DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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4 July 2008

Housekeeping

I am a home body. I enjoy being in my home more than any other place. There is so much to do here, it's never tedious, the hours are filled with cleaning, cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening and bits and pieces that fill my days to the brim.

Yesterday was a catch up day - Thursdays always are because I spend the beginning of the week at the Centre, so I did some cooking, swept the floors, baked bread and made up some liquid soap and a new batch of laundry soap. I have been using this in my front loading washing machine for many years now and it always gives me a good wash. The only ingredient I've changed is that now I always grate my own homemade soap instead of using Lux flakes (too expensive) or yellow laundry soap. When I need to treat stains, I find that for the type of stains we have - garden dirt, a drop of blood, tea or coffee - I can usually shift them using liquid soap. I pour the soap onto the stain, rub it in for a few seconds, then put the item in with the normal wash. Nine times out of ten that is enough to move it, but if it isn't I use the Aldi brand of an oxygen bleach (Napisan). So yesterday I also made another batch of liquid soap and that will probably do me for the next six months.


LIQUID SOAP
Grate a bar of soap - I use my own home made soap, and place it in a saucepan with two litres (quarts) of water. Stir over heat until the soap is completely dissolved and allow it to cool. If it's a gel consistency when it's cold, re-heat and stir again as it wasn't completely dissolved the first time. Cool before adding it to your storage bottles. I use this soap for general cleaning and washing up.

ADDITION: I use my homemade soap for this liquid soap and it doesn't turn to gel. If you find yours does, reheat and add 2 tablespoons of glycerin to your mix to stabilise it.

When it was time for morning tea, I made a quick and easy apple yoghurt pikelet which we ate, still warm, with a little melted butter and cinnamon, with organic black tea. I have quite a few Pink Lady apples here at the moment so after morning tea, I peeled about 10 of them, added a little honey and cinnamon and cooked them in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Last night I made some more pikelets that we had with the stewed spicy apples and a dollop of yoghurt. Delicious!



APPLE YOGHURT PIKELETS
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
half cup of yoghurt (or sour cream)
2 eggs
sugar to taste
milk - enough to make a thick batter (or whey when you have it)

Melt the butter and add it to the sifted flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add yoghurt and beaten eggs and mix well by hand - don't over beat as it will toughen the batter. Add enough milk to give you a thick batter. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Add some butter to a frying pan and add dollops of batter. Form round shapes with the batter and then grate some apple over the non-cooked side while the underside is cooking. When the first side is cooked, flip over and cook the apple side. When cooked, add a sprinkle of cinnamon.

With morning tea over and the sun streaming onto the front verandah, I sat there knitting for a while. I'm making Shane some dishcloths using Debbie's wonderful waffle pattern that is easy to knit and makes an excellent cloth. Australian ladies: you can now buy the Lion cotton yarn Debbie talks about at Spotlight. I found some a couple of weeks ago in a variety of beautiful colours. That is what I'm using for this cloth.



While I was knitting I could see the volunteer tomato still growing nicely at the end of the verandah. There are bunches of pear shaped tomatoes there now as well as many yellow flowers. This plant is growing in a crack in the concrete. Amazing. Mother Nature is certainly a fine mistress.



The rest of yesterday was spent working on a quilt, tidying up and researching the article I'm writing this week for Warm Earth magazine. It was a quiet and slow day with plenty of work to keep me on my toes, along with enough time to be mindful of what I was doing.

And now it's raining after a period of about three dry weeks. I was going to do the washing today so if I go ahead with that it will be hanging on the back verandah. No doubt work will continue on the quilt, another dishcloth will be started, hot bread will be ready for lunch and all those other chores that make my days now will gently mould around the hours that lead us to the evening.

I hope you all have a lovely day. Thank you for reading and connecting with me through your comments. I truly love reading every one of them.

Happy 4th July to all my American friends.


44 comments:

  1. Peroxide will take blood out of almost anything. Just pour it over and let it work.
    Smiles,
    Nancy

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  2. Hi Rhonda,

    I finished the book Maxed Out today and thought of your blog. I'm really seeing that if we live simple lives & pay for items with cash that we won't find ourselves in the mess that many do due to debt. I'm feeling more intense about paying off our debts, building a savings and being content with few wants. Thanks for the continued reminders that you offer!

