three ingredients, all of which I found in the laundry aisle of my local Kroger.

Grate 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap and melt in 6 cups hot water in your pasta pot / stock pot on the stove top (medium high heat makes this work quickly). Once soap is melted add 1/2 cup Borax powder (20 Mule Team Borax – anyone else remember that?) and 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. Stir until dissolved. Gradually add 15 cups hot water. Remove from heat and let cool completely before pouring into detergent bottles. Don’t fill them up completely, because once this mixture cools it’s, well, I think the scientific term is “gloppy”. You need room to shake the bottle up before you pour it each time. The entire prep time is about 15 minutes, grating included, and would probably be even faster if you used a food processor. This recipe makes enough to fill three 100 oz. detergent bottles, but could easily be doubled if you have a pot large enough. The concentration is just right for using the cap on the laundry bottle for measuring (one capful per load). It is unscented, but I sometimes add about ten drops of lavender essential oil after I remove it from the heat just because I love the light scent it gives towels and sheets. This cleans just as well as commercial laundry detergents and you will be AMAZED at the amount of money you save.

Watermelon Salad ~ Lunchbag Week 8

OK, I know it is just wrong to post a watermelon recipe at the end of September, but this is truly the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth and I just had to share it. We can still get decent watermelon here, those nice little Sugar Babies are available until the first frost, but I know some of you aren’t as lucky. Make this RIGHT NOW if you can get hold of a decent watermelon, and I’ll keep you posted on how the sauce works on other things. We’re experimenting tonight, and it’s good on other fruit, just not quite as orgasmic as watermelon; and we’re marinating some pork chops in it right now – should be interesting.
On to the details! This is a Paula Deen recipe, was kind of a throw-away on an episode of “Paula’s Best Dishes” featuring some steak recipe I couldn’t get excited about. This one spoke to me, though, so I printed it out and whipped it up.
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger (I used fresh instead ’cause I can get it in a tube at my Kroger and it tastes better)
Mix, drizzle over watermelon, and serve. I swear, the layers of flavor will just knock your socks off. It’s like that scene in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” where Violet’s chewing the gum: “It’s roast beef, now it’s baked potato, now it’s blueberry pie!”. This is sweet, salty, spicy, fruity. Just trust me on this one. Make it, and you may eat it all before it even makes it into everyone’s lunch on Monday!
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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!