Friday, August 31, 2012

Easy, cheap laundry

So lets start with one of my favorite things. I have a huge aversion to man-made chemicals, and do my best to avoid them. The only one I use right now is Windex, there hasn't been a good substitute that I've found so far.

My favorite way to do laundry is really so much cheaper, a huge bonus. When I do the laundry, I fill the bleach up with white vinegar. The soap, I fill with baking soda. Between an 1/8 and a 1/4 cup per load, more so if it's really dirt. This is safe on all normal clothing, bra's, diapers, and other delicates included. An added bonus? Vinegar will clean out the inside of any HE washer with each use, removing the need to clean it out.

In the future I'm going to attempt to make this laundry soap, but I need to have the funds and time to do so. It's not that it's expensive, but that we are, and have always been, poor. Financially, that is. Emotionally, we are crazy rich. That's what happens when you have an amazing husband and daughter. :)

In the dryer, instead of dryer sheets I use something called a dryer ball.

That's it. It's that easy and inexpensive!

If you'd rather use a reusable, work-free dryer sheet, here is a great idea. You're still using the fabric softener, but cutting out the waste. And a version of the dryer ball, made with old socks, that I've never tried but looks so easy.

For the tutorials on how to make anything listed, just click on the links, and you'll end up on a free tutorial!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reusable Dryer Sheets

For anyone who doesn't want to spend the time (though it's isn't difficult) making felted dryer balls, and may still want the effects of fabric softener (though I find them negligible) and wants the scent that dryer sheets offer clothing, reusable dryer sheets are a wonderful option. It's quick and easy, and doesn't create any extra laundry. Simply cut some bar towels into squares, and throw them (clean) into a container holding fabric softener. Before each load, wring one out and throw it into the dryer. After the dryer is finished, simply throw the towel back into the container of fabric softener! Read more at One Good Thing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bee Sting Solution

Bee sting symptoms - what to put on a bee sting (3) As we reach the end of summer, bee stings and other insect bites will slowly become less prevalent. I'd still like to share my favorite way to remove the venom from a bee-sting, courtesy of my Grandmother. When I was a kid, I was running barefoot in her back yard and stepped on a bee, which naturally stung me. To my surprise, she rubbed a paste of water and meat tenderizer (unseasoned) onto the sting. Almost immediately, the pain was relieved. The tenderizer acts as a salve to draw out the venom of the sting, causing relief. It may not affect the swelling or redness, and certainly isn't a substitute for an epi-pen or medical treatment for someone who is allergic to bee stings. But it certainly is a nice pain relief, especially for young children.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Un-Paper Towels

For anyone who has some sewing skills and a little time, this is a great project. For me it's still on my to-do list, but I have friends who have used the tutorial withe beautiful results. Paper towels are great to have, but are so wasteful. A solution? Make your own. These lovely paper towels are not only reusable because they are fabric, but they also snap or velcro together so you can pull them off of the roll we're so familiar with! A bonus? You can snap them together, making them useful for so many more things. The author of the blog snapped two together as an ingenius bib for her daughter. Sewing instructions can be found on Sew A Straight Line.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hardwood Floor Cleaners

MoppingWhere we currently live, the "wood" floor is actually laminate made to look like wood. However, I grew up in a home with a real hardwood floor, and occasionally I still mop the floor for my parents. Tip Nut has some great suggestions for cleaning hardwood floors, which I have found have their own reasons for why they are fantastic cleaners. Among my favorite are using vinegar, which has a bonus in the summer (white vinegar) as it repels ants. Year-round it's also nice, as it is a disinfectant. Though it has the distinct vinegar smell while mopping, it dries odorless. In addition, vinegar helps to add a nice shine without making a slippery, waxy mess. Dish soap added helps to cut through any build-up and dirt on the floor, without damaging it or requiring extra work on your part. And using black tea brings out the rich color of the natural wood, which can add new life to a tired old floor.

It's always a good idea to do a double mop if you go longer than a week in between moppings, or if it in a high traffic area to ensure that the floor gets properly cleaned. In that case, try using two different recipes. Maybe vinegar and dishsoap as the first wash, and black tea with the essential oil of your choice for the second? It will provide a nice, clean shiny surface which also has the color brought out again, and leaves a pleasant smell lingering in the air, in addition to any benefits the essential oil may have.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vinegar-Cleaning Hard Water and Other Gunk Stains

Today's tip - vinegar. Vinegar has many uses, among them is cleaning the grime from your sink, including hard water stains. Soak paper towels (or any similar fabric option, such as un-paper towels or washcloths) in vinegar, any type works. Wrap them around the faucet you want to clean, let it sit, and then wipe clean! Read more about this from the website from which I got the tip, The Thrifty Home.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Anemia Quick Fix

This isn't going to be long, as I'm headed to bed. But I wanted to share a tip with you all. I have anemia, and when I was pregnant or "that time" of the month, it can get really bad. To the point doctors want me to take iron pills. Well, I don't like taking medication or anything foreign, so I usually try to find another way around things. Usually I just try to eat a good diet with enough iron, but sometimes I still need a boost. If you start feeling lightheaded and anemic, the best thing to bring you right back up is a spoonful of molasses. Who'd have thought it? It's delicious, and good for you too! It doesn't replace maintenance to make sure you get enough iron, but it's fantastic in a fix.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dryer Balls

In the dryer, instead of dryer sheets I use something called a dryer ball. In essence, it's a wool ball of yarn that is worked until it becomes felted. This ball absorbs the static, keeping garments from getting clingy. And it lasts a crazy long time. The one I've been using, for 2 adults and a toddler, including a small supply of cloth diapers, has lasted us half a year so far. If you want to add a scent, just add a few drops of any essential oil or extract (including almond or vanilla) every few loads. I don't, for the simple reason that I am fine with unscented clothing.

Monday, August 13, 2012


As a parent, I do my best to do everything the best possible for my daughter. From how we spend our time together, to what she eats, to what she wears. Because of this and needing to be frugal, I've gotten into doing a lot of things DIY. We have a drier ball instead of using drier sheets, I've started making her clothes, and we are working on going gluten-free, due to allergies. I don't use commercials soaps in our washer, or shampoos on our hair. It's a work in progress for sure - my abilities aren't up to par in many areas, and it's obvious on some things that they are home made.

But as I work on it more, I get better. A few things I've been asked to make for others, such as tutus and drier balls. I'm working on crochet, to get good enough to make full-size blankets and, when we are lucky enough to be expecting number two, wool diaper covers. I've got dishcloths and washcloths down, but still work fairly slowly.

As with all things, it's a great big work in progress. But I hope to soon be good enough to help you in your journey to natural parenting, and eventually to share my makings with others.