Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Things I've learned today and an Elf party

You never save money on the cheap wrapping paper.

If you are going to buy rain boots from one of the bargain shopping sites, make sure you actually know your child's foot size.

Your child with impulse control problems will open all the windows on the Lego advent calendar if you are stupid enough to leave it where they can reach it.

Cats are better at unwrapping than wrapping.

No matter how well you keep track, you will buy two of the same toy at least once every year.

When the Elf decides to have a party in the middle of your family room, he should make sure it isn't on the day you are planning to do your wrapping, if that is where you wrap your presents.*

*Every time Noah left the room this afternoon I moved a piece on the board and changed the die. He couldn't believe more if Nelson stood up and started talking to him.

I LOVE this part of Christmas!

Messing with your kids minds for the win!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lightening things up with a visit to Santa!

Yesterday, we took the boys to Springfield Mall to see Santa. The mall offered us free pictures plus a very nice gift bag and some gift certificates so I jumped at the chance. I rarely have a chance anymore to take advantage of mom blog events, so I was thrilled we could do this one.

We had "fast pass" access (yes, I did feel guilty when I saw how long the line was), and it was awesome!

Noah pretty much raced up to Santa and plopped himself down right between his legs, leaving no room for Kiel. I got him rearranged and Kiel settled and then smiles and clicks and we had two photos to choose from. While I picked the pic, Santa asked what they wanted for Christmas.

Noah wants 50 pounds of bubble gum in his stocking. Pink. With red dye. Santa got a chuckle out of that one.*

Kiel wants Transformers.

After we recieved our pictures (again, thanks Springfield Mall for the full package, plus a $20 gift card to Shutterfly!) Rich and I split up with the kids to help them do their Christmas shopping. I took Kiel first and we quickly took care of his present for Rich. Then we wandered through several stores (including a dollar store and the Disney store where Kiel found lots of things he wanted so he thought they would be perfect for Noah). 

Eventually we ended up at Target, where we ran into Rich and Noah. Noah took me through the toy aisles to show me a few things he liked, then Kiel and I went back and I worked hard at steering Kiel to toys Noah liked, not toys Kiel wanted. I have some work to do with Kiel on what gift giving means. 

We finally finished our mission and Rich took everything to pay while I took the boys back into the mall to wait. It was insanely busy in Target in the toy area and I may have had a mini anxiety attack where I told Rich I had to get the f*&k out of there and got a little bossy about what we were going to do next. OK fine, the bossy part had nothing to do with the anxiety. I'm just bossy.

See behind the boys into the entrance of Target? I tried to take the cart out in my rush to get away from all the peoples. Alarms went off. Then the cart wouldn't move. Something in the floor(?) locked the wheels or did something so I couldn't push the cart forward. I got a little flustered. Noah saved me. 

Well, actually, I grabbed my purse and bag of goodies and pretty much shoved the cart to Noah to take back into the store. I was proud of him. He managed his mother well in her moment of crisis.

Yes, this is how I felt then. And no, the picture above it is not of the boys comforting each other while they waited for Rich to save them. I'm shocked you would even think that.

After that we went to Carrabba's Italian Grill for dinner. I had a blackberry sangria and life was good. Our waiter thought the boys were great (despite, maybe because of?, the shoe and sock that went flying out of the booth and the under-booth wrestling that followed I was too busy looking at the drinks menu to notice). He didn't even blink when I told him I needed something big and fruity to drink - just recommended the sangria.

Our dinner was great and both boys shared their chocolate sundaes with us at the end. 

Then Noah and I went to Macy's to pick out a tie for Rich (shhh...don't tell him, I want it to be a surprise). I had to explain to Noah that it might make his dad a little uncomfortable if he bought him a Christmas tie, considering he was Jewish. So then Noah decided to pick out a tie that looked Jewish. I don't quite know what he considers "Jewish looking," but he found several that he felt met the criteria. He has good taste. (I did have to tell him not to bother looking at the Don.ald Tru.mp table, because we were boycotting The Don.ald. He didn't even roll his eyes at me, he just moved on.)

