Saturday, April 12, 2008

Photobucket Laundry Experiments

Quit LAUGHING! It was only a matter of time. When I began grinding wheat and baking bread I got a lot of teasing. "How long does it take before a homeschooler begins grinding her own wheat?" har, har, har......but NOW I'm going to MAKE LAUNDRY DETERGENT! ::snort::

While Mike was deployed, and I had much time to think, I decided that we'd mastered the food thing and would move on to chemicals in our home. I bought some all natural laundry detergent from co-op. The boys complained. They thought they smelled - they were right. The little's clothes were also coming up with lots of stains. We went back to Tide with Bleach.

I began to hear on a local email group of ladies that got together to make laundry soap. I think because it's FUN - not that it's so tough you need help - they INSIST that their clothes don't stink. THEN one Friday at produce co-op Deja and I were discussing budgets and she mentioned she'd spent $12 for laundry detergent since JANUARY.....I spend $17 a pay check. Maybe a bit of stink is warranted. SHE also INSISTS their clothes come clean and don't stink.

I bought supplies. I thought the ladies were using the same recipe. They're not. Some make liquid and some make dry. Many use this recipe from Crystal Miller at The Family Homestead. I did a search and found this recipe for dry detergent at The Frugal Shopper. I opted for powdered soap as it seems easier to make, easier to store, and makes a more manageable amount.

Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 C Fels Naptha Soap (I used Ivory - and it smells nice)
1/2 C Washing Soda
1/2 C Borax

For light load, use 1 tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.

Deja uses 1/2 a C of Ivory and 1 C of soda and I adjusted the above recipe. I NEED this to work so I used the biggest amounts of both recipes.
Adjusted Laundry Detergent
1 C Ivory (bar)
1 C Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1 C Borax

Grate the Ivory soap. The toughest part of this was remembering that this was NOT mozzerella cheese...don't taste the Ivory.
Mix with soda and borax.
Whirl in a food processor (or blender).
Deja uses 1 T for normal loads and 2 T for tough dirt.
As I said earlier, Deja figured out she's spent $12 for detergent since Jan. I spent about $8 to buy supplies and have enough soda and borax left for MANY more batches of soap. I still have enough Ivory for 2 - 4.
How I Got Started Homeschooling or "Sacrifice/Surrender?" or "Conviction /Convenience/Choice?"

I WAS homeschooled back in the dark ages - 1968-71 or so....right, Mom? It didn't look like homeschooling does today. If you see the post further down you'll see that I lived in River Cess Liberia, West Africa. Mom and other Missionary teachers, used Calvert Correspondence to teach me K - 3rd. I think Calvert was about all that was available. Later I would attend private school while on furlough, public school while on furlough, and end up graduating from Faith Academy - a boarding school in Manila, Philippines for missionary children. Go I'll stop there or this will become a post on growing up in a boarding school rather than "how I got started homeschooling".

Mike attended public schools in CO and CA. I was clueless about public schools in the late 70's and 80's.

Freshman (me) met Upper Classmen (Mike) in Bible College (1982) and before we were even dating I had heard Mike state his convictions that he wanted his children to be homeschooled. This is the FIRST I remember hearing about homeschooling. I did some research about the topic and discovered folks were going to jail for this. I was young - didn't scare me. ::snort:: We eventually married and it was always known that God had laid on Mike's heart (and now mine) that we would homeschool any children we had.

We began "officially" homeschooling in 1989. We used CLASS as it was about the only group that we heard about that was 1. legal, and 2. would sell to homeschoolers (back then the big name homeschool companies were NOT selling to homeschoolers or they didn't exist yet. LOL)

Homeschooling has been a tremendous tool that God used in my life. I've learned patience and gentleness...traits I didn't possess early in life. Quite truthfully, God used my love of my children to cause me to allow that pruning in my life. I learned time management (sometimes I'm better than others), discipline, self-control and surrender. I've had FUN learning with the children. I've learned things I missed in my own education. I've even slowly begun to learn that crayons, mess, paper scraps are OK if it means FUN in school. ::snort:: I've learned how to surrender and sacrifice.

One of the biggest benefits we've gained from homeschooling is our LIFESTYLE. We are able to move often in the military without the fear of gaps in school districts. We can take off and spend time together on Mike's days' off. We can travel during the school year. The children have a close relationship and care for each other - they are all they have for socializing from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. each day. Our family unit and ties have been blessed in ways we didn't expect. We've been able to spend lots and lots of time with the children - mentoring and building mutual respect and love as a family unit.

