Monthly Archives: May 2012

Last but not least…

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So… in approximately 8 more months we’re adding another Nut to our Granola! ¬†I’m going to attempt to document my granola-style pregnancy here perhaps once a month or so. Well see how that goes!

It was so hard choosing between these two photos for my Facebook Announcement cover photo today… my husband took the first one for his page & I took the second! ūüôā

Being Real

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I couldn’t sleep this naptime because I couldn’t help thinking how I’ve never really exposed my heart here on my blog. ¬†I’ve given lots of good tips, recipes, whatever… but what does all that mean if you don’t know the person behind the words? ¬†I guess I’ve been thinking of how to share my heart for a while & being the perfectionist that I am I had to think of the perfect way I guess! ¬†But then, those perfect ways wouldn’t really be real because, gasp, I’m not perfect! ¬†Sigh… So, thanks to Crunchy Betty’s post today reminding me to be real, I’m just going to share something that’s been on my heart! ¬†Wow… what a concept! ¬†Sounds simple, but it’s a biggie for me!

Have you ever had one of “those days”… those days where you can’t wait to put the kids down for nap… you just wish they’d be quiet for one second… you’re glad you have a fenced back yard and a door that closes… you feel annoyed when one wakes up from naptime earlier than expected… you feel like pulling your hair out because they just won’t listen… you yell at your toddler. ¬†You know, “those days”… Yeah… “THOSE” days! ¬†I think we all have them… I also think most of us are too ashamed to say that we do. ¬†I know I am. ¬†That’s why it’s been on my mind lately… because I’ve heard people comment about how they think I have it all together, I do things right – all the time… I don’t want people to think I’m perfect! ¬†I’m soooo far from it. ¬†I don’t get it right all the time… and I get down on myself for it.

My husband frequently tells me what a “good mom” I am… but, if I’m really honest, it irritates me when he says it. ¬†It irritates me because I don’t believe it about myself. ¬†If I really think about what I believe about myself – I believe I’m a failure… I believe my kids don’t like me… I believe they’ll be glad when they get to leave our home because they don’t have to be around me anymore… I believe I’m the¬†epitome¬†of “bad mom”. ¬†And what I believe about myself comes out in what I do.

As I laid on the couch thinking about “those days” and how I respond to them – collapsing on the couch after the kids go down, losing myself in Pinterest, watching a movie, eating – I realized I respond all wrong. ¬†What I should do is so simple but I am so focused on myself and how I feel that I forget that I am first and foremost a wife and mother. ¬†As I thought about what I should do, I came up with three things I need to tell myself on “those days”:

1. I wanted these little rascals – all of them.

Yep… ever since I was a child I wanted to be a mom. ¬†When I got married my husband & I decided we wanted four kids. ¬†I’ve always wanted this… granted, I had a VERY romanticized idea of what “this” was! ¬†But I always wanted children.

2. I love each of them so much.

They are all so special… there are so many things about each of them that make my heart smile… it’s so sad to me that I usually only allow my heart room to smile when I look at their pictures and remember cute things about them. ¬†My heart should smile every time I look at their messy little faces!

3. I am a good mom.

I had trouble even writing that. ¬†My husband has been known to tell me that I will be what I tell myself I am. ¬†So… even though I don’t think it’s quite the truth, I will tell myself that I am a good mom because that is my heart’s desire. ¬†And maybe, just maybe, if I tell myself that fact, when my kids get up from their sleeps, I will be their good mom.

Now that I’ve thought about those things, my heart has softened, relaxed, refocused. ¬†I am their mother, I love them, they are beautiful little gifts.

And when they get up, I’m going to kiss each squishy cheek. ¬†I’m going to look into each pair of chocolate brown eyes without saying anything at all, just communicating that I love them by looking into their eyes. ¬†Then I’m going to draw each to my breast &¬†embrace¬†them, whispering “I love you”… and I’ll probably cry this time (like I am now), because I do love them… so much.

