Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mom's 70th Birthday Surprise!

I guess the police heard that we were planning a party for Mom's 70th birthday and thought the party might get kind of wild. They had the SWAT vehicle parked outside, 'just in case'. (Actually, they were having a Tactical police seminar at the hotel - we felt VERY safe!) We decided to take her to a local hotel that has a small party room and a Sunday Brunch that she likes. We wanted to surprise her, but I think she was very suspicious by the time she got there. Oh Well!


Mom and Dad have been married for 49 years. They both are enjoying good health.

We gave her a picture of each of our families in a nice frame as our gift.

Maybe the best part of the gift is that we left the children at home. They were all at our house.
It was nice to be able to talk quietly and enjoy the time together.
Here we all are , with our spouses.
~Mom

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Feeding Dallas

videoThis video shows the routine that our family goes through to feed our puppy. We have worked hard to avoid 'bad' behaviors like begging, and jumping up on people, or even growling and snapping when someone messes with his food. He has learned to wait to start eating until he is given the sign. Can you figure out what the sign is? Notice that Michelle, who made this video, was able to take pictures and mess with his food dish while he was eating. Our dog has a quite a few bad habits, if you want to know them all ask Mr. Boots, he is frequently griping about them. The children did do well on this part of his training.

~Mom

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Update

The Lone Azalea bush in the front yard is blooming well.
I just want to give a quick update on how our summer plans are going. I got a lot of grief when I told the children that they would be 'unplugged' for the summer and instead would be reading. I didn't let it bother me though. If I am too popular with the children, I figure I must not be doing something right. :-) I have given them a little freedom to choose their own books, as long as they meet with my approval. They are to be in the following categories: Classical Fiction, devotional, biography, nature/science, music/art. We pray together and then I have them read from 9:30-11:30, 3 mornings a week. They only have to read a book for thirty minutes. They switch by the clock. If they only have three books going they can read one of them for an hour. I am joining them. It is like my dream summer activity. It is fun hearing Elizabeth sound out words and read her books. She has decided she likes Lois Lenski and her 'Mr. Small' series. Mr. Boots is reading a book on the emergent church, a book by Ravi Zaccharias, A textbook on small motors, and the "Autobiography of Private York" There is also an old black and white movie of the Alvin York story which we have really enjoyed as a family. Michelle is reading A novel by Christmas Carol Kauffman, about some Christians in Yugoslavia who had to eventually escape to the US to avoid persecution, called "Hidden Rainbow". She is also working on Susan Bauer's Textbook of Ancient History. JoAn was also able to join us. It is so quiet and peaceful in the library as we all sit and read. T-Bob and Thomas have both decided they like this program. They said that they are often bored in the summer and this makes two hours in the morning go really fast. Oh Yes, I am reading "Norms and Nobility" by David Hicks, I will post on that again soon. I am pre-reading several books for the children that I want to assign, but wasn't sure about. I am also reading "Deperate Housewives, Passionate about God". I am planning on re-reading the book on the emergent church, a couple nutritional textbooks, some other books I picked up at the book sale, and maybe a mystery or two. I will report on some of my finds.
The children who didn't finish their math or science are also having to spend and hour every day on each. They aren't as excited about that.
I am a little frustrated that we didn't get to some of the fun stuff on the list, but I can report that I did play catch with T-Bob, and spent more time reading to Elizabeth. We had some extra time on a family outing on Tuesday night. We didn't get to play any games. I need to work on that.
~Mom

