Homemade Laundry Detergent….IN THE MICROWAVE!!!

I often joke with my husband about being born in the wrong century.  I love doing things the old-fashioned way, but about the time I am convinced of this I realize that I am incredibly dependent on my modern-day conveniences….like the Microwave.

This fact was quite evident a while back when I made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent.  It worked terrific, but I hated sitting over a pot for 45 minutes melting soap and waiting for the ingredients to dissolve.  So pioneer woman meets modern gal in this little recipe…


It almost seems wrong.

I got the original recipe here  and modified it to be done in the microwave.

Here is what you will need:


1 bar soap  (Fels Naptha, Castile, or Ivory)

1 cup Borax

1 cup Washing Soda

4 cups water

About 3 days before you are going to make the detergent, turn your bar of soap into liquid. (In this recipe I used a 4 ounce bar of Kirk’s Castile soap.)

photo(107) photo(111)

Pour your liquified soap into a microwave safe dish.  It should be about 2 cups of soap.  Add two cups of water and stir together.


Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes.


After two minutes, the soap and water should mix together well.  Set aside.

photo(115) photo(112)Combine one cup Washing soda and one cup Borax.  Add Two cups of water.

photo(114) photo(110)Microwave for 2 minutes, and stir well.  Microwave for 2 more minutes and stir.

photo(109)Pour the two mixtures together.  Stir well and microwave for one minute.   Stir vigorously until it is no longer grainy.

photo(108) photo(106)Using four 8 ounce mason jars, or two-quart size jars, pour an equal amount into each jar. (Use the regular mouth jars.  This will come in VERY handy in a minute!)

photo(105)Add just enough water to each jar to reach the bottom of the rim.

photo(104) photo(103)Place the lid on each jar, and shake for about 20 seconds.  Place the jars upside down and let sit for 4-6 hours.  Do not let them sit longer than this, if you do your detergent will become grainy.

photo(119) When it has gelled up like this, you are ready for the fun part!!!

photo(120) photo(121)Unscrew the lid to the jar, and screw on the blade for the blender.  Place it on top of the blender and mix on high until it becomes creamy.  Your jar will be completely full at this point.


When you pull the blender off, it will be thick like this.  It is about the consistency of mayonnaise.


Repeat with each jar replacing the lids tightly.  This detergent is highly concentrated.  You will use ONLY 1 Tablespoon per load.  Don’t use too much!!!

Here is a list of reasons why this is my FAVORITE homemade detergent:

1.  I didn’t have to stir and stir….and stir over the stove waiting for my soap to melt.

2.  No grating soap.

3.  It doesn’t take up much space and lasts forever.

4.  It cleans my clothes GREAT!

5.  It dissolves almost instantly when you put it in the machine.

6.  It is just cool…….  🙂

If only I could learn to enjoy washing the laundry as much as I enjoyed making the detergent……

Oooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls….


One of the first things I wanted to learn how to make when I started making my own bread was cinnamon rolls.  I have a serious weakness when it comes to these little rolls of sugary delight.  It took me a couple of attempts but now they have become a family favorite.  I make them at least a couple of times a month.




Here is what you will need:

1 batch of Yeast dough

1 stick of butter

1-2 cups granulated sugar




1 stick butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla


photo(46)Once the dough has completed its first rise, roll it out on a floured surface.

IMG_4846Melt your stick of butter and pour evenly over the dough.  Sprinkle sugar over the dough.  I keep adding sugar until it no longer dissolves into the butter.  I will start to see patches of sugar on top.

IMG_4848Sprinkle cinnamon over the dough.

IMG_4851 IMG_4852Use a pizza cutter to cut dough into strips.  You can cut them as thick as you want depending on the size you want your rolls to be.

IMG_4853 IMG_4856Roll each strip and place in a greased pan.  Make sure to place the ends touching another roll so they don’t come apart as they rise.  Cover, or place in a draft free place, and let rise for 30 minutes.  Then bake for 20 minutes on 350.

IMG_4859While the rolls are cooking, mix together your icing.  Once the rolls have cooled, pour icing over the rolls.



