Simply Getting By

Simplifying my life & taking back control of my choices, possessions, lifestyle, and nourishment in order to salvage my finances, the environment, and my sanity.

New Look October 16, 2008

Filed under: free — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 10:57 pm

After realizing how plain my blog looked compared to many of the really cute layouts on other pages I’ve been reading, I decided it was time for a facelift.

I got this new layout from, and there are a bunch of other free, cute backgrounds, and a few headers, available there to download for free.


Menu Plan Monday October 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 4:52 pm

tuna casserole
green peas & mushrooms

fried chicken
garlic mashed potatoes
corn on the cob

black bean chili
salsa conrbread
guacamole & chips

salmon patties
steamed broccoli
herb & butter rice

greek salad w/ orzo & grilled tofu
bruschetta & seasoned olive oil

sub sandwiches
crackers, summer sausage & cheese

lamb gyro wraps
lentil stew


Homemade Laundry Soap & Fabric Softeners October 3, 2008

Filed under: diy,frugal,homemaking — Raine @ Simply Getting By @ 4:21 pm

I finally broke down and made some homemade laundry soap last week.

I’d seen recipes online for a while, but was hesitant to use them because most were liquid/gels and looked sort of gloopy and messy [I don’t even like commercial liquid detergents].

I found a recipe for a powdered laundry soap, made from the same ingredients, minus the water, and thought it looked good. I’ve done 3 loads of laundry since, using homemade fabric softener as well, and the clothes are coming out clean and good-smelling, so I consider it a success.

The homemade soap powder recipe I used was:

2 parts [3 cups total] SOAP I used 1 bar Octagon & 1 bar Ivory, because I couldn’t find Fels Naptha or Zote
1 part [1 1/2 cups] *Washing Soda
– Couldn’t find this either, made by heating baking soda for 2 hours @ 375°
1 part [1 1/2 cups] Borax

Several people have tried similar recipes with baking soda, and it does not work. They are different chemically. You can make a washing soda by heating baking soda in the oven for an hour or two at 350-400°, but do not use this for other household uses afterwards. It is still best to find and buy “Super Washing Soda” [Arm & Hammer brand] in the laundry aisle or online.

This is so easy to make – grate the soap on the fine side of a cheese grater, then powder and mix together in the food processer, and just add to water to do your washing.

I also added 2 scoops [about 3 Tbsp] of generic Oxyclean, and some leftover Tide detergent [maybe 1/2 – 3/4 cup]. I’ve been using 1 heaping Tbsp for most laundry, and 2 Tbsp for the dirty stuff, and this is working great, even in our cold water washer.

I had trouble finding some of the ingredients at Wal-Mart & Food Lion , but sells a kit with everything included, or you should be able to shop around and find it all locally.

I also added a homemade liquid fabric softener made from vinegar, baking soda, and water. The recipe I used for this was:

2 cups white vinegar
2 cups baking soda
4 cups water

Mix the vinegar and baking soda in with 1/2 the water each & add the soda/water very slowly to the vinegar water, giving time for it to fizz up and then die down before adding more [use a very large container, to allow room for the foam]. When it’s settled down, por into an airtight container, and use 1/2 to 1 cup per load. I poured mine back into a fabric softener bottle, with about 1/2 an inch of softener in the bottle to add scent, and am just adding a cap full to the laundry.

Another fabric softener recipe is:

2 cups hair conditioner [one regular size bottle is almost 2 cups – close enough]
3 cups white vinegar
6 cups water

Mix these together and use as you would store-bought softener. You can also put this in a spray bottle or baby wipe container and use to soak or spray and saturate a clean rag or squares of flannel, then toss it in the dryer with your laundry for easy homemade dryer sheets. [Several homemade sheets can be left soaking in the container, ready to use, or just use the spray bottle to saturate a new rag/cloth each time you dry them].