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Making Your Own Laundry Soap for a Year in 20 Minutes for Under $50

…and 15 minutes of that is just grating a bar of soap.

I’ve been using this homemade laundry detergent recipe from Raising Colorado for a year and I love it. I even use it on A’s cloth diapers now and it works great.

I actually had everything set up and was going to show you how fast it was to make via video. I was going to try to make it EVEN faster by using my blender to break up the soap bc someone had recommended using a food processor. Well, newsflash, blenders are not the same and it was an epic fail, but even with that screw-up I still got it done in 2 minutes by hand grating the soap like I usually do (cheap dollar store grater). Unfortunately, the video was still totally terrible and out of focus. So instead, I’ll just give you some pics and links to the products on Amazon (I realize I could buy them in the store, but it’s a whole lot easier to find them on Amazon and just have them delivered in no time at all for free.)

bar of Zote, grated (I bought a 3 pack of the bigger bars this time because it was cheaper, so I just didn’t quite grate the whole thing – $10.23 for 3 large bars)
TOTAL $47.22
Prices listed are for when I wrote this post, but give you some idea. Right now 77 Tide Pods are $20. And my stuff does waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than 77 loads!
Just dump all that stuff together and mix it up! Use about 1 tablespoon per load of laundry (maybe 2 if your stuff is heavily soiled or has lots of polyester/under armour type stuff). For stains, I soak stuff in Dawn pre-wash (GREAT for oily stains…it does clean oil off baby birds, after all!) or use Honest Company stain remover, or sometimes toss in an Honest Laundry Pod.
I use one of those Lowe’s big bucket things to mix it in. Wear gloves (and maybe not your black work pants? oops) while mixing, or it will bother your skin. Also, it mixes better if you grate the zote in last (tends not to stick together in a big clump), but I was all annoyed by the blender thing so I wasn’t thinking.
Grated Zote

Grated Zote

all mixed up

all mixed up

I store mine in some dollar store plastic shoebox things on a shelf in the laundry room. Our last batch lasted us just about a year even with new baby laundry, and for $50 that is pretty freaking great!

in its shoebox home!

in its shoebox home!

I want to try homemade dishwasher detergent next, because we go through that stuff like crazy. I don’t want it to suck, though. Note that we do have hard water. If you have a recipe that works, let me know!

Wordless Wednesday – Baby Foot Jinglies

ainsley foot jingles ainsley foot jingles

Signs of Spring

I’ve been feeling a bit…overwhelmed? Here lately. I had a sinus infection that I let progress into a bad case of tonsilitis (probably strep they said, but I wasn’t waiting for the long test’s confirmation and the quick test came back negative), including a nice fever, chills, and general horribleness. Meaning I had to take 2 days off work that I have been desperately squirreling away since we are taking TWO glorious summer weeklong vacations this year (one with friends and one with family). So I’ve been feeling not great lately. And Will has had a ton of training lately so our daycare schedule has been all wack, meaning A is often grumpadumpy when I get home because her naps are understandably crazy when she’s being bounced around a lot. And it keeps not being QUITE as warm as you want it to be for more than a day at a time. There are so many things I want to do around the house and yard (and blog and life), but between work and kid and family, man there is just not enough time. I envy all the bloggers who don’t have another day job. But anyway. In short, I am ready for MORE OF THIS.

daylilies stained glass

radish seedling





Brick Edgers for the Garden

Just in case it takes me forevvvver to do a full post, I wanted to do a quick post on our new garden edging. First off…LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFULLLL! (Click for bigger; I’m lazy tonight.)

brick edger

I will share more/better pics later on. Yes, that is still the storm door leaning against the front of the house from the termite debacle. (Sidenote: while placing the rocks during this project, I found termites under them…and I’m scared. They sprayed around the base of the house, so I’m not sure if I should be concerned that they’re a few feet out or not…?)

We decided on this kind of edging for a couple reasons:

  1. Our previous edger was a few inches thick flat row of recycled tire stuff, meant to look like a thick row of dark mulch around the edge. We have crabgrass and bermuda grass in the front yard, so no matter how hard we tried, it just grew right over and into the garden.
  2. Because the garden beds are sloped up a bit, it was hard to keep much in them, especially at the edges, since it tended to run off.
  3. I hate the scallop top bricks, but I think these look nice and allow for easy shaping without having to prepare in advance and know how many curved pieces etc you need. (The circle end just fits in the semicircle cutout of the previous brick, so you can curve as much as needed.)
  4. This would allow us to seamlessly integrate edging in the driveway side of the garden that was currently just bordered by the driveway’s blue chip rocks.

How did we do it?

  1. Pulled up the old tired edging, making sure to get all of the nasty rusted metal landscaping pins that held it down. This was kind of hard because of how much the grass had grown into it.
  2. Used our small Troy-Bilt tiller to rough up the area that needed the bricks. This allowed up to bury them a bit, and also break up some of the weedgrass that had crept into the garden beds.
  3. Buried the bricks in a bit (just so they’re stuck in the dirt and won’t move) and moved the soil back around them.

Next step? Mulch! Ugh the gardens (including the side garden) are SO in need of mulch. Bare dirt in many places, just begging for weeds to move in. The last time we mulched was actually in October 2011, when Ainsley was still in my belly! Crazy. So we’ll have to decide whether we want to get bags or truckloads, then get ‘er done in the next couple weeks. Since I planted the Nandina and moved some stuff around in the fall, I am happy with the placement of everything and don’t see myself moving anything in that garden this year, so it’s mulch time!

Check back later for some pics and a video of Will in action with the tiller. I am juuuust not feeling up to it tonight as I am scheduling this post. Anticipation, my friends! I also still have a lot of work to do in the raised beds. Of course it’s going to be gorgeous all this coming week here…until the weekend, when it will get chillier. Figures.

Also, just a reminder, do you like me on Facebook? Cuz I give sneak peeks on there all the time when I’m not feeling up to a whole full post.

How to fix leggy seedlings

I am starting my seedlings this year under some office lights, in a storage bin, in front of a window, on top of the dog kennel. They get pretty good light, but some still get a bit leggy. And while eventually they’re just too leggy and it’s difficult, it IS easy to fix legginess in some seedlings, like tomatoes.

fix leggy seedlings

This little guy qualifies as a bit too leggy for my liking. (Yes, I should also snap off one of those plants to avoid crowding…)

fix leggy seedlings

See, tomatoes are actually sort of a vine. If you’ve ever had a butt-ton of cherry tomatoes volunteer in your yard, you know that. Wherever the vine/stem hits dirt, it will tend to root.

So if your seedlings are too leggy, all you have to do is either add more dirt on top, or gently push them down (be careful not to totally break the roots it does have) farther into the dirt and water them down a bit so they’ll grow some more strong roots on that stem.

fix leggy seedlings

Much better!

fix leggy seedlings

Now to tame the rest of the “too leggies”. This is not a catwalk, tomatoes!!

fix leggy seedlings