Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

This is a crossover post from one that I did at Facebook. I got a lot of interest in it, so I thought I might do it here too.

I ran across this while browsing the site. the site. One of the first books I got after getting married was  Hints from Heloise. Mom used to get Good Housekeeping and I'd pick it up sometimes to read and was captivated by Heloise. So I looked for her every month in the magazine, and when we moved back to the Atlanta area, she was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution every Sunday. So I read that one too and clipped columns...while I was in 8-10th grades. When we moved to the Houston area, my only source was GH. After we got married, I found a book. YAY! I've always loved the tips in them, and have run across some others at times...oddly enough, Erma Bombeck had some good ones (when you have to iron a kid's pants for a school play or performance, find out which leg faces the audience, then iron that one ;D) When I was working in the corporate world, there were other tricks I learned...if I had a sweater or jacket that I wore all day over a dress shirt, cuffs, collar and front placket are all that need to be ironed. Cheap shampoo works great on dirty collars and cuffs. Little things that made life a lot easier.

I've collected a number of home books over the years, from Heloise, to Annie Berthold-Bond to Debra Lynn Dadd Bond and Dadd have gone on to internet sites and other books, but I like their originals. Bond has a political agenda I don't care for, but I do still use a couple of her books for reference.

Once we started having kids, yeah, I started treating stains when they happened. As I seldom was washing them at stain time, I'd tie the sleeves or legs of the piece of clothing together and toss it in the dirty clothes. That reminded me to treat the stain again before it got tossed in the wash. I bought nothing but white socks for the boys when they were little. They just had a different colored stripe around the top and I taught them to pin them together to toss into the dirty clothes. Then they were already paired off. Folded their clothes in outfits for the drawers so they had a complete (matching--College Dude was color blind & we didn't know) outfit on. Saved us time and aggravation in the morning.

When we moved into a house in 1990, the boys started developing allergy symptoms, which they had not had before. We did some investigating and found out the house had been flooded a few years before from the creek behind it...the landlord cleaned the carpet and pocketed the insurance money. We had a cleaning business so we did the carpet also and pulled roughly 15 gallons of mud out of the carpet...they'd done a terrible job cleaning. But it was all covered up so well that we didn't know until too late. Absentee landlord, hapless agent and no real recourse at the time. (Then he was mad when we didn't want to buy the house when the lease was up!) That was when I started making my own cleaners. I didn't want to add to the boys' problems with more chemicals, couldn't find the one that I could get at Mom's in Houston and there was a limit to my stocking up when I went to visit so, I bought a few books and a few ingredients and starting making my own. Did it for years. When I went back to work outside the home, the kids started taking on more cleaning and Cabinet Man didn't really want to mess with it so, we started buying it again. Plus, by making my own cleaners, the boys could clean up part of the bathroom and I didn't worry about what they were being exposed to (or if they were wasting it)

Fast forward and I'm home again and I'm starting to get back into the groove of being a SAHM (and I like it) Sunshine is 10 and this is really the first time that I've been able to be home. Back to doing more from scratch and looking up old interests. I keep baking soda and borax around anyway for cleaning, and I already had ivory soap. And I can't find washing soda in the Wal-Mart's...maybe at the farm and ranch place...Also, I have a regular washer/dryer, not front loading (cobalt blue ones are on my Wish List) for someday, so I've not tested the detergents on them. Not even sure where to begin testing that, but as I plan to have a pair someday, I might need to start researching and looking up, especially since there seems to be a problem with mold in many front loading washers...which is odd that the new ones do, when the ones from many years ago don't)

Here's the link to the site:

Recipe #8

2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
2 cups Baking soda

    * Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
    * In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
    * Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
    * Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

I also used about 20 drops of sweet orange essential oil. Smells nice. I'll use lemon or lavender next's really faint. Maybe I'll use more too. If your soap is "fresh" it will grate into little curls, like chocolate. If it has been out a bit and dried, it is more powdery. Don't use 'beauty bars' like Dover or something like that. The oils/creams they add to it might stain.