On our way out to meet Rich and Kiel we went past the makeup counters. One of them had very loud music playing. I commented to Noah that I really must be getting old, because there was no way I could pick out makeup with music playing that loud. 

He laughed and said "Mom, you aren't old, you'll never be old. You can do anything." (And that Noah, is why you are my favorite child!)

It was a great afternoon and we all enjoyed ourselves. I'm very appreciative of Springfield Mall for the invitation and all the goodies. I don't think we would have taken the boys to see Santa this year (because I'm cheap about paying for pictures of Santa and will do anything not to go to a mall during the holidays) if it hadn't been for this offer.

*Santa better come through on this one. Noah still talks about the year he was three and he asked Santa for a Chick race car from the Cars movie. His request to Santa that year was the first we heard him mention Chick, and when we checked into it we realized Chick was the "mean" car in the movie, so we didn't get it for him. We got him a bunch of other cars that year, but not Chick. Who knew he would still remember that six years later. Just another awesome parenting moment. Oy.


Friday, December 14, 2012

When reality goes beyond the imaginable.

Today started out like most Fridays. Kiel snuggled in bed with me until my alarm sounded, telling me it was time to make sure Noah was ready for the school bus. A quick shower for me, a final check of Noah to make sure he was clean, grabbing clothes for Kiel to change into before we leave for his speech therapy. And then, the bus comes and I tell Noah I love him and to have a good day as I gently steer him out the door. Blowing kisses to him and waving as the bus pulls away. Knowing I will be there at 3:35pm to great him when the bus brings him home.

And the bus did bring him home at 3:35pm and the three of us rushed off to get the boys hair cut in preparation for our visit with Santa tomorrow.

But as I sat and checked email on my phone while the stylist cut their hair, I read about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. It suddenly hit me that there were families (20 if latest reports are correct) that did not get to pick up their children from school today, or greet them as they climbed off the bus.

It is beyond my comprehension. It makes me physically ill to even consider something like that happening to Noah or Kiel. It's like my brain won't let me think in that direction. Road block constructed. Don't go there!

But we have to go there don't we? As parents we have to think about these things? If we don't think about them, if we don't consider how we can prevent things like this from happening again, it could be our kids that don't come home the next time.

We must have better gun control. I believe in the intent of the 2nd amendment, but I also believe we can have common sense gun regulations. You are going to have a very difficult time convincing me that anyone in the general public needs access to a semi-automatic weapon. Or that 20 more kids wouldn't be alive today if someone with two semi-automatic pistols and a civilian version of a military rifle never had access to those weapons. It doesn't matter to me, or to the families of those 20 children I bet, that those guns were legally obtained by someone other than the shooter.

I am sickened, just sickened, tonight as I see people on Facebook adamantly denying that there should be gun regulations. The fact is guns kill people. Guns are designed to kill.

It saddens me that this will again become a political issue. This isn't a political issue. This is a safety issue. A life issue. Guns do kill people. Period. And it is never too soon after a tragedy like this to start the discussion, because it can't continue like this.

(As an aside, this is an interesting article about the lack of available guns in Japan that was written last summer. FYI - I haven't "fact checked" it.)

And as important, maybe more important, we also need better, more comprehensive, and more accessible medical mental health care. Have any of the shooters in our recent history not had a psychiatric condition that someone was concerned about somewhere in their past?

I worry about Noah's mental health every day. Any time a tragedy like this occurs I can't help but think "what if it was my son." And as much as I worry that it could be Noah or Kiel in the wrong place at the wrong time, I mean, what if it was my son that did something like this? What if I'm not getting Noah enough help? I have had to fight for every piece of assistance we have received, and I'm not convinced we have done enough. What if we didn't have the strength to fight for the help we have received? Or the knowledge to know how to do it? 