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Versatile Blog Award


Our friend Kathy gave us The Versatile Blog Award. She had a real nice button, but I am such a technical illiterate, I can't figure out how to move it over here. I never got a blog award before. Thanks Kathy!
A part of this award is to share seven things about ourselves that you might not know...
1. I am a chiropractic physician and nutritionist who only practices 2 short afternoons a week..
2. My DH and I have been married for 22 years as of this summer. It really does just keep getting better.
3. Our children are NOT perfect, but they are generally pleasant to be around.
4. Our family eats HUGE amounts of food. When we go to someone's house for dinner I have to scope out the kitchen and let the children know whether they should eat a dinner or a snack sized portion. Despite all that food, they are as skinny as fence posts.
5. We spend 2 out of 3 Fridays down in Amish country. I have a lot of patients there as well as picking up our healthy farm eggs and herd share milk. We have lots of friends who are Amish.
6. The children wish we would live in the country and have lots of animals, but we are where God wants us to be right now.
7. We have a very large library of children's books (4,000+ volumes) and I am still shopping for more. My maiden name was Reader. I have lived up to that name. My husband supports my hobby/addiction.

Thanks again Kathy and I hope those who came over from her blog enjoy getting to know us.
~Mom
Incidentally, the kittens in the photo on top are not ours, they belong to an Amish farmer we know, and got captured in one of Michelle's photo shoots.

Planting Blueberry Bushes!

I love blueberries and I have always wanted to grow my own! Last year I ordered some from a plant catalog and the tiny twigs arrived and have done OK (except for the one that got stepped on and broken off). However, there is no sign of a blueberry this year and they are still pretty puny. Where I am trying to grow them is a little unsatisfactory as they have less than desirable sun, but I am going to try. This year my impatience got the best of me and so I went to local nursery and bought full size plants with blossoms on them. I got four different varieties. One an early variety, two mid season and one late. When they get growing we should have them all summer.
The first thing I did was to dig the holes where I wanted to plant them. The day got away from us and we didn't get further than digging the holes and putting the acidic mix in the bottom of the hole. In the meantime, Mr. Boots had read a book about growing blueberries and it said they needed frequent water, but couldn't stand to have ' wet feet'. The book said the holes should be empty of water within 15 minutes after filling. We filled a test hole and the water sat there, for a day and a half. Houston, we have a problem!! What could we do? We pondered it for several weeks, watching our holes as it rained to see how quick they drained. Two were better than the others.


Here's what we decided. We decided to fill in the hole a little after half way and then mound the dirt around the bush. It would be lifted out of the wet area and we are hoping it will be OK. We will mulch around them to minimize erosion and try and retain some moisture without soaking them. The three other bushes we planted last year have survived, so we press on.

One thing that is real important with growing blueberries is to make sure you have acid soil. We use an organic product called 'Hollytone'. It is a solid acidifier. If the soil is not acidic enough the leaves will bronze like the above picture.

This is what the leaves should look like.


I'll let you know how they grow.

video

The above video shows our secret hole digging weapon. Fortunately for us, he likes to dig for and eat worms. Getting him to dig in the right spot is the challenge.

~Mom

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Children's Surprises

What would you think if you came into your kitchen and saw the above sign on your oven?
Would you wonder what was wrong with your oven? Had one of the children broken it? If your children are anything like mine, I suggest you carefully open the door and see what is in it.


I opened mine and found a jar with some baby mice in it. EEEEeewww! I hate mice! Alas, Dallas the dog had disturbed a mouse nest and had made a snack of several, before his tenderhearted owner, Michelle, found them and rescued two. She wanted to see if she could keep them alive. She thought they looked cold and so she turned the oven on for a minute and then opened the door a bit and put the jar in there for the night.

We do have mice occasionally in this old farmhouse. We set traps and get rid of them ASAP! We actually have not had any in the house since we got our dog. The good/bad news, depending on your perspective, is that the mice died after 2 days. They seemed to do OK when she fed them raw cows milk mixed with fresh aloe vera, but when she switched to a commercial aloe vera salve, they couldn't handle it.
I honestly did not grieve at all for the little critters. Not sure what Michelle would have wanted to do with them if they had lived. I don't think she cried over them either. I think she saw it more as a science project.
The sign is gone off the oven. Now I can use the oven without fear- at least for a little while.
~Mom


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Sale Finds

The night before the big university book sale, I am like a young child the night before Christmas. I keep waking up to see what time it is and to make sure I don't oversleep. Visions of 60,000 books dance in my wee little head. What treasures will be there? What will I find? I get so excited, I make sure that I am there an hour and a half before the sale starts. That puts me at about number 40 in line. This is a big sale. You have to be in front with the dealers if you want to get the good stuff.