27 Ways To Make Your Groceries Last As Long As Possible

I love cooking but I tend to get very frustrated when I try to cook and my fresh foods turn bad quicker than I can use them.  I found these great tips that will hopefully make life more frugal.  Thanks BuzzFeed Food for this great info!

1. Onions stored in pantyhose will last as long as 8 months.  Put onions in pantyhose, and tie knots between onion. Source: seriouseats.com

2. Freeze green onions in a plastic bottle. Make sure the green onions are completely dry before storing or they’ll get freezer burn.  Source: unchinabox.net

3. Get ethleneethlylene gas absorbers for the fridge.  A set of 3 costs $16. These little pods absorb the ethylene emitted by fruits and vegetables to keep them fresh up to 3x longer. Here’s a handy list of ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive foods. Source: savvysugar.com

4. Store delicate herbs like flowers, then cover with plastic, secure with a rubberband, and refrigerate. This is the best way to keep delicate herbs like parsley, basil, cilantro, and chives fresh the longest.

5. Treat oily herbs differently.  Oily herbs like thyme can be tied loosely together with string and hung in the open air.

6. If you use a lot of fresh herbs…Invest in an Herb Savor. Supposedly, it’ll make your herbs last up to three weeks.  Source: amazon.com

7. Use a vinegar solution to make your berries last longer.  Prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Swirl the berries around in the mixture, drain, rinse, and put them in the fridge. The solution is diluted enough that you won’t taste the vinegar. Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.  Source: passionforsavings.com

8. Spray leftover guacamole with cooking spray before putting it back in the fridge.  There are a number of ways to keep avocado green, and oil is one of them. You should also keep the pit in the guacamole.  Source: onegoodthingbyjillee.com

9. Don’t store onions with potatoes.  They’ll spoil faster. In a cool dry place with good air circulation, onions will last 2-3 months. Source: thevspotblog.com

10. Store potatoes with apples to keep them from sprouting.  Source: homesteadsurvival.blogspot.com

11. One rotten apple can spoil the bunch.  It’s not just an old wives’ tale. Source: thedailymeal.com

12. Add a dab of butter to the cut side of cheese to keep it from drying out.  Source: thedailymeal.com

13. More cheese rules: Wrap in cheese paper or wax paper (NOT plastic wrap) and then place in a plastic baggie. Keep in the warmest part of the fridge (vegetable or cheese drawer).  Source: thekitchn.com

14. Freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil.

The herbs will infuse the oil while freezing, and the ice cubes are very handy for cooking: just pop one out and use as the base of a dish. Works best with rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. Dill, basil, and mint should always be used fresh.  Source: thekitchn.com

15. Follow these rules on where to place items within your fridge:  Source: squawkfox.com

Follow these rules on where to place items within your fridge:

16. Store asparagus like cut flowers.

Sort of. Cut the stems, place in water, throw a plastic bag over ‘em and refrigerate. They’ll stay crisp for a week or longer, and you can use this trick on cilantro and parsley as well. See here for more details.  Source: alwaysorderdessert.com

17. Wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap.

They’ll keep for 3-5 days longer than usual, which is especially helpful if you eat organic bananas. Bananas also produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit, so keep them isolated on the counter.  Source: snapguide.com

18. This trick using a paper towel will keep your salad lettuce fresh all week long.  The paper towel will absorb the moisture. Get more info here.

Also, you might want to invest in a salad spinner. It’ll get rid of moisture, which is the culprit of wilting leaves.  Source: img.gawkerassets.com

19. Wrap celery, broccoli, and lettuce in tin foil before storing in the fridge.  It’ll stay crisp for 4 weeks or more.  Source: reparetodaywardnewsletter.blogspot.com

20. Mason jars are your friend.

They provide a healthier and longer-lasting alternative to plastic tupperware, which deteriorates and stains easily. Produce will keep a few days longer if stored in a jar.  Source: easyst2.blogspot.com

21. Clean your fridge.  Once something goes bad in your fridge or cupboards, it leaves behind a nice gang of mold ready to eat up your new food. Disinfect the fridge — it’ll make everything last a little longer.  Source: google.com

22. How to store tomatoes: Don’t store tomatoes in plastic bags! The trapped ethylene will make them ripen faster.  Unripe tomatoes should be kept stem side down, in a paper bag or single layer in a cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red in color. To ripen faster, store with fruit. The gases emitted will help ripen the tomatoes.  Perfectly ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, on the counter away from sunlight, in a single layer, not touching one another, stem side up.  Overly ripe tomatoes should be put in the fridge, but let them come to room temperature before eating them.  via Yumsugar.

