Saturday, July 23, 2011

on grace & recovery

There's a brand new website (just launched today!) that I'm a fan of... Recovering Grace. Take some time to check it out. The info is definitely worth pondering.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

laundry soap:: a tutorial

On occasion, I make my own laundry soap. It started last summer when my cousin brought me a jar that she had made, along with the instructions. The process seemed easy enough, and very inexpensive so I gave it a try. And I was hooked! It has become a staple in our household. One thing I like about it is that it is virtually unscented and dye-free. Since my daughter has sensitive skin and anything with perfumes or dyes makes her skin break out, this is important to me.

Yesterday I made a fresh batch, and I took pictures so I could share the process with you. Maybe it will inspire you to try it out yourself! One batch makes a 5 gallon bucket of detergent, which is double concentrated. It will last for a looooooooong time!

You should be able to find all the ingredients at your local grocery store, in the laundry aisle. The cost to buy them should be around $5.

You will need:
1 C of washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 C borax powder
1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap (zote, ivory, or other soaps can be used here as well)
Hot tap water
Empty 5 gallon bucket

Step 1) Grate the bar of soap into a pot.

Step 2) Add 4 cups of hot tap water to pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly until all the soap is dissolved.

Step 3) Pour the soap mixture into the 5 gallon bucket and fill halfway with hot water.

Step 4) Add borax and washing soda and stir well.

Step 5) Fill bucket to the top with hot water, cover, and let it sit overnight. (it will gel)

To use: fill a container 1/2 full with laundry detergent. (Old, empty laundry detergent containers work great!) Fill the rest of the way with water and shake to mix. You will need to shake it before each use, because it settles. Use 1/4 - 1/2 c of this mixture per load.

And that's it! Let me know how it works for you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

blessed rain

It rained yesterday morning. What bliss! We are in the midst of a heat-streak and the relief was so very welcome. Husby and I awoke to a dark room and faint rumblings of thunder. I made coffee. He got ready to leave for work. Baby Girl (who really is not a baby anymore, but a real toddler!) was still asleep. And she's always awake by 7am. I poured a cup of coffee and sat on the porch, relishing the quiet, listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops and watching the distant streaks of lightning. What a refreshing way to start the morning! A few solid days of this kind of weather would not bother me in the least.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

piano... my old love

I played the piano last week. It was the 4th of July, and we were at my in-laws. My MIL knows that I (used to) play, and she made me promise that if she ever got a piano, that I would play for them. Even though I agreed, I hoped I would get out of it somehow because I'm somewhat reserved. That and I haven't touched a keyboard in years. She got a piano. And it is beautiful. She wasted no time in finding me a book of familiar choruses and there I sat. "Just suck it up and play", I told myself. "No one will care if you stumble a bit." So I did. They keys are new and shiny and smooth. The instrument has a beautiful tone. Everything came flooding back with each note I played. Memories of practicing for hours, and finding solace in music when nothing around me made sense filled my mind. And the more I played, I didn't want to stop. I spent years practicing, taking lessons, even teaching little kids the basics of music. If I had gone to college I would have studied piano in some form. It was a love of mine.

After that afternoon, I came home and dug the few music books out that I brought with me when I moved across the country a few years ago. They're out where I can see them now. They are my inspiration to find an old piano somewhere and bring it home. I want to play again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Feather giveaway

Are you all crazy about the trendy feather extensions that are so hot right now? Check out this giveaway at the vintage pearl and you could win your choice from a hot new etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Vintage Pearl Giveaway

The Vintage Pearl is having another giveaway. Go here to enter. You can blog it, share on facebook, and tweet it for extra entries. LOVE love LOVE their things!

Friday, July 1, 2011


A conversation with my sister the other night brought back the memory of this story. I searched my old blog til I found it. Hope it makes you laugh!

The Saturday was a beautiful autumn day – a few clouds, a slight breeze, and a temperature just cool enough to make your toes cold if you were wearing sandals. Not only was the weather beautiful, but the day was following the pattern of a perfect Saturday. I slept in ‘til I couldn’t sleep any more, lounged around my room in my favorite pj’s, drank coffee leisurely as I had my quiet time (not the usual hurried gulping down a mug before chapel), lazily got ready to appear in public, and then headed out of my room fully awake and ready for whatever the day brought my way. My task for the day (Yes, I did have a job to do, even though it was a Saturday.) was to fill one of the vans with gas, and then head to a nearby small town to scout it out, and hopefully to talk the manager of the ice cream shop into a bargain for the group we were planning on bringing the following Monday. (That’s another story for another day…) It would be a nice afternoon out with no planned schedule.

Now, I’m absolutely fine with pumping my own gas – girls do it themselves all the time. I just like be sure that the gas station isn’t scary looking and is in an ok part of town. I managed to get through the construction and detours, pulled into a safe looking station, and began the ordeal of processing a fuel card. The so-called buttons on this pump kept registering two numbers and I swear I only pushed it once! As I was getting the card to work, a guy walked up to the other side of the pump with a gas can and began to fill it. He was a little scruffy looking, but not too scary or anything. A few thoughts ran through my mind, wondering why he needed gas in a gas can, and why he didn’t come in a car. Did he run out of gas somewhere? Had he walked far? Or maybe it’s for his lawn mower... Finally, the fuel card was accepted, and as I began filling the van I forgot about the guy.

Remembering that I needed to find out whether I should take the van to Holly, or if I needed to go back to the Inn and get a car, I got my cell phone out, and called one of the Trans guys while I waited for the tank to fill. As I was talking, I heard a voice behind me. Turning around, I saw the gas can guy. He had his head poked around the pump and was saying something very strongly and insistently. At first I wasn’t going to listen. Why? First, because I was already talking on the phone, and second, because I thought he was some old grungy man with a gas can being weird, trying to act all charming or something. Then what he was saying registered. “You’re gonna blow up!” What in the world? I thought. “You’re not supposed to be talking on a phone while you’re pumping gas! You’re going to explode and blow us all up!” Is this guy for real? Is he crazy? Drunk? High? (In Flint, you never know…) He kept muttering and exclaiming about how I was dangerous and he had to get out of there fast. I just looked at him like “Whatever…”, turned around, and finished my conversation. I could hear the man calling to another person who happened to be pumping gas across the station “She’s gonna blow us up! I’ve got to get out of here! You should leave – fast!” etc, etc. I could barely keep from laughing. He seemed to be dead serious! I think the guy ran away with his full gas can.

Now, I know there are warnings about using your cell phone while pumping gas, but is that for real? Is it really dangerous? Has anyone ever really blown up because they were talking on a cell at a gas pump? For some reason, I don’t think so. (But if you happen to know anything to the contrary, and have proof, please do let me know.) I think it’s just a (very) rare possibility. A warning that has to be out up to avoid stupid lawsuits. The “gas can guy” incident did give me a lasting memory. Every time I think of it, I’ll smile and remember how earnestly that guy believed that he was about to die. I wonder if I’ll ever go to pump gas and not hear in my mind his insistent exclamations of “You’re gonna explode!”
(originally posted on xanga, 9/29/04)