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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

I talk a lot about making my own cleaners here.  There are a lot of reasons to make your own cleaners, but in today's economy, I think the strongest persuasion is the price.  

One of my new favorite cleaners is a DIY natural laundry soap that I found browsing Pintrest.  Not only is this made from earth-friendly ingredients, it's also super cheap, and almost easier than just going to the store to buy detergent.  In fact, I believe once you do the math, it comes out to about .5 a load.  You can't beat that even buying in bulk.

You'll only need three ingredients to make this laundry detergent:
  1. Borax
  2. Fels Naptha Soap (or any other mild soap)
  3. Washing Soda-I use Arm and Hammer. 
Even better, I didn't have to go searching for ingredients.  All 3 items were displayed on the same shelf in the laundry section at my local grocery store.

To make this soap, all you need to do is finely grate 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap using a cheese grater.  This took awhile, but maybe I'm just a slow grater! Once you're done with that part, though, you just need to measure out 1 cup of washing soda-it's very important that you get washing soda and not baking soda-and 1 cup of Borax and pour them into the same container as the soap and mix it well.  I put mine in a pretty glass jar, but a plastic Ziplock container works just as well.

Once you've got it mixed well, it's ready to use.  The original instructions I read said to just use 1 tbs for a normal load of laundry, but I found that it cleans better using about 1 1/2.  I also add a splash of distilled vinegar to make my clothes softer.  It certainly helps when you're used to liquid laundry detergent and fabric softener.

I've used about half of my first batch of detergent, so I can honestly say that I love it.  It smells so fresh and clean while it's washing, but when you pull your clothes out, they just smell clean, with no extra scent.  I guess that can be a pro or a con, depending on your preference.  I think on my next batch I'll experiment with adding some essential oils for scent, but otherwise, I can't imagine ever going back to regular detergent again!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crochet Pumpkin Beanie - Free Pattern!

When I think of fall, I think of trips to the pumpkin patch, brisk mornings, pumpkin pie, and of course, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte's.

Notice a trend, here? Yeah...fall, to me, screams, pumpkin!

This little pumpkin beanie is a super cute fall hat, whether for photography props or just an every day fall hat.  Want to make one? Great! Because I've decided to offer this pattern up for FREE! The only catch is, I only have the instructions written for 6-12 month and 2T-4T sizes.  Still, little kids make the cutest chubby pumpkins anyway :)

So, how do you get a copy of this pattern? It's simple! It's available as a free download in my Ravelry storefront.  Go ahead, there are seriously no strings attached.  I just felt like offering a fun, seasonal hat to you!

Happy Crocheting!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beach Day

Yesterday morning, when we woke up, we discovered that for the first time in over a week, we had gorgeous blue skies.  While the rain last week was a welcome change after such a dry summer, the sun that followed was almost more welcome!

We decided during coffee that we would take off for the day and hit the beach for a little fun in the sun.  It was such a relaxing day, something we've all needed for awhile after the stresses of a job hunt. 

My cousin and her kids came with us, and the kids had a blast skipping through the water, building sand "cakes" and "snow angels", and collecting sea shells. 

Living near the beaches again is definitely a perk to being back home.  It is so nice to go spend the day at the beach after having made no plans to do so!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's Hard to Do...

I want to write.  So badly, do I want to write.  I have all of these ideas swimming in my head.  I have a notebook I carry around, just so I can jot down what's in my head at any given time. 

I just can't.

It's hard to focus, these days.  It's hard to think about things like crafting tutorials, writing prompts, discussing the "why's" of the last few months.  It's hard to do any of that when everything feels so up in the air.

I thought things were finally coming together.  I thought that after years of struggling and sacrificing, we'd finally hit "pay day." I was wrong.  So, so, so wrong.

It's just hard to care about anything but my disappointment this week.

I feel like the last few years have been spent on Humpty Dumpty.  Yeah...the egg guy that fell from the wall.  After my husband's discharge from the military, I've felt like all we've done is focus on putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.  This month, he was whole, all except one vital piece.  The piece we couldn't find.

That left him weak for this last fall, and now, all I can do is worry that he'll never be whole.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christmas in July on Etsy

Having worked in retail half of my adult life, I have turned into one of those people that starts shopping for Christmas presents somewhere around the beginning of the school year.  I know, I'm one of those shoppers!  I promise, you can be prepared for the holidays early without busting out the Christmas carols and knit sweaters in July. 

 All "Christmas in July" really means is that you can take advantage of some really great sales and start stocking up on Christmas gifts early.  If you do a lot of shopping online, it's always best to order early.  Businesses get backed up, and so does the post office, so Christmas in July is a great way to get rid of the stress of holiday shipping times.

So, for those of you like me that like to get some (or all) of your shopping done with plenty of time, or love shopping online, this sale is for you!

 Many Etsy sellers are offering up Christmas in July sales this month.  Some of them have already started, and some will be starting shortly.

CUTEure Creations will be having a sale this week! Starting Sunday, July 10th, everything in my etsy shop will be 20% off for 2 weeks! Make sure you check it out.  I will have my fall line tentatively out for sale (all color options will not be shown but custom orders will be welcome) along with the products you already know and love.  If you are a fan of mine on Facebook you'll be able to see additional offers and ready to ship items throughout the time of the sale.

