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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Things That Make My Life Easier

Before I get into this post, I’ve got a question.  Would any of you be interested in participating in a Linky Party?  I’ve been thinking of having you all link up to What I Wore Sunday where you could show us anything you’ve refashioned or sewn yourself.  You don’t even have to wear it on a Sunday.  We’d love to see what you’ve been refashioning and sewing.  What do you think?  Let’s try it out on Saturday, mkay?!

Okay.  Being the mama of five boys and wife of one BIG boy, life sometimes gets a little chaotic.  Sometimes a lot.  There are some things I have discovered that really make my life a bit easier.  Here are a few of those ideas:

homemade foaming handsoap

Homemade foaming hand soap.  Super cheap and super easy to make.  Buy a foaming hand soap pump and when it’s ready to refill, fill it about an inch with regular hand soap refill.

homemade foaming handsoap 1.5

Fill it up the rest of the way with water.  Gently swoosh it around to mix it up.  Don’t shake it.  You don’t want it to get too sudsy. 

I almost died when I realized how much I was paying for WATER!!!

Best remedy for diaper rash:

baby powderbag_balm

Bag Balm and Baby Powder.  Smear a thick layer of Bag Balm over your babe’s bottom, sprinkle with Baby Powder, fasten the diaper, and let it work it’s magic.  Love.This.Stuff.


Lansinoh is awesome for nursing mamas, but FABULOUS for diaper rash, and eczema.  I use this on my kids’ eczema all the time.

Best Household Cleaner:

homemade al purpose cleaner

Water, distilled white vinegar, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide.  I haven’t bought 409 in quite a while.  This stuff is awesome on grout. 


For this cleaner, I use 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 2 tablespoons of dish soap.

Vinegar and water is the best window cleaner ever.

I just mentioned that we have sensitive skin issues in our family.  I haven’t used fabric softener in years, and I’ve really missed it.  My friend gave me a recipe for homemade fabric softener.  I wasn’t sure it would work with our skin issues, but it does.  Now our clothes are soft and delicious smelling!  It’s so easy to make.

homemade fabric softener 

Mix 6 cups of hot water, 2 cups of distilled white vinegar, and one 16 oz. bottle of conditioner-it doesn’t matter which scent you use.  Stir with a whisk until it is well mixed.  Use 1/3 cup in your fabric softener dispenser.  Cheap conditioner is perfect for this.  I was able to fill three of those bottles, and I spent $1.00 on all that fabric softener.  Love!

Sensitive skin issues?  We have ONE brand of laundry detergent we can all use.  Just one.  It’s expensive, too.  My same friend gave me her recipe for homemade laundry detergent.  It is fabulous for sensitive skin, and cheap, too!

homemade laundry detergent

Mix 1 4 lb. Box of Borax, 1 4 lb. box of WASHING SODA (not baking soda), 1 3 lb. box of Oxi-Clean and grate 1 bar of Fels-Naptha in a big bucket.  Mix it all up, and you’re done!  You’re supposed to use one tablespoon per load, but I use two.  My boys get really dirty!  :)  She spent a whopping $20.00 on the detergent supplies and it lasted her NINE MONTHS!!  Not a bad deal!

Speaking of laundry, another friend of mine shared these next two tips with me.  Like me, she has a big family and does LOADS of laundry!  :)  He he he…I am so punny! 

Some of her kids are older, and she has them help out.  I’m not quite there, but my boys can definitely help sort and put their clothes away.  That isn’t slave labor.  That’s teaching them “life skills!”  :)  Anyway, she shared this sorting tip with me, and I love her for it.


Pretend I have a beautiful laundry room.  With a chandelier in it.  Anyway, I have separate  baskets to make it easier for my kids to sort their own clothes.  I labeled them darks, colors, whites, towels, and sheets.  It has been life changing.  A few of my boys have even changed in the laundry room to avoid sorting it later.

Here’s her next tip--rather than folding and sorting everyone’s clothes, have them do it.  Put their clothes into their separate baskets as you’re pulling them out of the dryer,  Have them fold, sort, hang up and put their own clothes away.


I labeled my dudes’ baskets with their names in vinyl.  Don’t worry…I used their real names.  I also don’t expect Monkey to put his own clothes away!  Anyway, this tip has been life changing.  It has cut my laundry time in half. 

I have a love/hate relationship with this next tip.

homemade dishwasher detergent

Homemade dishwasher detergent.  All it is is equal parts Borax and Baking soda.  I use vinegar as a rinse aid, and I will NEVER buy Jet-Dry again.  I love this detergent’s cheapness, but I don’t always love how it works.  When I have a super dirty load of dishes, I pit 1/2 teaspoon of dish detergent into the dishwasher for an extra boost.  This detergent is cheap, and awesome…when I do the dishes.

