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Thursday, May 28

Frugal Laundry Soap : Part II

Well, after my first go 'round, I'm pretty pleased. I have even taken into consideration some of my readers' comments and am excited to get even more cheap, I mean frugal, with making laundry soap.

Like most (I think) that take this journey, I started asking myself questions.

The biggest question would be 'What products did they use and why did it change?' I say they as in my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother and beyond. 20 Mule Borax, Fels-Naptha and Washing Soda, although in the supermarkets today, really are not part of my regular laundry vocabulary. These products remind me of 'back in the day' stories. Anyway...

Well, when I happened to come across 
Knittin' and Noodlin' s blog, I found what I was looking for. Did you hop over earlier this week? The first time I read her post I was laughing out loud and asking myself if I really want to get myself into this.

But more importantly, I found my answer and it was Convenience.

And yes, I do want to get myself into this.

I've washed four loads so far with my new found laundry soap and I'm in love. But before I go any further I want to highlight readers' comments from the 
original post.

None other than 
Knittin' and Noodlin' stopped by and offered a tip to better her experience. She says to open the bar of Fels-Naptha up and let it dry out for a week or so. It helps dissolve more quickly.

Organizing Mommy is curious about the cost. Right now, with my first batch, I figured it out to be about $0.11 per load. Now, I've learned a few other variations that may make it cheaper, but I'm gonna run the course on this first batch before making any modifications. Even at face value, it's still a lot cheaper as is than compared to Name Brand (or generic for that matter).

Now, Anne says that her family doesn't use Fels-Naptha or fabric softener and it's been working great for them for 5 years! That sounds wonderful!

No Fels-Naptha or softener?! Wow! Once I had a working recipe for detergent, I was planning to tackle the softener side of things. Well there goes my frugal, vinegar and essential oil softener, out the window!

I must confess though. Our first two loads were with the homemade soap and our usual liquid softener. And after reading Anne's comment, my next two loads I did with just the homemade soap and NO softener. The only difference that I noticed was that our clothes were not as fragrant (no biggie) and they seemed a bit stiff. Almost as if, but softer than, being hung out on the line to dry. Oh, and more importantly, I didn't notice any static cling. I'm super excited!

I've got about 15 more loads to do or so before this first batch runs out and I'll come back here to follow up with y'all.

In the mean time, back to you. What experiences do you have to share or what questions do you have?

Thank you for stopping by, until next time!


Isn't There a Book on This?

It's after lunch and that means nap time. Here's a quick dialogue between me and our son. He's Four, his sisters are Three.

Me: "Ok everyone, time for your nap."

Son: "But Mom, I don't like you!"

Me: "Well, you now the drill. After lunch it's quiet time."

Son: "But I don't want to!!"

All three of them are super excited to go to school next fall. Yes, I know, it's only May. As far as they are concerned, it could be tomorrow. Anyway, in preparation for that...

Me: "Remember, when you go to school, after lunch, you will have to take a nap. You want to go to school, don't you?"

Son: Whimpering, "Yes."

Me: "Ok then. Let's lay down."

Meanwhile, the girls are laying in their beds, rolling around, kicking their blankets off... Subtle protests.

Son: "You're not my FRIEND!!"

Me: "No, I'm not your friend. I'm your mother. Now lay down."

Check it out!


Monday, May 25

Frugal Laundry Soap : Get Started Already!

Ok, ok, so I've posted about making my own laundry soap a few times. I knew I'd eventually get around to it. I found Jennifer's blog Knittin' and Noodlin' last December while researching soap making recipes and had been telling myself that I'd get to it... I'll get to it... I'm getting to it...

I've been procrastinating due to my lack of Laundry Soap Making ability confidence. What if I mess it up? What if I ruin our clothes? What if it doesn't smell good? What if...? What if...? 

I'm afraid to fail sometimes. I hate it. It's just part of what has been ingrained in me from childhood. It's messy, we are not going there today or anytime soon. You are welcome.

