Around the house

Lots of goings on here at our house. I’ve been trying to get a little more handmade with things like cleaning supplies, and food but didn’t feel really settled yet. I finally was able to remember to buy supplies and get the things I needed to start making more stuff here at the house.

First up is kombucha. I made this in Guam and I’m finally back into the swing of it. Another mama had a scoby I could have, and I’m already on my second batch. I’ve got blackberry and strawberry going on the second brew, which should be done in a day or so (depending on how warm it actually gets here). Here’s my kombucha set-up, but I’d like to get a perpetual brew going so I’m not tying up so many of my mason jars.

My tea is organic almond blossom oolong and is ordered from Savvy Teas and Herbs.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Normally we go through vanilla extract by what seems like the gallon, and while that’s probably an exaggeration it probably isn’t off by much. I like to buy good quality vanilla, but I had heard last year it was very easy to make your own. I never got around to it, but finally ordered the beans (much cheaper online, and you can use grade B beans instead of A since the beans don’t need to look nice). Beans came in and I went and bought some gluten free vodka. Now to wait about 6-8 weeks and it should be done. There are varying recipes out there, some say to slice the beans lengthwise some say just leave them. Some say 6-8 weeks, some say 4 months. I’m playing it by ear. I’ve got 2 bottles going with enough beans left over to make it differently next time.

Currently I left the beans whole, and am going to try the extract at around 6 weeks. Most likely I’ll need to let it go longer but I figure this is a good starting point.

I ordered my beans from Beanilla and my vodka was from Target.

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Cleaning Supplies

All of the next recipes were taken from the blog One Good Thing by Jillee

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Another item that has been on my to-do list since we were in Guam. This included washing soda, borax, and grated bar soap (I used castille soap). Simple, easy, and it works! I couldn’t find washing soda around here (apparently they do have it at Wal-Mart, but the closest Wallyworld isn’t convenient to me) so I baked baking soda in the oven to make washing soda. I think this probably will wash about 30ish loads and cost a little less than buying regular detergent. I didn’t calculate too much of the cost because it was more important to have something that I knew didn’t have harsh chemicals in it rather than cut cost, which was just a bonus).

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Dishwasher Tabs

I really loved making these. Just a few of the same ingredients as the laundry detergent, add some vinegar and make a paste. They were molded in an ice cube tray and left to dry for 24 hours. They’ve hardened even more over time. I put one in my tray, add 3 drops of dish soap (no more as to not create the mountain of bubbles in my kitchen) and let it go. This works just as well as the commercial tabs. I was using some Cascade gel tabs that the previous renters had left. Definitely a big success! The only thing that I would change for the next batch is making them a little smaller to fit easier in my tray since they aren’t squishy like the gel tabs.

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Enzyme Cleaner/Scrub and Citrus Vinegar

I loved the idea of it, and when I just had to chop some stuff and let it sit it seemed like the perfect lazywoman’s cleaning solution. I halved and juiced (I used the juice to make homemade gummies for the kids) some oranges and lemons. Using the leftover scraps/rinds I placed those in some filtered water with a little bit of brown sugar and some yeast. Put the lid on and gave it a good shake*. 2 weeks later I had my enzyme cleaner. The citrus vinegar was made similarly. Rinds/leftovers from juicing oranges and lemons are thrown into a mason jar of vinegar. A month later, voila! Citrus vinegar. I’ll probably use them for similar cleaning tasks and in the future will probably make just the citrus vinegar, but I had fun experimenting.

I haven’t made the scrub yet. I need to filter out the cleaner and then I’ll just use the food processor to mix the rinds that have been in the solution and some baking soda together to make a paste. Instant scrub!

Photo is of the enzyme cleaner.

*Note: you must vent the jar once in a while to prevent the build up of gasses from the yeast breaking down the sugar. I totally forgot for a day and a half and came back to release it only to be sprayed with solution as well as half the kitchen.

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I was hoping this would get me a little more motivated to clean since we eliminated the cleaning lady from the budget 🙂

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