Saturday, January 26, 2013

Home-made Laundry Detergent

I have been anxiously waiting to share this post with all of you...

I have officially started making my own laundry detergent.  I was hesitant for so many reasons to do this but mostly because we have an HE washer and dryer and I think my husband would kill me if I messed up our washer.

So...I have done LOTS of research, including: liquid verses powder, effects on HE washer with both, and different recipes.  I have had a hard time finding someone I personally know who has done this with the same type washer I have. day my friend made this post. I included some of her resources in my research and decided to give it a try.

I first started off by marking on my regular detergent to see how many loads I could get out of the expensive stuff.  As you can see...44 was my grand total on a bottle of Tide that SAYS you are suppose to get 64 loads. That breaks down to 27 cents a load.

The recipe:

  • one - 4 lb. box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • one - 4 lb. box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
  • one - 4 lb. box of Mule Team Borax
  •   3 bars of Fels Naptha soap
  •  a container to store it in
*The total for all these ingredients was $12.

First step..cut up your bars of soap.  If your knife is really is easy. 
I didn't even have to put any muscle behind it.  Was kind of like cutting cheese.

Next I blended it up fine in my food processor.  
This took the longest amount of time..which wasn't long.

Note:  Since making this post in January, I have made a second batch of detergent.  I'm still just as satisfied; however, the second time around, I blended the soap until it was super fine (see pic below).  I would say I like this better b/c with the first batch, every now and then, there would be a white splotch on dark jeans or my husbands work pants.  I could always wipe it off with a wet rag, but it was more annoying than anything.

This time around, since I got the soap really fine, I haven't had that problem at all.  Like, it's so fine, I used a sifter to make sure there were no little balls of soap anywhere, prior to mixing it with the other ingredients.

FYI...the Arm & Hammer Washing soda only comes in 3# boxes.  
So, I bought two boxes and measured out an extra pound of soap 
(accounting for how heavy the container is I used to measure it into)

Finally...just mix it up in your big container..YOU'RE DONE!
It ended up taking me around 30 minutes, 
but after doing the math on how much it saves our family...I'm sold!

I ended up getting 207 loads from my homemade detergent which comes down to 5 cents a load.  So I went from 27 cents a load to 5 cents...I'm no genius, but that's pretty good savings!

A few tips:
  • I add 1.5 T to each load.  It doesn't take much.  I leave a 1T size scoop in there.  Fill it up once and then fill it up halfway and pour over our clothes.
  • Don't add in between clothes when loading the washer.  With HE washers, it uses less water and I have found doesn't disolve all the ingredients very well if I don't add on top of the clothes at the very end.
  • I have read a lot about adding to the detergent dispenser verses just throwing on top of clothes. Some people have reported it clogged their dispenser because of the low water usage.  I haven't had one single problem with adding it on top of my clothes.
  • I use fabric softener with each load.  This recipe does not have a smell at all. I like that yummy clean smell to my clothes when I wash them and was able to fix that with using fabric softener or dryer sheets.  I have used both.  I figure I'm saving on the detergent so buying one of those is worth it.
  • I have a friend who recommended using Purex fabric softener crystals.  She just mixes it in with her detergent.  I haven't added them to my detergent yet, only because I was making sure we don't have any allergies to it, so I add them separate, but will probably add to my recipe next go around.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where is Parker?!?!?!?!

That is THE QUESTION these days...When is Parker coming??????  Wish I knew!  I was convinced I wouldn't be making another post to update everyone after I came off all my meds.  It's the craziest thing.  This little guy was a trouble maker starting at 27 weeks...we get all the way up to the bitter end and he still is causing trouble two days before I officially come off bedrest...

This is what 36 weeks and 5 days looks like...
 Don't was uneventful.  I was having timeable contractions, but they popped me with a breathine shot and I was on my way back home.  I probably could have just stayed home and let the contractions do as they may...but you all know me...had to make it to 37...that was the goal, so that's what we were doing.

You might be asking yourself...what have I been doing.  Well nothing too extreme...just moving stuff around in the attic, putting up Christmas decorations, some projects around my house I was wanting to do, walking the mall for 4 hours strait, chasing my little boy around, running errands, you know, the big deal. 