Am I the only one who gets so caught up in the day-to-day
that I forget how much my littles mean to me?
Am I the only one who fails sometimes?
How do you refocus? 

Springtime Garden Tour

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It’s Springtime & the Farmer’s Market is open! ¬†Granted, there was frost on the ground yesterday morning… but then, I do live in Idaho so I’m not surprised. ¬†We’ve been to the park every day this week, we bought seedlings & planted them today, the sun is out, and I think I have a little sunburn (oops!).

So, since it’s spring & I’m so happy to be outside planting & otherwise playing in the dirt with the kids, I thought, during naptime, I’d take you on a little garden tour… I never knew how much I had growing until I did these pictures! ¬†I’d feel like superwoman if I didn’t know that most of it just comes back on it’s own every year!

Oh how I adore Lilacs! ¬†There isn’t a better smell in the whole world. ¬†I remember it used to waft into my bedroom window in the springtime when I was a kid… I could have sat there just breathing all day! ¬†I can’t wait till my little plant grows into a tree!

Next to the Lilac is my newly planted Garlic! ¬†Got this at the Farmer’s Market this morning. ¬†I’ve never grown garlic before, so we’ll just wait & see what happens. ¬†I do have old used carpet spread in my garden beds because they were just converted last year from lawn into garden… we’re hoping to kill off all that grass! ¬†Behind the pot of garlic is a hole I cut in the carpet where I will plant the tomatoes when it’s warm enough at night.

Here’s all my newly potted plants. ¬†The flat of starts I’ll still have to bring in at night, but everything else should be okay outside.

One of the pots is Spearmint! ¬†Yumm… my kids will looooove that we planted this. ¬†One of their favorite pastimes is running through the herb sections plucking little snacks for themselves! ¬†Being that they are only toddlers, I devised a marking system so they know which plants are edible. ¬†You’ll see little hokey “flags” around my garden next to the edibles.

Oh those kids… Bought this just for them too! ¬†If I serve peppers with lunch (raw mind you), they’ll each eat a whole one & then ask for more! ¬†This one already has a bloom!

Here’s my Tomatoes & Stevia. ¬†I have some Cherry Tomatoes, a Black Krim & a Rose Tomato. ¬†I’m hoping all of them do great. ¬†Again, for those kids who will eat more tomatoes than anyone else I know.

I’m excited about the Stevia too. ¬†I hear it’s easy to grow & comes back each year. ¬†I’ve been switching the family to more natural sweeteners lately & I just don’t really like the liquid Stevia or the powdered kind. ¬†I’m hoping that brewing a couple Stevia leaves with my loose-leaf teas will sweeten them just enough.

The last of my potted plants is this Basil which I still have to keep inside. ¬†I have a wonderfully sunny kitchen window that I’m hoping he’ll love! ¬†Can’t wait for fresh Basil.

Continuing our tour, the backyard planter is home to my ever expanding Comfrey plant. ¬†This plant has already been so valuable to us. ¬†We dug up a root from my mom-in-laws a few years ago & planted it. ¬†I made a salve with the leaves when my son, who was born with eczema, started getting worse & worse. ¬†We’d slather him up every day after a bath long enough to wrinkle him & he was eczema free in a month… and has been ever since. ¬†I also used a comfrey poultice when I was threatening mastitis for the umpteenth time. ¬†It’s good for sprains, bruises, aches & pains. ¬†Love this plant & it just grows & grows!

The yellow “flag” you see to the left in this picture is a special marker for my 3-year-old who’s job it is to take out the compost bucket in the morning. ¬†I have yellow, red, pink & blue flags in different spots in one of the garden beds. ¬†I just tell her which color flag I want the bucket emptied by & she’ll take it there.

The orange “flag” behind the comfrey is marking a plant that I know is edible but I forget the name! ¬†Haha! ¬†I’ll introduce him shortly!

