Thursday, February 13, 2014

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

~Cleaning Spray~

What you need:
Spray Bottle
Essential Oil (optional)

I keep a spray bottle filled with part vinegar and part water. I use it every single day, I don't know how many times. It's used to clean up spills, on the dining room table, kitchen counters, windows, mopping up the floor...even spraying the dog if he won't stop barking. :) I've read and heard it said that you need to use newspaper when washing windows with vinegar to prevent streaks. Yes, it streaks as you clean it, but it usually dries fine. If I don't wipe it good enough, I see smears, especially on bathroom mirrors, but generally that doesn't happen. If you want, add in 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Mmmm! Personally I like to use lemon or cinnamon.

~Air Freshener~ -

What you need:
Spray Bottle
Essential Oils

Fill a spray bottle with water, add in 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil and spritz away, all over your house! Fun for the kids to do. :)

 ~Dishwasher Detergant and General Cleaner~

What you need:
Jar or container of choice
Baking Soda
Citric Acid or Koolaid Lemonade
Citrus Essentail Oil, your choice

I found this recipe online and love it! Mix together in your jar or whatever container you choose 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Baking Soda, 1/4 cup citric acid OR 2 Packets Koolaide Lemonade,  (use only lemon otherwise you'll dye your dishwasher),  1/4 cup salt, 30 drops citrus essential oil - lemon, grapefruit, organge, tangerine or a combination Put the ingredients in a jar and shake well to mix. For the dishwasher use 2-3 heaping tablespoons. For using as a general cleaning, use as needed. I keep a spoon in my jar and sprinkle a couple of spoonfuls and then add more if I need it. Its great to use in sinks and toilets.

                                         Some of my Littles helping me make Laundry Soap

~Laundry Soap~

What you need:
Fels Naptha Soap
Washing Soda

Soooo easy to make!!! There are quite a few recipes for making it, but this is the one I use. is a very helpful site! I was so exited when I found her recipe for laundry soap! Grate 1/3 of the bar of Fels Naptha soap and put it into a medium sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat until the soap melts. Next add 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups HOT water into bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Add in 1 gallon plus 6 cups water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. I used to use my cheese grater, but then I got a five gallon bucket and I double the recipe. Grating half a bar of soap with a hand grater seems to take forever! Now I use my food processor to do it. Takes seconds to accomplish the task now. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Homemade Marshmallows!

I love having a mostly homemade pantry. =) Not that marshmallows are a needed pantry item, but they certainly make a fun snack for the littles one.....and dad. =) I've been wanting to make them for a while and got inspired and motivated yesterday to do it.

Almost a year ago now I bought a book titled 'Family Feasts for $75 a week' by Mary Ostyn. I was very excited (and pleased with myself hehehe) to find that I was doing really good on how I grocery shop. Made my day! =) The first part of her book covers grocery shopping tips, cooking tips, budget tips.....very nice! THEN she includes over 200 recipes! And that is where I found the recipe for marshmallows. Its sooooo easy!!!!

Homemade Marshmallows
makes: 40 marshmallows    prep time: 15 minutes, plus at least 4 hours stand time

3 packets (about 3 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.3 cup water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in a medium-size heat-proof bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/3 cup water in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. increase heat to high; siring frequently. If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature should reach about 240F.
3. Remove pan from heat, and very carefully pour contents into bowl containing gelatin. Add vanilla. Set a timer for 10 minutes. When mixture becomes very thick and white and has doubled in size, it is done.
4. Using a rubber spatula, scoop mixture into a 9x13-inch casserole dish that has been generously dusted with confectioners' sugar.  Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Let marshmallows sit at room temperature, uncovered, at least 4 hours, or overnight.
5. Using a pizza cutter sprayed with cooking spray, cut marshmallows into squares, dusting cut edges with more confectioners' sugar to prevent sticking. Store, tightly covered, in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months.

Variation: For marshmallows with different colors and flavors, add a small amount of unsweetened Kool-Aid powder to mixture on stove as you're heating it.

That's it! Easy Peasy! =) Lissy, my three year old helped me make it....see? =)

She had a grand time licking the powdered sugar off her fingers. =)

I used my stand mixer bowl to let the gelatin sit for the 20 minutes, then added the hot mixture to that. I noticed several clumps of gelatin didn't get mixed in, so next time I'll stir the gelatin a bit before adding the hot mixture to it.

I was soooo excited when it actually worked! (it doesn't take much to make me happy hehehehe!)

Now I have a good sized tupperware filled with marshmallows for my family to have a fun snack. I let mine sit overnight and everyone got to try one with breakfast this morning. My oldest said "they are good.....but not a lot of flavor..." oy. When her Daddy told her this is how REAL marshmallows taste her response was "COOL!!!" and she's in love with them now. =)