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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Homemade Laundry Soap

I've had some people ask for my laundry soap recipe lately, so here it is.  I got this from the "Back Porch" magazine a couple of years ago.  Making my own laundry soap is so easy and has save me a pile of dollars!  Laughing Water makes it for me now.

                                           Homemade Laundry Soap

* 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap
*1/2 c. washing soda (not baking soda!)
*1/2 c. borax powder

- You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size.
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use 1/2 cup per load.

Note: The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that looks a bit like "egg noodle soup".

The soap is a low sudsing soap.  So, if you don't see suds, don't worry.  They say it is not the suds that do the cleaning.

Tips:  I love to add a few drops of essential oils, like lavender or citrus to the soap.  It makes it smell so fresh.  I also shred several bars of the Fels Naptha soap at a time and store it in a jar.  This saves time when it is time to make up a batch.

Enjoy! - Nanette

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Thirteen Colonies

 So I'm an auditory learner.  Sure, there are some things I learn better by seeing or doing, but give me a book on tape and I'm happy as a clam.  The little piece of sand that irritates my clam-ness, however, is when I have a student who is not an auditory learner, which happens with distressing frequency.  Their eyes glaze over.  They fall asleep.  Or, in the case of my very kinesthetic son, climb a nearby wall.  I've been puzzled over and over as to why my own two kiddos don't get into my history classes more.  Its my favorite subject and I find it distressing to get to the end of a history lesson and realize that their retention was less than stellar.
 So I'm on a mission to rework my classes.  I'm hoping it is a springboard for some very cool future professional development for me.  My goal is to find activities to make history come alive for my visual learner as well as my kinesthetic learner.  So here's our current project.  I went to a local natural fibers yarn shop and purchased wool felting tools and a large assortment of wool roving in delicious colors.  I love they way they look in my basket.  Then we used an overhead projector to trace a map of the original thirteen colonies in the United States onto a piece of wool blend felt, one yard in length.

Each colony is being depicted in its own color.  You can tell by the blur in the lower corner that Mr. Blueberry Eyes is loving the movement of this project.  I'm not sure how we'll label them yet.  Its a work in progress, but I was so excited that I wanted to post a sneak peek. - Nanette

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Blizzard

We've spent the holidays in Oilville with The Wood Artist and my parents.  It has been a relaxing and restful time, filled with yummy food and family games.  I needed the opportunity to rest and be creative (more on that in another post).  I didn't feel like I was quite ready, but it was time to head home and start life again. 

We loaded "Lello", our trusty car, and headed out this morning.  As I first guided her onto the highway in between the oilfield vehicles, I groaned inside.  There was freezing rain and, despite my studded snow tires and four-wheel drive, it was slick.  I persevered, but each new car in the ditch made me squeamy.  I knew from looking at the forecast that I was racing against time.  There was an arctic blizzard coming in across the plains from the North and heavy snow moving in from the pacific northwest.  I had only so much time to get 550 miles down the road before they hit.  Going 45 mph was not going to get me over the pass in time.  Finally, I just turned around. 

We pulled into Mom and Dad's driveway just in time.  There was another accident and the semis were backing up. We unloaded everything and tried to settle in.  The Mighty Hunting Hound looked at us in bewilderment!  Were we not just here?  What was that about?!

 In time the roads melted and we were able to run to town for food stocks and supplies before the blizzard hit.  
As the night progressed the blizzard started and it came time for Dad to bring the dogs in.  We've always told the kids about how the old timers had to tie a rope from the house to the barn so they wouldn't get lost in blizzards, so Dad decided to have a hands-on history lesson with Mr. Blueberry Eyes.  We didn't have a long enough rope, so they just tied themselves to each other and headed into the night.  They did "chores" and brought the dogs inside. 

After that we had everything-but-the-kitchen-sink vegie pizza with home-made, 1/2 whole wheat crust.  We sat around visiting with two gentlemen who rent from mom and dad and had a first class evening.

Wind chill temps are supposed to dip to -60 degrees for the next three days, so we are staying put for a while.  From the news reports, most of the country is feeling this arctic blast.  Stay warm, my friends.  Slow down.  Gather round.  Nourish yourselves.  Make and share memories. - Nanette