Thursday, January 20, 2011

Upcycled, Reusable Baggies

Yeah you read that right. Reusable Baggies. They can be wiped out and reused over and over instead of throwing away so many every month.

Josh and I try to be green when we can. We try to Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. Well, this was one way I saw that we could do just that. I especially noticed this when Josh started taking snacks to work while we were on our Daniel Fast. That is alot of baggies thrown away. We try not use them too often, we put our leftovers in containers most of the time, but we still go through the baggies. I decided to try and make a baggie that he could take snacks in to work and he would bring home and keep reusing.

So I found an apple bag that I had saved (I save all my grocery/shopping bags). It was the thickest plastic bag I had. You want to use a thick plastic. That afternoon I whipped him out a bag and Annaliese a little mini bag. They were a hit! Annaliese askes everyday almost to use hers, and Josh has taken his to work with him several times.

This is how I did it. But this bag I made using a bag that frozen strawberries came in. I cut the top and bottom off and cut up one side seam.

I then cut a piece of fabric to match the bag.

I sewed wrong sides together on 3 sides. Trim around the seam and turn the bag right side out.

Take the side that is open and turn under twice and sew down. (I used a zig-zag stich for a prettier look) This will be your top flap.

Bring the bottom up till you have the size you want. Sew both of the sides.

Stitch on your velcro. {I know the velcro's not a pretty color, but it was given to me and no one really sees it anyways.}

Add a pretty button  if you want. I just thought it looked cute.

These are all of them. The black and grey on is Josh's and the little green one is Annaliese's.

This is what the backs look like. Josh's was made out of one of his old t-shirts that was shrunk {ahem, I may be at fault for that}. Annaliese's was made out of one of her shirts that she spilled nail polish on.

By using bags that would have gone in the trash, and shirts that would have either been put in the yard sale pile or in the trash you are being extra green. I love saving old clothes to use as fabric. So these bags were really free for me, and will get lots of use and save us money in the long run. Let me know if you try it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Salvation Army Makeover

I LOVE LOVE LOVE thrifting at the Salvation Army!! I love going in not knowing what I'm going to find and coming out with treasures that I paid just a few dollars for. I find cool stuff all the time.

This beauty I found recently for...... get this ...... $2.50.

I immediatley started checking it to make sure that it wasn't broken, and nope, it was in perfect shape. The only problem was the lovely little kitty cats. I'm not a cat person. I like dogs, but even then I don't want them on my ironing board. I brought the kitties home anyways and told them that I was sorry, but they couldn't stay.

Now my ironing board looks great in green, which is kind of an accent color in my laundry closet.

Really, though I didn't plan the green because a few weeks later I was thrifting with my sisters, mom, & aunt in Fayetteville and found the green fabric for $2.00. Yup, that's right $2.00 for a huge piece of fabric. It had a stain on it, but in one little place. Even after making this cover I still have a big piece left.

I kind of just made it up as I went along on how to make it. I laid the board upside down on the fabric and traced it, adding several inches on all sides. Then I pinned/sewed it under to make a tunnel for the elastic to run through. {My elastic was a piece I saved from an old fitted bed sheet that I used on another project.} I then put a safety pin on one end of the elastic and ran it through. Sew the elastic ends together and your done. Put it on your board and smile.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Creamy Veggie Soup -- Daniel Fast Approved

Josh and I have been doing the Daniel Fast. We have 9 more days left on it. It has been very challenging, but I believe that is the point of a fast. Where you have to depend on God to get you through it.

Anyways, finding new, interesting, and yummy Daniel Fast recipes has been one of the biggest challenges for me. Josh and I are by no means picky eaters, it's just hard when you are working with a limited number of ingredients to find something good for every night. However, this soup was a big success. I was missing the creaminess that you get from milk and butter, but witht this soup I didn't miss it at all. Actually, this will probably move into our regular rotation of fall/winter meals.

Creamy Vegetable Soup

1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Large Onion
6 Carrots, Peeled
8 Potatoes, Peeled
3 tsp. Thyme
32 oz. Vegetable Stock
Water (if needed)

Chop all veggies. Put in pot with Thyme and S&P and sweat/saute for 15 minutes. Be sure to stir them often so they don't stick and burn. Add stock and enough water to cover the vegetables by an inch. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Then puree 3/4 of the vegetables in the blender in batches, pouring them into another bowl.. At the end add in the last 1/4 of un-pureed veggies. You may not have to add all the liquid depending on how thick you like your soup. I didn't add all mine and just let it cool and froze it to use for the next soup since it's just veggie stock.

I served it with Hot Water Cornbread Cakes with Honey drizzled over them. Annaliese ate 2 servings of soup and "CornCakes" as she calls them. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as she did!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cheap Dishwasher Detergent

I only wish this was true!! Although, Josh does do the dishes in our family, but it's definately not because of the detergent. LOL

It took a couple of recipes to find one that works for our water (our city water is VERY hard). But this recipe works great for us and gets our dishes sparkiling clean. I like that I know exactly what is in it.

 But one of the best things is that it is SO cheap. To make 1 bottle of it only costs $1.55. How cheap is that? You can't buy any DW detergent for that cheap. This makes a 64 oz. bottle.

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Salt
3 packets of Lemonade drink mix

Fill bottle (I used a cleaned out cranberry juice jug) about half full with very warm tap water. Add ingredients. Shake. Fill the rest of the way with warm water. Not all of the indredients will dissolve. This means you will have to shake it before each use.

I have used Tang orange drink mix or strawberry lemonade mix in a pinch when I didn't have any lemonade packets in the house. You really just need the citric acid in the drink mix.

Also, instead of Jet Dry we use plain old white vinegar.

This has worked great for us so far and I hope it works for you. Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Gosh! I can't believe that it is 2011. where did 2010 go?

Anyways, we don't usually make resolutions, because we are so bad at keeping them. But this year we have 1 family resolution: To keep our house better organized and picked up. This is kind of a 2fer because it stems from wanting to have more friends & family over to our house for dinner/hang out/movie night/game night/etc. to spend more together time this year. But we can't hardly do this if I'm always worrying about the house.

When I know someone is going to be coming over (except for a select few who have seen my house at its worst), I clean like mad. I stay up till 1-2 am the night before cleaning and scrubbing every last inch. I'm a perfectionist when it come to that. I get overwhelmed and cranky and sometimes just plain mean. LOL.

So to fix this we started on our version of the Flylady program. It's great in some ways but not all of it works for us. So we kind of changed it around. We've been doing pretty good so far. We actually started right after Christmas.

 And what amazes me is we are having friends over to watch the Sugar Bowl tonight, and I'm not flipping out about getting the house cleaned up. I know I have basic things to do today like dust/sweep/mop/vacuum/dishes/laundry, but those are things I would be doing anyway. I love that I'm not stressing that the counters are piled with dishes or the bathrooms haven't been cleaned. Those things are already done and my list really isn't that bad.

I think this will spill over into making other things in my life better since I will be less stressed and not frustrated all the time that the house is messy. {When I say messy, it's messy to me, to other people it probably really isn't, like}

What were your New Year's Resolutions? Do you even make them? Try just making 1. Or even just making a January resolution and only doing it for 1 month. It only takes 1 month to make a habit.