The sale was not exceptional but I did get some good finds. What did I get? I got a nice copy of 'Copper Toed Boots' by Marguerite DeAngeli, and a second copy of 'Richard Haliburton's Complete book of Marvels'. Both were $.50. I also got two Landmarks that I didn't have before, the one on St. Patrick and one about the French Foreign Legion. I did pick up a half dozen other Landmarks that I had, I couldn't pass them up at the price. I am planning my grandchildren's reading material.

I got three new 'shoe' books by Noel Streatfield. They are good family stories. I found 'West of Boston' by James Daugherty. It has a lot of poems and short stories that he wrote about America. He is more famous for his illustrating than he is for his writing, although both are good. I got a nice copy of ' 'Stories That never Grow Old' Edited by Walter Piper (think 'The Little Engine that Could'). Elizabeth and I have already really been enjoying reading it together. 'Bird Life in Wington' is a book of Christian parables that teach children good lessons through fun stories. I am always looking for science books that will draw a child in and I found a book called 'A Boy and a Motor' by Raymond E. Yates. He goes through the history of engines sharing about the different scientists and engineers that advanced the motor and explaining how motors work. It is written on a 4th or 5th grade level. I can't wait to have a T-Bob read it. Thomas really wanted me to get a copy of Ivanhoe, Illustrated by Milo Winter. I think it is cool that my 12 year old son really liked that story. I picked up a hardback copy of 'Jane of Lantern Hill', a story written by L. M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables author).

I really like poetry and Nursery Rhyme collections and I got a copy of 'Four and Twenty Black Birds, Old Nursery Rhymes' by Helen Dean Fish and Illustrated by Robert Lawson. It contains many of the longer nursery rhymes and songs, than the usual collections do. If you see books by Howard Pyle, they are a must grab. I found a nice copy of 'The Story of King Arthur and his Knights'. Both younger boys like to read his tales. Also in the nursery realm, I bought a beautiful copy of 'A Small Child's Book of Verse' by Pelagie Doane. This would be a wonderful book to have if you were doing Nature Journals with your children. The pictures are beautiful and the poems are mostly old ones that focus on animals and natures. I got a hard backed copy of 'A Visit to William Blake's Inn, Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers'. I had already owned two paper book copies, but I never pass on upgrading to a hardback when I can.

I did get a bunch of cool books for adults/high schoolers to read, but that will be a post for another day. I need to go put the books on the computer and then see where I might find shelf space for the new books. Remember, you never have too many books, just insufficient shelf space.
~mom

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Traveling in the Southwest Part 3

The first day of our trip was long. Approximately eight hours after we left our house we picked up our rental car at the El Paso airport and drove east. It was a strange thought that we were driving east after flying west, but we had a reason for backtracking: encouraging some friends and learning about the ministry they were involved with.

I enjoyed the scenery as we drove through western Texas, simply because it is so different from the scenery in Ohio. I was amazed at how big Texas was. You can go miles without seeing any houses. As we drove down the road at 80 plus mph (the speed limit is 80 mph in west TX), every once in a while Daddy would interrupt our conversation with an observation of the car and how it was driving. A couple times he asked me, "Does it sound like we have a flat tire?". I answered, "Kind of, maybe it's ....." My experience with flat tires is small. The tire noise persisted and became more noticeable. Daddy pulled to the side of the road, and yes, we had a flat tire.

Daddy was disgusted that such a thing would happen on a rental car. He started to change the tire. He got out his tools including the lug wrench, and alas, it was the wrong size! We were out in the middle of nowhere, with a flat tire that we couldn't change.


