Thursday, November 20, 2014

{Laundry Soap}

I've tried homemade laundry soap before. The powdered version. Because I wash in cold I had lots of trouble with it working well. I've always wanted to try the liquid version, but I don't have a proper laundry room (read - no space to store 5 gallons of laundry soap) so I've been buying my 'free of scents' brand and thought I was doomed to pay high prices forever.

Then I found this article on Mommypotamus and it spoke to my newfound love of soap making. So I held onto this recipe for months, hunting for the perfect sized detergent recipe for a family of three. Finally I found one, so I got to start. I followed this laundry soap (1% superfat) recipe exactly - and my bars came out hard, white, and beautiful.

It looks good enough to eat.

My first time using my new loaf mold

Yeah, my cutting skills still need work
but aren't these pretty?

Then I found this recipe for a smaller batch of liquid laundry soap. I grated up a bar of beautiful white soap (it kind of made me sad)

And tried to follow the directions here as best I could. I was a little short on the liter of water (my pot wasn't quite big enough). But everything seemed to work out fine. I did divert in the fact that I didn't add more water when I put it in the containers. This wasn't a very good idea as now it's really thick. I mean really thick. I guess I can always add water now? But I'm going to try and keep it thick and goopy.

I've only used it one time so far, and everything seems clean. Smells pretty good (ok, it doesn't smell like anything really - I don't add scent). We'll have to see how I like it later on down the road. Also I didn't use 1/2 cup like the recipe says - I only used about 1/4 cup. Like I said, really thick. And not at all borax-y smelling like my powered stuff.

I'm hoping I hit on the perfect laundry solution.

{Craft Day (aka 'mom time'}

My homeschooling friends are pretty much in the same boat as me. We are all homeschooling boys, and at least one in each house is a teenager. I know we all love our boys very much, but I know we all need time with other moms, to talk about mom things. You've all been there - you get what I'm saying.

So, as an ode to my family's love of all things tie-dye, I planned a tie-dye party. Yep, all boys, all thinking "lame" and other assorted things. And dang it, I don't know if they had fun, but the moms had a blast chatting and enjoying one of our last perfect days here in SC.

Many colors were chosen.
Most of the 'girly' colors are left!

It was about 70* and not humid.
Perfect day.

Not looking very thrilled but playing
along anyway. What good boys!

He's enjoying himself at least!!

My completed shirt

The shirt I made for hubby

Zach's completed shirt
(our first attempt at a swirl)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Learning to Relax

Today we had a good time doing school. I know I should be able to say that every day - but the fact is, that's not always the case. Recent events have made me try to be a little more fun and a little less witchy (with a b) during school though.

We've been lucky enough to have some beautiful weather lately so today we ventured out to do a science lab on predator and prey. I thought this was going to be super lame and almost skipped it - but Zach ended up enjoying it very much. The object: to catch as much (uncooked) pasta you could in 30 seconds using different tools as the predator. We used chopsticks, bamboo tongs, a fork, a knife, a spoon, tweezers, and a small cookie scoop. He didn't even mind writing his hypothesis and analysis. Always a plus for us. I can't get my pictures to upload though - so sorry. Too bad, my shadow was super skinny and looked pretty darn good!

 Today we also talked a little about King Cyrus of Persia. When I said King Cyrus my son says "Like Miley Cyrus?" and I said "Yep - he twerked his way across Babylonia and beat everyone." Not what he was expecting. I lost him for a few minutes while he literally rolled around laughing. Nice to surprise the teenager every now and then! I can guarantee he will always remember who King Cyrus is though.

Last week he discovered this You Tube channel called ASAP Science. It's filled with very short (about 2 minute) blurbs about science with lots of white board action. He loved it, so we spent our science time one day watching a ton of those.

We also have some fun planned for next week. I'm trying my best to learn to relax and just enjoy the time we have together.

Friday, November 7, 2014

{I Still Love Cascade}

I've tried homemade dishwasher soap. Many variations. Many. I really wanted to love it (and make it, and save some money) but the reality is it's not going to happen.

No matter what combination I try, with or without borax, citric acid, baking or washing soda, I just can't get behind it. Every recipe has left my dishes cloudy and not very clean (and I always pre-rinse). *sigh*

So, when I'm in the store I beeline for the Cascade Platinum. I know - chemicals, bad, blah, blah - I get that. But I also get dishes that don't need to be run through the dishwasher twice. Or washed by hand after they come out of the dishwasher.

While I'm confessing chemical laden products I still use I may as well admit I'm still a Dawn user too. Nothing beats it - nothing.

I want to use more natural cleaning products. Sometimes I do. But they have to work or for me it's not worth the effort. Or the cost savings. Let's face it, washing dishes twice isn't saving me anything in the end.

I envy everyone who loves their "chemical free homemade products that save a ton of money." But for me it's hit or miss. Lately a lot of misses.

*I have not been contacted by the makers of Dawn or Cascade - I've not been paid to say "these products are great." I just think they are, and I tend to speak my mind!*