Friday, December 30, 2011

Goals for 2012 - Number One

A few months ago, Hubby brought this article to my attention. Since then, I've been determined to get the chemicals outta Dodge. About the same time, a friend of mine posted some DIY detergent recipes on her Facebook page. AND for Christmas my mom gave me some dryer balls. Looks like someone is trying to tell me something. So as our cleaners run out, I'll replace them with stuff that I've made myself. It's going to be a long process as I shop at Costco and have large amounts of Clorox bathroom cleaner and Snuggle fabric softener.

I thought that it was going to be an easy transition because Hubby was so adamant about how horrible the chemicals were. Turns out, he's against all chemicals except the ones that are in Snuggle. I tried to switch over to the fabric softener made from vinegar, water and baking soda. For me, it's wonderful. The laundry is clean and soft and smells fresh without any overpowering aroma. Hubby likes the aroma. I had a bit of Snuggle left and he used it on a load last week. He was like Linus with his blanket. Well, all but the thumb sucking part. It was sadly cute how he went on and on about the scent and the softness. I feel sorry for him. The chemicals do make the clothes smell nice and feel preternaturally soft. I'll give him that. But I'd rather play it safe and use only ingredients that I can pronounce.

Today I made a batch of laundry detergent and fabric softener. I snuck in a few drops of essential oils and I think I may have found the answer. I'm waiting for the first load to come out of the dryer to see how it worked. Judging from the aroma in the utility room, I'm golden!

So . . . first goal for 2012 - by the end of the year I want to be making the majority of my own cleaning products. Here's the recipe from my friend Tara for laundry and dishwasher detergent:

Laundry soap:
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
2 bars of Fels Naptha (some use other brands like dove, Irish spring however this brand is for stains)
86 loads

(I used Ivory. I shredded it in my food processor and then added the Borax and Washing Soda and mixed it all up. My food processor is really clean now.)

Dishwashing soap:
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Lemi Shine
1 cup Kosher salt
112 loads

(I didn't add the Lemi Shine, I used vinegar in the rinse cycle.)

1 tbls per load and all ingredients can be found in the laundry and dish soap sections.

And here's a recipe that I found for fabric softener:

Recipe #3

2 cups vinegar
1 cup baking soda
2 cups water
Essential oils (optional)
Instructions: In a large container, mix together your vinegar and baking soda. As you add the vinegar, your mixture will start to fizz, so make sure your mixing container is at least twice as large as the final volume. Let your mixture sit for a few minutes, allowing the baking soda to dissolve. Now add your water and essential oil (around 10 to 15 drops should do).

(I used Wyndmere's Anxiety Release essential oil because that's what I had on hand. I haven't added it into the container yet, though. I wanted to see if the rest of my family like it. I put a drop or two into the wash and a drop or two into the fabric softener.)

Stay tuned for for Goal Number Two. (Once I decide what it is . . . )

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Just when I had decided not to make any more resolutions, I read a blog prompt asking what my resolutions for 2012 were. Humph.

The problem that I have with resolutions is that they sound like good ideas at the time I write them down - in the middle of a holiday break when I've just come off a hugely stressful period of time involving family, expectations (realistic, unrealistic, met and unmet), and lots of heavy, fat and sugar laden food. I have a few days off, I see the start of a new year and I think yeah, there are some things I want to do differently - mainly, don't plan stressful events involving family, expectations, and lots of food. So I write down a list of things that I resolve to do or not to do and they sound really good and do-able. Or not do-able.

Then life starts again. Things get back to normal. I go back to an acceptable level of healthy (or semi-healthy) food. And March or April comes and I haven't kept one resolution. So I start feeling like a failure and get depressed.

But if I say that my New Year's Resolution is not to make any resolutions, I sound like I'm copping out. And I sound a little cliche.

So what's a girl to do?

Well, I see myself with some practical goals for 2012. But I'm not going to call them "resolutions". For me, that word triggers short term memory loss. So I'll just stick to goals. And I'll make sure that they are reasonable. And I'll give myself a little bit of leeway just in case life gets in the way and I have to postpone reaching my destinations. (Maybe one of my first goals should be to cut down on starting my sentences with "And".)

