We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. --Mother Teresa

Monday, May 31, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

Yep.  That's right.  I made homemade laundry soap.  A friend of mine made it in the late fall and the first batch that she made lasted 6 months!  It cost pennies to make and was amazingly easy.

I bought everything at my local grocery store on the laundry aisle.  I spent a total of $8.57 to get started but each batch only cost $3.24!  It makes a LOT.  My friend warned me and it was not an exaggeration--it made a lot of liquid laundry soap!  I made and began using mine on May 15. 

She found the recipe on this site.  This is an extremely interesting site.  I am thinking of making my own dryer sheets....maybe by July I'll get that pulled together.

Homemade Laundry Soap
Bar soap--I used Fels-Naptha but the site has several suggestions
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
1 quart boiling water
2 gallons water
5 gallon bucket (or something big enough to mix it in)

Grate the bar of soap while you are waiting for the quart of water to boil.  I just used my cheese grater.  It was easier than I thought it would be.  And it kind of looks like cheese.  

Measure the Borax and Washing Soda into the 5 gallon bucket.

I added the grated soap a little at a time, stirring the whole time.  Keep stirring until the soap has melted.  It did seem to take a little while--like 5 minutes or so.  

Once the soap has melted, add the soapy boiling water to the powder mixture.  Stir.  And stir some more. 

I am not sure that I let it sit long enough to fully dissolve.  It was pretty grainy.  

It wasn't as dissolved as I thought it was going to be, but it was fine.  It sort of resembled Malt-O-Meal.  

This is when I slowly added the 2 gallons of water.  I didn't want it to become foamy, so I did it slowly.  And then stir it some more.  Gently, so as not to cause it to foam up.  

I had thought to save my previous laundry soap container to house my new soap.  I simply poured it in and off I went to do laundry.  
Of course, it wasn't quite that easy.  I couldn't pour from the 5 gallon bucket into the funnel in an accurate manner so I had to pour into a pitcher and then into the funnel.  Much safer way of handling the transfer.  

This does make a lot of soap.  2 gallons of water plus a quart of water is a lot of soap.  Not all of it fit into my container which is why I used a bucket that had a lid that sealed up tight.  

The directions and my friend both said the soap kind of gels, so it does have to shaken before each use. 

You are probably asking why I decided to make my own laundry soap.  When I share that I made my own laundry soap, people start looking for my crazy button.  

I have a couple of reasons.  For one, laundry soap can be expensive.  Two, we have delicate skin.  I can use one kind of laundry soap.  I cannot use any liquid fabric softener.  NONE.  Which is why when I have kids in my classroom who can use liquid fabric softener, I often inhale deeply when they are around.  I love the smell of Downy--my skin does not.  And three, this homemade laundry soap might just be easier on the environment.  
I do have a top loader for a washing machine and yes, it probably voided the warranty because I am not, nor have I ever used the recommended HE detergent.  Since the machine is almost 3 years old, the warranty is probably a non issue.  

Making my own laundry soap only cost me 30 minutes of my time and that included buying the ingredients.  It really was quick and easy.

And that crazy button?  You are going to have to look a little harder.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Random Dozen

1. Would you rather host party or simply attend a party?
How about neither?  I know that's a surprise to a lot of people.  
2. Tell us about the most memorable party you've been to. 
 I really can't answer this question because I have no memory of memorable moments at a party I have been to.

3. What is one thing you hope for in the after-life?
I hope I will serve a useful purpose.  Not like flies.  They throw up on your food.  What purpose does that serve?
4. What do you enjoy most about sunshine?
It warms my bones.  It warms me to my very core...I love the way that the world looks when the sun is shining.  Everything is cleaner, brighter, happier when the sun is shining. 

5. When you attend a bridal/baby shower, do you prefer to bring your own gift or chip in with others to buy a larger gift?
I feel a little wishy washy this week.  Depends.  At school, I think that it is better to chip in and get a larger gift.  On the street, I like to do my own thing.  Like one time we went to a couples shower (my husband REALLY enjoys this 'new' thing) and the couple was in their 30's.  My gift to them was the makings for a human banana split.  Chocolate syrup, cherries, whip cream.....you know the drill. 

6. Would you rather have a FREE week of having your house cleaned or all of your meals cooked for you and your family?
Hands down and on your knees with a cleaning rag I will take the house cleaned.  I lovelovelove to cook and can see little point in cleaning.  Why clean when there are so many books that need to be read?

