Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Works for Me Wednesday: Make Your Own Laundry Detergent--powdered version

I have been making my own laundry soap for nearly three years now.
Here is the recipe I use:

Last fall, I added a powdered version to my laundry repertoire.
Mostly I just wanted to see if I could do it, and I could!

The liquid is cheaper to make, but the powdered is, in my opinion, a stronger detergent.
I got the recipe from MckMama's site.

Here is what I use:
8 cups Borax
8 cups Washing Soda (not baking soda--washing soda is in the laundry aisle.)
1 Goat Milk Soap bar, scent of your choosing
(my personal favorites for this purpose are Rosemary Spearmint, Red Clover Tea, or Ocean

Grate the bars of soap and mix with the borax and washing soda.
I use 2 Tbls in my front loading washer.

What I love the most about making my own detergent, whether liquid or powder, is that
1) I know exactly what is in it
2) It's cheaper and works just as well
3) I feel resourceful and independent!

I stopped using the fels-naptha bar about a year ago because it seemed to just build up on our clothes.
Since switching to goat milk soap, I've been so much happier.

Let me know what you think!


Standing at my bedroom window...
looking outside...

and then inside.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Hands-Free Device

I haven't blogged very much about wearing my babies in a sling.
This is mostly because I never like the pictures of me.
This one, though, I actually kind of like.
It was taken before I got my hair cut too short. 
(Not her fault--totally mine.  I thought I wanted to go shorter, but I was wrong.)
It was taken when Elizabeth was a month old,
which would be before I started gaining the 10+ pounds that I've slubbed on my hips, stomach, and arms since losing 30 pounds in the two weeks after she was born.
Oh yes!  That's me--the woman who loses weight while pregnant and GAINS it postpartum.

before anyone gets all up in my bid'ness about how slings are so DANGEROUS,
(yes, I did  have a woman literally chase me down in Target and tell me my baby could die in that thing)
I'd like to direct your attention to the following articles:


I didn't have a sling until I was pregnant with Ruby.
I started reading (ok, ok--blog surfing) about "wearing" my baby.
At the recommendation of a friend (ok, ok--it was a blogger),
I chose the one you see in the picture above.
It was VERY difficult for me to choose a fabric, but I LOVED it even MORE when it came in the mail!  
I knew I'd only get to spend the money once, so I'd better make it count! 
Though I haven't yet had a baby boy to put in there,
I think it is a pretty neutral pattern and could be used for boys or girls.
I ordered it from this site and was pleasantly surprised at the price.
It is pretty disheartening to need some baby things and have them be so expensive--there aren't showers for babies after #1 and 2!.
While $30 is no pocket change, it is much cheaper than many carriers on the market.

Wearing Ruby, Ivy, and now Elizabeth has been wonderful.
I love, love, love having them close to me.
I think it helps them transition well from life on the INside to life on the OUTside.

In church, wearing my baby in the sling is so much easier for my back--
plus it leaves my hands available to hold the hymnal, wipe the toddler's nose,
catch the snack baggie before it falls on the floor, or take a little one to the bathroom.

At home, I have days in which I have the baby in the sling a lot and days in which I don't do so as much--it depends on the day.
I remember, though, before I started slingin' how it felt like I was always just feeding the baby and then placing him or her back in the carseat, bouncy seat, or swing so that I could get the work done that needed to get done.  Now, I can assuage much of that guilt because she can stay right with me while I do much of what I need to do.  Having said that, I also don't feel guilty when I do put her down because I've held her so much already.  I'm a firm believer that babies need to be held.  I don't believe it's possible to spoil a baby by holding them "too much."
Would you like some statistics that back me up on that?
You're welcome.

I also have a wrap which I love.
(Apparently these have gone up in price since I bought mine--I think I paid $40.)

One day, I'd love to have an Ergo but for now, the price makes that not an option.

I also bought fabric the day Elizabeth was born to make my own mai-tai,
but my sewing machine is possessed and won't work reliably for me.

Just like tools in my farmer's toolbox, different slings/carriers work better at different ages and stages and in different scenarios.
For example, I once wore Ivy throughout a whole zoo field trip in my wrap with nary a sore back, neck, or shoulders.  She was about seven months old.
However, if I've just gotten the baby asleep I will grab for my sling because I can't tie the wrap on while holding the sleeping babe.  I may, though, have someone hold the baby while I put on the wrap and then take her back--it depends on how much of a gamble I'm willing to take on her waking up in the transfer!

