Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent Works! And was very easy to make

I was a bit more productive this weekend.   I got my house relatively clean, which, for me, is impressive since i'm not even expecting company anytime soon.   I actually made my homemade laundry detergent and then had some laundry to do yesterday and it seemed to get the clothes good and clean, which is exciting.  And I spent a total of $7 on the stuff to make it with....and I will have to buy more of the bar soap that cost almost a dollar, but there was enough of the other stuff to make MANY more batches of detergent.  Interested in saving money yourself....here's the recipe.

2 cups hot tap water
1/2 bar Fels Naptha soap bar
1/2 cup washing soda
1/4 cup borax

Grate your soap into a saucepan with 2 cups of hot tap water.  I used my mandolin to grate, but any grater or food processor would work.  Put this pan over medium heat and stir until the soap is melted and dissolved.  Fill a 11 qt bucket half full of hot tap water.  Add melted soap, washing soda, and borax.  Stir until it is completely dissolved then fill to the top with hot tap water.  Stir, cover and let sit overnight.  It will form a nice gel.  The next day stir it up, I found using a whisk broke it up into a pourable consistency pretty well, just be careful not to overflow your bucket.  If you have a five gallon bucket, you could do this only filling it a total of half full then you could stir as wildly as your heart desires:)  Then fill a container, I used an old laundry detergent bottle, half full of water and half full of your newly made laundry detergent.  Shake well before each use and use 1/4 cup per load for front loading machines, 5/8 cup per load for top loading.  I made the mix from start to finish in about 10 minutes, then the next morning spent about 10 more minutes filling containers (my bucket actually has other uses so I couldnt just leave my soap in it indefinitely).  The recipe also said you could use ivory soap, which would have saved even more money and was going to be what I would use except that I forgot when I was over in the body soap part of the store on a Saturday morning, with a two year old and then whenever I was getting the borax and washing soda...there was the fels naptha bar sitting right there so I snatched it up.  I've given you the measurements I used and I have 5 gallons of detergent, approximately 320 loads.  I cut the recipe in half...I got it from the Duggars and I have 18 fewer children then they do so I didnt need quite as much detergent, and I didnt have 2 five gallon buckets or that many containers handy.  But so far, quite impressed.  I had also read somewhere that you could use vinegar as a fabric softener, so I thought, why not, I'll give it a try.  I hadnt made my new detergent yet so it was with the same old stuff I have been using.  I filled the softener thing up with vinegar.  I was a bit concerned that my clothes (or in this case towels) would smell like vinegar, but they came out smelling like clean towels.  However, I cant say they were a bit softer than the load I washed without any sort of fabric softener, so while vinegar is cheap, didn't really see that it did a thing to my laundry.  Oh and I made another cheap cleaning discovery.  Yes, I'm that person you see at walmart with 4 big boxes of arm and hammer baking soda in their cart and you wonder what on earth they use it for.  Well...you see it has many uses.  I started buying lots of it back in the days of a diaper pail.  And diaper pails stink.  Whenever I purchased the pail they had the odor absorbing cakes you put in them to help, but after a while they've absorbed all the stinky diaper smell they can and they need replaced.  They were expensive and from what I could tell were nothing more than baking soda, so I made some cakes and put in there.  Cheap and effective.  Then I got lazy...why bother making cakes.  So every time I dumped my diaper pail I would start with a layer of baking soda.  Whenever I put a poopy diaper in, sprinkle in more baking soda.  So I used a lot of baking soda (also helped get them extra clean whenever I washed!)  Then I started cleaning lots of other things with baking soda.  The other thing I've been using is vinegar in my dishwasher.  Put it in your jet dry dispenser and it eliminates that yucky white film that we've been getting since they epa told the detergent companies they had to be more eco friendly.  And you are still being nice to the environment, an added plus.   So vinegar....baking soda....great for cleaning your garbage disposal, too.  So I was talking to my mom the other night about how I just hadn't found that great cleaner for my ceramic stovetop and stuff gets burnt on it ALL the time!  She said, do you have baking soda?  Vinegar?  (She doesnt have a ceramic stovetop she was just offering suggestions).  So I sprinkled baking soda over the top.  Put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz it on top (didn't want too much, remember the volcano trick from elementary science?)  But that same chemical reaction that made the volcano seemed like it might clean my stovetop.  It worked as well as, if not better than, anything else I'd tried and the best part....totally cheap!  I did combine and use my ceramic stovetop scrubby, but now my stovetop is clean.  It also set there a while because no sooner had I put it on then everyone decided they were hungry so I went to Pizza hut and got dinner....which may have helped clean but regardless I got all the burnt stuff off and didnt spend half a day doing it!

