Switching over to Homemade Laundry Soap

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Hey everyone! As I am getting back into writing more, I want to share some of the things I’ve been up to during my absence. Today, specifically, I want to talk about one frequently used, household product,  and a way to ‘GO GREEN!’

I recently discovered homemade laundry soap. OK, that’s a lie. I discovered this a few years ago, about the time my oldest son was a freshman at Michigan State University (MSU). My mom had just started making her own laundry soap. She supplied my son with all his laundry soap needs that year. Mom kept telling me,

Now, Jennifer, you really should try making your own laundry soap. It would save you so much money.

I laughed inside, because I was remembering 20 years earlier, when she thought it would be ‘cost effective’ to buy this nasty, blue, liquid soap and pour it into a container for shower gel. I was a teenager at that time, and I ended up being quite allergic to that soap. No matter how much I begged, she would not stop using this itchy soap. So, I was forced to use shampoo in place of it (sorry, Mom). Needless to say, I’ve been using name brand items ever since.

So, no offense against my mother, but I really had to swallow my childhood memories and give this homemade laundry soap a try. And, I can happily say, I’m really, REALLY glad I did. Yes, it takes a few minutes to make it, but it really is worth it!

Here are the ingredients needed for this homemade laundry soap:

Ingredients for homemade laundry detergent

Ingredients for homemade laundry detergent

  • 1 1/2 cups of borax
  • 1 1/2 cups of washing soda
  • 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
  1. Mix the borax and washing soda in a large bowl. You can use kitchen equipment, as these are natural cleaning agents.
  2. Grate the Fels-Naptha soap on a cheese grater. You can also use a food processor. I use an old rusty cheese grater for this job (found it at Goodwill for $.25). I use the medium-size holes, shown at the top of the picture.
Cheese grater

The Trusty Rusty Cheese Grater

And, I apologize that I am not YET the crafty woman who will show you a pretty little jar with a cute sign. Not me. I stuck it all in Ziploc bag…lol.

Finished homemade laundry detergent

Finished homemade laundry detergent

You are probably wondering, “It sounds good, but how much to the supplies cost?” Hell, I don’t know exactly. I am so bad about saving receipts. I tried to call Meijer to ask (which is where I bought the supplies), and everyone was basically like,

20 Mule Team What?????

Sigh…you sell the stuff, it’s your product. Anyway, here are the prices I found locally for the products. DON’T BUY THE BORAX ONLINE, LIKE, AT AMAZON…IT’S VERY EXPENSIVE!

Meijer: $3.49 Borax, $3.29 Washing Soda, $1.09 Fels-Naptha Soap = $7.87

Walmart: $3.38 Borax, $3.24 Washing Soda, $.97 Fels-Naptha Soap = $7.59

I put this newly concocted detergent to the test. I was amazed at the wonderful smell that emanated from my washing machine. The Teenager discovered me bent over the washing machine in true bliss, just smelling that heavenly smell. I didn’t realize any laundry smell could smell that good, and I’m a Tide/Era type of girl!! And yes, that is a Folger’s 1-tablespoon scoop. For a small to average-size load, I recommend 1 tablespoon of the soap. For larger loads, use up to 2 tablespoons if you’re like me and like your laundry to smell extra-clean.

One thing I can say about this laundry soap is that it will get old dirt out of clothes. If you think your Tide is getting all the dirt out, you are sadly mistaken. I was surprised at how much ‘old dirt’ was pulled from my clothes. Also, another notable fact is that I line dry all my clothes when the temperature is above 50 or 60 degrees. My clothes smell amazing AFTER they come off the clothesline, and I didn’t get that benefit when using Tide or Era.

But, my favorite thing about homemade laundry soap is the smell that permeates my house. I can smell it coming from the basement. It’s worth it to me.

Anyway, off to do more laundry…

Teachers and Underwear? Time to Start Writing Again

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So, yes, I’ve pulled a 2-month long disappearing act. Not a total disappearance, mind you…lol. Some of you who read my blog are probably seeing me on Facebook, so those people know I’m still around.

Now that my broken hand has healed, I’m itching to get back to writing again. I have a list of things to blog about that I still need to put together (even when I wasn’t writing, I was still planning what I was going to write).

But, after happening across one of the most ridiculous news titles I have ever seen, I thought it would a good thing to start my “I’M BACK!” moment out right with (is that grammatically correct? Oh, who cares? I’m more concerned with my upcoming statement about Miley Cyrus and her ‘twerking’…lol).

LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL NOW MAKE TEACHERS WEAR UNDERWEAR.

No commando for teachers...

No commando for teachers…

I saw this headline, and many thoughts went through my head:

  1. Why would a teacher not wear underwear when working around children? I understand, as adults, we should be discreet in a career field that involves kids. No see-through clothing, no mini-skirts (ESPECIALLY without panties), no revealing tank-tops, and no low-cut, cleavage showing tops. Women, wear a bra. Common sense.
  2. After considering question #1, then came: What happened in their school district that caused this change in the dress code?
  3. How in the world do they intend to enforce this new policy to make sure teachers aren’t showing up for work ‘commando?’

