Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

I’ve had a lot of questions about my homemade laundry detergent. How it works, how to make it, how much it costs, all that good stuff! So I thought I would share my recipe with you guys so that you can make it at home too!

First off, I won’t call it my own, because I found the original recipe on http://beingcreativetokeepmysanity.blogspot.com. She has wonderful instructions and it seemed like a good idea to try it out and see if it worked! Well our first batch lasted us over a year and cost us a mere $20! Let’s just say that my husband was thrilled. Thrilled enough that he wanted to make another batch when the first was gone. So we still use it and still loving it!

Here’s a glimpse of the goods:

homemade laundry detergent recipe
And now, the much awaited details on how to make it at home.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

What you will need:

  • 1 large box of Borax (78 oz or 4 lbs)
  • 1 large box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (78 oz or 4 lbs)
  • 1 large box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (55 oz)
  • 3 bars of Fels Naptha (found in laundry aisle) or really any laundry bar soap
  • 2 containers of Oxy Clean (or 3.5 lbs) you can also substitute the store brand for this
  • Optional: laundry crystals (found in laundry soap aisle) for a stronger scent

I personally do not use laundry crystals in our soap, but she mentions it in her original recipe that you can use it if you’d like more of a scent to your soap. I would also think that you could add in essential oils like lavender or rose for a really nice smell. What we do is use a scented dryer bar that lasts us forever, and it leaves the clothes with a nice fresh, and subtle scent as well. Plus, you can usually find coupons for the dryer bars and that always helps 😉

Directions for making the soap:

1. The whole process of making the soap is really pretty easy. You’re going to want to grab a big garbage bag (the thicker the better) and dump in all your ingredients except for the bars of Fels Naptha, or whichever laundry bar soap you chose.

2. Mix ingredients together. I use a wooden spoon for this, it seems to work well and it doesn’t tend to puncture the garbage bag as easy as a stick or something might.

3. Next, you have a choice. You can grate the soap with a cheese grater (or food processor) until it’s into fine little pieces. OR – you can go the no-grate route and save yourself some time (and knicks on your knuckles – trust me on this one…)

If you choose the no-grate route for your laundry detergent, here’s what you will do…

Place one of the bars of soap on a plate and place in the microwave and set the timer for 3 minutes. Keep an eye on your soap, because every microwave is different. When it expands into a large fluff, you can remove the plate (careful, it will be hot!) And place it on a large piece of wax paper. Repeat with the other bars of soap.

It will take about 20 minutes for the soap balls to be cool enough to peel apart. When you feel like they’re cool, use your hands to break it up over the rest of your laundry detergent mixture. I got this microwave method from BlueCricketDesign.net

4. Mix it all together and you are set to go! Use 1 tbsp for a small load, 2 tbsp for a large load. I kept the scoop from the Oxy Clean and use that for our detergent 🙂 It works perfect! The scoop in there is 2 tbsp.

Let me know if you make this, and let me know what you think!

Hearts,
Sarah (Ruby)

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Digital Magazine Subscription Giveaway from Zinio: Great Last Minute Gift Idea!

This contest has now ended! The winners for the 9 free subscriptions are as follows:

  • Sheri
  • Anne
  • Leah
  • Dani
  • Naomi
  • Shannon
  • Erica
  • Teresa
  • Donna

Thank you to everyone who entered!! If your name is listed here, please check your email! If we do not hear from you within 24 hours, we will have to choose another winner!

last minute Christmas giftIf you are a last minute gift shopper, you know that there is nothing worse than hitting the malls merely days before Christmas only to deal with crabby people, picked-over sales, and of course the total lack of anything really good.

The same can go with shopping online for Christmas right about now, because things will never ship to you in time to give them to your recipient. It’s a pain to try and find gifts at the last minute, but today I’m going to give you an AWESOME last minute gift idea that suits nearly any age bracket, and it’s not going to send you into debt either! Score! 🙂

cosmopolitanSo what is this great last minute gift idea? It’s a digital magazine subscription! They are the perfect last minute gift because you can buy it right online, and it is a gift that keeps on giving, every month! Magazine subscriptions are personal too, because you can choose the magazine based on their tastes, hobbies, interests, etc. Last year, I needed a little something extra to give my hubby for his birthday, I ended up giving him a year long subscription to Field & Stream and he absolutely loved it… and got to love it again every single month!

Zinio is Giving Away 9 Subscriptions!!

zinioSo today, our friends at Zinio are giving away NINE digital magazine subscriptions to nine lucky readers! These are the perfect gift for anyone with an e-reader, tablet, mobile device, computer, etc. Your friends and family can bring these magazines with them wherever they go, without being bulky and awkward. So perfect!!!

parentingHere are just a few digital magazine subscriptions from Zinio that you could give a woman like myself:

  • Green Ideas
  • Appetite
  • Food & Home
  • HGTV
  • Women’s Health
  • Runner’s World
  • O (Oprah)
  • Parenting
  • Family Circle
  • Real Living
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Cosmopolitan
  • US Weekly
  • Marie Claire
  • Vogue

mens healthAnd of course, they’ve got tons of magazines for men to choose from too. Some honorable mentions include:

  • Motor Trend
  • Car and Driver
  • Consumer Reports
  • Men’s Health
  • MuscleMag
  • Running Times
  • ESPN Magazine
  • Men’s Journal
  • Field & Stream
  • Outdoor Life
  • Popular Mechanics
  • National Geographic
  • GQ

Current Sale at Zinio

Before we go and give away the subscriptions, I just have to tell you that you can save big on Zinio’s website. They have 300 magazine titles that they have on sale today through 1/7/13 for 50% off! Shop here to get this deal!