I had to include this pic in here.  This was one of our outings when I was still 36 weeks.  I didn't want a baby dropping out in the middle of Target, so Briggs and I took us a little ride.  And yes...I was cracking up at myself the whole time.  But it was kind of fun.  I've always wanted to ride one of those things.  It does need some kind of boost kit on the back of it or something b/c that thing was S-L-O-W.  But I guess it might be a safety feature so nobody gets run over? :)

On Monday...I was completely convinced I would be holding a baby by the time I went to sleep...BUT...I was wrong.  I was pretty bummed by Tuesday with no baby.  I'm not gonna say I'm pumped up to still not have a baby but I am trying to shift perspective.  With Briggs, I was on bedrest 4 weeks and BAM..stood up and had a kid.  With Parker I've had a chance to get some things situated and goals accomplished that were bugging me, it's kind of nice and I'm also getting to spend time with Briggs, my mom and Justin...can't complain about that part...
 I have enjoyed this time with Briggs now that I can move around more.  He seems to know something is going on b/c he is very clingy to me during the day.  Don't know if it's because he has seen his mommy laid up on the couch for 5 weeks and then all of a sudden she is chasing him around the house, or what?  Either way, he is a momma's boy all the way unless Justin is around and then he only wants his da-ddy (so cute how he says it).

I guess the most annoying part is the birth part hanging over my head.  I'm not looking forward to that process but am praying the Lord leads and makes it go quickly and smoothly.  Well and then you have all the fun physical stuff like hips hurting, bones aching, difficulty breathing, moving and doing simple tasks...but that's all part of it I guess.  Don't hear me complaining too much b/c I am very thankful I get to feel all those things and my baby moving...nothing like will just be exciting to be able to hold him in my arms and get back to life. 

My body is showing some signs of progression so I'm hoping it won't be too much longer.  I'll spare you the details...just trust me on that one.  I was awake with contractions all night last night, but they slacked off when I started moving around this we are getting somewhere, just slowly.    Until then...I'll continue my baby workouts and promise to let everyone know when we have us a Parker in our hands.  As one of my friends so beautifully said the other pm when she was checking on the Lord has chosen the exact perfect minute of his birth.  It won't be true Allison..I like that perspective and am holding to that.

As I close let me leave all of you with a verse the nurses at the hospital gave me.  They said they are going to put it on my board when I come in to have Parker, for real...

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
John 16:21

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Christmas Cards

Since January is almost over and I'm sure all of you haven't put up your Christmas decor yet...ha...thought I would share a little tip that we used at our home this year.  

What did you do with all your Christmas cards besides chunk them when cleaning up?

I ran across this idea on pinterest, I think, but can't find the link.  Anyway...did I mention how much we LOVE getting Christmas cards from our friend and family?  Well this year I decided to put them to use as best I could before...

Take a pic of the person in the card and save as their contact pic in your phone.  It worked out great, now I have updated pics of all my friends, and see their smiling faces when they call me.
I call that a Win-Win.

If for some reason you already cleaned up from Christmas, maybe this will help ya for next year.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

CVS success

Just wanted to share my success story with all of you.

This is how I make my shopping list at CVS...
it really helps to be organized and go in with a plan.

1.  I always remind myself to scan my card in the beginning b/c I might get other coupons or Extra Care Bucks (ECB) that I can use. 
2.  Then I list out each item, the price it should be and if I have a coupon or not. 
3.  When I get more than one of something, I list that next to the item as well. 
4.  I write my list, in the order I will be checking out.  That helps me be more efficient at the register.

*If you see on my list under *scan card*, I have $11 ECB.  I would highly recommend, utilizing the online CVS Extra Care website.   All you do is register your card there and when special coupons, adds or you accrue ECB through different promotions, you can send them directly to your card instead of having to keep up with multiple pieces of paper.  I had accrued $11 ECB through a special promotion and they were able to apply that to my order when I was checking out, but I put it on my list so I could make sure I redeemed them.

I checked out in two separate transactions.  
The first one I only spent $14, after sales, coupons...
But what is pictured below, my total was $2.38 FOR ALL OF THIS!!!!!  
I mean one 12 pk of cokes at Walmart is almost $5.  

My overall shopping trip was a huge success.  

I went in with a plan to buy $70 worth of items (regular price) and walked out paying less than $20 for all it.  I would say that was a successful shopping trip!
That's just proof that it CAN be done folks.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Last update...hopefully!

First of all let me start off by saying...I went to see the doctor today.  I have dilated a little more...up to 2.5 cm and 70% thinned.  I figured I had changed some more b/c I've had a lot more contractions this week...but we are SO CLOSE to 37 weeks (Monday)!  Just gonna keep doing what we are doing.  She does let me get up a little more since I'm at 36 weeks now.  See below...