Tonight Noah was mad at Kiel for something, and mad at me because I turned off the TV and separated the two of them. He went to his desk and started to loudly draw. I asked him what he was drawing. Killing people he said.

I'm still finding it hard to breathe.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

Pharmaceutically optimized

Last summer I had lunch with one of my favorite "out-laws," the wife of Rich's cousin. We try to get together for at least one lunch every summer the last couple years. It is such a treat to spend time with her.

During our lunch I mentioned how much better I was feeling since I started seeing a new psychiatrist and adjusting my antidepressant meds. Next thing I know we were joking about how great it was to be "pharmaceutically optimized" and what a great term that was.

Well, it's still holding true for me. Emotionally/mentally I'm feeling good. Actually, I think I'm feeling normal. It's just been so long since I've felt that, if I've ever felt that, that I'm not completely sure I am able to recognize normal.

One thing that has me realizing I'm doing well is that I'm actually cleaning my house. I think it's fair to say since Kiel was born I really haven't put much effort into cleaning at all. There are many areas of the house that are out of control. To the point where I am embarrassed to have people over.

Last spring my friend Bella helped me do an emergency cleaning of Kiel's bedroom (still the guestroom at the time) and the bathroom and laundry room, because of my parents visit.

At Thanksgiving I decided I needed to get control of the main floor of the house since we had invited friends over for a Hanukkah dinner in a couple weeks. And I am! Which is pretty huge for me. History has shown me complaining about the mess, making a start to clean it up, and never quite finishing it. With one or two fits during the process about how no one helps and I'm sick of having to be responsible for everything.

I've made my way 3/4 around the family room, all through the dining room/formal living room, breakfast nook, and am now sorting through the office. I still have to deep clean the powder room and try to repaste some wallpaper to the wall. And I have to do the kitchen, which is the part that has me a bit overwhelmed.

My goal was to have it all done before next weekend when our friends are coming for a Hanukkah dinner. I'm not going to get it all done. I need to be OK with that and just be happy with how much I have accomplished. And proud of getting off my ass and actually doing it.

It feels very good to look around and see less clutter and more shining surfaces!

The crazy part is trying to do this at the same time I'm trying to get ready for Christmas with all of it's responsibilities.

Now, if only I could get the boys in my house to buy in to the good feeling of having a neat house.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

That post where I explain how my wrapping strategy came back to bite me in the ass.

Noah still has a very strong belief in Santa. And that makes me very happy, because I am not yet ready to give up the little boy magic in the season. I guess there are some benefits to having an emotional age that doesn't match his chronological age. 

The other day I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he immediately said he wanted an iPod touch. He's been asking for one for the last year. Sadly for him, there is no way in hell he is getting something that expensive. Especially since he shows no respect or ability to take care of the toys he already has.

Rather than say "no" outright I took the easy way out and I told him that if he received an iPod touch he wouldn't get much more than that because it was so expensive.

He looked at me and said "No, Santa doesn't care about money. He just makes it in his machine. I can have as many presents as I want." (And yes, I totally wanted to vomit at that moment, realizing what an awesome job I was clearly doing raising him to be a generous and giving child that doesn't just want,want,want.)

As my stomach settled, I tried to explain to him that there is still a budget, but he had stopped listening by then.

At this point, I should explain that in the MNT family, Santa brings the majority of the gifts. And "Santa" spoils both boys rotten. In the past, my criteria for a Santa gift relied mainly on the wrap-ability of the gift. If it wasn't easy to wrap it came from Santa. Or, if it needed to be put together before Christmas morning (because I refuse to spend all Christmas day trying to put toys together with two boys breathing down my neck) it typically came from Santa - I mean really, how many toys do you put together that actually end up box shaped as the final result?

I now see the strategical misstep on our part following that strategy. The toys get smaller and more expensive as Noah gets older. It's hard to explain the discrepancy of the number of gifts he gets vs Kiel (or the comparative size of the pile - which is still important to him) when his concept of money is still rather fluid. And now that I know he thinks Santa can provide unlimited amounts of toys I know we screwed ourselves right good based on Santa's past Christmas performances.