After opening the hood to show our need to fellow motorists, he called AAA for their roadside assistance. They wanted to know where we were (besides west Texas). We hadn't been observing the mile markers, so we didn't know what mile we were on. So Daddy began to walk/run down to the last marker with me trailing in the dust. A fellow motorist on the other side of the highway saw us running, slowed down, and called out, "Do you need any help?" We said "Yes!" (Daddy was cautious about him at first, but was soon at ease.) Mr.D. pulled through the median and parked ahead of us.
He got out his 4-way and within five minutes the tire was changed.

How thankful we were for his help. He was an answer to unspoken prayer. It would have taken hours for AAA to arrive.

He called out, "God bless you," as he went to pack up his van. Daddy boldly followed that up with a gospel CD. After talking for a moment Daddy discovered that Mr. D. was Catholic who knew what he believed. He asked Daddy (as a testing question), "What is your view of transubstantiation?" Daddy wisely answered, "What do you mean by that?" Mr. D. replied, "Good answer," and they continued their conversation.
One hour after pulling off for the flat tire, we were on the road again. Daddy was a little bummed, because now he could only go 65 mph max. Oh well, we still got to our destination on time.
Our destination? Midland,TX. We stayed with the parents of the young family we were visiting/meeting. It was a great time getting to know them and how the Lord is at work in Texas. The believers in Midland are not just reaching out locally, but internationally.
Part four will be about the local work, that has a vision to reach out internationally.

What a great God we have! I was reminded of this in when I got a bird's eye view of part of our country and when I learned how He was working through the believers in Midland.
~JoAn

Friday, May 21, 2010

Junior Date Night

Our son Thomas, gave me three coupons good for a date night for Christmas. I love it!

Last Friday night my DH was out of town, so Thomas and I decided it was a good opportunity to sneak away for our 'date'.

It was a lovely night and so we went to 'Five Guys' and picked up burgers for dinner and took them down to the lake.

Thomas is a charming conversationalist so it is always pleasant chatting with him. We watched the birds fly through the trees and listened to their calls. We observed the people walking their dogs and decided who had a dominant dog, and who ruled their pack well (from things we learned from Cesar Milan videos and books). We had had a late start on our date due to the extensive sour kraut project, so it was nearing sunset when we finished.

We walked down to the beach and watched the gentle waves against the sand, took pictures, and watched the sunset.


It was a beautiful evening.
Have you ever read the book 'The Five Love Languages'? I found that book really helpful in understanding our marriage and its occasional challenges and in raising our children. It is fun to identify the children's primary love language. Then you can speak love to them in a language they understand. Is there any doubt that Thomas's love language is 'quality time'? You betcha. It really works that mine is that as well. I would say that within our six children that at least four of the languages are represented. I am not sure what Elizabeth's is yet. The rest I know. I am conscious of them as I try and make sure they all feel loved and accepted in our family.
Can you identify your children's love languages?
1. Words of affirmation
2. Quality time
3. Acts of service
4. Physical Affection
5. Giving Gifts
How they show love is usually how they feel loved. Just something to think about.
~Mom

Thursday, May 20, 2010

School's Out For the Summer!!!!

I am really excited! This is the earliest that we have finished a school year. This is the first time we have been done in May. We did not take a spring break this year in order to speed our progress. It has paid off. Yippee! I know the teacher is not supposed to be this excited, it is the students who are supposed to be rejoicing. Too bad, I'm glad! I really do enjoy home educating, it is just that now I feel we can get to the fun stuff! The things that we didn't have time for during the year. I bought a bunch of specimens to dissect. I am hoping to get some more board games played. Some hikes at the local parks, maybe a little swimming, I have a whole list. I want some time so that I can get back to learning to play the piano and boost my exercising. I am planning to have the children spend 2 hours a day reading. I am going to read with them. You wouldn't believe how tall my pile of books that I want to read is. Actually if the truth were told, it is no longer a single pile, but is composed of multiple piles stacked beside my bed that are higher than the bed. We have a high bed, too. If I knock them over it is a BIG mess. I want to read a book when I am not so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open. I love learning and I haven't gotten enough of it lately. I am even thinking of how to work in some art lessons, maybe have some of the children get back to their violins. I have so many plans for the summer. A week at camp, a bunch of weddings and graduations. I want the quiet too. I want the children to remember how to play together without needing a battery or an electric cord. I would like us to have quiet time and family time. I want it to be a summer of blessed memories. Yes, to experience the gentle art of learning. I want a few more picnics at the beach and watching the sunset with the children.

