How To Make A Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

This citrus All Purpose Cleaner is completely non-toxic and costs only pennies to make! #homemadecleaners

When my kids were babies, I would spend their nap times in the bathrooms with the vent fan running, scrubbing away and trying not to breathe the toxic fumes.  However, the day came when they no longer napped, and, even worse, they wanted to help!  I didn’t want them in the room, much less handling the chemicals in those cleaners.  So, I set out to find a better way to a cleaner home. 

Honestly, I didn’t think natural cleaners could live up to the cleaning power of chemical products.  But, for the most part, I have been pleasantly surprised.  In the cases that I do have to turn to a chemical cleaner, I simply rest in the fact that our exposure has decreased substantially.  

This citrus All Purpose Cleaner is completely non-toxic and costs only pennies to make! #homemadecleanersThe staple of a great natural cleaning arsenal is a great all purpose cleaner.  This easy-to-make cleaner combines citrus (which works as a degreaser, stain remover and freshener) and vinegar (which serves to break down mold, grease, mineral deposits and bacteria).  It’s completely safe for the kids, cheap to make, and smells amazing!  Use it to clean and deodorize sinks, stovetops, countertops, bathtubs, floors, toilets, and more. 

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Grab the printable recipe below!

How To Make Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Glass jar
  • Orange peels (or any other citrus fruit peels)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of salt
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
Instructions
  1. Fill your glass container with orange peels. (You can save orange peels in the freezer until you have enough and are ready to make the cleaner.)
  2. Lightly coat the orange peels with salt and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. This will pull the oils from the peels for a great citrus smell and more cleaning power.
  3. Fill your container with vinegar and water. I like about half and half.
Notes
Any combination of citrus fruit peels can be used. Experiment to find a scent you love! Essential oils can also be added along with the vinegar and water.

Now that you have a cleaning product that’s safe for your little ones, check out these tips for getting your toddler to help around the house!

Do you cringe when your toddler wants to "help" you around the house? Read why you should let them help and how to deal with the messiness. #parenting #momhacks #toddlers
Are you concerned about the chemicals in your home?  Have you made any of your own cleaners?

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Kitchen Faucet: Invest In High Quality, Save Money In the Long Run

Cardale kitchen faucet

This post brought to you by Kohler. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Our Life Out Here.

Saving money and living frugally is important to us.  But, I have learned that investing in high quality products to begin with saves me money in the long run.  One place I have definitely learned to invest in quality is my kitchen faucet.

My days revolve around caring for four young children, as well as keeping our house and small farm running smoothly.  It seems like I use my kitchen faucet hundreds of times every day—making lunch, washing eggs, cleaning the kitchen, washing my hands… It never ends.  So, I need a sturdy product that holds up to our lifestyle.

It’s good to know that I can rely on the quality products from Kohler.  And, with the Cardale and Elliston  faucets now available only at Lowe’s, I can get a beautiful, high-end faucet at a great DIY price!  Both faucets feature Kohler’s Scratch Resistant Shield™ finish that resists corrosion and tarnishing, ensuring that whichever style I choose will look great for years to come.

We try to live really frugally, but sometimes I've learned that investing in quality up-front save money in the long run. #ad #KohlerIdeas

I love the classic look of the Cardale Kitchen Faucet and can image it being a lovely addition to an apron farmhouse sink or a traditional double basin drop-in sink.

We try to live really frugally, but sometimes I've learned that investing in quality up-front save money in the long run. #ad #KohlerIdeas

But, beyond it’s attractive appearance, it features Kohler’s pull-down, two function spray head with touch control, Sweep Spray™ (which creates a forceful blade of water designed to sweep away any stuck-on food that you may have left sitting in the sink for… ummm, a few too many hours), and aerated stream settings.  Also, the temperature memory allows the faucet to be turned on and off at any temperature setting… No more leaving the water running because you don’t want to try to find that perfect temperature again!

If a more modern look is for you, check out the Elliston Kitchen Faucet !

We try to live really frugally, but sometimes I've learned that investing in quality up-front save money in the long run. #ad #KohlerIdeas

This sleek faucet is tall enough to fit your big pots under and the pull-out head gives you even more flexibility.  In addition to the Scratch Resistant Shield™, the MasterClean™ Spray Face resists mineral buildup, making it a snap to clean!  And, of course, we all can appreciate that!  Also, the Elliston faucet features a high temperature limit stop, so you can let your little ones help in the kitchen without worrying about them getting scalded.

