April 30, 2012

Laundry: Loads of Fun

Have you seen the make-your-own-laundry detergent on the internets lately?  I thought I'd give it a try.  It's super easy and actually a fun activity to get the kids to do.
 Here's what you need:
4 lb box Super Washing Soda
4 lb 12oz box 20 Mule Team Borax
3 lb tub of OxiClean (I used the Sun brand which is much cheaper)*
4 lb box Baking Soda
3 bars of Fels-Naptha (found in the soap aisle and the detergent aisle at Walmart)**

This makes a LOT, so use a big pot to mix.
Grate the soap into the mix.  My kids wondered why I was grating cheese in the bonus room. ;)  Then they wanted to join the fun!
 That's it!  See, I told you it was easy!  :)
I stored mine in a 12.7qt box (found at Walmart) and it was the perfect size!

 It only takes 1-2Tbs. per load, depending on load size.  I just use the scoop that came in the OxiClean.
My husband didn't know that I had made it and the other day he said, "I love that new detergent!"

This is what I like about it:
~ Cost effective.  It was about $20 to make, and according to several other Pinteresters that have tried it, it lasts about 9 months!
~ Smells FRESH!
~ No fillers.  Judging from the variety of sizes/loads the name brand bottles boast, there doesn't seem to be consistency on what I was getting for the price.
~ It works!  Now that we are spending lots of {muddy} time at the farm, I put my detergent power to the test.  No stains!  Yay!

Don't be alarmed when you don't see suds.  In fact, you can use this in a HE front load machine because there are no/low suds.  No more buying that "special" expensive HE detergent.    Just be sure to check your owner's manual, as some front load machines have a little liquid detergent drawer than will need to be removed.  For more FAQ's, check out this great website.

*The OxiClean is optional.  I couldn't find a 3lb tub, so I just bought the 6lb tub and used half of it.
**In place of the Fels Naptha (yellow), you can also use Ivory bar soap(white), or Zote (pink).  I have heard that Home Depot carries the Zote.  It's really just a preference of smell/color.

April 28, 2012

Right Now I Am...

Thinking: About how amazing my husband is.  I've become a wee bit cynical over our house not selling, but his faith and positive spirit has endured.
Avoiding: The dust bunnies that used to be under the couch that we just moved.  Now that they are in plain sight, I have to think about them... but I'm too busy enjoying our new-to-us couch, thanks to my brother and sister in law!

Listening: Our 11th book of the 39 Clues.  hmm... each book is about 6 cd's which means we've listened to 66 hours of this series since September.  Whew!  The kids love it, but I'm ready for... closure!

Drinking: Coffee.  It's cold in our house today.  Nice outside, cold in here.

Watching: Duck Dynasty.  Have you seen it?  Cracks. Me. Up.

Wearing: Sweats, of course!

Eating: Greek yogurt with honey is my current lunch of choice.

Wishing: I was a morning person.  We just don't seem to get along.

Feeling: Grateful for my precious family.

Missing: The freedom to do random stuff/crafts/seasonal decorating to my home because of it being on the market.

Craving: Real, European hot chocolate.  All 3,648 calories of one cupful.

Thanking: The inventors of Keurig for their brilliance; and my parents for giving me my very own.

Wondering: Why so many women are wearing low cut shirts.  It's not just a teen issue anymore.  As my friend's mother says, "Girls, put those puppies back in the doghouse!"

Praying: That I will be a light to others; especially those I live with and see the "real" me on a daily basis.

Celebrating: My husband's birthday today!!! I love you, Sweetie!

April 27, 2012

Friday Catch Up

We've been on spring break this week so I took a little break from most of my responsibilities.  Hello, mountain of laundry that greeted me this morning.  Wowsa!
Speaking of mountains, we headed up to the mountains for most of the week.  The same cold weather that joined us at the beach for Easter decided to follow us up the mountain.
We even saw blustery snow flurries.  Good thing I like cold weather!
While we were gone for the winter, the mice decided to make themselves at home in the mountain house.  They decided that my bed was the perfect place for a nest.  Um, yeah.  Mr. BugsBeGone was a welcome sight!

This is one of my favorite sights in the little mountain town of West Jefferson: the only cheese factory in NC.

As we prepare to move (one day...) I have kept my eyes out for "one day" deals.  We're really not spending anything on fluff stuff right now, but I couldn't pass these up:
 Curtain panels for $2.16 from Target.  Yes, I splurged and bought all three.

 Apparently one of my children was offended by the name of this cake:
 Never a dull moment.  Ever.

A friend of ours is opening a new go-cart track and mini golf center.  He asked us to come be his business guinea pigs.  The kids spent an hour riding the carts, and another hour playing golf for free.  It was such hard work!  ;)  Needless to say, we acquired some cool parent points.

I don't know about you, but I have such fond memories with mini golf (we always called it Putt Putt growing up).  Every time we went to the beach, my brother and I talked my parents into it.  My husband and I usually play when we have a weekend away together.  We've even played on a cruise ship and in Mexico!  Isn't that funny?  I doubt my kids realize that we have kid fun, even without the kids!

