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.

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 – unsuspecting 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!



It Worked for Me

Here are some things I have done in the past (that I should probably institute again) that have worked for us in the past to streamline, organize, and create better harmony in our house.

Toy Storage – the solution to a Never-Clean Room: When the kids were having a particularly hard time keeping their rooms cleaned, and I was tired of seeing toys everywhere – we did Toy Baskets. I gave each kid a basket and put a name tag on the handle. Each kid was allowed to choose 10 toys and put them in their basket. All other toys got boxed up and went upstairs (which is our storage room.) Those were there toys for the week. Each night I had them turn in their basket to me with all ten toys neatly tucked in the basket….toys not in the basket got added to the upstairs collection, hence losing them a toy. On Mondays, they had the opportunity to swap out their toys for new toys. This worked for us because it meant there were only 50 toys in my house (5 kids after all!!!) and I saw real quick which toys never got chosen, which toys were favorites, and it fostered cooperation as the children often chose toys that went together. Maybe after Christmas we will institute this again!!

Another thing I should really do – Sometime before Adreya was born, Mom and I worked together to do a Once-a-Month Cooking Day. We cooked and cooked and cooked and at the end of the day had about 30+ meals to put in the freezer for quick dinners. I really need to do this again especially with Cassidy on the way. I should really plan this for a Saturday in January!!!!! One of the most simplest things we did on that day was to simply pre-cook hamburger, chicken, and taco meat. Even these small advances helped make for getting dinner on the table quicker! I also like the idea of making something for Austin for his lunches that can be tossed from freezer to cooler (like breakfast burritos or something.)

Motivated Mom’s Planner – I have probably bought this a couple of times (it is only $8). It is a daily (or weekly) House cleaning and Bible Reading Planner. It has a simple to-do list of what should be done around your house. If you do what’s on the list, the idea is your house will stay company-ready. I usually do pretty good in January, then slip away from it. I’ve bought the planner for 2012 and plan to keep up with it. I really appreciate the fact that includes chores I often don’t think of (change out kitchen  towel), but also includes the chores that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, yearly right into the lists without me having to think about it. (MotivatedMoms.com) Like I’ve said, I’ve done this before, but often fall away. I’d really like to stick with it this year.

It’s the end of the year, and I find myself not only preparing for what the possibility of the new year can bring to us, but also really looking forward to the addition of one more!! I’ve decided that I am going to wait until after Christmas to start really preparing the house for baby Cassidy and just the thoughts of pulling out baby clothes, setting up a bassinet, etc. has me even more excited to meet her!

I am So Blessed!

Five Special Blessings to Me Today: Ice (I chew ice while pregnant as fast as I can freeze it!), Cooler Weather (at 30 weeks pregnant, I am happy to be out of the 80’s), A lighted Christmas tree when all the other lights are out, Clean Bedrooms (all 3 kids rooms are clean, or at least were clean at some point today!), Christmas Music

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Laundry – done, Yippee!!!!!! It’s all caught up and put away. I am so excited. I can breathe and sleep easier at night knowing it is not lurking in the corners, waiting to be washed. I did cheat though – I took it all to the Laundromat (along with our big blankets and comforters that I can’t wash at home, that I wanted to get washed up before winter time hits us!) I usually do the laundry at home, in our not-big-enough-for-our-huge-family washer and dryer, but since I needed to go anyways, and I could (and did!!) get it all done in a matter of hours, instead of days, well I did it. And now it’s all washed, dried, hung, put away. I sorted through every dresser and closet and got rid of the stained, torn, doesn’t get worn clothes. I separated out about 10 outfits a piece per kid. And now I feel happy and accomplished!

I have REALLY found that the more kids I have, the less stuff I want/need. We are on a minimalistic toy plan (5 toys per kid, per week) and now a smaller clothing plan (10 outfits per kid plus church clothes). I am going to get rid of some blankets and sheets that never get used. I have a load of stuff for auction. I guess in my house we have Fall Cleaning!

Had a good day Saturday. Got the house clean. Got to spend some time with Mom (planning a Christmas card Class for Church), and Got to meet my sister’s boyfriend, Peter. They seem very good together. I only wish the visit could have been longer! We will get to see him and her again at Christmas. Can’t wait ’til then. Also, had a good day Sunday, seeing family. The kids were dirty and exhausted on the way home, but they had fun! It was a go to bed early kind of a day. All day Sunday, I was having really bad, serious cramping, so I was ready for a go to bed early night too!! My cramping is much better today, btw. Not sure if it is the Miscarriage ending, or the bladder issue creeping up again. Either way, I am paying attention, and praying. God is in control!

Five Special Blessings to me Today: Getting the laundry done, Energy, Feeling better today than yesterday, Chai Tea, a great big family I love every member of.

I Hope your Day is More Blessed then Mine!