Here’s my Lemon Balm. ¬†It’s part of the mint family & is great in iced or hot teas. ¬†It also has medicinal properties such as calming indigestion, promoting sleep, and even treating cold sores. ¬†What a wonderful addition to my little herb garden. ¬†He’s little now, but if I remember correctly he was about 1.5 feet tall last year.

And here’s that plant I’m not sure what it’s called. ¬†It tastes like licorice but it’s not anise. ¬†It looks like a fern. ¬†It’s edible. ¬†Help? ¬†Anyone know what I’m called!?

EDIT: It’s called “Sweet Cicely“! ¬†It’s related to Anise & Fennel but not the same. ¬†I’ll likely be utilizing many of this herbs useful properties in the near future… natural sweetener, expectorant, & also as an aid to menstrual pains! ¬†I love the idea of pairing it with all that rhubarb I have growing!

Oh boy… my kitchen garden! ¬†This herbal kitchen garden surrounds a tree in the front yard. ¬†We have Oregano… another of the plants the kids love to munch!

Sage & Creeping Thyme…

And a Bush Thyme just pushing through it’s blanket of leaves from the winter. ¬†I’ve had to keep a close eye on the kids this year so we can let these little plants get a good start! ¬†I do love when my kids smell like oregano though! ¬†It’s so cute.

Last but not least in the kitchen garden… this is my front flower bed. ¬†We ripped out these ugly old bushes right when we moved in. ¬†Trimming bushes… now there’s a total time waster. ¬†So, I have Irises because they’re pretty and easy! ¬†Then there’s my enormous amount of Chives & Parsley… well, there’d be a lot more Parsley if the kids hadn’t mowed it down so quickly… it’ll come back! ¬†I love having tons of these herbs for using fresh or in cooking. ¬†And they make some beautiful edible landscaping as well.

In that same planter with the Chives & Parsley is my Rhubarb! ¬†Oh yumm! ¬†Don’t you just love Rhubarb with a delicious buttery brown sugar crisp topping! ¬†Oh it’s wonderful! ¬†I have another Rhubarb as well down by the sidewalk… he’s even bigger!

See… when this dude decides it’s time to grow, he practically leaps out of the dirt. ¬†One day I’ll say, “Oh look, the Rhubarb’s coming up.” ¬†The next day it’s up to my hip! ¬†I’ll get waaaaaayyy more Rhubarb than I can use this year.

And here is perhaps the ugliest of my garden spots on this Garden Tour! ¬†And it’s another of the front planters too! ¬†My apologies to the neighbors. ¬†Last year the starlings got to the whole strawberry patch and we didn’t get a single berry. ¬†It was so¬†disappointing. ¬†This year we covered it with bird netting… please let it work!

UPDATE: ¬†This is a Lovage plant… It’s HUGE!! ¬†I have two of these as well & they come back every year bigger than the last. ¬†This plant has a few medicinal uses which I have not experimented with as of yet.

Well, I think that’s all… aside from our friendly Dandelions (which I should totally start using!), I don’t have anything else in my garden. ¬†Here’s hoping for a fruitful year!

What are you planting this year?

What are your best gardening tips?

Homemade Yogurt

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The ultimate test of being “Granola” is making your own yogurt! ¬†At least, it’s been the hardest one to figure out for me, so I guess I feel pretty good now that I have it mastered!

Even though it took me forever to get it right, making yogurt is sooo easy. ¬†I tried so many recipes, followed so many different directions, tested many different methods. ¬†The following tutorial is the only way that has worked for me. ¬†I found that crockpot methods make the yogurt too “textured”… I’m a fan of smooooooth yogurt thank you very much! ¬†And being that I didn’t want to purchase some fancy yogurt kit, I came up with this!

1. Decide how much yogurt you want to make at a time. ¬†My family goes through one gallon of yogurt in about 2 weeks, so that’s how much I make!

