Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homemade Fabric Softener

I decided to try a recipe for homemade fabric softener that I seen on pinterest.  It's a super easy recipe and I really like it!

All you need is:

6 cups of hot water
3 cups of white vinegar
2 cups of hair conditioner

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Use a wisk to mix it together real good.  Add to a container for storing and use the same amount as you normally use in your rinse cycle.  You can also spritz it on a washcloth and throw it in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet.  The smell of the hair conditioner over powers the vinegar and you do not have the strong vinegar smell.  I will definitely be using this from now on!

This is what I keep mine in.  One batch filled all three bottles to the top and I still had some left!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Highly Concentrated Homemade Laundry Detergent

I'm so excited to share with you a new kind of homemade laundry detergent.  I've been making my laundry detergent for years now and a little over a year ago I shared my recipe with my readers (check it out here).  I recently ran across a recipe for a highly concentrated version of this detergent and I absolutely LOVE it!

It has the same ingredients as the original version except you double the quantities.

2 bars of Fels Naptha
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
6 cups of water (+ a little more as needed)

The first thing you want to do is grate your soap.  I always do this ahead of time and keep it in ziploc bags or a jar.  That way when I need to whip up some soap I have everything ready.  Put 6 cups of water in a large saucepan and and add the grated soap.  Heat on medium low heat until all the soap is melted.  This is the part that takes the longest because you don't want your water to boil, but you want to be sure that all the soap melts.  When your soap is melted you can add the borax and the washing soda.  Stir until it disolves.  Add your mixture to 4 - quart jars.  Let it sit over night.  In the morning your will have a hard layer of soap on top and a watery gel on bottom of each jar.

Now the fun part!!  Take a knife and cut through the hard layer.  Pour the mixture of one jar into a large bowl.  Add 1-3 tablespoons of hot water to the jar you just emptied and swish it around to get out any remaining soap and add that to the bowl as well.  Now your going to mix that up.  I actually used my Ninja Master Prep which is a high powered blender.  This worked well for me so you may want to use something similar rather than the bowl and mixer method.  As you are blending it, you will see that the consistency of it becomes fluffy and kind of looks like pudding.  When your reach that consistency you can add it back to the quart jar and do the same process with the rest.  With the extra water you add, you will end up with more than 4 quarts.  Mine made 4 quarts and 1 pint plus a little extra.  To use it, add 1 tablespoon to your laundry.  That's it.  Just think...1 quart jar will give 64 loads of laundry!  So 4 quarts + 1 pint = a very economical detergent!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Foot Spa

Yep, I was right.  Rose petals in the foot bath was delightful! :):):):)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Herbal Foot Soak

 Lately my feet have been extra achy by the end of the day, so tonight I thought I would treat myself to an herbal foot bath.  I got out my foot spa (if you don't have one a dishpan or other such thing will work just as well) and headed to the herb garden to gather my herbs.  I had my water lukewarm and I added some fresh peppermint, lovage and chamomile.  It was heavenly!  I probably soaked them for at least 45 minutes!

 Here is a list of herbs you can use and what their benefits would be:

Horsetail:  Excellent for tired feet and will help reduce perspiration.
Lavender:  creates a refreshing tonic for tired feet.
Lovage:  A strong natural deodorant, it's perfect for feet that have been stuffed in shoes all day.
Marjoram:  Soothing to tired and weary foot muscles.
Peppermint:  Energizing and cooling for hot and tired feet.
Chamomile:  Calming and relaxing plus great for skin.
Thyme:  Cleansing and refreshing for overworked feet.

Just use your imagination.  I think Rose petals would be delightful!  I think Lemon Verbena would also give a refreshing feeling!  I do believe I have a new nightly ritual! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Arms of Love - A Book Review

Arms of Love is a beautiful Amish love story written by Kelly Long.  The time period is 1777 which is different from most Amish stories I have read and I rather enjoyed reading a story from this era.  The main characters are Adam and Lena, but the story is well rounded and includes plenty of information and story line on both Lena's and Adam's family members.  I found myself enjoying the parts of the story that were about Ruth, a wet nurse that came to Lena's household to help after her mother died giving birth and would of liked reading even more about her.

The book started out with a bang for me.  I was instantly enthralled from the first chapter.  Because of a promise that he makes to Lena's mom before she died, Adam withdraws from Lena.  In her confusion of what is happening with Adam, she turns to his brother Isaac for support, but her heart remains with Adam.

Adam's father has been abusive to him for years.  He treats Isaac with love, but when it comes to Adam he is angry, bitter and often hits him.  Through the story you see how Adam battles with his inner turmoil till he finally remembers a horrific event he witnessed as a young child involving his father.  Through several events Adam confronts the situation and begins to heal.  Him and his father reconcile and his father asks forgiveness of both Adam and God and by the grace of God becomes a changed man.

Finally, Adam and Lena are free to be together.   There is a part at the end of the book concerning a rattlesnake that seemed a little out of context for me.  It kept my interest to read it, but it just didn't seem to flow with the story line.  In my opinion the writer should of left this part out.  Other than that though I enjoyed it and would recommend reading it, especially if you like Amish fiction.

** This book was provided to me by booksneeze in exchange for my review.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell - Book Review

Hannah Sunderland is an innocent Quaker girl who is content with her faith, but after her brother leaves home to fight among the rebels and then ends up in jail, her life changes in a dramatic way.    The Friends (the Quaker people) believe that they are not to take sides, nor to take up arms, but Hannah's desire to bring comfort to her brother outweighs all else.

Jeremiah Jones was injured in the war and is now bitter and angry.  He becomes a colonial spy.  He needs access to the jail to help rescue the men.  When he meets Hannah, a plan begins to develop.  He sees Hannah as the perfect spy, after all who would suspect a Quaker girl visiting her brother?

There is one snag in Jeremiah's plan...Hannah's determination to always do the right thing and never tell a lie.  How can you be a spy and not lie?  This unlikely pair work together  to help others and begin to find out things about themselves in the process.

This is the first book I have read by Siri Mitchell and I have to admit that I am not an instant fan of hers.  I would give her writings another try, but she is definitely not on my list of favorite authors.  The book seemed a little boring at times, especially in the middle.  I also was not fond of the ending.  I don't want to say too much about it because I wouldn't want to give anything away, but I just expected a more detailed ending.  I even looked to see if there was an Epilogue that would give more details.   I did however enjoy reading a book set during the revolutionary war and I loved reading about the Quaker faith.  So to sum it up I would have to say that I did not love the book, but I didn't hate it either.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.