Saturday, November 12, 2011

Childhood Memories

In two weeks my baby girl turns 16. I'm not sure when she grew up, but suddenly she's a young woman ready to date and drive. YIKES! So far having teenagers has been a lot of fun, hopefully that will continue.

Occasionally memories come to mind of when she was a little girl. When Sara was a toddler, we drove up to Idaho in January to celebrate my father's birthday. In the kitchen we sang "Happy Birthday" to my dad and decided to go upstairs to have dad open presents. We all went upstairs and had a good time while surprises were given. Then we looked around to discover that Sara was not with us. We realized, in fact, that she hadn't come upstairs at all.

So where could she be? Oh no. Ummm, yes. Mom and I took off running down the stairs with everyone else right behind us. We arrived in the kitchen to discover that Sara had been eating the cake...with her hands. We laughed, and took a couple pictures.

Memory Lane

Matt and I decided to do a morning date this morning to change things up a bit. Partially because we have nothing going on today and are able to do whatever we'd like, and partially because there's a storm on the horizon and we're not sure if we should be out and about tonight. So for lunch we went to Winger's. As usual, I had a Sticky Finger Dinner and Matt had All You Can Eat Wings with Original Sauce. YUM!

On the way home, we passed an empty garbage bin in the middle of our dirt road and I had a flash back. The wind is blowing right now at a steady 30+ miles per hour with crazy gusts. Many years ago we were having a seriously windy storm in Tooele. I was pregnant, though I don't recall which child I was carrying. I remember hearing something unusual and looking out the window to see a garbage bin blowing down the street. I ran outside, barefoot and pregnant, and ran down the road to stop the garbage bin. Picking it upright and dragging it back was a bit of a challenge considering we were going against the winds that were absolutely crazy.

Once I arrived back home, I discovered the garbage bin was not mine. *heavy sigh* I had rescued a neighbor's bin. Our typical plan for preventing this from happening again was to put a large rock on top of the bin to weigh it down a bit and keep the lid from flapping open, allowing physics to do it's work as the garbage bin falls over.

Today I was grateful it was not my garbage bin all the way down the dirt road, and I'm also grateful not to be pregnant. As this storm comes upon us, my garbage bins are against the house, protected from the south and western winds that whip around the side of the house and blow everything around.

Now to get the last handful of large things out of the garage so I can park the van inside. Never a dull moment!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap: Take 2

Earlier this year I decided to add one more thing to my routine of saving money. After reading a friends' blog, I made my own laundry soap. I originally made a small first batch and decided I liked it, then made a huge batch that has lasted us for at least six months! This week as the laundry continued to get a PhD (piled higher and deeper), I noticed that I was almost out of my homemade laundry soap.

A couple friends of mine wanted to know after several months what effect homemade soap has on my laundry. It has been great! I don't feel that the clothing has faded and I haven't had a problem with stains not coming out, unless they're heavy duty stains with permanent marker or something to that effect. We did notice that heavily stinky clothing needed a bit more soap to come out smelling nice, or a bit of vinegar, which I had been using regularly anyway before I started using my own homemade laundry soap. In the end, I use less vinegar in my laundry, and I save a ton of money by not buying commercially made soaps. I know what is in our laundry soap and I don't have to worry about artificial stuff. Just in case you're wondering, I do still use dryer sheets, and have recently learned that they can be used more than once!

The recipe I use is very easy. Here's the small formula:

1 bar soap grated (I use Fels Naptha)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup oxi clean
Use 2 TBSP of laundry soap per load
This is a low foaming mixture and works fine in front loader machines!

The Oxi Clean really helps with keeping the stains under control. Some recipes don't call for it and admittedly, it is the expensive part of the homemade laundry soap, but with three boys in the house, it is well worth it to me. I wait to buy it 'til Costco has a coupon for it, usually $4 off a huge box of it, which is basically a year's supply for you laundry soap.

You can use any kind of bar soap EXCEPT ones that have added oils in them. This gives you the option of choosing the smell of your laundry soap. I used Dial in my first batch, but decided to try the Fels Naptha this time around because it is meant for removing stains (again three boys, plus the hubby equals lots of stains to remove). The Fels Naptha bars are huge, so I actually double that recipe and only use one bar of soap.

The easiest way to grate the soap is to put your small grater attachment on your food processor or Kitchen Aid and grate away! I do hope you have one of those. If not, borrow one. I would seriously hate to grate many bars by hand.

To make a larger batch, try to purchase your boxes of borax, oxi clean, and washing soda to equal the same weight. For example, 1 box of borax is close to the amount of 2 boxes of washing soda. Then if I'm using the Costco size Oxi Clean, I would use about half of that box. This would require 7-8 bars of Fels Naptha. So instead of measuring everything out by cup, layer your ingredients into a bucket or a couple of large bowls and mix it with a wooden spoon. This example fills two cereal size storage containers and lasts me 6-8 months with a family of six.

If you prefer liquid soap, this same recipe works to make liquid soap as well. Shake the google tree for homemade laundry soap, and follow the directions to melt your mixture down with hot water, which then forms a gel!

I have found the ingredients to be cheapest at Walmart. For example, a bar of Fels Naptha at Walmart is $1. I priced them at Smith's yesterday and they're $1.69. That .69 adds up when you're buying 8 bars at a time. Borax and Washing Soda were also approximately $1 more per box at Smith's than at Walmart. I'll have to check Winco to see if they're any cheaper there.

Oh, and in case your wondering, Washing Soda is a lot like Baking Soda, except that Washing Soda has a stronger PH balance, which works better as a cleaning agent. So keep your baking soda for cooking and buy Washing Soda for cleaning!