A Recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent

By: Jordan Tate

Hey there, guys! I’m coming at you today with a recipe for homemade laundry detergent! Why? Because it’s so easy, so cost effective, and it totally works. I saw this recipe a while ago and I knew I wanted to start making our own laundry detergent because it’s cheaper and healthier to use. I just had to wait until we got through our stash of store bought detergent first! I don’t know if you’re like me or not, but I can tell you that I spend far too long standing in the detergent aisle comparing prices against the healthiest, safest option for my family, and I just can’t afford the really high end brands that have minimal ingredients.

I ended up having to make a trip to Walmart as well as Target in order to find all of the ingredients, but I actually saw the labels where all of the ingredients would be at Walmart – they had just run out. So you should be able to get everything you need in one trip. Here’s what you’ll need (one each):

  • 4lb.12 oz. box of Bora
  • 4 lb. box Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
  • 3 lb. box Arm and Hammer Super Washing Sod
  • 3 lb. box Oxi Clean
  • 1 bar of Zote Soap

How to make your own laundry detergent

Directions
Step one: Pour all of the dry ingredients into a huge container/bucket/pot and stir really, really well. I poured all of mine into a 2 gallon glass container (also available at Walmart or Target). I found that the stick end of a wooden spoon worked well to mix it all up, but I also used my hands.

How to make your own laundry detergent

Step two: Grate your bar of Zote soap with a standard kitchen grater into the already-mixed jar of goodness. (I used the smallest grate size on my hand held grater and it took me about 10 minutes to grate the whole bar.) I love the way this stuff smells but I can’t pin-point what it reminds me of. Hotel laundry? College laundry rooms? I’ll figure it out eventually.

How to make your own laundry detergent

How to make your own laundry detergent

Step three: Mix the grated soap until it’s well incorporated throughout the mixture and applaud yourself because you’re done!

How to make your own laundry detergent

BONUS: The Oxi Clean container comes with a laundry scoop marked in tablespoons. You only need ONE tablespoon per laundry load, and TWO if your laundry is extra dirty.

Total cost to make? $18.26. And it should last a family of four about six months! If it lasts us 6 months that’s $3.04 per month for good quality detergent. What do you have to lose? Give it a shot and let us know if it worked for you!

How to make your own laundry detergent

Show Me the Money

 

By: Azure Stilwell

Saving money

Anyone who knows me knows I love a great deal. I enjoy saving money whenever I can, so I rely on a few apps and websites to get me great savings.

Ibotta: An app that allows you to unlock various grocery or retail items by watching short videos, answering a multiple choice question or simply pressing unlock. It only takes a few seconds to unlock each item. Once they are unlocked you simply go grocery shopping, scan the items, and take a picture of your receipt. Money is then added to your account and can be taken out when you reach $20. My favorite ways are regal cinema gift cards and itunes. I have saved hundreds of dollars over the last year and half using this app.

Saving’s Catcher: A Walmart app that allows you to shop at your local Walmart and then upload your receipt. The app/website then compares all local stores (usually 50 to 90) for a better price. If one is found you get the difference back and can add it to a bluebird card that can be used at any Walmart or an e-gift card for Walmart.com. I used my savings from this site to pay for almost all of my son’s Christmas gifts two years ago. I have used it countless times to purchase birthday presents for others.

Saving Star: An app that allows you to upload store cards for automatic savings when an item is purchased. You simply add the available items that you want to your account and then shop. Upload your receipts for places that don’t have a card, like Walmart. With this app I have my funds added to PayPal.  For me this one takes a little longer to earn money because you sometimes have to buy in bulk but it has still been worth it.

Finally, the www.kelloggsfamilyrewards.com site allows me to upload a receipt via my cell phone whenever I purchase a Kellogg’s item. I have gotten tons of iTunes cards, movie tickets to AMC, and free kids books. This is the easiest site for me to use and I rack up lots of points with all of their bonuses.

I hope these resources help you save some money, too!

