Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I got the original recipe from Keri, but modified it a little bit when I made my own.
Here's what you need:

A 5 gallon bucket
1/2 bar Ivory soap, grated
1/2 bar Fels Naptha, grated
3 pints water
1 cup baking soda
1 cup Borax
2 gallons hot water
2 gallons cold water
dish soap
rubbing alcohol
Containters for storing (milk jugs, plastic juice containers, old detergent bottles, etc.)

Now let me put a disclaimer out there about Fels Naptha before I continue. There's debate about whether or not it is toxic. It's an old, old cleaner that's been around for forever but some people claim it has toxic ingredients. I did my research so I could make an educated decision before using it, as I would recommend anyone to do. When it was first formulated, it contained Naphthalene, which IS toxic, however it was reformulated in the 90's and the Naphthalene was removed. It even says right on the bar "Contains no naphthalene." And as far as the other ingredients, I'm sure they're no more toxic than regular detergent you buy at the store. You can go to to see the list of them. Here's a picture of it so you know what you're looking for if you decide to use it. It did take me 8 grocery stores to find it, also. I finally found it as Harris Teeter, if you have one around you. If not, just check local grocery stores. You can buy it online at Ace Hardware and have it shipped (free) to your local store, but that means buying a 24 pack for $30. You can also buy it per bar on amazon. If you DON'T want to use it (to each his own) you can just substitute the other half of the Ivory soap. Just use a full bar of Ivory instead. I decided to use the Fels Naptha because it will help cut through grease, and any dirt my 2 year old loves to get on his clothes. Ok, moving on...
Once your soaps are grated, melt the soap over the stovetop in the 3 pints (or 6 cups) of water over low-medium heat. If you have the heat close to medium, watch it closely because mine almost boiled over! Simmer until all the soap is melted. Remove from heat and add Borax and baking soda. Mix thoroughly then transfer to your bucket.
Add the 2 gallons of hot water to your soap mixture first and mix well. If you add the cold, the soap will start to solidify again. Once the hot gallons are added and everything is mixed well, then add the cold water, and a squirt of dish soap (to help with degreasing) and a little rubbing alcohol for killing germs. Mix the soap realllyyyy well, then let sit for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours, mix the soap once again. It will have formed a thick skin on the top, so just try to mix that in as best you can. Mine never fully mixed in. It almost looks like egg drop soup. After mixing, just bottle it in whatever containers you've decided on. Leave a little room at the top because you want to give the soap a good shake before each use.
Use 1 cup per load (maybe closer to 1.5 cups if you have a high capacity washer.)

And voila! $1.75 for almost 5 gallons of detergent! Take that, Tide!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm Employed!

I got a job! I am so excited yet so exhausted (already!) at the same time!

I posted an ad on craigslist early last week about my ability to watch anyone's children who needed it. I was willing to do something constant, or even just a one time deal. I figured an extra $40 on one Friday night was more than I was currently bringing in at the moment. I stated that I would have to bring Hunter with me if it was during the day, and I figured it was up to the readers to decide if they wanted to email me, knowing from the beginning I have a 2 year old.

Anyway, that evening I got an email from a single mother of 3 kids. A 12 year old girl, 9 year old boy, and 6 year old girl. She needed someone during the week to take them and pick them up from school and then be with them until she got home from work at about 6 pm. She also needed someone to be there during the summer to keep them occupied and get them out of the house. I obviously emailed her back and we met Thursday night to discuss everything and so she could meet me. I brought Greg along since you can never be too careful with craigslist. She had said in her original email that she needed someone as of May 1, but after us meeting and being there for 2 hours, we were both so excited about the situation that I started the next day! I was with them Friday and Saturday all day, since they were still on spring break. Then, this morning, Hunter and I were out the door at 7 to get them and take them to school.

So far I really like it. They are good kids. They, of course, are typical kids, but they're fun. The boy is the antagonizer, the older sister tries to be the boss, and the little sister is a drama queen. It keeps it interesting though, even if sometimes I want to scream. ;)

I am really excited though, and it is definitely an answer to prayer (thank you all that joined with me in praying!) The salary is going to be a HUGE help for Greg and I, and we can breathe now about expenses. I am praising God for this position, and am so thankful that I get to have a job where Hunter is with me. I'm planning lots of fun for the summer. Also on my agenda: getting them to turn the bathroom light off when they leave the room, even if it kills me! (And it might.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

This weekend, we were so grateful to be able to visit our old friends in New Bern for the holiday. It's been since we moved away two years ago that Greg's been back, so I was so glad that we were all able to go. We stayed with the Preacher and family. They have 4 little ones, and their boy, Micah, is about 8 months older than Hunter. As soon as they saw each other when we got there, they were instant friends!
Saturday for lunch, we met with Joe, an old friend that Greg was in the USMC with. Katie, his wife, is a nurse at the hospital and had to work all day, but we went up there and visited her for a few minutes. It was good to see her, but I wish it could have been longer! They have 2 kids, so after the hospital visit, we all went to a nearby park. The play area for this park is so big, and so fun for kids, but it's a lot to keep an eye on them!
That picture is only about half of the structure! The kids enjoyed playing though. And it's amazing how they can keep going, and going, and going, even in the 80 degree weather. I was DYING! Here is a picture of their boy, Cole.

