Laundry Detergent Recipe

“There’s one thing that everyone can count on–death and taxes.” Ever heard that statement before? Well, here’s a quote from me to all of you Moms out there who are also blessed by a “quiver”: There’s one thing that you can count on everyday–laundry. I can reminisce to the days when my hubby and I only had to do laundry once a week. In fact, I think I still did it only once or twice a week when our firstborn arrived. Well, there’s no way in heck I could do that now. There would be a ginormous mountain of towels, tees, undies, and various other dirtied goodies awaiting me if I waited that long. By the time we had 5, I pretty much had to do at least one load a day, often times more. I was using laundry detergent like it was going out of style! As you all know, unless you get some kind of super thrifty deal, that is one expense that can add up in your grocery bill.

Last spring I was checking my facebook page and saw that an old friend of mine (who also has a brood) posted how she loved the smell of making laundry detergent. Needless to say, I was intrigued  and inquired about it. She told me she got a recipe off of the Duggar’s website (you know, the folks who really have a brood!) and swears by it. I checked it out, bought the ingredients, and tried my first batch in the beginning of June. Well, it cost me less than $2 to make, lasted around 3 months, and did a good job on our laundry. Since then, I have recommended it to other Mom friends and thought you may be interested too! So, here it is–I have been using the liquid variety personally. It doesn’t turn out looking extremely uniform and beautiful, mine is often lumpy and clumpy, but I am told that is normal!

Liquid Laundry Soap

4 cups hot water

1 bar Fels Naptha soap

1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda

1/2 cup Borax

Grate soap bar and add to a saucepan with water. Stir on Med-high heat until soap dissolves. Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full of hot water. Add melted soap, washing soda, and borax. Stir until dissolved. Fill bucket to top with hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight.

Stir and fill a used, clean laundry detergent dispenser 1/2 full of soap mixture and rest of the way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel) Use 5/8 cup per load.

Optional-add essential oil to mixture once soap has cooled for fragrance.

 

Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 cup grated Fels Naptha soap

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup Borax

Use 1 TBSP for light washing and 2 TBSP for a heavy load.

*Note that it says Arm & Hammer washing soda, not regular baking soda! I buy my ingredients at an Amish dry goods store, but I have seen some of these ingredients at Wal Mart as well.

Homemade Marshmallows

For those of you who are also looking out their window at a beautiful white, snow covered world, you may enjoy trying this recipe. Being out in the snow, or simply being outside on a cold winter’s day begs for a mug of hot chocolate to warm me up. And, of course, you’ve gotta have some marshmallows to top it off! Last winter I discovered this recipe for homemade marshmallows that was just lovely. My husband, bless his heart, scoffed a bit at the idea of making marshmallows. Can’t you just buy a bag for like $1? Why yes, I can, but I have just enough inner Martha in me to want to try making my own. They were wonderful! Little pillows of white fluffy goodness. This recipe may sound intimidating, but I promise, it’s easy! I will also warn you that it makes quite a bit. So, if you have a bit of Martha-ishness in you as well and want to give them a whirl, here’s the recipe: (courtesy of foodnetwork.com)

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup ice cold water, divided

12 oz. granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Nonstick spray

Directions:

Place the gelatin in a bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 of the water. Have whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over med-high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3-4 min. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and allow to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, which takes 7-8 minutes. Remove immediately from heat once it reaches this temp.

Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour sugar syrup down the side of mixer bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all syrup is added, increase mixer speed to high. Continue to whip until mixture is very thick, white, and lukewarm. This will take @12-15 minutes! Add vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While this is all whipping, prepare your pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows, combine 10X sugar ans cornstarch in a little bowl. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan. Add sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat bottom and sides of pan. Pour extra mixture back into the bowl to use later.

When ready, pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan, using a greased spatula. Dust the top with 10x mixture. Reserve rest for later. Allow marshmallows to sit uncovered for at LEAST 4 hours, or you can leave it out overnight. Turn marshmallows onto a cutting board and cut into squares with a pizza cutter that has been dusted with the 10x mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For extra pizazz:

*You can use cookie cutters to make them into shapes (they are fairly thick, so I would use one that does not have a lot of small details).

*I have also used leftover candy canes, crushed them, and rolled one side of the marshmallow into them.

*Instead of making large marshmallows, pour warm mixture into a piping bag, pipe out onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper in strips. Allow the strips to sit out at least 4 hours, then cut into mini marshmallows with your pizza cutter.

*Put some marshmallows in a pretty treat bag or cookie tin, top with ribbon, and give as a little fun gift.

Snow Day!

Snow Day! When you hear those words, are you excited?Giddy as a kid? Or do you audibly (or not) moan and groan? I have to admit, I am a combination of all of the above. Granted, the snow is really beautiful, and in one way it’s awfully nice to have all obligations cancelled out for the day and evening. On the other hand, if you’re at the same stage of life as myself, I am now used to having at least a couple of children in school. In fact, this year Ihave all 3 of my oldest in school ALL day.  My littlest two are just in preschool two mornings a week. Tobe honest, I have gotten to where I really, REALLY enjoy having a littl e break from my kids. My oldest is 9 1/2, 10 this summer. Since he’s been born, I hadn’t had any regularly scheduled time to myself. This fall was the first time that I had any kind of “break” on a regular basis. If you’re not to that point in life yet, I can tell you that it’s really wonderful! You learn to enjoy and savor that window of time like crazy. At one point in my life, when my twins were babies, I NEVER thought I would reach that stage. I felt like we were always going to be in the baby stage.  Well, unless you keep constantly having babies, you do get there eventually. I can say with complete honesty that I savor that time to myself, yet enjoy my little ones once we’re back together again. When my big guys step off the bus, I can honestly tell them that I’ve missed them and enjoy hearing about their day.

So, back to my point. Yes, I’m a little excited when I hear that it’s a snow day. We get to stay home (which, when your kids get older, seems to be less and less!) and have some downtime together. On the other hand, my kids tend to be constantly underfoot on those days. We have 7 bodies in a very modest-sized house. I may try to clean an area, but guaranteed minutes later my efforts will seem fruitless. I get irritated and short-tempered. Then I feel guilty for being that way. After all, I should just be glad to have extra QT with my main squeezes. At these moments I have to take a deep breath (well, maybe a couple of them) and remind myself how blessed I really am just to have all these little people in my life. Enjoy them, not just my short times away from them. I truly admire all of the homeschool moms out there. Though others may describe me as “patient” and “cool and calm,” I really don’t know if I would have what it takes to have them all home with me all the time. Fortunately for us, we live in a really wonderful school district with fabulous teachers, many of whom are Christians. For now, I feel completely comfortable sending my gang to public school. Whether or not that will change in the future, who knows? Right now I know that I need to enjoy the moments that I DO have with my kiddos. Forget about my to-do lists, attempting to keep a perfect house, etc.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go out and play in the snow with my kids.