This recipe is great because it only takes 3 ingredients and it doesn't take up a lot of room to store. It yields just over 3 cups of powder laundry soap and with only using 2 tablespoons for each regular load or 3 for each heavily soiled loads... I should get about 19 loads for $2.07.

Here's what you'll need:

1 Bar Fels-Naptha
1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
Grate the Fels-Naptha, see photo above.

Combine with the remaining ingredients, mix well with spoon and store in an airtight container. Honestly, if you hopped over to Knittin' and Noodlin' and read that it took forever for her to grate her Fels-Naptha, mine didn't take that long. It's possible that my grater may not be as well loved and used as hers and is a bit sharper.

Now, if you have thought about making your own laundry soap and just haven't gotten to it yet or have had the same "I'm not so sure about this" feelings, stick around. I'll post our progress and you can live vicariously through this blog. ha ha I'm not that vain.

On the flip side, do you already use your own homemade laundry soap? We'd love to hear your tips, ideas and experiences.

As always, thank you for stopping by!  Until next time!


Thursday, May 21

A Break from the Rain

What do you do when there is finally a break from the rain?

Play in it of course, but not before you need, "A little help please!"

He was almost up to his knees in mud. It was quite funny since I also got him on video trying to explain where his shoes went and how he was going to get out of it.


Tuesday, May 19

Proactive Parenting

First I want to let you know that there is a giveaway involved, and no, it's not from me.  Sorry.  It's being hosted by Victoria @ Life Starring Ellie and Eve.  Cute blog.  Lots of product reviews and giveaways.

And why am I telling you this?

Well, I struggle with my little ones, almost daily.  There is three of them and if you've visited before, you may know that my son is four and his twin sisters are eleven months behind him at three.  There is only one of me and I feel that I am failing all four of us.  I know I have to change my thinking from what I just written above, but to what?  How?

I want to raise my children to be caring, mindful, respectful, to be good readers, listeners, and problems solvers.  I want them to live with integrity, to respect and love themselves.  Just overall good 'people'.  I don't want them to be perfect, we are not meant to be perfect.  I'm not all of those things either.

Raising my children sounds and is so much better than correcting behavior and Victoria is kindly giving away a set of 10 seminar books from ProActive Parenting.  <<  Click the link and check out some of their topics.

I confess.
Yes - Parenting is draining me.
Yes - It would be great if the kids did what I told them to do with out my yelling.  I hate yelling.

And that is why I'm entering the contest and sharing it with you.  It wouldn't be nice to share.  So, go on, visit Victoria and check out the qualifying details.  If you don't enter for yourself, you can always enter for someone you know that could use a lift up.

Now, if you have any tips on handling 3& 4 year olds lying to you...

Thank you for visiting and good luck!


Friday, May 15

What's in our Garden

We decided to put a garden in for the first time in many, many years.  We've been met with a few challenges and the fact that growing a garden in Wisconsin is a bit different than Georgia - it's really all the same in the end.  Either way it's a learning experience, labor of love, great fun, and kids love to, um, {help}.

Not only that, but the motivation behind Blog Action Day last year really put things in perspective for me.  You can read my participation post here.  We won't be preserving all of our bounty just for ourselves, we'll be donating some to a local organization in need.

This is what we've started off with this year.

tomatoes - two varieties
pepper - 3 varieties
squash - 2 varieties
lemon balm
sweet basil

Oh and since this post is linked to Happy to be at Home, here are {thirteen} of the many things I love about gardening...  in no particular order.
  1. Nothing tastes better than cooking/baking with fresh ingredients!
  2. Getting dirty.
  3. I'm naturally a black thumb, but with some practice, even I can help things grow.
  4. Stress reliever.
  5. Exercise.
  6. Homemade pickles are the best!
  7. Gardening is a wonderful platform to teach little ones about most anything.
  8. Canning and freezing to have garden freshness even during winter months.
  9. It's fun and challenging at the same time.
  10. Rewarding.
  11. More economical/frugal.
  12. Gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
  13. Do it all again next year!
If you clicked my link above describing our challenges and were curious... the tomato plants didn't make it.  Neither did about one-third of the garden.  We had to replant.