So are you inspired to go clean now? I was, however a clean house doesnt stay that way long and it is already looking like it needs cleaned again:( But since I'm posting, I told you I still take pictures of the little monster princess so I thought I'd give you all a few to look at this morning.

 We made binoculars the other day...you know to remind you that God is always watching over us, just like Miriam watched Baby Moses go down the Nile.  They loved playing with them!
 Ok, so this isnt the best picture, but the other day while we were out playing they heard "bad boys"  aka sirens and so they all ran to the fence to see if they could see them.  However they weren't actually in our subdivision so they never saw them.
 And here's a girl and her bird. 
She likes to pet baby max.  Daddy usually has to hold the bird.  I held it the other day.  Then I had to catch it on the mantle....hmmm...mommy not so good at holding bird, maybe we should just let Daddy hold him for now!
She wanted to pet but she wanted to know why I kept taking her picture too. 
And since I don't think I've posted a picture where you can really see him, this is Baby Max.  A very talkative bird. 

And in case you are wondering, yes, Emily dresses herself.  Swimsuits, clothes that don't fit, as long as she's dressed I usually just go with it.  Although I took out a huge laundry basket heaped with clothes that are too small from her room the other day.  And she still has way more clothes than one little girl needs!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25.....148 years ago

Take a moment out of your day and think about your life.  Do you think times are hard?  If you are reading this, then you have internet access, a way to connect with millions worldwide.  Is your husband there with you, maybe watching his favorite show on tv?   Get up for a minute and go outside.  Does anything seem out of place?  Life-altering?  Did you just wander outside, without fear? Are your neighbors peaceful?  Do you go to sleep at night without worrying about who or what might be hiding just outside?

Now I want you to imagine you are living in western Missouri and the year is 1863.  What would your life have been like?  August 25, 1863...and for a majority of the people living where I currently live, they were being forced to leave their homes by an order stating that unless they would pledge their livelihood and allegiace to the Federal army then they must leave their homes behind.  You cautiously step outside, afraid that someone might be out there to capture you, make you a prisoner of war, or worse.  It wasn't long ago that many of your  friends were captured, thrown in a makeshift jail in Kansas City, and ultimately lost their lives when that building collapsed.  You are convinced it was sabatoged.  Women and children are now casualties of the horrific scenes you have begun witnessing.  Many nights your husband isnt home, not wishing to give the Jayhawkers any clue that you are associated with this guerrilla warfare.  You step outside and the smell of smoke is overwhelming and you know you must hurry inside to gather up what few precious belongings you can take with you.  Whenever the order  is issued you prepare to leave, but not without hard feelings,you are an emotional basketcase  on the inside.  On the outside you have to be strong.  You have to let your husband know that you support the cause he's fighting for while also letting him know how much you will miss him.  You are relieved to be going for the sake of the children.  The world they are witnessing is atrocious, not to mention ther lives aren't safe either.  So you are glad to be going, for them.   The wind stirs and you  catch another whif of smoke.  Another neighbor's home going up in smoke, likely at the hands of the Jayhawkers, days before the set date that they said you must leave by.  You cringe.  Then you put on a brave front, return inside and get the children.  You carry afew things and you leave, leading one small calf..the only livestock that hasnt been stolen.  As you leave you look back...this was where you had built your home, you love the land, the house you had worked so hard to make into a home, the place where your children were born.  All that is lost in a fleeting glance over your shoulder.  You have no idea if you'll ever return, when and if this war will ever end.  You look ahead, unsure of where that is leading you too.  You are headed south and west.  You have family there.  They will help you.  And with that, you leave Cass County...and wonder, what kind of story will history tell about this horrendous day?