7. What song describes your mood today?

8. What is something you received for your own bridal shower/wedding that you still own or use?
Stainless steel pots and pans.  ON BRAND pots and pans.  My mother-in-law still has the Saladmaster set she got for her wedding 52 years ago.  That's my goal....let her son live that long without me doing him in and have the same pots and pans for 52 years.  I figured it up and they both need to last until 2039.  
9. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is?
Wwweeeellllll.  Again.  Wishy washy.  If I have the chance to go to the dairy bar on campus, I choose strawberry.  If I am eating alone, I choose Bunny Tracks by Blue Bunny.  If I am only buying one for the family, I choose cookies and cream--the on sale brand.  
10. When was the last time you felt "tested?"
February.  Enough said.   
11. "[Fill in the blank] is a food that once I start eating I find really hard to stop."
Anything that comes in the form of food.  Fried food.  Cookies.  Fresh veggies.  Strawberries.  Watermelon.  And the list goes on.....
12. "-----" is the best motivation.
A class reunion.  No, really, think about it.  I want people to know who I am WITHOUT my name tag.  Just sayin'.  

Monday, May 24, 2010


Ruby Dean Hays! 

Yep.  We're nuts.  Just sayin'.


So these people are movin' on up.......

We had a good last week of school.  It was hard to send them home on Friday, but it was the right thing to do.  They are ready for the next step....4th grade.

I have started working on my outdoor living space.  HAHA.  I just had to say that because they say that on TV and it just cracks me up.  What happened to the patio and the deck?  Anyway, I bought my first hanging basket:

My marigold's are in and the impatiens are planted thanks to Frack.  Pics of them later.  Beds aren't quite ready for mulch, but the mulch is purchased and waiting to be picked up.  Everything Coach planted in the garden is up.  It's all good. 


I started my summer reading with this book:
Thanks to the gal who loaned me this book.  She was right, as usual, I lovelovelove it.  I read half of it on Sunday and would have read more but we went to the movies Sunday evening.  Gotta love Shrek...Just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


1. What is one really fast, know-by-heart "go-to" meal to fix in a pinch?
Mexican.  Just had it in a pinch on Monday night.  I was at the store at 6:10 and we were eating dinner at 6:40. 
2. What is one item you won't leave home without. (Purse and license do not count.)
Good hair.  Bad hair can just ruin everybody's day. 
3. Where is one place you never tire of visiting?
My sofa.  I am dibbing the sofa for Friday night.  So if you are in my gene pool, plan accordingly. 
4. Share one factoid of your family's history.
My 'people' eased on over to the big butt line instead of the big boob line.  Praise the God of gene pool issues.   
5. Complete this sentence: "Once upon a time I ...."
....Was thin and beautiful and lovely to visit.  Oh wait.  It's still true today.  
6. If you could win a one year's supply of anything, what would it be?
This was hard.  I had to poll my people.  And the people said....pencils.  Or root beer.  Thin and crispy pizza.  Can you tell that I live with a bunch of comedians?  It's not as fun as it seems.
7. "One quirky thing you may not know about me is ...."
I do NOT like the sound of running water.  You know like those beautiful ponds people put in their yards with those little waterfalls that sound like babbling brooks?  
The sound of soothing water sounds makes me want to pee down my leg.  My children tease me that they are going to choose a nursing home for me that has a huge water feature right in the center.  Paybacks are hell.  Buy stock in Depends. 
8. You have one dollar in your pocket. What will you buy?
Caffeinated beverage.  
9. "One thing that always makes me laugh is ...."
My family.  
10. What is one thing you could do today to help yourself reach a personal goal?
Keep my mouth shut.  
11. What is one thing you could do today to bless someone else?
Keep my mouth shut.  No really. 
12. What is one thing you're looking forward to soon?
Friday at 1 pm.  School's dismissed!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bonehead Move

Really it's plural.  Bonehead Moves.

On Sunday at 1:10, as I am putting cards on the Graduation 2010 gifts, I realize that I actually had 10 invites, not 9.  Um.  Graduation is at 2.

I had options.  Of course, the laughter of my family didn't help my situation.  And this certainly wasn't life or death.  One person got a cash gift.  Thus completing bonehead move number one.

We arrive at our first event of the afternoon, only for me to realize that I actually had TWO sets of guys that will be roommates.  Thus completing bonehead move number 2.  Duh.  Oh well.  They won't need to call each other to coordinate their bathroom stuff.   Guys do that, right?