2. Find a container with a lid that fits just that much liquid.  I use a one gallon iced tea jar.

3. Find a bucket or cooler that your container will fit in. ¬†I use a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. ¬†If you use a cooler (I didn’t have one small enough) you don’t need to do the next step.

4. If you use a bucket, you’ll need to insulate it. ¬†I used foam insulation we had on hand. ¬†It can be purchased at any home improvement store. ¬†Line the bucket’s bottom first, then the sides as shown leaving a gap at the top so you can have a lid as well.

5. Now that you have your insulated keeper it’s time to make yogurt!

SUPPLIES

  • Milk – I like to use half whole milk & half low fat (2%). ¬†But just 2% milk works great as well.
  • Thermometer – candy or meat thermometer. ¬†I like my digital thermometer because I can set the temperature & it tells me when I’ve reached that temperature.
  • Pot large enough to hold the milk
  • 6-8 ounces Plain Greek Yogurt
PREPARATION
  1. Slowly heat milk in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 185 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Turn off the heat, reset the thermometer to 110 degrees Farenheit, and wait until the milk cools to 110 degrees… depending on how much you make this could take a couple hours.
  3. Whisk in the Plain Greek Yogurt.
  4. Pour yogurt into smaller container & put the lid on.
  5. Place container in yogurt keeper & pack extra space with towels.
  6. Seal with the insulated lid & the bucket lid (or close your cooler) & wait 24-30 hours.
  7. Remove & refrigerate.
  8. Flavor just before serving with jams or jellies, or your favorite fresh fruit.  Add into smoothies.  Make it into frozen yogurt.  Oh the possibilities are endless!

For my recipe card click here!

Enjoy!

Have you ever made homemade yogurt?  What is your favorite flavoring?

My Pantry Staples

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For the pantry I¬†recommend¬†keeping a supply of everything you use on hand. ¬†Anything that needs refrigerated after opening, keep what you’re using in the fridge, but keep backups handy in the pantry. ¬†Buy when things are on sale & buy in bulk. ¬†It takes practice to remember what’s in your pantry while you’re at the store if you run into a surprise sale, but you’ll get the hang of it! ¬†Hope this list is helpful.

  • Refried Beans
  • Chili
  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Cream Corn
  • Peaches
  • Olives
  • Pineapple
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Stewed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chopped Green Chilies
  • Jam
  • Applesauce
  • Pickles
  • Rice Milk
  • Peanut Butter

  • Napkins
  • Trash Bags
  • Ziplocks – selection of Quart, Gallon, Sandwich & Snack sizes
  • Foil
  • Saran Wrap
  • PAM Spray

  • Homemade Granola (see my bulk recipe here)

  • Bread Flour
  • Wheat Berries 1
  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered (confectioners) Sugar
  • Baking Soda 2
  • Baking Powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Brown Rice
  • White Rice 3
  • Cous Cous
  • Crutons
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Oats
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Powdered Milk
  • Dry Pintos
  • Cake Mixes (Various Flavors)
  • Teas & Coffee
  • Split Peas
  • Crackers – Saltines, Graham Crackers, Animal Crackers
  • Noodles – variety of types
  • Nuts – Raw Almonds, Walnuts & Sunflower Seed
  • Dried Fruit – Raisins & Craisins
  • Freeze Dried Fruits – Strawberries & Raspberries 4
  • Bread Crumbs 5
  • Cocoa Powder
  1. Because I grind my own Whole Wheat Flour
  2. Baking Soda – Costco size because I use this for cleaning & baking
  3. White Rice – because it’s great to toss dry into a bottle that needs cleaning… dry rice, touch of soap, hot water, cap & shake shake shake = clean bottle!
  4. Freeze Dried Fruits – because they are great for breakfast cereal add-ins!
  5. Bread Crumbs – homemade dried
Those I keep in bulk…
  • Chicken Boullion
  • Beef Boullion
  • Sea Salt
  • Rock Salt
  • Pepper
  • Peppercorns
  • Chopped Dried Onion (Onion Flakes)
  • Parsley
  • Cinnamon
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Cream Soup Mix (see my bulk recipe here)
  • Dill Weed
  • Thyme
  • Garlic Powder 1
  • Basil
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Chili Powder
  • Seasoning Salt (we make our own here, it’s not spicy & makes an awesome meat flavoring)
Those I keep a small spice jar of…
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • All Spice
  • Cloves
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Marjoram
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Celery Seed 1
  • Curry
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Cayenne
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Lawrys Seasoning Salt
  1. Garlic Powder – whenever you can opt for the pure seasoning rather than with salt added. ¬†You can always add the salt but you can’t take it out.
  2. Celery Seed vs. Celery Salt – Again, opt for the seed itself without the salt.
  • We eat A LOT of Mexican & Italian foods here, so I do keep bulk amounts of Mexican & Italian spices. ¬†We also do a lot of garlic, so I keep that as well.
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Relish – Sweet & Dill
  • Pickles – Sweet & Dill
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Salsa