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  3. Rhonda,

    Sounds like you had a wonderful but full day:)

    I worked on our budget today. I wrote out what we spent the last three monthes. Yikes!!! We have over spent in so many area's. We took a small vacation last month and I had no clue it would cost so much.

    We are now spending $250.00 a month on just gas, in the last month we have spent on groceries I am embarrassed to say $900.00 I thought we lived simple?? I am so glad you challenged us to look at our budget. You are probably wondering why didn't we see the money go... We just used our check card and then I balanced the check book the money was there but....I never checked how much we spent per month. Can I say Eye Opener!

    We are going to look at more area's we could cut back. Believe me I am ready to cut back...It would have been nice to save some of that 900.00:)

    Thank you!!

    Renee

    P.s. We are going to start you bag system this month:) I will keep you posted:)

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  4. What a calming read your post was today. Things are still a little fraught for me since moving house last week, and I'm not into my routines yet but your account of your day reminded me of what I'm aiming for. Peace and simplicity!
    Thank you Rhonda :)

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  5. Hi Rhonda Jean :) I'm popping in with hugs and to say that I'm reading daily just not posting or commenting as much since our tiny little miss arrived.

    Thanks for the recipe today - the children will love that! Love, Q

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  6. Hello everyone!

    Renee, it'as good news from you. It certainly is an eye opener. Good luck with it.

    Rosie, I'm sure you'll settle in to your new home soon enough. Moving is such an upheaval. Take care and remember to stop and have tea...often. ;- )

    Quinne!!!! She is here, how lovely! I saw her photo. How happy you all must be having such a little beauty in your family. I send my love and congratulations to you all. Take care, my friend.

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  7. Hi Rhonda
    That sounds like a perfect day. No hassle, no fuss, just nice and steady.

    I am going to try making your dry mix laundry soap later on.

    Have a happy day

    Pippa

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  8. i've got to say, your blog is an inspiration to me! i've been wanting to make changes to the way we live for awhile now and its great to see you doing it easily and successfully.

    have a quick question about knitting dishcloths...do you wash them and reuse them? any tips for making them last and not get smelly?

    thanks, toni :)

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  9. Hi Pippa love! It was a good day, which is the same way today is shaping up as well.

    Welcome Toni, the dishcloths are a great green option in the kitchen as well as for other areas of the house. I change mine either every day or every second day. If they're a bit smelly, I soak them overnight in hot water that I add the Aldi napsisan to. I have some here that are 18 months old and still going strong. They're well worth the effort. You can make them using 100% cotton or a cotton and bamboo mix.

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  10. I do love hand knit dish clothes-they are the best and make the stinkiest job in the kitchen a bit more enjoyable!

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  11. Rhonda,
    Such a lovely post. Always love reading about your days on your homestead.
    Thanks for the 4th of July wishes, it will be a fun day tomorrow.
    Blessings to you,
    Cathy

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  12. Thank you, as usual, for this wonderful post. I mean to try your recipe listed here, just made me hungry looking at the apple pikelets. I always enjoy my visit here.

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  13. Hi Rhonda
    Making your own dishclothes, dishwashing & laundry detergent is absolutely fantastic... I just wondered if you were on town water or do you have an on-site septic? Ive read that using soap in a septic system may cause blockages in the pipes which can have disasterous results... I have really wanted to try these homemade soap recipes but am tentative about using them in our septic. I would be grateful of any further info you have.
    Cheers!
    KittyKat :-) SmallFootprints.com.au

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  14. Hi Kittykat, we have a regular sewer system here. We have town and tank water, and use the tank water for the vegetable and fruit garden. I'm sorry but I have no knowledge of soap in septic tanks, maybe one of the readers will give you some info.

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  15. I always wondered what pikelets are, but now I can try. I think it's about the same as our Dutch pancakes, with just a bit of yoghurt added.
    That dishcloth looks good, by the way!

