February 27, 2012

I disappeared didnt I

Wow! I havent posted since last week. Where did the time go? Well, lets recap the past 4 days:

Friday: WORK. The place I spend most of my waking hours. Fortunately our office has been REALLY quiet lately and the Pres. said it was cool for us to close early Friday. YEAH!!! So I got to go visit my sister and my cousin early. We have started our cruise weight loss challenge..... Oh wait, let me back up.


Yeah, I have never been on a cruise before so I am pretty darn excited about it! My sister, close friend, cousin and I are taking a girls only cruise for 5 days to Cozumel & Progreso in Decemeber. Ok, back to the weight loss challenge..... Over the years, I have packed on the pounds. Just just a little, but, ALOT. I had decided that its TIME to get my life back and get these pounds off. I have been wanting to "get started" but just had no motivation. This cruise was the "it" I was looking for to really make a difference for me. So the journey has begun. We 3 "girls" met together to weight and take our body measurements.

Lets just put it all out there..... OMG, I weigh 255 lbs! I have NEVER EVER been this FAT in my life. And I will NEVER EVER be this FAT again! How disgusting is that (255 lbs). I am taking my life back!

1. I have cut down DRASTICALLY the amount of Diet Coke I consume. I know, I know... I shouldnt have it at all. But trust me people, if you "know me", you "know" how much Diet Coke I drink in a day. Its seriously like a drug addict going through withdrawls. (Ok, maybe not THAT bad.) I used to drink 2-3 Rt 44 drinks from Sonic and at least 6 - 12 oz cans a day. WAY to much! So for the past 3 days I have had ONE Diet Coke a day.

2. I MUST get moving more! Zumba, gonna go for it thanks to my friend Katie for giving me her unused DVDs. My treadmill and elliptical that I purchased a year ago will be seeing me more often for other than dusting them off.

3. Food: Oh how I love love love carbs. I mean REALLY love carbs. So I will NOT be attempting a low carb "diet". Instead I will be be making healthier decisions, including limiting my calories, fat, & carbs and increasing my protein.

Saturday: Make a trip to town to buy a new pair of athletic shoes. If I am going to be working out, I needed some good comfortable shoes, right? Then it was off to the local TS for our routine shopping for chicken feed. On the way home, my husband and I were discussing getting more chickens. We decided to get a few more of another kind. So here they are:

6 Buff Orpington Pullets
They are currently located in a large Rubbermaid container. Once they get a little bigger we will move them out to the brooder.

I didnt workout on Saturday, but I did eat less than 1400 calories! :)

Sunday: I am well aware that we should rest on the Sabbath, however, that just doesnt always happen around our house. Sunday was my start day! Calories stayed at (just shy of) 1200, I walked/jogged 4 miles, and did an hour total of Zumba. I broke it up throughout the day, and I felt GREAT after it was all done.

Today/Monday: My sinus issues are hitting me full force today. I feel like I am in a fog, my head HURTS, by throat HURTS, my ears HURT, etc... Taking my sinus meds but the dark yellow pollen that invaded our area of the weekend has me miserable. On the bright side, SPRING IS COMING!!

My legs, arms, abs, glutes, etc ARE sore but not horribly. No pain no gain!

There it is.... for all the world to see! BUT..... Changes are a'coming!

February 23, 2012

Thursday Things In A Row

My Awesome Children (and daughter's boyfriend) indulging me on a photo shoot at a local state park.

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February 21, 2012

It's Carnival Time Part 3

Today is the day! Its Mardi Gras across the world. New Orleans is rockin' and rollin', but where am I? NOT IN NEW ORLEANS, I assure you! No folks, my days of down in the crazyiness of it all are LONG over!

Today, I am going to share the FAMILY side of Mardi Gras! No bare skin being flashed, no gigantic floats, no toasting of Kings & Queens, no magnificant ball gowns..... nope, we are gonna enjoy the QUIETER side of Mardi Gras today.

There are MANY MANY parades in the state of Louisiana that dont take place in New Orleans! Most of those parades are more family oriented. The floats are as outlandish, and its an all-around safer expierence for all involved.

