Homemade Laundry Detergent: A Penny For a Load

A couple of months ago a friend raved about her homemade laundry detergent. “It’s safe for babies!” she claimed. “It gets the dirt and oil out of my husband’s work clothes!” But what really spoke to me was the cost. “It’s just a penny a load!” So I decided to try it. I bought the three necessary ingredients at my grocery store for a grand total of $7.60. And in about 30 minutes I had five gallons of the stuff. Two months later I’ve probably used less than 1/8th of it. It only takes 1/4 of a cup to wash a load so that means I made enough for 640 loads of laundry! I love not having to buy detergent. It definitely is saving me big bucks.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

My church, LifePoint, in Greenville started doing quarterly supply drives for an amazing ministry in our community called Miracle Hill. One of the things on their list of needs was powdered laundry detergent so I called them up and asked if they’d take homemade detergent. They said they would gladly accept it and also asked for the recipe. So last night several members of the LifePoint Missions Team got together and made laundry detergent.

Laundry Detergent

I spent about $40 on supplies and in an hour we made enough to wash 840 loads of laundry. According to my math that’s about 4 cents a load. I compared that to the cost of powdered Tide on Amazon which is 43 cents a load. That’s a 90% savings! The process is easy and we had a lot of fun with it. The hardest part is grating the bar of soap, but it’s actually a really good arm workout!

Laundry Detergent

 

The liquid version is even cheaper, but the powdered recipe is still a huge bargain. The only ingredients are:

  • 1   Fels-Naptha soap bar
  • 1  Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • ½  Cup Borax

My friend Tamara even uses Borax in her dishwasher and to wash her floors. She says it works great and it’s so much cheaper than other cleaning products. If you are interested in making your own here are the recipes:

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

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Found: Modern White Crib at Walmart

If you’re a fan of modern design you know that for some reason when you tack the word “modern” onto a product you end up adding about 50% to the price. So when I was searching for a modern white crib I started to get a little concerned that I was going to have to fork over way more than I wanted to. But then through a miraculous Google search I stumbled across a place I never shop: Walmart. And I found this little lovely:

Baby Mod - Olivia 3-in-1 Baby Crib

Baby Mod – Olivia 3-in-1 Baby Crib

Although design is usually the most important thing to me when shopping (besides price) I knew I also had to consider whether or not the thing was doused in chemicals or covered in lead-based paint. Thankfully it’s not! I was happy to see that it almost has a perfect five-star rating from people who have purchased the crib. And I also thought it was interesting to see that the Walmart version, which is $269, is the exact same as the babyletto Modo 3-in-1 Convertible Crib found at other retailers. The biggest difference was about $110 in price. They’re even made by the same manufacturer. Can you tell the difference?

babyletto-modo-3-in-1-convertible-crib--espresso--best-price-8

babyletto modo 3-in-1-convertible-crib

I am not a Walmart shopper for many reasons. Probably at the top of the list is that I just don’t like being there. It feels cluttered and chaotic to me, but since I ordered the crib online I only had to spend a few minutes in the store picking it up from customer service. It was easy to put together and currently waiting patiently for the baby it will soon hold!

Sam's New Crib

Sam’s New Crib

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A Look Back at 32

Tim and I in LiberiaTomorrow is my birthday and I plan to celebrate with some shopping, relaxing and a milkshake. Tim’s birthday was last month and we spent it at the Powerscourt Ritz Carleton outside of Dublin enjoying a five star meal at Gordan Ramsey but for my birthday Tim’s taking me to Cook-Out Burgers. Don’t worry– I’m not mad. It was my idea after I saw a sign on the side of their building that says they offer 40 milkshakes. I’m already a little nervous about having to choose just one flavor!

Anyway, when my birthday comes around I always like to take some time to reflect on the past 365 days. (Here’s last year’s for instance.) Here are some of the highlights of 32:

