An update to the recipe post, I was doing laundry about a week ago and realized we were on the last load of detergent and had no money to go buy any.  Luckily, I had already stocked all of the ingredients I needed to make a batch (smaller than the posted recipe), so Jack and I got to work mixing it up.  The smaller batch recipe we made was:
1 bar Fels Naptha
2 cups washing soda
2 cups borax
First I had to grate the soap.  It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting and dreading and didn’t take as long either! :) Here is the grated soap in all its glory:

Then we added in the washing soda.

 

Next Jack helped me pour in the borax.

Here is Jack pouring it in.

We reused our old detergent box instead of buying something new for it.

And here is the finished product:

Only 1-2 tbsp needed per load.  This made me feel very frugal and like I was doing something great for my family. :)  I heard recently that Fels Naptha is not really very eco-friendly.  Unfortunately I had already bought two bars when I heard that.  Once I use those, I will buy a soap that’s a bit more eco-friendly.

Just wanted to share the process with all of you! :)  Easy peasy!

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Non-food recipes

I’ve recently been collecting recipes for things I can make that will be a little more natural/eco-friendly and save us some money in the long run. I’m going to post each recipe here, so that they’ll be easier for me to find because they’re all in one place.

The one I’ve been looking at and wanting to make the longest is homemade laundry detergent.  I came across a great blog that had a recipe plus a recipe for cloth diaper-friendly detergent.

Clothing version:
3 Boxes Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz each)
2 Boxes 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz each)
1 Large Tub OxiClean (96 oz)
24 Bars of Soap, finely grated

Cloth diaper version:
3 Boxes Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz each)
2 Boxes 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz each)
1 Large Tub OxiClean (96 oz)

This blog also has a recipe for diswasher detergent without borax:
1 1/2 Cups Lemi-Shine (They come in 12 oz containers, so this is a full one)
1 1/2 Cups Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Sea Salt (any will do I’m sure)

Use 2 Tablespoons per load and if you like, vinegar can be added as the rinse agent.

Here is the source: The Eco-Friendly Family

More recently I have received recipes for aftershave and cloth wipe solution.

Aftershave:
1 tbsp coconut oil – unrefined
1/2 tbsp vaseline
1/2 tsp olive oil
5 drops tea tree oil
3 drops of lavender (or any other soothing good smelling oil)
Mix it up really well.

Cloth Wipe Solution:
3/4 cup water
3/4 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tbsp baby wash
2 drops tea tree oil
4 drops lavender oil

I got these recipes from Elizabeth Jamison.

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Something interesting

I am an educated person. I double-majored in college. My main major was Spanish. My second major was International Studies with a concentration in international development and humanitarian aid. I have a bachelor of arts degree. I still love school. I would still be going to college (probably for life) if I didn’t have to pay for it. I still love learning new things.

Every now and then I get really into researching different things. I know it is not the most reliable, “scholarly” source, but I just love Wikipedia. Yesterday, I learned something new, and I found it so interesting, I wanted to share it with someone, but I don’t really have an outlet for that, so I thought, why not use my blog?

First I googled “language trivia” and came across this website. It has some interesting trivia on it, but the one that really caught my attention was “The native tribe of Tierra del Fuego has a language
so guttural it cannot have an alphabet.” No alphabet?? I know some languages were not written until Christian missionaries came over like Quechua, but even they couldn’t come up with one??

Next, I looked up Tierra del Fuego on Wikipedia to find out the name of this native tribe. Well, there was two: Selk’nam and Yaghan. I looked up both of those, and I still don’t know which one has the language with no alphabet, but I learned something else I found even more interesting while reading about the Yaghans.

Even though the climate of Tierra del Fuego is very harsh, the Yaghans did not wear clothes until the Europeans arrived! Wikipedia lists four reasons they were able to survive with no clothes:

1) They kept warm by huddling around small fires when they could, including in their boats to stay warm.

2) They made use of rock formations to shelter themselves from the elements.

3) They covered themselves in animal grease.

4) Over time they had evolved significantly higher metabolisms than average humans, allowing them to generate more internal body heat.

5) Their natural resting position was a deep squatting position, which reduced their surface area and so helped to conserve heat.

I find this so amazing! Can you even imagine? I think the winter gets cold enough in Texas! lol I realize that’s ridiculous. I’m just not a cold weather girl.

Anyways, what are your thoughts?

