Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Want Chickens

Our dream (hopefully sometime in the near future) is to get a place with some acreage. Roger would like 20 acres with a little bit of woodsy area so that if a goose or deer were to walk onto our land, he could shoot it and we'd have some food. I just want enough land to have some chickens, and maybe goats some day. I love farm fresh eggs, and although I've heard chickens can make a real mess, I still want them. Here at Lake Waltanna where we live now, there are actually some goats in the stable area and I am amazed at how well they keep the grass short--nature's lawn mowers.

A few weeks ago while the kids were at their Awana program I went to hang out at the bookstore with some friends. One friend already lives on a farm (I think it's around 80 acres) and has a variety of animals to take care of. The other friend who lives in the city of Wichita discovered that she is allowed to have chickens in her back yard! What?! Really?! People are allowed to have chickens in the city of Wichita and our development of Lake Waltanna out in the country will allow horses and goats but specifically states in the by laws no chickens? NO FAIR!  Anyways, while at the bookstore, the friend with the farm took us to the magazine section and showed us the following (who knew?):

Monday, February 21, 2011

Look What I Made: Homemade Laundry Detergent

After about a year of hearing other friends making their own laundry soap, and after doing some research on the subject, I finally decided to make my own. Most of my friends make the liquid form, but I decided to make the powdered form because most sites said to use powdered for top load washing machines, and liquid for front load washers. The recipe I used was from the Duggar family famous for the show 19 Kids and Counting, but most sites use the same recipe. It was so simple to do, and although I haven't done the math, I think we are going to be saving quite a bit of money. I have done 4 loads of laundry so far, including whites, and they all came out great. I even washed a new silk sweater with no problems. So far, I'm loving it and it was so easy to make. The kids enjoyed helping make it also. It was our home economics part of school on Friday.

The first ingredient is a bar of soap. Fels-Naptha is recommended, but sites said Ivory could be used, as well as other brands which I can't remember the names of right now.
You are instructed to either grate the soap, or cut it into pieces and put into a food processor. We decided to take the grating approach. It looks like we're grating a block of cheese, huh?
 After grating for a few minutes, we decided to go ahead and try to cut the soap into pieces and put it into the food processor. I soon learned that this soap was hard to cut with a knife, but I got a few pieces cut.
We put on the food processor grating blade and added the soap.
Did not like the results. Pieces were getting stuck between the blade and lid. Maybe we need to try the regular blade, or our processor is old?
So, we went back to grating our soap. Still looks like cheese, huh?
After that, we put it in the food processor with the regular blade to grind into powder.
 Now it looks like cornmeal, huh?
Once that is done, I put it into a ziploc tub and added a 1/2 cup Borax and
 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. Mix it all up.
 I'm keeping a tablespoon in the tub and only have to add 1 tbs for a load of laundry, or 2 tbs for more soiled laundry (like towels).

I think the recipe said this amount would do 40 loads of laundry. It would be very easy to double or triple the recipe and just keep in a bigger tub. Roger bought the ingredients, so I'm not sure the exact price of the Fels-Naptha, but I'm pretty sure the Borax was less than $3, and the Washing Soda less than $5. They are large boxes and considering I am only using 1/2 to 1 cup of these products at a time, right there is a savings in money. It'll only cost me money to buy a new soap bar each time I need to make more. I think I'm really going to like this and am wondering why I didn't do this sooner. Try it and see for yourself.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

You Rock Evan!

A while back I posted some pics of the kids rock climbing at the YMCA. This is a video of Evan making it to the top!

Tons of Geese

This is what we saw on our lake a couple of weeks ago coming home from church. Amazing!