And here's Sophie.
After the park, we went for ice cream. This next picture was taken at DQ right after Greg convinced Sophie to be his girlfriend.
Now, I've mentioned that Greg works for Volvo. After we said goodbye to Joe and the kids, we decided to drive by New Bern's Volvo dealership. When we lived there, it was a Honda Volvo dealership and it was right down the street from where we used to live. We pulled in and noticed it was only Honda now. I was a little disappointed, but I couldn't imagine that a Honda dealership sold many Volvo's anyway. As we were driving back to the preacher's house, we passed by the Lincoln Mercury dealership, and I saw that they are Lincoln Mercury Volvo! We pulled in and checked out some Volvo's just because Greg hasn't gotten the chance to take me and show them to me. Hunter was so excited to sit in a Volvo. I don't think I've mentioned, but since Greg went to Volvo's school, he points them out to Hunter whenever we see them, and my 2 year old has gotten a love for their cars. We will seriously be driving down the road, and Hunter can point out a Volvo that I didn't even see! So, let me say again that he was VERY excited to get to sit inside of one!

Greg asked the salesman about their Volvo techs, and he said they only have 1 tech for all the Volvo's that come in. (Hey, maybe they need 2!) I was at least happy to see Volvo with Lincoln Mercury, because the same people that would be shopping for them would be interested in Volvo's too. Also, Greg is certified to work on Ford's just the same as he is on Volvo's. Isn't it funny how perfect this all sounds? ;) Greg knows I would move back to New Bern in a heartbeat, because I didn't even want to move away. If the Lord's will is for us to go back, I know He will change Greg's heart to feel the same way.
After Volvo, we went back to the preacher's house and played outside for a bit. This is Kenzie, their oldest.
Here's Micah again.
Brian and Keri joined us for dinner. The last time I saw them, Keri was still in the first trimester of her pregnancy, so I'd never gotten to meet their baby girl. Kenley is a sweetie pie, and I was so glad to be able to meet her and love on her.

She's a little 8 month old peanut, only weighing 13 pounds. They have been having lots of test done on her, and aren't exactly sure what's going on, but I know they would appreciate your prayers for her while they're going through this.
After dinner, we played cards, just like old times. While Greg was deployed and I was in New Bern, I can't tell you how many times I was over someone's house way too late because we were playing games and fellowshipping. I miss those times so much. I'm becoming a blubbering idiot just thinking about it. I have some great friends in New Bern (and friends I met there who have also moved on to new places) and I miss them SO much. It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with some of them again.
Easter Sunday church was wonderful. We were so glad to be able to see everyone at the church that we've missed. Some mentioned that they had been told we were, once again, searching for a new church, and they were praying with us about it. It's so nice to know that, even though we've been gone for 2 years, they still care enough to pray for us. It means so much.

We were invited to join some people for lunch at the church. Melissa Goodfellow's parents (I'm sorry I don't remember their names!) made a wonderful, Southern lunch. I got to have a few Southern dishes I'd never even heard of before, which I liked. I would tell you what the dishes were, but I can't remember their technical names, and I'm sure Melissa would laugh at me if I tried to explain them in my northern ways! The good thing about Southern food is that it's all hearty food, but it's all bad for your thighs! ;) I didn't mind though, it was too good to pass up!
We came home after lunch since Greg still had to work today, Monday. Our visit was wonderful. We both had such a good time. Hunter also made it evident that he enjoyed himself. When we pulled into our house, he said in such a sad voice, "Micah..."
If we can't live there again, I'm at least thankful we're within a few hours to visit regularly.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Eggs

So earlier this week, we found out our old pastors from NC were in town so we met them at Krispy Kreme to visit. It was so nice to see them and just affirmed the fact that we left a wonderful church and pastoral staff. However, we're only a 3 hour drive from them, so we've decided to visit for Easter! I canNOT tell you how excited I am to see everyone. We leave tonight and I can't wait!

However, because we'll be there this weekend, we decided to dye eggs last night to make sure we did it with Hunter. We had loads of fun. I love being mom and making these traditions.

We both have multicolored hands, but hopefully it will be gone by Sunday morning church since we did it early. :)