  • Rice Milk
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Vinegar 1
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pure Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Pure Olive Oil – cooking, baking, etc.
  • Coconut Oil –¬†cleaning, moisturizing, cooking, etc.
  • Vegetable Oil –¬†cleaning, frying
  • Garlic Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Crisco – gross, but sometimes I use it!
  1. White Vinegar – I usually have 6-10 gallons of White Vinegar since I use it for cleaning supplies, laundry, dishwasher, shower cleaning, etc)
  • Potatoes 1
  • Onions 2
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam
  • Bacon Bits
  1. Potatoes – I buy in Costco-Bulk. ¬†Whatever we don’t use in time I make into Mashed Potatoes for the freezer!
  2. Onions – I buy in Costco-Bulk as well. ¬†Whatever I don’t use, I dry to Onion Flakes (chop & dehydrate).

 

For my list of Freezer Staples click here.

What foods are staples in your pantry?

My Freezer Staples

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I’m a self-proclaimed freeze-a-holic! ¬†I wish I had more freezers, it’s the only thing holding me back from freezing more things! ¬†I have a 25 cubic foot chest freezer along with the dinky freezer attached to my fridge. ¬†They are both usually pretty well filled up! ¬†Here’s what things I currently have in my freezers! ūüôā

  • IChicken Breasts (Boneless Skinless)
  • Chicken Breasts (Bone In)
  • Chicken Thighs (Bone In)
  • Chicken Thighs (Boneless – for shredding because it‚Äôs easier!)
  • Whole Chickens (2)
  • Ground Beef
  • Beef Roasts
  • Homemade Shredded Chicken (cooked) 1
  • Homemade Taco Mat (cooked) 2
  • Chopped Deli Sliced Ham 3
  • Pepperoni
  • Hot Dogs
  • I prefer buying fresh chicken breasts & freezing myself as opposed to the bags of frozen because they are thicker and taste better.
  • I freeze the meats I purchase in ‚Äúmeal size‚ÄĚ bags… in other words, whatever my family will consume in one meal at that time.
  • I stock up on these meats when they are on sale. ¬†Sometimes I might have 5 packages of chicken breasts on hand, sometimes none.
  1. Shredded Chicken – ready to toss in enchiladas, on salads, in soups or white chicken chili or other casseroles.
  2. Taco Meat – ready for tacos, enchiladas, taco salads, casseroles, etc.
  3. Chopped Deli Ham – chop & freeze on cookie sheets, separate, toss in a bag for use in omelets, quiches, casseroles, soups, etc.