Whichever look you prefer, you can’t go wrong with one of these classy new faucets from Lowe’s.  The Cardale or the Elliston will be a staple in your kitchen for years to come!

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How To Chop An Onion Like A Boss (And Without Crying)

You don't need a special kitchen gadget to chop an onion, just a good knife, a cutting board and this technique. #kitchenhack #kitchentip #onions

Years ago, at my wedding reception, I sang “Any Man Of Mine” by Shania Twain to my very surprised new husband.  I don’t think he understood the full weight of the line “When I cook him dinner and I burn it black, he’d better say, ‘mmm, I like it like that.'”  In addition to multiple burned meals, he endured very garlic-y salsa because I didn’t know the difference between a clove and a bulb, gravy made with wheat flour because it was all I had and didn’t figure it really mattered, extra trips to the grocery store because I was convinced that I couldn’t make grilled cheese sandwiches or toast without squeeze Parkay, and then there was that sauteed burned onion…

You don't need a special kitchen gadget to chop an onion, just a good knife, a cutting board and this technique. #kitchenhack #kitchentip #onions

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and choose to make a purchase, I may (at no additional cost to you) receive a sales commission.  Your support allows us to continue bringing you great content.  🙂

Even though I don’t consider myself a great cook, I’ve definitely come a long way, baby.  And, along the way, I’ve learned a lot of things that have made my life easier and my time in the kitchen more enjoyable.  A faster way to chop onions has definitely been one of those things, along with the fact that chopped onions can be frozen.  Simply chop the onion, put it in a Ziplock freezer bag, squeeze the air out, flatten, seal, and freeze!  Next time you need onions for a soup or casserole, they’re ready to go!  Now, that’s just crazy talk!

Check out the video!

By the way, if chopping onions makes you cry, check out these onion goggles!  If goggles in the kitchen aren’t your thing, try one of these techniques.  

Did you know how to cook when you moved out of your parents home?  What tips have you learned to make your time in the kitchen easier?

This one tip made mealtimes with our four kids so much smoother. #momhack #mealtimehack

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How To Make Powdered Laundry Detergent Without Grating Soap

homemade laundry detergent

Last week, as I was grating a bar of soap to make another batch of homemade laundry detergent, I decided that there had to be a better way.  So, after a little poking around on-line, I learned that Ivory soap expands and turns to a foam when heated in the microwave.  Aside from being a really cool science experiment to do with the kids, I found it to be the perfect solution to my soap-grating woes!

When removed from the microwave, the Ivory will be brittle and flaky but will retain all of it’s cleaning power.  So, it’s super easy to run it through your food processor and end up with a fine powder–perfect for the powdered laundry detergent recipe below.  Or, you can simply crumble it with your hands and add it in place of the grated soap in this liquid detergent recipe.

Do you want to make homemade laundry detergent but don't like grating soap? This post will show you how! (Plus, it's a really cool science experiment!) #laundrysoap #homemadecleaners

Remember, this only works with Ivory soap.  Oh, and be sure to check out why it works

Update:  A reader informed me that this will also work with Fels Naptha.  Just keep a close eye on it and don’t “overcook”. 

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, I may (at no additional cost to you) receive a commission.  Thank you so much for your support!

Powdered Laundry Detergent 

Tools you will need:  A microwave, food processor, and a recycled container for storage.  (Here’s a quick way to remove the label.)

Ingredients:

Place Ivory soap on a plate in the microwave and cook, watching constantly. It will turn to a foam. Once cooled, use your food processor to turn it to a fine powder. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and store in recycled container. Use 2 tablespoons per load.

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Easy Sausage Gravy (Plus A Freezer Recipe)

This sausage gravy is easy to make and will remind you of grandma's home cooking! Even better, the recipe gives freezer instructions for a quick, hot breakfast! #biscuitsandgravy #sausagegravy #homecooking

I love old movies!  I love getting a peek into how life might have been before we became so industrialized as a nation.  One thing that has always fascinated me is how the whole town seemed to look forward to the County Fair.  The whole family would load up their buggies with their best animals, quilts and mama’s famous pies.  The anticipation was so thick that you couldn’t help but be drawn into the excitement on the screen.  The day was full of rides, interesting sites, and sweet treats for the kids.  The ladies took their placement in the domestic arts competitions very seriously.  And, the men enjoyed a little gambling on the buggy races.  I don’t know how historically accurate those movies are, but the nostalgia of everyone taking a day away from their incredibly hard work to come together for fellowship, fun and friendly competition always puts a smile on my face.

