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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Some DIY Laundry Style

The road to domestication...I'm in it for the long haul . I don't know whether to be alarmed or thrilled that I'm getting better at doing household things like laundry and dishes and organizing. The idea of this use to be such a snooze fest for me. Not long ago you could always find me planning my next vacation, spending $$ on yoga classes and "healthy food", and shopping like, all the time. These days my interests have shifted as a result of becoming a wife, mother, and hopeful homeowner. 

It's not to say that I—we—won’t still go on vacations and treat ourselves to good-for-you grub or invest a little time in some moving mediation AKA yoga. But I've officially added all these household related tasks to my life because I'm home 90% of the time.

I like finding efficient and economical solutions to everyday stuff, so I am officially doing a laundry detergent experiment.

As a family of six, we currently spend $15 on a tub of All Free & Clear that we get from BJ’s. My guess is it lasts us about a month. I can certainly skip a week to a week-and-a-half when it comes to laundry, but now that Sienna is growing like crazy and thus eating a lot more, she’s making messes. And her mouth is like a tap. She’s a drooly little girl. But I adore that messy, drooly little face.

Anywho, because I do have an insatiable need to venture down the DIY path further and further, and I’m cheap frugal, I researched how to make our own laundry detergent. I figured if you look at the numbers, we're spending $150/year on laundry detergent. Not a huge amount but every penny counts, right? Plus I want the satisfaction of not only “doing it myself” but making less trips to the store.

So back in June or July I picked up all the ingredients found in Liz Marie’s laundry soap recipe. I sat my pregnant booty down and grated three bars of Fels Naptha soap and cursed my great DIY plan as my hand cramped and I glistened sweat. It was an interesting moment. There I was, really pregnant and really hot and uncomfortable, hunched over a barrel grating the hell out of some bars of soap. I didn’t know how I got there.

I no longer knew how to smile for pictures.
I happily threw in the rest of the ingredients once that dreaded task was done and mixed it together before filling up an air tight container of the good stuff that’s about to clean my clothes. I spent $4 for a box of Borax; $4 for a box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda; $3 on Fels Naptha bars; $6 for a bottle of Purex Softener Crystals that smell like lavender; and $8 for a tub of OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover. That was a total of $25, $10 more than what we spent on the All. But it gave me quite a bit and I fully expected this to last more than one month. My guess was 3-6.

Where I went wrong next was leaving the excess mixture in the barrel because I didn’t have anything else to store it all in. One day Evan sees a trash barrel with stuff in it and decides to do his husbandly duty by dumping it in the trash outside. Later, I come bouncing down the stairs to possibly do some more laundry with my lovely smelling, hand-mixed soap and gasp at the site of an empty barrel. I never told Evan about the extra detergent and where I was storing it, so he just saw a barrel that needed emptying. But HELLO?! IT SMELLS PRETTY! IT’S NOT TRASH! 

When I asked him why he dumped out the trash that smelled a lot like soap and lavender, he said it was because it looked like cat litter. Never before had I seen such clean looking and smelling cat litter but whatever, I gave it to him. He agreed to buy me another set of ingredients and this time he would grate the Fels Naptha because that was the most pain in the ass part of the whole process.

Fast forward to, well, now: the end of November. A good 4-5 months since that fateful day. Of course we got a little side tracked with Sienna being born and all, and resorted back to just buying the tub of detergent for convenience sake. But then I started to get aggravated with the liquid detergent in its big, bulky container. Maybe it’s just my weird need to make laundry enjoyable but I liked using something that I concocted myself and kept in a cute container. So I decided to finally get the ingredients myself and remake the batch. This time around I only spent about $18-20 because some things I was able to get at the dollar store and I already had the Purex Crystals on hand.

I ended up sitting on my behind and doing it myself because I couldn't wait around for Ev to do it. There would be no mistakingly throwing it away this time. I filled the container with 1/3 of the mixture and put the rest into Ziplock freezer bags. I’ve already done three loads of laundry because it is the task that never ends. I'll be reporting back when we have gone through our supply. How exciting!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A peek at last November

Looking at these pictures from exactly one year ago has me thinking that although it seemed uneventful, things were just getting started. Really. Our new little family unit was starting to feel more at home and we were especially thankful for where we were at Thanksgiving. By the end of the month, a certain little one was about to make her presence known. Of course no one would know for a few more weeks...

1. Nan's homemade chicken piccata. 2. "Just because" flowers. 3. The room of living comes together. 4. Stella loves her heat. 5. Wicked good wine. 6. A piece of home. 7. Thanksgiving table set and ready for a feast. 8. Mmm sangria. 9. Love to love you. 10. Art?

Friday, November 8, 2013

October (2012) in pictures

Last October was cool. We were all moved in to our new digs and enjoying the changing of the season. I found a new love for thrifting and of course, good food was in abundance. 

1. Nice legs on this trash-picking find. 2. Love birds. 3. Antiques are awesome. 4. Green fuel. 5. Shameless comfort food: Pumpkin Alfredo. 6. Gone exploring... 7. Cuppa cawfee. 8. Truth. 9. Hard at work. 10. Indian summer = margaritas? 11. Makeshift fire pit. 12. Trash into treasure.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

September (2012) in pictures

Last September was the first page of a new chapter. From the looks of it, all we did was eat, drink and soak up fall. 

1. A floor to sleep on. 2. We've stepped back in time. 3. Breakfast is the best meal of the day. 4. Stella gets comfortable. 5. Fall is coming. 6. Nan makes something delicious. 7. Soaking up what's left of "summer". 8. Sunglasses. That is all. 9. Cheers to new beginnings. 10. Backyard ball. 11. A new window to explore. 12. Pistachio bread, where have you been all my life? 13. Make it like home. 14. Sweet corn makes me nostalgic. 15. Fall is here. 16. Speak (and eat) at Melt. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Month in Pictures: August 2012

I've taken a serious liking to the blog The Wilder Coast. I just love the way Melina writes. And I love her pictures. Her All in a Week posts are great - I really like the small glimpse you get to take into a completely different life. It's also cool to look at your own.

Blogging is a way for me to document and organize. A place for writings and pictures and whatever else seems relevant to the point I'm trying to make that day. I realized I needed an outlet, a go-to place to just... let it out. I don't necessarily need an audience. I truly just want a place for my thoughts, bouts of creativity, and energy that needs a release. A place for me to experiment, I suppose. It's what helps me strike a balance in this life that is constantly changing and evolving, taking new shapes as the months go on.

So let's start with the month that I got myself a perty ol' iPhone, which has given me the ability to stay in touch with family I left behind, document life and share. 
Thanks technology.
& Cheers to August of the past.

1. Richardson's ice cream will be missed. 2. Birthday cupcakes. 3. Pretty yellow blooms. 4. Perfecto's does coffee right. 5. Local wine sipping with friends. 6. The most delicious food on the planet. 7. Take me home, Route 62. 8 & 9. Packing perils for women; the ease of being a man. 10. Nothing says goodbye and good luck like a giant cookie. 11 & 12. The last supper; a lotta love for family. 13. Leaving our mark. 14. Stella braves the trip. 15. Almost there...