Tonight Rich took him to Toys "R" Us to pick up something for Kiel that was on sale, and also to get an idea of what Noah was interested in.

During the trip around the store, where Noah was pointing to almost everything and saying he wanted it, Rich brought up the budget issue with Noah. He tried to reinforce that Santa still has an amount of money he spends on each child.

Noah was having nothing to do with that explanation. According to Noah, Santa can make unlimited amounts of anything and money has nothing to do with it.  

Well, Rich in a moment of brilliance said of course Santa needs money, he has expenses. It costs money to make toys.

I wish I could show you Rich's impression of the look on Noah's face - he said it was like Noah just realized the sun came up every morning no matter how cloudy it was. A major revelation!

Noah: (In a troubled voice) I didn't think Santa had to pay for the toys.

Rich: Well, Santa has expenses. He has to pay people to make the toys.

Noah: Oh. Well, who makes the toys for Santa?

Rich: the elves

Noah: (nodding with a wise expression) Ohhhh. Okay. Right.

Issue settled. For tonight anyway.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

The dreaded parent-teacher conference

Noah's parent-teacher conference is tomorrow. I dread these conferences. It's not that they are all that different from any other meeting we have about Noah, it's just that these are focused solely on his academics, and time is limited. And as you know academics aren't Noah's strong point.

This meeting is only 20 minutes long (seriously, how can you have a real discussion about a child's academic progress in 20 minutes?) and will also include his regular education teacher. I know there won't be much we can discuss in 20 minutes. Hell, I don't think I've ever had a phone call regarding Noah that has only lasted 20 minutes.

However, for the first time, I'm not really dreading tomorrows conference.  I feel like I know more about Noah's academic progress this year than I ever have before. His teacher and I have been in frequent contact.

Noah's teacher this year is amazing. Truly amazing.

He is so in sync with Noah and really sees the potential in him. It's because of him that we are starting to see academic progress, especially in reading. 

School this year is different. New school, new teacher, new administration, different expectations. 

And with Noah we are seeing more maturity. 

And we seem to have him on a better medication regimen than ever before.

So behavior issues at school are less of an issue than they ever have been. They haven't gone away, and when he does have problems they tend to be more significant than before, but they are no longer constant.

When the teachers aren't constantly struggling with behavior issues they can actually take time to teach. 

And this, is AWESOME!

So we have a child that is now able to access the academic process, and a teacher that is willing to do anything to help this child, and we are seeing progress.

I'm not expecting a p-t conference for an all A child, but I do expect to hear some positives. I like positives! I need to hear positives.

And maybe, just maybe, we will eventually teach this kid to read.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Only When I Sleep

Rich left the house this morning at 7:30am with Noah. He left Kiel in the bedroom with me with a bowl of Cheerios and the tv on. At some point I felt Kiel crawl in bed next to me and ask if he could play on my Kindle Fire. I took it off the charger and fumbled it towards him.

He snuggled up next to me, occasionally stroking my ear lobe or playing with my hair. I opened my eyes occasionally to see him playing Where's my Water and Angry Birds. Then I saw he was watching a movie and was pretty settled in, so I rolled on my other side and fell soundly in to dream sleep.

We have a Netflix subscription and he's pretty good about choosing appropriate movies so I wasn't worried.

I managed an extra 90 minutes of sleep and it was lovely! I got up, I showered, Kiel showered, we went out for breakfast together, then to Michael's to get supplies for Kiel's upcoming birthday party. We finished up at Target, where Kiel was very sad to see that all the Halloween costumes were gone. He had to see it for himself, my word was not good enough.

We got home about 2pm and he wanted to play on his scooter, so I sat on the front step and turned on my Kindle.

Imagine my shock when I realized that he had purchased six videos from Amazon's video on demand to the tune of $51.

 Videos like The Amazing Spider-man that he said was too scary for him. And Cars, which we already own in every possible version.