I ran into one the pairs at another function and apologized for the matching towels.  He was so excited about the number of towels he had received as gifts that he didn't care.  He doesn't have to buy any towels for college.  He has one of those round mesh thingys completely full of towels. Round mesh thingys?  A laundry basket?   So he thought it was funny that he will have matching towels with a roommate.

Another young man was standing with us, looked at me, looked at the young man and said, "Oh. Yay.  You got matching from us, too."

Well, at least I wasn't the only mom trying to be cool like that.  Just sayin'.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Graduation Gifts 2010

Graduation.  It's emotional.  It's tougher than anyone can tell you.  And then you have to buy gifts.  Over the years I have given many different things. 

There was the year of the atlas.  That was 10 years ago.  No need for paper maps these days, eh?

There was the year of the towels.  Embroidered with the first name of the graduate and the color of the college they planned to attend.   Pretty impressive, right? 

There was the year of the 17 invites.  What do you get 17 kids for a reasonable amount of money?  17 sets of towels?  Nope.  Pewter key chains with a bible verse on them?  Yep.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  Now?  Lame with a capital L. 

There were the years of the flashlight.  We actually did that for girls and guys.  Everybody needs a flashlight.  It is amazing how handy a flashlight is in the dorms, cars and well, just everywhere. 

Then there was the year of the nail clippers, tweezers, band-aids, ibuprofen, thermometer and thread kit.  This was the year that College Girl graduated and we had several invites.  Someone tipped me to this gift because she had taken her son to college and realized that he had NONE of these things. 

This year? 

9 sets of them to be exact.   I was set on buying towels this year.  I think that is the best gift College Girl received when she graduated from high school.  She pointed out that no matter where you go or where you live, you're going to need towels. 

That girl is smart practical like that.  Must get it from her mother. 

When I went to purchase the towels, I decided that I would just get them all alike.  Coach didn't think that boys would need a hand towel or a wash cloth.  He thought I should just get them 2 towels and not white.  No white towels for boys.  I didn't ask him why he thought that and I didn't take his advice.  Sorry guys.  I got everyone the exact same towels. 

That is my wrap job on the girls towels.  I actually put the boys towels in bags.  Coach put his foot down at ribbon for boys.   

As we arrived at the first reception of the season, I realized that 2 of my invites are going to be roommates.  Guess they have a set of matching towels.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

At It Again

Here's Bud. He's our cat.  You may remember him from here. You may also remember him from here.  He's a real bad cat.  We call him Big Bud Bad Ass.  Emphasis on the ass.  He is constantly causing trouble. 

We have another cat, Willy.  Willy is old.  Willy is very sweet. 

Bud is not. 

Bud kills birds.  And squirrels.  But not possums.  He lets those live in our garage while he guards the door so Willy can't get in.  We warn everyone that Bud isn't nice.   Bud is blind in his right eye.

He looks so sweet here. 

Looks can be deceiving.

Upon entering the garage, this is what we were greeted with:

He evidently got full before he finished ingesting the spine.  And the legs.  He basically licked the spinal cord clean. And the legs.  Left the fur.  Guess he was at the top of his fiber requirement for today.  Notice the careful placement of the carcass.  It is almost like he was performing a surgical procedure of some sort. 

My mother's day gift request was that the garage be cleaned out.  I mean everything taken out and the garage cleaned and things put back where they belong.  Huge pile of junk not going back in.  Coach spent all last Saturday working on this 'gift'.  Bud trashed the garage with his...well....bunny treat.  

Oh Bud.  Really?  Seriously.

Bud is looking for a new home.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Randoms...Are You Tired of These Yet?


1. Please share one memory of your high school graduation. Pics would be great!
I got off of work at 6 and had to be ready to go at 6:30.  And for the record, it was 1985.  Everybody had this hair.  Not as good as mine but they had it.  And add-a-bead necklaces.  It was all the rage. 
I also remember that we had had to read the poem, The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot, for Senior English so we all had pennies to hand Principal Wortman as we crossed the stage.  By the time he got to me, he wasn't shaking hands.  And my last name began with 'E'. 

2. What is one "emergency use" item you keep in your vehicle at all times?

3. In your region, do you celebrate graduation open houses? Addendum: (If so,) how many open houses/bridal showers/weddings are on your upcoming events calendar?
Open houses for graduation were new to me when we moved here.  When my husband and I graduated from high school it was held on a weeknight.  Mine was on a Tuesday.  We had cake and ice cream immediately following graduation with my grandparents.  