Sometimes my kids do the dishes.  Sometimes we have “quality control” issues with rinsing the dishes before they’re loaded.  If this is you, this detergent is NOT for you…unless you like running your dishwasher three times. 

So, I’ve got some Finish tabs on hand for when the dudes do the dishes!  :)  That’s still saving money!

Pre-cooked ground beef makes dinner time SO MUCH EASIER!!  I like to buy 5 lbs. at a time, brown it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.  I divide it into 1 lb. sections and freeze it.  I thaw it when I need it, and we can have tacos or spaghetti in less than 10 minutes.

But really…who wants to stand and brown 5 pounds of ground beef for 45 minutes?  Not me!  Introducing:


The Crock Pot.  I {heart} her.  You can brown your meat in the Crock Pot!  It’s true!  Just stop and stir it every once in a while.


See?!  Perfect!

Also?!  Snacking on frozen chocolate chips makes my life easier! ;)

So do little boy snuggles, big boy snuggles, and baby kisses!  :)

Now that I’ve shared all of these tips, please don’t think my life is perfect.  It is far from perfect.  I five busy little boys, and these things just make life easier for me.  I’ve learned that life is what it is.  MY attitude determines whether or not I have a bad day.  My kids want to be with me.  This isn’t always convenient, but when I include them in what I’m doing, we usually have a good time.

Sometimes I have “help” with my laundry:


Don’t turn me in.  He went in after a stray sock.

“Help” with my make up:



Don’t tell their daddy they play with make-up.  Firecracker likes eyeliner facial hair.

“Help” with the cooking:


It’s a far from perfect life, but it’s perfect for me!  :)

I hope these little tips and tricks can help you too!

signature nat

P.S.  If you can’t find any of these items in the store, check them out here:

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  1. Hi Natsy! Just had a question for you about your fabric softener and laundry detergent. Can you use it in a High Efficiency washer? If so, how much do you use? Thanks!

    1. Yes, both the fabric softener and laundry detergent can be used in High Efficiency washers. Sweet, right?!

    2. Oh, duh. Sorry. Use the same amounts! :) I don't have a HE washer, but my friend does and she uses the same amounts, and it works for her.

  2. I love the foamy soap. I'll have to do that. Do you have to refill it a ton more than regular soap? What am I saying, my kids think they need 20 quirts of soap to get clean...I'll have to refill it anyway

  3. I use about half of the soap in the bottom of the foamer and still get great suds!!! I also use one of the foamers in the kitchen and use Dawn (the only brand I'll use). It's great for quick dish washing needs, plus it's antibaterial for hand washing too.

    I LOVE Fels Naptha! It's awesome for getting out stains. I just spray some water on the spot and then scrub the soap bar over the stain and then wash as I normally would (that day or even a week later).

    I don't usually use fabric softener because it builds up on the clothes (and it's especially bad for the towels because they become less absorbent). I might have to give your recipe a try. :)

    Thanks for the great tips and the reminder that attitude is really important. Wednesday night I went to bed really really late (got out of the shower at 3 am and went to bed with wet hair). I woke up at 6 and brought Jossie to bed with me. When my alarm went off, I was so tired but jumped up to start getting make up and hair done. My hair was still wet (short night) but I was in such a big hurry to be ready before C. had to leave for school so I just pretended it was dry and flat ironed it anyway. Well, it was not a smooth job and I kept getting interrupted by the kids. Well, then little miss K had to go potty and was doing the "I have to go so bad that I can't do anything" dance and peed in her jammies. I'm mean, but I made her stand there until I could finish my (frizzy) hair. So I went into their bathroom to get the tub going for her and T hadn't turned off the shower the night before so I got hit right in the head with the water. And, just to show how funny it can get, when I yelled his name in frustration, I got a frog in my throat and just kind of loudly whispered his name. I decided to just laugh then.

  4. Thanks so much for the tips...but especially thank you for the reminder of having a better attitude towards my most important (sometimes unglamorous) job.

  5. I would love to try your Best Household Cleaner. What is the ratio of water, vinegar, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide?

  6. I use re-usable eco friendly wool dryer balls in the dryer, an initial investment is necessary whether you make them or purchase them, but then you just use essentials oils, a few drops on for a load of laundry that will smell however you want it to that day, sometimes citrusy, sometimes lavender. AND Wayyyy more eco-friendly than even making these great money saving dryer sheets!!!!!


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