Aside from wearing underwear, things I listed in #1 also fall into the dress code changes. No flip flops is part of the change…well, that’s smart. I mean, we can’t wear flip flops to work in a factory, usually steel-toed shoes are required. Well, with all the kids running and stomping down the hallways, teachers should be donning those reinforced toes, too!

I’m not going to go into a long speech about this stupid article. I’m still stuck on question #3 and will go to bed still laughing about that and wondering:

Are they going to start strip-searching teachers??

Where Have I Been Lately?

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Where have I been lately? That question is easy to answer…I’ve been taking it easy and healing. I am a terrible klutz. In the last several months, I’ve been dealing with my back pain, but I have also:

  • Fell and smacked my knee on the concrete, now have a cyst under my kneecap causing patella tracking disorder
  • Slipped on the ice on neighbors steps, fell flat on my back, took 4 boards across by back between neck and but (my entire left cheek turned black and blue…I have pictures to prove it, but I’m not going to…so, you can take a breath…haha!)
  • Pulled on a dead log, and it snapped, breaking the index finger of right hand and laceration of knuckle that bled for a week
  • Assaulted by ex-roommate when I told him he couldn’t stay with me anymore, hit my head on brick wall, causing a concussion, broke my middle finger, and sprained my wrist (again, the right hand)
  • Day after the assault, I fell on concrete again, and landed on my (again) right hand, and smashed it, causing multiple fractures
  • Broke up a dog fight a few weeks after the 2nd fall (which happened a week ago), and trip to emergency room AGAIN for x-rays (also, the right hand/wrist). No breaks that time, thank God!! Just a small laceration and puncture wound from Blackjack’s teeth, some soft tissue damage, and lots of swelling

So, needless to say, I’ve been busy kicking my own butt. And, that’s just my physical injuries…there are still so many other things to do, that I don’t have enough time for. Yeah, I dug the garden plot and planted an herb garden and other plants. Something ate some of my plants…sigh. And, I honestly just don’t feel like dealing with it this year again. It’s hard to do things when your dominate hand is out of commission and you can barely move it, especially to type.

There’s still the ‘dog rescue’ at my house, where there are currently six dogs. Legally, I’m not supposed to have three, so I risk getting tickets and have to keep a regimented schedule for my dogs, so as not to anger my neighbors with barking dogs or give them a reason to be nosy and call animal control.

I’m bumming big time about my computer, though. It had so much information on it. I’m glad, though, that I had a backup plan, so I still have a computer. I just have to start all over again (hours of scanning, too). Good thing I have some time on my hands!

Anyhow, I expect to be writing a lot more now and will be updating my blog more frequently. I’m glad for the downtime I’ve had, because it’s been an opportunity to play around with my digital camera, a Canon SX160 IS, that I bought six months ago. I want to take my own pictures for my blog and other stuff. I actually had a heck of a time trying to get a picture of the Supermoon.

Supermoon 2013

Supermoon 2013

 

I’ve been inspired by a new photographer that really has talented skills and has been getting quite a bit of business. Rachel is from Battle Creek, Michigan, like me, and is the owner of Facebook page RSPE Photography “Eaton” Up Life’s Precious Moments. Rachel has been a loyal follower of my soapbox and is a sweet gal. And, I absolutely love her pictures and am guilty of trolling from time to time.

And, of course, we can’t forget Cyndi, she has been my other inspiration for photography and Sharpie art. Cyndi, owner of Pictimilitude, and she takes gorgeous pictures, as well.

Time to go write some articles for the Examiner

Climbing out of Hibernation…

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The one thing about Michigan weather is the seasonal depression that goes along with being cooped up inside for four months while waiting for spring to arrive. The bad thing about this last year is there was already moderate depression. The winter months just added to what was already here. I will go more into that in an upcoming post soon.

This year, however, there really hasn’t been much of a spring. This week has been chilly, but we have already experienced 80-plus degree weather. With these recent and crazy amount of tornadoes tearing through Texas, Oklahoma, even near Flint, Michigan, the weather has not been very steady here in Battle Creek.

Which means, I am glad for this on one hand, because I am running a little behind getting the garden planted. Trying to find a day that is weather permitting AND coordinates with my schedule is a bit challenging. Lots of rain, wind, and even some frost has popped up after I thought frost season was over. NOPE! There went my strawberry plants…will have to buy more this weekend.

We were able to rototill up a plot of land and flip the dirt again by shovel. It’s big enough for me to get started. I am crossing my fingers that my garden will be successful this year, as my yard is a bit sandy in places. I’ve been bringing in top soil and cow manure to add to the dirt.

The Teenager at work after getting into some trouble...this is good for him, he wants to enlist in the military.

The Teenager at work after getting into some trouble…this is good for him, he wants to enlist in the military.

After nearly 4 hours of digging (with a 1/2 hour supper break), The Happy Teenager was glad to pose for a picture and show off what he got done.

After nearly 4 hours of digging (with a 1/2 hour supper break), The Happy Teenager was glad to pose for a picture and show off what he got done. YES MOM, WE ARE MOWING THIS WEEKEND! lol

Needless to say, that’s not all we have gotten done. I also planted my herb garden just outside my kitchen door. I found chocolate mint and planted that, as well. The house next door has been empty for over six months, and the bank has taken back over it. On the edge of the garage, I found a patch of spearmint growing.