So, this year the kids and I gathered up our creations and submitted them for display and judging at our local county fair.  The entry part was a little tedious–filling out what seemed to be 100 tags and standing in line multiple times with four kids to submit our items in the proper categories.  However, I chalk a lot of that up to lack of experience.  We’re going in with a plan next year!  And, Saturday morning, when we walked around as a family seeing our goodies on display and finding some of them with ribbons (and even cash prizes), it was totally worth it!  The kids were thrilled with their ribbons, and all have plans to come back next year with even better entries–including rabbits and chickens!

This sausage gravy is easy to make and will remind you of grandma's home cooking! Even better, the recipe gives freezer instructions for a quick, hot breakfast! #biscuitsandgravy #sausagegravy #homecooking

That morning, I also competed in the gravy cook-off and Towhead showed his eggs.  We were both happy with the results.

This sausage gravy is easy to make and will remind you of grandma's home cooking! Even better, the recipe gives freezer instructions for a quick, hot breakfast! #biscuitsandgravy #sausagegravy #homecooking

I have to admit, winning meant quite a bit to me.  More than anything, I want to be a skilled homemaker, but I grew up in a generation that didn’t really value those skills.  For years, making anything without a recipe scared me–especially gravy!  Trust me.  If you had witnessed some of my failures in my early years of marriage, you’d understand.

This sausage gravy is easy to make and will remind you of grandma's home cooking! Even better, the recipe gives freezer instructions for a quick, hot breakfast! #biscuitsandgravy #sausagegravy #homecooking

Anyway, years ago I read a newspaper article written by a Home Economics teacher.  She shared a gravy recipe that she has been teaching students for over 25 years.  There’s even an option to freeze the cooked sausage and flour, then just add milk and cook for a quick breakfast!  Nowadays, I don’t stress so much about the measurements, but the basic idea is still the same.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.  🙂

This sausage gravy is easy to make and will remind you of grandma's home cooking! Even better, the recipe gives freezer instructions for a quick, hot breakfast! #biscuitsandgravy #sausagegravy #homecooking

Easy Sausage Gravy (Plus A Freezer Recipe)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ pound sausage
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
Instructions
  1. Brown the sausage in heavy skillet.
  2. Pour off grease and add 6 tablespoons of flour.
  3. Stir until the flour is evenly distributed.
  4. Add 3 cups milk, ½ cup at a time.
  5. Stir to make a paste, as you add the remaining milk, evenly mix the milk throughout.
  6. Cook until thickened.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Notes
To make ahead of time, brown the sausage, drain the fat and coat it with flour. It can then be frozen. Just add milk and cook until thickened.

 

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Grandma’s Chicken Salad: A Perfect Use For Leftover Chicken

chicken recipe

Years ago, my grandma put together a recipe book.  Not only did she collect recipes from everyone in the family, but she also wove family pictures, special dates, and other fun tidbits throughout the book.  Today, my copy is well-worn, and many of the recipes on it’s pages have become staples in our home, including this chicken salad.

This easy chicken salad recipe is can be made with chicken breats or leftover chicken! It makes a great light lunch when served on potato bread or kaiser buns! #chickenrecipes #shredded chicken

There’s something very special to me about a shared recipe.  I may forget to preheat the oven to 375 degrees or beat the eggs before dumping them in, but I never forget who shared that recipe with me and the circumstances surrounding the occasion–the chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe that a sweet neighbor brought over in an envelope filled with recipes printed just for me, the chicken spaghetti that a friend served one evening when my husband and I came over for dinner, the macaroni and cheese that my aunt has brought to Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember….  Every time I prepare a shared recipe for my family, I think of the person who shared it with me, reminisce just a little, and smile.  

My hope is that you will enjoy this chicken salad as much as we do, and that, when you prepare it, you’ll think of our little family and our connection (even if it’s only through this blog) and smile.  And, that–just maybe–you’ll share a favorite recipe with me.  🙂

Grandma's Chicken Salad
Author: 
 
This chicken salad is perfect for a light lunch served on potato bread or kaiser buns.
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts (or leftover shredded chicken)
  • 18 ounces mayonnaise
  • ½ onion (chopped)
  • 1½ cups seedless grapes (cut in halves)
  • 1½ cups raisins
  • 1 cup halved pecans
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil chicken breasts and cut into small pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix in remaining ingredients and chill.
  2. Enjoy!