  • Peas (frozen 5# bag from Costco)
  • Green Beans (frozen 5# bag from Costco)
  • Stir Fry (from Costco – because it‚Äôs yummy!)
  • Chopped Bell Peppers 1
  • Chopped Carrots 2
  • Celery Hearts 3
  • Chopped Green Chilies 4
  • Spinach 5
  • Peeled Garlic Cloves (Costco!)
  1. Peppers РChop peppers from fresh, freeze on a cookie sheet, separate & store in freezer bags.  Use the peppers (I keep a bag of mixed colors on hand) in omelets, quiches, fresh vinagrette salads, enchiladas, etc.
  2. Carrots РChop carrots from fresh (or chop & blanche), freeze on a cookie sheet, separate & store in freezer bags.  Use in soups, smoothies, stir frys, etc.
  3. Celery Hearts is that clump of tender celery & leaves in the center of the bunch of celery.  Wash, chop & freeze fresh in a small baggie.  Use in soups!  Yumm!
  4. Green Chilies – How often do you actually use the entire can of chopped green chilies? ¬†Yeah… So freeze the excess in a baggie or ice cube tray for later.
  5. Spinach – Wash & freeze fresh spinach on cookie sheet, break apart, put in baggie & use in soups, smoothies, muffins, breads, omelets, quiches, casseroles, etc.

  • Blueberries (frozen Costco)
  • Strawberries (frozen Costco)
  • Orange Juice 1
  • Bananas 2
  1. Orange Juice – or whole oranges pureed to pulp… frozen in ice cubes for easy smoothies
  2. Bananas – chopped & individually frozen if I’m not going to use them before they go bad for use in smoothies, banana breads, muffins, baby food, etc.


  • Bread loaves (yes these can be frozen, thaw on the counter)
  • Tortillas (flour)
  • Yeast (yes, I keep it in the freezer)

  • Milk (cardboard cartons freeze best)
  • Butter (yes, it freezes well)
  • Cheese (shredded only – I get the 5# bag at Costco)

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Soup 1
  • Split Pea Soup 2
  • Minestrone Soup 3
  • Mashed Potates
  • Pancakes
  • French Toast
  • Refried Beans (see my bulk recipe here)
  • Golden Oats 4 (see my recipe here)
  • Cookie Dough 5
  • Meatloaf 6 (see my recipe for a bulk preparation here)
  • Taco Meat
  • Shredded Mexican Chicken
  • Chicken Pot Pie (see my recipe for a bulk preparation here)
  1. Chicken Soup made without noodles – put these in later or they will be overcooked.
  2. Split Pea Soup – Pureed soup works best here… the texture has always been funny when I don‚Äôt puree. ¬†Add some of the chopped ham from the meat section & the carrots from the veggi section when reheating.
  3. Minestrone Soup – without the noodles.
  4. Golden Oats Рfreeze on cookie sheet, separate, store in a ziplock.  To use, place however much you want in a pan, add a touch of oil & water & reheat.  Or microwave.
  5. Cookie Dough РPrepare a large batch of your favorite cookie dough.  Press into a log inside a sheet of saran wrap.  Unwrap & roll in the wrap again (so there is no wrap stuck inside the log of dough).  Next time you want a cookie, chop of a round and bake!  No need to have a dozen cookies lying around anymore!
  6. Meatloaf – Use as a meatloaf (thaw before cooking), or shape the meatloaf into balls for a meatball & spaghetti dinner or teriyaki meatballs.

  • Popsicles (made from leftover smoothie when we don‚Äôt eat all of it)
  • Cookie Dough


For my list of Pantry Staples click here.

What do you always keep in your freezer that isn’t on my list?

Homemade Laundry Detergent

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I love using homemade Laundry Detergent. ¬†I found a¬†recipe on the Duggar Family Website here. ¬†I have been using it for a little over two years & have only made 4 batches! ¬†All you need is a few simple ingredients, a 5 gallon bucket, and some smaller jugs (like the empty gallon vinegar jugs you’ll have on hand if you use non-chemical cleaners!)

