2013 in 2013 – Update #2

I had started a draft on Wednesday to update my progress on 2013 in 2013, and I got busy. I got all the stuff I’d gotten together thus far to the thrift store. I can park in my garage again!!

My total items from that trip was 242.

The Grand Total is now 542.

1,471 left to go! πŸ™‚

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2013 in 2013 – Update #1

Despite getting a late start to this it finally motivated me to go through all my crap. I had clothes in my closet from the girls that they haven’t worn in years! I did keep a couple of nice Gymboree dresses that I am waiting to find the right person to give them to. They’re the more expensive “fancy” dresses, and I can’t stomach putting them in a thrift store (I’m a dork, I am aware of this). I have the same attachment to the shopping cart cover I used with Sophia, but I *do* have a home to send that to, which I need to do next payday without fail. Now if I could just consolidate the craft and fabric bins in my closet…

I also decided to start tackling the garage, and that will remain a work in progress at least through Wednesday when I get Sophia from school. Between not feeling well, birthday parties, and my low paying side job I’m strapped for time and energy. I do have to have it done by Wednesday afternoon, because my parents get in that afternoon. If I didn’t have to get some work done tonight I’d go out and continue tidying up.

I suppose you might be wondering how many items I’ve gotten rid of …

300!

That’s pretty good for not even 2 weeks. I said I’d be on fire at first due to my packrat habits. Tomorrow will bring more for sure! πŸ™‚

Only 1,713 to go!

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Food Revolution and a Giveaway!!

***ETA – This post is “stickied” until the Giveaway is over, please scroll down for new posts!!!***

I’ve posted this before, but please watch this video. It’s 21 minutes and 53 seconds long, but the message is important.

Jamie Oliver has done some great work. He has points that are valid not just for kids, but adults too. As a parent I know I am guilty of not providing the best options to my family at all times. It’s hard sometimes. We have busy lives. David starts two college classes tomorrow, Girl Scout cookie sales are in full swing, plus meetings, it’s also illness season and our family has not been spared. Sometimes the solution is to run to Little Caesars and get two of their $5 pizzas. Convenience is the key more often than not, and it shouldn’t be. I’d rather pull something from my freezer that I got at Trader Joe’s, and while it’s still a packaged meal I can add a frozen veggie and give my family something that offers more nutritional value.

A few years ago I did a food challenge and I did good for maybe a week, and then I slipped, and slipped some more, and by the end of the month I was like “That’s it, I suck!”. Going all out from the start did me no favors. I did it to myself, and honestly I let my slips discourage me too much. I can’t make a promise to only eat home cooked meals from scratch every single day for any length of time, but I can make better choices when I do go out. I can also make a few small changes at home that become a habit, and then change a few more things. For example..

I’ve been buying loaf bread lately. I have a grain mill, and a recipe that my family likes. I need to make bread at home.

I got a new Vitamix for Christmas, and smoothies have been requested almost daily. I know I can make yogurt at home much cheaper.

I know I won’t be able to get all organic food, but I can keep plenty of fresh healthy snacking options available for the whole family.

That brings me to…

FoodRevolution

The simple things I mentioned above to take steps in the right direction to eating better will be implemented by me for Food Revolution starting March 1, 2013. Yes, I know it’s a whole month away, but I want people to join me! I also want time to plan, because I’m a list maker (David says OCD). I want to see tons of other blog posts!

You don’t have to go all out, just change a few things. Eat out less, make something at home that you’ve been meaning to start doing again. Eat more fruits and veggies.

So please join me!! If you decide to participate please feel free to add this little badge to your page, and of course comment right here on this page. πŸ™‚

Also, since Jamie Oliver deserves some well earned credit I am going to do a…

Giveaway

Yes, a giveaway!!

There are rules and stipulations though, of course.

1) Like Gingham Apron on Facebook.

2) Comment here confirming that you completed #1.

