Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making Baby Wipes

Okay, so I don't have any more "babies" in the house, but I have alot of friends that do.  Lately, for some reason, I have shared with many of these sweet mommies a great recipe for making their own baby wipes!  So, since I don't seem to have any other good ideas for a post, I thought I would share it here!

I don't have the exact cost (like I did with the laundry detergent), but here are the things you will need:

Regular size paper towels   (Bounty is good, but I prefer Viva)
A container (or 2) big enough for half a roll of paper towels
Baby Wash  (I honestly just used whatever smelled nice and was cheap)

The containers I used are now my sugar and flour cannisters!

First, cut the paper towels in half with a hefty kitchen knife.   Next, in the container, mix 1 cup of water and 3 TBS of baby wash and stir.  Put half a roll in the cannister and replace the lid tightly.   When the paper has absorbed the water completely,  pull the cardboard center out of the towels.  This will give you your starting wipe!   That's it!!!   Your wipes will be the size of a secect-a-size paper towel!

Seriously, if you are a coupon addict, and shop sales, and buy the paper towels in bulk (8 rolls), this is VERY cost effective.  Not to mention, easy on the baby's bottom- or whatever.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring has sprung indeed

Well, the first day of Spring has come and gone.  I don't know about where you live, but here the colors are starting to come alive!  Today we ventured to the back yard for the first time in a while.  We have been so busy going out of town for gymnastics meets and in town going to baseball practices, that we almost missed Spring springing!!  For those of you who live in cooler climates and have to wait a little longer- here is a sneak peak of what is to come!!

The Azaleas are beautiful!  Just in time to hit their peak for the Masters in 2 weeks!  (We are only 35 miles from Augusta National)

Iris and Lillies are peeking


and the Loropetalum is screaming to be the center of attention!

On a side note:  I am very proud of my kids and their accomplishments lately.  Both of my boys are doing baseball this year- something J hasn't done since he was 7 and T has never tried.
 
J is doing so well.  I was a little nervous for him (considering his eye problems and the age at which he decided to jump back in), but he continues to get really good hits and is really showing some potential!

T man is doing great as well!  He is getting used to the rules and ropes of the game.  Due to his recent surgery, he sometimes goes a little to hard and ends up sore, but he is a tough guy.

A just competed her last competition of the season- the South Carolina Prep Optional Gymnastics Championship.  She came home a SC Champion in bars and All Around! 

L is still sticking with gymnastics.  This time last year she decided to quit, but seems to be giving it her all this time around.  We will see if that changes when swim team starts.

Happy Spring!!!!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

GNO (mommy and daughter style)

How much fun can 2 moms and their 2 daughters have together?  Well, with Anita Renfroe and Mandisa- ALOT!

Funny thing is that until the day before the concert we didn't even know we were going!  We didn't get tix due to a pending gymnastics meet, but my  sweet friend called to say that Mandisa's crew was looking for volunteers to help set up and break down.  For our labor- we got free tix!!!  (Big shout out to our hubbies who came to help, but didn't attend the concert!)

The big girls

the younger chicks

Anita singing the "Mommy Song"

"All the Wrinkled Ladies"

Mandisa singing "Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night"  (or maybe "Stronger")

Q&A session, then "Ebony & Ivory" as only they can sing it!

These girls had so much fun!

"A" could not wait for this!  She told Anita, "You're my favorite person in the whole wide world!"  When I put this pic and caption on Anita's Facebook my daughter was over the moon when Anita commented "Now your MY fave!"  (Seriously- check out Anita's page!)

My sweet friend and her girlie with Anita

Since we were working, we were the last ones in line for Mandisa.  

She was so sweet and gracious!!

A sweet little side story:  The t-shirts our girls have on were not sold at the concert.  The merchandise manager only had 2 left, so she let us buy them!  Just before the concert, the MM texted a pic of our girls to Mandisa backstage.  When we got to meet Mandisa she looked at our daughters and said, "There's my girls!".   Can you imagine how excited they were????




Thursday, March 10, 2011

Never alone

What's the deal with women?  I mean, why do we put unnecessary pressures on ourselves and allow ourselves to feel as if we are the only ones that struggle with being a wife and/or mother?

Take for instance today.  We are having one of those days that I would either like to start over or just skip.  At this point with homeschool I don't even want to finish this year, let alone today.  I have kids that are not being respectful or obedient.  Not to mention today (mostly this afternoon-evening) is jammed packed with things to do and places to be or get ready to be this weekend.

I know in my mind that I am certainly not the only woman that has had this kind of day.  Why do I allow myself to feel that way?  Honestly, when I allow those feelings take over I really start to make bad decisions that aren't the kind of example I want to be for my kids.  My temper gets short, the tone of my voice changes, and patience- what patience? 

I used to stuggle with this- alot.  But I have been trying to make the effort to prepare for these days ahead of time so that when they rear their ugly heads (bad days, not my kids) I am prepared.  I may practice deep breathing exercises,  say lots of prayers, or call my sweet friend that knows EXACTLY how I feel at that moment and allow her to help me feel, well, not alone.

I hope all of you have a friend (or hubby) like I do that will encourage you in your daily struggles.  Of course, we also rejoice with each other in joys too!
I love that the Lord made us to be relational beings.  We thrive on being with others and having fullfilling relationships of all kinds.  I love people.  I love to hear their stories. 

I love that I also have a God that is with me always- even in the moments when I am truly alone (yes those moments will happen).  Especially on days like today when I feel as though I am DONE.  He lets me know that I can do this- with Him. 

