…making laundry detergent. (I followed this recipe)
Tag Archives: Housework
You ladies really are such a great source of information and knowledge. I really was blown away by the responses I got on the last meal planning post I did. If you haven’t read the responses, do go check them out. I read, and reread each and every response many times. There really is some great advice.
A few things I tried to keep in mind while meal planning:
- A week without tacos on the menu is unrealistic in our house.
- I like the idea of doing something like a roast on Sundays, because the leftovers are easy to use in another way for a quick lunch or dinner Monday or Tuesday.
- Try at least one new dish a week, taken from online, magazines, cookbooks, etc–just to keep things fresh.
- Keep at least one (homemade) freezer meal on hand at all times for those rough days when I don’t have the time or energy to cook the scheduled dinner.
- It’s okay to swap out days. Make sure to have some quick meals as well as some that are more time consuming on the menu.
- Plan meals around the seasonal vegetables that we get in the CSA box or at the farmers market.
Here is an example of a weekly menu I made up.
Monday: Red beans and rice
Tuesday: Sauteed veggie tacos
Wednesday: Crab cakes, tossed green salad
Thursday: Black bean chilli, cornbread
Friday: Pasta with lemon Parmesan sauce and sauteed veggies
Saturday: Hawaiian meatballs and stir fried vegetables
Sunday: Pot Roast with roasted vegetables (can use the roast cut up in another dish, or sliced for sandwiches)
Last week I did really well. I think I swapped two menus around, but I did stick with it. I didn’t feel at all bored since I was trying some new recipes as well having some old (and quick) favorites for when I wasn’t in the mood to cook. I definitely plan on keeping up with this. Having the meal planned out in advance really did help, especially when it came to grocery shopping.
The place we are currently living is the first home where we have had the luxury of a dishwasher. It didn’t even cross my mind until browsing Pinterest one day that I would save a lot of money, and waste, if I made my own detergent.
I didn’t follow the recipe I found on Pinterest. I was too lazy to search through all the millions of pins saved, instead I googled homemade dishwasher detergent and found this one. It was so simple, it really took under a minute to throw together. I also had all the ingredients on hand (from making laundry detergent and other projects), which is a huge plus in my book.
- 1 cup borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup citric acid
I put all the ingredients into a quart sized mason jar, then shook it until it was all combined. It is very concentrated (also, it clumps a little, but that is normal), so you only use one tablespoon of this mix per load of dishes. Fill the rinse agent compartment with vinegar then turn your machine on!
I have used it several times already, and it really does work just as well (if not better!) as the expensive Cascade brand dish soap we had been getting (plus, we don’t have a huge plastic bottle to dispose of afterwards). It really saves you a lot of money if you make your own cleaner, be sure to check out the original source to see the cost breakdown.
Edited to add: After using this for some time I think this recipe needs the addition of a tablespoon or so of rice, like it suggests in the original recipe, to prevent it from solidifying.
Two years ago I started on the idea of menu planning. I was going to school part time, painting full time, and at the end of the day I was fresh out of ideas or energy for dinner. Most nights we would end up getting burritos and hungrily devouring more than half our share of daily calories while watching TCM on the sofa.
I have always loved cooking, but I hate to be rushed about it. If I haven’t started dinner by about 4:30 each day, it usually won’t happen. The hungrier I get the more difficult it is to decide what to make. I stare into the fridge, stomach rumbling, with no clear idea of what will satisfy my growing cravings. The solution to this problem; the menu plan.
I dropped the menu planning around the time I got pregnant because I quit going to school and had more time to sit and think about what I would make that evening for dinner. It didn’t really occur to me until last week that I would make my life a whole lot easier if I started meal planning again.
Basically I just write on a piece of paper the days of the week, then next to each day the proposed dinner idea. Lots of times I wander from this list because I feel like having something different, but I try to stick with using the same ingredients in order to use things up from the fridge in a timely manner.
This time when I start my menu planning I am going to start taking our budget into consideration. I am terrible at saving money, and with a baby and a broken camera in the picture it is more important than ever to save for the future (and a camera!). Wednesdays each week I am going to plan our weekly menu. That is the day we pick up our CSA box, as well as the day that the flyer for the market I shop at comes in the mail.
My only issue with meal planning is that following a weekly schedule makes me feel like I lose my creativity in the kitchen. I tend to get myself in a bit of a food rut, scheduling the same things over and over again. Being spontaneous is part of the fun of cooking to me, which is hard to do when you’ve made a meal plan and have tonight’s dinner already in your head.
Does anyone else out there menu plan for their family? If so, what is your process? How do you keep your meals fresh and so you don’t get bored of cooking, and of the food you are preparing?
Since becoming pregnant I have begun to think about all the things that I need and want to get done before the baby arrives. I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish and a lot of projects I want to finish. I also know that very soon I will have a lot less time to spend on myself, my house, my friends, etc. If I don’t start forming some new habits now it will only get more difficult later down the road.
Organization is a big one for me, as it is with many people. My house always seems to be mostly clean, but there are always piles of ‘stuff’ tucked away places. These things move around a bit. One day they will be on the kitchen table, after clearing it for dinner they will end up on the bedroom floor, and the next day stuffed behind some more junk in the closet. I want to either eliminate these piles or find a real spot to put them. Organization shouldn’t be so difficult, but I really need to establish some sort of a system in order to deal with all this stuff. I plan on starting with our hall closet and taking out things that are just placed there because they have nowhere better to be. In doing all this this I also plan on donating quite a lot of stuff to the thrift shop, as I really am going to need more space for the baby things we are already accumulating.
Establishing a cleaning schedule is another thing I need to get in the habit of. My house is usually in pretty good shape, but this is due to running around like a crazy person tidying up before a guest comes by. If instead of relying on the hours before a friend arrived to clean, I did the vacuuming a certain day of the week, the bathroom another, and so on, life really would be a lot easier. It would also save me during those embarrassing times when someone drops by unannounced, and I have to apologize for the state of my house. This week I want to sit down and figure out a schedule that seems realistic, and really work towards sticking with it. Cleaning doesn’t have to be such a chore if it is broken up throughout the week.
Another thing I want to do is get more consistent with my hair styling. I love nothing more than having an easy to care for do, but with a baby on the way it really is becoming more essential. I am already starting to feel self conscious due to my expanding waistline, so I have been making an extra effort to get my face, hair, and nails looking their best. When the baby does come, I don’t want to use him or her as an excuse not to continue caring for my appearance in such a manner. I want to continue to look polished, with neat hair, fresh face, and nice clothes. I bought rollers that stick to the hair, and don’t need to be clipped in (as I had been previously using) for ease. I also bought some of those bendy triangular shaped clips to pin curl my hair at night and tie up in a scarf. I had tried in the past to use standard clips, but they poke my head too much, making for an uncomfortable nights sleep. I also tried bobby pins, which when they aren’t flying across the room while I try to open them, are really a pain to put in (and they chip my nails if I am not careful!). The bendy clips I found are perfect, since they lay flat to the head. Anyhow, I have been trying my hardest to put in the clips every night (except for when I plan on washing my hair the next morning), and what I have found is I am actually spending LESS time on my hair than when I would not curl it, but pin it up in some ‘easy’ hair style.
The older I get the more I realize that people really are creatures of habit. I am really hoping that I can hold onto as much of my new routines as possible throughout this pregnancy and after the baby is born. I am sure it will be difficult in the beginning, but hopefully with this early preparation I can figure out how to work these things into my new life.