3) The drawing will be open from the moment this post is up, until 12:00pm (Pacific) on February 28th. I will put the number of comments received into a random generator and announce a winner soon after both here and on Facebook.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I will be giving away… Well I did say I would be giving Jamie Oliver some credit, so I think that his book Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals is a perfect prize!

Giveaway is over.Β  Congrats to Elizabeth on her new cookbook! πŸ™‚

FoodRevolutionBook

Good luck, and I hope to see people participate!

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Super Laundry Sauce

Hello Pinterest folks! If you like this, or any of the other stuff I’ve got on my blog thus far, please feel free to follow me on Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for stopping by!!

I have been on a homemade laundry detergent kick lately, because face it, it’s a crapload cheaper than even the Costco laundry detergent. I’ve made liquid laundry soap in the past and liked it just fine. I also recently made another powder laundry detergent which we’ve liked just fine (side note, I used the yellow Purex Crystals in mine because I liked the smell way better). I decided on a whim to make the Super Laundry Sauce despite having nearly half of my Purex mix left.

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2013 in 2013

What is 2013 in 2013? It’s really simple…

In 2013 toss/donate/sell/trade 2013 items.

This does not include basic day to day trash, unless of course you are cleaning out that famous junk drawer/cabinet/closet, a refrigerator/freezer, or your pantry.

I’m getting to this party late, but based on how much I have just sitting around that I had intended to sell or take to the thrift store this should go pretty fast at first. I am a bit of a pack rat (as is David to be honest) and I have all the intentions in the world of taking stuff to donation, but I honestly only end up there like 10% of the time. Actually I’ve purchased more from thrift stores than I’ve donated. O_O

So, here’s to 2013 less items in my home in 2013!

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Menu Board

Pinterest strikes again. I saw Stephanie pin a menu board, and the description made me think “meh”, but at one point I finally clicked on it. The shopping list description was not really accurate at all from what I can tell, which was why I was not really interested. I have list making OCD. I don’t need help in that department. At all. I will stalk the stores a few days prior to grocery shopping to ensure I have the right prices, and then I make a spreadsheet.

I do have one problem though. Sticking to a menu plan. I manage to stick to it for a few days, and if I can get a week of actually following my menu plan I’d be shocked. Part of my problem is that I have my menu on my computer in a – prepare to be shocked – spreadsheet. David doesn’t creep around on here to find my menu plan. I’m glad he doesn’t because I don’t need him rolling his eyes at my always open SimCity Social window. πŸ˜›

Holy organization batman!

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A quick note…

I’m working on finding recipes that past muster in my house.

It’s not easy.

I’m picky as hell. David doesn’t eat pork, and is currently leaning towards being vegetarian. Sophia is a self imposed vegetarian 90% of the time. Nola, well this is a bless her heart moment, because the little turd has decided that she’s only a carnivore and does not like plants. *head desk* Anyone see how this could be tricky for me? No? Me either. /sarcasm

Despite all that, I’m at the very least going to stick to my few rules of thumb when it comes to food for my family…

~ No MSG.
~ No HFCS.

Pretty simple. I get a little skeeved out by the word hydrogenated as well, but that’s less a concern than the two listed. I’m not in a position to buy all organics anymore, and I’m not going to turn my nose up at a cheap bag of pasta. My problem is that so many of these “easy” or “omg yum” recipes contain cream of something soup, or Lipton onion soup packets. Both contain MSG. While I still have some left, and will use them up as not to waste them, I will not purchase them again. I can make homemade cream of mushroom soup, and I have a homemade “cream of ?” mix I made from a recipe on Pinterst as well. I’ll have to find an MSG free alternative to the Lipton soup mix. If you know of one please let me know!!

Now, back to getting this house back in order so it doesn’t look like I’ve neglected it for an entire week. πŸ˜›

Family Cloth

Go ahead, wrinkle your nose.

Make some gagging noises.

I’ll wait.

Recoil in horror.

Shake your head.

