Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

I hadn't really thought about posting my recipe for laundry soap but when I was on the phone earlier with my Dad he asked how I made it so I thought it might be good to post a little something about it.

I looked around online at a lot of different recipes for laundry soap but then finally decided that making a variation of many of them would be good. 

My recipe is very simple:

Equal parts shredded bar soap and washing soda and then maybe a quarter of that in baking soda. 

For example, 

1 cup shredded bar soap 
1 cup washing soda 
1/4 cup baking soda

and that's it. Just mix these ingredients together and put them in an old laundry detergent container. It's very simple and this recipe is great. I even use it on C's nappies/diapers and her skin is actually looking better than it has in a while. I also add a few drops of lavender oil to the soap when I putting it in the machine because I love the smell. 

The only problem with this current batch of laundry soap is the smell of the bar soap I used. I just ended up buying a very mild bar soap from the laundry isle at Woolworths but I'm not crazy about the smell which is another reason I'm so excited about making my own lye soap! The next time I make this laundry soap I'll be using my own homemade bar soap! 

Homemade Cleaning Products

I've recently become rather obsessed with making homemade cleaning products for our home. I first became interested in attempting to make products for our home because Brett's Aunt Jade was recently blogging about her experiences with making household products.

The first few things I made were laundry soap and toothpaste and we love the results of using these two products so I started doing research into other household products that I might want to try to make. I've just made Liquid Dish Soap and an All-Purpose Cleaner that I couldn't wait to write about!

These products are the best I've ever used and they're made with the same few ingredients so making them was easy, eco friendly and cost efficient. I found the Liquid Dish Soap recipe here but here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups boiling hot water
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
1 tbs white vinegar
1 tbs washing soda
1/8 tsp tea tree oil
1 tbs shredded bar soap

I just added all the ingredients to a large bowl and then poured the hot water over, stirring until the shredded bar soap was dissolved. I then let the mixture sit until it had cooled.

My castile soap is peppermint scented so the soap smells amazing and is incredibly powerful - it removed stains from one of our pans that I've been trying to remove for literally months. Brett even voiced concern that maybe we shouldn't use it because it was doing such a good job and therefore must contain something harmful. We were very surprised that homemade soap could be so effective.

I did a bit more research in to cleaners and then came up with my own recipe for an All-Purpose Cleaner because a lot of the recipes I found included Borax but I recently found out that Borax isn't as eco-friendly as we all thought.

So here's my recipe for homemade All-Purpose Cleaner:

4 cups HOT water
2 tsp liquid castile soap
5 tbs white vinegar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp washing soda
I also added a few drops of lavender oil because I love the smell and tea tree oil because it has anti-fungal properties among much else.

We were again surprised that this cleaner worked so well. I used it on the grout in our shower this morning and got amazing results and I don't worry about using it on C's highchair tray.

I'm so excited about making my own cleaning products that I've just ordered lye and many other ingredients to make my own old-school soap!

What cleaning products have you made at home?

Thought I'd add a cute photo of C. Her very first toothbrush! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread

I got time this weekend to make the Pull Apart Pumpkin Bread that I've been wanting to try and it was delicious. I'm not going to post the recipe here because the link for the recipe is above but here are some photos of my experience making the bread:

The dough all rolled out. I loved the color and texture of this dough.

After I pressed the cinnamon and sugar (dextrose in our case) into the dough

The dough rising in the pan

After I pulled it out of the oven. YUM! 

It was best hot right from the oven but it's still pretty tasty when it's room temperature.

A few photos of us enjoying the bread

C loved it! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Missing Pumpkin Season

I've never really been a huge fan of pumpkin recipes during Autumn. I usually always choose apple pie over pumpkin pie (I actually don't even like pumpkin pie) but this year I've been crazy over pumpkin. I guess it must be that I'm missing the Fall festivities in America.

The first pumpkin recipe that caught my eye was this recipe that I found on Pinterest, Butternut Squash Pie Bars. I'm calling this a pumpkin recipe because here, in Australia, they call most squash, excluding zucchini, pumpkin - butternut pumpkin for example. Anyway, I tried this recipe - excluding the brown sugar in the crust and replacing the agave nectar with glucose syrup - and it was so tasty; not very sweet but so delicious.

I guess I really wanted more pumpkin because soon after those pie bars I found a recipe for Pumpkin Mac and had to try it. I think I was really intrigued because I usually make baked vegan Mac and "Cheese" with frozen winter squash and this recipe was for a creamy Kraft-like Mac on the stove. I changed the recipe slightly because I can't find canned pumpkin here, I had to boil and puree the pumpkin before I could use it in the recipe, and I omitted the lemon juice and red bell pepper just because I didn't have those ingredients on hand. I also added garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and mustard powder. This recipe is now my go-to lunch recipe because C LOVES it. I think she enjoys it because it challenges her fine motor skills but also because it is just plain delicious.

Her favorite! Pumpkin Mac!
Being cute
Done eating and now just playing with her food 

The next pumpkin recipe that is on my "to-make" list is this YUMMY looking Pull Apart Pumpkin Cinnamon Bread. I'm hoping to get the time this weekend to make it.

What are your favorite pumpkin recipes during the Fall/Thanksgiving season? 

