Saturday, April 21, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

Ok so I've been testing a new detergent that, get this, I MADE!

We've been using the new detergent for almost two months and we really like it! The recipe comes from Sew Much Ado. Her tutorial is so easy, I just had to share!

You will need:
1 Fels-Naptha bar of soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Baking Soda
*All of these items are found in the laundry isle next to the laundry detergents


1. Grate the Fels-Naptha bar soap finely.  I used my mom's Pampered Chef electric grater (which is AWESOME). Then I put the shredded soap into my Magic Bullet to finish it off but I guess a food processer would work just as good. Coarsely grated, this will equal about 2 cups. Finely grated measures less, of course.

2. Add 1 cup Borax.

3. Add 1 cup washing soda.

4. Add 1/4 cup baking soda.

5. Stir well.

6. You should have a nice powdered mixture.

7. Place in an airtight container.  Use 2 tablespoons per regular load of laundry. 

That's it. Pretty easy. 

If you try this recipe and like it, you can double or even triple the ingredients the next time you make it to get a larger batch. I like to make 3-4 batches at a time. And it lasts quite a while!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Easter Weekend

Our Easter Weekend

I can’t believe we just had our second Easter with our little sweet B! Last Easter, B was only a week old. We celebrated at Geoffrey’s parent’s house Saturday evening. My family joined us as well. Geoffrey and I worried we wouldn’t make it with the hailstorm that day, but we did. It was a wonderful evening with our families. B was given her first Easter bunny by her Lolli and Pops (Geoff’s parents)... 
Look how tiny she was!

Here Uncle Landon held B for the first time…
Lolli and Pops with their first grand-baby…
Can you tell they are proud?

Aunt Emily with B...
 My sisters and my mom...
All B's Aunts...
It's so crazy to think this was a year ago. So many things have changed and B has grown up way too fast!

This year, the tradition carried on. First with the weather; although there wasn't any hail, our area was under a severe thunderstorm warning and it rained like cats and dogs. But we managed to get to Geoff’s parent’s house before the storm hit. My family joined us again as well. 

This year we added an Easter egg hunt for B! She didn’t quite understand it all, but when I led her to an egg she picked it up and put it in the basket. I thought that was a start! 
I wanted to make the egg hunt fun and special for B, so I stuffed some of the eggs with play necklaces and bracelets. Then the others had her favorite snacks: cheerios and Gerber veggie puffs! She LOVED it!!!
B was given another Easter bunny by her Lolli and Pops...
And her Easter basket from mommy and daddy had spring pj's, bath crayons, a rubber ducky, a yellow bunny and loving words from both of us.
Gigi and Papa (my parents) gave B two books and Aunt Juju (Julianne) gave her a little bunny beanie baby...
After gifts and the hunt, we ate a yummy dinner, then dyed Easter eggs!
It’s always good to get together with family…
Easter Sunday was wonderful too! Geoff and I went to first service and B went to the nursery. This week’s sermon was so good. Three amazing testimonies of God’s grace and the message David preached was such a good word. If you missed it, check it out here (just click on the icon for video or audio).

Our little family of 3 on Easter Sunday...
After the last service, I dropped B off to spend the night with Lolli and Pops because Geoff and I were headed to a Ranger’s Game!!!

We went with some good friends and had a great time! And to make it better, the Ranger’s won and had a great game!!!
{Above} Me and the girls at the Ranger's  game!

Hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter weekend as well!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Weights, Soreness and a New Routine

I mentioned earlier this week that it was the WEEK of NEW ROUTINES. Well, in addition to my new cleaning routine, I’ve also {deep breath} joined a gym! Planet Fitness. It works great for me because it’s less than 5 minutes from my house, only $10 a month, there’s no contract (just in case), its brand new, open 24/7 and I really like the atmosphere. If you’d like to check out Planet Fitness for yourself, check it out here

And the best part is I get to go with my good friend Ashley. We are both mamas of babies who both want a good workout. So we are keeping each other accountable. Right now, our schedule is 3 days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) from 7-7:50 so we can be home by 8 am (when babies wake up and/or husbands go to work).  

My husband also joined Planet Fitness. We are both pretty pumped about the price, the fact we can go anytime we want and we didn’t have to sign any contracts.

The target areas I want to work on are my arms, legs and strengthening my core. Also, I really should be able to do cardio without feeling like I’m gonna fall over, faint or die.

Until today, Ashley and I really hadn't thought through what days we would do weights and what days we would do cardio. But here is what we did this week:
  • Tuesday: Cardio then weights focusing on abs, arms and legs.
  • Wednesday: We did the “Planet Fitness 30 Minute Circuit Workout” (basically it’s a 30 minute FULL BODY workout). Then we finished up with some cardio on  the bike.
  • Thursday: All cardio. Treadmill, Elliptical, Bike.

