Friday, May 28, 2010

Thrifty Finds

Garage sales, thrift stores, freecycle, I love them all! You never know when you're going to find that awesomely cool [whatever] that you didn't even know you needed until you saw it. For me, that awesomely cool thing was this:

What is it? Only the cutest toy box I've ever seen! It's a little rough around the edges, but nothing I can't spruce up. It's so random, I love it! The only place I have been able to find anything similar is in New Zealand, and those pigs aren't nearly as cute. This one is made of thick, durable plastic, and it looks vintage to me. I got it for only $3! Score!
See? Even cute from behind!

Next up, this little booster seat for the dining room table. The fabric was so gross that the lady hosting the garage sale gave it to me for free! Off came the fabric, and now I've got a great little booster chair. While scrubbing it I discovered that it reclines and the seat raises up. :)

Last, I got this cute little cart from my local freecycle. It was headed to the garbage because of a crack, so I saved it, repaired it, and now it's ours. A cool thing about this one is that the basket has a handle and can be lifted off and carried separate.
What have you found lately?
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southern hospitality and
@ A picture is worth 1000 words' 2nd Time Around Linky party

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sweet Innocence

There are specific moments in mommyhood that just make your heart melt. They usually aren't triggered by any grand statement or gesture, but by little things. Things like finding a tiny pair of feet on your side of the bed, or being on the receiving end of a big ol' grin, or a sigh from a peacefully sleeping baby. This was one of those moments.

Powdered Laundry Detergent Tutorial

I've been thinking about making my own soap, shampoo, and detergents for awhile, and so far have only managed to do shampoo, at least until now. Hannah at A Handmade Childhood (I don't know how to do the cool little text link yet, so here's a good old fashioned link: ) inspired me to stop procrastinating, and just do it, so I did! I got my recipe from Tipnut (who has tons of great tips, tricks, and recipes by the way), and adjusted it slightly. Here's the original recipe:

Powdered Laundry Detergent #4

2 cups Fels Naptha laundry bar- finely grated
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda

Mix well and store in a sealed container out of reach of kids and pets
Use 2 Tablespoons per load.

Easy enough, right? Here we go!

First, your "mise en place" as my husband would say. Aka, get your things out that you'll need. Note: I let my Fels Naptha dry out for 2 days to make it grate easier. Turns out, I didn't need to.

Ok, so the only "work" you really need to do for the recipe is to grate the soap. Yeah...that was a pain. See that little cheese grater? See that big bar of soap? Ugh! Nap time only lasts so long, so I cheated after about 10 minutes of hand grating.

No, those aren't cheese puffs, and they aren't sweet and sour chicken either. Those, dear friends, are chunks of fels naptha soap after being microwaved for a minute. Yes!

Forget about all that hand grating or food processing. Cut up your soap in about 1 inch squares, nuke for a minute, let them cool completely, then put in a zip lock bag and crush with a rolling pin. At first they seem to just flatten, but then they crumble into a powder. Ha! Take that cheese grater!

Now, the only problem is that the recipe calls for 2 cups of finely grated soap, and we have made powder instead, which is much finer, so it measures out as less than it would if it were grated. No worries, luckily this isn't an exact science. I used the whole bar, which was about a cup and a half of powder. On the bright side, smaller soap pieces means they dissolve easier. Woohoo!

Moving right along, dump your soap powder into whatever container you intend to use (I recruited a recycled formula canister for the job), then measure out the borax and washing soda, and mix.

Hmm. For being 50% yellow soap and 50% borax and washing soda, it looked awfully soap heavy. My solution? Add more washing soda and borax. I wasn't sure how much of the bar of soap was equal to 2 cups grated, but after seeing the soap to white powder ratio, I was guessing it was roughly half a bar. That being the case, I doubled the other ingredients, mixed again, and voila!

finished powder laundry detergent! I haven't used it to wash our cloth diapers yet, but so far it's worked great on our regular laundry. Yay!

Here's my adjusted powder laundry detergent recipe:

1 bar fels naptha soap, powdered

2 c. Borax

2. c. Washing Soda

In case you're wondering, this is enough to wash about 45 loads, and it cost about $8.50 for all of the ingredients, with tons of Borax and washing soda left over for more batches. FYI, we use this in our HE front loader washing machine without issue since it is a low sudsing detergent.

Note: If you are concerned about the presence of that yucky naphthalene in the fels naptha, good news! Fels Naptha does not contain naphthalene any longer. If I'm not mistaken, I think it even says so on the package. Whew, Good thing!

Added to:

Look What I Made! @ Creations by Kara

Hookin' Up at

Show off Your Stuff @

DIY Day @

A Penny Pinching Party @

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Container Babies

It always catches me off guard when I get compliments on my wee one's "nice round head," "not flat like so many these days." You would be surprised how many women notice and comment on it. Is it such a rarity to have a normal shaped head? I admit, I was a bit paranoid about his head shape in the NICU. Preemies are notorious for long, narrow heads, and I swear- I could tell when his head had elongated, even by a little in the hospital. I was on that like white on rice. As a result, he never had the "preemie head." After he came home he spent very little time laying on his back in order to develop a flat head. I'd love to take complete credit for that, but truth be told...even if I wanted him to be a container baby, (i.e. always in a bouncer, car seat, swing, play pen, etc.) there is no way he would have tolerated it! As a result..."How cute! Oh, look at that nice round head!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Playing in the Dirt

This weekend we got down and dirty in the garden. We went to an informal "gardening 101" class where we were hoping to learn top secret tricks of the trade. We got loads of useful information to read later, then we were put to work weeding and planting the ward garden as soon as the rain let up. With that under our belts, the following day we plotted out our own garden, and as soon as the wee one was down for his nap we reclaimed the corner of the kitchen and table taken over by our seedlings...

and got them into the ground. Grow plants grow! Some of the seedlings got mixed up, so if anyone can identify the three little plants closest to the camera in the first pic then you get a gold star. Otherwise, it's a mystery!

Corn on the Cob

Is one of my favorite summer foods. It seems my son may be following in my foot steps.