The Dirty Truth

The Dirty Truth

(it’s about laundry)

Two Guests today. One with my month’s epiphany. The other with budgeting info.

But first.

Geez, Tuesday did it to me again. It whizzed right by without an alarm or anything.

Fireworks

I hope July Fourth’s Independence Day was great for you. July is our biggest birthday month of the year, with November second.

Oprah

So, it’s one birthday cake after another for about four weeks, and sometimes there’s homemade ice cream. Like this weekend. Now I have to find my ice cream maker because I’m going to have to have me some more of that.

Last week’s missed post was still for a good reason. I went with my eldest to freshman orientation. (~sniffle~)

frabz-College-Student

What I thought could be an excellent opportunity for some girl-girl time, breakfast at IHOP, and then writing for the approximate 3 to 5 hours while she learned everything one needs to know before stepping foot on campus. Nope.

Of course not. First, we had a tag-along. And it was male. Next, it was freaking hot. Yeah, I know it’s the middle of July in the South but usually there’s some shade and a breeze and iced tea or lemon popsicles or something. So, no sitting in the car or at a picnic table on a quiet, deserted campus for inspiration. Which left the library which would’ve been great, except they thought it was a good idea to offer those who brought their freshman a little extra orientation while the freshmen were registering for classes and touting majors they probably won’t complete. I’m not cynical, just been there.

Note to self: Despite a huge, yummy breakfast at IHOP, there were no hors d’oeuvres served at our little extra orientation, which was a general rehash of what we had just heard – with an extra level of security. I wish I’d had the forethought to add on to the survey they asked us to fill out before we left: Chex-mix, tea and deviled eggs would’ve been good to offer us while we waited. This southern lady is not used to more than 6 hours between snacks. Thank God for Chick’fil’A. But I digress.

I seem to do that. I blame Douglas Adams for my thinking it’s okay to do. By the way. If you’ve not read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy yet, go buy it now. It’s worth it. It’s a classic. Truly. Go. We’ll wait.

Adams

{As on Amazon}

WhyIwrite

Melissa Snark – a lovely little paranormal and shifter author – had a moment of clarification from Facebook last week. And while I’m liking the conclusion she found, I’m also wondering if I can expand on it. Just couldn’t wait to share her “sound bite” from Facebook with you!

* “Sometimes an author pauses at way points on their journey to question the fundamental motivation for why they write. Yesterday’s experience put me on the path to excessive introspection. … I want to hear from my readers, “Oh yeah, that was great”. So while it may not be a totally achievable goal, it’s what keeps me motivated.

Money isn’t my driver. (Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to be able to pay my editor and cover artist. They keep me in books.) I’m not fast enough to keep up with the new book every 4 weeks release schedule that so many authors are driven to.

It takes me a long time to turn out a manuscript. I go through multiple re-writes. I’ve gutted entire books and rewritten them from the ground up. That gives me my answer. I’m writing for craft. I’m writing for the story, and because I want to turn out the best story I can. I want it to be great.*”

Melissa Snark

SnarkLogo

http://www.melissasnark.com/

(used with authors knowledge and permission)

 

Up now is Ella-Amazing, outside of authoring topics, with budgeting and cleaning.

And most of her advice – particularly with the laundry – I am currently an active radical partaker.

Ella’s Elements on Efficiency and Economy

or

How to Be Organized and Maintain That budget and STILL Be a Cool Mom

organized-all-semester

The Dirty Truth

Household chores. We all hate them, especially when we have to go to the store and fork out our family fun money to buy products to clean up. It can be cheaper than you think to have a sparkling home that smells great. Carpet spots; smelly, kid stained laundry; dirty bath tubs; soap scum on your shower; clogged shower heads; spotted faucets; disgusting toilets; spotty mirrors; dirty floors; dusty furniture?

You can clean it all with these few ingredients:

Fels-Naptha laundry bar

Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda

Borax

Small bottle of your favorite essential oil

Off brand of dawn dish liquid

White vinegar

Pine-sol or Mr. Clean type cleaner (any scent, any brand will do. So, get the cheap stuff.)

Bleach (The off brand works great for house cleaning but I use Clorox for laundry, not the ‘splashless’ as it doesn’t seem to whiten as well.)

Fabric softener

Newspaper

Laundry detergent is super expensive. I didn’t realize how much. But an active family of four can easily have 20 loads of laundry each week. This does not include your blankets or sheets or special items. This is just basic laundry. Add in the rest, you’re looking at possibly 100 loads a month. A large bottle of Tide (96 loads) will run about $21 before tax. So, at 1200 loads a year, you’re going to need 13 bottles. That’s $273 per year! If you’re one of those lucky souls who can’t use the basic laundry detergents because of allergies (*raises hand*), you’re looking at specialty detergents, like Dreft Baby Detergent. Same sized bottle will run around $67. That’s $871 ! OUCH!

There’s a better way. Make your own. I know, I know. I was a skeptic, too, but economics made me give it a shot. My husband found this recipe on the internet. So I didn’t create it but I love it! This stuff is amazing! My family loves to get dirty! It cleans anything and more that detergent cleans, including body odor smell from sweaty clothes.

You can use the concentrate as a stain remover on any color or fabric; it works for regular or high efficiency machines; it doesn’t irritate my skin; and best of all – my laundry detergent bill went from almost $400 to about $20 a year. Yep, honest: $20 A YEAR! It’s so easy to make and use, and you can find all the ingredients at your local store.