23. Reuse plastic bottles to close up your plastic bags.  Make sure your produce is absolutely dry before putting the cap on.  Source: media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com

24. Keep ginger in the freezer. It grates much more easily, and the peel grates up so fine that you don’t actually need to peel it. Plus it lasts way longer.  Source: lowcarbdiets.about.com

25. Roast nuts as soon as you get home from the store, then store them in the freezer.

Nuts that are roasted have more flavor, keep longer, and can always be used in recipes that call for nuts, roasted or otherwise. Spread them in a single layer on a sheet pan, bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant.  Source: 2.bp.blogspot.com

26. Keep mushrooms in a paper bag, not a plastic bag. A plastic bag will trap moisture and cause them to mildew. Put them in a paper bag in the fridge or in a cool, dry place.  Source: 123rf.com

27. Follow this handy guide on what to store on the counter, and what to put away in the fridge:

Follow this handy guide on what to store on the counter, and what to put away in the fridge:

Easy, Cheesy Spaghetti Casserole

For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying out new freezer friendly recipes that actually taste good after I’ve pulled them out of the freezer.  A few recipes I’ve tried were failures after frozen, but this one is absolutely the best freezer meal I’ve come across thus far.  It’s one that rates high on ease of preparation and kid appeal too.  It takes literally 15 minutes to assemble and when I prepare this dish I double the recipe, refrigerate one for dinner and toss one in the freezer for a quick and easy go to freezer meal.  I promise you will thank me later!


1/2 box of whole-wheat spaghetti or angel-hair pasta (about 6.5 ounces)
1/4 to 1/2 pound ground turkey (optional)
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning (about 1/2 tablespoon)

You can use ground turkey or hamburger meat. Go on and brown that in a skillet.  While your browing your meat, boil spaghetti until done.  Meanwhile, combine other ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  When spaghetti is done, drain and pour back into sauce pan. Add browned meat and the cottage-cheese-sauce mixture from the bowl to the pan and mix well. (If you need to add more spaghetti sauce to get it to your liking, go right ahead!)
Coat an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray.  Add spaghetti-and-sauces mixture to dish. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top. Then sprinkle on some dashes of Italian seasoning.  Bake uncovered in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.  Also try this fabulous Cheesy Garlic Bread recipe to use as a side!  Eat up, and enjoy!

Fun Things For Kids This Summer

Whelp, summer break is almost here!  As I’m trying to prepare fun things to do with my kiddos, I came across some really good ideas. I found a few great tips on the internet that I plan on using and hopefully some I can reuse of the ones we’ve done in the past.  I hope these frugal ideas will help you get though the summer without breaking the bank:)   kinley and books

