Tag Archives: cleaning

2013~ A Year in Review

2013 was a busy year. I didn’t blog much, but I did get a lot done.

I have a daughter that is now a senior in high school and a son that left elementary to move up to the big leagues of middle school. Hubby got (and rejected) two job offers. One was definitely not a better job. The other would have been a pay raise but would have caused a ridiculous amount of stress for Mr. Hippie. Mr. Hippie’s ulcerative colitis doesn’t do well with stress, so although I still pine for the extra income that would make our fiscal lives easier, I am grateful for his time with our family and for his health.

Will 2014 be The Year of My Blog? I don’t know the future, but I hear that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Regardless of what 2014 brings, I’m leaving 2013 with a bang!

The top posts always surprise me a little, but it helps me understand what people actually want to read! Apparently the movement toward healthier, greener cleaning hasn’t lost steam and people still love animals!

Coming in at number one:

Vinegar and oil(s)Homemade Fabric Softener

housing for two rabbits

Home to our breeding pair.

Building a Rabbit Hutch

Finished loaf cooled, sliced and ready to eat.

Freshly baked bread in five minutes?

Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Soap after the mold has been removed.

How I Made Homemade Soap (and Didn’t Screw it up)

Some of the finished treats.

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Supplies needed to make your own.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Sink Scrub

Homemade Scouring Powder

Chicken Tractor

Chicken Run

Pinot Jelly

Pinot Noir Jam

Thanks for sticking around to hear what I had to say even when I didn’t have much to talk about!

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Filed under green cleaning, Miscellaneous

Happy New Year!

The new year is always a time for reflection.  And change. I’ve been on a break from derby.  I’ve been cooking.  Adam and I hauled about eight sacks of stuff to Goodwill. The kids and I have been cleaning. I’ve been sewing. In general, a very productive couple of weeks.

And then, my friend Maureen started a blog: 91 Reasons to Never Own a White Couch.  As I perused her humorous posts I started thinking, “I miss blogging”.  Friends have asked when I was going to write again.  Several months ago my father even mentioned that I hadn’t written anything in a while.  And of course, there’s The List.  I have been working on the list, I promise.  It’s just that with all my life going on around me, I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to actually document anything.

My derby break is finished; practices resume this evening.  I probably will still have limited time.  However, it is a new year. So, my resolution if you can call it that is to keep up with things a little better despite the craziness. Besides, today is a snow day. If you, like me, are a teacher, you know that anything seems possible on a snow day.

Check back soon for a new post or two.


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Filed under 101 in 1001

Goodbye, 2011

2011 was a difficult year both for my family and for this blog.  If you are/were a regular reader, you noticed I wasn’t around much. I hope to change that this year.  Because I didn’t write many posts last year, I wasn’t surprised that most of the top posts last year were older posts.

As a farewell to the year gone by I present:

The Top Five Posts of 2011

  1. Brined Pork Roast
  2. Homemade Fabric Softener
  3. Homemade Laundry Detergent
  4. Building A Rabbit Hutch
  5. Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread

I am surprised that the Brined Pork Roast recipe was number one. Especially because in my opinion, this recipe is much tastier.

I get lots of searches for green cleaning recipes. Pinterest has been especially helpful in promoting them. I’m glad people are being greener and I’ll try to post some more green cleaning recipes this year.

I am excited to see the rabbit hutch plans make the list.  I wonder if that is because more people are interested in rabbits for meat, or if pet owners just need plans? Regardless, I hope to post more rabbit updates soon. Until then, if you’re looking for rabbit information, check out On Breeding Like Rabbits.

Happy New Year,


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Filed under Charcutepalooza, food, frugality, green cleaning, green living, meat rabbits, Miscellaneous

#99 ~ Clean out My Closet Every 6 Months; Donate Clothing to Goodwill

I didn’t plan on cleaning my closet out today.  This project occurred out of necessity.  As a Christmas bonus, Mr. Hippie got laid-off indefiinitely. So while the kids and I returned to school today, Mr. Hippie stayed home.  He did dishes.  And laundry.  Lots of laundry.  He did so much laundry that when I got home from work we were out of hangers (and somehow, we still have three loads of wash waiting in the wings). 

So, I decided it was time to purge the closet.  Since Mr. Hippie was home, he purged his half three-quarters of the closet too.  I went through the dresser and the under-bed storage for good measure and when we finished we had this:

Clothes from the closet.