He also purchased both The New Adventures of Batman: The Complete Series and one episode of The Batman - The Cat, the Bat and the Ugly. And then two other random videos.

Yes, I was asleep on the job. Totally and completely. And Kiel was on the web going crazy.

Rich took pity on me and called Amazon and a wonderful employee named Julie laughed when he told her what happened and she deleted everything and credited our account. Whew.

Parental controls have now been activated on my account.

In other news, we told Kiel that when he turns five (in ten days) that five year old's sleep in their own beds in their own rooms. We are trying to talk it up while at the same time make it clear this isn't an option.

As much as I love snuggling with him, it's time. Rich and I need our bed back. I need the kind of sleep I can't get when someone is wrapped around me at night.

It's time.

Any suggestions on how to get through this are welcome. We are going to do it over Thanksgiving week when at least one of us is home every day since Noah doesn't have school. I anticipate a couple rough nights.


Friday, November 02, 2012

Beware the zombie spectators

I take a lot of pictures during Noah's soccer games. Since I use a telephoto lens and shoot pretty fast I'm never sure until I get home and go through them on the computer if I got any good shots. I guess it's a good thing I don't always know what I'm shooting, because if I'd seen the zombie poking out of the ground to watch the game I might have grabbed my boys and ran.

Playoffs start tomorrow. I'm going to pay more attention where I put my chair to watch the game from now on.


Halloween 2012

Noah told me that it would be the worst day ever in his life and he would probably die if Halloween was cancelled. Considering what was going on on the rest of the east coast I didn't have a whole lot of sympathy for him when he said. I may have over-lectured him a bit on why it wouldn't be the end of the world if Halloween didn't happen. He wasn't buying it. In fact, I think he completely tuned me out after about ten seconds.

As it turned out our township did postpone trick or treating until Saturday afternoon. I wasn't home when I saw the notice, so I texted our neighbor to see if she had heard. She always seems to know what is going on since she actually talks to the rest of the neighbors, unlike me. 

Apparently our development has a Facebook page and the moms decided to give the township the middle finger and put an end to our kids insanity and let the trick or treating commence as it should.

The smart kids that knew it had been postponed immediately figured out that meant they could go trick or treating twice this year! Curses on the neighbor child that enlightened Noah with that news. No candy at our house for you x 2!*

However, our neighborhood children (and dare I say many "undocumented" neighbor children if the empty vans on the side of the streets meant anything) in all that was sugar and frightening, successfully accomplished their extortion of candy.

I seriously thought the excitement built up inside my two children was going to create a spontaneous combustion before we even started. Fortunately they both survived the forced eating of dinner and the wait until the neighbors started to come outside.
Blue Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sans shell and a Navy Vampire Seal.
Both boys did great this year with the actual trick or treating. Kiel is a doorbell ringing, trick or treat yelling pro (remind me to tell you about the ding dong dash incident I caught him at a few days ago). Noah was a great big brother and had a super attitude. None of the problems we had the last couple years with the general surly and demanding attitude. Rich and I were able to just hang back and let them do their thing.
Ready to get started
We had a spider theme going on this year. Maybe next year I'll actually get all the stuff I spent the last couple weeks making outside.Noah spent many hours getting the spider webs just right.
Mom, can I eat this? Please?
  I think Kiel's joy was as much in the actual gathering of the candy as it was in the eating of it. He was told he could have three pieces and he was quite fine with that. He hasn't asked for more since then. (I figure that's a good thing considering I have his bag sitting next to me as I write this. I'm pretty sure he didn't actually count how many Snickers were in his bag.)
We carved the pumpkins on Saturday. Kiel is not a fan of pumpkin guts.
Noah thought I was brilliant turning his pink pumpkin into a rat hotel and Kiel's green pumpkin into a multi-mouthed vampire pumpkin.
This was my statement pumpkin. It didn't quite turn out the way I wanted. By Wednesday night part of the left side had collapsed inward, totally removing any possible ability to identify it.
A successful and enjoyable evening was had by all.  :)

*We will not be trick or treating twice. Sadly our front porch will not hold any buckets of candy on Saturday. Mommy is mean. And cheap.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

How you can help my Trauma Mommas!!