Wardrobe Woes

By: Chaunte McClure

It never fails. When the seasons change, I’m always trying to figure out what I wore the year before and I solemnly declare that I need more clothes. I became frustrated one morning last week because one, I wasn’t doing a good job coordinating my outfits for the weather and two, I was starting to feel like I was wearing the same clothes over and over.

wardrobe woes

Fall can obviously be a little unpredictable. One day it’s in the high 70s and the next day it’s 30 degrees cooler. Two days last week I dressed the opposite for the weather – a sweater on the warmer day and short sleeves on the cooler day. (No, I did not see the forecast!) Remember, I love fall but it’s a little difficult to organize my closet because I’m wearing fall and summer clothes all in the same week. It seems as though I didn’t make a mental note earlier this year that I’d need more sweaters and long-sleeved shirts.

To help end my wardrobe woes, I decided to make a trip to the mall to do what I no longer enjoy doing – shop. It is so tiring and a bit stressful, but I had a need, so I went with an hour to spare before closing. I only had plans to go in the one store where I can buy clothes that fit me well.

I found about six items, and then I had to decide if I’d try them on. Did I mention I don’t like trying on clothes? Well, I don’t. It’s such a hassle, but how else would I know if they’ll fit if I don’t undress, try on, stand in front of the mirror, turn around for a rear view, pull the clothes off and do it all again if there are more pieces? I contemplated before entering the fitting room. Either try them on while I was there or risk having to make a second trip to the mall to return what didn’t work. To the fitting room I went and the associate even wrote my name on the white board next to my room. That was a nice personal touch.

After about 40 minutes of shopping, I came home with two tops, one sweater and one blouse, and a pair of slacks. Well, that really doesn’t take care of my needs, but it’s a start. One of these days I’ll be able to afford a personal shopper and I won’t have to make circles around a store looking at clothes on the same racks or tables multiple times.

Just in case “Santa” reads the Every Woman Blog, let me mention that sweaters, slacks and long-sleeved shirts are on my Christmas list. I’ve been nice.

Why I Love Melissa McCarthy

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

I love Melissa McCarthy. I think she’s hysterical and extremely talented. I loved watching her in Gilmore Girls (albeit I didn’t watch it until it came on Netflix), in The Heat with Sandra Bullock and in Bridesmaids. Yes, she can be a bit vulgar and crass; but I still honestly think she’s a great actress and I can’t wait to see the Ghostbusters remake that is currently in production. But, this isn’t the main reason I love Melissa McCarthy.

Melissa McCarthy is not, if you haven’t noticed, built like most other Hollywood stars. She’s a full figured woman; what society has deemed as “plus sized”. Maybe I love her because I, too, am what society considers “plus sized”, and I think we “larger” woman should unite. In all actuality, I think that all women should unite because being a woman has never been an easy title to bear, much less one to bear with other titles and labels attached. I’ve never been what one would call a “little girl” and I’m not sure that I ever will be. I’ve shared those shopping trips where I am relegated to going to a different section of the store to buy my clothes, and, nine times out of ten, if I see something cute in the shopping-606993_640 2“regular” sizes, it won’t be available in the “larger” sizes. (Let me stop here and say that I completely and whole-heartedly subscribe to the idiom that just because something is made in a certain size doesn’t mean one should wear it, nor should one always think that “just because it zips, it fits.”) It would be great if clothing and department stores, along with society, would realize that “birds of a feather” don’t always flock together; women are friends with other women who may not be the exact same shape and size as themselves, and maybe, just maybe, we would like to shop together. This leads me to why I really love Melissa McCarthy . . .

As one who wanted to be a fashion designer before her acting career took off, McCarthy has now designed a line of clothing that will be available to women of almost all sizes. She has also requested that her clothing not be housed separately from other women’s clothing simply because of the size of said clothing, nor did she want it labeled “plus size”. She’s taken a very personal stand against something that many people overlook on a daily basis; that larger women are people and want to dress fashionably too. We don’t want to wear clothing that hides our size. Many of us are proud, confident, and successful women; in fact, I’d say the vast majority of us are because the average woman wears roughly a size 12-14 (14 is typically the start of the so labeled “plus sizes”). While this may seem like a very minor issue or even a non-issue, if you’ve ever been shopping and just left because your choices were pretty much limited to a muu-muu, then you understand why this is an important issue. However, every day it seems that, as a society, we talk out of both sides our mouth on the issues of size and clothing, etc. We talk about changing the perception of young girls feeling the need to be model-stick thin and to be confident in themselves, regardless of size, etc; however, on the other hand, we teach them, by simply segregating clothing sizes in stores, that being above a certain size isn’t desirable by having minuscule plus size sections with frumpy, dowdy clothing options that often tend to flow right on in to the maternity section. How can we expect our next generation of young women to feel when we send mixed signals like this? (I won’t even, right now, touch the clothing choices that are presented to our girls.)

