Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent - UPDATE

works for me wednesday at we are that family
This is an update to the post from here, which I wrote way back in 2010.

I STILL use this detergent, guys. Still love it. HOWEVER, I accidentally discovered one day that there is an easier way to do it. It is much quicker than all that stirring I used to do before. The ingredients are the same, but the order in which you mix them is what has changed.

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

1. Baking soda

2. Liquid castile soap  (I use Dr. Bronner's and purchase it wherever I can find it on sale at the time. Sometimes Drug Emporium, sometimes Whole Foods, sometimes Azure Standard, sometimes Amazon, etc.)

3. White vinegar

4. Washing Soda (made by Arm & Hammer, or you can just buy soda ash; I can get this at both Wal-Mart and Kroger where I live)

Measure 1 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of castile soap and mix together using a pastry cutter in a large bowl. 

Mix well.

Then, add 1 cup of vinegar. Pause a moment while it foams up. It is MUCH foamier doing it this way than the way I used to do it! Sort of swish/mix it around with your pastry cutter. It should feel like the baking soda has turned into bubbles.

I will have to add a picture here later so you can see all that foam.

NOW add 1 cup of washing soda. This will begin to calm that foam right down. Work the soda into the mixture using your pastry cutter. It will begin to take on a pasty consistency. Stir until thoroughly incorporated and then give yourself about a three-minute break. 

Maybe wipe the counters. Put away all your ingredients, etc. And then chop and mix a little more with the pastry cutter. 

Eventually (and not long at all!) it will begin to dry out and break up into a powder. Just repeat the wait-a-few, mix-and-chop pattern until you are ready to transfer it into your container. (By the way, this does not need to be kept in an air-tight container.)

I don't worry about clumps, but you can if you want to. 

Y'all, I think it works great! And it is low/no-sudsing, so it is perfect for HE washers. 

Use anywhere between 1/8 to 1/2 cup per load. Depends on your washer and how large/how dirty your load. I tend to use about 1/4 cup. I have a friend who uses much, much less than this! So far, I've been too chicken to try it. I so hate doing laundry. I sure don't want to RE-do any of it! 

Here's the recipe one more time:

1 cup Baking Soda
1/4 cup Liquid Castile Soap
1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Washing Soda

That's it!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Vacationing in Colorado: Part 4, The End

So I'm finally wrapping up the posts for this trip we took FOREVER ago to Durango, Colorado! Please enjoy the exciting conclusion.  ;) Previous posts, in order, are here, here, and here.

Day 9:

We used our last day in Durango as a bit of a rest day. We went into town and stocked up on snacks, bought some yummies for our campfire dinner, replaced our portable DVD player for the car ('cause Momma wasn't about to drive sixteen plus hours without a working one!), and just generally piddled in Walmart. Then we had a delicious lunch at a "real food" pizza restaurant

And, lucky for us, Durango was having some sort of community mini-fest that day, so we were more than willing to participate in a little bounce house fun. Don't mind if we do!

Once we got back to the cabin, we spent time just enjoying the great outdoors. Noah did a little hunting for bones while the others did some finger painting. We made a cute, life-size thank you note for our host, the owner of the cabin. Saylor picked a bouquet for dinner. And Mommy and Daddy got dinner going.

It was a lovely evening.

We are all very happy to be saying goodbye to these guys, though.

The next morning we headed out for the verrrrry loooonnnnnggg journey. For fun, we did stop off in New Mexico to see The Blue Hole.

A two-day trip in the car with four littles takes creativity. Here's how we manage.

1) The aforementioned DVD player.  :)  Currently out of commission yet again.

2) Activities of interest. (Coloring books, car games, scavenger hunts, library books, small action figures, LeapPads/V-tech devices, etc.)

3) Snacks galore...and always apportioned out in serving-size paper cups or baggies. Must. keep. the. snacks. a'coming.

4) Pit stops during which we s-t-r-e-t-c-h and do whatever we feel like doing, even if it makes the car look streaked and horrible, and take our time doing it.

5) Audiobooks and/or Adventures in Odyssey. Daddy doesn't appreciate these as much as the rest of us.

6) Ear buds for at least one parent (you know who you are), sometimes both (if I'm lucky).

7) Kid songs. Daddy definitely doesn't appreciate these! (We like KinderSongs, Veggie Tales collections, anything Disney; we especially like the Backyardigans and the Phineas and Ferb stations on Pandora.)

Even with all that, let's face it, it's exhausting to travel, period. Add kids to the mix and the chances are very great that both parents will be near tears by the time they roll into their long-awaited driveway. Which we were. But it was all worth it! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Vacationing in Colorado: Part 3

I was looking through old posts and JUST realized that I never finished our Colorado trip from 2011!! What in the world?!
Alright, I've been a bit behind schedule in every.single.aspect.of my life, I guess. So in case you've forgotten where we left off, here are the first two installments in our vacation series: Parts ONE and TWO. Go review. We'll wait.

Day 7:

We needed a more restful day today, considering the LENGTH and the physical strain of yesterday's train adventure. Today we decided to DRIVE into Silverton, as we didn't see much of it the first time around. You know, besides the inside of a semi-warm restaurant where we scarfed down some grub during our very limited allotted time. So today on the way into Silverton, we stopped at a little place called "Honeyville," because we knew our little bee lover would love it.

Yes, those are bees in that tube.

Their hive is in the middle of the little store.

Honeyville makes and sells all kinds of honey-related products. And if you time it right, you can watch something being made.  That is, unless the worker is busy being puppeteer.

There's no better role player than Atticus, so he just naturally decided to join in on his side of the glass.

Poor things. It was a little bright out.

Then we headed on to Silverton. The drive is...well...scenic. To say the least.

There's the old mining town of Silverton nestled in the valley there.

The "Old West"-looking part of the town is kinda cool to see.

And y'all, there wasn't much to see here whatsoever. In fact, at one point I looked at Paul and said something to the effect that I just don't understand why the entire nation likes to pick on Arkansas being so po'dunk and backwards...when, man alive!  Paul then said he was JUST thinking the same thing!!

Anyhoo...our final destination was yet to be reached, as we were just traveling through Silverton to go on up the mountain to an old gold mine there.

Two thumb-suckers and their "silkies." Necessary for going into a deep, dark hole in the side of a mountain.

Panning for gold. We left disappointed.

On the way down the mountain??? It snowed. Shocked our socks off! I mean, it was September 15th, for goodness' sake! And it was actually not that easy to drive the winding roads. Scary!

But. We also saw a rainbow. Beautiful, adventurous day.

We finished this day with Mexican food, and the kids had their very first sopaipillas.

Day 8:

Another must-see in the Durango area is Mesa Verde. Do NOT miss it. Astounding is what it is. It was only a forty-minute drive, and I'm so glad we made it.

He didn't want in the group picture.

Once the monkey, always the monkey.



Atticus and I had some work to do on the path, while the others explored underground.

Is it just me, or are the clouds prettier in Colorado?

Again--only 3/4 of the group.

We were in Colorado one more full day and then began traveling back to Arkansas. I'll post the tail end of our trip tomorrow. Promise.

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