How to Share (and Host a Clothing Swap)

I am NOT a shopper. Period. Going to the mall makes me hyperventilate. I’m making it a life goal NOT to ever step foot into a Norstrom Rack. But I’m a new fan of my neighborhood’s clothing swap.

Last weekend, we congregated in a neighbor’s living-room-turned-giant-dressing-room with our cast-off’s and “I love it but never, ever wear it’s!” Although it was my first time going, I was not a newbie to the neighborhood hand-me-downs. On occasion, a little baggy will show up at my door with a note and a doodle. And wouldn’t you note it, those well-loved, slightly-worn items have always been my wardrobe favorites.

I like to tell of a couple of springs ago when I absolutely refused to go swimsuit shopping. [Read more…]

How to Protect Yourself Online

Do you purchase items online using credit cards? How about frequenting chat rooms and/or forums? Do you spend time sitting at your computer online reading news, blogs, emailing or searching for information?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes” then maybe it is time to think about the security of your computer. It is so easy to think, “that would never happen to me! Why take the time and thought to worry over something that will never occur. After all, who would be interested in me, my identity or my computer?”

The answer:  Hackers!

[Read more…]

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

As the mom of 10 children, with 8 still at home, you might imagine, that we do a bunch of laundry! Since we moved to west Texas to start a vineyard and have learned more creative ways to live frugally, I wanted to share my homemade laundry detergent recipe. I thought it might be beneficial for those of you looking for an economical alternative to store bought detergents.

I have found the following recipe to be less expensive to make than the cheapest detergent I can purchase. An added bonus is,  that it cleans better! My husband, being a chemist in his former life, says it is the borax in the recipe which causes it to clean so thouroughly. Borax is a whitening agent which may be used to brighten your laundry.

This recipe may also be made with unscented soap for those who might have sensitive skin.

It is tempting to use more than the 2 Tbs. per load of laundry which is called for in this recipe. In this case though, more is not better, it is just a waste. I was skeptical and started with more but found that decreasing it with each load, 2 Tbs. really does clean our clothes very well.

Homemade Laundry Detergent


Small Batch:

1 c grated bar soap (I have used Safeguard and Dial Soap but any will work)
1/2 c Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 c 20 Mule Team Borax
Grate soap in food processor.
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
Use 2 Tbs. per load.

Large Batch:

12 bars soap- grated
1 box borax
2 boxes Arm & Hammer washing soda (not baking soda)
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
Use 2 Tbs. per load

I use an old plastic scoop in the airtight container on which I have marked a fill line for the children. Like me, they think more is better!

by Expert MommyDina-Marie Oswald

How to Live Frugally, Part 2

Last week, Dina-Marie shared 20 tips on how to live frugally. She has 22 more….

1. Do not window shop in front of the refrigerator – Determine what you want to remove ahead of time to avoid unnecessary time spent with the fridge door open.
2. Wash your clothes when they are dirty – This may be after one wearing, but then again, maybe not until several wearings.
3. Hang your clothes out to dry – Save energy and get that fresh, line-dry smell in the summer.  In the winter, use a drying rack inside to help humidify your house, which is healthier and feels warmer!
4. Make your own laundry detergent – Homemade laundry detergent is easy and economical.
5. Use cloth diapers instead of disposable – They are both economical and “green.” [Read more…]