Now it is an all out festival.  

Not sure how I feel about this change.  Could turn into a Soapbox 101 issue.

Currently we have 1 college graduation invite, 10 high school graduation invites and 1 wedding invite(July).  9 of the high school invites are from local kids and 1 who lives elsewhere.   We have a niece who is also graduating from college, but no announcement.  

4. Tell me one truth you believe about motherhood.
My mother always claimed that paybacks are hell.  Turns out, she was right.  Again.  I hate it when that happens.  But there is justice in the world.....it's called 'Grandchildren'.  Someday I will be laughing much like my mother is laughing AT me now.  Love her.  And yes, I should have been much nicer to my mother.  And if you are my child and you are reading this....IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO BE NICER TO YOUR MOTHER.  Really. 

5. What was the last thing you broke?
I haven't broken anything lately but I did run into a trailer attached to a brand new Ford truck in the greenhouse delivery van--which happens to be the owners personal van.  I have limitations on backing.  At least I didn't hit the truck.  But I didn't get fired either......

6. On average, how many pieces of junk mail do you receive daily?
7. Do you like to shop by catalog?
Yep.  I love Eddie.  And LL.  Victoria not so much.  I feel bad for those girls who are trying desperately to look like me. 
8. Is lawn maintenance at your house a "his job," a "her job" or "his/her job" or "that's why we have teenagers" job?
I have been released from lawn maintenance because I don't perform it correctly.  Right.  Like there's a wrong way to mow?  Apparently while I was memorizing that stupid poem I missed Lawn Care 101.
9. Which room would you like to redecorate in your home?
Yeek.  Toss up between all the rooms.  I could use a new kitchen.  But I would really like a makeover in the living room.  Although, my bedroom could use a little sprucing up.  Then there's the bathroom.  The basement?  Gee, maybe I just need a new house.
10. Do you read a newspaper regularly, or do you read most of your news on line?
I read 3 newspapers daily.  I look forward to summer when I can linger over the papers and coffee.  7 get-ups.  
11. Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
Why, yes.  
12. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
 I worry about doing the right thing the right way.  Just sayin'. 

Monday, May 10, 2010


Yep.  Finally.  There is someone (besides my mom) out there who totally gets how wonderful I really am.....

Isn't this just about the coolest thing you have ever seen?  I LOVE IT!  A little girl in my class brought it to me for teacher appreciation week.  (What's up with my freaky eyes?  The photographer could use some lessons....)

And then there's this.....really.  Ahhh...the fruit of my loin.  Or the spawn of the devil.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


1. What was the last thing about which you procrastinated?
Getting out of bed this morning.  It's just too hard to pull back those covers and jump into the world.  12 get-ups.  

2. How long does it take you to fall asleep, and do you sleep through the night?
I look forward to the day I sleep through the night.  Oh wait.  I have gene pool issues--I am my grandmother's child and will probably sleep through the night....NEVER.  If I sleep through the night more than twice in a week, I am lucky.  I usually spend 30 to 60 minutes going to sleep.  I watch TV, read or play my nintendo DS.  

3. Which decade would you choose to exemplify your favorite fashion styles?
Who says I have fashion style?

4. What is your personal best dish to feed a crowd?

5. Are you an impulse shopper? What was the last thing you bought on impulse?
I am only impulsive shopper at the grocery store.  I bought on brand graham crackers and already made frosting. 

6. What is one wish you have for your own funeral?
I better not be wearing underwear or else.  Enough said.  And I mean it.  NO UNDERWEAR.  I will haunt you....

7. If it's true that joy is in found in the simple things in life, what does your joy look like today?
Coffee and a newspaper.  

8. What is your favorite type of bread?
Homemade country white bread with homemade peach jam.  And real butter. 

9. What trait do you fear developing the most? (Laziness, greediness, grumpiness, etc.)
Grouchiness.  It's a gene pool issue.  I know that some of you are thinking that I have already developed this trait.  If you are related to me, shut it.  If you are not, then shut it.  We all have faults.
10. What trait would you like most to develop?
Getting my foot out of my mouth.  I constantly blurt stuff out and later think why on earth did I say that out loud?  Like the answer to number 9.

11. Which room in your house best reflects your personality? Why?
The clean one.  Oh wait, none of the rooms in my house are clean.  