Since this will hopefully be my last update before we have a baby in our arms...wanted to give a little glimpse into what our life has looked like for the past few weeks....well FIVE to be exact.

How to do bedrest with a 19 month old...


 Cuddle time..this is my view many nights and I LOVE IT! sweet

This is a profile pic of me and Briggs...Briggs and his belly are in the stripes
then I'm on the other side of him with my belly :)

Give daddy a was bright in here so Briggs needed his shades

Try out the new baby gear with Briggs...
I think he likes it :)

give mommy a foot rub
this happens frequently and I definitely won't be turning down a foot massage!

And then this week mom and I went and got mani/pedis
(before anybody freaks out...Swindle said I am allowed to do a few sedentary things this week since we are in such a good window...this was one on my list)

And had to run to Babies R' Us to grab a few last minute things for Parker..
And I got to ride in a wheelchair...very weird to be the one riding instead of pushing 

And last but not least...I really want to go back to church this Sunday.  So instead of doing one thing a day...I'm just laying low so we can make it back to church one last time before the baby comes.

I come off all my meds on Monday and head to the doctor that day.  Justin says I'm not allowed to leave the hospital...I can just make a few laps around L&D, so they can have a room ready for me when my water breaks.  Ha...will see...but I do feel like we will be meeting our newest addition early next week.  And of course we will update everyone as soon as we can with pics of the little cutie.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pregnancy update @ 35 weeks!

Sorry for the silence.  I have had so many sweet friends inquiring on how things are.  Means more than yall does.  I figured it might be easiest to update everyone and get us all on the same page.  Since my last update, it has been eventful around here. 

FOUR seems to be our magic number around here.  We are at 4 weeks on bedrest...BOO! We have had FOUR fun-filled trips to the hospital so far.  Thought I would provide all of you with a pic to represent our time there.  Yes this is me in the triage room @ 35 weeks...fat face and all.

To answer a few of the most frequently asked questions...

Are you still having contractions?
YES..I have contractions every single day, throughout the day.  I'm always going to have contractions until Parker gets here, the goal is keeping them to a minimum.  They flare up more when I'm up (i.e. sitting at the table to eat a meal for too long or standing for too long)

Why do you have to keep going to the hospital?
Because my contractions get to the point where they won't stop at home and cause me to dilate more.  If I dilate too much, then water breaks or doesn't break but I'm at 2 cm now and you get to go so far and're having a baby...not in the plan yet

Where are you now?
I'm at home.  We made it through Christmas.  We have made some trips back to the hospital and thankfully haven't been admitted where I have to live there until Parker comes.  I know I said that would be the case in my last we are in a very different window.  When we do go to L&D, they are able to just give me shots and get me settled down, no need for me to stay when contractions are under control and I'm not progressing.  My water hasn't broken (would have put us in a different place if that happened).  And...we are now at 35 weeks which means Parker is much bigger and stronger (but would be in even better shape if we can make it a little longer).

How far along are you?
35 weeks.  
I have been thinking all along my day to start a new week is Sunday..not true.  I learned this past Sunday when we made a fun trip to L&D, I change on Mondays...good to know

How much does the baby weigh?
Don't know...we haven't had an ultrasound in a LOOONG time, so have no idea, but I'm not concerned about that.  My theory is, those things aren't really accurate on weight anyway.

If you have the baby now, will he be ok?
We are in a really good window.  Swindle likes for babies to be full-term (37 weeks) and I'm on board with that.  But regardless...we are in a really good place if he came now.  Lots of people have success stories of their babies coming 35-37 weeks.  I mean he would be fine, just might not come home with us and would most likely not weigh very much.  As Swindle always says...babies who are small and born early don't weigh much, don't eat as well, don't sleep as well and don't hold their temp as the longer he can cook the better.