I use recipe #8...grated Ivory soap, baking soda and borax. I have to get the melting the grated soap down really well, but even when it is 'flakey', it works well. I've gotten comments from the kids on the scent (who doesn't like Ivory?), and it seems like the clothes are softer. I don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets (did you know that it leaves a residue on the inside of your dryer--you can get it off with cloth soaked in vinegar), but even the towels seem softer. I have used vinegar on occasion as fabric softener and no, it doesn't smell like vinegar after they dry. I use powder detergent in the summer and liquid in the fall/winter/spring. I use cold water for everything but towels and the water is too cold up here most of the year to dissolve powder. Learned that one the hard way.

I've also used the powdered detergent for the dishwasher. I didn't always keep good track of stuff while I had an outside job, so I would run out when doing laundry late at night or when I just didn't feel like going out in the snow.

We've got reasonably soft water here, so I have not had the problems that other posters on the site might have. Your Mileage May Vary according to your part of the country, water hardness or softness or minerals, etc.

Maybe sometime I'll give my experiences with making my own mixed for Bisquick, brownies, spices, etc....

And a new pic of Duncan, aka, the Duncanator, Duncster, Duncmeister....he's put on a little weight and the dreadful haircut has grown out a bit.


And did you know that Laura over at Decor To Adore is having a lovely Halloween giveaway? YES! Go, now!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Balloon Boy - Yep, that is my town (update)

After that title, I feel like I should insert the lyrics to Montgomery Gentry's song, 'This is My Town'...but I can't find anything that rhymes with 'flying saucer shaped weather balloon'. (sigh) Why I am not a songwriter.

I'm sure most of you have seen this as it was plastered all over the world news. I got a Facebook comment from a friend in the UK about it...

And now all the word is about a 'hoax' by a family desperate to remain in the media spotlight. They've appeared on 'Wife Swap' twice (I think twice). Oddly enough, I think it replayed sometime recently as I was channel surfing and vaguely remember seeing a comment about 'storm chasers', but I had no idea they were from here. And all the furor about their YouTube videos, Falcon's comment about it 'being for the show', etc.

Let's look at a few things. Yes, the family is unconventional. Yes, they have been in the media. Yes, they do things a bit differently. What's the problem? My gut instinct is that it is NOT a hoax. For starters, as a former 6 year old and having raised 4 of them...I have a really hard time believing that a kid that age is going to stay hidden for 4-5 hours upon the instructions of a parent. Maybe would have happened in Victorian times (maybe) but I don't see that happening these days (short of a severely abused child doing so out of fear and there is NO indication of that in this case). He stated that he came down because he got bored. That comment absolutely screams SIX YEAR OLD BOY! However, I can see a kid hiding out for fear of punishment or reprimand...especially if he thought (right or wrong) that he'd let the family weather balloon go! It was a family project, so there was some time and money tied up in it and he was aware of that. Shoot, I'd hide out for getting into my dad's tools and there was not that kind of time/money involved.

And the comments about the kids sleeping in their clothes at times so they could be gotten up in a hurry to chase a storm. I had friends in Austin that were storm chasers (not sure if they were certified, I didn't realize you could be). But it also made sense to me. They also had 3 kids and they'd rouse the kids, put them in the car and the kids would go back to sleep--I recall they were around the same ages as the Heene kids. First though took me aback, but I could see it. Besides, where are you going to find a sitter at 2AM? Although I did tell her that if she suspected chasing it would take them hours and hours, to call me and drop them at my house.

But I think the media and others are looking to demonize this family because they do not fit the 'mold', and they are trying to find a way to make the Heenes 'pay' for the fear and attention that was trumped up. This story was shown around the world (thank you 24 hour news cycle).

Bottom line, I don't think it was a hoax and I am quite sorry for the family. Good luck to them with the attacks from the media. And I like the press conference that Sheriff Aldersen held yesterday in which he really defended the family and told everyone that he was NOT jumping to any conclusions and they would investigate. Which I am sure they would have done anyway. Our sheriff has made some controversial statements himself, but I do think he's a good guy and a good sheriff.

So, that is my two cents folks. For what it's worth these days ;D (I was wrong!!!!!)
Have a great weekend and I am heading back to bed. The family has pretty much gone down like dominoes this week with a respiratory thing (not the flu), and I am worn out from pandering, err, taking care of them.

Hopefully I will be back next week with a couple of Duncan stories and pictures. It's also nice to know that all the odd, unconventional families are not limited to Texas (which is what I was beginning to think!)