  • I enjoyed seeing my byline in more magazines than ever before including about half a dozen times in REDBOOK.
  • I opened the Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2011 to see huge color photos of my friends and I along with a write-up about our Traveling Journal.
  • In early July I spent several days in Atlanta promoting authors at the International Christian Retail Show. I also got to visit CNN and see fellow Iowa State alum Jacqui Jeras.
  • On July 18 I found myself sitting on the set of The Today Show with my best friends talking about the Traveling Journal.
  • I spent the first two weeks of August in Liberia, Africa helping to drill wells in remote villages and share Christ with Muslims.
  • I spent the last two weeks of August enjoying time with visiting relatives from Northern Ireland. We had a fun trip to Atlanta where we bumped into Whitney Eve Port from The City.
  • My sister came to visit and we had an amazing time which included a trip to the Old Edward’s Spa– amazing!
  • I helped plan and organize the Reality Check event, benefiting Water of Life. We raised a couple of thousand dollars to help drill wells in Third World countries.
  • We spent Thanksgiving in Florida with Tim’s parents and got to see some of my friends.
  • For Christmas we headed to Seattle for an extended visit. Tim and I went skiing, shopping and site seeing.
  • In January we found out we were expecting!
  • Tim and I did several weekend getaways for a magazine including a resort in the Georgia mountains, The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, and the Opryland in Nashville. All of them were so fun and full of special memories. We also got a behind-the-scenes tour of Dave Ramsey’s headquarters which was a highlight.
  • In April we went to Northern Ireland for a 10 day trip that included amazing sites and some of the best food we’ve ever had. Plus we got to spend time with our family.
  • We found out that our baby is a boy and we named him Sam!

When I see it all written out like that it’s hard to believe that I will ever have a year quite as unique and memorable,

group with KL and Hoda

With Kathie Lee and Hoda on The Today Show

but then again, I am about to have my first child so that will be full of its own adventures and memories.

The older I get the more I realize that every year is special in its own way. There really doesn’t have to be a time designated as “the best years of your life” because each year has the potential to hold something remarkable. You just have to be willing to welcome new opportunities and often that means spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone. So here’s to 33– I’ll be toasting it with a milkshake!

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From Office to Nursery

I have begun the exciting task of turning my home office into Sam’s nursery. Here’s how the office looks now:

My Home Office

My Home Office

I still LOVE that Graham and Brown wallpaper– I even spotted it in Jeff Lewis’ house on an episode of Flipping Out. The white shelves will also stay, but everything else is pretty much on its way out. Here’s a visual plan I created:

Sam's Nursery Inspiration Board

Sam’s Nursery Inspiration Board

I basically built it all around the Skyline Nursery Collection from Dwell Studio. Since my husband and I love travel and NYC we thought it would make for a fun nursery theme. Here are a few of the tasks we have planned:

  1. Swap out light fixture with painted chandelier
  2. Move out most of the furniture
  3. Add a second dark gray Ikea curtain to each window
  4. Paint the inside of the closet a fun color to match the room
  5. Have our talented friend Barb at Knack Studios refinish a vintage dresser we own that will serve as storage and a changing table
  6. Create some handmade art
  7. Buy custom blackout shades— we have these in our bedroom and love them!
  8. Add a dimmer switch
  9. Refinish rocker/glider we found on Craigslist for $40
  10. Buy a rug and a few other accessories

That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? I hope to keep you updated on the progress as it happens so stay tuned as my office transforms into Sam’s  sanctuary.

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I’m Coming Out of Retirement

I’ve decided to pull a Michael Jordan and come out of retirement. After nearly a year and a half of silence, I’m going to start posting on The Honeymoon Phase once again. There are many reasons for this move, but the main one is that I need a place to express some of my recent and impending creative projects that just don’t have a home anywhere else. Plus a lot is going on right now and I want to make sure I catalog it all as best as possible.

Although so much has happened in the last 17 months (I started an online business, I was on the Today Show, my nephew was born, I traveled to Africa and a whole bunch more stuff) the biggest news is that I am expecting my first baby. Sam is due September 7, 2012 and I couldn’t be more excited.

Baby Sam, April 25, 2012

Baby Sam, April 25, 2012

So far I have had the best pregnancy. No sickness, no pains, no weird skin rashes. The toughest thing has been trying to find a pair of cute, affordable white maternity skinny pants. We did have some scary moments when our 20-week ultrasound revealed that Sam had some cysts on his brain and a calcium spot on his heart. We went to another doctor for a closer look and learned that these are two markers for a genetic disorder like Downs Syndrome. But Sam is developing normally in every other way so we are confident that he will be just fine. Many normal babies have these markers too and can grow out of them before they are born. They don’t impact function or development at all. No matter what we know that God made Sam in His perfect image and there’s nothing more we can ask for then that!

Sam's First Shoes

Sam’s First Shoes

I bought him his first pair of shoes this week. I found them on clearance at Michael’s for $2 and at first I thought they were just decorative little props for a scrapbook or shadow box, but they’re not! They’re real! Baby feet are shockingly tiny and I can’t wait to see Sam’s little toes in these! And that’s definitely worth coming out of retirement to talk about.

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