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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How do you go green?

I hate that term.  "going green".  Kermit always said it's not easy being green- and that's what I associate with the whole movement.  I guess I should have called this "how are you both frugal and responsible?".

There are those squiggly little lightbulbs (that DO save a ton of energy but are a pain in the butt when it comes to clean up if they break and they need to "heat up" and they are MEGA expensive in the store, not to mention they suck for photoshoots.)

Then there are a squajillion ways to recycle, reuse, etc- but what about TRULY being frugal and responsible?

It's no secret that I make my own soap.  I not only make my own laundry soap  but I actually make the soap for the bars I grate.  I make my own dish soap- though this is out of necessity.  I'm allergic to all commercial products that I've tried- they're too harsh on my hands or they don't get my dishes clean, BUT either way, I make my liquid soap in a concentrate almost a full pickle jar at a time so it lasts about 9 months to a year.

I do SO many frugal things, but one thing I"m trying this year is aquaponics!  Our grocery bill is between $500 and $800 a month.  Not bad considering that we have 7 people in our family that we're feeding outright (8th will be here in April and will be nursing).  My goal is to take down our food bill with this to about $150 a month.  How awesome would that be?!  eating mainly fruits and veggies that I not only grow myself, but it costs WAY less than the average shopping trip- I'm actually REALLY excited about it.

What other ways can we be responsible to the environment and also be frugal?  well, there's compost piles (organic material- organic matter, not necessarily chemical free) and doing laundry outside every now and then- hanging things to dry instead of running your dryer.  There's so many ways we can actually do it, but there are some ways in our comfy society that a lot will look on as nasty.  For example, I cloth diaper.  some moms would rather die than have to rinse out poo.  Well, to that I say- why not?  you wash your toddler's clothes if they poop themselves, right?  why not your babies' diapers?  There's mama cloths (instead of buying feminine products every month which can irritate you and cause severe diseases in some instances) but a lot of women would freak at having to clean out things specifically designed to collect blood.

Like I said, a lot of people would be grossed out by it.  me?  not so much.

Anyway- what ways do you do that can stretch a budget and be responsible?  For example, I get a whole turkey.  I'll roast it and use that for dinner.  After that, I'll break down the tturkey for other dishes.  I'll then boil the bones for a stock which I'll use to either make soup, or use the liquid for rice, or mashed potatoes.

I'll save the scraps of onions, carrots, celery, peppers, corn cobs and egg shells in the freezer for stock.    I'll recycle coffee grounds to put into my compost or outside garden for the worms to eat.  I'll also use egg shells crushed (not ground!) around my strawberries to prevent slugs from eating them.

there are just so many ways to frugally live- how do you do it?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Coming soon and other awesome stuff!

Hey Y'all!

I write a lot of this blog for my daughters who will one day be wives and mothers.  No, I'm not pigeonholing them, and they can be anything they want- but what is wrong with encouraging them to be what they were ultimately created to be?

Anyway, with that said, I have a few followers now.  I'm not looking to become the next biggest thing in home ec blogging, however the tips and tricks I learn along the way to help myself and my family. I want to share with you.  I've kept this blog free, and have all intentions of keeping it free- to go along the with the Savvy portion of Smart, Savvy, Homemaker Divas.

I would LOVE to hear from you- what are you interested in?

What is coming up:  I'm going to be doing some blogs with my great friend Emily and she's doing a common sense section on her blog.  Well, I jumped for joy because that's pretty much what this entire blog is about!

I'm going to be upping my crock pot cooking section, as well as adding freezer cooking!  I'm ALSO going to be adding a pinterest section I'm going to call "pinteresting".  Ideas and stuff found on pinterest that look like they'd be interesting to try or share, I'm going to try.  You'll see either way if it's worth it or if it's a bust.

I'm also going to be trying more in the way of cleaning stuff- more homemade products, other inventive ways to get things to work... I'm excited and looking forward to it.

Be blessed and don't forget to tell me the things you'd like to see!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sewing: a skill to last you a lifetime.

You may have seen that post title and groaned.

Think about this:  you're in a consignment shop and you see this gorgeous hand-made gown for your toddler that you know would look absolutely adorable on her.  You have to have it!  You touch the fabric and feel the soft texture, the color is perfect, and it just feels so "right" in your hands.... until you get to the price tag.  $85 for a hand-made one-of-a-kind dress.


With the invention of the internet and particularly sites like Youtube, how easy it is to learn some skills to make a dress like that?  Let me tell you- if you can drive, you can sew.  really.

What if it was something simpler than a dress- seriously, do you know how to sew a quilt?  What about something even simpler- what about a curtain or a pillow case?  What about darning a sock, or replacing a button?  These are skills that every homemaker should have.

How much money could you save if you did it yourself?  Back to the dress thing- I have 3 girls in my family, do you know how many clothes I go through a week?  Why not make some for church functions, and "nice" outings?  Basically things we "need" them to be nice looking for.  Here's a Christmas dress I made for one of the girls- I'll be making another one (possibly different style dress, same pattern though.) soon.  I'll post it, and maybe a video of myself making it!  (how awesome would that be?)

I finished this dress this morning:

With the bow in the back instead of the front:

I LOVE Olabelhe patterns.  Dawn is a stay-at-home homeschooling mom like me who now teaches 4 separate grades!  (can you imagine?!)

I used the Colleen for the dress, and the Sabrina for the sleeves.  If you're interested, you can purchase her patterns by clicking on their names.  I fully support home-business moms and Dawn is definitely I'm going to be spending my money with again (I have quite a few patterns of hers that I'm going to purchase and make!
Thanks for stopping by, and I'll catch you later.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Holy crap, y'all!