Melissa McCarthy gets it. And that is why I love her.

Now . . . it would be great if someone could pass the word to plus size clothing manufacturers that not all plus sized women are close to six feet tall, that’d be great! Imagine being 5’ 2” and buying petite length jeans that still have to have 4-6” cut off . . . oh, but that’s a blog for another day!

Hosting a Yard Sale

By: Leah Prescott

It’s yard sale season! It’s time to drag out your whatchamacallit collection and finally say goodbye to the box of heirloom thingamabobs. Although I’ve only hosted yard sales a couple of times, I’ve shopped at hundreds. Here are my tips for a smooth, simple, successful sale!

  1. Plan ahead. The best sales are going to require some planning. Start making lists of large items you will be selling. Go through your garage, attic, and closets to drag out those hidden “gems” that eager Saturday morning shoppers will be seeking. Consider the date of your sale and start monitoring the weather. Decide whether you will re-schedule in case of bad weather or go forward “rain or shine.” Also, begin to ponder if your goal will skew towards turning a significant profit or clearing out the junk.planning a yard sale
  1. Advertise. Make a brief ad for your yard sale and start posting on Craigslist and Facebook groups for sale or trade groups. This will increase your traffic significantly. You’ll want to mention some of your items or categories of items (“TONS of kids stuff, great prices!”) as well as your neighborhood or street name (Forest Acres, close to downtown) and the date. Don’t put your address unless you want folks coming ridiculously early or even the day before. The night before your sale, post an ad with your exact address, or simply, “Main Street, look for our huge green signs.”image
  1. Gather Supplies. You are going to need SIGNS, STICKERS and CHANGE (along with a safe space for storing your cash).  I can’t tell you how many folks fail at this crucial step. People make their signs absolutely inscrutable or open up for sales without any change at all. Don’t make this mistake! I recommend the Dollar Tree for signs and price stickers. Also, half a dozen helium-filled balloons divided between your signs will draw people in. Use arrows and large bold text. Pretend an out-of-towner is looking for your sale; could they find it? A sign for every turn is ideal. Don’t forget the change. You can find recommended guidelines online.
  1. Make your “store” appealing. Every yard sale is different, but you can do a few things to create a more welcoming environment for shoppers. If possible, use tables and surfaces to display the products. If items are filthy, either clean them ahead of time or give them away. Everything doesn’t have to be priced, but at the very least hang a sign with some ranges (Clothing $1-$3). It’s nice to have old grocery bags for people to carry their items home. Use an extension cord so customers can test electrical items. Sort by type of item and put large items closer to the street to catch the eye of travelers. Also, a box of free items will free up some selling space and appeal to some shoppers.yard sale tips
  1. Be courteous. Above all, be friendly and kind to your customers. If I approach a yard sale and the sellers look like they just ate a lemon or they won’t even greet or make eye contact, I will probably leave. On the other hand, don’t act like a car salesman and hound your customers, begging them to “make an offer” or touting the merits of your wares like an infomercial. Both are a turn off! Just be nice and be willing to take reasonable offers.
  2. Don’t over-value your cast-offs. In general, keep your prices firm at first, then start to negotiate as the day goes on. When pricing items, remember: your front yard is not ebay or the mall, so don’t expect to charge ebay or mall prices! Be creative with pricing. If none of your clothing is selling, offer a grocery bag full for $5 or Buy One Get One Free.
  1. Wrap up your day. The last yard sale I hosted was slow in the morning and sped up towards lunchtime. I stayed open until 3 pm because folks kept coming. I won’t ever put an end time on my signs in the future, since you just don’t know what will happen. When you are finished selling, what do you plan to do with your remaining items? Palmetto Thrift Store on Fernandina Rd. will pick up donations! And whatever you do, please, please take down all of your signs.