Surrender.....SACRIFICE....did I mention those in passing? Homeschooling has caused me to make the tough choices for the sake of the call and vision to homeschool; for the sake of our vision of family. On a tape we received from CLASS early on, we were challenged to make homeschooling a CONVICTION rather than a CONVENIENCE. The speaker lectured about hard times, possible legal action etc and that if homeschooling was simply a convenience or a choice or a novelty, when the trials came we would give it up. We were challenged to pray over this issue and realized that it was a heartfelt conviction for us. This was what God wanted US to do for OUR family. This meant we sacrificed and we surrendered. Over time we've realized our choice was really chosen for us. I believe it is one of those "good works" prepared beforehand for us to walk in (See Eph).

I am called to daily die to self as I fulfill the call and vision God gave Mike (and then us as a couple) for our family. I have had to sacrifice a totally immaculate house, day time hours to pursue what *I* want, attending day time Bible studies, luxuries that many of my friends have....

As a family we've sacrificed. We live on one income. We skip some fun things in order to buy curriculum. We don't have the fanciest cars, the biggest house, the nicest toys, or wildest vacations....but it's OK - it's for the sake of His call for our family.

We have always said we'd pray each year about whether we should continue homeschooling (this was a great way to calm others' fears and we DID). I'm not sure I'd say we pray any longer about the decision.....because it's a's set after 18/19 years of homeschooling.....but we pray over each child, each year, each subject, each learning style, each opportunity that presents itself....and God continues to use homeschooling as a tremendous tool for growth in our family and in each of our personal lives.

There you have it - "how we got started homeschooling". This is my FIRST meme to participate in. If you'd like to read others thoughts on the same topic....go here for this week's participants.

The Ticker MOVED!

I realize that this isn't earth-shattering blog material for YOU - but the magnetic album ticker under goals in my side bar MOVED.

Last night was another Project Night. I spent March's night working two no-tie fleece quilts. I had no other projects but working on transferring photos for last night. I was NOT inspired...but hey....I'm their leader...I must go.

We had a good time. I loved the inter-generational interactions.  Laura was one of our new students.  Her parents owned a bakery. She grew up living above a bakery. It was fun to talk of her favorite dessert (and beg her to get her parents to send one to the chaplain's wife who has taken their young dd under her wing - but the truth is I know others are doing the same for my dds that are the same age). She told me that they used to make the dough the night before, let it rise in the fridge over night, then bake the next a.m. I think I'm going to try that - it would work well with my schedule, and we like our pizza dough like that. Jill was with us for the last time last night - she'll be moving on before May. Ugh.

I got another album transferred. I've filled the one Creative Memory album. CM is making changes to the size of their albums et al. I need to figure out how many packs of pages and things I will need to fill the albums I have here so that when I get to them, I don't run out of pages that will fit! (Shew run on sentence.)

I also began talking about a new style that will use up my paper, give my albums a bit of color, and still be QUICK. I think. We shall see. Thanks for the tips, Sherri.

At this point, I plan to continue to simply treat those big blank pages as "photo album pages", slap those photos in and journal. I'm getting them DONE, and that's my goal. I don't think I'll ever go back to my former "hobby" scrapbooking style (where it could take 6 hours to put ONE photo in the album).....but Sherri covers the page with colored paper which gives COLOR that I LOVE, and then slaps her photos down on the page. I think that would be QUICK and colorful. I may finish transferring these that Mom made for me and then try that on the ones after that.....because I began these this way, and I don't want to change mid-project, but I AM starting a new album in this project, and I'm out of natural pages and so have to change to white anyway.  Maybe I'll begin covering the white pages with paper in the next album....ugh decisions. LOL

I've transferred 5 of the magnetic albums Mom made me to this album.
Yes, I really am just transferring them - and it's been a trial to Debbie and Sherri to see me happily slapping photos onto the pages - but it's done! ::snort::
Now, I know what many of you are thinking, "You can go back, and do it right later." I reserve that right - but for now this seems exactly right. The kids can now see photos of me with my pet monkey, sleeping with my pet racoon, carrying wood on my head, in my African garb.  In other words, they can see photos to go along with the stories, and they don't CARE if each photo is matted. Thanks again mom for the gift of time and effort it took to make this album set for me all those years ago. GEEPERS - it WAS time to change the photos...many were being eaten by the magnetic pages.