I Have Been Blessed

All about how God has blessed me. In my marriage, with my six children, through homeschooling, and our faith with recipes, large family living, and updates on our life.

Mother’s Day

I know it was two weeks ago, but I obviously couldn’t blog about what we made or the cat would have been out of the proverbial bag. I am sure I have said before that I am very blessed to have FANTASTIC in-laws! One of my sweet sisters-in-law found a great idea for Mother’s Day that worked out perfect for us! The basic premise is you take a picture of each kid holding a different letter spelling out the word GRANDMA, print on magnet paper and WOW a personalized Mother’s Day Gift. Combined with my sisters-in-laws children there is a total of nine grandchildren, so we spelled Grandma with a heart at each end. But my kids call my Mom GRAMMY, which is perfect, because it was six letters!!!

I printed these black and white so that I didn’t have to coordinate colors in their clothing (especially since with their other Grandma, we did this across three families). I bought the magnet paper on Amazon. And I still have a couple of sheets left! Hmm… what other six letter words are there?

We also bought both of our Mom’s flowers and a gift. But I know this was my Mom’s favorite. In fact, she made copies of it and sent it to my Gram in Michigan and has another copy at her office. One of the guys she works with told her today, “If she keeps having kids, she’ll be able to spell out your whole address!” I’m a long way from the whole address but with another kid I could spell our city or our state!

I have been blessed!

Five Special Blessings to Me Today: Hearing Cassidy laugh out loud (finally!!), Rain, Family (immediate and extended), Refreshing our living space by moving around furniture, Being able to buy our curriculum for next year

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DIY Laundry Soap

Okay, this is no News Flash, but I have Six Kids. Can you possible imagine how much laundry six kids make? And Six kids that play outside at least once every day in black Florida Dirt! I do a lot of laundry. A while back when Austin was farming and I was trying to get dollars to stretch as far as possible I hear about making your own laundry soap. I tried the liquid way first, using the Duggars Recipe, and I thought it worked okay, but it was kind of a pain pouring from the 5 gallon bucket into the one gallon container and mine never ‘gelled’ the way they said it would, and honestly it just didn’t get my clothes as clean as our old stand-by Tide with Bleach.So when our five gallon bucket was empty, we quit using it.

Then, when it started bugging me that I was paying upwards of 45-50 cents a load for store bought detergent, I decided I would try again. I diligently searched for a powdered Do It Yourself laundry detergent and found several. So with trial and error and additions and substitutions, here is the recipe we use.

1 bar of Fels-Naptha

1/2 cup Oxi-Clean (we added this because #1 we have hard water and #2 it helped make my whites whiter)

1 cup and 1/4 of 20 Mule Team Borax

and 1 cup Washing Soda (not Baking Soda!!)

In my Wal-Mart these are all in the Laundry Aisle, near each other. I pay 97 cents for a bar of Fels-Naptha, around $3 a box for Washing Soda and Borax, (although I have found them on sale for closer to $2.50 a box!) and $10 for my 5 pound box of Oxi-Clean. The Borax and Washing Soda are each good for about 8 batches. The Oxi-Clean is good for about 20 batches. So by my Math, one batch of soap as above costs about $2.22, and each batch is good for about 20 extra-large loads (we have a HE Front Load Washer), making it less than 11 cents per load!

Anyways, once you have gathered all your ingredients, the next thing to do is to grate your soap. This is a rather hard soap and since I do several batches at a time, I just use an old, but still works like a charm, food processor. I slice it into chunks, then food process my soap, until it is in crumbs (the smaller the better). You can also use a cheese grater and grate your soap. Be warned Рunsuspecting children may think this is actually cheese and will ask you for bites. (I recommend saying no!)

After that I throw all the ingredients into an old Animal Cracker Tub (but you can use whatever you have available) and shake it up. (At my house, I have lots of volunteers for this step!) ¬†An extra-large load uses a level 1/4 cup of powder. This soap works great for High Efficiency Washers. Occasionally, if I wash something and it is still dirty, I treat it with Shout and re-wash it and that seems to be enough to do the trick, but I have only had this happen when the kids have gotten really muddy or with some of Austin’s clothes after he had been working on a vehicle. We’ve used this recipe for well over six months!

With the numerous loads of laundry I do each week, this saves my family hundreds of dollars each year!

If you try it out, let me know how it works for you!

We have been blessed.

Five special Blessings to me today: Listening to my older children read to my younger children, Fresh vegetables, New Friends, Beautiful Days, Upcoming Vacation!