There is so much out there about the benefits of baby wearing, different types of carriers, etc., so I don't need to re-write it all here.
Suffice it to say, I would encourage any parent to add a sling, wrap, or carrier to your stash of baby gear!
Please remember these important safety tips when wearing your baby--they may also help you not to be the one chasing down any mommys in Target.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm Blessed: To Know This Young Man

It's Monday and some of you know what that means--
it's the day we write along with 
Gretchen's I'm Blessed series.

This Monday, though, just happens to be 
Nathaniel's 16th Birthday!!!

I want you to know how blessed I am to know this young man.
*he laughs at all my corny jokes
*he isn't in to pop-culture, he likes "good ol' stuff" like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Chet Atkins, 
Willie Nelson, and Wrangler jeans.
*he likes Spam.  See?
(he got some for his birthday from my mom and dad)
*he is SO good with the younger kids
*he is a hard worker, as are his brothers
*he is a good conversationalist, able to strike up (and keep up) a conversation whether the person be 9, 19, or 90.
*he's patient with me when I don't understand something
(I'm terrible at history--sorry Mr. Listrom--and he has to help me often)
*he is an awesome self-taught guitarist  
*he is the boy who made us parents
*we've screwed up over and over again and he STILL likes us!

Today I took him and Isaiah out for lunch at a Chinese buffet.
"All-you-can-eat-buffet" is like music to a teenage boy's heart.
We then went to Fleet Farm (of course!) and the boys picked out a case for one of their guns.

Tonight we are having Papa Murphy's for supper and blowing out some candles on his pumpkin bar "cake".

I've said it before, and will again,
how we ever went from needing a diaper change to needing a shave is beyond me.  I guess I must have blinked and the years have flown by.
(He has since decided to wear mutton chops, which means less shaving.)

Happy 16th Birthday, Nathaniel!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It Never Gets Old...

It never gets old...
the twinkle in my sons' eyes...
the squeals of delight...
the fits of laughter...
when they finally master:

the armpit fart noise.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Birth Disappointment

I was talking with my friend Megan today,
(who was also my doula for Ivy and Elizabeth)
and we re-visited my experience with birthing Elizabeth.

It's helpful for me to talk to Megan about the disappointments
surrounding E's birth because 
*she was there
*she's a woman/mommy
*she had a disappointing birth experience with her daughter, too.

She sent me this article and I think it's one everyone should read,
whether you are expecting a baby yourself or ever have a conversation with someone who has had a baby.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And then...

Dennis and I both started the day
feeling a bit discouraged.
And then...

walked out from her bedroom, having just woke up,
and we both smiled.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


You may remember that Isaiah had a birthday.
And even if you didn't remember that, you would probably instinctively know that he had a birthday, 'cause, well, everyone has one, right?
He chose chocolate revel bars for his "cake".

He lit 14 candles
and then he blew them out.

And that was that.

Ruby Colored

Even if Ruby hadn't been the one to proudly show me her masterpiece,
I would know who colored it.
Not only is the purple and red color scheme rather tell-tale,
but, duh,
the horse's make-up gives it away.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hands and Feet

I do the same science lesson with both Andrew and Christopher, together.
We have been talking recently about how different muscles and bones have different jobs 
and how God created them each to do their own job just right.

The "object lesson" was to try to write your name using your feet instead of your hands
and to walk on your hands instead of your feet--boy, did they ever laugh while trying!!

We talked about how some people have to learn to do things without
their hands or feet; 
we decided we are very thankful that all of our hands and feet can do their jobs well!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ruby Tries Snow

On our outing, Ruby announced she was thirsty.
Since I had spontaneously decided to go,
I had not packed my typical water bottle
so I advised her to eat snow.
White snow, always.

She wasn't sure about that.
She had to think about that...

Very seriously.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

That's a Good Question

Last week on Isaiah's birthday, he chose to eat at Burger King.
He'd never had a Whopper before and wanted to give it a try.
He always has set high goals for himself.

As I sat with my two oldest boys, a lady came over to comment on our lovely little Elizabeth.
She assumed that these three were the sum of my children.
When I told her that I have nine, her jaw dropped.
She was completely floored.
She went on and on about how shocked she was that we have nine kids, etc.

Anyway, after she left, the boys and I started reminiscing about other similar encounters we've had and the many Duggar references.
Then Nathaniel posed a good question:
"It's funny that people never say, 'Hey--you guys are just like the Waltons!'  It's actually a better comparison."

And he's right.
Even when we *only* had five kids, people would get so excited and say we were just like "that Duggar family."  It probably is the combination of homeschooling and "large" family that does it, I suppose.