Zephaniah 3:17   "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you,  he will quiet' you with his love,  he will rejoice over you with singing."

I hope that you will be encouraged today that you are never alone, even when you feel the weight of the world your life closing in on you!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lent

Tomorrow Wednesday, March 9, begins the season of Lent.  40 days and 40 nights leading up to the Easter celebration.  Many Christians use this as a time to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ- the way he suffered, died, was buried and then (praise God) resurrected!

Many people use Lent as a time of fasting from something particular in order to focus on prayer and repentance. 

For several years now, we (our family) haven't really focused on Lent.  Sadly, the church we attend doesn't celebrate the Lent season.  Nothing against Baptist, but its one of the things that just drives me crazy.  I love talking about Lent with my kids and using it as a teaching tool.  I just think that our church is missing out on a great way to reach and teach our children!

While we do teach our kids about Lent, we do not require them to give up anything.  That is between them and God.

What about you?  Do you celebrate Lent?  What, if anything, have you decided to fast from?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Laundry Detergent


*Edited to show the end result!!*

  • Yes, this is my second post in one day.  I think I just may need a nap when I am finished! 

Back in October I started making our laundry detergent.  I have had several friends ask how I do it, so I decided to make a post about it!   Be advised- this is a little longer than normal- bleeding eyes may occur.  Consider yourself warned.

There are different ways to make this, but here are the ingredients I use:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha   ($1.29 per bar at Kroger)
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda    ($2.79 for 55oz. at Kroger)
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax    ($3.99 for 76oz at Kroger)
Five Gallon bucket
Lots of water!



First, use a cheese grater to grate the entire bar of Fels-Naptha.  Yes, it will look just like shredded cheese!


Next, heat 6 cups of water on the stove, but not to the boiling point.  Add the grated cheese soap and dissolve.

When the soap has dissolved, then mix in your Washing Soda and Borax.  (or get your kids to do it so you can take pictures)


While these soaps are dissolving, add 8 cups of hot water to the 5 gallon bucket.  When the soaps are done, pour them into the bucket and stir.

Fill the bucket up the rest of the way with luke warm water and stir gently and well.  If there is a foam at the top, I ususally take it off (doesn't really matter- I am just OCD about silly stuff).

Finally, put the top on tight and let set 24 hours!!


At the end of the 24 hours the entire bucket of soap will be gel.  I (or one of the kids) will use a whisk or our hands to mix up the soap until it is the consistency of egg drop soup.  Since mine is not yet ready to open, I don't have a picture of that.  I will try to remember to do that tomorrow.   I use 1/2 cup per load.


Points I want you to be aware of:
  • This only takes about 20 minutes to make (maybe less without kids).
  • I don't use an he washer, but have been told that it works just fine.  Just be aware that you will want to make sure you mix your gel extra good to get most if not all of the clumps out.
  • There are many ways to mix the soaps.  The above is my typical batch.  However, during football and baseball season (like now) I will use 1-1/2 cups each of Borax and Washing Soda.  I know some people that use 2 cups of each and 2 bars of soap to 5 gallons.  I find that what I use works, so I have never increased the amounts.  It could depend on your water too (hard or soft).
  • I still use my stain remover (Shout, Oxy-Clean, whatever) when needed.  Which is alot with my kids and sports, wagon jumping, or whatever.
  • If you want to add fragrance you can use a few drop of essential oils.  I have never done this, as I still use my favorite Downy.
How did I figure how much it costs?
Washing Soda at $2.79 for 55oz comes to 0.051 per oz x 8oz= $.41

Borax at $3.99 for 76oz comes to 0.0525 per oz x 8oz= $.42

Fels-Naptha is $1.29

So for a 5 gallon batch:   $.41 + $.42 + $1.29= $2.12

A 5 gallon batch yeilds approximately 160 loads. 
$2.12 / 160= $0.01325  per load!!!!

Now, if you compare the cost of my 5 gallons to 5 gallons of Tide or any of the other brands out there you can certainly understand why it just makes my day!  I average anywhere from 15-21 loads per week and have found that we use between 2.5 to 3 gallons of detergent per month.  Can you say SAVINGS????  Does this make me any happier to actually do my laundry?  That would definitely be a NO.

Now, as for tips on bleeding retinas from long posts?  I have none. 



**Here are the pictures of the final product!!**
As you can see, the gell is semi-solid

using your hands not only is the easiest way to break up the gel, it also gives you very soft hands!!

Boredom breeds...........

There are many different sayings about boredom:

"Boredom breeds mischief"

"Boredom breeds destruction"

"Boredom breeds stupidity"

"Boredom breeds trouble"

While many of these are completely true, especially with children, I happen to think there is more to the story.  See, I think with the mischief, destruction, and sometimes trouble comes creativity and innovation.  I don't often put the "stupidity" label on the things my kids come up with since they often don't know any better.  Now adults?  That is another story.

I have decided to start (as often as possible) a "Boredom breeds..........."  topic here on my blog.  I am going to film or video this Spring and Summer all the things that my kids come up with in light of their boredom.  You all may be the cool parents that allow their kids to watch TV or play video games all day, but my kids got a dud for a mother.  She limits their time on electronics and makes them use the brains God gave them to entertain themselves, each other, our family, and now my (few) readers!!

Here, for your enjoyment,  is the first installment.  This clip is brought to you by Tman and his friend. As you can see in the backround, we even have neighbors walking by that stop and watch.  Or take notes for DSS.  Enjoy!

video