Thursday, June 30, 2011

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes

I have to admit, most of my 'green' lifestyle changes do not come about from a desire to be more environmentally conscious. Most of them come from wanting to save money, not save the planet! Although here recently, I've had lots of thoughts on the very subject of being 'green'. God has given us this beautiful earth to take care of. His creation is immaculate and breathtaking. So, I am all for taking care of the beauty God has given!

One of the 'convenience' cleaning items that I haven't been able to get rid of has been disinfecting wipes). How great is it to just be able to grab the container and wipe down your toilets and sinks!? I use vinegar and water for most of my general cleaning but a toilet to me just needs something extra, right? So, I started doing a search on homemade disinfecting wipes and found this blog post. I decided to make up some of my own! It {almost} worked great! I cleaned my toilets, sinks and counters with my homemade wipes yesterday. I think my only problem was that it left water spots on everything. I think I may have had them too wet. I'm going to try to use them next time by squeezing the excess solition out and see how that works.

Here is what you need:

Squares of cloth - I used one of the Hubs's t-shirts & got about 16 large wipes
castile soap
Tea Tree Oil*
white vinegar
some kind of container

To mix mine up, I used a cup of water. I added about a tsp castile soap, 1/8 tsp tea tree oil and 1/4 cup vinegar. I think this was a pretty good amount, though I might go easier on the soap and tea tree oil (literally just 3-4 drops) and add a 1/2 cup of vinegar. I think that might help with the spots too. I'll try to update on my next batch. It took me a whole maybe 5 minutes and that includes cutting up the t-shirt!

This is a much safer and more frugal way to disinfect!

Castile soap can be pricey, but it is highly concentrated. A little goes a long way! I can see my 32 oz bottle lasting a long time. I got the 'Unscented Baby-Mild Dr Bronner's" castile soap at Target but I have heard that you can get it cheaper on Amazon, so my next bottle will be bought with my other Amazon items! I've seen a lot of different things you can use castile soap for online so I'm excited to see what else I can use it for!

* Care should be taken when handling and storing tea tree oil, as with other cleaners. It can be toxic at full strength! It's safe when diluted and has great antibacterial and antiviral properties!

(This picture annoys me... because you can tell the lid isn't closed all the way. As you can also tell, I didn't fold them up fancy. I just dumped them in. Works for me!)

On my list next is homemade swiffer pads made from burp cloths! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tasty Brussel Sprouts: Recipe Review

My Daddy decided to grow Brussel sprouts for the first time this year! I think they are the cutest little vegetable! Brussel sprouts are one of 'those' veggies. You either love them or hate them! I happen to love them! And in my house, I'm the only one who loves them! I tried a recipe from Kitchen Stewardship from a post entitled "Tasty Brussel Sprouts People will Actually Enjoy Eating". Well... I guess that goes for everyone except those who live in my house! I got Eli and Luke to both lick one... yes, they licked a brussel sprout. The Hubs chewed them up and spit them out (thankfully, not in front of the children). His words were, "I'm sorry, I just can't do it!" At least he tried!

So, if you like brussel sprouts, this recipe is a good one. Even if you don't but want to... try it! You might just be surprised! The caramelization is key and gives the sprouts a sweet taste. Yum! Check out Kitchen Stewardship for a lot of great info on eating real food and natural living! One of my favorite posts is on chemical free suncreen!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan 6/13/11

I *almost* got back on track with my budget this week. I spent $110. My goal is 80-100. (note- that includes paper towels, toilet paper, and diapers!). I only used one coupon too! And $25 of that is produce from local CSA organic produce (kale, lettuces, onions, radishes, blueberries). I don't have time to break it all down but I'd like to start back doing that in the future. I was doing MUCH better on our grocery budget when I did! Here is what is on our menu:

Crockpot Apricot Chicken, Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Tuna Sandwiches, Salad or Carrots with Ranch Dip

Favorite Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs with Homemade Turkey Sausage, Fruit

Beef Nachos w/ Black Beans and Corn, Side Salad

Last night we FINALLY ate the Apricot Herb Glazed Salmon. It was really good but the Hubs and I both agreed that we needed extra sauce to pour over everything! So, next time (um, hoping I can find wild caught salmon on sale!) I'll make double the sauce and save half for after they are finished. The boys and I are eating dinner one night with my mom while the Hubs is at class! And I haven't figured out what we're doing for Father's Day dinner yet! I've got kale coming from the CSA so I'll probably make Kale and Onion Breakfast Casserole FD morning since the Hubs enjoyed it so much. We'll probably be grilling something out!