But the Walton's had seven kids; that's closer to our nine than the Duggar's 19.
The Waltons lived on a farm.
The Waltons had a fun-loving Grandpa.
The Waltons had to learn how to make do.
I wear an apron.
The Waltons had a goat.
The dad needs a haircut and up until last week, so did Dennis.
The Waltons even had an Elizabeth!!

Yep, though we love the Duggars, maybe we're a bit more like the Waltons--for now, anyway. :-)

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm Blessed

This week, I'm blessed to have such a good example of marriage in my parents.
I'm linking back to the post I wrote on Sunday, their 40th anniversary.
As I said there, I'm so glad they have stayed together in a time when it seems so many others are falling apart.

Also, reading Gretchen's post reminds me that our family has been SO spared from health hardships.  
All of the things we have dealt with have been so minor.

During my darkest days after the babies are born, I remind myself that I got to come home with my baby.
Not all mommies get to do that.
I am holding my baby while I type this.
Not all mommies get to do that--some mommies have babies that they have never held.

Thank you, Gretchen, for hosting this blog party week after week.
It is good to reflect on the goodness of God.

Another Afternoon Adventure

Sometimes I get in the mood to do something fun.
My husband and children would attest to the fact that I'm am NOT at ALL spontaneous.

But sometimes, sometimes,
I set my work aside and try to remember to have fun.
Like when we did this.
It's a step for me--a big step.

So on Friday, 
I announced to my crew that I was going to take them sledding in town at the sledding hill,
which is just the hill leading to the ball field in the big town with a population of like 225.
I thought it would be fun for all the kids to go,
but my bigger kids didn't.
They didn't want to go and so I let them stay home.

I headed out with Andrew, Christopher, Elijah, Ruby, Ivy and Elizabeth.
It was a balmy day and our snow is pretty much all melted so that's why we headed to town.

I was a little worried when we pulled up next to the ball field because there wasn't a whole lot of snow there, either!  There was enough to slide down on and it's a good thing it wasn't deep because I forgot that I don't even own a pair of boots!  

Bipper on the snowboard 

Ruby blazed her own trail 

So proud!!




 Straight line all the way down!

Andrew knee-boarding

Andrew was a good helper--up and down!! 

 I even went down one time with Elijah on his sled
but then he told me I shouldn't ride again
'cause I was too big.
That's always good for Mom's self-esteem.

 Andrew, always the hot-rod.

 Bipper takin' a break

 makin' a train that stayed together all the way down!

Baby 'Lizabeth stayed asleep the whole time 
in the van 5 ft from me.
I kept checking on her and she kept sleeping!

It was a good afternoon.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

40 Years

Today is my parents' 40th anniversary.
We are planning a party for them later this month.

Forty years...four decades.

In 1972, a gallon of gas cost $0.55.
Nixon was president and Watergate began.  
(My dad actually worked in the White House at that time--no kidding!)
An era of lava lamps, 8 track players and fondue
when people watched Here's Lucy, Hawaii Five-O, and The Brady Bunch.

In 1982
gas was $0.91 and a postage stamp was $0.20 and a major recession hit the US.
The first cd player was sold in Japan and the Weather Channel aired on cable for the first time.
People watched Magnum, P.I., Dynasty, and Falcon Crest--when they weren't watching Dallas, of course.
Who shot JR??  Do you remember??

In 1992 a gallon of gas was $1.05 and a pound of bacon was $1.92.
Ross Perot announced he would run against Bill Clinton and President Bush.
The Mall of America was built and DNA fingerprinting is invented.
America's Funniest Home Videos came on the scene and Andy Griffith played Matlock.

Gas was $1.61 and the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law.
 George W. and Tony Blair were household names.

Forty years, four decades, four children, and now 12 grandchildren!

Some of the things my parents have imparted to us were strong moral values,
love of family, a strong work ethic, discipline, consequences,
and a sense of humor. 

One of the things that my dad has said that has always stuck with me is 
when we would see my mom and dad being affectionate (and they still are!),
we kids would roll our eyes, make gagging noises, turn away, or do all three.
My dad would smile and say,
"You just wait--one day I hope you find someone to love you as much as I love your mom."

There has never been any doubt that my dad loves my mom.
(and vice versa--my mom is a SAINT!) 

I'm so thankful for the relationship they have with each other.
They have stayed together when falling apart has become the norm.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


We haven't caught too many smiles on camera yet.

sometimes she's pretty serious

this one made me laugh
it begs a caption, don't you think??
Leave me your idea in the comments, would you?

All I can think of is, "Whatchyou talkin' 'bout, Willis?"
from the show Different Strokes.
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