Use your kitchen shears to make quick work of shedding the cooked chicken:

This one tip made mealtimes with our four kids so much smoother. #momhack #mealtimehack

 

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Pallet Sign Lettering Technique (It’s Easy Even For The Un-Crafty!)

This lettering technique makes hand painted signs easy even if you're not crafty. #crafting

Pallets.  Five minutes on Pinterest and you’re sure to see tons of uses for them–everything from furniture to gardening to flooring to signs.  So, when Mister drug some home, I couldn’t wait for a trip to town to make a rustic farmhouse pallet sign.  As he disassembled the pallet, I rounded up my supplies.  Paint-Check.  Paintbrushes-Check.  Sandpaper-Check.  Stain-Check.  Stencils or expensive cricut machine to do lettering-Umm… No go. 

Use this easy lettering technique to make a "hand-painted" pallet sign! #pallet #craft #farmhousesign www.ourlifeouthere.com
This post contains affiliate links.  See my full disclosure on the left sidebar.

I was determined not to let progress on my pallet project stop.  Trust me.  Around here, if I stop in the middle of a project, something else will take it’s place, and it may be a very, very long time before I get back to it.  Fortunately, after a few minutes on-line, I found this great post by Homespun Happenings and the pallet project was saved! 

(Hint:  To disassemble the pallet, run a reciprocating saw with a demolition blade between the boards to cut right through the nails.  This saves you a lot of work and leaves the nail heads in the boards, giving your creations a lot of character.)

Once Mister had my board free, I applied a light coat of my chosen paint color to it.  I left the edges un-painted, so I could get a distressed look without a lot of sanding.  While the paint was drying, I printed off the lettering in the size and font that I liked.  Then, I colored the back of the lettering with a pencil.pallet sign lettering 1

 Next, I positioned the phrase on the board, taped it in place, and traced around the letters. 

pallet sign lettering 2

Tracing the letters transferred the outline onto the board.  All I had to do was trace over the outline with my Sharpie Paint Marker and color the letters in!  Easy peasy.

Once the letters were dry, I used sandpaper to distress it a little more and applied a light layer of dark gel stain to age it a little. 

Use this easy lettering technique to make a "hand-painted" pallet sign! #pallet www.ourlifeouthere.com
I am so excited to find this “why didn’t I think of that” lettering technique and am sure that it will be useful in SO MANY projects! 

What about you?  Do you have any projects that this can help with?

After the awesome results on my pallet sign, I used this technique on our screen door, and I LOVE how it turned out!  Check it out!

This is a great way to add character to any screen door. #screendoor #countryliving www.ourlifeouthere.com

Featured on: Front Porch Friday

How To Take Your Cornbread To A Whole New Level

Read how to take your favorite cornbread recipe to the next level! #castiron #cornbreadrecipe #comfortfood

Cornbread.  It’s a welcome addition to every Southern meal.  But, I’ve noticed through the years that people are very loyal to their favorite cornbread.  Some have a favorite mix, while others swear by their grandma’s time-tested recipe.  Some like it unadulterated, while others like to dress it up with everything from jalapenos to blueberries.  

No doubt, our strong feelings about cornbread  stem from nostalgic childhood memories around the dinner table.  It takes us back to a simpler time of conversation, food, and family–uninterrupted by constant busyness and electronic devices.  No matter what recipe or mix you love, these tips can take it to a whole new level!   

Find out how to take your favorite cornbread recipe to the next level! #comfortfood #cornbreadrecipe #cookingtips #castironcooking

First of all, when it comes to cornbread (or a lot of things for that matter), you can’t beat a cast iron skillet!  In fact, I have a skillet reserved just for cornbread.  It’s seasoned just right, and I only have to wipe it out and  rub on a little oil between uses.  🙂  Just find a skillet that is the right size for your recipe and your family.  I use a 12″ skillet for two boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.

Here’s how you can take your favorite cornbread recipe to the next level:

  1. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat.  
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cornbread batter as recommended.  
  3. When the oven reaches the desired temperature, carefully add 3/4 stick (6 Tablespoons) of butter to the skillet and return it to the oven.  (This is the amount of butter I use for a 12″ skillet.  You may need to adjust the amount for your skillet.  But, remember, lots of butter is key!)
  4. Watch the butter constantly.  As soon as it melts, remove the skillet.  
  5. Pour the cornbread mix in the middle of the skillet.  As the mix spreads, it should push the butter against the edges of the skillet.  This will create a buttery, crispy edge!  
  6. Place skillet on the middle oven rack and cook for the appropriate time.    

