20 September, 2010

Elderberry syrup and Prespray

I'm always looking for a new way to save a few pennies, what with all these gorgeous children that keep showing up around here. :) I have 2 different things for you to try, and i'm excited about both.

I do lots of laundry. Lots and lots and lots. I do clothing on Monday, sheets and towels on Tuesday, clothing again on Wednesday, Thursday i take the day off unless there are blankets that need washing, Friday i do clothing again and Saturday? You guessed it, clothing and towels. An average of 3-4 loads a day, which means going through a ton of laundry soap. So i started once again making my laundry soap which is simple and inexpensive and i think i like it. Once i took into account that i am doing some extremely dirty wash, i realized my homemade soap is working quite well. The recipe is simple. One bar of grated soap, ( i use Fels Naptha) 4 cups Borax and 2 cups washing soda. Sometimes i use part Biz to give an added boost, and i use about 1/4 cup per load of the soap, although the recipe says 2 T for large loads. I'm guessing they're talking about "normal" american families, not farmers, so i use more. But that's not the recipe i'm wanting to share. The recipe i'm excited to share with you is prespray. You see, i really hate soaking and scrubbing my dirty wash. I want to prespray and throw it into the wash. When you're doing literally hundreds of pieces of clothing a week, you don't have the time to hunker down over a washtub, laboriously hand scrubbing each shirt. However, prespray is expensive, and my wallet isn't exactly fat, so i started scouring the internet for options. First option didn't work, but today i hit on a gold mine. Equal parts of water, dish soap, and ammonia. That's it. Woo-hoo, join me while we do the laundry dance......i used Dawn, since that kind's really good for grease and i put it into an old spray bottle. I was simply amazed at how well it worked. Stuff like that makes me happy.... very, very happy.

Now for recipe #2. You know that really expensive elderberry syrup that you buy at the health food store that you take when you're fighting a cold or flu? Well guess what.......you can make it yourself. At home. So without further ado.........


1 cup fresh elderberries or 1/2 cup dried
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 T fresh ginger, grated
2 cup water
1 cup honey, raw

Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in saucepan and simmer til reduced to half, about 20 minutes. Strain and make sure to squash the berries to get all the yumminess out. Add honey, pour into small glass jar and store in fridge. It will last up to several weeks. Take a teaspoon daily as an insurance against the flu or colds and if you're fighting something, take up to 4 teaspoons. And really, if you feel like drinking the whole jar, it ain't gonna' hurt ya. So slurp it down and enjoy the cold weather.

So there you have it. 2 recipes for my special blog friends, even if you almost never leave comments. ;)


  1. Well, i will leave a comment!!Just to say again i LOVE reading your blog:) I have made (and like,) the laundry detergent, I will try the presoak, and lastly, I just love having you in my life. You're wonderfully sweet... and a blessing to me<3

  2. Okay...sniff, sniff. I love you too!

  3. ahem....this is the minister's wife..."laundry dance" you say....hmmmm....might have to make a formal "visit" out of this one. ;)

    IF that laundry detergent works, I WILL do the laundry dance, trust me! Just today, Rex was asking me again, why I don't make my own! Amazing timing! LOL!

    And yes, the prespray is super expensive...unless you use COUPONS! :) Good ol' sunshine works wonders too...but not enough for every kind of stain in this household of boys! I am planning on trying the prespray. Thanks for sharing!

    Is that enough of a comment? Do I count? Do I matter in this world of blogs when I myself am void of one? sniff...sniff...

    Ok enough already, I gotta go do laundry...

    Love you,

  4. And how do you store your laundry detergent? Do you use 1/4 cup for an HE machine?

    oh do tell...please, please, please! With an elderberry on top!!!

    Whose ya buddy?!


  5. My buddy? You're my minister's wife and you call yourself my buddy? I guess i'll let you continue being my buddy........

    First of all, there's no good store close to here to make coupons worth while. Secondly, i don't have any coupons. Thirdly, i don't have the time to look for them. Fourthly, it's much more spiritual to make your own stuff. Fifthly, that last sentence wasn't true. And sixthly, sunshine doesn't get grease stains out and seventhly, i would have the lawn full of clothes and eighthly, the dogs and many children would run over them. Hey, isn't this how all buddies act?