I think I've made it pretty clear on here how important my "trauma mommas" are to me. And how important the Early Trauma & Attachment Annual Meeting (ETAAM) in March is for all of us.

For most of us it takes quite a bit of juggling to arrange for the time to be there. Many of our moms are single and have to arrange respite or other child care for their kids. (I'm lucky that Rich realizes this is important and is very supportive of my time away.)

On top of arranging all the logistics, many of the women struggle to pay for the weekend. Because of this, Corey, the founder of  ETAAM, offers scholarships for as many women as she can. The main funding for the scholarships comes from a Christmas in August Benefit Auction she has organized for the last two years.

An annual respite retreat created BY moms of kids with attachment issues FOR moms of kids with attachment issues, to create a support network for women parenting this challenging population.

The auction is going on right now and ends this Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at 9:00 PM EDT. Right now there are well over 200 items up for bid. Items range from DVD'S and books, jewelry, electronics, to home made yummies and hand made crafts.

Here are a couple of my favorites! (click on the pics to go directly to the item in the auction)

Yes, it's back, and better than ever! Kathy's famous shortbread will cure whatever ails you. It is SO good that I made Kathy promise me long ago that she would not give me the recipe.. because I cannot resist it.
This lot includes:
-2 shortbreads
-1 peanut butter fudge "crack" (also completely amazing)
-1 surprise treat
Upon request, the crack can be gluten-free, and the surprise treat can be vegan.

This adorable crossover bag is one of Sheri's creative creations! This bag is lined and has an inside pocket, and has a variety of adornments including a beaded bottom. The bag is approximately 18"x 12".

This beautiful 48x48" quilt was made by Corey's mom. The 100% cotton fabrics are a rich red, green, and red/green floral, with a mostly red backing and floral binding. It is machine quilted with red thread in a leaf pattern (which is easily mistaken for hearts). The filling is an 80% cotton/20% polyester blend. It would be a perfect lap quilt, or gift for any child.

 Kellie D, ETAAM's cupcake extraordinaire, is putting her amazing baking skills to work for you! Win this item, and you will receive 1/2 dozen of Kellie's Rainbow Cupcakes baked in their own see-through jars. They are heavenly to eat and beautiful to display. All I can say is, "YUM!"

And even I donated something! If you were at all impressed with the crochet skills that I showed off here and here you now have the opportunity to bid on a handmade blanket of your own!

Choose from this,

Kristine N will crochet a beautifully crafted blanket or scarf of your choosing from the patterns pictured. Winner can personally choose the pattern and color of their preference.

I'll work with you to pick the perfect color(s). I only use 100% cotton yarn (machine washable) for the baby blankets. The scarf is made with hand spun and dyed wool that I order from a small shop in England.
 Right now the bids aren't even covering the cost of the yarn. So if you want to stroke my ego a bit, go and bid on a blanket or scarf!
or this!

 Or bid on any of the other 200 plus items that are posted.

All money goes directly to the scholarship fund and will help send very deserving moms to our Orlando retreat for much needed respite and (re)connecting with other moms that get it.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nine years in.

Nine years ago today I officially became a mommy!
Pointing to the "going home" booties Grandma made!
Yet, in my heart it happened almost seven weeks earlier, when we first met this little baby.

First family photo!

 Before I knew what a blog was I started documenting our journey online here.

Seven years ago yesterday I started this blog with a silly little post I titled, Picking up The Boy. Although I mentioned "gotcha day" anniversaries and blogged about our adoption, I didn't post an official "gotcha day" blog post until three years later. You can read it here. Two years later I reminisced on that day some more.