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I’m not going to bore you with the rest of the pictures yet, not until we have more plants growing. We will be growing pumpkins, too, and if they turn out well (I’ve never grown pumpkins before), then I will sell some of them this fall for Halloween. If my garden does well, I might set up a vegetable stand out front. Who knows? I have so much going on right now, that I can’t predict what each day will be like, especially if there’s an appointment for me or my kids.

Time to go plant the tomatoes and green peppers…

Looking for Work? Job Hunting-the Good, the Bad, and the…

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Hire me!!

Hire me!!

As part of the AEP/PATH program, I am required to job hunt 40 hours a week, minimum. Some of this can be done online, but much of it is done on foot. After a period of time, there are other activities that you can participate in to be in compliance, but my case manager and I won’t be discussing those options for…five more hours?

Yes, it’s 4 a.m., and I am having another one of those ‘hoping for eight hours of sleep, but the kids forgot to let the dogs out before they went to bed’ types of nights. I figure if I go back to sleep now, I won’t be waking up to my alarms in the morning (yes, I have to use more than one).

Back to job hunting…if you are available and desiring a full-time job, only looking for work a couple hours a week is not going to provide you with many options to choose from. If you are able to work full-time, you should be job searching at least 30 hours a week for employment.

I know, I know, that’s a lot of job hunting. But, if you want to be successful and find a job worth searching for, you have to do the footwork.

Obviously, 30-plus hours is a lot of job applications to fill out, whether it be in person or online. That’s an overwhelming concept all by itself, especially if you’ve been unemployed for awhile and money is lacking.

Also, be prepared for anything. I recently applied for a job that my case manager told me about. She said they were desperate for workers, so I e-mailed them my resume on a Friday. I will only say that the last name of the business was Detox.

Needless to say, I get a call on Saturday for an interview. Before they would schedule a time for me to come in, they had one question for me,

How do you feel about being around people who are naked???

HUH? It’s a good thing I used to work as a HHA and a CNA, and I also had delivered pizzas for three years (you’re probably wondering about this last one, keep reading to find out why I also saw naked people when delivering pizzas), so I was already desensitized to human nudity. What a weird question to be asked on a Saturday morning. Apparently, the business was a detox facility, and they needed security guards to perform strip searches and property searches on the residents. They then asked if I could be in for an interview within an hour, which I couldn’t meet with them until the following Monday. I was not showered, dressed, and prepared to meet for an interview within an hour. With that experience, I learned I needed to be up on Saturdays and ready to go, just in case someone DID want to meet with me (which did happen the following Saturday again).

There are some important concepts to consider when looking for a job (and when you get to the end of this post, I will tell you some of the crazy experiences I’ve had while job hunting):

  • First impressions are everything - whether you are applying for a job or attending an interview, be sure to dress the part. Don’t show up in ‘Holy jeans’ and a Hooters t-shirt when applying or interviewing. At the minimum, dress in business casual attire. If you’re going after a more professional job, it wouldn’t hurt to wear either a suit and tie or a skirt, blouse, and heels.
  • A resume is a necessity - always have a hard copy of your resume on your person while job hunting. Some companies will ask for one on the spot. If your English grammar and typing skills are lacking, ask a friend to type it for you. Sometimes, your resume IS the first impression an employer will have of you, so make sure it’s perfect.
  • Use a notebook for tracking - keeping track of all the places you have applied is impossible if you’re not writing it down. Leave several spaces between the businesses you write down so you can jot down notes later on. You will want to write down the date you applied, and go back and use this list as a reference sheet when you are ready to follow up on your applications. 
  • Give yourself extra time – do NOT be late for your job interview. Do NOT come walking through the door one minute before the interview is scheduled. Plan to be 10 or 15 minutes early. Sometimes, you may have difficulty finding the business because it could be tucked way in the back of some office complex, or there might not be an obvious address on the building. That extra time you gave yourself could be the difference to being on time or late when you can’t find where you’re supposed to be. 
  • Don’t take no for an answer - on this tip, you will have to use your better judgment. There are some business that rarely hire, so if you didn’t get the position at that type of business, continuing to call back is futile. However, if you’re trying to get a general job (McDonald’s, a grocery store, or your favorite retail outlet for clothes), don’t be afraid to randomly call back and check on your application. If thy employer says, “Sorry, we already filled that position,” that doesn’t mean the new person will necessarily work out. Don’t harass these business with constant call backs, but calling once a week or every other week will help that employer to remember you, and maybe, the next time they have a position open, you could be the first person they call in.
  • Don’t forget to SMILE!

I’ve worked in a variety of employment fields, because I am a single mother. I have to take what I can get, which has thrown me into some weird situations, especially when I was delivering pizzas for Papa John’s. Be ready for anything. Even on a Saturday. As I mentioned previously, I received a call from the detox facility on a Saturday. The following Saturday (few days ago), I received another call for an interview, and thank goodness, I was dressed and ready to go.

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