It’s now Thursday evening and the results from this week’s 7 am trips to Planet Fitness are in. The phrase "you live and you learn" rings true for us. After back to back days of weights and not really stretching before and after our workouts, we realize we don't want to do that again. YIKES!  But first of all, I want to mention that I've noticed an increased level of energy this week! {YAY} However, I also have sore shoulders, very sore abs and a pulled calf muscle that hurts like the dickens! Needless to say, we've changed our plan of attack for next week:
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays: 30 Minute Circuit Workout and some cardio.
  • Wednesdays: All cardio.

I really do love working out again and I feel great, despite the slight limp from my pulled calf muscle. Note to self:

Stretching + workout + more stretching = less pain in the long run

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cleaning My Home

This week is full of NEW routines.

Monday started off my new cleaning schedule routine. Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve noticed that cleaning my home has gotten harder and harder to do with a little one around. I mean there are just so many opportunities in a day when B only takes 2 naps a day now; one in the morning (45 minutes) and one in the afternoon (2-2.5 hours).

Before this week, I’ve used the morning nap to get ready for the day, do my devotion, pick up the house, empty the dishwasher, clean bottles, gather my grocery list or complete other projects around the house. During B's afternoon nap, I ALWAYS work.

I have a GREAT job! I'm so blessed to work 12 hours a week for Beltway Park Baptist Church. 6 hours from home and 6 hours on Friday mornings at Beltway. Because I work from home, it is just easier to set aside an hour and a half every afternoon to sit quietly, without my 11 month old distraction, and focus on writing curriculum, gathering crafts, and managing accounts for Kids’ Club and The Summer Club; departments of Beltway's children’s ministry. I LOVE my job. It gives me flexibility and allows me to be creative. 

Once B is up from her afternoon nap, we go pick up my little sister, Julianne, and her friend Maggie from school everyday. I take Maggie to her house and then B and I hang out with Julianne at my parent’s house until one of them gets off of work (usually around 5:30). It's so fun hanging out with her! Can you see how my day becomes so short so fast? And cleaning just doesn’t make the cut.

Sure, I maintain my home. But there is something to be said for really cleaning: dusting, mopping, sanitizing etc. However, I don’t like the thought of giving an ENTIRE day per week, to clean. Yuck. Nor did I want to clean on the weekend when my husband is off from work. We want to play and relax on the weekends, not work more. Instead I ran across this blog, Organizing Made Fun, which outlines how you can clean your home in 15-20 minutes per day (with the exception of the first day; floors just take longer). Check it out here.

So I looked over her list but decided to make my own. Here it is:

Mondays: Vacuum/sweep house thoroughly and mop. Occasionally do vents, curtains and window crevices (Total time: 25-30 minutes)

Tuesdays: Dust house, blinds and baseboards (Total time: 15-20 minutes) Occasionally wipe down nice furniture with polish and dust fans.

Wednesdays: Clean hall bathroom, including toilet, counter, mirror and shower. (Total time: 15-20 minutes)

Thursdays: Clean master bathroom including toilet, counter, mirror and tub. (Total time: 15-20 minutes)

Fridays: Clean kitchen, appliances, sink and countertops. Wipe down cabinets if needed.  Occasionally bleach B’s toys. (Total time: 15-20 minutes)

Weekends: Laundry, other small projects or nothing at all!

Maintain house daily by picking up things and immediately putting items away or in a basket to take to other rooms. Throw junk mail away immediately and sort out incoming mail for Geoff.

So far, this new routine has worked for me. I clean every morning after B eats breakfast. So what does B do when mama’s cleaning? She has independent playtime. Which works perfectly because she always has independent playtime before her morning nap.

Like I said, I just started yesterday (Monday) so the cleaning is taking a little longer right now. Mainly because I haven’t cleaned cleaned my house in a couple of weeks. But the idea of this routine is to maintain a clean home. So, hopefully, because I cleaned my floors yesterday it wont’ take as long next Monday to sweep, mop and vacuum my entire house.

Today was my dusting day. It also took longer because I went ahead and dusted blinds, baseboards and used furniture polish on a few pieces. I look forward to timing myself next week, once I have cleaned this week. Hopefully it will take less time than it has this week.

I still use B's morning nap to get things done. But I am much better and managing things now.  I get ready when B is up. She hangs out with me in the bathroom and plays in her corner where I have placed a small container of toys. I empty the dishwasher, clean bottles etc when she is eating a snack or finger foods in her high chair. The house gets one last GOOD pick up before Geoff and I go to bed. And when I have a spare moment to compile the grocery list or do other small projects, I take advantage of it. The key is just using my time more efficiently SO THAT I can read, blog or even watch TV while B is napping in the morning. YAY! ME time. 

One last thing about cleaning; I do LOVE the smell of cleaning products. And with this routine, I get that fresh, ‘clean’ smell everyday. Pine Sol on Mondays. Pledge on Tuesdays. Scrubbing Bubbles and glass cleaner on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Then on Fridays, it’s the smell of Clorox Wipes and bleach baby. Oh. Yeah!

Happy Cleaning!!!