Category Archives: The Home

Getting the Stink Out

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I’m a little bummed I have to write this post. I’d like to think that I smell wonderful all the time and glisten instead of sweat, but let’s face it I’m human. And it’s summertime. And even though it’s very irregular I do have a workout routine that gets my heart pumping. And then my shirts get a bit smelly.

I’m also a little disappointed because my homemade laundry detergent just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I used it for a good year and a half but lately I just didn’t feel like our clothes were getting clean. Maybe I wasn’t using enough or the recipe I had wasn’t the best out there but nevertheless I had to switch it up. Lately I’ve been using an all-natural store-bought detergent that I’m very happy with but some shirts were still a bit stanky. And I say “were” because they no longer are! Thanks to Pinterest I was able to combine a couple tricks to get my shirts smelling fresh and clean.

First I washed them (whites and colors separately) in hot water with a cup of vinegar. This didn’t quite cut it, even though sometimes I think it will, so I washed them again in hot water but this time with 1/2 cup of baking soda. After that I threw them in the dryer with two felted dryer balls that I added 4-5 drops of orange essential oils to. You could do any kind of oil you want depending on what smell you would like. And after this treatment my clothes came out smelling wonderful!

You can make your own dryer balls using this tutorial. I highly recommend it because they replace dryer sheets and can cut your drying time down while still making your clothes nice and soft..double win!


My obsession with boxes

I’m not always a super organized person but I do like the idea of being super organized. So when an urge comes over me to do some organizing in our home I have to run with it! After doing our kitchen remodel we didn’t have quite as much pantry space so I had to get a little creative with good storage. I love the cabinets Jeremiah installed but they weren’t perfect as-is for food storage. Enter in my storage solution, sorry for the poor quality photos.

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I found the best boxes for spices were baby/toddler shoeboxes. And really any box can be cut down to the right size. It may not be the cutest way to organize but it’s easy, cheap and you can put them in the recycling when you don’t need them anymore!

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The bottom of a popcorn box was perfect for measuring spoons that would usually be a disorganized mess in the drawer.

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And in the bathroom I used the bottom of oatmeal containers.

I love recycling!


Praying with Purpose

Ooh I’m really excited about what we just put up in our living room. After Christmas I was kind of sad to see our house looking so bare. I was keeping my eye out for some wall decor to put up. Jeremiah was actually the one to find some things to put up when we were at Goodwill, he’s got a good eye for those types of things. I kind of just skim over all the shelves and shelves of stuff but he’s really good at finding those little things.

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So this is the beginning of our little prayer corner. I had a silly picture in the frame but after I put D to bed I noticed that Jeremiah had switched the picture out for one of our Christmas cards we got (this one from my parents). It was a shame to throw all those nice cards away so every week we’ll put a new card in the frame and pray for that family. Once we run out of cards I’ll print off other pictures we have of our friends (or nab them from Facebook). So if you get weirded out that when you visit our home we have a picture of you up on the wall, don’t be too worried we’re just praying for you that week!

I’m really excited to share this with D. He’s beginning to understand little things about Jesus and God and it’s the sweetest thing. This will be another way to teach him how to pray for others. One of the ways in which I want to live with intentionality this year.


Keeping a clean home (naturally!)

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Christmas celebrating with friends and family!  We sure did and although there was a close call when Jeremiah got called out to Rockford, IL after a blizzard hit we were still able to celebrate together and create new memories as a family.  I am pooped though and the house is showing it!  We have another family gathering at our house this Saturday so as soon as I muster enough energy I’ll be cleaning it from top to bottom.  All with my cleaning companions:

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Slowly I’ve been moving away from store-bought, ingredient-laden cleaning products for our home and wouldn’t you know our house is just as clean as when I used those name-brand products! Now I’m feeling much better about what goes into the laundry or sprayed on the counters and I’m never left wondering what effect it’s having on our health.  All of these cleaners have been tested in our home and I love them each for what they do.

