Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Home Economics

I'm not really sure what "Home Economics" are. Is it being economical in the home? or is it the practice of the art of homemaking? I guess it's how you look at it from your own perspective.

It's hard to practice the art of homemaking if you have to get out there and earn a buck so your kids can eat and go to school with decent clothes on everyday. Especially in these times where one or both parents are out of work or have had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs. But in reality this is where "Home Economics" kick in.

I'm sure not a professional in the realm of cheap living but I've been poor on and off through out most of my life. I was born to farm workers who (seriously) picked cotton by hand for a living. I remember doing it myself as a 4 year old. I have been unemployed while being a single mom for long periods of time between jobs. I have gone to strip malls and gone door to door, business to business offering to strip and wax floors , clean out commercial kitchens, defrost commercial freezers etc during closing hours for $20.00. I remember getting my car repossessed and walking home from one of those all night jobs carrying my buckets and cleaning supplies in my hands. I can still hear my kids pleading with me to try and come earlier or later so their classmates wouldn't see me on their way to school and make fun of them. I learned how to stretch a dollar and I will show you how you can do that too. Just a few money savers....I'm not out to change your life, only you can do that.

Have you noticed how expensive laundry detergent is? Washing powder is expensive and liquid or liquid gel is even more expensive. I am going to start this off by giving you a recipe for laundry detergent both powder and liquid, that will cost you pennies per load.


2/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap, grated

2/3 bar of Kirks Castile Soap, grated

2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax

2 cups washing soda

1/4 cup glycerin

2 gallons hot water

20-30 drops of essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil

Put a quart of water in a medium pot over medium heat, add the Fels Naptha and Kirks Castile and stir until melted.

Add the 20 Mule Team Borax and washing soda and mix till it thickens.

Put 1/2 gallon hot water into a 3 or 4 gallon bucket and add the soap mixture and stir well.

Add the glycerin and essential oils to the mixture and fill to the two gallon mark on your bucket. (You might have to measure and mark with a permanent marker prior to mixing the soap)

The glycerin acts as a stain remover and the essential oils have antibacterial and/or antifungal properties.

Set it aside for 24 hours. It will sometimes set up into an almost jello like consistancy but that's ok, it still works.

Use 1/2 to one cup per load. I keep in on top of the washer in a bucket with a fitted lid and an old half cup measuring cup sitting on the lid for convenience.

You can find the glycerine at most health food stores or pharmacies and the bar soap in the laundry isle, the washing soda is ususally there too under the Arm and Hammer brand, note this is washing soda not soap.

20 mule team borax should also be there.

These items together shouldn't be more than about 10.00 and will make more than the two gallons of detergent, which makes this so economical.

If you like using powdered laundry soap then mix the dry ingredients together well, you can use an additional grated bar of any bar soap that you like the smell of as well. (I like to add Irish Spring) Put it in a zip lock bag or a large container with a lid. Use 1/8 of a cup per load.

Try and look at this as a fun way to learn about the old arts of homemaking. Our need to save time has cost us more and more and not just money. We lost many skills with the coming of fast foods and time saving products. We no longer stand in the kitchen side by side with our mothers and daughters to share the work and learn the art which in turn strengthens our relationships with each other. We have to make it a priority to get back to basics and live more frugally.

Later I will give some great places to find money saving coupons and freebies galore!

Gold Rush Grandma

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