Louisiana schools SHUT DOWN! Yes! We are out of school for the Mardi Gras holiday! My children will return to school on Thursday. No school: Lundi Gras, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday.

School Children Create Floats for School and "roll" Through the Hallways!

photo credit

Parents Decorate Wagons and "roll" through Neighborhoods with the Children as the Riders!

photo credit

Yes, There are Even PET Mardi Gras Parades!

photo credit
Many Families Spend the Day Together, Not at a Parade, but at a Family Bar-B-Que!

photo credit

I you have all learned something about the beloved season of Carnival in my series. Most people outside of Louisiana only see what the national news has to show on a Louisiana Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, that is not always the BEST light for my great state to be portrayed in. There IS a good side to this wonderful tradition and I hope you have all gotten a glimpse of it here. So, from me to you....


February 20, 2012

It's Carnival Time Part 2

Its LUNDI GRAS today! I hear you thinking "What is Lundi Gras?". Well.. it is the recently popularized name for Shrove Monday (the Monday before Ash Wednesday) and the day before Mardi Gras.The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of Confession and doing penance.  Lundi is French for the word Monday. Hence it's the Monday before Mardi Gras.

As Lundi Gras goes in South Louisiana, its the celebrated day of Rex, King of Carnival, arriving by boat to the city of New Orleans. King Rex then meets with King Zulu, of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, who also arrives by boat. The Mayor of New Orleans then toasts the two, giving them symbolic control of the city for the remainder of the Mardi Gras season.

As promised, in my last post, It's Carnival Time Part 1, I will give you some more information about the traditions of Mardi Gras. Let's do the "well known" traditions today and I will address the "family" traditions in my next post.
Let's start with my favorite Mardi Gras tradition, the King Cake:

King Cakes are probably the best (in my opinion) tradition of Mardi Gras. The King Cake is a sweet yeast bread cake traditionally oval in shape. It is covered with a poured sugar topping decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras-colored sugars of purple, green and gold. Purple symbolizing Justice, Green symbolizing Faith, and Gold symbolizing Power. These colors are representative of the jeweled crown in honor of the Three Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, is when the Carnival Season officially begins (January 6th).

The King Cake tradition is believed to have begun with French settlers around 1870. They were continuing a custom dating back to Twelfth Century France where a similar cake was used to celebrate the coming of the Magi twelve days after Christmas bearing gifts for the Christ Child, also known as King's Day

As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby (symbolic of the baby Jesus) is placed inside each King Cake but in the past, the hidden items were usually coins, beans, pecans or peas. In 1871, the tradition of choosing the Queen of Mardi Gras was determined by who received a piece of cake with the prize inside the piece. Today it is considered good luck and the person who discovers the plastic baby is to host the next King Cake Party.

I would say the most popular tradition of Carnival Season would be the Parades:

Parades.... that is what we all know the Mardi Gras season to be right? But what is a Mardi Gras parades about anyway?  On Mardi Gras of 1857, the Mystick Krewe of Comus held its first parade. The parades in New Orleans are organized by Carnival krewes. Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds. The most common throws are strings of plastic beads, doubloons (aluminum or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic throw cups, and small inexpensive toys. Most major krewes have a "signature" throw. Zulu has painted coconuts, Rex has a Golden doubloon, Nyx throws feather boas & crowns, Babylon does jester hats, and the list goes on and on. Major krewes follow the same parade schedule and route each year.

Not only do the parades include beautifully decorated floats, but there are bands, marching groups, mounted horses, dune buggies..... its a real show to see. Each and every parade is unique and the floats are magnificent!

Last but certainly not least on the "traditions" list? Well....... that would be EXPOSURE! We have all heard about it, right? And if you HAVEN'T, consider yourself fortunate indeed.

Saying it is "tradition" is like saying that people who get drunk and pass out on Bourbon Street are following "tradition" as well. Thankfully, this does not occur everywhere in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but just on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter area. An area known for its strip joints (where those interested in this sort of thing can see it year round).
Even the most demure ladies can cave in to the pressure of flashing their breasts for the coveted prize of Mardi Gras beads. Legend has it that this practice actually began very innocently. As early as 1871, masked characters would be riding on parade floats through the streets of New Orleans and they would be throwing out inexpensive souvenirs to the crowd. People are competitive by nature and the race was on to see who could collect the most throws. Beautiful young ladies would yell out, “Throw me something, mister” and fill their goodie bags with the collected loot. In the 1970’s, the notoriously raunchy French Quarter District gave the tradition a slightly different slant by coming up with the mutually beneficial bartering system of boobs for beads.

