Saturday, February 18, 2012

Deliberate Housewives

Ah, the joys of housewifery!

“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”  ~Tasha Tudor

SCF- a great place to work!

In the last 26 years of my life, I have discovered that no matter what else I was doing, I have always tended, like Tasha Tudor, to proudly write housewife when the occasion arose. Whether it was signing mortgage papers, tax forms, little league sign ups or church documents, I have always put down housewife even when holding another job outside the home. It seemed so easy when the kids were younger since my only outside endeavors were of the volunteer-kind. For the last seven years, I have been employed at Salem Classical Fencing- going from an instructional assistant, to an assistant instructor to a full-fledged certified instructor and coach. Even with this, I still am pleased to wear the badge of housewifery. 
Part of this has always been trying to instill in my kids the case of frugalness (I'd call it being cheap, but my dear husband always reminds me "frugal" is such a better word to use). Our long and winding road towards the frugal land has not always been smooth- there have been a few bumps and bruises along the way. I remember making my own baby food & wipes (easy) and going with cloth diapers instead of disposable (good, but not always so easy). There have been homemade mixes for everything from bisquik to my own spice mixes (great Christmas presents this year). I had even taken some of my homemade taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix to Africa on my first missions trip to give as a gift to missionaries serving in Guinea.
Great and inexpensive composter!
The homemade goodness of cooking items has always made sense to me, but I've never thought of homemade cleaning items until the beginning of this year. With two kids in college, I've been trying to come up with ways to save money in any little ways I can. Besides having gotten an Earth Machine composter last summer and just this last month having gone down a size in the trash can we use from our garbage company, we are producing less waste and recycling more. That saves a little bit each month, but I knew there was more I could do. I set out to find homemade "recipes" for everyday cleaning items as these tend to bite into our limited budget much more than they should. I don't take credit for creating any of the following concoctions, as there are a number of sites that come up when you search on the internet. I've been experimenting with a bunch of different ones, and I have found that I like the following the best~
Keatley Laundry Soap

2 cups finely grated Fels Naptha soap (found at Winco)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Powder (not detergent, but it's found by the laundry stuff)

Mix all ingredients together & store in sealed container. Use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per 
load (I was using 1 1/2 but have found 2 works better in our front load HE washer)

6 cups hot water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups hair conditioner (I've used White Rain as it's cheap and you can choose your favorite scent- you can use whatever brand you want)

Mix conditioner and hot water well, until conditioner is dissolved completely. Add vinegar and mix well. Store in large container.
Use 2 tablespoons in washer per load.

4 oz. natural bar of soap (I've used the tea tree soap from Trader Joe's, but you can use anything that is all-natural)
1 gallon water
1 T. glycerin, if desired

In large pot, steam water over medium heat. Grate soap. Take water off heat.
Add soap to pot and let sit 15 minutes. Blend with hand mixer or immersion blender until well mixed; let sit overnight. Blend again the next morning, adding glycerin, if desired (I don't use it, but some people like it). 
Using funnel, pour into soap dispensers. Store remaining soap (I use a clean empty milk jug to store ours).

(This is the newest concoction to try- it looks just like the stuff you buy, but it's way less expensive)!

2 cups Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
2 cups lemi shine (Brian bought at Target)
1 cup Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients well and store in airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per load in dishwasher.

I read on a bunch of sites about using white vinegar in place of Jet Dry in the dishwasher. I was a little skeptical, but it totally works. The dishes come out clean and don't smell like 
vinegar, either. Obviously, this is a whole lot less money too!

This last one is a bit of a bonus~ you may not want to take the time, but I was getting desperate one day, and so I tried it. Not only was it inexpensive, but it worked great.
You simply take 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar and pour it down the drain (whether it's backed up or not). Let it sit for 1 hour then pour 1 teakettle's worth (about 6 cups) of boiling water down the drain. Your clog should be gone!

I hope you try some of these ideas. We housewives are often overlooked unless we are somewhere other than home fulfilling our first calling. The next time you feel frustrated when it's time for another load of laundry or another meal to be made, remember this quote from Saint Frances of Rome~

“It is good to be devout as a housewife but sometimes you need to leave God at the altar to find Him at home. ”

We must remember our duty to the Lord is duty to our family. I know I haven't always done this as well as I could have, but thankfully that is why there is grace. I continue to be encouraged by others as I travel on in this journey of being a deliberate housewife.

No comments:

Post a Comment