Say something that amounts to “No way, no how!” .. and then in your head think “That chick is crazy. Dirty hippy!”

If you’ve heard of family cloth before, likely because you’ve been sucked into the cloth diapering world, but couldn’t make that jump then you’re pretty much where I was not too long ago. Stephanie will be more than happy to comment here and tell the story of my absolute horror of the notion of cloth diapers when Nola was a baby. I ended up using cloth on her as much as half the time after she was a year old. The last 6 months she was in diapers she was in cloth 100% of the time (no daycare to appease with disposable diapers), and Sophia was cloth diapered 95% of the time (the move from TX back to NV there was about 3 months were I did disposable diapers, moving and cloth is a pain). After Sophia potty trained I refused to do away with the lovely soft bamboo velour wipes I had gotten. Then Stephanie and her kids were going to crash at my place for a night or two, and I felt obligated to make them feel as at home as possible…

Cute and fluffy!

There is potential for TMI under the cut, because hey, I am doing a post about cloth butt wipes after all. πŸ˜‰

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Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

************ PLEASE READ THIS DISCLAIMER I WILL PUT IN CAPS JUST BELOW THIS ATTENTION GRABBING HEADLINE THING ************

I HAVE BEEN USING THIS FOR AWHILE, AND MY RECENT BATCHES HAVE NOT BEEN FREE FLOWING. THEY HAVE CAKED UP HORRIBLY MAKING THE MIX ALMOST UNUSABLE. THIS IS MORE OF AN INCONVENIENCE THOUGH. MY REAL PROBLEM IS THIS MIX SEEMS TO HAVE EATEN THE COATING OFF MY ALUMINUM HANDLED RADA KNIVES LEAVING A NASTY TARNISH THAT COMES OFF WHILE USING THE KNIVES. THE SAME FOR THE HANDLES ON MY KITCHENAID STRAINER. ALSO THE MEASURE LINES PAINTED ONTO MY 1 & 2 CUP MEASURE PYREX CUPS ARE COMPLETELY GONE.

I’VE STOPPED USING THIS HOMEMADE MIX JUST THIS WEEK (6.5.13) BECAUSE OF THIS. I SUSPECT THE LEMISHINE IS TO BLAME, BUT I’M NOT 100% CERTAIN, BUT I CAN’T AFFORD ANYMORE RUINED DISHES. 😦

More than a year ago I got two huge tubs of dishwasher tabs from Costco. I’m down to about 1/4 of the final tub. Of course when I stocked up on the dishwasher tabs David was still making a comfortable sum of money and I didn’t really think much of spending $15 or so on each tub. Obviously things for us now are far different. It’s bad enough when I have to spend $15 on toilet paper, $15 on David’s razors, and $15 on coffee beans. That’s almost 1/5 of my budget for 3 things!! Though I do use all 3 – I steal a blade from David once per month, I’d kill before I give up coffee, and I have cut our paper products usage a great deal (that’s a post soon to come!) – I still hate having to get larger ticket items.

I’ve been researching and reading about different types of homemade dishwasher detergent. I live in Nevada, and our water is exceptionally hard so I have to take that into consideration. I once tried to make the liquid stuff, but it never thickened and I was skeptical. I’ve seen the powder recipes that call for Kool Aid, but I’d rather just avoid the food coloring that has a potential to stain since we are in a rental. I found a recipe using Lemi Shine.

Lemi Shine

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Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

A few years back I tried doing homemade laundry soap of the powder variety. Β It wasn’t bad, but powder was more of a pain than I wanted to deal with since you needed to mix it with water to ensure that it dissolved properly. Β In 2008 I got my LG Tromm washer and dryer set, and it was HE so I used HE detergent until we came back to Nevada. Β I had been doing some research because I was pretty well set on not having commercial chemicals all over my house (yeah, I’ve cheated a bit, but I’m still over 75% on it). Β I found some HE friendly liquid laundry soap recipes that seemed easy enough.

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