See It's Carnival Time Part 1

Stay Tuned for the Last Installment of It's Carnival Time.... where I will discuss the "family traditions" of the Mardi Gras Season!

Until then.....

February 19, 2012

Succulent Sunday Recipe - Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

I am from South Louisiana. Let's face it, folks.... we are known for our love of food. We love to grow it, we love to cook it, we love to eat it, and we love to share it! From delicious chicory coffee & beignets at Cafe Du Monde to the Thin Fried Catfish at historic Middendorf's,  we know how to eat some good tasting food in South Louisiana!

Arguably one of the most well known chefs in Louisiana, is Chef John Folse. A renowned chef and resturant owner in Creole and Cajun cooking. From hosting food shows to writing books, Chef Folse has made his name in the food world.

One of the best cookbooks known to man (at least in my humble opinion) is The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine by John D. Folse. Its not just a cookbook. Its loaded with beautiful photos of Louisiana and a history lesson on top of it all. Its not cheap, but this is one of those cases where I can promise you, you get what you pay for!

From his book & also his website, I will share with you my favorite "go to" cold winter recipes of Chef Folse's.

Note: The following recipe is from Chef John Folse's website

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yeilds: 8-10 Servings

Chicken and sausage are the most popular gumbo ingredients in Louisiana. The ingredients were readily available since most Cajun families raised chickens and made a variety of sausages. Oysters were often added to this everyday dish for a special Sunday or holiday version.

  • 1 (5-pound) stewing hen
  • 1 pound smoked sausage
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 24 button mushrooms
  • 2 cups sliced green onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprig of thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • Louisiana hot sauce to taste
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • steamed white rice
NOTE: You may wish to boil chicken 1–2 hours before beginning gumbo. Reserve stock, bone chicken and use meat and stock in gumbo. Using a sharp boning knife, cut hen into 8–10 serving pieces. Remove as much fat as possible. Cut smoked sausage into ½-inch slices and set aside. In a 2-gallon stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until golden brown roux is achieved. Stir in onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Blend chicken and sausage into vegetable mixture, and sauté approximately 15 minutes. Add chicken stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook approximately 1 hour. Skim any fat or oil that rises to surface. Stir in mushrooms, green onions, bay leaf, thyme and basil. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Cook an additional 1–2 hours, if necessary, until chicken is tender and falling apart. Stir in parsley and adjust seasonings. Serve over steamed white rice.

"Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!"

February 17, 2012


A friend of mine posted some weeks back, and I am sure some of you may have seen this already:

If I wake up tomorrow, with only the things I thanked God for today..... what will I have?

WOW! Ummmm HELLO! I don't know about you, but that really hit me in the gut. We take God's love for us for granted so much don't we? I personally, KNOW, that I don't thank him nearly enough for all of the blessings in my life.

So let this stand as YOUR wake up call, just as it did for me!

If YOU woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today, what would YOU have?

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

It's Carnival Time Part 1

Ahhh!! Only in the South can you hear the words "Its Carnival Time" and immediately start humming the tune by Al Johnson.  No, we dont mean the County Fair folks....... we are talking about the party of all parties - MARDI GRAS!

A bit of a history lesson on Mardi Gras:

Traditionally, Mardi Gras parades begin about 2 weeks prior to, and "roll" through, Fat Tuesday (French for Mardi Gras). Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. Though there is a "Mardi Gras season", to the locals, Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras refer to the same day.

Mardi Gras came to America in 1699 with the French explorer Iberville. Mardi Gras had been celebrated in Paris since the Middle Ages, where it was a major holiday. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, from where he launched an expedition up the Mississippi River. On March 3 of 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river about 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today. This was the day Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France. In honor of this important day, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.