Did I mention that one of the local universities has their BIIIIG book sale on Saturday? It is usually a great sale with lots of donated books and wonderful things to add to our family library. I will share next week about what treasures I found. I love book sales, and this one is my favorite.
Trust you all are enjoying an equally blessed week!
~Mom

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Making Sour Kraut

Both of our families have a German heritage, but making sour kraut was not something we grew up doing. I know that my great grandparents did. Recently, I have been learning of the importance of eating salt fermented foods. Not a lot, just about a tablespoon or two daily. This helps provide your body with enzymes and digestive help as well as feeding the bowel flora. Kimchee and beet kvass would also work similarly. You also need some water fermented food daily (kombucha, kefir, yogurt, etc.). All traditional diets utilize fermented foods. In the past we had tried lacto-fermented sour kraut, but for whatever reason, this was not a big hit in our family.
Recently, one of our Amish friends had us to dinner and they had kraut on the table. Everybody really liked it. We asked for directions and here is what we were told...

Pick cabbages that are heavy as they contain more liquid. How many you need will be determined by the size of your jar.

We then cut the core out of the cabbage and sliced it in pieces that would easily fit through the food processor.

The children pitched in, Thomas ran the food processor. We did a head of cabbage into a thatsa bowl. The recipe says to add 1 Tbsp of salt per 2# of cabbage. We added that amount per head.

Then the fun begins. You mix in the salt and then pound out all your stress on the cabbage. You pound it until all the cabbage is bruised, there is liquid in the bottom, and it only takes about half the original volume. It will look soft and rather wilted when you are through. You will want to have lots of helpers at this stage. This takes a lot of strength and energy. You use a wooden 'stomper' to beat up the cabbage.

As each head is finished you put the cabbage in the jar and GENTLY stomp it down. You want to eliminate air pockets in the cabbage.

Remember, I said stomp it GENTLY in the jar. T-Bob was a little bit too vigorous and banged the jar too firmly and broke the jar. This was very sad. Fortunately, we had another jar. Unfortunately, It was a LOT bigger, and so instead of being almost done, we still had a lot of work to do.

We overfilled the jar. This was due to our lack of experience. You want to leave about 2" or so between the top of the cabbage and the top of the jar. You will need to have a lid on your jar, but not a tight seal. You leave the cabbage sitting out on the counter for 3 days and then refrigerate it. It is ready to use after 3 days. It will work and bubble while it sits there. If you fill it too full it will run over the top and make a mess. We ended up spooning out the extra liquid so it would behave.
It is really yummy! We put out a bowl at dinner now all the time.
There are some variations. Some people will add some grated carrot to their mixture to make it a little sweeter. You could also add some tart apple. Caraway seeds would also change the flavor. This is a good family project.
~Mom
Can you guess how many heads of regular sized cabbage went into our ~2 gallon jar?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Traveling in the South West Part 2

After lunch Grandpa and Daddy read, dozed, finished up projects, or toured the mission base to see what was new there.

After taking a nap, Grandma and I took a walk around the block. On one of our walks I told her I had recently read a biography about A.W. Tozer. She then told me that she regularly listened to him when he was on the radio. That was interesting, but then she said that she had disagreed with him on a certain topic and had written him a letter. Mr.Tozer wrote her back. He discussed the issue and closed with "Please pray for me." I thought that was neat. I wasn't able to read the letter, because it is at one of my aunt's homes, who we'll be visiting soon. Grandma gave me permission to track it down and read it, so I will. :) I have enjoyed learning about my grandparents history and how they interacted with now famous people.
After our walk on Monday Grandma and I spent some time looking at Colossians. It wasn't all Bible study though. Grandma opened up and shared some things about how she has grown spiritually through out the years. What a privilege!
While we were exercising our legs, the men exercised their minds. It was good for Daddy to have some down time to sit and read.