There is so much going on here in the Wood household.  I'm pregnant with #6, and we bought a house!

We sign for it tomorrow, and I've been cleaning like a fiend.... as much!

I'll post pics and designs that I do to "fix up" my new place soon!  I'm having a problem with window treatments.  There are some that are just hideous and need to be redone.  YouTube to the rescue, huh?!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I REALLY love being a homemaker!

There are very few things in this life that I truly, deep-down enjoy.  Crafting; my non-mommy passion, and photography- God has truly given me a talent, but the thing that I absolutely LOVE doing; homemaking.

I was never raised to be a homemaker.  My mother was a progressive liberal don't-need-no-man kind of woman.  Her marriage to my father was strained (to say the least) and it was a constant power struggle in their relationship.  In a household with 3 girls and 1 boy, it was very confusing for us.  After all, other moms were SAHM's who adored their kids, why did our mom go out and work?  (there's a point and I'm getting to it.)

We were never taught the value of running a home.  It was worthless to us because mom looked down on it.  After all, she was "worth so much more" than cleaning up after kids all d****d day.  Why should she be tied down to cleaning and cooking and not "worth" anything?

Looking back, I am very sad for her.  But, no, this is not a bash-my-mother rant.  This is to give you some background on my skills... which weren't many when I made it to the marriage field.  I taught myself how to bake bread and cookies and domestic skills like that, but it wasn't until I became a wife and mother myself that I truly learned to cook.  My dad did all the cooking (except for Thanksgiving; my mom would actually do it- with the help of my grandmother) and Christmas and Easter which were both left up to Mom Mom.  (mom's mother.)  If it didn't come from a box, my dad didn't know how to make it; then again this is also how he was taught by his mother- a woman who had all boys.

But, let me jump back and ask a few questions first.
When did we stop putting a value on what mothers and wives do?  Why is it considered "waste" to raise the next generation of women to be homemakers and find worth in their families and homes?  How do I get my children back to basics, raise them how I want them to be raised, and show worth in our home?  How do I honor my daughters for learning the skills that I so desperately wish that someone had taught me when I was a child, and how do I instill in them that it truly is worth it to learn these things?

Well, my only answer is to go back to the Bible.  Well, that and other Christian blogs and sites and books that showcase it.  For those of us who were never taught those skills, it is important to arm ourselves with knowledge.  The bible says "for lack of knowledge, my people perish" (paraphrased from Hosea 4:6).  I want to have all the knowledge I possibly can to guard myself against failure.  My family is worth it.

So, if you have any resources out there to help, I'd love them.  Cleaning resources (friends can tell you that I really do suck at this!) and cooking, and having a gentle spirit, and raising my children in love and guidance with humility and patience, being a better wife- all of this!  I want it all!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Red Carpet Stains? No More!!!

Yes.  I have found the HOLY GRAIL of getting your carpet clean?  And all for the low low price of....... NADA!  That's right ladies (and gents) for zero, zip, zilch and nothing, you can get those red stains out of your carpet for good?    Sound too good to be true?

it's not!

No really, it's not.

Here's what you'll need and how I did it:

water (and lots of it!)
iron on steam
white wash cloth
bucket of water.

(btw, you're going to want water, just in case I haven't mentioned that.)

Step 1:
Pour the water on a small part of the red stain (after all, you're working on a washcloth, and a small iron).

Step 2:
place 1 layer of damp, white washcloth on top of water.  Why white?  So you can see it when the stain starts coming off.

Step 3:
place iron hot side down, on full-blast steam on washcloth over top of the stain and water.

step 4:
wait.  No really. wait.  AAAAAND wait some more.    You want to keep the heat and steam pouring into your carpet.  This will lift that stain out.  No, it doesn't actually set in the stain (disclaimer:  check on an inconspicuous part of your carpet first, or on a sample so as not to ruin your carpet, though I really don't think it will...).  Keep the iron on there until the red shows up on the washcloth.

Rinse washcloth and repeat until all the stain is gone!

Voila- FREE!!!  Smart and Savvy!  You can't get better than free!

Word of warning:  don't be stupid.  Don't let your small children (or large ones!) play with your area that you're working on.  Keep pets away and Don't walk away from your iron.  I'm not responsible for what you choose to do; with our without common sense.

(I'll post a video of how I did it when I get a chance.  I'm still trying to figure out Windows 8- the bane of my computer existence).

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Even faster way to make laundry soap.

Ok, so after my 6 month supply of powder ran out today (has it been 6 months?!  this stuff lasts for ever- considering I have a family of 7!)  I needed to make more.

My homemade soap to the rescue- I had 3 bars of the good-smelling soap that I made specifically for laundry.  WOOHOO!  score.  Ok, so I grated that up.  They had cured for about 6 months, but were still moist inside.  (the sign of a good homemade bar)  Unfortunately not so good for shredding up for laundry.

No problem.  I grated it and then put it in my food processor- awesome right?  wrong.  It balled up instead of grating to a fine powder.  le sigh.

Ok, so what to do... lightbulb moment!

Put it back in to the food processor with my borax and washing soda powder and process that way.  Voila!  Smooth as a baby's bottom.  Well, not really but it is MUCH finer and doesn't leave chunks in the laundry soap the way it used to.  The powder covers the little soap granules so it doesn't stick to itself and is able to be cut smaller (and be covered with more powder) and so on...  Live and learn, huh?  Oh it used to take me about an hour to get exactly how much laundry detergent I needed; now it took me 8 minutes from start to finish; and that was WITH the figuring out of the powder with the soap.

Oh, this chica is a happy camper and laundry is getting done!