Friday, April 27, 2012

Our Easter

Our Easter was very special and fun this year. We started the day very early for our church's sunrise service (6 a.m.!) and then a breakfast after; then we came home, changed clothes, and headed back to church for our morning service and cantata.

First, though--we had to snap a few precious pictures!

Grandma Jane and the littles (who, by the way, 
I am soon going to have to find a new nickname for--they are not so little anymore....)

Our Easter photo--always a favorite!

Colin and Lo, being silly for Mommy

After church, we headed back to our house for some fun.

Grandma Jane with Ethan

Grandma had some "special" eggs for the kids, and Daddy took a few minutes to find some good hiding places outside. Or--so he thought. Ethan found his in like 10 seconds....

....and he was, as you can plainly see, extremely excited!!

Col looked everywhere.... did Cam!

 His wasn't here....

...but he did spot his sisters.

Ethan helped Lo find hers....

....for which, she was grateful. *grin*

Cam finally found his....

....and next up was enjoying the goodies inside.

Grandma had to help Lola open hers.

Inside, the boys were treated to $5 and some new candy: Pop Rocks. They have never had them before, and had no idea what they would do once they hit their tongues! It was hilarious watching them.

Then we took the hunt inside, for Mommy and Daddy's hidden eggs. We let Lo go first, 
because we hid 12 just for her (in very obvious spots).

She had such fun collecting them!

She got up just fine....

....but needed her brother's help getting down.

Then the boys started searching. They found eggs so fast I could barely snap the pictures!
{toaster oven}

{Col, after discovering one in a funny place}

{Spotting one in Mommy's room}

Meanwhile, during the boys' hunt and the hubbub that went along with it, a certain someone was in another room opening her candy and shoving it in by the fistfulls. Unnoticed, of course.

Good thing she is so cute!

The hunt continued....

Then we enjoyed opening all the eggs to discover the treasures inside.
Grandma helped Lola.... (with the ones she hadn't eaten already)

...and the boys? Well, they had no trouble getting into all of their own.

There were coins abundant and lots of chocolate.

It was a great day, and I am overly thankful for another year to celebrate our risen Savior. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap: Part TWO

A few of you had some questions about my homemade laundry soap, and I wanted to address them in case anyone wanted to try to make a batch yourself.  So, here goes!

Carolyn said:

  • Clothes come out smelling clean? It gets out the boy grime? Do you use fabric softener with it or just this in your machine?
Yes! My clothes do come out clean and smelling great--although I do use a Bounce dryer bar, and I'm fairly certain that is where the smell comes from, because the detergent itself doesn't have much of a smell. (I love those bars, by the way--I dry everything on a low heat setting, and I feel like they last forever!) Remember, however, that I do pre-treat the major grime/stains/grass stains by wetting the stain, rubbing it with a bar of the Fels Naptha soap, and working it into the fabric a bit before washing. I found that to be necessary when dealing with little boy/man grime.

Also--a friend of mine uses this same recipe, but uses a bar of IVORY soap because she likes the way it makes the detergent smell. She says it works just as well!
  • What about this - if I don't want to store so much of it - what if I just half the recipe?? Shouldn't be a problem, right?! I am just thinking it is easier to store half a bar of soap than all that concentrate.
You are absolutely right--I see no reason at all why you couldn't HALF or even QUARTER the recipe! What a great way to try it out before making a huge batch!
  • Could I store the "ready to use" portion in the now nearly empty liquid laundry Tide or Gain soap dispenser? (i.e. the ready to use stuff is liquid-ey enough to come out of the nozzle?)

You absolutely can store it in an old bottle. Any plastic bottle that you can pour from will work just fine!  (Oh, and Care? Lola most certainly did get her cheese!!)

MaryAnn said:

  • I made a batch of the powdered version. I think it works really well on everything except my husband's work clothes. They just smell like his workplace and not much of anything can get that out. My question with the liquid version is how do you get the concentrate out of that five gallon bucket poured into the empty jugs? I'm pretty sure I would make a HUGE mess so maybe you have a method?
MaryAnn--two things. 

I will admit that my husband's work clothes are yucky too--and this detergent doesn't get that yuckiness out. However, in all fairness, neither did Cheer or Wisk. You are right: there are sometimes just smells (my husband is a carpenter and there is a distinct burnt metal smell that gets on his clothes when he is dealing with those materials at work--it does not come out no matter what I do, and I am open to suggestions on this post if anyone has an idea!) that won't come out of there, and this is one of them.

My philosophy on this, honestly, is that I know the clothes are coming out clean, even if they don't smell as fresh as I would like them too. (Nothing, not even the expensive store brands, made them smell the way I hoped they would!) The dryer bar helps--and truthfully, knowing he is just wearing them back to work to ingrain that same smell in them again makes me not worry all that much about it. I keep his clothes separate, and wash them in a separate load. Sometimes, that's just all you can do!

As for the second part of your question, I just use a regular ol' Pyrex glass measuring cup (a 4-cup) and dump it in the bucket to fill it, then pour it in the mouth of the jug. Very easy, and nowhere near the mess you were probably envisioning!

On Facebook, I had a few more questions:

  • Where did you get the ingredients at?
You can find them all, most likely, at your local grocery store. Our local Walmart also carries them.