Have  you had steroid shots for his lungs?
Yes, got them at 32 weeks

How are YOU doing?
Hanging in there.  It's been good to have Briggs because he is such a sweet boy and a great reminder of why I'm doing this.  It is a little harder to be on bedrest with a little one b/c he gets into EVERYTHING I'm working on, I feel like the tv is on ALL THE TIME b/c we are here ALL THE TIME, and because we have had so many visits to L&D, it gets to be a little discouraging. I'm not gonna lie, the past week has been the hardest so far b/c we took two trips to L&D in one week and this is just getting old.  I know there are many people who have it worse, but this is my reality at the moment and it's hard, but we are in the home stretch.  I'm trying to stay positive and following all the advice all you sweet people keep sending my way...
Take it easy
Keep your feet up
Don't overdo it

Are you going to have any more kids?
To answer this one I still have to take a deep breath.  I honestly don't usually mind answering questions, but this one kind of hurts when people ask it, especially when we are having so much trouble right now.  At the moment, our primary focus is Parker and getting him here safely.  But to address this question...let me just put it this way...we had initially wanted to have 3-4 kids.  Never dreamed we would have this much trouble again with a pregnancy.  I have talked to Swindle many times about this.  She does feel like my body is sensitive and even more sensitive b/c the gap between Briggs and Parker is such a short timeframe.  She said your body remembers what do when pregnancies are that close together so can make it more sensitive to preterm labor, especially in my case.  Her goal is to get me to 37 and regardless of the trouble I might have, the important thing is that we make it full-term.  She said she has definitely seen people who have similar scenarios as mine to wait a few years between kids and make it to 38-39 weeks with minimal issues.  With that said, we are really just focused on getting Parker here safely and overall are so grateful we can even have children biologically who are healthy.  To have another child would be a decision that is not taken lightly and wouldn't be any time soon, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it...unless the Lord has other plans, because those things happen too :) 

Do you need anything?
For now, my mom is back and is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!  We definitely wouldn't be able to make it without her.  She has been taking care of EVERYTHING and has a lot on her plate with Briggs, the house, cleaning, cooking, laundry, oh and taking care of yours truly :)  I try to be a sweet, compliant and non-needy patient, but it's still a lot to take on.  Oh and did I mention she is here until we have Parker, so she has left her life (my dad, brother, and Bullet - the dog) behind with a freezer full of food and has moved over here to take care of us!  With all that said...we should be doing good with childcare starting next week b/c Briggs goes back to MDO two mornings.  They have been out for the holidays over the last two weeks and we kept him home an additional week b/c the flu was going around really bad.  If everything goes as planned next week, he will go back to MDO which will give my mom a chance run errands, catch up on laundry and cleaning...

  I have a sweet friend who did set up a meal website for us. When people ask me what we need, I usually mention that b/c it takes something off my mom and is probably the best way to help at the moment.  It's also set up a little further out for after Parker is here and mom goes home. 
Here is the website:

Current Update:
I just saw Swindle today.  I'm currently 2cm and 50% thinned. (for those of you keeping up, that is one more cm than I was last week)  I only have ONE MORE SHOT!!!! which will be next week.  That will be a total of 20!  THANK GOODNESS! I'm really glad we did those b/c at least we have done all we can to prevent preterm labor, but dang those things hurt.  I'm all bruised on my back and am convinced I will have permanent needle puncture marks.  I will stay on my procardia (oral meds to keep contractions to a minimum) until 37 weeks (Jan 14).  For now..if contractions get amped up again, plan still go in and get a shot (different kind than what I take each week) to stop them. If shots don't work, Parker will just make his debut.  They won't do anything extreme, but holding him off until at least 37 is the plan.  At 37 he can come when he wants.  Will be interesting to see what happens when I come off oral meds.  With Briggs it was hours of me stopping my oral meds and my water broke, so will see what this little guy does.

Thank you...
To all of my sweet friends.  We have been showered with prayers, encouraging words, meals, cards in the mail, texts, emails, facebook msgs, fun surprises like gift cards for treats and to local restaurants, goody bags with things to keep me busy on bedrest, magazines...the list could go on and on.  This is a time that has challenging but much more doable with the support system we are surrounded by.  Many of you, we can't thank enough for dropping everything to be there for us when we call.  I only hope and pray we can return your kindness in the future.  Our hearts are full and overflowing!

Now...all we gotta do is HAVE A big deal..EEK! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hospital Packing

This may be overkill...but I was thinking it might be fun to share how we get ready for the hospital and what kinds of things we pack to make our stay a little more comfortable.

A little sidenote... After we had Briggs, I had no idea I was going to get to jump up and get a shower right away so I wasn't really prepared. There were tons visitors, oh and did I mention a photographer?!?!...I just had to ask the nurse to grab me a couple things out of my suitcase and wasn't really put together when I came out of the bathroom.  