Now think about it.  Isn't your life good?  Remember you ancestors that, if they were in America then, saw the blood splattered fields of the every day life.  And be thankful for what you have.

For those of you non-history buffs, google Order No 11 and get a full history of the events of the border wars, remembering that history is generally written by the winners:)  And if you are really interested (or bored) I have a 45 minute living history presentation I did on this a couple years ago!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Becoming adicted to DIY

Remeber earlier this summer when I got an urge to make something and it actually turned out like I had planned?  Well, it has since turned into some sort of strange addiction.....for everything Do it yourself.  So what am I up to now?    Nothing, I, for some reaon decided to take the weekend off....I mean completely...my washing machine hasnt run, my vacuum hasn't moved, my sink is full of dishes.  I took a break.  I napped, I lounged, I came up with lots of projects to do once I'm rested.  I did do one thing though....I worked on our budget.  I was attempting to find extra money for a vacation next spring (by the way, the fact that my parents are getting ready to go on a nice long vacation doesnt help the desire for getting away at all when I havent had one since before Emily)  So combine the recent diy obsession and the need to be frugal....anyone ever tried homemade laundry detegent?  I spend about $30 a month on laundry detergent (and I buy the cheap stuff!) and I've been reading where I can make 10 gallons.....yep a LOT of soap, for approximately $2.    I'll let you know how it turns out.

As for updates on the rest of my family....They are resting too...well except the bird.  He's doing flips.  And singing.

And finally, my discoveries for the week.  My dear, darling daughter has an incredibly hard head.  So hard in fact that the other day while pushing her "big high" on the swing I was fully questioning whether or not my nose wqs broken.  Decided it was just bruised.  Yep, I smacked it right into her forehead.  I recommend pushing children on the swings from BEHIND!  You could also say she's stubborn.  She pees in the floor just because she doesnt want to be inconvenienced with actually going to the bathroom.  Then last night she peed in her bedroom simply because she was mad I was making her clean her room by herself (she dumped all her toys out by herself so she could clean by herself!).  I also discovered that the loaded tortilla recipe from the taste of home app was very good (and easy) and the cornbread pancakes with a bean salsa stuff on top from the betty crocker app was not so good.  I discovered that the little bubble tumblers (currently on clearance at walmart) really DO keep the bubbles from spilling, even when thrown to the ground by a two year old. I also discovered that those same bubbles with not work to blow bubbles whenever the two year old stands there and shakes it (probably to see if the no spill concept actually worked!)  And I discovered that whenever it storms the entire family (minus the bird) is tired the next day from sleeping in the same bed with Emily. And my final discovery was a saying from who knows where, but a new motto for my house, "Please excuse the mess, the children are making memories."

Ok, I do still use my camera and take pictures.  Just havent gotten around to getting them on the computer and sharing. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baby Max gets a Bird Cage stand

As you know, last week we got a paraket.  (and for those of you concerned that we took Kendall's pet away from her, she can now "perch" on the arm of the couch or loveseat to see her bird)  Then it needed a place for its cage to sit other than my fireplace.   original plan- put the bird in Emily's room.  New plan-he wants to be around us more so he needs to live in the living room.  Last weekend I selected the plans for a stand, but hadn't completely decided whether to paint or stain.  Since it was going to live in the living room I decided on stain, which I already had, so it didnt add to the cost.  I must say I'm totally addicted to this woodworking stuff...and .fun and relaxing even when the boards arent perfectly straight!  Oh and when I was done, my husband tells me "It actually looks good"  Compliment?  I'm not sure, what did he mean by actually???