  • Can it be used in HE washers?
Yes. My washer is an HE. The detergent does not create suds in the washer, so it is safe for both regular and HE.

  • How long have you used it, Devin? Does it really get your whites white? That is the one complaint I've heard from a friend who made her own.
I have used this detergent for over two years now. I will be honest; I have a technique with my whites to keep them as white as I can. I put a scoop of Oxyclean in the washer and turn it to the hottest wash. I let the clothes wash for about 10 minutes, and then stop the washer and let the clothes sit and soak in the Oxy/detergent mixture overnight. Then, in the morning, I start my cycle up and let the clothes finish washing. I think my white look great!

To be fair, I would like to say that I have always done this technique--even when using the store bought detergent. This is just how I "do" my whites (since I stopped using bleach long ago); I don't do it just because of this detergent.

I hope this helps, and answers some of the questions that are out there regarding laundry soap making.   Make sure you let me know if you make a batch--I hope you love it!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Visitors!! (This week, I want to remember: 4/9 - 4/13)

Monday, April 9

It was another gorgeous day, so we spent most of it outside. My kids did this for what seemed like hours. I love the look of sheer-terror-turned-sheer-joy on Lola's face as she comes down!

Then, when biking got old...they turned to the four-wheelers! Or, to the "fweeee weeeeeweeeers" as LoLo says!

My babies. :)

Tuesday, April 10

Tuesday, while the kids were playing, I took some time to look around our property. It is so pretty right now, with everything in bloom. We have one of the most unique trees--it is called a tri-colored beech (I think) and it has pink, grey, and white leaves.

This tree is just starting to break out in bloom!

 How pretty the trees ugly my garden is. Oy
Much work is needed.....soon enough, soon enough!!

The apple trees have....wait for it....APPLES!!!

And excited as I was about the apples, I was even more excited to see such an abundance of peaches!

Today Lola got her stitches out, too! She was a champ--it took four of us to hold her down, but she did as well as could be expected for someone who is quickly becoming terrified at the sight of medical personnel!

She wasn't smiling when we left the office....

...but a Panera muffin sure put one on her face quickly! 

Chowing down.
{If anyone makes a comment in the light of "just like her mother", you are dead to me.}

Wednesday, April 11

Wednesday, we did a lot of stuff around the house, because we were getting ready for some exciting visitors on Thursday!!!

Thursday, April 12

The cousins are here! The cousins are here!  Rog and Aimee and their children came down for a visit with our family. We had a great time visiting with them--and the kids had the best time together!

Colin is soooo good with little ones--he directed the games on Thursday. 
First was Ring around the Rosie...

{We all. fall. down!!}

Ethan saw the fun and had to join in....

...but nothing could convince Cameron. 
He preferred to stand (sit?) guard, on Lola's bike, with his gun. :)

After playing in the yard, Colin decided it was time to give the dollies a chance to get outside.
This was fun for all, and went on for quite some time.

They gave each one a turn in the swing--and then decided to pack them all in at once.

Lola riding the four wheeler

Now, Lola and Miss Annelyse were quite something together. Both are the babies of the bunch and both are young--so they are used to getting their way. As it always is with kids, each time one was playing with something (you name it, it didn't matter!) the other one wanted it. In this was the four wheeler.

Annelyse spotted Lola riding it, and headed straight in her direction.
(You can barely see the "oh no you don't" look on Lola's face behind her!)

Lola, in turn, spotted her coming--and took off! It was so funny to watch them!

 Then it was time for some chalk drawings....

....and fighting Uncle Rog with the light sabers. 

This could have gone on a lot longer, but we had to remind the boys that 
Uncle Rog is a lot older than daddy and much weaker, too. *giggle*

 Then it was time for a snack....

....and watching Rio!
Well, we started to watch it--but the kids decided they would rather play outside. It was nap time anyway, so Shane took the biggies to the park while the littles stayed home and slept.

The two little ones woke up and played well for a bit outside together.
(Except maybe an argument or seven about who got to go down the slide first. lol)

We had a lovely dinner of spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread, then Daddy and Colin headed off to baseball practice. In the hour that Daddy was gone, do you want to know what I did?

That's right folks! It took me almost a whole hour, but I got all six kiddos bathed! lol  The girls actually loved the bath. We had such fun singing and playing (and splashing, splashing, splashing. Hey, my floors got really clean!)  

Annelyse's nickname is LeeLee; Lola's is LoLo (or LoLee) and Olivia's is Livy.  So me, talking to them in the tub, went something like this:  "LeeLee--I mean LoLee, come here, let me rinse your hair. Livy--I mean LoLo--I mean, LeeLee...."

And on and on in the same manner for approximately 30 minutes. I decided next time we are together, I"m giving them numbers.




(Learn your numbers, kids, cause Auntie can't remember your names. The end.)

Friday, April 13

The next day, while I was getting ready, the girls decided they wanted to play in the bassinet. So, I obliged! They had me cracking up--this went on for 15 minutes!

Then we took another trip to the park. The kids just loved it there.

They slid 

and slid 

and slid down the slide.

 And Ethan and Luke made up a game of "let's see how many rocks we can fit in our shirt, take them up, and dump them down the slide to make really loud noises."

We had such a great time--please, guys....come back soon!!

What a great week!