Tag Archives: frugal

One Local Summer; Week 7

This past week was the week of mulberries, which were picked by me and my kids at a local park about 10 minutes away from us. We had mulberry smoothies (local milk + frozen mulberries), salads using CSA greens with mulberries on them, and even some of last week’s corn pone (which had been frozen) with mulberries on the side. Nice and sweet, and best of all, free!

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Cutting down on food waste; update.

So, my empty freezer bags have started filling up.

On the left is a bag with frozen juice from a couple different bottles (we don’t drink a lot of juice, so don’t drink it quickly enough when we do have it in the house). In the middle is a bag full of assorted veggies and veggie “remnants” such as the greens from radishes, and, um, honestly I don’t know exactly what all else as I can’t always visually identify what comes in the CSA basket (as I’ve mentioned before), and also since I’ve been throwing things in there for a few weeks now and didn’t keep a list. The bag on the right contains fruit that was on the verge of going bad such as a slightly brown banana and mushy berries. I’m thinking I could make a great vegetable broth with the veggies, and fruit smoothies with the fruit and fruit juice. So far this plan is working out great, and I feel good that we’re not wasting as much food. Stay tuned for a future post on a composter, which we’re looking into getting soon.

Toilet paper, toilet paper, as far as the eye can see.

So, about the toilet paper….I had decided that the Seventh Generation worked well for us, and was all ready to continue on with this brand. The problem became finding it. Ordering a four pack to try it was one thing, but ordering the quantity my family needs (and frankly, that I need for peace of mind…I can’t come close to running out of this stuff without getting nervous), cost a bunch to ship. So I looked around locally, and although it was listed as being available at a store near me, it actually wasn’t carried there. After trying a few other “green” brands, which were flimsy and short on sheet count (under 200 sheets was gone in less than 24 hours), I was running out of options. Then, just about a week ago, I noticed that amazon.com started a new “Subscribe and Save” program which enabled me to get a 48 pack of this toilet paper at 15% off with free shipping. My first shipment came today, and I’ll get the next one in 2 months. That should keep us in the stuff with some to spare.
These are just a few rolls from our tp bonanza.

Cutting down on food waste

This past weekend I found Wasted Food, a blog about worldwide food waste, via what path, I can’t remember, but I ended up following many links from it that I’ll need the whole summer to get through. A link to this post in particular caught my eye. Around the same time I checked out A Slow Year flickr group and saw this, a freezer filled with all sorts of good food, and all of that information combined to inspire me to clean out one shelf in my freezer door to make way for a bag to store leftover fruit and a bag to store leftover veggies:

Yes, they’re empty now…I’m pretty good about using food, and I had just recently cleaned out the fridge of any old items, which I do just about every week.

The change here will be that, instead of tossing any unused and older fruits or veggies, I’ll be chopping them and adding them to their respective bags. The fruits I’ll use for fruit smoothies (which I make by blending frozen fruit, milk, raw agave nectar, and wheat germ), and the veggies I’ll use for whatever I can. Any small amounts of leftovers will go in here, as well. It’ll be interesting to see how fast (or hopefully, slow) these bags fill up.

Homemade Laundry Soap, with bonus dishwasher soap recipe!

In reading up online about green alternatives to household cleaners, I kept coming across recipes for liquid laundry soap. Boiling and then storing liquid soap was not appealing to me, so I would skim over these ideas. Then, a friend of mine found a recipe for a dry homemade version, which she loved so much that she gave me two loads worth to try. I was hooked, and so proceeded to make my own and then give a bunch away to interested friends who also all really like it. It smells great, cleans wonderfully (better than anything I’ve used before) is environmentally friendly, and wow, is it cheap compared to commercial brands! (estimates are about 2-4 cents a load for this stuff…compare to your current brand!) I’m running low so made some today. You need the following:

Grate your Fels Naptha. This yields a little over two cups. I use it all, though the recipe only calls for 2 cups, so you can save the little bar left if you want to use it as needed for other things. Then mix it with 1 cup Borax and 1 cup washing soda. Wala! Done. You only need 2 tablespoons per load to get everything really clean and fresh smelling. Now, here’s a bonus…the dishwasher soap recipe. Recently I tried out Seventh Generation’s dishwashing detergent by ordering online from Gaiam.
I liked it, it worked great, but it’s a little pricey and hard to find locally. So, I looked up homemade dishwasher detergent and what do I find but recipes calling for 1 tablespoon Borax + 1 tablespoon washing soda per load. Sold! Apparently you can also add some distilled white vinegar to the anti-spotting receptacle instead of a gel, but since I never used that anyway I’m going to happily skip that part (I’m not too fond of the smell of vinegar, which is proving to be something I’ll have to try and get over as it’s used for LOTS of cleaning endeavors.) I just found out about this dishwashing bonus today, and there are still are few 7th gen loads left to go, so I won’t be trying it for a few days. When I do, I’ll post back how it works, but I’m feeling optimistic based on the great results from the laundry soap.

Just wanted to add that you can get all of the ingredients solo, mixed, or just the Fels Naptha alone grated, from Soaps Gone Buy. I found all of the ingredients at my local grocery store.

One Local Summer

While searching the internet for green and frugal ideas, I came across the website These Days in French Life. The website contains a wealth of information on both green and frugal life as lived by it’s author, Riana. Many things are way beyond my scope, but it provides interesting reading, great photos, and food for thought. Speaking of food, Riana’s other site, Garlic Breath, has wonderful and innovative recipes, as well as a sidebar containing both what she is working on in general as well as what she’s cooking at any given time. Finally, she also started a Flicker group, A Slow Year, which contains photos along with brief descriptions and comments by many other people attempting to live a little “slower” (think frugal+green+back to basics). In perusing these sites, I found information on and a link to One Local Summer…a challenge to make at least one meal per week from all local foods. Your meal information (and photos) are then posted to your blog, or alternatively e-mailed to the contact. Sign-up deadline is May 25th, (tomorrow!) and the challenge starts June 1st, so if you’re interested head on over and sign up. I thought it would be a great way to really utilize our CSA food this summer, and would maybe inspire me to head out to some local farms for meat, dairy, and eggs.