    Christine from the NL

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  16. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I've been reading your blog for awhile now. I'm enjoying my shopping bag from the swap as well.

    I have two questions.

    1. Is the laundry liquid you described clumpy or gloppy? I've tried to make laundry liquid before and ended up with a bucket of what looked like clear liquid with a bunch of clumps of gooey gel floating on top.

    2. Is the liquid soap you described for general clean up also used for washing dishes by hand?


    Thanks so much for taking time to answer my questions and for writing such a "get busy and do something" blog.

    God bless you!
    Laura
    Happy at Home

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  17. Thanks for the recipe - it looks and sounds wonderful!

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  18. Nancy is right - Peroxide does wonders to blood. I found this out when my son was cleaning his room and dropped an exacto knife and it punctured the artery in the top of his foot... WOW what a mess that made. He got two stitches in it but we had blood from his room (cream carpet) all the way out the door on the way to the hospital. The nurse told me how to get it up with the peroxide. Now I'm aiming on getting rid of all carpet and in our country cottage we will not have any!
    Becky

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  19. Hi Rhonda!

    I came across your blog 2 monthes ago and I love it! You have a wonderful way of writing, it imparts a feeling of calm just reading your words. Your warmth and friendliness make me feel like I've sat down for a cup of tea with a dear friend, always enjoyable!

    I have just started the budget bags and am looking forward to more thoughtful spending (do I really need that, or is it just a "want"). I have been going through your archives, and have enjoyed learning new skills. I LOVE washing my hair with baking soda (it really does feel wonderful and I think my scalp has never been happier!) I make my own laundry soap using your recipe and am very pleased with the results.

    I appreciate your honesty in admitting you used to hate housework too! Knowing you made adjustments and now have this wonderful peace makes me believe it is possible for me to achieve it as well.

    Thank you for sharing with us, and inspiring me to continue developing a simple, more peaceful lifestyle!

    Donna

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  20. Ho Rhonda,

    Sorry I have not been reading your blog for the last few days my OH was taken into hospital with chest pains and in AF.....so much of my time has been spent at the hospital.

    He is home, very tired, with medication and has to go for several tests as an outpatient.

    I have been catching up on some much needed sleep today........but just logged on to read what you had to say today.

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  21. Hello! I used to enjoy and learn from your posts at Frugal Village (I was psjkmom). I found your blog by coincidence and it is lovely! Have a wonderful day!
    BTW, the blue onion pattern dishes are some of my favorites!

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  22. Rhonda,
    What a relief it was to find your site a few months back and know that I would have your help to get myself ready to be an at home worker rather than working outside my home. I think I still have 3 years to teach but I had hoped for 5 and the way things are going in our area this could be my last year. Your encouragement is so valuable and pointing me in the right direction to live more and more on less and enjoy it. I am having my sewing machine fixed right now. I can sew well but haven't for nearly 20 years because my machine was not working. Thank you so much for showing us what to do next to prepare.

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  23. Laura, yes, it does go gloopy if it's not completely dissolved. Sometimes I make it and it's like a thick flowing liquid, most of the time it seperates. It still works when it's seperated - you just mix it all together and make sure to use a scoop of the gel and the water.

    The other soap is for both. I use it for cleaning and washing my hands.

    Thank you, Donna.

    Silversewer, I'm sorry to hear your news but pleased your DH is home again. I send my best wishes for a complete recovery. Take care and try to catch up on your sleep.

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  24. Welcome Em. Hanno bought me those plates when he went to Germany and I stayed home. I have two cups and saucers as well. They're very pretty, aren't they.

    Rita, I hope you continue to find what you need to learn. I write for many reasons, one of them is to share with others that by changing in positive ways, we can get through the problems arising throughout the world and move towards better lives. Happy sewing!

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  25. Hey thanks for the recipe for liquid soap! We want to start using it because it's less messy, but I don't like to pay for it.

    Thanks also for the pancake recipe - YUMMO!!! Guess what we're having for dinner today *smiles*

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  26. Thank you for posting the laundry soap recipe, I have a front loading machine, so glad you can use this in that type of machine.