Have a great week!

Check out Orgjunkie for more menu ideas!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sausage Pasta Toss

Last week I tried my hand at making homemade sausage and it turned out great! From my research, pork isn't great for you (do a google search!) so we've been staying away from it if we can. Also the nitrates and nitrites are carcinogens (cancer causing)! Turkey is a great alternative! I used the recipe to make 'ground turkey sausage'. The seasonings were great and I can't wait to make some patties up for sausage biscuits one day! I went ahead and made up a whole pound of it and now I have some sausage in the freezer that would be great mixed in with a breakfast casserole or scrambled eggs! It really was easy!

I used my homemade ground turkey sausage to make Kitchen Stewardship's Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss. Only, I didn't use spinach, I used kale! I'm sure I'll be making it with spinach in the future, if I don't have kale! It turned out great and made A LOT of food! We has this for lunch for a few days! Here is the recipe with my adaptations:

Sausage Kale Pasta Toss

2 cups uncooked short pasta
½ lb. turkey sausage
7 cups (6 oz.) chopped fresh kale
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Miur Glen Organic, no bpa lining)
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook turkey sausage in pan until no longer pink. There wasn't much grease, so I just left what was there! (If you were to use pork sausage you'd need to drain it) Add spinach, tomatoes, garlic, basil and oregano. Cook until spinach is wilted and sauce has thickened a bit (5-10 minutes). Drain pasta and add to the meat mixture. Stir in mozzarella cheese. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.

Linking with

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Frugal Summer Fun: Chalk Paint

So, I'm slacking in the 'fun' activity department these past few weeks! When I saw a facebook friend post about making sidewalk chalk paint on her blog, I knew we had to try it! We had everything we needed to make the paint in the pantry! We decided to just do red, yellow, green and blue. Next time I'm going to throw in a lesson in mixing colors!

Here is what you need:

Water (2 TBS), Corn Starch (2 TBS), food coloring (4-5 drops)

I was really surprised at how bright the colors were. One word of caution is that the corn starch kind of got stuck up in the sponge brushes that we were using. So an extra cup of water to rinse out every so often would be a good idea! It was so hot outside that our paint dried very quickly!

Here is Luke's rainbow and man under it:

And here is Eli making his big blob:

What are some of your frugal fun ideas for summer?

Linking up with:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday, 6/6/11

After a great birthday weekend we need lots of good, healthy food to fuel us this week! We have a few roll overs from last week and I'm working from what we have here on hand too! Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Apricot Glazed Salmon, brown rice, sautéed green beans and onions

Roast with potatoes and carrots

French toast, scrambled eggs, cantaloupe


Grilled chicken, easy garlic broccoli, corn (I get the Winn Dixie Organics brand of frozen corn, several when they go on sale!)

Extra (though I doubt we'll get to it): Spaghetti

I'm trying out this recipe for whole wheat snickerdoodles! Can you believe that in all of my baking I have never made snickerdoodles?

Looking forward to a great week!

Check out for more menus and recipe ideas!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Today You Are Five!!!

Luke, today you are FIVE! A whole hand full of fingers! Time has flown and my heart is full! What a gift you are!

How I love that boy above.

Luke's Favorite Things:

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse first thing in the morning
Imagination Movers
Riding his bike
Playing with friends
Building lairs for his super heroes to hide out in
Making up games and explaining them in detail (LOTS of detail!)
Going to church to see his friends
Sleeping with his stuffed monkey
Drawing pictures and dictating the story line to me to make books
Mommy's Pancakes
Playing ball with Daddy
Family movie night with pop corn
Figuring out how things work
Getting up early! (much earlier than Eli!)

I can't believe it's time for Kindergarten! I'm so looking forward to our first year of home school! You are so smart and I can't wait to watch you learn more!

My prayer for you today and always, my dear, is that God would draw you near, that God will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you (Ezekiel 3:26). And may God give me strength (and always much grace) to show you that Christ is all... He is everything.

I love you, love you!