Friday, March 15, 2013

Cleaning Recipes Pt. 1

Here are a few recipes I have successfully made, and loved! I wouldn't share recipes with you before I tried them out for myself. Saving money for the same (if not better) quality is awesome!

Dishwasher Detergent

This was the first DIY recipe I have made. I was a bit skeptical at first, but after trying it out for a few weeks - I'm a believer!

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup food grade citric acid

Mix it all together and there you have it! Homemade dishwasher detergent! The ingredients above fit in an average mason jar (+ a little, which I just threw in an extra container).

Use 1-2 Tbsp. per load. Use white vinegar as a rinse aid.

I use 2 Tbsp. because I don't exactly clean my dishes completely off before tossing them in the dishwasher. It eliminates having to send some dishes through the cycle twice.

Warning: The citric acid WILL make your solution as hard as a rock. Tips? I left mine open on the counter for a few days and stirred every so often. I also threw it into the fridge. It still gets solid, but not too bad - it's easy to scrape apart. I also used my Ninja blender to break it apart the first time it went solid - an excellent solution. Some also leave the citric acid out until when they're putting it in the dishwasher (leaving it separate from the rest of the solution).

Laundry Detergent (Powder)

I found several recipes like this on Pinterest. Some add OXYclean, but I think this works fine (for our household anyway). This detergent is also safe for HE Machines.

3 cups Borax
2 cups baking soda
2 cups washing soda
1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap

Use a grater (or blender - I used my Ninja) to grate bar soap. Mix all contents together and pour into mason jars. Makes enough for 2 regular sized mason jars.

Use 2 Tbsp. per load.

Tip: This stuff gets in your nose if you aren't careful. I used my blender, which has a sealed lid. This helped with the powder and pouring it into the jars.

Some people use essential oils on a wash cloth to get fragrance. Honestly, I loved the smell of the Fels-Naptha that's what we're sticking with! ;)

Liquid Body/Hand Soap

I love liquid soap, but hated spending the price. I will admit, I bought a $20 bottle of Philosophy shower gel JUST because I loved the smell of it - yikes.

1/2 bar soap of choice (I used Yardley Oatmeal & Almond)
2 cups of water

Add grated soap with 2 cups of water into large pot. Turn the stove on medium heat, and stir until flakes disappear (the mix will look milky). Once flakes are gone, let pot cool for several hours. After 2 hours, check the thickness with a spoon to see if it is the right thickness for you - if not, add more water. When you add water, heat it up on medium heat and stir again. Let sit for several hours to cool.

This makes 24 oz. of body wash. I did not want to make a lot at first, because I wanted to make sure I liked it! ;) As always, you can adjust the measurements to fit your needs. I used 3 of these 8 oz. bottles to store my soap in. (Be sure to grab a funnel!)

Coming soon (once I try them): Laundry Fabric Softener, Sugar/Salt Scrub, cleaning chemicals, and more!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Year's Resolutions - $465

How are your New Years Resolutions going?

Surprisingly, mine is still going really well - and has become a habit! Every year, I chose to get more active, eat healthier, or lose weight. This year, I decided it was time to start tithing regularly at church. Throughout the years, I honestly have given ~$100 to all of the churches I have been attending. That's not so great considering the salary I've brought in all of those years..

Today, I logged in to look at how much we have tithed so far this year - $465! That's so awesome! Do you know what's even more awesome? Seeing what the church is doing with it! This is from pastor Paul Mumaw:

  1. The student ministry is growing. We don't do any student ministry fundraisers because we're able to fund that important ministry because of givers like you. 
  2. We made our building lease payments. I'm glad we're able to meet indoors. Aren't you? While paying rent on our church buildings isn't sexy, I think we'd all agree it's a really good thing.
  3. We gave the staff paychecks. Don't we have a great team at Genesis Church? I'm blessed to work with them every day. We're grateful to be able to serve you.
And it's not even the end of March yet! I can't wait to see how much our giving will affect the church by the end of the year. Giving back to Him has also affected our family - we are getting a new house in a few months! This year has definitely been a blessed one.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby Step 2: Pay Off All Non-Mortgage Debt

Baby Step 1 - COMPLETE! $1,000 is in the emergency fund!

