Friday, April 14, 2017

Parks, Easter, Socks, Naps & Taxes

  • We have had some nicer weather this week. Still some rain and some chilly days but we've gotten up into the 60's most days. As of right now it looks like all next week will be rainy again so we have been taking advantage of the weather this week. We have spent so much time outside and gone to so many parks! For sure we went to parks Monday evening, Wednesday morning, Wednesday night, Thursday night and this morning. I can't remember if we did a park at all Tuesday. I feel like we have to take advantage of this kind of weather before we get up into scorching temps where you can't even stand to be outside! It has been so fun and so nice to not be so cooped up in the house all week! 
{blurry, but she looks so happy!} 

  • I completely let Easter slip by this year. I bought an egg dying kit the other day...maybe we will still get around to doing it this weekend. I have a favorite egg wreath I love putting out every year that I never put out this year. I was going to blog about what my kids are getting for Easter and never got around to it. I haven't read the kids any of the Easter books I got out to read. And here it is, Good Friday. Speaking of what my kids are getting. I was reading an interesting "debate" about Easter gifts. I guess debate isn't maybe the right word. Parents were discussing what their families do and it was really interesting to read what people consider acceptable Easter gifts, if any. That's why I was going to blog about what my kids are getting and ask what yours are getting. Usually I try to do something practical like swimsuits or shoes for summer, summer toys, etc. This year they all already have several swimsuits so that was out. So I ended up getting them these super cute camping chairs (that are in my husband's trunk hiding, and he's at work so I can't take a picture...) that were about $6 at Walmart. I got them each a bunny bubble wand from the dollar spot and a "workout" outfit. They love wearing "exercise" clothes in the summer. I don't blame them-with the heat and humidity that's about all I want to wear most days, too. I don't think I'm going to fill any eggs with candy or anything this year. What do you do for Easter gifts, if anything? 
  • My oldest daughter decided a few weeks ago that she loves "mix-matching" (as she says) socks. She has started wearing mismatched socks every day and it just tickles her so much. I have no idea why she loves it so much but now my other daughter does it too, and she has recently decided to start wearing 2 pairs of on top of the other. Where do they come up with this stuff?! And now both of the girls mismatch the little ones socks as well. So random, but they just think it's the best thing ever. 
  • My girls stopped napping a couple months ago, but the other day my little girl wasn't feeling too well and wanted to "rest" on the couch. I thought for sure she wouldn't fall asleep but she eventually did. I was sitting next to her reading my Bible and I could not stop staring. She is so beautiful. 

  • My husband works for a tax company and I am SO READY for tax season to be over! Just a few more days! Out of curiosity-do you file your taxes early on in the season, or wait until the last minute? I can't believe how much of their business comes in within the last few days of the season! We usually try to get ours done in February. We are excited to have him back to normal hours next week! 
Hope you all have a great Easter weekend! 
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Friday, April 7, 2017

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

As my family has moved toward more natural living and chemical free products, I have looked into so many products. We have used at least unscented/free and clear type laundry detergents since my oldest was a baby because she had such sensitive skin, but even those have stuff I don't want on my family's clothes now that I've gained more knowledge about chemical exposure. I toyed with the idea of making my own, but some of the recipes I found were so complicated, and a lot of them still had ingredients I didn't really like!  I finally decided to just go for it. I had seen this recipe on Bren Did, but thought I would simplify it a little here for those who are interested in making their own! I first made this recipe in December of 2015 and JUST used up the last of my batch this week! How crazy is that?! For a family of 6 who does around 5-7 loads of laundry per week and used cloth diapers for part of that time, I cannot believe it lasted us so long!
On the flip side I was nervous I wouldn't like it and be stuck with a huge batch. No worries though. This detergent is awesome! It packs tons of power in a small scoop and is so gentle on our clothes and skin! Here is the recipe if you are interested in making a batch for your family! 

1 box super washing soda (3 lbs. 7 oz.)
4 lbs. baking soda
4 bars fragrance free castile soap
3 lbs oxiclean FREE or BABY (regular oxiclean does not rate well on the EWG scale!) 

To make: 
Grab a large container and start mixing everything together. I like to put a little of each ingredient in, then stir it up, then repeat until I've used it all up. For the castile soap bars, I use a hand cheese grater and grate into small shreds, then mix in with the rest of the ingredients! Overall, it takes less than an hour to make-a small price to pay for laundry detergent that will last for over a year! 
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

What I've Been Reading: Vol. 2

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about all the books I had recently read. I had intended to write one of these posts every so often, but I never did again. Until now! I'm not sure how many people find book posts interesting, but I always love getting recommendations for books. So, here is what I've been reading since about January! 

(Also, FYI, I go more with just telling about the books I've read and not really doing a synopsis. I figure you can read those anywhere.) 

  • The Connected Child was gifted to us by someone in our foster care circle based on some of the things we were going through and it was helpful to read! A lot of it was based on children who were adopted overseas and had lived in orphanages previously, but much of it was applicable to us being foster parents as well. I would recommend for foster/adoptive families who are going through certain struggles with their children. We learned a lot of things we can change to hopefully improve some things for our littles. 
  • Smitten is a collection of novellas written by 4 Christian authors. I LOVED this book. Such a light hearted, sweet, easy read. Each author writes the story line of one character so each of the short stories focuses on a different friend and you get bits and pieces of their stories through the other girls' stories, too. My only complaint about this book is that I wanted more! I loved all the characters and the short stories didn't give me enough time with each of them! 
  • The Goodbye Bride was the second story in a series that I started last year (that I didn't realize was a series when I started it!) This book was really good! I am falling in love with Denise Hunter's writing style. I can't put her books down. I could not figure out what was going to happen in so much of this book and it just kept me on edge the whole time. I will let you hop over to the link to read the synopsis. I would personally start with the first book in the series, but I think this also has enough information that it could easily be a stand alone if you didn't want the whole series. I just got the 3rd book in the series from the library last night and can't wait to read it! 
  • Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full  is a short little encouragement book about focusing on the gospel as a mother. I don't think there was anything hugely life changing in it for me, but I really enjoyed it. It has so many good little tidbits that had me thinking and encouraged me to focus more on the Cross on an hourly basis. 
  • Secretly Smitten is another collection of novellas by the same authors as Smitten. It takes place in the same town, but has different characters. The characters from Smitten show up in a few places, but not as part of the main story lines. Again, a cute, easy read. 
  • A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers. The only other book by Rivers I have read is Redeeming Love, which was amazing. So I had high hopes for this one. I don't read a lot of historical fiction but I absolutely loved this book. She tells the stories of 5 women in the lineage of Christ-Tamar, Rahab, Bathsheba, Ruth and Mary. Each story brought these women to life for me so much. She did such a great job of making a picture of what each of their lives and struggles were like! 
  • My sister in law gave me Me Before You when she had finished it. I hadn't even read the back cover when I started reading so I had literally NO idea what it was about. Whew. I just finished it a few days ago so I feel like I am still processing it because wow. So many feelings.  Apparently I am living under a rock because it's been a very popular book and now movie so odds are you may have heard of it so I won't get into the details but it is a heart wrencher FOR SURE. (And don't watch the movie after you've read the book-my husband and I watched it last night and both thought it totally botched the book!) I have a lot of thoughts-good and bad-about this book, but like I said, I'm still kind of processing it right now. This is a really intense story, so if you aren't prepared for a lot of feelings, don't read this one. 
I am about half way through with 2 nonfiction books right now that I should finish in the next week or so and I have a few new novels from the library I'm looking forward to digging into next! What have you read lately? 
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