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  27. I'm really enjoying your blog. I found you only two days or so ago and I am addicted - I have read back through your archives, emailed your link to my pals and bookmarked you on my laptop. I'm going to have a go at making my own liquid detergent for the wash now! Thank you!

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  28. that apple yoghurt pikelet looks fantastic, lov the Red & white dish cloth, i have some 4ply cotton could i use that of do i need 8ply, thanks :o). great blog

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  29. My mum brought me some Napisan back from New Zealand last time she was there. My friends here in Canada think the name is really cute! I've used it for stain removal, too.

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  30. Rhonda, another inspiring post, thank you.

    I have never made pikelets other than in the small size (about a dessertspoon of batter), these I am going to try!

    Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

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  31. I could have written these first two sentences with which you began your post: "I am a home body. I enjoy being in my home more than any other place." I imagine that many of us who read your blog feel the same, no matter that our homes are in all different corners of the world. Thank you for the on-going inspiration! :)

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  32. Thanks so much Rhonda for answering my questions. I'll have to try making the soaps again.

    Laura

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  33. Hi Rhonda

    I was so inspired by your post that I made some of my own liquic soap. And at first it looked fine (see my blog), but this morning it has the consistency of really THICK custard. Do you have any advice please?

    Thanks

    Mel - disheartened that something that looked so great turned out so awful!!

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  34. HI Mel, I just posted this reply on your blog:
    uh oh! that is one of the problems with using store bought soap. We don't know what's in it. I reckon you'd be able to liquify it by heating it up again (sorry) and adding two table spoons of glycerine. You can buy it at Coles or Woolies or IGA or the Chemist.

    I'm sorry it was such a big pain in the neck for you. I use my home made soap and it dissolves nicely. Don't be put off by this, give it another go and hopefully you'll put it right.

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  35. I really love the waffle texture of your dishcloth. That's something I've been going to make for myself for quite a while now and still haven't found the time. Hopefully soon though :)
    Melx

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  36. Thanks so much, Rhonda! I appreciate you taking the time to offer some advice, I will be sure to try it next time!

    Mel

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  37. Dear Rhonda, thank you for the kind mention--it was so nice to have some of the ladies pop over to my blog with comments!
    I am trying to catch up on reading posts. With prices here putting a real strain on our budget, I am desperate for ideas to economize even more. Tonight I am making the rice and beans recipe that one of your readers contributed.
    Thanks a million for all your advice!!
    Kindly,

    Debbie

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  38. Those pikelets sound delicious and they're making me feel hungry as it's almost lunch time. Just reading through the past posts of your blog is making me feel calm and giving me a lot of food for thought.

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  39. Thank you for the pattern for the dishcloth. I made one today, and its the first time I have been able to follow a pattern. I am a self tought knitter and I have never been able to understand patterns. this was easy. thank you

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  40. Love the dishcloth, love the laundry soap. I've learnt so much from you in such a short space of time. I am definitely going to give the dishcloths a go and I hope to make some soap soon too. I will definitely bookmark your blog and come back soon.

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  41. I've recently begun reading your blog and I am such a fan!!!!!! I'll be visiting often. :)

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  42. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks so much for all this useful info! So far, I've been inspired to make cold process soap and the self-saucing chocolate pudding (yum!).
    I have a question - when making this household liquid soap from your homemade soap, does the soap need to cure first? I have some 3-day old soap that is perfectly firm, but too new for hand and body use. What do you think? Is it safe to use?
    thanks! -Allegra

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  43. Allegra, you let the soap cure to completely dissipate the caustic elements, not just for firmness. Using a three day old soap would not be wise.

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  44. Rhonda,
    thank you for the very quick response! I'll wait a few weeks before trying this, then.

    I also just wanted to say "thank you!" for what you're doing here. Especially posts like "Don't be scared" - that kind of encouragement is great for someone like me who is a beginner in the housekeeping arena (at 34 years!) and afraid of making mistakes. I'm feeling a yoke of American advertising lift from my shoulders now, realizing I can do without commercially-produced stuff.

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Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

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