How often do you have cornbread at your house?  Do you have a favorite recipe or mix?  I’d love to hear it!

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Oatmeal. It’s Not Just For Breakfast.

Check out all of the uses for oatmeal!

When many people think of oatmeal, they think of those little single serve packages–you know, the ones that are loaded with lots of junk you can’t pronounce and a few rolled oats.  But, it is so much more than that!  With uses from the kitchen to beauty products to the garden, oats boast a cheap price tag while being loaded with health benefits.  

Oatmeal is healthy and inexpensive! Check out all of it's uses both in and out of the kitchen! #frugalrecipes #homemadebeautyproducts #oatmealrecipes

Whether you’re trying to eat healthy or feed your family on a budget, oatmeal needs to be a staple in your pantry.  If you’ve never cooked it before, don’t worry.  It’s super easy to cook on the stove top, in the crockpot, or in the oven.  You can serve it unadulterated or topped with fruit, honey or even pb&j!  However you serve it, be sure to cook more than you need so you’ll have leftover cooked oats to make this Tropical Baked Oatmeal.

This tropical baked oatmeal is a great twist on plain oatmeal and makes a great, hot breakfast. #oatmealrecipe
Of course, you can’t think of oats without thinking of homemade granola.  Throw it on some yogurt or in a bowl of milk and you have a healthy, filling breakfast or snack.  Another magical power of oatmeal is it can make cookies into breakfast food!  These Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies and Campfire Cooking Rob Roy Cookies are both chock-full of yummy, healthy goodness!

And, it’s not just for breakfast!  Oatmeal makes a great replacement for bread crumbs to create gluten-free meatloaf.  (Be sure to buy the gluten free rolled oats if you have a gluten intolerance.)  Or, whip up a batch of these smokey meatballs!  You’re sure to be the hit of the party!

As I mentioned earlier, oatmeal’s not just for the kitchen!  In addition to having exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties, it also contains a mild cleansing agent, helps improve skin tone and texture, reduces pore size, and repairs damage from some chemicals.  

To gain these benefits for your face, use one of these facial scrubs daily and treat your skin to a weekly Yogurt and Oatmeal or Honey Facial Mask.  And, since the rest of your skin needs some love too, try making this Oatmeal and Honey Soap.  If you’re new to soap making or are uncomfortable working with lye, check out this tutorial for Making Goat Milk Soap Without Lye!

This Goat Milk Soap contains oatmeal to gently exfoliate your skin and doesn't require lye! #oatmealrecipes

And, while you’re making all of these products for YOUR skin, don’t forget Fido!  Next time you give your dog a bath, treat him to this Natural Dog Shampoo.  It’s great for sensitive skin and takes care of any funky dog smell!

Finally, did you know that oatmeal is even useful in the garden?  Check out this post on grocery store gardening to find out all of the things in your pantry, including oatmeal, that are useful in your garden.

As you can see, I’m sold on oatmeal and it’s frugal health advantages!  What about you?  Do you have a favorite oatmeal recipe?  Do you use it for anything besides food?

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How To Make A Chicken Pin Cushion

My chicken pin cushion

Sewing is one of the many homesteading skills I’m trying to learn.  In fact, I have “become a successful seamstress” on my Bucket List.  So, when I came across these adorable chicken pin cushions, I HAD to make a chicken pin cushion of my own!

If you're looking for a beginner sewing project, these are a great place to start! They're easy and super cute! #chickens #sewing #easysewing

Of course, all of my kids wanted their own chickens, and, since we were experiencing extreme cold, snow and ice, I thought it would be a good day to introduce them to the sewing machine.  🙂  It’s a fairly simple project and Red Ted Art has a complete tutorial.  They also have tons of fun kid projects, so I have a feeling I’ll be visiting often.

I do have to caution you, though.  I have a feeling that these chicken pin cushions are going to be like their live counterparts, you can’t have (or make) just one!  It’s called “chicken math.”  😉

Here are the kids’ finished chickens:

If you're looking for a beginner sewing project, these are a great place to start! They're easy and super cute! #chickens #sewing #easysewing

Have you made these chicken pin cushions?  What do you do with your kids when your stuck inside due to bad weather?