Friday, April 20, 2012

How I began updating my girls' bathroom

A couple months ago, my daughters were getting ready for bed while I fed my son. Everything was quiet after a bit and I thought everyone had gone to bed. My husband and I were watching TV when we heard an enormous crash followed by a child's cries. We looked at each other in alarm and raced to see what had happened. My sweet Olivia was walking into the bathroom when the mirror fell off the wall. Thankfully, she sustained only minor scratches which I cleaned up while my husband took care of the mirror shards.

Since then, no mirror has hung in the bathroom. Not long after the Big Scary Falling Mirror, we found a dresser mirror at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store for $15. Since it had nothing on the back to hang it up, it sat in the garage. And there was another issue. The bathroom is green. It's a nice, minty, cheerful color that isn't offensive or particularly noteworthy. The mirror is purple. It's not just purple, it's two different colors of purple with an odd shell decoration. I didn't want to hang the two-tone purple mirror in the minty green bathroom without changing one or both.

I got tired of having no mirror in the bathroom. So I obsessively and futilely checked the oops paint section at Home Depot every time I went anywhere near enough to stop in. I measured and marked the mirror and the wall in preparation to hang it. In order to get my husband more involved, I left the mirror in the hallway outside the bathroom door.

Then my husband went with a group of guys from Rock Brook Church and spent last weekend playing with chainsaws to benefit Woodland Acres Bible Camp. As soon as he was gone, I noticed the mirror was in our bedroom, leaning on the front of my dresser. I moved it to block his dresser instead, since he wouldn't need to access it until he came home. He wasn't happy to see it when he got home.

I love my husband and I don't want a mirror to come between us. That is why, today, I went to Westlake and bought a mirror mounting kit for $4.

Maybe the sight of the green and purple together will motivate me to finally move the bathroom project to the top of the to-do list.

Hideous, isn't it? Of course, my girls absolutely adore it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

3 Ingredient Laundry Detergent

For a while now I have been disgruntled at my discount laundry soap. I have to pre-treat everything or nothing comes clean.

Then I started hearing friends talk about making their own laundry detergent.

Since I was running low, I decided that instead of buying more substandard laundry soap, I would buy the ingredients and make some myself.

Google helped me find quite a few recipes, and I picked what I liked from several different ideas to come up with this :)

It only took 10 minutes, start to finish!

I was skeptical at the complete lack of soapy bubbles in my washer, but the clothes are so clean and fresh!!!

First thing was assembling the ingredients, and I was kind of worried since various sites warned that they were unavailable locally. How pleasantly surprised I was to see all three ingredients, in my local store, on the same shelf, right in a row!

a bar of Fels-Naptha soap
a box of Borax
A box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (this is different from Baking Soda and will yield different results!)

Step 1: grate 1/3 of the bar of soap into a cooking pot. I didn't mind grating the soap like I thought I would; it was actually kind of fun and the soap went through the grater much more smoothly than most cheeses!

Step 2: add 6 cups hot water and heat til soap melts
(This is the part that takes the longest. I confess; I am impatient.)

Step 3: Stir in 1 cup each of Borax and Washing Soda. Stir until dissolved and remove from heat.

Step 4: Now get the container you're going to use to store the laundry detergent (should be 2 gallon size) and add 4 cups of hot water. Dump in the soap from the cooking pot and stir.

Step 5: Add another gallon and 6 cups of cold water; stir.

Several recipes suggested allowing it to set 24 hours and said that it would gel. Mine sat almost 24 hours before I used it, and it has never fully gelled, so don't worry if your results vary. It works!!

And the best part? I spent around $6 TOTAL for ALL the ingredients... and only used 1/3 of the soap and 1 cup of powder from each box. I'm not great at math, but I'm thinking this can't cost me more than $0.05 per load of laundry using 1/2 cup per load.

Laundry is so much more fun now!