Happy Weekend!!!

April 19, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

 1. It's strawberry season here in NC and I'm itching to go pick some berries.  There is a huge berry patch just minutes from our new farm, so the sign beckons my name each time we drive past.

2. While doing a little computer spring cleaning, I ran across this photo.  I took this on Grandfather Mountain in October.  Can you imagine? That is one dedicated photographer!
 Guess where I want to take my girls' wedding portraits? {sly grin}

3. I've sort of had (non)buyer's remorse over this:
 I miss these little guys.  Maybe not all the poopies that came with them, but they sure were sweet and fun.  

4. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that we have 2 weeks until end-of-grade testing (pressure point!!!) and only 5 weeks until the end of the school year.  It tears me up thinking that we already have another year under our belt.   Where is the "freeze time" button??

5. My daughter #2 got an adorable haircut a few weeks ago.  It even looks cute 1st thing in the morning.  I'm so tempted...

6. I had a very rough, emotional Monday.  Do you ever have those days that you feel like you're just not enough?  Not good enough for others.  Not a good enough mom.  Not a good enough daughter.  Not a good enough ....  you know, one of those days.  
My amazingly thoughtful husband called my dear friend on Tuesday morning and begged suggested she kidnap me for a girls night out.  We squeezed it in between lacrosse practice, but it was so good for our souls.  And the crepes were good for our appetites, too.  Thanks, E, for rescuing me and talking me off the ledge of "not good enoughs."

7. Apparently, my emotional Monday freaked my husband out was blubbery enough to incite radical measures, which have included flowers and my favorite meal: shrimp 'n grits.  I'm even meeting a friend for coffee tomorrow night.  What a good husband I have!  He knew I was at my breaking point with the house-on-the-market saga and the emotional toll preteen parenting brings.  

8.  I finally admitted that I'm getting old my eyes aren't quite what they used to be and decided to try some readers.  My sweet dad (who has been telling me that I "might" need them for the past, oh, year) immediately went out and bought some for me.  He even found some cute ones with stripes on the side.  Savvy daddy.  I am realizing, however, that I need to go get a real eye exam, because now that the pollen is gone, stuff is still fuzzy.  Hmm...

It happens to the best of us, right?  ;)

April 18, 2012

Airing My Dirty Laundry

Are there certain things in your house that you kind of ignore?  I do.  One of them is my washing machine.  I should take better care of her because she's been a vital part of this family for 13+ years.  I don't know about you, but most days, my laundry room is the busiest room in my home.  With 3 kids who like to get dirty play hard and a husband that works outside, my washing machine works overtime.
So I came across "How to Clean Your Washing Machine" on the internets last week and thought, "hmm, I wonder if my washing machine is dirty?"

Grody, gross, gross GROSS!!!!
Um.  Yeah.  How could I be using it multiple times a day without noticing the nastiness that had built up?  I could totally use this as a good analogy for my heart...

So I quickly checked out the directions and got busy.
It's an easy 2-step process.

1. Set the washer on a medium size HOT load.  Add 2 cups vinegar.  The original directions said to let it sit for an hour for each step, but since this was an intervention a spur of the moment cleansing, I didn't have time for that.  While the washer was steamy from the hot water, I used a towel to wipe the upper edges and lid.
2. Run a second medium size HOT load.  Add 2 cups bleach.  I ran one more "rinse" cycle to be sure the bleach was gone.
That's it!  Here's the result:
I was amazed.
Yes, there are still some stains around the base of the agitator, but we have hard/well water so there's not much I can do about that.  Besides, I have a few more "stains" on my own body than I did 13 years ago.  ;)

I'm linking up with:

Raising Homemakers
Little Farm in the Big City

April 16, 2012

Humble Pie and Housekeeping

Good Monday Morning to you!
I'm wishing I was back on the beach watching my kids fly kites.  How about you?  Are you dreaming about a fun place?  Oh well, I'll just enjoy the memories.  :)

So here's the humble pie:
Last week I shared a link to a Lego book that I spotted at the bookstore.  I flipped through it, but didn't carefully read it.
Parental fail.   Blogger fail.
Thanks to a reader, I was mortified disturbed to find out that the book is totally inappropriate for kids.  DO NOT BUY it!!!!  Apparently it takes all the sins in the old testament and glorifies them in Lego form.
What kind of sick-o does that??
This was another sad reminder that Satan is prowling after the hearts of our kids.  He is pretty stinkin' good at being a deceiver.  The book looked fun.  The book looked like something my child would enjoy.  I should have looked into it better.  I apologize for sharing it with you without better investigation.  Sigh.
Forgive me?

A little bloggy housekeeping today, too.
A few weeks ago I removed the "word verification" form that you had to fill out when leaving a comment.  I want to make leaving comments as easy as possible.  Unfortunately, I've received tons of spam comments as a result.  Soooo, I had to put that little extra step back into the comment process.
If it seems confusing, check out my "how to leave a comment" on the sidebar.
The comments around here have been pretty sparse, but I'm just guessing you've had a busy spring. :)

Yep, Mondays aren't always fun.
BUT now that I have the yucky stuff out of the way, it's time to start a beautiful week!

