Friday, August 9, 2013

Homemade Dishwasher Powder

$$  I may not be out in the world making money, but I sure help the world and SAVE it! $$ 

    So, in a house of 8 people we use A LOT of dishes.  I hate walking into the kitchen with dirty dishes.  Yet my kids always fail to mention when we are RUNNING out of dishwasher soap...until it's GONE!  Of course in their minds they can't clean the dishes without the dishwasher...yeah, right!
     Well I have been making my own laundry soap for a year now (LOVE IT!)  Can you imagine how tickled I was to figure out I could MAKE dishwasher soap?!?  The next best part...I already have all the ingredients at home!!  Another major plus is that it's safe for septic systems.  Plus I have a big plastic container from when I bought the store brand "pods".

Dishwasher Powder


  • 1/2 Cup Kosher salt
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing soda
  • 1 Cup Borax

Mix it all together!  *You can add a tsp of white rice (like in your salt shaker) to help with the clumping.

You only need 1 Tablespoon per load.

Use white distilled vinegar in your "JetDry" spot for a sparkle that's truly NON-TOXIC!

This recipe washes about 30 loads!  That's a month of dishes (washing a full load a day!)

I have Kosher salt for cooking, washing soda & Borax from making laundry soap!  I personally would make enough to use the box of each (washing soda & Borax) which means I would have ANOTHER 5 gallon bucket (like my laundry soap)!

*Kosher salt is on the baking aisle,  the washing soda and Borax are on the laundry soap aisle.

You can label your container with a printed label, a hand written label sealed under clear packing tape, or use chalkboard paint!  Your limits are only bound by your creativity!

Here's a site that has FREE downloadable printable labels! WorldLabel
                     Free printable labels & templates, label design @WorldLabel blog!
*(Feel free to hit up GOOGLE!)

Homemade Greek Yogurt...SUCCESS!!

     So Tuesday (the 6th) I found a site that showed how I could make Greek yogurt at home!  Now, I HATE yogurt, even the smell!!  *Gagging*  However, I don't mind cooking/baking with it.  Oh, and I LOVE fro-yo!!  A couple of my best friends made it for Aaron and I one night.  I was VERY leery!  O.o  He had fresh strawberries, kiwis and mandarin oranges to go on it.  I was in LOVE!!  <3  I came home and the next day I went to buy the stuff to make some at my house.  I went into sticker shock!!  Greek yogurt must think it's equatable to GOLD!!  I bought enough to make for my family of 8 and it was over $20 to make a single batch!!  Sadly I haven't made it again.  :(
     So anyways, I found this recipe and I had everything I needed except the single serving of Greek yogurt.  (I could handle paying $1 for this one!  LOL)  So here's how I did it!  (I even have pictures!)

1 Gallon WHOLE milk
3 Cups Dry milk
1/2 Cup (or single serving size cup) Greek yogurt PLAIN

LARGE crockpot
Thermometer that reads over 180
Jars (Mason/old spaghetti jars/etc)

  1. Pour the gallon of milk into the crock pot, turn it on HIGH.  I added the powdered milk to it when it was cold and it took FOREVER to dissolve.  Next time I will wait until  the milk is warmer!  The powdered milk is simply there to add proteins and help thicken the yogurt.  Heat the milk to 180 degrees.  
  2. Then turn off the crock pot.  I actually took the pot out and sat it on the counter to help it cool down.  You want it between 95-115 degrees.
  3. Once its temperature is in that range, take some of the milk and add it to your yogurt in a separate bowl until combine.  (This helps temper it.)  Add the yogurt to the milk.
  4. Once it's been mixed in, pour the mixture into your jars.  ( I used 6 "Pint & Half" wide mouth jars)  I sat the lids on the top to prevent anything from falling in...I did NOT screw the rings on.
  5. Place in the oven with only the light on for 8-10 hours to allow the cultures to do their work.  I put mine in at 9:00 pm and they were all thick and yogurty at 6:00 am.  
  6. Tighten the lids down and chill before using.
*Should be thick enough that draining is not necessary.



     Now you can add any flavorings if you vanilla or honey.  Zackary wants me to try and make the key lime version.  I'll add some sugar to a couple of the jars with vanilla extract then the kids can make parfaits!  :)

*The Greek yogurt adds/grows all the healthy bacteria our bodies need.  By bringing the milk to 180 degrees it kills all the bacteria in the milk, which in some cases I guess is a good thing.  Fortunately the yogurt puts the good stuff back in!