Suppertime! At this meal I listened as these three reminisced about my Dad's growing up years.
I am learning to play the hymns on the piano. I enjoyed practicing and they enjoyed listening.
This picture represents the best time of the day. We would all pray and share a passage of Scripture. Then we would sing. It was a sweet time of bringing our requests and thanksgivings before the throne of grace as well as learning or being reminded of God's truth. (Which is the only truth and absolute standard.)
I am so thankful that God has given me godly parents and godly grandparents on both sides. They have trained me by word and example. May God be glorified!
~JoAn

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Traveling in the Southwest Part 1

Each spring since 2006 Daddy has taken one or two of us children as traveling companions with him to visit his parents (and help them with projects). This year I was the chosen one. We were absent from home eight days. We only spent 2 full days and 2 part days with Grandpa and Grandpa Mango. What we did in the other approx 5 days will be given in a later post. Hint: We drove 1,200 miles after flying into El Paso, TX.


Near their small Arizonian town lies a B&B decorated to be a 1930s home. It is run by a middle aged Christian couple. They were a delight to get to know. Mr. A. describes his wife as a true Proverbs 31 woman. Not only is she proficent in domestic duties, but she is also fluent in carpentry. Mrs. A. has many stories to tell. I could listen for hours.




Grandpa and Grandma 'retired' to be volunteers at the New Tribes Mission and Aviation base in Arizona. They used to put us up in a guest house, but since they retired from volunteer work, they now have us spend our nights at the local Bed and Breakfast. It is called Sojourners Homestead. I'd recommend it to anyone who is visiting nearby.




I'm writing about the middle part of our trip part first, because it was the primary reason for our trip. Grandpa and Grandpa are very regular in their habits. Therefore, I just need to describe a single day and you know how we spent our time, except for the weekly happenings that came up on the days we were there. :)

Each morning Daddy and I arrived at Grandpa and Grandma's shortly before 9 A.M. The first morning Grandma and I went over to the base to attend a ladies prayer meeting, wash some clothes, and have a computer lesson. Grandpa is resolute in his determination to stand against the flood of technology. Grandma is learning what she can and is doing quite well. While we were gone Daddy and Grandpa worked on spraying the weeds and fixing the swamp cooler.

The second morning I trimmed Grandma's hair. I was a little nervous, but it came out okay.

Grandma has a big heart for those in need. She showed this to me by the conversations she had with various people on the base. Throughout our visit she shared stories of goings on in the town as well as from her past. It made me think, "How much do I love and care for others? Do I love them enough to share the gospel with them?"