Good luck with your yard sale! If you are a yard sale shopper, check out the Yard Sale Treasures app. It’s connected to Craigslist yard sales ads and gives you a mapped out route guiding you from sale to sale.

Not the Same Ol’ Gifts

By: Lydia Scott

I love Etsy. I can find pretty much anything on there – and not the same ol’ big box, mass-produced junk, either. The majority of the vendors on Etsy are small, local businesses who are either selling items they have custom-made or are reselling vintage items. Right now it’s especially my favorite, because…it’s Christmas. I also love that they accept Paypal, which christmas shoppingmakes my budgeting and shopping easy! Below are some of my favorite finds on Etsy, but this list is nowhere near complete. Oh goodness, no! Etsy is the place to go to in order to find those super-cool, “Where in the world did you find that??” gifts.

Know a jewelry fan who seems to have everything? I guarantee you can find jewelry on Etsy that your jewelry fan does not already have and will love! Some of my favorites: Sydney Elle Designs, Whittlers Roost, and Moonshine & Pearls. Most, if not all, of these jewelry artisans can make custom pieces for you, and I promise it is not nearly as expensive as you might imagine.

And for the folks who love their lawns and gardens, one of my favorite go-to Etsy artisans is aDOORnaments. Again, if you don’t see a garden flag or accessory that is exactly right, just email aDOORnaments. She can work with you on a custom piece that doesn’t make your wallet starve.

Have a craft beer lover on your Christmas list? Check out these personalized beer flight paddles. They make me want to become a craft beer fan! I could so see these paddles being used for serving anything from liqueurs to parfaits to shrimp cocktail at a fun dinner party!

Not sure on the specifics of what you need to buy, just that it needs to fit your cousin’s “bohemian” style? Or it needs to be a “wood gift for a man?” Or maybe you have a teacher who is a “dog lover” to buy for? Let the Etsy search engine pull up items for you that you never even thought of!

Give Etsy a try. Or, even if Etsy is not your thing, make a promise to check out some of our wonderful local businesses during your Christmas shopping this year. Go by Soda City Market one Saturday morning and peruse the goods there while you sip hot coffee and munch on breakfast made by local hands.

My Favorite Things

By: Leah Prescott

It’s almost THAT time of year and I am super excited because I love gift giving! I love choosing gifts, making gifts, and watching people open their gifts! In fact, it makes me kind of sad when there isn’t time for gifting opening at a party. Since I love gifting and shopping, I really love “Favorite Things Lists.” I thought I would share my list of favorite things just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Here they are, in no particular order.  

 1) Boogie Board Doodle Pad: This is a fun gift for all ages and it’s perfect for those long holiday trips coming up. This is kind of like a glorified Magnadoodle and all three of my kids love drawing and writing on it, then erasing with the push of a button. It’s also great for homeschooling! Ours were about $20 on Amazon and has provided hours of fun ever since its arrival. Helpful fact: if your children lose the stylus repeatedly, you can buy a huge pack of Nintendo DS pens and they work great. Not that my kids lose stuff, ever…
http://www.amazon.com/Boogie-Board-8-5-Inch-Writing-PT01085CYA0002/dp/B00AFPR68E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416435767&sr=8-2&keywords=boogie+board

2) Barefoot Dreams Chic Lit Calypso Wrap: This is marketed as a bathrobe but I wear it out ALL the time. It is the softest possible fabric combined with a perfectly flattering drape, and it goes great with everything. This is far and away my favorite piece of clothing, period. I am not sure why I don’t have more than one. The only reason I am not wearing it right this very second is that I spilled coffee on it this morning and felt obligated to wash it. True story. http://www.amazon.com/Barefoot-Dreams-Womens-BambooChic-Calypso/dp/B00BC34E2O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416435678&sr=8-1&keywords=barefoot+dreams+calypso+wrap

3) Vitamix: I know I have blogged about this before, but because of its health value, long-lasting quality and the general appeal of the smoothie, it has to make an appearance again. We still use this thing every day. Save your pennies, it’s worth it! http://www.amazon.com/Vitamix-1811-Certified-Reconditioned-Standard/dp/B00LBFUKIA/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1416435548&sr=8-6&keywords=vitamix+mixer

4) Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Tea: I have to give a shout out to my friend Melody for introducing me to this perfectly delicious beverage. She made it for me one day and I really couldn’t believe she hadn’t added sweetener. It truly is naturally sweet and spicy, and no sugar is needed. A couple years ago, it wasn’t very easy to find but now you can get it at most grocery stores, of course Amazon, and I recently found it at Publix. I’m not a huge fan of tea, but this stuff is really yummy.
http://www.amazon.com/Good-Earth-All-Natural-Caffeine-Free-version/dp/B00F8LX34G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416435953&sr=8-2&keywords=good+earth+sweet+and+spicy

oball5) Oballs: These were popular a few years ago but I haven’t seen much about them latel. They STILL deserve a place on the list. They are such a fantastic toy for all ages. We have a lot of balls, but this is the only one that can be safely thrown around inside without causing any damage. The little holes make it easy for the tiniest toddler to catch, and, best of all, its completely dishwasher safe.
http://www.amazon.com/Rhino-Toys-Oball-Original-Colors/dp/B000BNC9DM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1416444237&sr=8-4&keywords=oball

6) Hanna Andersson for kids’ clothing: Especially dresses, unders, and long johns. These are absolutely soft, absolutely comfy and absolutely adorable for years of wear. They are expensive, yes, but they last through multiple children. In fact, most of my Hanna items are second hand and still going strong. The cotton is so soft and sturdy. It tends to be easily treated for stains and to hold up through hundreds of washes. This brand is always on my hunt list when thrifting and trolling ebay. Also, you can get on their mailing list for outlet sales and score bargains that way.
http://www.hannaandersson.com/

7) Strawesome glass straws: These are beautiful, functional and surprisingly strong. If you think it’s crazy to drink out of a glass straw, consider the difference in drinking from a cheap disposable cup compared to drinking out of your favorite glass or mug. You might be surprised how much you will love them! I think this would be a lovely gift for a teacher or friend and there are some really beautiful designs. We use these for our delicious smoothies from the Vitamix!
http://www.strawesome.com/

8) Choceur Cocoa Dusted Truffles from Aldi: Maybe one of these days I will make a post about all my favorite items from Aldi. For now, let me just assure you that these are the most delicious, most inexpensive chocolates you will find and, with their adorable red box, they are totally gift worthy. People, these are under three bucks! (I should really be keeping these great gift ideas to myself, but I just can’t keep a secret.) Get them now because they are only available for the holiday season.
https://www.aldi.us/en/grocery-items/holiday-headquarters/winter-seasonal-items/seasonal-detail/ps/p/choceur-cocoa-dusted-truffles-1/

tangle teazer9) Tangle Teezer Hair Brush: It may seem odd for a hair brush to make my top ten list, but I assure you that this weird little piece of plastic has truly SAVED MY SANITY. I’m not sure that I’ve mentioned this, but my twin girls have curly hair. Really, really curly hair. We’re talking, so curly that I once randomly found a Christmas Tree ornament hook in one of their heads and she hadn’t even noticed it was stuck there. True Story. We have tried tons of different products, techniques and a whole slew of brushes, and this one is the ticket to gently de-tangling the curliest of curly hair. I couldn’t love this brush more. You can find it at Sally’s for less than $10.
http://www.amazon.com/Tangle-Teezer-Salon-Elite-Pink/dp/B00264NW7G/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1416444889&sr=1-1&keywords=tangle+teezer

10) Klean Kanteen water bottles: My husband and I have purchased close to twenty of these for our family and for gifts. Who doesn’t need a great water bottle? We use ours every single day. We love their commitment to the environment, their amazing customer service and their quality designs. I once emailed the company with a concern and received a phone call from a real person less than an hour later. Who does that? Klean Kanteen, that’s who. You can trust these bottles will last for years to come and help you stay hydrated without compromising health and taste (if you’re like me and think plastic is gross).
www.kleankanteen.com

So that’s my list of favorite items. It was really hard for me to keep this list to only ten but I didn’t want to put ya’ll in the poorhouse this Christmas. Send me a message or a comment with your favorite items for gift giving this season. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping!