Homemade Laundry Soap

I have promised to post the recipe I use for my homemade laundry soap. Making my own laundry soap is not without scrutiny, nor rewards. My family thought Ihad gone bonkers when I began making my laundry soap. DD complained about everything from the scent to the new soap was “bleaching” out the colors of her favorite tee shirts. I happened to like the scent, as it had such a clean aroma to it and the reason her shirts are fading is that she wears the same favorite ones over and over…which means more washing…duh!

DH poked a slight bit of fun at me making my own “hooch”, but after I proved to him the amount of money I was saving, he hasn’t said another word. Correction, when my last batch failed to thicken, he made asked me what I did wrong..haha!

Today, I was going to make another batch and take photos to share, but I found that our water was turned off for the day. Okay, I cannot side step a quick rant here. Our city is undergoing a complete water system revamp..for over a year now. The town is divided into sections and assigned a letter…ours is E. On the post office door, the sections and hours that the water will be turned off are posted…however, I have learned not to depend on the validity of it. I had not check the television or the post office today and found, as I was putting a load of laundry in that there was no water. After a few words left my mouth, I turned the television on to find that the water is to be turned off in my section between 10AM and 4PM with the note An Emergency-Sorry. Holy Cow, has the day gotten away from me? Is after 10:00 already? A quick check showed it to be only 9:15 AM. ! Now my question is why even bother to post something, if it s not going to be correct?  {end rant}

Making your own laundry soap does save a considerable amount of money. I believe my initial investment was less than $20, and yet I have not purchased commercial brand detergent in several months. I still have plenty of my supplies left, and even have FELS NAPTHA Bars for sale at $4.75, which includes shipping.  I figure that I have gone through 40 or so bottles of detergent since I started this method and it boggles my mind, how much I have saved.

Anyhow, here’s my re-SESS-i-peee (recipe) for the laundry soap…it comes with no warrantees, gaurantees, or promises. I now make mine up in a double batch and fill several recycled laundry and vinegar bottles, but I suggest that anyone trying it for the first time to mix only one batch.

HomeMade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha Bar-Grated

1/2 cup Washing Soda

1/2 cup Borax

~In a large pot, add soap to six cups of water and heat on the stove, set at medium, until soap has melted.

~Add soda and Borax and stir until dissolved.

~ Remove from heat.

~Pour 4 cups hot water into a 5 gallon bucket.

~Add mix to hot water in bucket and stir. ( I use a recycled long piece of wood from a window shade.)

~Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water to mixture and stir until mixed.

~Allow laundry soap to sit for 24 hrs. to gel, stirring occasionally.

I use a little over 1/2 cup for regular loads of laundry. You can adjust as needed. Please note that this soap does not really produce bubbles. I have substituted other soaps for the FELS NAPTHA because I could not purchase it locally. Ivory soap, Zote, or homemande scented soaps work also.

If you decide to try this, let me know how your project goes.

Do Not Think While in the Shower!

Whatever you do, don’t think while in the shower!

With all of the constant daily input from the television, the telephone, the children, noisy kids next door, the lawnmower across the street, the weed-eater down the street, and DH with whatever noises he is prone to make, my brain sometimes does not process thoughts as well as it should.

Recently, I realized that I had not taken time to think things through and that I was being coerced by outside elements to do something that I knew I might regret afterwards. Just a side note here…feeling regret afterwards is a common event for me. This past week, I have been impatiently waiting for the movie Sex and the City to come out. I was fearful that it would not make it to our small market theater located about 35 miles from us, but was ecstatic that it was indeed coming to our “local” movie theater. The very first showing was at 12:55 PM and I planned to be there….with a friend, with my husband….with myself…it didn’t matter…I was going to be there!

My DDH (dear, dear husband or darling, dear husband..whichever you prefer) took off from work, so that he could have me present at the very first showing and wanted us to get there early, so that I could buy the very first ticket. Is that not amazing? Friday morning, we sat on the sofa together sipping coffee…him watching television and me on the internet. For a few days now, I have wanted DH to watch the new Path to Freedom Sustainable Food UCLA Lecture videos on YouTube, so I plugged the stereo speakers in to share all three segments with him. (I suggest these videos for anyone who might be on the fence about the importance of growing your own food and saving your own seeds.) Anyhow, the two of us, together, and YouTube generally ends up being an all afternoon thing, but in this case it was an all morning deal with the hours passing quickly. While watching those videos, we shifted gears and began watching solar cooker videos. I am supposing the shift might have had something to do with Anais at PTF posting a photo of her solar cooker. For quite some time, I have been excited at the possibilities of building my own solar cooker or maybe even purchasing one from PTF, but DH is now on board with at least the option of building our own at first. What a great idea!

Well, before we knew it, we were at the point where I needed to jump in the shower to get ready for my movie date with DDH. Do you know that feeling in the shower, where you only hear the water and the thoughts in your own head? Well, there I was thinking…..and thinking…and thinking while I was in the shower. My thoughts wandered in and out of….MAN! I want a solar cooker! Geez..they’re a couple of hundred dollars…..well I could build one. How much would the lumber be? Paint? Could I use a Fresnel lens? …and then back to …geeeez…that’s a lot of money…and we’re about to go into town and drop a hundred bucks…you just watch. It never fails…
Movies~$14
Popcorn/Drinks~$8 (we share our drink)
Gasoline~$12
Bookstore, Wal-Mart, Meade Lumber, Dollar Store~$50
Thai Restaurant~$30

In my head it was all adding up and then I turned to, a whiny “Now, why do I want to go see this movie?” I mean..come on…it’s  about 4 indulgent women who spend money as if it grew on trees and are so far removed from the lifestyle that I have chosen…for the life of me I could not give a good reason why I even wanted to go to the movie in the first place. While still standing in the shower, I shouted out at DH, asking if he really, no I mean REALLY, wanted to go to this movie or was he just doing it because he thought I wanted to go?
Me~Honey-I was thinking…if we go to Dodge…we will end up spending quite a bit of money.
DH~So? You want to go.
Me~but you know, $20 or $30 would go a lo-o-ong way towards the supplies to build a solar cooker
DH~Yep, but you want to go to the movie…yes, I want to go, so hurry up, get dressed…let’s go
Me~but I REEEALLLY want  a solar cooker.

Well, the weekend has come and gone, and nope I didn’t go to the movies. DH and I hung around the house and enjoyed each others’ company the remainder of Friday. We wrote up some specs on our own home built solar cooker, worked in the yard a bit, and DH even constructed a make-shift, prototype solar cooker from a cardboard box, some weed barrier, meat thermometer, and a glass window. We found out that we could get the temperature up to 180 degrees, which meant we were on to something. With a little ingenuity, we could be solar cooking in the backyard in no time. Over the afternoon, on more than one occasion, I confessed to DH that I felt guilty going to the movie when I have been trying so hard to be more frugal, a bit greener, and less oil dependent. Going to watch that particular movie seemed to present too huge of an inner “responsible vs. frivolous” conflict. Now, if it had been a documentary from Path to Freedom, there would have been NO CONTEST!
The PTF Groupie in me would have insisted we camp out in the mall parking lot the night before to ensure tickets.

The remainder of the Friday afternoon, I researched garden totems, and frugal decoration ideas, which resulted in me running to the hardware store at five minutes to closing to spend $5. When I returned, DH remarked, “Well, we almost made it through the day without spending any money.”

Saturday came and I awoke to find my usual morning cup with cream, sugar, and spoon waiting for the coffee to be poured. DH had to be at work before sunrise, so I would be pouring my own coffee. No one makes a better pot of coffee or mixes the cream and sugar in a cup better than DH.

We planned to attend the local farmer’s market in Greensburg around 9:00 AM and so off to the shower I went. There I was again..thinking…hm…I sure liked some of those garden totems; I wonder if the thrift shop would have some inexpensive items that I could use for my own totems and birdfeeders? Hmmmm…after Greensburg, I wonder if DH will want to head over to Pratt? We could go to the farmer’s market there also. Well, DH arrived home and away we went…yesterday’s frugal homebodies-today’s consumers. We did attend the Greensburg farmer’s market, and were very pleasantly surprised to see Anita from Prairie Dreams and her family arrive shortly after we did. (I recognized her and Rick from her online photos.) We visited for a short bit before each of headed off in our own directions.

Greensburg turned into Pratt, which turned into hitting the garage sales, almost every thrift shop in Pratt, a flea market junk shop in Cullison, and an antique shop in Belvidere. My car was filled to capacity with plants and junk. On the way home, we stopped in Greensburg to buy fuel ($35 for 9 gallons thank you very much), milk and bread. While waiting in line to pay, who do you suppose walked in? Rick and Isaiah! What are the chances that on two occasions in the same day we would show up at the same location at the same time? Wow! Anita wasn’t with them, but we did get to visit for a bit while the cashiers were dealing with computer issues and the registers not working.

For our only plans being to visit the farmer’s market, we sure covered a lot of ground that day. I told DH that I felt like it was my birthday or something because of how he accommodated my every whim…well, almost..there was a brief moment of disappointment over a wonderfully vintage garden gate that I wanted to buy. It was a joyous day spent talking, dining, *shopping* in a greener fashion, seeing some countryside that I had not seen in a long while with the one I love!

So now that I am at the end of my blog post, I am wondering about the original premise for my writing. Sunday, for a brief moment, I took a look at the SATC reviews hoping to find out whether Carrie and Mr. Big actually tie the knot. , I thought….”what the heck have I done?” I wanted to see SATC! I wanted to know the end!! Was I crazy? Then my thoughts turned to …what would DH say if I told him that I really did want to go? All day as I dug in the garden, washed clothes, dishes and cleaned, all I could think about was..why in the world would I have said no, I don’t want to go? At the end of the day, I had just about decided that I would sneak away on planned “in town”, during the day, by myself (no witnesses). Being grungy from my chores, I decided to take an early shower before settling down to my writings.