Laundry Detergent

IMG_0524What you do: grate your soap.  I use Trader Joe’s tea tree glycerin soap.  It works great and it’s really inexpensive, double win!  You could also use Ivory (doesn’t dissolve as well) or Fels Naptha (not very natural).  Then add the Borax, Washing Soda (in the cleaning aisle, I got mine at Wal-Mart), and Oxyclean (or knock-off brand).  Use 2 tbsp. for a full load and add 3-4 drops of essential oil to each load to get a light scent.

Variation for cloth diapers: leave out the bar of soap.  I have used this as a diaper detergent for over a year now and always get fresh, clean diapers.  Easy and inexpensive!

Dishwasher Detergent

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This is a new addition to my arsenal and it has not disappointed.  One thing you’ll want to do is rinse your dishes well before putting them in the dishwasher.  If I have a pile of dishes I put a little bit of water in the sink and scrub them all at once without running the water the entire time.  I got the citric acid and coarse salt at our local co-op in the bulk foods section.

All-purpose every-purpose soap

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I LOVE this soap! I use it as hand soap and body wash.  I don’t even know how much money I’ve saved by making this stuff.  It is simply fantastic and so easy to make.  Grate the bar of soap (I use Trader Joe’s glycerin soap for this as well but you can use Dr. Bronner’s, etc.) and combine it with the water and liquid glycerin in a pot on the stove.  Heat it up on medium until everything is dissolved and then remove from heat and let sit until cloudy and thick (a few hours-12 hours).  You might need to mix in a little water to it before you pour into your container if it gets too thick.

All-purpose cleaning solution

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I use this cleaner for the kitchen, bathrooms and even spray a little on a rag when I dust.  You can add essential oils to make it smell better (I have lavender right now).  Put it in a spray bottle and store the rest in a separate container.

I’m still on the search for a good heavy-duty cleaner for things like the scummy buildup that happens in the bathtub and a toilet bowl cleaner.  Once I find them I’ll make sure to share!

Happy cleaning!


Growing a Garden

Until now I have been really hesitant to post pictures or even talk about my garden and let me tell you why. When I was little I asked my mom if I could have a little plot in our yard to plant some flowers. Once she said yes we went to the store and picked out some really nice plants for me to tend to. As soon as I planted them I promptly forgot all about them. I remember one day realizing I had never watered them and upon further investigation found a bunch of withered, sad-looking piles of flowers.

Fast forward fifteen or so years and I have a garden plot in my own yard. And guess what? Things are actually growing! And not only growing but producing! I thought I would be really stressed out about having a garden but I’ve actually found it to be incredibly enjoyable. Once I put Dieter down for the night I’ll go outside and tend to the veggies, weeding and watering them and sometimes simply looking for anything new that may have sprouted. With the warm weather we’ve been having the garden is flourishing and I’m already planning what to plant next year.

To keep it simple this is what I planted:
Tomatoes
Hot peppers
Sweet peppers
Beets
Carrots
Summer Squash
Peas
Beans
Basil
Cilantro
Chives (they came with the house)
Mesclun Mix (most of which I’ve pulled out already)
Spinach

I also have tried spearmint three times now but it will not grow for me which is funny because I had a ton of it last year.


Remedying the Space Issue

We live in a decent sized house. I’ve never felt like we are short on space except in our bedroom. The house was built in the 1950s which means small bedrooms and even smaller closets. Jeremiah and I have to share a 5 foot closet and one dresser and because of this we frequently go through our clothes and donate whatever we don’t wear. This really isn’t good enough though because I still find myself stuffing things in already-full drawers and having sweaters fall off of the top shelf because they are stacked too high. That is until I found a new way to fold our shirts. Just look and see:

Now I am able to fit all of my t-shirts, tank tops, and thin sweaters in one drawer.  In another I have my pajamas and workout clothes.  I put all of Jeremiah’s t-shirts and undershirts in one drawer and shorts in another.  The top two drawers of the dresser are for his socks and underwear.  In the closet we now just hang my jeans, dresses and blouses.  He has hanging shelves with jeans and sweaters on it as well as some dress shirts.  The top shelf just has the heavy sweaters and sweatshirts on it.  Obviously if you have a lot of clothes this solution will work a little differently for you.

Such a simple solution that makes a huge difference!