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My fat baby :)

I am a pretty small person.  I am 5’3, and I swear I was 5’3 in 7th grade.  I have never (except while pregnant) weighed more than 110 lbs.  There used to be a big joke about how a guy had to be 6’4 or taller for me to date them.  I told everyone it was so my sons would have a chance. lol Really I just like to feel small, and that was pretty easy with someone much larger than myself. I am also a very softspoken, quiet person.

Who knew the love of my life would only be 5’11. lol He’s not a large man either. He is, however, probably the smallest one in his family.  He has a large family too…6 sisters and 1 brother.  He also has a large head.  He is a fairly shy, quiet person.

The whole time I was pregnant I was worried that I would be having a large baby with a huge head.  Everytime they would do an ultrasound, I would have them measure his head.  I really didn’t want him to get stuck.  My husband was almost 10 lbs at birth and his son (my stepson) was almost 10 as well.  So at times I really feared having what was sure to be a 12-lb baby by emergency C-section after getting his huge head stuck in my small pelvis.

I got pretty lucky…or so I consider myself. My son was born at 38 weeks and 6 days. He was only 7 lbs 6 oz, and his head fit just fine.  I won’t get into how his birth took place or anything.  With the topic of this post, it doesn’t really matter. When we left the hospital he was down to 7 lbs and I had to make an extra appt with his pediatrician and he was put on a feeding schedule to gain weight (at the time I was breastfeeding).

I believe it was by his 3-month appt that he was registering in the 90s percentile-wise for his weight.  His head has always been in the upper 90th percentile.  He quickly chunked up. Take the rolls on the back of his legs for example:

This was about 3 months old.  Notice his fat rolls have fat rolls. :) He didn’t get very tall until about 6 months. He is now 11 months old and has been wearing size 18M for a month or so.  He’s also loud.  People always mistake him for being way older than he is…even up to age 3!

I honestly never imagined having a fat, loud baby, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. :)  And as someone once told me, fat babies are cuter than skinny babies anyway. :P

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Cloth Diapers

In my quest to cut expenses, I’ve decided to try cloth diapers.  It was something I considered even before Jack was born, but I had no idea where to start, where to get them, etc.  Lately, I’ve talked to people who cloth diaper and have learned quite a bit.  I was still kind of iffy about it, so I decided a trial would be the best way to start.  I decided on the 21-day trial from Jillian’s Drawers because it looked like it had a good variety of different types, so I could really figure out what worked for me and Jack.  Here is what I received in the trial:
2 bleached Chinese prefolds
2 unbleached Indian prefolds
1 Snappi diaper fastener
1 Kissaluvs fitted diaper
1 Thirsties duo wrap
1 Fuzzibunz pocket diaper with insert
1 bumGenius! one-size pocket diaper with inserts
1 Thirsties duo diaper
1 bumGenius! V3.0 All-in-one
1 Gro Via shell with 1 soaker
1 Smartipants one-size pocket diaper with insert
5 flushable liners

I am definitely still figuring things out, but I think it’s going to work for us.  I know Jack is 10-months old and it’s not going to save us as much money as it would’ve if we’d started cloth diapering from the beginning, but I will have at least one more child, and we can start from the beginning with that one, so it will save us quite a bit in that sense.  Some people told me I wouldn’t like it, I wouldn’t want to do it, etc, and I’m glad to be proving them wrong.  I’m going to write about each item and what I think about them, just as a note to myself if I forget.  Different things work for different people, so if you’re reading this, please don’t think that because it didn’t work for me, it definitely won’t work for you.

I’m going to start from the bottom of the list.  The flushable liners are a great idea.  I’m still figuring them out a little bit.  The first time I used them, it got all twisted and moved in his diaper and was pretty pointless.  The last time I used them, it was a little better.  I guess I just need more experience with them.  I’m not a fan of playing in the toilet water, so I might end up getting a sprayer.
I’m really liking the Smartipants.  It has snaps instead of Aplix (velcro).  I’m thinking I will buy more of this brand.
I do not like the Gro Via one.  We’ve used it twice so far, and it has leaked both times.  I’m sure it doesn’t do that for everyone, so I don’t know why it’s doing that for us.
I like the bumGenius! AIO (all-in-one), but it uses Aplix.  That’s the one thing I don’t like about it.
Thirsties Duo Diaper has a double insert that snaps together.  It’s a good one, but has Aplix.
The bumGenius! pocket diaper is ok, but I feel like I need to use the last set of snaps on him, but then the front of the diaper bows outward, so I’m forced to snap it a little farther in and then I feel like it’s too tight.
I love the Fuzzibunz!  I really don’t have much else to say about it.  It had snaps and fit well.
The Thirsties Duo Wrap is used with the Kissaluvs and prefolds.
Kissaluvs was a fleece diaper.  I only tried it once, and it leaked on me.  It could’ve been that my son just had a super full bladder or something though.
The Prefolds I only tried once and didn’t really like them.  I didn’t really know how to use them well though.