During the early 1800's public celebrations of Mardi Gras centered around maskers on foot, in carriages and on horseback. The first documented parade occurred in 1837. Unfortunately, Mardi Gras gained a negative reputation because of violent behavior attributed to maskers during the 1840's and 50's. The situation became so bad that the press began calling for an end to the celebration.

In 1857 six New Orleaneans saved Mardi Gras by forming the Comus organization. These six men were former members of the Cowbellians, an organization which had put on New Year's Eve parades in Mobile since 1831. The Comus organization added beauty to Mardi Gras and demonstrated that it could be a safe and festive event. Comus was the first organization to use the term krewe to describe itself. Comus also started the customs of having a secret Carnival society, having a parade with a unifying theme with floats, and of having a ball after the parade. Comus was also the first organization to name itself after a mythological character. The celebration of Mardi Gras was interrupted by the Civil War, but in 1866 Comus returned.
(Photo & Article Credit)
In 1870 the Twelfth Night Revelers made their appearance. In 1871 they began the custom of presenting a young woman with a golden bean hidden in a cake. This young woman was the first queen of Mardi Gras. This was also the origin of the king cake tradition.

In 1872 Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans. This year the krewe of Rex made their debut and began the tradition of the "King of Carnival." Rex also introduced purple, gold and green as the official colors of Mardi Gras. Rex was the first krewe to hold an organized daytime parade and introduced "If Ever I Cease To Love" as the Mardi Gras anthem. One of the high points of Rex is the arrival of the Rex King on a riverboat. 1872 also saw the debut of the Knights of Momus on New Year's Eve.

Next Time: Local Mardi Gras Traditions 

Have you ever been to Mardi Gras? Its not for the faint of heart let me tell ya! Now, I am not talking about just what you see on Bourbon Street (which is usually the focus of the National News)..... oh no, there is more to Mardi Gras than just Bourbon Street. Mardi Gras traditions are as varied as the types of tomatoes we can plant in our gardens or the breeds of chickens we have roaming around in the backyard!

Until then......... I hope you all "Pass a Good Time"

Please stop by and visit Dandelion House & White Wolf Summit Farmgirl

February 16, 2012

Type 1 Diabetes Defined

I am a pretty passionate person! When I am into something, I'm not just into it... I'm IN TO IT. One of the things I am most passionate about is an ACCURATE portrayal of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

Our oldest daughter, Alyssa, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the tender age of 7. Talk about a hard blow that was! There I was, 7 months pregnant with our fourth child, and WHAM!... my "baby girl" was diagnosed with the horrific disease.

I think we have "come to terms" with the diagnosis now. I mean, its been part of our lives for **gasp** almost 10 years. Its not any easier to deal with now, but we certainly are more knowledgeable and don't panic as quickly these days. We still have moments of tears, screaming fits, and bitterness about the diagnosis. Yes, not just Alyssa but me too! The pain a mother feels for not being able to fix her child's "issue" is one that can only be truly understood if you walk in the mother's shoes.

Over the years, we have "heard it all" from friends, family and, yes, even strangers about T1D. Some are just un-informed, some are mis-informed, and some are just..... well, for lack of better words: heartless idiots!!!

Here are MY TOP 10  FACTS I would like to share with you about TYPE 1 DIABETES:

1. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. T1D occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The body attacks itself!

2.  It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Its causes are not yet entirely understood & scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Let me repeat, It has NOTHING to do with DIET or LIFESTYLE. A T1D can eat the same thing a non-T1D can eat - that doesn't make it a healthy choice (for either) but there are technically no food restrictions!

3. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and as of right now, nothing you can do to get rid of it.

4. Insulin is REQUIRED, its not an alternative. No insulin taken = Death. Its THAT simple! Some people are insulin resistant on top of being insulin dependant! They don't make the insulin needed, then when they take the insulin (via shot or pump), the body refuses to use it correctly. These people need a pill on top of the insulin.... but they still require the insulin.

5. Insulin is NOT a CURE! Refer to #3. Those with T1D need a pancreas that works properly.

6. Warning signs of T1D include:
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Fruity odor on the breath
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness

7. Every year, more than 15,000 children are diagnosed with T1D. It affects both children and adults, but is commonly referred to as "juvenile diabetes".

8. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS! In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells ignore the insulin. This is commonly referred to as "insulin resistant" diabetes. Type 1 = the body doesn't make insulin at all, Type 2 = the body doesn't use insulin correctly or has a reduced amount produced.

9. Some people, including my daughter, where a device called an insulin pump. This is an external device used to administer insulin into the body.

10. Having Type 1 diabetes does not stop you from leading a FULL & NORMAL LIFE! In the past 9 1/2 years since Alyssa has been diagnosed she has danced, been on the school cheerleading squad, gone to youth camps, has a boyfriend, maintains over a 3.0 GPA in high school, goes to football games, rides horses, runs track for high school, actively involved in FFA, coaches two little conference cheerleading squads, leads Vacation Bible School crafts, drives a car, goes to dances, eats pizza, ice cream and candy, stays up all night and sleeps all day..... just like EVERY OTHER "NORMAL" TEENAGER!

Please go to www.jdrf.org for more information about Type 1 Diabetes and to support research to find a CURE!

February 15, 2012

An Apron Challenge

Over the weekend I (as you already know) spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. While my husband, teen daughter Alyssa and I were all working on jams & jellies a discussion ensued about aprons. The apron I am wearing in my post from yesterday was an apron that belonged to my mother in law before she passed away.

She was a wonderful lady and a FABULOUS cook. The apron reads "Visiting Kitchens with the Daily Star". The Daily Star is a local news paper where we live and they used to, once a week, visit with local folks known for their cooking and they would prepare a dish in the person's home. For their photo-op they were given this apron, that the got to keep. I wear it with pride and hope that her greatness in the kitchen has somehow worn off on me. (I also inherited her extensive collect of cookbooks, which I use often.)

While we were working this weekend, for some reason, we started talking about the apron and the others we have hanging in the kitchen. I said I wanted to make some more "newer" aprons. That of course created my internet search for apron patterns and idea. (I go to google for everything! Its sad, really, how much I depend on the internet.)

So there I am: relaxing on the sofa, feet throbbing from being on them all day in a poor shoe choice (slippers), searching to my hearts content about aprons when I stumble across a blog on Willow Homestead that made my heart leap!

Make An Apron A Month!?!?! Oh wow... this could be F-U-N! I can't wait to start this. I have already started rummaging through my fabric for what I want to use. More internet searches needed for more cute ideas. Cute but functional of course!

Here is one I think is adorable
Photo Credit

Got any ideas you wanna lay on me? Let me hear from you! Do you care to join me?

Hugs from the South

February 14, 2012

Busy Weekend = Sweet Results

Not only did we make our own laundry detergent this weekend, we did ALOT of canning! Its getting closer to spring time and we needed to get our freezers cleared out of all the berries and juice we had prepared last year that wasnt made into jams & jellies then. Since it was an unusually cold weekend here in South Louisiana, we decided this was a perfect weekend to do some canning.

First up was Mayhaw Jelly: This weekend we put up 48 1/2 pint jars of Mayhaw Jelly which is one of our favorites!

This is the shelf in my sunroom where the jelly did its final cooling before being moved to the overflow pantry area in the laundry room.

Second up was Strawberry Jam: This weekend resulted in 72 1/2 pint jars of Strawberry Jam which is BY FAR my children's favorite. We usually go through 1 or 2 jars a week at our house.

Dont those strawberries look delicious!

Of course.... using a burner on the front porch sure does make that water bath boil faster than on the stove and we dont heat the house up as much either!

And you simply CAN NOT spend a day of cooking during Mardi Gras season without eating King Cake while you cook! lol

I even had my hubby in the kitchen cooking. He was stirring the jelly here, but see that pot in the back? That was his delicious vegetable beef soup simmering to perfection!

The BEST part about cold weather is hot food!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as we did!


round button chicken

Welcome New Follower - Lisa, Lisa Lynn & Clint

Good Morning & Happy Valentine's Day!

I would like to welcome & thank my newest followers Lisa at Two Bears Farm,  Lisa Lynn at Little Homestead on the Hill and Clint at The Redeemed Gardner.