Fixing the swamp cooler took two days. Working in the Arizonian sun is no fun, especially if you have fair skin.
After mounting the roof once Grandpa decided that he would be the ground man. He later stated that he was done going up on roofs. The three of us were glad, and hope he keeps his word.
Late in the morning Grandma and I picked up the mail from the Post Office. Upon returning to the mobile she would process it with Grandpa's help. On Wednesday, they unknowingly entertained us as they went through their mail. Grandma cuts open the end of each envelope and skims the contents. If they're worthy of reading she passes it onto Grandpa. Two of the envelopes contained stamped envelopes. The stamps were cut off and duly saved. Grandpa and Grandma raised nine children and are very thrifty. This is where I inherited my thriftiness from, much to some of my sibblings dismay. :) However, though they are thrifty, they share with those in need generously. I am trying to emulate this.
One of the envelopes contained a letter for Grandpa from a doctor who practiced 75 miles away. Grandma asked Grandpa as she gave him the letter, "You're not going to go in for your annual check up, are you?"
Grandpa replied, "No. Why would I go in for him just to ask me, "How are you?" He began reading the letter aloud. We soon found out that the doctor (who was in his early 80s also) was retiring. I don't think that Grandpa's going to see the new doctor either.
I love how Grandpa begins their meals. Each meal he chose one of us to give thanks for the food. After that we would each read a verse card. Most of the time we'd get a 'double portion' and read both sides of the card. I'm a firm believer that we need our spiritual food just as much and more than physical food. I enjoyed this simple reminder.
At lunch on Monday as he took up his card he broke out with, "That big old nasty cheating slimeball....." The topic on his card was "The Tempter."
During the meals Grandma would tell us stories of the past, but mostly of the goings on in their small town. Many seniors live there and several have died in the past months. Death and the earthly consequences was a subject brought to our minds by Grandpa and Grandma. They are working on getting rid of belongings and preparing to move into a daughter's home. (They want to stay in Arizona as long as possible, but they also want to be ready in the event of an emergency.) Even though we talked about death, it was with heaven in view and the sure hope we have of spending eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful to have had this time listening and learning from them. It is sad for me in some ways, but their attitude was catching. Not that I'm want to die, but I want to alway be ready for it. I want to daily be looking forward to when Christ calls His bride home.

Do you know that you're ready for Christ's return?
~Joan
P.S. Yes, there is a part 2. I will finish up our day with Grandpa and Grandma in Part 2. I want to tell you about the other parts of our trip too. I will keep working on it, and will do my best to get part 2 out in the next day or two.
P.S. S. I hope you get a little laugh out of some of Grandpa's remarks. It is always best to hear them live, but I still chuckle as I write them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

And the Winner is...


We randomly had a disinterested party draw a number out of a jar, and selected.....

Susanna!


Congratulations Susanna!!!


If you didn't win and would still like this book, we are more than happy to sell one to you for $10 (shipping and handling included). Just leave us a comment or e-mail us at handsandnails(at)sbcglobal dot net and we will send it to you. This is a much better price than Amazon (12.95 + S&H). They don't discount it, but since I bought it in a large quantity, I got a better price, and I am happy to pass it along.
~Michelle & Mom

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Make Liquid Laundry Detergent

You all know that making your own _____ is sometimes more costly time wise that it would be to buy it. That is not the case with this liquid laundry detergent. My Aunt Miriam was the first one who told me about it, and I was a little interested. Then, after collecting enough bottles,she made some for herself and shared it with us. When we ran out, I made more. I didn't photograph the whole process, so you'll have to use your imagination a little bit. :)
A smaller recipe is on one of Mom's favorite blogs. Here is the link

at heartkeeper .

The above link she answers a lot of questions. Her recipe makes a smaller amount.

Note: this is not an original recipe. My Aunt Miriam got it from somewhere (off the Internet?). We have run across several different blogs that have this or a similar recipe.

I italicized the recipe. We did get a powdered detergent recipe along with this one. If any one wants it, let us know.

The ingredients you'll need are....

1. 4 cups hot tap water

2. 1 Fels-Naptha Soap Bar (5.5) oz

3. 1 cup washing soda ( can be purchased at a hardware store or online)

4. 1/2 cup borax

5. Lots of tap water



-Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. If the Fels-Naptha doesn't melt completely, you'll have lumpy detergent.



-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.



-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machines- 5/8 cup per load (approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- 1/4 cup per load (approx. 640 loads)


Here is the soap after sitting overnight. It was gelled and needed a fair amount of stirring to get it into shape.

Make sure you collect enough bottles, otherwise you'll have to get creative. I suggest that you don't fill them up to the brim, as the container will expand a little as the soap cools to room temperature.

Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and the rest of the way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel) The water should be hot when you put an equal amount of it into the bottle with an equal amount of soap, so that it can amalgamate.



Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. I haven't done this yet, but maybe next time I will.


Some of you may question, does this soap actually work? Our clothing, as well as our Aunt's, keeps coming out clean, so yes. This soap isn't sudsy though, so don't be looking for lots of bubbles.
JoAn