It doesn’t look like much, but this pile of clothes filled a 13-gallon trash bag.  When we finished the laundry we started on the kitchen cupboard.  That wasn’t on the list but this bag of pots/pans and storage containers found a new home at Goodwill:

Dishes, pans and storage containers purged.

 And, now my cupboard looks like this:

Cleaned out cupboard.



Filed under 101 in 1001

#52 ~ Empty the Fridge, Clean it out and Put all the Food Back in.

I’ve been working on this project since Tuesday.  I had a plan.  I started by having a “leftovers for dinner” night to help clear some of the riff-raff out.  Then I made a batch of chicken stock which used up the two picked-over chicken carcasses and a bunch of the not-so-pretty vegetables, clearing even more space.  After that I made a batch of ham stock which reduced the contents of the produce drawer further and eliminated the ham bone leftover from Christmas dinner at the in-laws’ house.  Finally, I fed some wilted produce to the chickens, composted a couple moldy things, threw out the package of spoiled cream cheese and got to work.

I started by cleaning all the right-hand shelves.  I moved everything from the top shelf, took it out, scrubbed it down with my Sink Scrub, returned it to the refrigerator and replaced all the food that belonged there in a neat and orderly fashion.  I continued working shelf-by-shelf until I got to the bottom shelf and the produce drawers. 

The bottom of the refrigerator stripped of its parts.

 This area required drastic action.  I removed both drawers, the glass panel and the frame that holds the drawers, scrubbed it all, wiped down the sides and bottom of the fridge and put all the parts back in before finishing the rest of the fridge.  I probably should’ve added “replace the bulbs in the refrigerator” to the list, but they have been burnt out so long I don’t even remember what it’s like to have lights in the refrigerator. 

Neat and organized.

I actually have enough room now to put vegetables in the left drawer and fruits in the right.  Now I’ll have to go get groceries and fill it back up.  Isn’t it pretty?  Scratched off the list!  (But I’m sure it will need to be done again before the end.)


Filed under 101 in 1001

Homemade Scouring Powder

Green cleaning is something that many companies are trying to market.  A lot of it is just “greenwashing”.  Making your own earth-friendly cleaners is cheaper, better for the environment than many of the “green” cleaners for sale, and doesn’t take very long.  This recipe is more of a non-recipe than a real recipe but I’ve decided to share my super simple Sink Scrub recipe.

While I call it “Sink Scrub”, it can be used to safely scrub most surfaces: countertops, toilets, bathtubs, the top of your stove or inside of your refrigerator.  Pretty much anywhere you would use “Comet” or other commercial scouring powders is a good place to use this scrub.

Sink Scrub

Sink Scrub


  1. Borax
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Essential oil (optional)


  1. Assemble your ingredients.
  2. Find a container with a shaker top.  An old giant-sized spice container works well.  An empty parmesan cheese container would also work.
  3. Dump or scoop equal parts baking soda and Borax into your shaker.  (I used to measure but now I just do it by eye).
  4. Add essential oil (optional) Teatree oil has antiseptic properties and makes a nice addition.  Lately I have been adding wintergreen.  It has a nice fresh, clean scent but doesn’t come off too “minty”.  A blend works too.  In my spice container shaker I add about 20 drops of oil.
  5. Cover and shake well.

That’s it.  Easy-peasy.  You may want to make one for the kitchen and one for the bath.

If you like this, you may want to check out my recipe for homemade laundry detergent as well.



Filed under frugality, green cleaning

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

The start of a new year is always a time for reflection on the past, and hope for the opportunities yet to come.  This year my family starts with some setbacks, but I am optimistic that the future will be bright despite the hurdles before us.

Although this blog was “born” in 2009, last year was my first full year blogging.  Sometimes I did a better job than others.  Posting regularly was a challenge for me at times but I hope to have a better go of it this year.  I’m not going to resolve to post daily or even weekly, but I think that posting more frequently is a good goal, as ambiguous as it is.  Challenges like the Spice Rack Challenge with its required monthly posts and the Dark Days Challenge with bi-monthly posts until April will help me stay motivated, but so will various things on my 101 in 1001 list (which I fully intend to complete).

