You won’t believe what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve taken weirdness to a whole new level around my house this year. It’s taken a while for me to talk/share about it because I couldn’t pinpoint why I’ve gone off the deep end. Being the introspective person I am, I just have to know why. Also I wasn’t sure if/how long it would last.

It all started with a book (like everything else in my life) I read back in February. The book is called, 7 by Jen Hatmaker. I highly recommend it. (But beware, strange behavior may result.)

In a nutshell, Jen evaluates seven areas of excess in her life (food, clothing, possessions, waste, etc.) and she strips them down to the bare necessities for one month at a time. For example, she predetermined seven articles of clothing to choose from for an entire month (only 3 shirts all month!). Her book is a glimpse into her “experiment” (the highs & lows) and the things she learned through it.

This “experiment” forced me to examine areas of my life and begin to make changes. I didn’t do the same things Jen did, but I focused on areas I felt were excess in time/resources. (I love books that challenge you in your own way, not make you feel like you have to do things their way. You rock Jen!) For sure there is a thread of commonality in them, but they are different.

Here they are:

1. Cleaning Supplies

I’ve traded Tide for DIY laundry detergent.

I was out in the garage doing laundry one day and noticed I was low on Tide. I felt like I had just ordered Tide on Amazon (for a whopping $75!) and I did not feel like buying more. Wouldn’t it be so nice just to have the ingredients to throw together? I thought. And that’s when I remembered seeing a DIY recipe for it online months ago. I thought now was a good time to try.

And now I’m making my own laundry detergent people!!

photo (10)This 5 gallon bucket is where I keep my detergent. I use the Tide bottle to dispense it (& to make me feel more “normal”).

IMG_3872These are my detergent ingredients.
You can find a full recipe here.

 Goodbye Method, Hello Vinegar! 

As I was looking at laundry detergent, I decided to investigate cleaning supplies. Do you know how simple it is to make your own? All you really need are a few basic things: baking soda, vinegar, & lemon. (Some extras could include: castille soap, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils…but that’s only if you’re wanting to splurge.)

photo (9)These lemon peels were first sprinkled with salt (the salt releases the oils), and then soaked in vinegar for three weeks. (Yeah, I did say weeks.) Then, pour into a spray bottle, fill with water, and wa la, all-purpose cleaner! As my daughter Cailyn, would say, “Easy peasy lemon squeezy”. Here are a couple sites I’ve used for references, Keeper of the Home & The Marathon Mom.

And…so long Cascade.

When I read the ingredients in dishwashing detergent and noticed I had all but one (citric acid), I knew I couldn’t stop short here. So, last weekend I mixed up this batch of soap. It took all of five minutes.

photo (8)

Now I stay away from the cleaning section at Target…and am saving tons of $$.

2. Bread

I took the plunge into the world of bread baking. I bought a Breadmachine on Amazon and have nearly paid for it (it cost $50 when I bought it). I’ve only bought one loaf of bread in over two months- and that was because I was already at Whole Foods buying food for a friend and they have bread without a thousand ingredients.

IMG_4114

The above pic is one of my favorites so far. (It’s ingredient list consists of bread flour, oats, butter, honey, milk, dash of salt, & yeast.) It’s kneaded in the bread machine, rises once more in the pan, and then baked in the oven. So yummy and fluffy. I switch between this one and a whole wheat bread regularly. I also make pizza dough in the bread machine too. I could never knead my dough long enough and now can see such a huge difference. Making pizza is much more healthy and yummy.

What’s The Big Deal?

Why does all of this matter? Well, for you it may not. I don’t think it’s for everyone. (The idea of caring for five kids in the near future has me thinking differently about everything I do in our home.)

Here’s a few reasons why it’s helped me and why I won’t likely give it up anytime soon:

  • The Basics- I’ve enjoyed getting down to the basics of life. Knowing how things are made and where ingredients come from. There’s something about just buying the ingredients that is satisfying.
  • Ingredients Go Farther- Yes, buying ingredients took time and research, but I bought them back in February and still have more than a half of box of Borax. Before all of this, I felt like I was buying bottles of cleaning supplies every month. I don’t have to think about it near as often.
  • Reduces Unnecessary Trips– After reading 7, one of my goals was to reduce errands- especially for common things like bread (or detergent). Putting flour into the bread machine is a whole lot faster than loading up the kids for one more trip to the grocery store so I can make lunches for school the next day.
  • Healthier- I think it’s obvious that simpler is healthier. Over and over I’m faced with the stat that “Stay-at-home-moms are 54% more likely to get cancer because of chemicals in the home.” This is just another motivator to stay as simple as possible.

That’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’m sure it’s not the last of weird around here. It seems like I’m just getting started.

Have a great weekend!

Mandy