12. How do you maintain balance in your life regarding, work, family, church, other organizations and activities, and blogging?
I drink caffeinated beverages.  Just sayin'.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Soapbox 101

Issues.  I have issues.  Lots and lots of issues. 

This comes as no surprise to anyone who is related to me. 

So we're in church on Sunday morning.  It's a beautiful morning.  Church was a little warm, but nothing that required me to remove my denim jacket covering my ever increasing muffin top.  Everybody go 'whew'.

Smack. Smack.  Whisper.  Rustle.  Smack. 

Really.  Seriously. 


Yep.  Gum in church.  Really.  You know.  I do not claim to have had perfectly well behaved children in church.  We made our fair share of trips down the isle and out the door for some 'conversation' on the front steps.  You know the kind of conversation I'm talking about--the kind that involves the mom talking close to the ear while holding tightly to the arm of the child.  Spitting may be involved.  We have finally gotten them to stop laying bets on long the homily will last.  Oh wait.  That was the parents. 


Gum in church.  This is quite possibly my biggest church pet peeve.  I am sure that over the years people have blogged about my childrens' church clothing.  Oh well.  They were there and they participated.  Or else.  And by participate I don't mean sing.  I mean stand up sit down stand up sit down.  Turn to the right page in the missalette and follow along.  Stand up sit down. The Dad and I placed ourselves accordingly.  Child Adult Child Adult Child.  Sometimes we still have to sit that way.  I refused to fight over what they wore because they were going to church willingly.  But they were NOT allowed to have gum.  I am not telling you they didn't ever have it but I tried my level best.

And not just gum in church.  Gum that is being chewed like cows chew cud.  I mean really.  Yesterdays incident involved a little girl who is 6 or 7.  Who should know better.  Don't you hate that phrase?  And I do think that she knows better.  It took everything I had not to turn around and offer her a kleenex for the gum.  It was loud.  Loud enough to be heard over the guitar playing cantor.  Loud enough to be heard over the feedback from a strangely placed microphone.  Loud enough to be heard over the stand up sit down.  Loud. 

And I'll be danged if I didn't look up and see a grown man chomping away on his gum.  Really? 

Let's be clear on my expectations....I like gum.  I like double mint gum.  I like spearmint gum.  I enjoyed a piece of gum tonight while at a meeting.  I passed the package around suggesting that several people take some gum in order to keep their mouths busy.  Gum has its place. 

There is no place in church for gum. 

Today when I saw her in the hall, I almost mentioned the no gum in church rule.  I stopped myself today.  Tomorrow, I might not have such restraint. 

Soapbox 101.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week at a Glance....

*There are 14 more get-ups and the school year ends.  I still have some important stuff to impart to their little minds.  I better get on it.

*My good friend, LB and her family own the local greenhouse.  It is a wonderful little place to spend some time in the spring browsing (and purchasing) beautiful flowers.  Desperate for seasonal help, LB enlisted in my assistance for a couple of weeks.  What little I know about flowers involves killing them.  See, I told you LB was desperate.  I am not giving up my day job just yet .

*And do you know how much a hanging basket of just watered geraniums weigh?  A basket that must be lifted above my head to hang?   More than a dang third grader that's for sure.

*Home track meet this week. YES!!  That means no traveling out of town or waiting for the bus to arrive after dark.  

*Our high school's big variety show is on Thursday and Friday nights this week.  Practice on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  Frack is in robed choir so he is involved in the show.  This is always fun for the kids and a good laugh for the audience.  This years emcee's could be very interesting.....show stopping, even.

*Swim team sign up on Wednesday  night.  Thus begins year 2 of my no longer on the board involvement in swim team.  Some one at my house has swam every year since 1996.  Many of those years were spent as the team treasurer.  I am very glad that it is someone other than me who is doing that job.  Frack is an assistant coach this year so he must be at the meeting on Wednesday night.  Frick is still out on whether she will be returning to the team this summer.

*Menu plan:  I got one!!  It has been weeks since I have had a real menu plan.  Here it is:  chicken salad.

I pulled already cooked chicken from the freezer and made it into chicken salad.  So that's my plan.  Chicken salad.  And, yes.  That is an 8 cup container.I bought chips and cheap white bread.  We have 2+ boxes of saltines.  And we're having chicken salad.  I predict that by Friday, we'll all be begging for Mexican.

No promises on posting this week.  Just sayin'.

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. -Proverbs 11: 17