Well not this time...As you can see below...I decided to pack a little bag to keep inside my suitcase that anybody can grab for me.  It has a comfortable outfit (pants and shirt), flip flops for the bathroom, a pair of granny panties (trust me, you need them at first with those massive diapers pads they give you to wear), a sports bra, a pair of socks if I want to throw them on with some slippers when I'm done, hair tie and head band, a little makeup (powder, lip glass, blush and mascara) and a robe. The goal is not to look like a supermodel, but at least somewhat presentable for visitors and the camera.

Here are both my "go" bags somebody can just grab and give to me.  The orange bag is my shower bag that is stocked and already in the suitcase.  

It has the following:  soap, face wash, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deoderant, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, hairbrush, headbands, hair ties.  and in the outside pocket I have disinfectant wipes and a mini hand sanitizer.

A few other things to make your trip a little more comfortable:
A bag for your dirty clothes (blue bag), lighter pads (the ones they provide are like diapers but I didn't need them the whole time, so I was glad I had some lighter ones with me), nursing pads, makeup remover face wipes, disinfectant wipes, tissue, hand sanitizer, change purse with money for the drink machine in case one of us wants a drink while we are there.

*And I know the cleaning stuff might be a little overkill for some people, BUT, I work in healthcare and know how dirty hospitals can be.  I'm our hospital is super clean, but I keep disinfectant wipes with me to wipe down the bars of the bed, the rolling table surface and tv control.  I guess I just feel like there are lots of people who go before me in this room and it never hurts to make sure those surfaces are clean.  

For the baby...
boppy pillow and clean covers ( leave the boppy in the plastic bag so it isn't laying around the hospital room and getting all dirty), nursing cover (if you want or you can just use a blanket when you have visitors), sleepers (I pack about 5-6 ),  a couple little outfits with hats, swaddle blankets, burp cloths, coming home outift (Aunt Abs got them big/little brother shirts for both Briggs and Parker...SO CUTE and can't wait to use them!), baby socks, if you have a special paci you want them to use...clean/sterilize and pack those, and something special I also packed is a blanket, booties and hat that my grandma knitted for Briggs, that now I can use it with Parker.

The hospital provides everything you need for the baby including clothes, diapers, etc. 
So it's really personal preference if you want to have your own things for the baby to wear.

*The nurses will probably tell you this, but when it's time to leave...clean out the baby crib.  Trust me, they charge you for all that stuff, so you might as well take it with you since you're paying for it.

I keep a folder with a notepad to record gifts, visitors and any important info I need to remember.  It's also a good place to keep important papers together that you get from the hospital.  I threw some thank you notes in there to have on hand if I need them.

You're gonna thank me for this one...if you're like us, you will have some heavy traffic on your phone at the hospital with texts and phone calls...unless you have a super long phone cord you won't have access to your cell when it's charging.  So...I had a small extension cord at home, plugged my phone charger into it and works great.  Reaches all the way to the bed so I can carry on with business as usual :)

 A few other things that are helpful to have:
  • favorite pillow if you have one
  • fan or noise maker to help you sleep...IF you get a chance :)
  • pack like you're staying 2-3 night.  
*I pack comfy stuff, but try to think about having visitors.  So I usually stick to pants and tops that will work no matter what kind of birth you have
  • house shoes
*whatever you do...DON'T walk on that floor barefoot!)
  • a couple nursing bras
  • granny panties and a few regular panties
  • hair dryer and straitener
  • camera and charger (make sure the camera is charged ahead of time)
  • phone charger/extension cord
  • snacks..the kitchen isn't open 24/7 and if you have your baby in the middle of the night or wake up hungry when you're feeding the baby, it's nice to have something to snack on
  • hand sanitizer
  • Lysol disinfectant wipes
  • chapstick
  • mints
  • gum
  • wreath and door hanger (if your hospital does that)
  • computer...for blogging of course :)
  • book or magazine to read if you have any down time
 Last but not least...make sure you get daddy packed up.  They will have a cot/fold out couch for him.  I always make sure Justin has a couple tshirts, jeans, sweatpants,  underwear,  jacket, belt, toiletries, & houseshoes.  They don't need near as much as we do, but you want to make sure your man is taken care of!

Hope this helps some of you new/expecting mommies out there.  From experience, it does help to have the things you need at the hospital and (un)fortunately, being a "Parker", we tend to go a little overboard with things at times, but we do have what we need in situations like these.  Don't know about you...but it does help to have some comforts of home to make your stay a little more pleasant.