And here is The Boy today! 9 1/2 years old. So freaking cute I can't stand it sometimes. The past nine years have not been what I fantasized pre-adoption, but oh, the journey has been so much more interesting than I could ever have imagined.

And Grandma, I still miss you every day. I truly believe you would have been Noah's biggest champion and one of my greatest supporters. He still sleeps with the blanket you made for him, although it looks nothing like it did nine years ago. I wish you were here.


Monday, August 06, 2012

Making our own dishwasher soap (updated)

I was pretty sure that the laundry detergent we made was going to be OK based on all my friends who use similar versions. I was less confident however, that homemade dishwasher soap would work.

I figured it was worth a try though, because we run at least a load of dishes a day and the gel-packs I like to use aren't exactly cheap.

I looked at a few different recipes and decided on this one at Homestead Revival, mainly because it was simple and I had all the ingredients. I used the washing soda and Borax I had left from making the laundry detergent. I bought the citric acid from Amazon for around $12. I used 2 ounces so have enough to make 7 more batches. I figured if this didn't work I could still use the citric acid to clean the dishwasher and still save money over the commercial dishwasher cleaners.
Here are the ingredients.
I strongly recommend you read Amy's post on Homestead Revival as she gives good information about the ingredients and if you should or should not use salt in the recipe. She also recommends using vinegar as a rinse agent, which we haven't tried yet since we keep forgetting to buy it.

Dishwasher soap recipe:

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/4 cup food grade citric acid

I pored it all into into this Ziploc container and shook it up. Super easy.

Like I said, I wasn't all that confident that it would work. Rich was even less confident. We have used it every day this past week though and it is working great. I use a little less than a tablespoonful each time. I should get about 36 loads from this at about 5 cents a load.

UPDATE: It just never quite worked as I had hoped. We have had a few really good loads come out, but mostly I have ended up washing things twice. We are going back to commercial products until we can figure out what we need more/less of. 

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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Making our own laundry detergent.

I've been intrigued the last few months by the number of people I see online making their own cleaning supplies, especially laundry detergent. I kicked the idea around for a few months, not sure it was worth the hassle. Then I realized several people I know were doing it and were happy with the results, so I figured I'd give it a try. Plus it sounded like a good project to do with Noah.

I looked at several different recipes and finally decided on Being Creative to Keep my Sanity's recipe, with a couple of adjustments.

  • 1 - 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz) found in the detergent isle
  • 1 - 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg) found in the cooking isle
  • 1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz) found in the detergent isle
  • 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the detergent isle (if you use Zote bars use 2 bars instead, Zote can be found at Home Depot)
  • 2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total (1.58 kg)) found in the detergent isle. (This is optional, I added it into mine because I have pretty messy kids and the cleaner the better.)
 Because I wasn't completely convinced this was going to work I decided to make a half batch of the recipe. I used Zote laundry soap instead of FelsNaptha. I also didn't include the OxyClean since I forgot to buy it. I figure I can add it later if I need it. 

Here are my supplies, including my morning cup of chai.
Noah grated the bar of Zote. It has a wonderful lemon smell to it.
We dumped everything into a large trash bag set inside a five gallon tote.
Since we did a half recipe I made Noah do the math and measuring.
and the stirring.
Noah showing off the final result.
Labeled and ready to go!

This is our final recipe:
  • 1/2 box of Borax (38 oz)
  • 2lb of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
  • 1/2  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 27.5 oz
  • 1 bar Zote laundry soap (shredded)better)
Next time I will shred the Zote so it is finer. I think it will distribute better if the pieces are smaller. 

I have been using this in our HFE front load washer. I put it right in with the clothes. I am using about a tablespoonful per load, with slight adjustments depending on the size of the load. The clothes come out of the washer with a nice fresh clean scent.

So far it seems to be working great. This is the first weekend I'm doing all of the laundry with it, so I'll know more later when I fold everything. 

If you make your own laundry detergent leave a comment and tell me what you use to make it.

Tomorrow I'll post our dishwasher soap recipe.

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