Kohl's Credit Card - HISTORY!
(Did I mention I was also a Most Valuable Customer because I spent $600 in 60 days? Yikes!)

The second step will probably take the longest for us. However, after paying out my maxed out ($600) Kohl's card in a few weeks - I know we can do this. We have a lot of non-mortgage debt to pay off, but we'll get there. Baby steps, right?

For the first time in my life, I am no longer worried about my gas lasting me until next paycheck. Since budgeting it out, I know I'll always have the gas to get to work and back (and some extra if we plan a trip to Kokomo). That's a huge sigh of relief. I always used my other credit card as a crutch for gas. I already spent my paycheck at the mall?? Hah, oh well - just charge the gas! Not anymore!!


In other news, I met with the builder during lunch today. All is going well! We even have a driveway now...kind of..

No bad news at the meeting. Found out we are not in a flood hazard zone - woo! We moved around the cable and phone jack and the entrance to the attic. He said the foundation and walls can be up in about 1-2 weeks. I had no idea they moved that fast! We are still aiming at closing the end of May - so much excitement!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Meet Manuel

Age: 5

Region: South Asia

Country: Bangladesh

Program: Beldanga Child Sponsorship Program

Personal and Family Information: Manuel lives with his grandfather and his grandmother. His duties at home include caring for animals.

There are 2 children in the family. His grandfather is sometimes employed as a laborer and his grandmother maintains the home.

As part of Compassion's ministry, Manuel participates in Bible class. He is also in pre-school where his performance is average. Soccer and playing with cars are his favorite activities.

He lives in an area with higher risk of exploitation and abuse.

He will be getting the wonderful news today that he has a sponsor, after a long awaited 280 days!


I have wanted to sponsor children for a long time, but have never had the finances to do it. That's a lie - because I've always had the finances to do it, I was just too selfish. We have been regularly tithing since January 1st, but haven't been giving the full 10%. I will be sponsoring one child for this paycheck, and another on my next paycheck. Those children + our church tithe = 10%+ back to God. Will it stop here? I don't think so. It always feels good to give back. We live in such a selfish society - I can't believe it took me almost 22 years to start giving back. Better late than never, I guess?

I chose Manuel because he was waiting for the longest time out of all the children and he was in a high risk area. I love the fact that he likes playing soccer! I can't wait to start receiving letters and updates from him. Giving back to the church is rewarding in itself, but actually seeing young lives being changed for the better? That's extremely rewarding to me - that I can make a difference in someone's life.

Do you want more information on how to sponsor a child? Visit Compassion International to learn more.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Keeping Momentum: A Debt Free Lifestyle

When we signed up for FPU, I was so excited to get started. I started budgeting January 1st and have been going ever since. Watching Dave Ramsey's sessions are always inspiring (and quite entertaining).

Ever since last weekend, I've felt overwhelmed by everything. With so much debt, I feel like we'll never get out. AND we just bought a house? What the heck were we thinking??? I'm so depressed and my anxiety has been the worst it's been in a long time.

Snap out of it, Ashleigh.

That's what I've been saying to myself all week. This weekend we are going to have our $1000 emergency fund and paying off the first credit card - isn't that success enough to keep on going? No, no it isn't. Not for me anyway. I need to constantly surround myself with positive things like: bible verses, daily devotionals, success stories, Air1, and KLOVE. The success stories are really helping so far this week. Seeing people with our same income and debt...getting out of debt in 8 years? That's awesome.

One thing that really shot me down last weekend was realizing we can't take the vacations we wanted to this year (Disney World, Frankenmuth, and St. Pete Beach). Well, no one is telling us we can't (COUGH Dave COUGH), but we have goals and we are trying to accomplish them. Eyes on the prize, they always say. We are still going to the beach with my grandparents in December/January, though. We owe it to them, and I really wouldn't mind unplugging for a week.

I can hear Dave yelling at me right now, but we have cut 3 vacations down to 1. He would be proud, right?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

HELP: Give Me Your Soap Recipes!!!

Like some of you know, I've been making my own laundry and dishwasher I'm in need of another recipe.

I'm in need of a good, easy recipe for bar soap (preferably one that can easily have perfume added). I've looked on Google (and Pinterest) and it's overwhelming how many different recipes are out there.


What do you guys use for your homemade bar soap - or what recipe have you wanted to try, but haven't yet?