Friday, September 24, 2010

Domestic Matters

I'm always searching for ways to cut household expenses and use "greener" products in the house.   Many of the cleaning products we use in our homes are scary and unnecessary, not to mention the waste from all of the bottles, containers, etc.  I've been using white vinegar for floors, counters, highchair tray, and glass for a while now.  Some people don't like the smell of vinegar (I actually don't mind it) but it is completely odorless once dry. 

I wanted to start making my own laundry detergent so I began searching for recipes online.  They all seemed pretty much the same with slight variations.  I came across the Duggar's recipe and knew that was the one to use. If anyone knows a thing or two about laundry, it's the Duggar's (although I'm not likely to start making their tater tot casserole anytime soon).   

Here's what you need:
From Google Images

Washing Soda
Fels-Naptha Laundry (bar) Soap (Reasor's carries it, not sure about Wal-Mart)

These total about $7.  As you'll see below you're only using 1 cup of the washing soda and 1/2 cup of the Borax, so this will make MANY batches of laundry detergent.  Not to mention you can use the Borax and washing soda for household cleaning (bathrooms, etc.) which is what I have been doing.  Trading Comet for Borax/washing soda means my throat and eyes don't burn when I clean the bathtub.  Score!

1   Fels-Naptha soap bar
1  Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½  Cup Borax
-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)
*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha  bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

This is super easy to make.  I have made two batches now and the most time-consuming part is grating the soap.  I use a regular cheese grater then put it in the blender with the other two ingredients to achieve a consistent powder.  That's literally all you do. 

If you click on the link you will see that there is also a recipe for liquid detergent using the exact same ingredients plus water.   It has a couple more steps but it makes enough for 180 loads (vs 40 for the powder)!  As soon as I garner a 5 gallon bucket, I'm trying it.  Hopefully next time. 

Now, this isn't going to smell like Tide (in fact it doesn't smell like much of anything).  The Fels-Naptha does have a scent but it doesn't remain on the clothes.  Bounce or Snuggle dryer sheets, I find, give the clothes a nice "clean laundry" scent, if you like that sort of thing.

Also, I noticed the intended purpose of Fels-Naptha is actually stain remover.  I use a lot of Shout on Avery's clothes so I decided to give this a try since it's less than 1/2 the cost (under $1/bar).  I have used it a few times and so far so good.  One or two things I had to treat and put through the wash again but I have to do that with Shout too for stubborn stains.

Here is what my soap looks like.

You can also make dishwashing detergent with Borax and washing soda.  As soon as I run out of my current stuff, I'll be experimenting with that.

Did you think I was this crunchy?  Me neither. 

*takes off granola hat and puts on lunch with friends hat*


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Avery's Disdain for All Things Vintage

Every once in a while the daycare will have a photographer come in and do photo shoots with the kids.  The parents are given proofs and can order prints of the pictures if they want.  Well, this photographer came equipped with YE OLD TIMEY PROPS and  COSTUMES.

Day 1 of shoot:  The teachers tell me Avery will have nothing to do with posing for the photographer.  He's coming back tomorrow and they're going to try again, right after breakfast, so hopefully her spirits will be higher.

Day 2 of shoot:  The teachers tell me Avery allowed them to get her dressed up but when the camera came out she lost it.  Now, I'd seen the sample poster by the entrance and I wanted to tell them that I understood.  But of course I smiled and said "Awww, that's too bad."

Well, yesterday the proofs were available.  And they did not disappoint.
This look says "I'm about to lose my cool, people.  Get me off of this vintage settee NOW!

Aaaaaand CUT!

In this one all composure has gone out the window.  But can you blame her?  It's all a very odd setup, in my opinion (but I know a lot of people love this stuff).  She probably had the foresight to see that if one of these pictures was even remotely cute, we would have ordered it.  Hence her (successful) act of sabotage.

One last thing:  did babies wear big, chunky necklaces in the Victorian Era???

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kansas City Recap

We took our party of three to Kansas City for a long weekend.  There's a lot to do in KC and we had some fun activities planned.  We decided we needed a small suite so Avery could still go to bed early and Rob and I wouldn't have to sit in the dark, whispering, after 7 pm.  The Sheraton Suites in the Plaza was affordable and had French doors separating the bedroom and living area.
"What do you guys want on your pizza?"

