Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making soap!

On Thursday my BFF, my mom and my kids met at my grandmother's house to make soap! My grandmother has made homemade soap for the family for years and it's starting to get a little tired of doing it so it's time for someone else i.e. me to take over the reins. We all met to make a bunch of batches and go over how to make it. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. :( But, when I went back over the next day I brought it and got a few pics. First off, the recipe for everyone:

Grandma's Basic Lye Soap

1 Cup Lye Flakes (Sodium Hydroxide)

3 Cups COLD water
8 Cups Fats (lard, vegetable shortening, etc)

Mix Lye Flakes with cold water outdoors (due to fumes). Melt fats. Let both cool. (Lye to 90-95 and lard to close to the same, can be slightly more). Mix in large bowl (not metal. Glass is best, the lye can ruin a plastic bowl) and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon until thick
enough that it "traces", the soap should lay on the top for a moment before sinking back in. When soap is consistency of pudding you can add any essential oils, colors, etc. Line soap molds with plastic wrap and pour into molds. Leave soap in molds 24 hours. Turn out onto towels and cut into blocks. Leave in an out of the way place for 2 weeks, turning occasionally. Then ready to use!

Some quick tips:
#1 Wear Gloves!!! Lye burns if it touches your skin, keep vinegar on hand if it does.

#2 Instead of using a spoon to mix it (which feels like forever) pick up a cheap hand held blender. Makes it MUCH quicker!

#3 You can get the lye at Lowe's or any hardware store but make sure it's Sodium Hydroxide. If you get Potassium Hydroxide the soap ends up too soft. My grandmother says she usually orders it online from a chemical company.

#4 Drawer organizers make great soap molds.
We had a lot of fun! Pictures of ingredients:

The Hand Blender we used. It really helped!

Ready to take out and cut.

Doesn't that look pretty?

Nice even pieces ...

The fruits of our labor! We made a lot!

The Girl and Little Man were so good playing at Grandma's house and not being in the middle of everything. And it was fun to have bonding time with my Mom and Grandma! It was so great that Anna (my BFF) was able to make it. We plan on trying to make a batch or two at her house together so we're both more comfortable at it. I really am turning into a hippie! ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Laundry Detergent Update

It works GREAT! My clothes have been very clean and fresh and smell great. The biggest test was in this last load. The Girl had gotten taco meat on her pale purple dress and I forgot to put stain remover on it. It then sat in the laundry room for several days. I just threw it in the washing machine and used the homemade detergent and 90% of the stains came out! There is one still there, but it is very faint and I think I only see it because I know it was there and searched. I am very impressed and will definitely plan on continuing making it!

My next batch with be with a bar of homemade soap and I will see how it is. I may decide to continue using Fels Naptha since it's so great at stain removing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Look how crunchy I'm getting! Or is it cheap?

Well, I decided to try to make my own laundry detergent. For several reasons, it's better for the environment and it's cheaper! Not to mention it sounds cool! :)

A friend gave me the recipe and at first I was having a hard time finding all the ingredients. I looked on and everything would have come to $20. :( I was about to move on when I decided to check in our local Ace Hardware. I don't know about the Ace Hardware near you, but our Ace always seems to have all the weird, kooky things you can't find anywhere else. So I asked the lady at the counter and she pointed to the end of the aisle where all three ingredients were all standing right next to each other! It only came to $10.37! So here I go ...

Dry Laundry Detergent

1 Bar of soap (Fels Naptha is recommended and that's what I used for my first batch. I've been told Ivory works well too. Next time I plan on trying our family's homemade soap.)

1 Cup Borax

1 Cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (NOT baking soda) This was the hardest one to find.

I decided to go with the dry kind because it seemed simpler to make then the liquid, easier to store and I've always preferred powder detergent.

First I chopped the bar of soap into chunks and put it in the food processor. Luckily my mother was about to get rid of a food processor that was finicky, but that worked for me! Then I didn't have to get my regular food processor all soapy.

Then since I'm a little lazy and it seemed simpler I put the borax and the washing soda straight into the food processor.

Then I was done! I threw it in a quart size ziploc bag for now. It looks like a small amount, but it's concentrated so I am told you only need 1 tablespoon per load, 2 tablespoons if it's an extra dirty or big load. I should add that a friend told me she bought $12 worth of supplies the first time and it took her nearly a year to run out of one of the ingredients! $12 for a year's worth of detergent? Heck, yeah!

