Over the last few months I have been trying to live more simply, declutter and get back to enjoying the basics. In todays world we are always rushing and life just seems so busy. I have been taking more time to enjoy our home and garden and the quieter times when we aren't rushing.We have spent more time on the weekends at home working in and around the house and garden.
My greenhouse and garden has been supplying us with lettuce, spring onions, tomatoes, strawberries and lots of herbs. I have started to think about what winter vegetables I will plant and about preparing the garden for sowing the seeds and seedlings and also about keeping some vegetables for next years seeds.
We have been lucky this season to receive lots of fresh vegetables from Mary and Eddie's veggie patch. We have had lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, beets, spring onions, red and white onions, beans, cucumber, zucchini, snow peas and more. I have been meal planning around what fresh vegetables we have in the fridge.
I have also been trying to cut back on our weekly grocery expenses and to look at our finances and how we can improve different areas. I have gone back to making my own cleaning supplies and dog food. I went off the rails for a bit with this and it's nice to be back on track. The recipes I use are from the following website.
CONCENTRATED LAUNDRY POWDER
4 cups grated laundry or homemade soap or soap flakes (Lux),
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid.
Use 2 tablespoons per wash ( I keep a measuring spoon in the container). The mix is ok for front loaders as it doesn't create suds. I also measure my tablespoons into a cup and mix with hot water to melt the soap piece prior to putting in my washing machine.
There is a version of this recipe that you can make into a liquid version.
If you are using your water as grey water for the garden please do not use Borax in the mix.
½ cup white vinegar in final rinse
If you are using the homemade laundry concentrate you don't need to use a softener as the washing soda acts as a softener although if you use if every five or six washes it will help with the soap buildup in your machine.
¼ teaspoon liquid soap
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle. Give it a shake to mix ingredients. Use on glass with a rag or newspaper.
Add two teaspoons baking soda to half a bucket of cold water. Soak the garment for 30minutes then wash as normal. Hang outside in the sun to dry.
I haven't made this all purpose cleaner yet but it sounds good.
All Purpose Cleaner-----SPRAY &WIPE----
2tab Cloudy Ammomia,Half cup white cleaning vinegar,2 tab wash up deterg(morning fresh) . Top up to 2 litres warm water. Use in spray bottle.
My dog food recipe is taken from the down to earth blog.
HOMEMADE DOG FOOD
1 kg beef mince - I buy low grade that only costs about $5 or $6 a kilo
1½ cups raw brown or white rice
1 cup raw barley OR lentils
1 cup raw pasta
2 cups chopped vegetables - it can be whatever you have on hand but NOT ONIONS or LEEKS ( I use frozen mixed vegetables if I have no fresh on hand).
1 spoonful of Vegemite (optional or beef or chicken stock powder)
Place all the above ingredients into a big stockpot. Cover with water and stir to break up the mince. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. When it's finished cooking, top up the stockpot to the rim with water and leave to cool.
When it's cold, place into portion sized plastic containers and freeze until you need them.This will feed two large dogs for seven days. The dogs love it and it's got no preservatives or artifical flavourings in it. It costs around $7 a week. I also give a cup of good quality dog biscuits mixed through it as well as this mix has low calcium levels so pups and pregant dogs will require supplements.
Here are some blogs I visit (some for simple living ideas and some for fun)
http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com/ (awesome writer, photographer, very entertaining. Check out his pregnancy series).
Some great links here for living simply