Sunday, May 20, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

It seems the latest "craze" has made it here to my house. Most everyone I know is beginning to make their own laundry detergent, anti-static dryer sheet alternatives and dishwashing detergent.

I have spent the last couple of weeks making and trying various recipes of these so I thought I'd share with you my opinion on them.

I'll start with the easiest first:

Anti-Static Dryer Sheet Alternative (other than the failed aluminum foil ball...lol:):
2 sponges cut in half
1 bottle of cheap Ocean Mist type of hair conditioner
Pour conditioner into a tub that has a lid and place sponges in it. When you throw your clothes into the dryer you throw in a conditioner soaked sponge.

I honestly really liked this and loved the smell. It seemed to work just fine as far as an antistatic too. I didn't like the conditioner being all over my hands when I threw the sponge into the dryer. I'm not sure about the cost - I forgot to start keeping track to see how many conditioner dipped sponges that we would get out of it before we started using it. I got the conditioner from the Dollar Tree so if it's a bottle a month...that wouldn't be too bad but if it's more often...I think my Bounce dryer sheets from Sams Club is just as reasonable.

Laundry Detergent (powder):
1c Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2c Borax
1 bar grated Fels Naptha
Mix together and use 1-3 tablespoons in load of wash. Mix together and store in air tight container.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this...the Fels Naptha smells AWESOME!!! I have ALWAYS only used Tide with Bleach and I think our clothes have always looked pretty good but now using this I notice our clothes are even BRIGHTER than they have been in the past. I have NO negatives on this...I think it's fun and theraputic grating the Fels Naptha.

Dishwashing Detergent (powder):
1 cup Borax
1 cup Baking Soda
1/4 cup table salt
2 pkgs lemon cool-aid mix
Mix all and store in airtight container. Use same amount as store bought brand. Shake before each use.

I didn't care too much for this...I felt that all of our glasses came out cloudy and several of the dishes had film on them each time. I may try an alternative recipe in the future but I got some of our old detergent on sale/free with a rewards card so I'll be using that again for now.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Much is TOO Much???

I've been struggling lately...really it's been a struggle within myself.
I've been asking myself, "How much is "too" much"???

I can honestly say the last 2 years we have been feeling the pull of the world towards worldly "stuff" (iphone's, flat screen tv's, etc) and the pull towards putting our treasure towards godly "stuff"...investing in lives, souls, hunger, helping those in need, etc. (BTW, I do have an iphone that a friend blessed me with...thank you friend!:)(We still do not have a flat screen tv and I'm not judging you if you have these things...we'd really love one...we just haven't gotten it yet:)

So that has brought me to a question that I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one dealing with...last night I saw this post from Shannan @FlowerPatchFarmGirl Obviously...she has been wondering "How Much is Too Much" too.

The pairing down/weeding out the useless spending seems to have all started for us 12 years ago when my then 9 month old daughter was calling the babysitter momma cause she was with her more hours of the day than she was with me. We prayed concerning that and my husband felt that I should quit my $20/hour Procurement Manager job and stay home. I thought it would be fun at first but for the social butterfly in me...it wasn't. I kicked and bucked against that for a few years before I settled down to acutally liking/preferring being home. It was a huge change for us loosing my income...no more 'extras' or shopping sprees for me. Time to tighten the purse strings.

At around that same time...we were living in the house of our dreams with amenities of an acre of land with a built in pool, jacuzzi, clubhouse, trampoline, swing set, 2400 sq ft of living space with a two car garage...I LOVED that place!!! After 4 years of living there we felt the Lord calling us to give up that dream house, downsize and get debt free. We had always been debt free except for our house and home equity loan...my husband is a bit older than me and we knew we needed to get on the ball with getting our finances under control. We wanted our mortgage (which the root meaning is "death-grip") paid off and we also wanted to be able to "give" more away.

So we sold our dream home for $45K more than we paid for it in 2004 (thank you Jesus) and purchased a new villa for about $20k less than our dream home had cost us. We worked at paying it off and got rid of our mortgage (death-grip)& home equity loan about 3 years ago (thank you, thank you Jesus!!!). One would think when you pay off your house, you would be able to take that money you were spending on the mortgage and be able to save it every month and have a nice nest egg. Yeah...I would think we would be able to too but we increased our giving and then we encountered a major surgery each year for the last 3 years that had us max out our family medical deductible every year...ugh.

We have started couponing, shopping at Goodwill and garage sales(mostly for fun), will only buy things that are on clearance/on sale and try to buy used things in good condition. As I am reading lately about people moving into "tiny houses", I'm back to the question of "How much is TOO much?" Is a full pantry, 2 decent vehicles and a paid off comfortable home too much? After we pay taxes, tithes, our givings and alimony to my husbands first wife...we live off of below the listed median household income...I don't think that's too much but compared to many around the world...maybe it is? I sure wish God would just tell me plain out because everything we buy and consider buying is weighed against this in my mind. As I go through my list of 'wants' most of my friends say - Oh, it's ok, God wants you to be blessed...while so many are hurting and starving around the world...does He really? I know He wants to provide all my needs but how much wanting is too much?

Is wanting to go on vacations instead of mission trips too much?

We here in America live such extravagant lives compared to most all other countries and I've been on enough mission trips to see the poverty. I'm still struggling and feeling the pull of the bigger, the better, the next big thing...but when does it end? WHEN is enough, enough??? Would God call us to give it "all" away? To give up a life of comfort to live where He wants us to live and do what He wants us to do?

I would love to hear your point of view on this...please share with me your thoughts.

How much is too much???