**I bought my milk at Aldi's for $2.49 and I already have powdered milk in my food storage.  I bought the yogurt at WalMart for $1.  By this morning I had 1 gallon of Greek yogurt for $3.50!  I seriously saved over $20!!

2nd week of August...School starts

     So the second week began with school starting!  It did NOT make me happy that 4 out of 6 of the kids went back to public school.  :(  Mackenzie, Kay, Maggie and Bug are now gone for over 8 hours a day, 5 days a week!  My mom keeps telling me how the first day of school for her was always a PARTY day!  I truly don't think she realizes how it makes me feel.  Too many people are perfectly happy being part-time parents.  I'm not!  I don't see them in public school as my only time for freedom.  I see it as a small failure on my part.  I do NOT believe that the government run school system is the best educational choice for ANY kids, especially mine!
     Everyone wants to talk about how people are individuals and each person has a different style of learning.  They agree that students need to be TAUGHT best how the LEARN best.  However, when it comes to actually applying this in school systems they are overruled based on budgets and time restraints.  So children are "programmed" in a very confined box and then tested on what they retain...not LEARNED.
     I have heard repeatedly that home schooling keeps kids from the social interaction they need.  Mackenzie went to school for the last 3/4 of the school year.  He got ALL the socialization he NEEDED and FAILED every single class but PE.  Do you know what the school did??  They PLACED him in 10th grade anyways.  So my son, who did NOT pass 9th grade has been moved into classes that are supposedly building on the information and skills from the previous year.  Even a blind person can read the writing on this wall!
     Zackary has started his home schooling.  I found all of his books on Amazon, in their Kindle store.  He has Algebra 1 for the first semester, reading "The Jungle Book" for British Lit, has Earth Science for first semester, World History and governments rounding off with creative writing and daily reading reports for composition.  Alley's classes at GCA begin on Monday.  :)
     So, I'm all sorts of depressed after I drop everyone off at their schools (a tradition they wanted me to keep).  I came home and baked for the rest of the day!  I made treats like sugar cookie bars, jello jigglers, and chocolate syrup.
  Then I made 2 more loaves of sour dough bread and even calzones for our lunch and for the kids to take to school today.  I had cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms, Alley had cheese and pepperoni on garlic butter, Zackary had just cheese and pepperoni.  I made the kids pepperoni and pineapple for school.  Just as I was getting done, I received a phone call from Mackenzie that Bug was not on the bus home!!  O.O  We called the school and they said they put him on the right bus.  (Obviously NOT!!)  I jumped in the van with Alley making all the calls so I could drive.  It's when I'm 1/2 way to the primary school that I find out Kay's not on the bus either.  Her school gave me the same sing-song!  It took an hour for me to find out that they were indeed on A bus, but not the right bus, and fortunately they were on the SAME bus!  They got home at 5:00.  :(  By this point, I was drained!  :(  We had baked BBQ chicken, rice and cucumber salad for dinner and I didn't last much longer.  ( I did get their bedtime story read though).  :)

1st week of August is history!

     It's been a crazy month...which is really not that unusual at our house.  We will start off by saying my husband gave up over-the-road driving.  The company he worked for was not really motivated to keep him rolling.  The other issue was he missed us!  He missed being here and helping with the family, spending time with us and basically just being a family.  I'm tickled he is home, but the financial aspect is still a little icky!  LOL

     Our garden has exploded and I LOVE spending time in it!  Just being out there lets me think of all the reasons it is good to have a garden.  The fresh food, with no additional cost, that tastes AMAZING and is BETTER for you are just some of them.  The pigs LOVE the weeds and grass as well as the tomatoes that the chickens get to before me!  >.<  My corn is well over 7' tall and I can feel/see the ears!!  We have 2 watermelons and have already harvested over 40 lbs of tomatoes and squash.  My pinto beans are EVERYWHERE!  LOL  I finally found about 8 thumbnail size cantaloupes too.  My sweet potatoes plants have almost taken over the center of the garden.  I keep reminding Aaron that this a learning environment.  I did not grow up on a farm.  My parents did not have a garden after I was 5 years old.

 So the first picture is Mackenzie checking out my ears...of corn. ;)  Then it's a close up.  I've never actually had EARS on my corn before!  The next picture is my broccoli.  Yum!  I just love looking at my makes me so HAPPY!  The next pictures are my beets with sweet potato and watermelon vines on the left, and cantaloupe vines with pinto beans on the right.  Last, but definitely not least are my piggies!  They are hoping I'll toss some green stuff over the fence to them!