The first night she went to sleep at 7 pm. (YES!) and woke up at 10 pm (WTH?!).  Afraid to let her cry too long lest we receive a noise complaint I went in and tried to get her back to sleep.  Four long hours and one Walgreen's run for a paci later, she was back asleep.   Friday and Saturday nights were much better but Rob and I decided to just sleep on the pull-out couch in the living room.  We were shell-shocked from Thursday night and didn't want to do anything to disturb her.   A night of sleep on a pull-out bed is better than no sleep on a plush, cozy, soft, warm, KING (did I say plush?) bed anyway, right?

Before she began her reign of terror

We all slept late on Friday morning, thankfully, and hit the Plaza for lunch and shopping.  Avery didn't make it long after lunch and Rob took her back to the room where she took a long nap. 
Lunch on Friday

She woke up from her nap in good spirits and we headed out again for more browsing and dinner.  Saturday morning we headed to Science City in Union Station.  Science City is a hands-on, interactive museum for kids of all ages.  We were really impressed with this place.  It was very neat, clean, and well kept.  I didn't notice anything broken, missing, etc. which would be easy in a place like this.  Most of the stuff was for kids a little older than A, but they did have several areas for little ones.  Avery really enjoyed roaming around and checking everything out.

I dragged Rob Avery out of Science City to go across the street to the Crayola Store.  She is really loving crayons right now so I thought she would enjoy a store full of them.  

Next up was lunch at Arthur Bryant's BBQ.  Avery and I had never been before and Rob was excited to take us.  
I was pretty much doing the same thing.  Fortunately there are no pictures of me...

We took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked around the Plaza some more.  And, if you can imagine, took more pictures!!
Why are straws so fun to play with?

Sunday we went to the zoo on our way out of town.  The KC Zoo is pretty neat, even though we didn't have time to see everything. 

That's out trip in a nutshell.  Overall, Avery was a good traveler.  We had a great time and it was so nice to get away and spend time together. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

16 Months

She got this slide for her birthday 4 months ago.  Now she can climb up and slide down by herself.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Law of Eventuality

Those who continue to be bitten will eventually bite.

Or something like that.

Avery has crossed over to the dark side.  We received our first (hopefully only) bite notification yesterday.  She hadn't been bitten in several weeks as the main culprit was moved to another room, but she (we'll call her Hannahbal to protect her identity) was mysteriously back this week and is chomping on everyone. 

Avery apparently decided to take matters into her own hands.  When the teacher handed me the bite report yesterday I said "Oh, no! Avery, did you bite someone?!" and she cackled. 

So I really don't think she's one bit sorry. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby Book Review-Avery's Picks

Over the last few months Avery has developed a love for reading (yessssssssssssssss).  She loves to look at books by herself and be read to.  If you ask her if she wants to read a book, she will find the perfect one and back up into your lap, plopping down with her book.  She is very opinionated about her books though and only wants to read certain ones-pushing aside, walking away, or slamming ones she isn't interested in.  She definitely has her favorites.

Sounds on the Farm
I got this one recently at a book fair at work.  It's really interactive and she loves to push the buttons to hear the animal sounds.

Great Grammer and Gramper got her this one and it's been a long-time favorite.  It has flaps and fuzz and fur and she loves to turn the pages.

I believe my mom got this one when I was pregnant.  It has bold colors and few enough words to hold her attention.

She liked the other one so much I picked this one up at TJ Maxx.  Another favorite.

All my love to whoever purchased this book (mwah!) but I have cursed you many times.  It's just pictures/names of animals but it's reeeeallly long.  I'm not ashamed to say I will try to get out of reading it.  One of my favorites is "Take it to Daddy.  He really wants to read it!"

The Browns got her this really neat book and she recently took a liking to it.  The "stitching" and other things on the pages are textured.  It's a cool book but does anyone else think nursery rhymes are just odd? 

Sometimes she wants to rush through this one and get to the last ladybug.  It's a really cute little book though.

Oddly enough she absolutely will not stand for even one page of the well-loved classic Goodnight Moon.

She has quite a few other books that we read a lot, but these seem to be her favorites right now.