All that being said . . . I actually have no idea what my big goals for 2012 are. I guess I'm still in the throes of the holiday and haven't chilled out long enough to look forward and chart a course for the next year. However, I do have some general goals that I can share immediately:

First Five Goals for 2012:

To blog more. I always say that, but I'm realizing how much I enjoy writing and how freeing it is for me. I've signed up for the January NaBloPoMo to help jumpstart me. This is dangerously close to a resolution so I'm scared. But I'm also hopeful.

To finish watching all four seasons of Breaking Bad before the fifth season starts. I'm 1 1/2 episodes away from finishing Season Three. It's gettin' good!

If I'm going to embarrass my kids, my goal is to embarrass them by doing fun/silly things, not by being out of touch or insincere. Perhaps I should change this to say "When I embarrass my kids . . ." because it's going to happen whether I try or not.

To find some new recipes. I look at my menus lately and nod off to sleep.

To be able to claim at the end of 2012 that I have (still) never listened to a Justin Bieber song all the way through.

So that's the start of my goal list for 2012. What about you? Any resolutions or goals for the coming year?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Newsletter 2011

This year I've been swamped with all sorts of stuff - all good - so Princess offered to write the newsletter for me. She wasn't sure what to write about Hubby, so I filled in that information. Otherwise, it's all her. (But I did do some grammatical editing - and inserted our blog monikers.)

Hello friends! What's been going on with you this year? Here is what has been going on with US!

This year was a very memorable year for Buddy! He turned 8 in June, started 3rd grade,

went to the Michigan/Ohio State football game in Michigan, and found his love for video games. His favorite video game is called "Minecraft". Buddy is doing great in school, and is a very good reader. He enjoys reading boyish and humorous books, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He's typically found at his neighbor's house, reading, playing basketball in his room, or watching TV.

This year was a very special one for Princess. To start it all off, she was surprised with two kitties last Christmas.

Their names are Calvin and Marie. (Calvin has really taken to Princess). She turned 11, and started 6th grade. She also saved up enough money to buy her very own laptop this year! She enjoys reading, writing, swimming, art, volleyball, and hanging out with her friends. She is usually found doing homework, reading, or messing around with her kitties!!!

Mom's year has been one word: BUSY!!! First of all, she taught 5/6th grade Musical Theater, and 7/8th grade Musical Theater in the spring at a small, private school (the same one attended by Princess). She directed AND wrote the musical in the spring!! It was awesome!! She also taught 5/6th Musical Theater in the fall, as well as directed their musical, Schoolhouse Rock! Live! Jr. She also teaches a high school film class at the same school. On top of all that, she cooks and cleans for the family, as well as set up social events for the kids, and drop off/pick up the kids from social events, parties, school, practice, etc. Somehow she finds time to check email, watch TV, and take naps.

Between his three Oxford centers in Texas - in Austin, Fort Worth and Garland - Dad has put a lot of miles on his truck this year. Even though he is on the road a lot, he has still found time to be active with Buddy in Scouts and flag football, attend Princess' sporting events and musical production, design a backyard sitting area complete with crushed granite, solar mood lighting and an awesome patio set AND he even had a weekend golf getaway with Mom. He's looking forward to rediscovering sleep.

Some of our friends developed allergies to two precious kitties. They gave these two kitties to US last Christmas. Their names were Pumpkin and Marie. But Buddy decided that Pumpkin wasn't a very good pumpkin, and he changed his name to Calvin. Princess thought that the name "Marie" fitted Marie, and kept it. They are very entertaining, and hilarious! Marie is (we found out) a Turkish Angora. She loves straws, and lazor pointers. Marie is also a diva. (She's gorgeous!). Calvin hid under the bed for the first week or so (Marie just walked in on Christmas day and established where she would sleep, and slept.), and Calvin is still kinda skittish. He's a very sweet kitty, and loves to sleep with his sissy, Princess. He especially likes his fleece blankets and Snuggies to take naps on.

This is Mom speaking again. I'm humbled and amazed at my daughter's writing ability. And I'm very touched that she called my musical awesome. ;-)

Merry Christmas everyone!