Thursday, July 28, 2011

We made laundry detergent! And I love it!

I've thought about making homemade laundry detergent for quite some time now.  It seems so simple and I keep hearing about what a money saver it is.  So with Grace's help, I finally decided to attempt it!
It's quite simple, really.  1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda (baking soda is not the same thing) and 1 bar of grated soap.   It makes about 32 ounces of detergent which fits perfectly inside a small yogurt container.  We had an empty glass container that we're using.  Then when you go to do a load of laundry, 1 Tablespoon of detergent is all you need.  Sounds too good to be true, I know.  But we decided to test it out as an experiment.
We used Fels-Naptha soap.  It was in the grocery aisle just past all the Tide.  And let me just say:  Oh.  My.  Goodness!  This soap smells so refreshingly clean!   Not wash-your-body-clean but more like the smell of freshly washed linens hanging from a clothesline out in the sunshine to dry kind of clean.  It has a faint undertone of a light citrus which smells just heavenly to my nostrils.  There's just something about the scent of lemons and oranges that I love.
Anyway.  That soap was much harder to grate than I had anticipated.  So I broke out my chef's knife and went to chopping. 
 Then we decided to move on the food processor.  That was was really hard soap, I tell ya!
 And really noisy in the food processor.  But our little Cuisinart did the job!
This was our end result.  Tiny little yellow balls of soap mixed in with the washing soda and Borax.  The surprising thing about this homemade laundry detergent (other than the fabulous smell) is it only takes 1 tablespoon of detergent per load.  Yes, you heard me right.  ONE TABLESPOON.  Of course, we have an extraordinarily large washer and dryer and I really like my clothes and linens to smell like laundry detergent so I used 3 tablespoons.  What was my verdict you ask? 

Our sheets came out wonderfully clean with the faintest scent of citrusy blossoms.  They felt wonderfully soft and smelled oh-so-clean.  Just the way I like them.  Honestly, I think I could have used just the 1 tablespoon but I probably won't unless I'm doing a small load because I really like the smell of laundry detergent. 

On top of that this was such a bargain!  I spent less than $5 on all the supplies and made enough detergent to do at least 30 loads of laundry and I have enough Borax and washing soda left over for at least another 5 batches of detergent.  That equates to a rough total of 180 loads of laundry (using 1 TBS per load).  Of course I'll probably only get about 1/3 of the loads because of my mild obsession with clean laundry smells, but that's fine by me.  It still comes out a good bit cheaper than buying the big brands at the store - it's even cheaper than I typically get buying other detergents on sale with coupons!

My final thoughts?  In spite of the hard time we had getting started with the soap, I think we will stick to the homemade detergent in the future.  I was honestly quite suprised to see how much I like it.  And it's much more economical than using big name brands that I typically buy.  And it takes up less space in my laundry room.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Faith is becoming a shutterbug!

Apparently, Faith is going to follow in my shoes just like her big sister Grace.
 Today she surprised us all by picking up a camera.
 And saying, "Eeeeeee!"  That's Faith's version of "cheese!"
 She's barely 1 and already she's learning one of my favorite mantras.
Live, laugh, and photograph!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keeping our kids safe

I'm often asked, "How do you teach your kids to not fall into the water?"
It's simple really.  Our kids are leash trained!

Faith's baptism

Today was another very special day.  Faith was baptized.
She wore the same baptism gown that Grace wore.  A good friend and exceptionally talented lady, Angela, made it when Grace was born.  And just like Grace, Faith refused to wear the bonnet so I held it throughout the ceremony.  When the girls are older and get married, the bonnet turns into a handkerchief that they can carry on their wedding day.  And to make it even more sentimental, the beading on the gown and bonnet is from my wedding dress.  This baptism gown is by far the most beautiful dress I have ever seen and it one of my most cherished possessions.  
Here Faith is with her Daddy waiting patiently as she enjoyed the music.
Soon we were called up to the front of the church.
Pappy performed the actual baptism since he is an ordained Presbyterian minister.
Then Granddaddy prayed over her.  He's a minister, too.
How fortunate that both grandfathers were able to take part in the ceremony.
 And here we are with our family.  Such a handsome and happy group.
Seth, Queenie, Hope, Granddaddy, me holding Faith, David holding Grace, Pappy, and MeeMee.
What a special day for all of us.  David and I are so blessed to have such loving families and we are so thankful that both my parents and siblings and David's parents were able to be here with us as we celebrated Faith's first birthday and baptism this weekend. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pier fun after Faith's birthday party

After having our fill of cake and presents, we headed to the pier.
Seth was just dying to go fishing.
Watching him throw the cast net is quite amusing.  He actually puts it in his mouth.  Gross!
Seth wasn't the only one who caught something.  Grace caught a Queenie!
And a Hope.
Then MeeMee, Seth, and I all caught a fish at the same time!  Seth and MeeMee with their poles and me with the cast net. 
Soon the sun started to set.
And another wonderful day came to its end.

Faith's 1st birthday party: Cake, presents, and confetti

We started off the party by singing Happy Birthday to Faith.
And let her blow out her candle.
We've been practicing the blowing.
Faith clapped her hands after we sang to her and finally let her dig into the dessert!
Grace helped feed Faith her bee.
Faith thought it was "bee-licious!"
And buzzed her bee around in the air for another bite.
Then it was time to open presents.  Doesn't her little outfit look darling on her?
Grace helped Faith with her presents.
We made quite the mess!
Faith got her very first baby doll.  And she loves it!
And Faith walked around looking for more presents to open.
We gave her this little Queen Bee pull toy.  It's one of her favorites.  She's always liked Grace's "puppy friend" but Grace won't ever let her play with it.
Then it was time for the pinata.
After many tries we finally found the right pull string and out popped the confetti, glowsticks, and such.
I really have a mild obsession with confetti.  I think I may have enjoyed it more than either of my girls.
But the glowsticks were a definite hit.
Both Faith and Grace wore them all over the house.
And played with them for days.
Don't they look so sweet together?  There's just something about cute little bums in ruffled tutus that melts my heart.
Then Grace was kind enough to clean up the mess.  She's a little obsessive about keeping things clean.  Faith is the exact opposite.  Oftentimes Faith will go behind Grace making a big mess out of whatever Grace has just cleaned up.  But this time Queenie held onto Faith to make it easier for Grace to vacuum. 

Faith's 1st birthday party: Cake, family, and decorations

Faith had a "Sweet as can BEE" birthday party.
And as usual, I went all out making her cake.
The little bees are a cookie version of a cake pop.
And of course Faith gets her own cake.
She also had lots of presents from her aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
Before the festivities began, Grace opened a present from MeeMee.
And Faith helped.
Grace got a baby she can play dress up with!  She loves her and takes her everywhere.
Faith wasn't too interested in opening her present just yet.
I had ordered bee-themed monogrammed shirts and matching tutus for the girls.  And they arrived just in the nick of time.  Literally, an hour before our party.  Grace adored hers.  Of course...
Then I got my picture made with the birthday girl.
And so did her Daddy.
We took a festive family picture - Chloe included.
Then Faith had her picture made with her MeeMee.
MeeMee and Pappy were certainly in the  party mood!
Here is everyone ready to cut the cake and celebrate Faith's first birthday! 
MeeMee and Pappy, David, me, Queenie, Seth, Granddaddy, Aunt Hope, and Grace and Faith
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