PS. We have another showing for our house tomorrow, so I'd appreciate the prayers.

April 13, 2012


1. My husband found this large mason jar at our new farm.  I SQUEALED with delight!  I wonder the stories it holds...

2. All this time I've been endangering wildlife by eating yogurt and never knew it:

3. Our Harris Teeter (grocery chain) sells these mini cannoli rolls in the bakery.  You can choose chocolate dipped or regular.  They are better than any I've had in a restaurant.  They are also the perfect size for a cheap momma-snack-in-the-car on the way home from facing the crowds.
*If you are going to eat it in the car, be sure to ask for NO powdered sugar. I learned the hard way.  It's hard to hide my snack secret from the kids when I walk in with a powdered white lap.

4. I found this picture at the local Goodwill.  Is it me, or is this faded picture a wee bit overpriced?
Seriously?  I wouldn't pay $59.96 for it brand new.   Is Goodwill price gouging?  :)

Happy Friday!

April 12, 2012

Recipe Madness

 Even with the benefits of online recipe keeping, I still love a good old fashioned, dependable recipe right at my fingertips.  I keep my recipes organized in a 3 ring binder.  It's nothing fancy.  Just a black notebook with clear sleeves inside.  This is where I keep my tried and true recipes.  The front and back pockets are where I stuff ones that I want to try.  Once they've been tested out, they get a plastic sleeve.  Movin' up in the world...
 Every once in a while I go through the recipes that are in the individual sleeves and type them out onto one page to condense the paper piles.  Above is a picture of some main dish  recipes.  I'm a messy cook, so the plastic sleeves protect the paper.  That's not a smudge on your screen, that's sauce on my page.   ;)
Notice the pocket of the notebook in the background.  Looks like I need to be sifting through those newer recipes!

I used to have most of my recipes on index cards but they were hard to keep track of and I would often forget about them.  Out of sight out of mind. Now I just tape the recipe to a blank page with a few others and then slide it into the sleeve.  Have you ever tried the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Pie above?  It is a no-fail, crowd pleaser. :)

How do you organize your recipes?  Do you use the index card method?  What works for you?

April 11, 2012

A Different Kind of Easter

 We traded our Easter dresses for sandy toes this year and it was wonderful.  We've never been to the beach for Easter, but when some dear friends invited us, we couldn't say no.

 This full rainbow greeted us the first evening.  It was only about 30 yards out in the ocean from our beach house. 
We visited the Currituck Lighthouse.  214 steps to the top, but the view of the Outer Banks was totally worth it! 
  Super windy and cold, but we like that wind-blown look. ;) 

 Bringing big hair back!

My friend, Samantha, taught us how to tie-dye shirts, something I had never done before.  She's very creative, as you can tell by her adorable monogram egg:
The kids spent lots of time on the beach.  The water was freezing cold, but by the last day they couldn't resist getting in.  
Our week ranged from summer temps to winter temps.  
Bathing suits to winter jackets.
Easter dawned beautiful on the Outer Banks.

I'm not a morning person, but I really wanted to see the sunrise on Easter morning.  I awoke just in time to see it.  No camera, just me and the Lord having a little worship service of our own.
 The kids read scripture and reminded us of the greatest day in history: the day Jesus defied the grips of death and overcame the grave!

What a blessing it was to get away and celebrate LIFE! 

 How do you celebrate Easter?

April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!!

Because He chose death, we are offered LIFE.
Because He defeated death, we are given the gift of ETERNAL life.

Have you accepted this wonderful gift?

Rejoicing in this GLORIOUS day

April 3, 2012

Bunny Hutch 'n Such

Last spring my son became the owner of  a precious baby bunny.   She was so tiny that her store-bought cage dwarfed her.  But as the seasons changed, she grew.  It was time to expand, so we decided to build her a new home.
When I say "we" it really means I said, "I want it to be cute" and then my smart man did his magic.

He made the door big enough to be able to reach in and clean it easily.  She has soft hay to burrow in for sleeping, and a nice open screened "porch" to enjoy the weather.
Daisy has enjoyed every moment in her new digs.  She's such a sweet lil bunny!

Now she and Luna can hang out together.  Sort of.  Unless rabbits are put together as babies, they usually don't get along with other rabbits.  Turns into a cat fight, I hear.  

Below is a picture of Luna's hutch that my man designed and built, too.  It has two doors, for easy access.  Click here to read about how we almost lost her to a fire.
See that yellow thing in her cage?  That is a banana.  Our bunnies LOVE bananas!   Isn't that crazy?!  They also love lavender, apples, and of course, carrots.

We {"we"} were building these on a budget, so all of the materials used were left over from previous projects.  To tie the two together aesthetically, we painted them to match. Meaning, of course, that I picked out the paint, and the boys did the work.  I love this system!