EDIT: ¬†I quit making the liquid laundry detergent some time ago. I switched to this creamy detergent… still homemade, and still the same basic ingredients. ¬†Then I switched again! ¬†Now I use the same ingredients… but it’s powder, so prep time is quite a bit less. ¬†I found the recipe here. ¬†Really, there’s a zillion of these recipes out there. ¬†You can even add these scented laundry bead thingys, but I prefer my laundry to smell like clean cloth, not froofy flowers or some such scent.

I get all the supplies I need from here: Borax, Super Washing Soda, Fels-Naptha Soap

Have you made your own laundry detergent?  
What recipe do you use?

Demoting My Chemical Cleaners to the Garbage

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I’ve been wanting to transition to more natural cleaners… but I have sooooo many bottles of cleaners that are perfectly good. My first thought was not demoting them to the garbage… I really did try to give them away first.

Not pictured: 1 Gallon jug Simple Green concentrate, 1 Spray bottle watered down Simple Green, 1 gallon jug bleach, Goo Gone, spray degreaser…

I went back and forth for so long because I had so much of some things & felt it was wasteful to throw them away… but they weren’t getting used! ¬†I like the simplicity of having one spray bottle of cleaner for almost everything. ¬†So, I’ve revamped my cleaning supply shelf – and low & behold, getting rid of all this (above) and replacing with this (below) created a TON of extra space!

Okay… so what’s my system?

UPDATE: The Spray Bottle is important… vinegar will rust the components of most cheap bottles. ¬†I love these from Walmart.

1. ALL PURPOSE DISINFECTING CLEANER

  • 50/50 White Vinegar & Water with two squirts liquid dish soap & one drop green food coloring (WHAT?) ¬†… Well, that’s just to differentiate easily between the few things I have on the shelf! ¬†Color it red, pink, or don’t color at all.
  • Uses: Wiping down counters, tables, walls, appliances, fruits & veggies with the skins on. ¬†Cleaning bathrooms, sinks, inside refrigerator/freezer, windows, mirrors, floors, cabinets, drawers, heck, you could probably wash your car with it!
  • This stuff works really well. ¬†And guess what… no noxious odors that make you nervous when you’re pregnant, or when your kids are around. ¬†And you can store it under the kitchen sink because the worst that could happen is a mild upset tummy if your kid drank the whole thing.

2. DISINFECTANT –¬†

  • Spray bottle of White Vinegar
  • Spray on anything you want disinfected. ¬†Leave it or wipe it.

3. TOILET BOWL SUPER CLEANER –¬†

  • 1 slight gallon White Vinegar
  • 1 C Borax
  • 1 C Lemon Juice

Combine in a 1 gallon vinegar jug, shake well.  The jug is empty in the picture as I make this as needed.

To use:

  • Turn off toilet water.
  • Plunge out ALL the water… you may need to use a rag towel to get out the water at the very bottom.
  • Dump in the whole gallon of cleaner.
  • Leave for an hour.
  • Swish with toilet brush.
  • Flush.
  • NO RINGS!!!!

4. SHOWER SYSTEM¬† (Click here) –¬†

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Sponge

5. GOO GONE replacement

  • 50/50 Coconut Oil & Baking Soda
  • Mix well, apply to sticky stuff & rub with fingers.
  • Effect: Goo Gone + Soft Hands!

I think the coolest thing about defeating the urge to not “waste” all those nasty chemicals, is the fact that I can let my little kids help clean EVERYTHING now… I don’t have to ask them to go outside while I clean the bathrooms or mop the floors.

QUICK TIP: 

Write the recipe for each cleaning concoction on the bottle!   I even go so far as to mark the bottle on the side so I know just how much of each ingredient to put in without having to measure!

Now, my cleaning supply shelf is CLEAN… literally! ¬†Clean & Green!

For more information about why I chose to reduce home chemical useage, check EWG’s list of the most¬†dangerous¬†household chemicals!

What other natural cleaners do you use in your home?