I'm excited and can't wait to see how it washes our clothes!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Well, crap. How did I let that happen?

I went to the homeschool mom meeting last night and as we were discussing our "normal day schedule" two things dawned on me.

#1 I spend WAY too much time online.

#2 The Girl controls everything we do in this house.

How did I let this happen? I never thought I would have a dictator as a daughter. I didn't even realize it was happening. We leave the house everyday because The Girl "has" to, she decides what we eat for breakfast, lunch and snack, on days I don't have specific places to go she "tells" me where we should go and I usually say "okay'.

My first step will be Mama chooses all foods. It was very interesting when she said she was hungry and I went to get the snack of my choice (carrots) and she said "I don't want carrots." Okay. So I sat back down. The look on her face was priceless.

The second step will be cutting down on TV. We don't have cable or satellite so we just have a large collection of DVD's to watch. We all wake up slowly in the morning so we usually watch something when we first get up and Mama can get in the shower. But from now on after that one there will be no TV until after dinner. (Sick days don't count!) ;)

My third resolution is simple. If I don't have something I want to do we don't leave the house. And I'm trying to limit how many trips to the store, so we will probably have at least 2 or 3 days a week where we stay at home.

This is going to be very interesting. Someone is in for a rude awakening ...

P.S. Realization #1 will be a post for another day! ;)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Okay, let's try this ...

I've been trying to work on positive reinforcement with The Girl. So I found some great behavior charts on this website and printed one that looked like it would work for her. I chose one that had pictures to make it easier for her to know what we're doing and then I added a spot for feeding the cats (her one chore, well, along with putting her plates in the sink after eating). She gets a sticker once she does each thing and at the end of the week if all the stickers are filled in she gets a treat (picking out something at the Dollar Tree).

I modified a couple things that were listed, "Dress Myself" means get ready in the morning nicely (get dressed, brush teeth, etc). "Go to Bed Nicely" equals naptime, she has to at least have a quiet time in her room reading (she actually falls asleep maybe once a week). "Pick up my Toys" pretty much means ... umm, pick up your toys. "Share My Things" is share and be nice to your brother. (Obviously this will be overall for the day). Like my little cat? I added one spot for her feeding the kitties.

I'm very optimistic. The Girl was very excited about it and kept going over to the fridge and going over the things she needed to do and she LOVED getting to pick out a sticker when she got something done. I had picked up a book full of 580 reward stickers at a clearance for $0.50 years ago and I finally pulled it out. Handy little thing! I'll let you know at the end of the week how it ends up!

Oh, and because I just had to post this adorable picture of her and Bonnie .... ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grown up time!

On Sunday my grandmother watched the kids and Daddy and I got to go out to eat with my sister and her boyfriend! It was so nice! We went to Red Lobster (it was sister's boyfriend's birthday and he got to pick) and everything was quite yummy. I almost forgot how fun it was to go out with another couple and act goofy and non-parent. AND I remembered to bring my camera!

Unlabeled Daddy and Unlabeled Mama

My sister and her better half acting goofy

Big, silly group shot

My husband and I find it very funny that of all the couple friends we've tried to become close with it's my little sister and her boyfriend who are nine years younger then us that we have the most fun with. Just a family thing? :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Man, my kids look alike!

So yesterday I was looking through the old pictures I have saved on my computer to post the one of The Girl and I was really struck at how much my children look alike! Wow!

Little Man (left) and The Girl (right) at close to the same age.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Early Bookworms

My little bookworm in training!

A flashback to his sister at close to the same age ... That's right, my kids love their books! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

I am so frustrated with my daughter

The Girl was horrible in the store today. She was difficult at home before we left so I had a little talk with her before we went into Walmart.

"Stay with Mama."

"Listen and Do what Mama says."

Guess how that went? I just need some way to communicate with her. I feel like I go over the same things over and over and over and she just doesn't get it. I get so frustrated with her. And now when I tell her to do something she has started yelling at me or trying to hit me. Really??? Her first appointment with the therapist was last week. We just discussed her behavior. Next week we have another appointment and I hope she will give us a direction to go in!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

At the Java Mama!

My mom owns a coffee shop/cafe and we love to visit!

My Mom!


"Flutter your eyelashes, go weak in the knees" brownies!

My big boy!

Little Man is now sitting at the table! No more highchair! He look so tiny and so big at the same time.