Emily helped me "paint" it.  She is a lot of help.  She had a nightmare the other night.  She dreamed that an airplane came and took yellow baby (her favorite doll).  She slept between Neal and I that night.  Then before she would even go in her bedroom we had to go with her and make sure there weren't any airplanes in there.  And yes, my daughter is more technologically capable than I am.   She looked at me the other night, "I need my apps"  She was going to play angry birds and I didnt have to help her at all!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blessed Cloud Cover

This weekend my parents came to visit, Emily LOVES spending time with them.  Its probably been a few years since MeeMaw played with that many Barbies:)  But luckily yesterday there was a nice cloud cover until about 4, holding the temperature down some and allowing us to get out and enjoy the day (granted it was still hot, but hot not scorching!)  So here are a few pictures from our day.  We went to the Battle of Lexington State Park. 
 We grabbed a quick lunch at McDonalds and then walked down to the courthouse to see the cannonball that is still stuck in the pillar 150 years later.  And we actually got a family photo...that is halfway decent!
 See the cannonball?
 They were actually posing first and being just plain adorable.
 In the Visitor Center, Emily was trying to lift a small cannonball.  It was hard from the look on her face:)
 Then we took a tour of the Anderson house, and Antebellum home that was used as a hospital during the battle.  Emily kept climbing up the bench while waiting calling them monkey bars.
 This was the end of the tour....I was totally impressed, she was a very good little two year old on a rather hot and humid historical home tour.  I didnt figure we'd actually get to stay with the tour, but she did great!
 Afterwards, she had to stick her finger in one of the bullet holes on the house.  Of course, whenever the wasp flew out we decided maybe we shouldn't have her do that anymore. 
 We were fully awake and showing off for the camera at this point. 
 This is the house from a distance.
 This is the cat that kept getting inside the house during the tour.  Emily thought it was great, and whenever she bent down after the tour it came trotting over to her and started playing with her stick, it was very cute, she laughed and squealed.
 This is the courthouse again....dont know why the picture didnt want to stay in order:)
 More petting the kitty.
 Did I mention the sun came out and it started heating up very quickly??

So we headed home.  Neal had decided that Emily needed another pet.  Why?  Dunno.  But anyway, as long as help was promised to care for it and it wasnt going to cost too much, I agreed.  So on our way home from Lexington we stopped at his parents and picked up a bird cage.  And yes, we had choices of what cage we wanted;)  So we got one and then went to PetSmart so Emily could pick out her very own parakeet.  After getting home we cleaned out the cage and stuck the bird in it.  Emily wanted to name it baby.  Neal wanted to name it Maximus (if you dont understand that, watch Tangled), so our family now has a new member, Baby Max. 
 He's been a bit terrified of his new home so far.
 But we did bring him home and let a two year old pet him....
 And once Kendall discovered him, they've been having a stare down
That went on

 and on
 And on
 And on
 And on
 Had to stop staring at the bird to watch Emily eat a doughnut.
 And then Kendall has to go in the bedroom whenever Baby Max gets out of his cage.  Would hate for one pet to eat the other one!
Once Grandma and Grandpa left, she has wanted to pet Baby Max a lot.  And she's sat with Kendall and they've stared. 

Note:  Each of those pictures of Kendall had a minimum of one hour, usually more between them.  That is about all they've done in the past 24 hours:)

I also thought about seeing what kind of reaction I would get if I simply put, our family is growing.  It is, we got a bird!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

i must apologize...I have been rather slow in posting lately....remember my wodworking project a few weeks ago?  well, that in turn got me hooked on a website www.ana-white.com and I have now picked out about 50 things i want to build.  Plus my daycare that was down to only a couple little girls, may be 100% full, at least for what I'mm willing to do, even by the end of the day today, with new little girls starting throughout the month.  Yes, I said girls, seems as thogh i am destined to run an all girls daycare!   I have also had a couple school age girls the past couple weeks that I will have until school starts.  therefore naptime is spent watching movies with them notz doing housework, and my house feels it!

And I'm sure most of you have no/ticed the extremely scorching weather we've been having.  not a lot of pictures of us looking lon:gingly out the window waiting for fall.  Erin, since you are in Idaho, please tell us you will send some cooler air our way.  I think we are on something like three and a half weeks of excessive heat warning.  So everyone stay cool, Whenever we actualy do something that is noteworthy i'll be sure to post: