Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Getting the most out of your veggies

In choosing vegetables for our family I try to buy a large variety of frozen vegetables. I do buy some fresh produce, but overall the frozen is a better option for us. Commercially canned vegetables have lost a lot of their nutritional value in the canning process, and they tend to have additives like salt and sugar that I just don't want. Fresh produce in your grocery store can be from anywhere in the country,or other countries, which means it was picked, sorted and trucked to wherever you are. Every day it is out of the ground it loses nutrients, and you really don't know how old it is.
With frozen vegetables they are picked and very quickly frozen so their nutritional value is still viable and the cost is usually low. I can usually find one pound bags of vegetables for less than a dollar each. The things I buy fresh are in season and local. This cuts the cost and shipping time, and supports local agriculture. The big money waster when it comes to vegetables is not using them before they go bad. Menu planning and frequent stops at a produce stand or farmers market can help to alleviate food loss.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inexpensive laundry regimen

One way I save money and cut back on allergens is to make my own laundry detergent. The recipe I use is 1 cup borax/1cup washing soda/1 bar plain soap (I use Ivory because we buy that anyway). Washing soda is not the same as baking soda, and they often get confused.
This is the product I use Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
You will also need a grater to grate the soap into the powders. Apparently you can also use a food processor to grate the soap, but I don't have one of those so I use a cheap hand grater. Once you have grated the soap into the powders all you need to do is shake or mix it well and it is ready to use. You use 1-2 tbsp of powder per load of laundry, depending on how soiled your clothes are. This detergent will not bubble like the commercial laundry detergents, but it works just fine. You don't need a washer full of bubbles to get your clothes clean.
I also use white distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle. This helps to further remove any odors in the clothes, or residue from detergent. You can place the vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser to release at the correct time in the wash. I use a Downy ball that I was given and fill slightly above it's fill line for a full load of clothes, and it releases in the rinse cycle. This is between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Don't worry the clothes don't smell like vinegar!
I have not found an acceptable alternative to dryer sheets yet, so I buy the free and clear hypoallergenic kind, and take them all out of the box and cut them in half. You get twice the amount of sheets and less residue on your clothes. Of course the most inexpensive way to dry your clothes would be to hang them out to dry, but we do not have the space inside and we live in a development that does not allow outside drying lines. If you are able to dry your clothes outside you can cut your energy bill as well as infusing your clothes with that fresh line dry smell.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


My name is Liz and I am a stay at home mom in my mid 30s. In the last two years I have lost my job, had a baby ( I was pregnant when the aforementioned job was lost), gotten married and learned how to live on faith. By that I don't mean faith in a higher power, although that definitely has helped, but faith that some how there will be enough to make bills next month. This economy has been especially hard on our family... but I can't blame the economy for it all. Like most Americans, I did not have enough in savings, had too much debt, etc.
Now, I am learning how what we have is enough... enough to make us happy and enough to keep us sane. We are climbing our way out of our debt, and trying to build our savings. I cannot change the past but I can take control of the future.
Okay so as the title suggests, I hope to put some of the ideas I have learned, tips and plans in this blog in the hopes that some one else gets something out of it.