Monday, October 22, 2012


We decided long ago that we would use cloth diapers for our baby. We knew we'd love cloth diapers for a few reasons, namely it would save us LOADS of money in the long run and we wouldn't be throwing away 10 (or more) diapers a day.

Originally we started out with about a dozen pre-folds and I made a few water proof covers from PUL fabric. Then I became interested in making pocket diapers. After I began making them I started thinking about maybe selling them as something to keep me a bit more occupied while I stayed at home with Chuck (not that I don't have enough to do...)

Anyway, I FINALLY opened a shop on Etsy! Here is the link. It's been open for about two weeks now and I'm slowly adding more items all the time. I'm really enjoying making things to sell but business is still slow. I'm hoping to get about 15 items in the shop and then do a bit of advertising.

Everything else for us is good. It was so busy there for awhile that I thought we'd go crazy but I decided that I couldn't work and bring C to the office so we're on hiatus for awhile. I'm still going to be doing a few things from home when they need it which will be nice but for now I'm strictly a stay-at-home parent (with a new home business!).

C is getting so big. We've recently changed from Baby Sensory to the class one level up because she's nearly walking. She LOVES the new class. It's much more free form and she can crawl around on everything. They even have a trampoline that she loves to crawl all over.

Work is very busy for Brett but he's still enjoying it. We've been going to the beach quite often because it's been so hot here the past few weeks. We've been contemplating moving out of Brisbane next year when our lease is up because we would love to be closer to the coast and Brett's family. We'd probably be moving about a half hour out of Brisbane, still on the train line, so Brett could easily caught the train to work.

Hope you're all well.


This is her favorite new face. She knows she's funny. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sugar-Free Vegan Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

While it may only be spring here in Australia, it sure seems like summer to me. All of this heat - it was 33 (90 degrees F) degrees today - has been making me want ice cream or some other cold treat. And because we’ve recently adopted a sugar-free diet, there really isn’t an easy way to obtain [sugar-free] ice cream. Which is why I want to purchase an ice cream maker. Brett made a good point today though; he told me that we should probably attempt making homemade ice cream by hand before we pay the money for an automatic one.  So that’s what I did today. I made homemade ice cream, by hand.
I started with Google-ing “making homemade ice cream” because I’ve never made homemade ice cream by hand before. I came across a few good links about making ice cream by hand and then decided that I wanted to attempt using coconut milk instead of soy or rice milk. So I Googled that too and found another great site in the process. The entire process was much, much easier than I was expecting.

Here’s the recipe:

2 cans (400 mL) full fat coconut milk
2/3 cups raw coco powder
1/3 cups glucose syrup 
1 tsp vanilla extract

I simply whisked all of the ingredients together in a bowl until they were combined well and then transferred the mixture to a baking dish I had sitting in the freezer. I left the mixture in the freezer for about an hour and then checked it but it hadn't begun to form ice crystals yet so we went to the pool and came back and I've been stirring every hour for about 7 hours now. The mixture tastes great but we’re still waiting on our ice cream – it’s 8:30 at night and I’m pretty certain we won’t be having ice cream until tomorrow night. I think our freezer just isn't cold enough. Needless to say, we’ll be purchasing that ice cream maker shortly. ;)

As I've said before...she really, really enjoys the swings 

Finding Time

C's first tooth! (She now has another) 

I’ve been surprised lately at how difficult it is to find time to update the blog (among many other things-  like showering). Ideally I would be posting weekly and possibly more frequently if we had exciting things to share…but that simply won’t happen anytime soon.

Recently I started working part time (very part time; just two days a week for three hours each day). I’m working at the company Brett’s currently working for. I’m at the support desk – answering phones and emails and doing the odd job here and there. I’ve been allowed to bring Charlie with me but it’s really too much stress and extra work so we’re looking around for Family Child Care (a day care in someone’s home). I’m enjoying the work but have much less time to do things like post on the blog and I really didn’t even have time before I started working again.

The weather has really started to warm up so we’ve been visiting the Sunshine Coast a lot; visiting family and going to the beach. C and I have been having weekly play dates with a few women we met at Baby Sensory and it’s been great to see Charlie and the other girls begin to play together.

Brett and I took Chucky to the pool today and she absolutely loved it. We recently decided that we want to teach Charlie to swim as well as we can before possibly putting her in swimming lessons. While looking into baby swimming we came across a few videos about baby survival floating so we thought we’d give that a shot, she didn't enjoy being on her back but we'll keep trying. She seemed to adjust to the pool very quickly. There is a shallow shelf that she can stand on while still holding on to the edge of the pool and she really enjoyed standing (and even WALKING!) in the water. It was a great day and C is pooped.

I think Chucky must be getting more teeth or something because she has not been sleeping well. Brett and I are up about 5 times each night with her and she doesn’t enjoying napping during the day. Needless to say we’re thoroughly exhausted lately but all is considerably well.

C is growing so quickly and has such a cheeky attitude. She’s always laughing and being noisy. I’d be surprised if she wasn’t walking by 10 months…I wish she didn’t like to stand so much. I can’t believe all the stuff she can now get in to.

Anyway, all is well here. Hope the same is true for you.  

She LOVES the swings

and strawberries

Elephant mask at Baby Sensory