Wednesday, April 28, 2010

God's Painting

I'm finally getting some pictures up from our wonderful afternoon adventure to explore the Texas wildflowers for the first time. It truly is amazing how God paints every little green patch with amazing colors every spring here! It's almost as if He has His paintbrush covered in all the colors of the rainbow and splatters the land from above, creating this wonderful masterpiece. Add in the rolling hills, cattle grazing, and ranching homesteads, and it's enough to make you really appreciate why Texans love their state. Enjoy God's Masterpiece with our Little Wildflowers mixed in...

Sweet, beautiful Isabella...

No, amazingly none of the kids picked a wildflower! Brigham a petal or two maybe, but not the whole flower! :)

Lincoln was happy pullingandpullingandpulling the wagon all around...

Bella had been waiting so patiently all spring to have her picture taken by bluebonnets. She was so excited!

Bella just loves being a big sister to her brothers, and surprisingly she wants this baby to be another boy!

A kind lady offered to take a family picture, and look, we're all looking in the same direction! :)


Monday, April 26, 2010

If You Have a Spare Second

If I could just ask for {a few} prayers and thoughts for our previous home situation... {Please!} It's been just shy of seven months since putting it on the market, and we're ready for something to start moving... We can't change the fact that it's on a busy road or that the bedrooms are too small, and we accept that. But... We have a proposal on the table for a couple to rent it for a year starting next month, who possibly want to buy if or when their other home sells many states away. We are happy with this, and it would work out well for us. Hopefully we hear back today or tomorrow... {Thanks! XOXO}

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If It's Gotta Be Clean, It's Gotta Be.... Homemade!?

I know you've all been anxiously awaiting and hanging on the edge of your desk chairs for the outcome of my latest experiment with making my own laundry detergent, so here goes...

After cooling overnight, I'm proud to announce that yes, the mixture did indeed gel in the bucket as anticipated. I guess this shows that something went right up to this point. Great, but here's where I get a little embarrassed, though... Previously I had said that I made a half-batch due to only having two small containers to hold my new liquid gold in. Well, I obviously didn't do the math or even think of doing the math, because 5 gallons of liquid {remember I had to add water to it before bottling...} does not and will not fit into two wimpy containers totaling 175 ounces. Not even close... Nope.

Fortunately, I also keep my vinegar in the laundry room for mixing my favorite all-purpose cleaner and was running low in the larger bottle. Voila, another container! Still not even close, though... To the recycling bin I go. {Yes, I dug through my trash to get an orange juice container to put my detergent in, but hey, this is 128 ounces of pure detergent storage for nothing! It was Earth Day, remember...} Okay, still.not.close.though. Raiding the pantry brought forth a nice big frying oil jug that I didn't want anymore, but I didn't have any place to dispose of the oil. In the end, I ended up leaving the bucket about 1/3 full and sitting on my dryer, but the moral of this huge long rambling would be to measure twice, pour once. ;)

Moving on, since you all just really want to know if this stuff works... In one word, YES! I was very happy with the outcome of the lightly-soiled normal load that I did this morning. I inspected the clothes very closely while still warm from the dryer and this is what I found.

~ Very soft clothes with no need of softener. Springy and bouncy! {Wish my hair was like that...}
~ Wonderful fresh, clean scent with no heavy perfume. Pure clean that my nose had a hard time leaving. {Unfortunately, there is no trace of the wonderful scent of Fels Naptha after the dilution process, but that's what the other 6 1/2 bars on my shelf are for...}
~ No soapy residue on clothing. I think that even the expensive brand detergents leaves some residue behind...

I have yet to try it on any heavily-soiled clothing from the children's outdoor playtimes, but I'm confident it can stand against the expensive stuff. I've also read many good things about using Fels Naptha as a stain treatment by rubbing the bar into the stain before washing, so I'll keep that in mind for sure. All in all, I think it was a success other than the storage fiasco, and hope that I've encouraged at least one of you to change your laundry tagline for good! I mean just look above at all of the detergent half a bar of soap, less than a cup of dry ingredients, some water, and time will buy you! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Boiled What On My Stove!?

The aroma of the house right now is clean and fresh thanks to the grated bar of soap that I was melting and boiling on my stove. Yes, you read right! :) I finally made a batch of the homemade laundry detergent that I've been wanting to try for months and months. I kept putting it off until the move, so I wouldn't have to waste any at the last house. Yesterday I was blissfully giddy when the UPS man brought my last ingredient of a whopping three items that this recipe calls for. I jumped around the house and tore the package open. Seven fresh yellow bars of Fels Naptha soap filled the house with its intoxicating scent as soon as the bars saw sunlight. I've heard that this soap smells yummy, but oh my! I found myself making many trips to the laundry room during the last day just to smell the air inside made sweet by the bars sitting wrapped on the counter inside. {Yes, it is the little things that make me happy...}

The kids were highly interested in the process, so I'm glad that I did it while the baby was napping. {It takes a while to melt the grated soap down on the stove, and you also don't want little fingers mixing ingredients behind your back!} I made a half batch, since I only have two smaller empty Tide containers saved to store the mixture in for now. The concentrate is now sitting in its 5-gallon bucket waiting to "gel" overnight. I'll see in the morning whether or not this new little project of mine was successful and report back! I decided to go with the tried and true recipe of the Duggar family that I found in my book The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

Please let me know if you've tried your own detergent or decide to try this recipe for yourself!


1 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax


Grate the soap bar into a small saucepan. Cover with hot water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continually, until the soap completely dissolves.

Put Washing Soda and Borax in a 5-gallon bucket. Pour in the hot, melted soap mixture. Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water. Stir, cover securely, and let set overnight. The next morning, stir the mixture. Mix equal amounts of soap concentrate and water in a smaller laundry-detergent dispenser or container. Shake before using.

For top-loading machines: Use 1 cup of the soap mixture per load.
For front-loading machines: Use 1/2 cup per load.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Too Soon...

Too soon you won't be climbing up on the counter to steal your third banana of the day...

Too soon you won't have those tiny crooked teeth peeking out that Mama loves so much...

Too soon you won't have chocolate all over your precious dimpled face for me to wipe away...

Too soon you won't look at me with that twinkle in your eye & silly grin...

Too soon Daddy's hat won't be too big on you...
{Brigham Isaac ~ 20 months}

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blessings Overflowing

There are no words to describe the deep sense of contentment and peace I have now. Peace from a beautiful Easter weekend spent at church and home with our little family... Peace in our decision to walk through an open door into another chapter of life filled with opportunity and adventure as a military family... Peace from a big decision nearly made... Peace from a fourth Easter basket left on Sunday morning!

Our family is growing! We have been so blessed! Thank you, Lord for our

Blessings Overflowing...