Out of them all, I would probably buy Fuzzibunz, Smartipants, and <u>maybe</u> the BumGenius.  I ended up sending them all back except for the Fuzzibunz and Smartipants mostly because I couldn’t fit them all in the box I chose. :P
All of them that I got through the trial were blue and green and I wanted some cute designs and other colors too.  That’s another reason for sending them back.
I have already purchased a few through eBay and Etsy. I have yet to use them though because Jack has been battling diarrhea.  I admit, it’s just easier to use disposables for the poop.  I will start back up with cloth soon.  Especially when I get enough to use them round the clock.

I guess that’s all I have to say about them for now.  I’ve been working on this post for over a month, so I think I’ll just post it already! :)

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Breakfast

According to many sources, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have heard many reasons for this and also perks like eating breakfast can help with losing weight. Either way, breakfast foods are my favorite of any meal. I could eat breakfast for lunch or dinner, but I can’t eat lunch or dinner foods for breakfast. It just isn’t right. :)
I definitely want my kids to eat breakfast everyday. I remember that I had a friend in elementary school and her mom would make them a homemade breakfast everyday. All kinds of things! My parents made us homemade breakfasts often. It was usually pancakes/waffles or bacon and eggs. Great standard breakfasts. I can definitely make bacon and scramble or boil an egg. I’m not so good at frying the eggs. I can also make things like pancakes or muffins from a mix. I would really like to learn how to make them from scratch. When we were younger, my mom would make us waffles and freeze some for days she didn’t make us breakfast. Easy and just as delicious to heat one up. Well, in my adventures to being a more frugal mom, I’m going to learn how to freeze a lot of foods. I got a recipe from the writer of Chronicles of a Natural Mom and Amateur Vegetarian Gourmet for made from scratch pancakes. Here is the recipe:
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Ingredients
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or all white)
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ground flax seeds (optional)
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light olive oil or unsalted butter, melted, plus more for frying and serving

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Whisk milk, eggs, and vanilla in medium bowl, then whisk in oil/butter. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients.

Heat large nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush with butter. For each pancake, drop 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side.
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I can’t wait to try this recipe out! I have purchased all of the ingredients I didn’t already have in the kitchen, and I just happen to have some berries in the fridge that need to be eaten before they go bad. So soon, I will be making homemade from scratch blueberry pancakes, and I plan on freezing whatever I can’t eat.
How to freeze pancakes:
First cool them thoroughly after cooking them. Wrap each pancake individually in pastic wrap or place between wax paper. Then you can stack them and put them in freezer bags. I’m hoping to make enough to also take some to my mom and sister who have been cooking me a lot of dinners lately! :)
I’ll let you know how they turn out!

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION:
My name is Staci, and I am 27 years old. I married a man more perfect than the “man of my dreams” on October 24, 2008. That same day, I also welcomed a stepson into my family. On November 28, 2009 I gave birth to the most perfect little boy. I have been blessed to be able to stay at home with him. My husband is currently working in Iraq. He has been working there since November 2008. We get to see him a few times a year. We miss him very much. We just bought our first home this month. We are moving in one week, and I can’t wait! We are hoping and planning that by the end of the year my husband will be able to quit his job in Iraq and come home for good. This will be a huge transition for us. I am going to learn how to be a different kind of person/wife/mom to hopefully make the transition easier for us. By different I mean more frugal, more Suzy-homemaker I guess. I want to use this blog kind of as a note-taking medium for myself. Sometimes I start researching so many things at once and get all of these ideas. I can’t possibly incorporate/try them out all at once, so I need a place to organize them to get to later. This blog will be filled with ideas, recipes, who knows what! If I end up with any readers out there, I would love to hear your input on anything and everything!

RIGHT NOW:
I am currently packing up our apartment for the big move into our new house. Tomorrow I have to go to the house to get another estimate on the flooring as well as hopefully finish cleaning it. We are moving in next Saturday! I’m already stressed!

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