 Make sure you come check it out!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Can Discipline Go Overboard?

We all know that disciplining children is a touchy subject among parents.  Everyone thinks that their way is the best way.  We've all read books, blogs, and websites from different "experts" on the topic of parenthood and young children.

Today, I had the pleasure of stumbling across two different blogs (here, and here) discussing different sides on this subject.  The differing views between the two sparked something in me that I just needed to share.

They are both fairly short posts, and both very worth the read.  They bring up some great topics.

Upon my initial reading of the post "Are You Damaging Your Kid's Self-Esteem?", I was appalled.  What right does she have to tell me I'm pimping out my child when I ask for a hug or a kiss?  I feel like my daughter is a very affectionate child, and that I've helped her become that way.  This point is just hard to swallow.  I grew up giving my relatives hugs and kisses (on the mouth, too!) and I in no way feel that this has caused emotional damage.  I did not grow up to believe that the only way I can earn affection is by handing out kisses, or worse.  At what point would I be considered "pimping" my child? Is it when I ask her to show Nanna how she has learned all the words to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," including all of the signs? Or is it only considered pimping if I push the issue after she says "no"?

The author then goes on to discuss our "know it all" attitude as parents.  To an extent, I do agree with what she has written here.  She gives the example of telling your child to put a sweater on when it's cold.  "Let your kid get cold. Let him know where a sweater is just in case," is her advice.  Why should I insist that my daughter wear a sweater when she is telling me she isn't cold? I have found I am much more successful when I just suggest she wear a sweater.  If she refuses, then she can go outside and see how cold she is and make the decision herself.  To me, this proves two points. 

1) I believe she is an individual capable of making her own decisions-to an extent.  She is only 2 years old. and
2) Maybe sometimes mamma knows best.  Next time I suggest a sweater, she may believe me when I say it's cold, and grab her sweater.

Where do I draw that line, though? If my potty trained 2 year old says she doesn't need to go potty before nap, do I just let her go straight to bed knowing she'll be up in 5 minutes asking to pee? Or do I insist she at least try before nap time so she can go to sleep easier.

What about at bed time when she tells me she's not tired after spending the last 30 minutes rubbing her eyes and yawning? Do I really just let her stay up because she insists?

Can I tell her to say "please" and "thank you," or is that asking her to perform on command again?

I fear that if we take this school of thought too far-the school of thought that telling your child to do something ruins their self esteem and ability to listen to their bodily cues- that we may end up with an even worse situation than the one we are already in.  How many day time talk shows do we have to see with the title "I'm scared of my 3 year old," to learn that it's okay to offer guidance and discipline to your young child? The point is, everything in moderation.  It's a good rule to learn in life. I personally have found the best approach to be the power of suggestion, versus insisting she do it my way.

I would love some other opinions on this subject.  Do you find today's parents to be too pushy with their children?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Perfect Hiding Place {Writing Prompt}

Like most kids, at nine years old, I had a best friend.  At the time, she was really the only friend I had, to be honest.  Every afternoon after school, I would go to her house to play.  Her house was my sanctuary. I could listen to New Kids on the Block. I could play video games. Her family lived on a coul de sac full of other kids from school, so we would get together and play kick ball, chase, soft ball, and other childhood favorites.
Things I couldn’t do at home.  Friends didn’t come to my house.  I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything but country music, or wear fun clothes.  The neighborhood kids were all much older.  Playing at my friend’s house was the only time I had to be a kid.

Then, my parents did the un-thinkable.  They ripped me away from my entire life, and we moved to a new town, a new school, and a new life.  What’s worse, we moved from a thriving, busy metropolitan out to farm country with the world’s smallest school district, biggest yards, and fewest neighbors.  
I wish my nook looked this awesome.
Moving away from my sanctuary was a hard adjustment for me.  I had nowhere to hide and be a kid again. I couldn’t make new friends in such a small town.  All of these kids had been friends since birth.  I was the weird kid, the outsider. I promised myself and my parents that I would go back home.  That I would leave the one-horse-town our new home resided in, and go back to the city.  I just needed time to pack.  I needed to “iron out the details.”  

Once, during recess, a boy in my class told me that if I just followed the railroad tracks, they would lead my straight out of town.  He said I couldn’t get lost if I just stayed by the railroad tracks.  I thought about it.  I road in the bus past those railroad tracks every day on my way home from school.  I could just never get the courage.  I was a very compassionate person, even at such a young age. Every time I thought I had the courage up to leave, I would realize my birthday was coming up, or Christmas, or Mothers day.  I thought to myself, “If I left now, it would hurt them too much to enjoy the holiday.  I’ll wait until it’s over.” 

Needless to say, I never ran away from home.  I mean, where would I have gone?  Instead, I created a safe haven for myself.  I created my own little world that no one ever knew about in the back of my closet-complete with a reading lamp, my journal, my favorite pillow, and a stack of books that could take me anywhere I wanted to go.    Just like that, I had found my sanctuary-my perfect hiding place.  I spent every afternoon in there doing homework, reading books, and writing.  I like to think that is where my love of writing came from.  

Best of all, no one else knew it ever existed until just now.

These days, I no longer have a special hiding place in my closet.  I'd love to have my own little nook, even as an adult.  Of course, now, I'd settle for a great writing nook hidden in my closet! 

Mama’s Losin’ It