Lesson learned...  plant later in the planting season (we are only talking weeks here).  We (I was) were so eager to get started that we planted in the beginning.  Nothing really lost - even the money spent to buy the plants and seeds will be returned many times over in the harvest we'll get.

How about you?  Are you or have you planted a garden this year?  What reasons do you have for or not planting?


Thursday, May 7

Thursday Thirteen

Since I am new to the Thursday 13 blog carnival over at Happy to be at Home, I'll give you random things about me - as an intro.

1) Mom to three little ones.  A boy who is 4 and twin girls who are 3.  He is 11 months older than they are.

2) I'm taking steps to live a more eco friendly life here in Southern Georgia.  Recycling isn't big down here, so it's been a challenge.  Back home in Minnesota, it was second nature.  I know there is more to it than recycling, I'm just sayin'...  the fact that it's 'not a big deal' here really bugs me!

3) We put a garden in this year for the first time in many, many years.  About one-third of it didn't make it through the severe rain we had just a couple weeks after planting.  Just this week we replaced all that we lost and are learning more about the soil.  Again, it was easier back home.  I'm really excited about our blueberries!!

4) We've {just} started composting!  Yeah!  Something I've wanted to do for a long time.

5) I used to be the bread winner in our family.  I gave it up to stay home with the babies  --  toddlers.

6) My husband and I live 1300 miles apart... trying to bring it all back together.  It will be a year in June since I or our children have seen him.  :(

7) It's been a significant strain on our family.

8) I love, love, LOVE the blogging community.  Not so sure about Twitter yet.

9) At 24 I joined the National Guard to learn something new and help people.  It was a big shock to most everyone I knew.  They were all more scared than I was.

10) I grew up on farm in Wisconsin.  We didn't have indoor plumbing or a phone.  Although I'm not sure if I could go back to the outhouse...  I would really love to go back to that kind of simple life.

11) When I was 9, I was the youngest to ride the 200 mile Camp Courage Wagon Train on a horse.

12) Being a mom has been the most frustrating and rewarding role in my life.

13) I try to take each moment as it unfolds.  It's not easy, but I'll keep trying.

Well there you have it.  Snippets of me from various stages in my life.  Thank you for stopping by.  Leave me comment or a question or two.  I'm sure I've sparked a few.  LOL


Tuesday, May 5

for Every Third Bite

Back in March, I signed up for a campaign that not only rewarded us with free seeds to plant in our garden, but enlightened me about a species that I haven't always been particularly fond of.

These pests, as I referred to them in my youth, always had a way of terrorizing me and my little brother.  In fear of getting stung we'd literally run from them or try to kill them.

Both activities, consequently, only aggravated these little buggers more and would usually result in one of us getting stung.

Fast forward to present day.

I'm not sure if it was my getting older or the fact that I had children that I really became more aware of the world around me and the world that they were going to have to live in long after I am gone.

Knowing that I now have a legacy that will go on, I've been trying to get back to basics, green/frugal living and a simpler way of life.  The bottom line - care about life - my life so I can do my best to better prepare them.


That little bugger I'm referring to is the Bee.  Did you know that it and it's pollinating friends are responsible for Every Third Bite of Food?  Can you imagine?  I'm now remorseful for every Bee I've ever killed and am now learning to not feel as threatened, but thankful for them.

Oh, and back to the campaign I signed up for?  It's called...

Sounds fun, huh?  It is based out of the San Francisco State University and is the first step to a much large vision.  You see, the Global population of Bees is dwindling and with it crop production.

This project is enlisting our help to track bees and report back to them so they can see what is happening to the bee population on a larger scale.  Click here to see locations of current participants, you'll see my dot in South Eastern Georgia.

Here are the seeds we received.

Even though most of our seeds were crushed in the mail, we've already got two spouts!  We are all excited.

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