Detergent

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

½    Fels Naptha soap bar

½    cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

¼    cup Borax

3    gallon (at least) bucket with a lid

Empty laundry detergent bottle

Directions:

Grate half bar of soap (I put mine in my food processor and grind it to powder to speed up the melting process.) and add to saucepan with 1 quart water.

Stir continually over medium low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. DO NOT heat this stuff over high heat. When it reaches a certain temperature it tends to boil over. So, keep the temp at medium. Dissolve entire bar before continuing.

Pour 1 gallon and 3 quarts of hot tap water into bucket. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved.

Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. It will be the consistency of gelatin all the way to the bottom of the bucket. I use a large whisk to break it up but a wooden spoon, yard stick, anything will do.  Stir well. There will be some clumping. That’s fine. It doesn’t have to be totally liquefied. This is your concentrate.

Fill a used, clean, laundry soap bottle half full with concentrate and half full with hot tap water. Shake before each use.

Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. I don’t do this as I like the smell of the concentrate just as it is.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 2 ½  gallons of concentrate which equates to 5 gallons of detergent.

Top Load Machine 3/4 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

Front Load (High Efficiency) Machines ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

For tough stains, pour a little of the concentrate directly on the stain and brush lightly with an old tooth brush.  Works on carpet spots, rug stains, car spots, any cloth or carpet dirt. And it smells great!

FelsNaptha

Bonus:

Ever pick up a towel to mop up a spill and think it’s not absorbing as it should? Extra tip – don’t put fabric softener in your towels and wash cloths. It prevents the cloth from absorbing water.

Use laundry scent boosters instead (one booster pack to a large load is plenty). They will make your towels smell fresh without reducing their ability to absorb AND you’ll find after a few washings to remove the leftover fabric softener from the cloth, that the towels actually dry faster in the dryer. Check it out!

(( More to Come. ))

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Presenting Guest Blogger: Ella -Mazing

Well, I didn’t win. Which is probably a good thing! Now I can get on with my life.2017 EBook_finalist-LG (1)(Congratulations to all those deserving winners, though! Kudos!)

Actually, like I told my friend, Ella, I’ve been slacking badly this year. The blog was supposed to be a weekly Tuesday event! Well … monthly at the least. Without going into great detail, I now add my voice to the proponents of Physical Therapy. Thank you! I can sit for more than 15 minutes at a time, which lends itself to better, more productive writing. Seriously.Writing Fanfic

Ella agreed and said that – at least until she gets her own blog up and running – she would be a guest blogger for me at least once a month. Maybe more. smilieface

She didn’t want it to be all about writing. I can’t say that I blame her. Most writers do have lives outside of the word processor. She doesn’t want to hear about it all the time, and she doesn’t want to read about it all the time, and she, by gosh, has other things to say.

She’s an efficient, organization, economic maven. When you’re a stay at home mom, you sort of need to be. I hear. I know I would make a terrible, bedraggled, unorganized stay at home anything.

My people prefer the term “Randomly Organized.” We know who we are.MessyDesk1

Plus my kids would hate me. She knows how to get around all that and just “do it.” She’s legit organized. And she’ll demonstrate family time that mean something, even with a tight budget. Such as today’s picnic material.

So without further ado, it’s a pleasure to bring you:

Ella’s Elements on Efficiency and Economy

(or How to Be Organized and Maintain That budget and STILL Be a Cool Mom!)

organized-all-semester

The Perfect Picnic!

We’ve all heard the tales: Having a “perfect” picnic complete with the designer picnic basket, embroidered table cloth, matching napkins, and a slew of gourmet delicacies.

The_Picnic

Right! Let’s talk about a realistic, fantastic, colorful picnic that makes everyone feel special on a budget!

Get an old blanket – the best kind is the one too worn to keep you warm but, you love that blanket! There’s your table cloth. Mine’s an old quilt where the patches are starting to fray.quiltNapkins? Walmart sells these super colorful bandannas. The ones with the old paisley designs that are like a buck a piece or less? Go crazy! Napkin rings on the cheap? Toilet paper rolls with yarn or even strips of cloth wrapped around the cardboard. Hot glue the edges and add a sea shell or a bow for that little something. It’s just fun.

Don’t want to waste on disposable utensils? Use the ones you’ve got. Put them in a baggie and wash them when you get home. Plus Dollar Tree has cheap {“Everything’s a Dollar”}, reusable plates or bring some from the cabinet. You can use your napkins in between them to protect them.

A plastic laundry basket is perfect for holding everything you’ll need. Fill a half-gallon milk jug with water and freeze overnight for an ice pack. Place meat and cheese next to the frozen jug. Make sure to include a favorite for everyone. Favorite cookie, chip, fruit, whatever. Cut fruit into large cubes and skewer it. Drizzle it with clear soda or lemon juice to preserve. A container of cheese cubes with regular toothpicks to stab them will work just fine.  Dress up juice bags, soda cans, drink boxes with a ribbon tied around it. Why? Because it’s fun.hamperTake an extra baggie to put the ribbons in for using again. Intimate picnic? Well, they can happen. Bring mini marshmallows, toothpicks, and a little candle for your own little marshmallow toasting. (Yes, the toothpicks work marvelously!) Cover the basket with your blanket.

toothpicks    marshmallows         candle

You don’t have to have lots of money or expensive equipment to have the perfect picnic.

Enjoy!