The faucet was turned on full blast (no this was not a “green” shower….I was covered in dirt) and my thoughts began to wonder, yet again. Why am I going back and forth about a silly movie? Geez…it isn’t like I have watched every episode or anything…and besides it will eventually be out on DVD or better yet…free on television. So my thoughts kept wonderin’ in and out, back and forth, and then my brain jumped track and reviewed my day’s successes and failures..like my first solar cooking attempt (to be reported upon later) and then it came to me….my desire to see the movie again came from outside input (internet/television) and had nothing to do with anything but that… and ….because of my thoughts wanderin’ over to the review of my solar lunch challenge I knew that I wanted a better built solar cooker more than I wanted to watch those four perfectly coiffed women extravagantly sip Cosmopolitans for two and a half hours.

So now, I say to you…while in the shower….turn off the outside yammer….be one with the water (okay I know a little hokey, but you know what I mean!) and …Whatever you do…THINK while in the shower!
 

Eating Our Trash

Would you like a table or a booth?

 The old adage “we are what we eat”  hits too close to home after watching this video about Garbage Island in the Pacific Ocean. I saw the documentary on television some time ago and I was amazed at the footage. The floating island of trash is said to be twice the size of Texas and 80% of it is comprised of household and municipal waste, filled with plastic. Plastic is not biodegradable, it is photodegradable, which means it will always remain as plastic.

In this floating monstrosity tiny pieces of plastic are floating about with an array of larger discards. Filter feeder fish, such as jelly fish, take these plastics into their systems. Well, we all know how the food chain works. Big fish eats little fish, which is then eaten by a bigger fish, and another until it makes it on our dining room table.

Concerns over the chemicals in plastics infiltrating our food chain have prompted studies in Japan; where women with high levels of these toxins have been know to have multiple miscarriages. Doctors in Hawaii express concern over the high levels linking to early onset diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease.

I love fish…especially shellfish, salmon, and grouper. Living in landlocked Kansas, I rarely have an opportunity to dine on any of my favorites, but occasionally I am able to sit down to a bit of catfish or trout….some of which I have angled myself…however, even our Kansas waters woes concern me over what I am consuming, but I will save that for another entry.

Bottled Water

Originally posted 01.19.08

 

Finding it difficult to sleep, I was up early this morning. Normally, I would not turn the television on because it usually ends up being an all morning affair when I do, but I wanted to check the weather to discover why we had none of the snow that was expected this morning. Well, it resulted into a late start for my day, but it is not with regret. There were two segments on the morning show that interested me. One segment brought attention to the environmental and health hazards of individual bottled water and the other that I found interesting was about the Federation of Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind, which I hope to research further and write about at a later date.

 

I was amazed to hear that 40 million plastic water bottles are added to landfills daily. Top that off with the fact that the water sold in the bottles is not governed by as strict of standards as our tap water and the story had my attention. I did not realize or maybe I just have not been listening before now, but the bottling companies do not have to follow the stringent quality guidelines of the EPA. After I research a bit more, I may have more to say about this at a later date.

 

Since my family and I are on a quest for a more self sustained lifestyle and making greener choices, I want to chime in on our overuse of the individual water bottles. I am ashamed to say that I am afraid to guess how many of those little plastic bottles we have contributed to our local landfill. Being a parent of a high school and club athlete, we are on the road several days a week, year around. To keep from buying soda while traveling, we are in the habit of grabbing those little bottles as we are running out the door. I even keep a small stock of the small, itsy bitsy bottles in the hatchback of my vehicle.

 

Those little water bottles are not only perfect for the road, but I am come to appreciate the “no-taste” of the water. I was raised in a large metropolitan area of another state and never remember the water have a “taste”, but since moving to a rural area I have found it difficult to palate the definite taste in our local water. This has resulted in me drinking not only more of the individual bottles but I also buy several gallon jugs to use while at home.

 

Dear Husband was raised in a rural setting and he is accustomed to the “thick” taste of the water, so he finds my habits a bit ridiculous. He was actually the first to baulk at my over consumption of the bottled water, and revolted by purchasing his own reusable water bottle that he now carries with him as we travel. The requirements for his bottle were that it had to have a mouth large enough to be able sterilize properly and to be a size that is easily manageable. I once bought a large insulated mug that donned the Kansas State University logo, but found that once it was filled with liquid it was just too difficult to handle. It was like carrying a 6 lb weight around with you. Consequently it sits in the cupboard, taking up space and a reminder of the petroleum that was consumed in the production of plastics.

 

It has taken some time, but I finally found that perfect water bottle for me. It has a double wall for better insulation, fits my hand, and holds about 16 ounces of liquid. A Britta Pitcher Filter has assisted with some of the taste issues I have and I am now keeping the filtered water in the fridge, instead of those plastic gallon jugs. Dear Daughter stills runs out the door with a sports drink in her hand, but 2 out 3 isn’t a bad start. I am sure she will jump on board when we find a solution for her.