Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homemade Detergents

I have been making my own detergent since September. I was very intimidated with the process when I first learned of it. Visions of failed 11th grade chemistry experiments danced in my head. After seeing two young Duggars from 19 Kids and Counting making it on their own, I had to give it a try.

After a little research, I settled on this homemade laundry detergent recipe. I thought it was cool that it was posted by a guy who seemed to be having a ton of fun with this chore.

Although I have since used many varieties of soap, I've found that an entire bar of Fels Naptha soap works best. It is a soap specifically made for laundry purposes and has powerful cleaning ability.

If your family wants the fake chemical "clean" smell like mine does you can put in one capful of Suavitel fabric softener as a final step. I've tried adding a couple different essential oils instead but they don't leave the lasting impression that the fabric softener does.

I also have tried making dishwasher detergent. I see a lot of people on the web claim that one tablespoon of a powdered mixture of 1/2 Borax and 1/2 washing soda works well. I have tried this. Even when I add the recommended citric acid I do not get good results with my water. So I continue to purchase Cascade in bulk for now. I am open to any new suggestions on this though.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April Date: Cheescake Factory

Kevin and I have "date night" once a month. I know that probably doesn't seem like much to those of you without a large family but this takes a lot of effort and I am very grateful for it.

He had been given a gift card to Cheesecake Factory for appreciation from one of his player's parents. We also had two $25 Frank and Pauly's gift certificates from my sister for a Christmas present yet to spend. After discovering that Frank and Pauly's has closed for good, we went to the Cheesecake Factory.

He chose a steak that came with french fries AND onion rings. The cook was kind enough to sub extra fries for his unwanted rings. I got the Steak Diane and couldn't have been more pleased with it. It came with a big mound of mashed red skin potatoes. I took at least a third home and still had no room for dessert. I couldn't even be tempted by Kevin's Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake dessert. He had every bite all to himself.

I encourage you to try date night with your spouse. It's especially important in large step families where the marriage relationship often takes a real beating.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Child Care: healthy meal habits

As a daycare provider, I get to participate in the Child and Adult Food Care Program. They train me twice a year, how to serve healthy proportionate meals to children in my care. I spend a lot of time planning for nutritious meals and snacks that the kids will eat.

Check out this chart. Did you know that the correct grain serving size for a preschool child aged 3-5 is a half a slice of bread? That will make 1/4 a sandwich. Their bellies are not all that big so we need to stop making them entire sandwiches and then complaining when they don't clear their plate.

One of the children I take care of was labeled "overweight" by her doctor a while ago. Dealing with weight issues myself, I know how horrible this can be so I work extra hard for her to monitor that what she is eating is not only healthy but the correct serving size.

Two weeks in a row she has come back from lunch with the grandparents with an entire donut to be eaten as "dessert". I know she has just eaten an unmonitored lunch with them so has probably already consumed too many calories. Now they want me to feed her an entire fat laden, fat and sugar frosted, fried donut? Call me the bad guy but I put it in the book bag for her mom to deal with.

When choosing a day care situation for YOUR child, be sure to evaluate the nutritional standards of the program. Ask to see the menus and find out how they are planned. Quiz the provider about appropriate serving sizes. Food should never be used as a reward or punishment. You do have a say in how your child's nutritional needs are met when you are at work.

If you are like most people, your child spends most of his waking hours in a child care situation. Please do your part to make sure he is learning healthy nutritional habits and eating patterns. One day he will thank you for it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now why didn't I think of that?

Looking for something to read the other day, I pulled Be CentsAble by Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee out of my husband's pile of library books. It suprised me that they recommended using wholesale clubs to save money as I have never found them much of a bargain. I renew my Sam's Club membership every year just to be able to purchase the commercial type paper towels that I need for daycare purposes. The authors were quick to point out that just by purchasing one item(milk) there, they save over $200 a year each.

Since we go through about 5 gallons of milk a week, I thought I would try this. Knowing that multiple trips to Sam's specifically for milk would offset my savings, I planned to follow their advice for stockpiling milk in the deep freezer. Kevin raised his eyebrows when I mentioned freezing the milk (being raised on a dairy farm makes one quite particular about milk)so our initial purchase was only 6 gallons. We will see how it goes.

I'm excited because if it works, I will be saving about $5 a week or $260 a year!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breaking the Silence: impending blog name change (Lord willing:)

To anyone wondering if our last post was significant of anything....I am stepping out of denial to publicly acknowledge it.

I am 20 weeks pregnant! We are happily expecting our new addition in late summer.