  • Your local library is a fantastic resource. Our has a great  selection of books, music, dvd’s, and read-along tapes. We’ve been checking out the music and downloading them to our MP3 players. Works great for long car rides! Our library also has fun activities for the kids to get involved in throughout the summer.  Many local libraries are participating in the Reading With Ringling Bros. program – check to see if yours is!kiddos in yard
  • Last summer I hung a white sheet over our fence in the yard and pie tins filled with tempera paint.  The girls had a blast while Colson stamped the sheet.  After a few hours of fun I sprayed them down with the hose and did the same with the sheet.  We reused this throughout the week.
  • If you have children ages 14 and under, they can participate in the Half Price Books Summer Reading Program and get a free $5 gift certificate to Half Price Books for every 300 minutes of reading they do in a month.  This offer is valid June and July 2013.
  • Print out this Chuck E. Cheese Reading Calendar and keep track of your child’s reading progress. When they read every day for two weeks in a row they can earn 10 free tokens.  This offer is valid through December 31, 2013.
  • Michael’s has lots of great (free!) craft projects.
  • Home Depot does free kids workshops the first Saturday of every month from 9-noon (no sign up necessary, just show up). For a full list of  their upcoming workshops, you can go HERE.
  • Lowes does two free kids Build And Grow workshops a month – on Saturdays & Sundays. Go here to sign up:
  • The hose and/or sprinklers. It costs nothing, and kids have a ball.
  • Daily Deal Sites (i.e. Groupon) are a fantastic way to entertain on the cheap! Check the big deal sites      daily to scoop up entertainment or dining options at deeply discounted rates. Daily Deal vouchers are also a  great way to save money during a vacation – simply change the city      location on the deal site and see what’s available in the city you will be  visiting! Here are the sites I prefer: Groupon,      MamaSource,  and Sweet Jack.
  • Join the RedBox      Text Club and you’ll receive monthly freebie codes sent straight to your cell phone. You’ll get at least one free rental code a month – that can even be used on video game rentals!
  • There are two free bowling for kids programs out there – each will  allow your kids to bowl two games every day for FREE. You will have to pay for shoe rental. Go HERE to sign up for Kids Bowl Free and go HERE to sign up for AMF Unplugged.
  • Head to the movie theater for some thrifty, air-conditioned fun! Most major theater chains offer a free (or nearly free) kids summer movie program.  A few of my friends traded  off each week and watched the little ones while the older ones were treated to a fun show.
  • Target Sponsored Activities – Free admission to the NasherSculptureCenter.
  • REI      Passport to Adventure Program for Kids: download your free kids adventure journal, plus more!
  • Bass Pro Shop Free Events for Kids and Families
  •  Do you like movies?  Here are some great kid and family deals you can take advantage of and save!
  • Cinemark Theaters: 10 movies for $5 with advance purchase or $1 each at box office
  • Harkins Theaters: One movie per week for 10 weeks, less than $1 / film
  • Regal Entertainment Group: Movies for $1 on Tues/Wed at 10 am
  • Studio Movie Grill: $1 Child Tickets, $2 Adult Tickets, M-F at 11 am

Sonic is once again offering their Summer Of Shakes. All of their tasty shakes will be HALF PRICE after 8 PM all summer long. Choose from 25+ shakes – YUM!

I hope this helps!  Do you have any other frugal ideas?  We would LOVE to hear them!

Cheesy Garlic Bread

I have a problem.photo(95)

A bread problem!

If you go back and look at my post, you will find that MANY of them are the various kinds of bread that I make.  I LOVE making bread. 


Well.  Here is a family favorite at my house.  It is full of buttery garlic and stringy cheese.  It is a perfect complement to any meal.  I start with my yeast dough.

Once the dough is ready, I form it into a long skinny loaf.  I let it rise and bake. (This process is laid out on the Yeast Bread post.)

Often, I make this bread a couple of days ahead of time and just put it in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator.  Then, when I am ready for it I just pull it out.

photo(97)I slice it in half.

photo(96) photo(98)





Take a stick of butter and slice it into about 16-18 thin pieces and place them all over the bread.


Then I sprinkle the bread with Italian seasoning and garlic powder.


Then I sprinkle cheese on top.  It doesn’t matter  what kind of cheese.  I have used several.  Today, all I had on hand was cheddar.Pop it into the oven for about 8-10 minutes.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes and then slice!



Kohl’s Rewards

KOHLS REWARDS BANNERA couple of months ago I posted about Kohl’s and how to save money despite all the gimmicks!  Well, they have just added yet another gimmick to help us save….as long as we are strategic!!! This is currently in the testing phase and is available in 100 stores.  When you go to enroll, it will tell you if your store is participating.

KOHLS REWARDS ENROLL PAGE  Go to their website to enroll.  They will send you a rewards card in the mail.  Every time you shop, give them your email address, phone number, or let them scan the card.  For every $1 you spend you get a point.  When you reach 100 points, you will get $5 to spend in the store.


The greatest part is that you get 100 points immediately once you sign up.  I read all the fine print for the program and it seems pretty straight forward.  I think you can use your reward points along with a coupon.  (This just means that the shirt I was eyeing last time I was in there will be $5 cheaper when I go back in!!!)



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