If you get a moment, please stop by and visit  them and don't forget to tell them that Strawberry Adventures sent you over!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day

February 13, 2012

Yes... We DID Make Our Own Laundry Detergent

I have been reading more and more about people making their own laundry detergent, cleaning products, etc. After looking over many different articles, blogs and posts I decided it was something I wanted to try myself.

Lets face it: we ALL want to save money! That was my main reason for trying it. With six people in our house, there are always clothes waiting to be washed. One of my favorite things about my house is the 14' x 14' laundry room. Its nearly as big as my bedroom (or is it bigger? hmmm). Anyway.... its a huge laundry room, one of the most used spaces in our home and I love it. I have a table to fold clothes on, shelves to put the folded clothes on, and a hanging bar to hung clothes up immediately.

We also have an upright freezer in there and one whole wall is lined in shelves that we use as our overflow pantry. Above the washer and dryer are more shelves used for "utility" type things and extras like oil lamps, foot baths, Igloo water cooler, etc. Needless to say, our laundry room is a well used room.

But back to the laundry detergent: I decided to try it out. So, one of my (many) projects over this past weekend was to make laundry detergent. Now mind you, my darling husband thinks I am crazy, and my ex-husband thinks I have totally gone off my rocker. But oh well.... when I have saved my little family some cold hard $$ that when I get to laugh at all of THEM!

The total start up cost of this "project" was about $20. I purchased the following things:

1 Box of Borax
1 Box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
2 Bars of Octagon Soap
1 Bottle Essential Oils
1 5 Gal bucket with lid

Now, I didn't use NEARLY all of that for my first batch, but I couldn't see explaining to Walmart that I only wanted 1 cup of Borax & 1 cup of Washing Soda, so I went ahead and bought the whole box they sold it in! :)

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar Octagon Soap
15-30 drops Essential Oil

I have seen many recipes using Fels-Naptha soap, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I saw the "spot" for it in two stores, but they were out so I went with the Octagon soap instead. From what I have seen, any all-purpose bar soap will work: Fels-Naptha, Octagon, Zote, Ivory.

Step 1: Grate 1 whole bar of Octagon Soap

It kind of looks like cheese huh?

Step 2: Mix the grated soap in a pot with 4-5 cups hot water  on medium heat until the soap melts down completely. DO NOT let it get to a boil. Stir in continuously.

Just keep stirring the pot!

Step 3: Once the soap is dissolved, pour it into a 5 gal bucket. Then add: 1 cup Borax & 1 cup Washing Soda. Mix until mostly dissolved.

Add Soap mixture, Borax & Washing Soda to bucket

Step 4: Fill bucket 1/2 full with HOT water. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil for every 2 gals of water. (I used about 25 drops total even though I used more than 4 gals of water.) Mix until well blended.

Yes, I brought the bucket onto the porch and used a drill with a mixer attachment on it!
Step 5: Fill the bucket the rest of the way up with hot water and mix well.

Step 6: Cover and let set over night. Once it has set, it may appear clumped up or like gel or may be watery. (Mine was a mixture of gel and watery.) NO BIG DEAL! Just stir it up and then put into containers (I am using emptied liquid Tide containers).

USE: 1/2 cup per load of laundry

Now I am sure you want to know the COST of this right? Here is my breakdown:
(1 - 5-gal bucket not included in price below)

1 Bottle Essential Oil - $3.60 (Reg Price $5.99 but I got it on sale)
1 Box Borax - $3.38  - 76 oz = .04 cents/ oz
1 Box Washing Soda - $3.24 - 55 oz = .06 cents/ oz
1 Bar Octagon Soap - $0.97

8 oz Borax - $0.32
8 oz Washing Soda - $0.48
1 Bar Octagon Soap - $0.97
Essential Oil (approx 1/5 of bottle) - $0.75
Water - FREE

Total Cost of 5 gals (approx 150 loads)
$2.52 or $0.02 a load

Tide: $19.98 for 170 "loads" = $0.12 a load

When doing JUST 2 loads of laundry a day I am saving:
$0.20 a day
$1.40 a week
$6.00 a month
$72.00 a year

And that is if I only wash 2 loads a day.... I WISH!!!


Not just that we will save $ but that we are being more self-sustaining!

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