    I store my laundry soap, which is a powder that you need to throw in your vitamix to make the grated soap fine, in a pretty glass jar on top of my washer. I have a 1/4 cup scoop in with it.......hey, invite us over and i'll help you make it. All you have to supply is some of that chocolate. This week sometime? Sure. Saturday brunch? Sure, we'd love to come. Thanks so much for asking, we're honored. All right, ol' buddy, pal of mine, see ya later. :)


  6. Oh, we so need the elderberry syrup right now! I usually make echinacea/elder berry tea but have trouble getting the kids to drink it warm enough. Also my 4yo has a nasty cough that could surely use some honey to soothe.
    Great recipes!! How does the laundry soap work on clothe daipers? We are expecting #5 soon and looking for cheaper solutions also!

  7. Hello Darla!

    Just wanted to let you know that you have a fan in San Diego, California. I enjoy reading your blog!

    You are so lucky to live where there are 4 seasons. I was born and raised here in San Diego County. I moved to Iowa when I was 28 years old, and lived there for 12 years. I loved every second of that time of my life. I only moved back to San Diego to be near my parents, who, like me, are not getting any younger!! I moved back in 2000, but, oh how my heart yearns for the seasons still.

    By the way, my Dad was born in the Valley Forge area there in Pennsylvania, but moved to Washington state when he was 12. My Mom was born in New Jersey, but grew up near West Chester, Pennsylvania.

    I found your blog somehow a couple of months ago. I started reading at the very first post and read all the way through to the current post.

    Because of you, my husband and I are now drinking raw milk. It took me awhile to find a farm that sells it. We have to drive 45 minutes once a week up into the mountains to purchase the milk. But I think the trip is well worth it. I had found some at the local Henry's market here, but they wanted $8.19 for a half gallon. The farmer is selling me the milk for $5 a gallon. Regular pastuerized milk sells for about $3 a gallon here.

    Next I am looking at buying a food mill to start making our own flour. My oldest daughter has fibermyalgia and seems to be gluton intolerant. So I am passing your recipes on to her. Thank you!

    I had started a blog May of 2009, but stopped writing on it in November of 2009. My husband got really sick and there for awhile I thought I was going to lose him. It has been a long process, he has another appointment with his doctor in a week and hopefully at that appointment we will find out if he is totally healed.

    And then, I am thinking, I will start writing on my blog again. I applaud you for sticking with your blog with all that you have on your plate to do everyday. I hope you continue as I sure enjoy hearing how your days are going. Reading your blog is like receiving a letter from you, they are so newsy and nice!

    I love that you homeschool, I homeschooled my youngest (who is 21 now). Don't ever give up with that, I know there are days you want to pull your hair out, but in the long run, you will be so happy that you taught your kids and not the secular public schools.

    You are doing a great job!

    Your Fan,


  8. Ok, I'll jump on the comment wagon! that Elderberry Syrup sounds extravagant - much yummier than my 1/3 elderberry concoction, 1/3 honey, 1/3 brandy or rum mix. Sure... mine keeps longer... but I can use it as a punishment (with the kids) rather than a reward!

    I was wondering - how many loads does one batch of your laundry soap do? Seems easier without the mixing and adding of water.

    Anyway, I have a SD card to send you with pictures. Andrew sent a box down to you the other day and we forgot to put it in. Then, yesterday I found Zachary's sweater. I'll see what I can do... sometime...

    Well, my internet and my husband need to leave for work, so I'd better run!

    Love, Licia

  9. Andrea, it was good to hear from you again. I don't know how the soap works on diapers, i've never tried it. I still use all pampers, since my man has a hatred for toilets with poopy pampers soaking in them. He did give me permission since we moved to a house with 4 bathrooms, but now i can't afford the cloth ones i'd like. O well, hopefully the twins will soon be potty trained.

    Donna,you made my day. I'm honored that you take the time to read my blog and i hope it continues to bless you.
    Wow, California. A long time ago we trekked through California and i loved it. There are so many places in the United States that i think i would love living in. And yes, i do treasure our seasons, fall being my favorite. Cool, crisp nights, beautiful warm days......i'm just soaking it up.
    If you ever get into this area, look us up. We have lots of room, lots of animals, and lots of raw milk. :) And i'm sure you could give me much wisdom on the homeschooling end. Thanks for your encouragement!

    And Licia, don't stress about the sweater or SD card. I won't have to have the pictures until spring when i do the portfolios and Zac has other sweaters he can wear. When you come to visit us is soon enough. Can't wait......

  10. Darla, So interesting to find your blog. I am finding out more and more how many of the Martin's have great writing skills. I love your postings. We also make our own homemade laundry detergent and love it. It is really pennies compared to bought detergent. One question, do you notice that your whites turn a little "grayish"? Just curious. Marilyn (Lloyd's wife)


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