But, as a farewell to the year gone by I present:

The Top Ten Posts of 2010

  1. Homemade Fabric Softener
  2. 28 Day Challenge Final Results
  3. June Can Jam~ Herbed Strawberry-Balsamic Jam
  4. Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread
  5. How I Made Homemade Soap (and Didn’t Screw it up)
  6. Lavender’s Blue . . . (April Can Jam)
  7. How to Make Your Own Soap (Concluded)
  8. Homemade Laundry Detergent
  9. Everything but Apple Jacks?
  10. Can Jam Challenge Round Three ~ Jerked Onion

I was surprised that some of the posts made the list, but in general I wasn’t.  This blog is (mostly) about me getting back to slower times, cooking and cleaning in a way that is more sustainable.  So I shouldn’t be surprised that most of the posts on the list are in that vein: recipes for homemade food, instructions for preserving your harvests and recipes for cleaning in a more gentle manner. 

And, I was glad to see my three favorite canning recipes make the list!

Happy New Year,


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Filed under canning, food, green living, Miscellaneous

Tooth Soap

By now you probably know that I make my own laundry soap and fabric softener, “fabric freshener”/ bug spray, dishwasher soap, toothpaste and even, on occasion, bar soap.  Pretty granola, huh?  Well, today I stumbled upon tooth soap.  Yuck, right?  Maybe not. 

Ambre at We Are of the Day is giving away this tooth soap from Beautiful Soaps

Pearly White Teeth

All natural and free of SLS.

It can’t kill me, and it’s better than all the poison nastiness that is commercial toothpaste, so I decided to enter.  You should too.  Really.  Go now.

Not game for tooth soap?  She’s also giving away lip balm and bar soap.  Everyone loves free soap, right?   

Some of the soaps are pretty amazing.  Actually, I may just be inspired enough to go whip up a batch myself.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Filed under contest, green cleaning, green living

Stuff I Love

Back in April I wrote a post called “Stuff I Love” after being inspired by my friend.  I had intended for it to become a sort of regular feature.  I even had a few things in mind to write about.  And then. . .

The “Hiatus”.

So, now that I am back I have a lot of catchin’ up to do.  I still plan to write about those other things I love, but today I have a new love to share with you. 

As part of my “live simpler, get back you your roots” life plan, I have been scheming for the addition of a clothesline.  Here are the pros:

  1. Clotheslines are the ultimate environmentally-friendly laundry solution. 
    No fossil fuels are used to create the power necessary to run a clothesline. 
  2. Clotheslines are a miser’s dream.
    No fossil fuel consumption = FREE to run. 


Now for the cons:

  1. Hubby does all the laundry. 
    Hubby refuses to use a clothesline.
  2. Hubby doesn’t like his underwear publicly displayed. 
    I wanted the clothesline in the front yard near the exit nearest the laundry room.
  3. Clotheslines can create stiff towels even with the use of my homemade fabric softener.
  4. Clotheslines do not remove the lint (or dog hair) from your laundry. 
    My dog creates a lot of hair.
  5. Clotheslines are subject to the whim of Mother Nature.
    Cool cloudy days result in long drying times.
  6. Clotheslines don’t work in the rain.

See what I’m up against?  The con list is definitely longer than the pro list.  If I wanted a clothesline, some serious action needed to be taken.

OR . . .

I could just wait for the dryer to break down in the middle of a cycle with another load of wash waiting in the wings.

I opted for the latter.

Also helpful was the fact that one of my students gave me a $25 Lowe’s gift card as a teacher gift at the end of the year.

New Clothesline

My new dryer. I think I shall call it "Olan" in honor of the student who gifted me the Lowe's card.


Here is the latest and greatest thing I love.  This umbrella-style clothes line folds down for storage and holds up to three loads of laundry!  I love it and have done lots of laundry since we brought it home.  I especially love how the sheets feel after drying on the line.

Now, how do I combat the cons?  Well, I can’t control Mother Nature, but I can hang the laundry early if it is a cool or cloudy day because I am home for the summer.  If it rains I can always use the dryer.  (Yes, hubby replaced the dryer.)

Stiff and/or hairy items can be placed in the new dryer to tumble without heat for a few minutes until they are less stiff or hairy.

The clothesline is in the back yard which means I have to carry it a little bit longer, but nobody can see our underwear.  Also useful is the multi-line design which allows for personal items to be hidden in the center of the rack by larger items on the outside lines.

Hubby doesn’t use it.  I can’t overcome that.  If I want my things dried on my line cheaply and greenly, I will have to do the laundry (at least the drying) myself.


Filed under frugality, green living

Spring Break-Ku

Twelve days off from work
What to do with all that time?
Cook? Clean? Can? Rest? Yes!

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Filed under Haiku