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Busy, Happy

I don’t really believe in coincidences. I believe that God knows exactly what I need, and creates the circumstances so that my need can be fulfilled. I believe that is one of the myriad of ways he takes care of me. Lately my hormones have been off the chart as I process the end of this miscarriage, and God knew I needed to stay busy or call it a day. So, I am busy. I was able to work today and going again tomorrow (which is also a huge financial blessing to us!). I have two Beauticontrol Parties scheduled for October. Two kids having birthday parties in October. A Brother-in-law having a birthday too! A nephew getting dedicated! I am working the last week in October (a whole week!) I have stuff selling on Ebay. A Close to My Heart order to place next week. I am busy, and I am happy.

Austin said when I came home today he could tell that I needed the day off (to go work!) He got to do all the fun “Mom” stuff. He put the toddlers to work cleaning off their mural, and they are doing a pretty good job! He gave the baby a haircut. (Big task since he is like an octopus when you are trying to hold him still!) Brendyn got school done. Everything was in order and everybody was happy when I got home, and I can’t ask for anything more than that. God knew the man I needed to complete my life, and He gave my husband to me.

Five Special Blessings to Me today: MY HUSBAND!!!!!!!!, Happy Kids, Mountain Dew (I need the caffeine), People who buy stuff from me (BeautiControl, Ebay, CTMH), Sisters-in-laws who I have been chatting with much more often and enjoying it.

Hope your day is more blessed than mine!

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The Magic Eraser is my BFF

My sneaky children, who I *thought* were PLAYING in their rooms, were actually drawing me a very complex and artistic mural…on their walls (all four of them!) They also added arrows down the hallway pointing to the mural. It was done beautifully in pink, blue, yellow, and black crayon. There were pictures of the family (all 7 of us!!), a sun, lots of smiley faces, some kind of monster, and explosion….I never did ask for the story that the mural represented….Anyways, I have completely disintegrated two Magic Erasers, and I have two more in the box waiting for me to finish the job!

Madelynne was very disturbed by the fact that I was angry with her. She has been extra sweet lately, making sure to tell me she is “very sorry for doing that, Mama” and telling me that she loves me. Tyler told me it won’t happen again. (It was a joint effort!)

Last night, Tyler came in the room, and saw a 20/20 commercial on… He said “Mom, just how much is 20/20 anyways??” Took Brendyn to his Daddy yesterday and we were chatting about things on the way there. (We got stuck in some traffic jam because of a sink hole on 54….) He was telling me about ants and bees (he is learning about insects in Science.) Here is our conversation: Brendyn “Mom, do you know what the male ants do?” “No, what” “They just sit around all day and mate the queen.” (I thought this was funny…) Being the mom, I asked him what mate meant…He said “I think they just you know, get married, and stuff….”

I really think Wyatt is going to walk soon. He will walk with you and only need to hold one of your hands. He lets go and stands, and Austin said he saw Wyatt get up and stand in the middle of the room. It doesn’t get old, seeing your kids grow and seeing what they are learning and becoming capable of. 5 days til Princess #2’s birthday.

Five Special Blessings to me today: Spending time with the church family, A mom who is my friend, A sister who is so excited about her boyfriend (you just can’t help but smile when talking to her – her excitement is contagious), Kids who after being naughty want to make things right with Mom, and God’s Word, always available to me whenever I need encouragement, learning, peace, understanding, love, joy, etc.

Hope your day is more blessed than mine!

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Loads of Laundry

I think I lost count after 6. I don’t know why, but I really hate laundry. Well it’s not the washing and drying part, it is the folding and putting away. In reality I should do at least 2 loads a day and then my laundry would never be backed up and I would never have to hear “Um, do I have any ….”. Instead I wait until I need to do laundry for about 2 days straight, get it all caught back up again, promise I’m going to keep it up, and then not touch it for a week. Such is my laundry cycle. Maybe one day I’ll grow out of it, or teach the kids to do their own.

Our internet has been working much better, so I have been trying to do at least one Studio J layout a day. Seriously, I think it would be very easy for me to go completely digital. It is so easy! There is no mess for little hands to destroy, I can do half a page at naptime, and if I can’t finish it, It saves exactly the way I left it. No little elves come and move the pictures, take the stickers to wear on their shirts, dump out the glitter, etc. As it is, I think there will definitely be a mix of digital and traditional, saving the traditional pages for when I go to crops. If you would like to try out Studio J, you can for free. Go to my website www.christinalee.myctmh.com and click on Studio J. It’s a lot of fun, and slightly addicting. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I can’t think of anything extra cute my kids did today, so I’ll end it here.

Five special blessings to me today: The energy to get the laundry done, A husband who finally takes me advice and has scheduled a doctor’s appointment, Church tonight, The internet working much better, In-laws that I truly love (don’t know why but the parents and sisters in-law have been in my thoughts lately and I am reminded how thankful I am to have them and love them.)

Hope your day is more blessed than mine!

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