Friday, August 30, 2013

Handy Housewife

     I don't know if y'all realize this, but it's hot here in the South.  I know, right!?  Who would've thought!  Seriously, though, even with the breezes we've been enjoying lately, it's hot, which makes running that much more of a chore.  I enjoy running, but I have a problem getting out there.  I come up with excuses, and the heat doesn't help.  What also doesn't help is the fact that my baby girl is no longer the tiny toddler that I could strap into her stroller, knowing that she'd take a nap while I ran.  No; she's a big girl now, and I feel like such a bad mommy for strapping her in the stroller, knowing how bored she gets.  That's why I came up with this awesome Listening Scavenger Hunt to keep her entertained.  I found the idea here, but the original poster's list didn't have pictures, so I made my own.  Monkey was so excited about using her super listener ears to find the things listed that she didn't even put up a fight when I went to buckle her in.  Unfortunately we heard all of the things listed before my warm up finished, but she kept checking things off the list, some more than once.  I think I'll make another one soon with a few more items, but if you want to use this for your little one (even if they're not strapped into a stroller) feel free to click the link above and print it out.

     I've also been feeling a little adventurous in the kitchen, and that's why I decided to make my own bread.  I used this recipe as a guideline, but I tweaked it and made it mine.    I'm rather proud of how it came out, so here it is:

Bacon Jalapeño Cheesy Bread
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack and Monterey cheese + extra to sprinkle on top
11 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 1/2 TBS olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
chopped pickled jalapeño peppers

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a bread pan.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add bacon, reserving one slice, and cheese, mix well.  If desired add a handful of pickled jalapeño peppers.  In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, oil and buttermilk.  Combine liquid with dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon to mix.  Pour dough into bread pan.  Sprinkle jalapeños, reserved crumbled bacon, and extra cheese over the top.  Bake 50-55 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes away clean.



     This makes a great breakfast bread.  It's perfect for J to grab a slice, heat it up for 30 seconds and chow down on his way to work.

    My adventures didn't just stop with awesome bread.  Oh no!  This wild child even made her own laundry detergent.  That's right, getting crazy in here.  :-P   My friend was talking about how she makes her own laundry detergent.  My ears perked up when she told me it cost her about $28 for supplies, and that the detergent lasted about seven months.  That's $4 a month, y'all!  I pay about $16 every two weeks for Gain, which is $32 a month!  Then she told me that it is even safe to use on delicates, but it would be powerful enough to get rid of the man funk in my hubby's uniforms.  She was even sweet enough to give me a couple samples of the batch she'd made.   I was sold, so today I headed to Wal-Mart and gathered my supplies to make my first batch.  Here's what you'll need to make your own:

1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of Borax
1 (3 lb 7 oz) box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 (3 lb) container of Oxyclean
2 (14.1 oz) bars of Zote OR 3 bars of Fels-Naptha
1 (4 lb) box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
55 oz of Purex Crystals (about 2 containers)
A container to put everything into (I used a 5-gallon plastic storage container I got at Walmart for $4)
cheese grater
gloves, if desired

Hand mix all ingredients, except Fels-Naptha or Zote. Grate Fels-Naptha and Zote, add to mix. Use 2-4 tablespoons per load. Or keep the Oxi-Clean scoop, and use about a half scoop for small-regular loads, and a full scoop for large/extra stinking loads. :-)
Here are a few helpful hints from my awesome frined:
-Fels-Naptha can be hard to grate and may cause irritation (so wear gloves); Zote is easier to grate and is easier on your skin
-2 containers of Downy Unstoppables can be substituted for the 2 containers of Purex Crystals

   I was actually excited to do laundry this afternoon.  I know, I need my head examined, but my laundry room smells so good!  My grand total after tax, including the cheese grater, plastic tub, and gloves was $36.60.  Even if I only get 6 months worth out of it, that's $6 a month vs my usual $32 a month.  Yeah, I'm feeling like quite the handy housewife right about now.  I hope y'all find this as useful as I did :-)


  1. Ugh! The temperatures have been misleading lately. Mr. Weatherman says it's in the 80s, but the humidity still makes my runs a chore, too! And I love that you posted about making your own detergent. I just decided earlier today that I was making my own once I ran out of this jug! Let me know how you like your recipe after a few washes. :)

  2. I went on a laundry spree when I finished making it, so I know I like it. Plus, in makes my laundry room and clothes smell amazing!

  3. Microwaving eliminates the grating. Slice the (bars) soap into about 4-5 slices and place once slice per micro wave safe bowl, microwaving for about a minute. The soap will grow greatly. Once it is out of the microwave it will cool quickly and is then easy to crumble. I used my food processor to crumble the soap after it cooled. This saved a lot of time.

  4. Thank you, Tina. I'll definitely have to give that a try next time :-)

  5. I had a recipe that didn't have the plain baking soda or purex crystals. Anyway I could only use it on towels and bedding because it left oily spots on the clothes. Anyone have that problem with this recipe?

    1. Bonnie, I have been using this recipe for about 9 months now, and I haven't had any problems with spots on my clothes. :-)

    2. I did too until I blended the bar soap up even smaller.

  6. It's great. Lasted well over a year. Cleans great. Going to make it again soon.

    1. I'm so glad you found it useful. Thanks for commenting :-)

  7. I made this and it lasted me an entire year!! I love this recipe but i was wondering, Can you use this recipe for the liquid detergent, by boiling all the ingredients?

    1. I've never tried that. I'm not sure how that would affect the chemicals in all the ingredients.

  8. Love this laundry soap! Been using for about 4 years, my teenage kids help make it in bulk. Store it in a tote and lasts about 9 months for a family of 6! Going to add epsom salts with next batch, read it helps soften hard "farm" water! Also, love that for about $40 +/-, I have laundry soap for year! Thank you for sharing!