AND – Better Homes & Gardens is also offering an awesome deal on some special holiday issues and are priced at 30% off! Shop before 12/31 and save on these neat issues that feature food gifts, party food and Christmas cookies! Shop Better Homes & Gardens issues here!

About Zinio

Zinio has thousands of the top magazines from around the world, available for access on any computer or mobile device. They allow you to purchase a single issue or a subscription of your favorite magazine instantly to read whenever or wherever you’d like! They also have an ‘Explore‘ section where you can read articles from magazines (even without a subscription) and share them with friends or family.

Enter to Win 1 of 9 Subscriptions!

So you want to win one of these digital magazine subscriptions!? Here’s how. As always, you must leave a separate comment for EACH task that you complete.

  1. Visit Zinio.com and leave a comment here with which magazine subscription you would choose.

This contest will end at Noon CST on Sunday, December 23rd! So check your inboxes and watch our Facebook page feed for our winner announcement!

Best of luck in entering!!

Hearts,
Sarah (Ruby)

Disclosure: I was not paid for this post. I was provided a magazine subscription from Zinio to compensate for my time. All opinions stated here are my own.

Ruby’s Must-Have Winter Holiday Gifts 2012

As you guys know, I’m always wanting something. Well, kind of. It’s just that the winter holidays always bring so much good stuff to the surface. Warm fuzzy boots, comfy cozy sweaters, new technology, new home products, workout items; the list could go on and on. And actually, it will go on and on because this is my winter must-have holiday gift list and that’s what it’s supposed to do!

I thought I would share a few of my wish list highlights this year, because isn’t it always fun to see what everyone else is asking for? Maybe you’ll even find a few things to add to your list. In that case, you’re welcome. If not, then I’m sorry you feel that way 😉

Alright, here we go!

1. Lululemon Groove Yoga Pant *Slim ($98.00)

I’m not sure if the *Slim part means anything, but I’m just taking that directly from the website so you guys know which ones I’m referring to here. Lululemon has been around for years, but I’ve never bought any of their clothes, mostly because they’re a titch on the spendy side. At any rate, I’ve tried them on and they are exquisite. They hold you in and are comfy at the same time. What more could you ask for in a yoga pant?

2. Magic Bullet Blender ($49.99)

Image by Target.com

This is one item that I actually bought on my black friday adventure. They had them for $29.00 at Walmart so I couldn’t resist! These are perfect for making fast and easy smoothies, ice cream malts, baby food even? They make it easy to get just the right serving for one person, plus you don’t have to pour out of a clunky old blender, then clean the whole kitchen because it blended itself everywhere.

I use mine to make healthy drinks (greek yogurt, whey protein, fruit, spinach, milk) and you’ve got yourself a wonderful little snack and very, very minimal clean up.

3. North Face Microvelour Glacier 1/4 Zip ($55.00)

Image by TheNorthFace.com

These are not only uber-comfy but also very fashionable. I love North Face stuff, it’s high quality and always fits so nice.

The downside to North Face, is that it can be expensive, but as with anything else, you get what you pay for.

This Microvelour Glacier zip up comes in tons of colors; you name it, they have it! Aren’t they cute??

4. Apple Mini iPad ($329.00)

Image by Apple.com

This just came out not too long ago, but I had to admit I am super impressed. We currently have the iPad 3 and it’s just kind of big and bulky. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally in love. I love Apple products and would never go back, but this one is truly the best yet.

It’s the perfect size to toss in your bag, but it’s obviously bigger than a cell phone so it’s not so hard on the eyes. And the usability is obviously easier than on a phone as well.

5. Essie Nail Polishes ($8.00+)

Okay, this is a great stocking stuffer that I have to share. Essie is a nail polish brand that offers beautiful colors, you’ve probably seen them all over Pinterest! I just love how ‘true’ their colors are. They’re so unique, but pretty. It’s hard to describe, but let’s just say that the woman in your life will not be disappointed when she receives one or ten of these little guys.

Image by Essie.com

6. Apple TV ($99.00)

Image by Apple.comOkay, so I already have one of these but you need to have it on your list if you don’t! These are phenomenal and I absolutely love ours. Despite the name, it’s not actually a TV, it’s a little box that hooks up to your TV and acts as like a DVD player, and internet TV all in one. We use it to watch our shows on Netflix and Hulu Plus, but you can also use it to watch videos on Youtube as well, plus tons of other options. We even rented a movie off of iTunes the other day because the movie wasn’t even out on Redbox yet. It works off your wifi and is so easy to use. You have a little remote and that’s all you need – play captain from the couch and watch whatever you like, whenever you like!

Well I hope these little features helped you put together your Christmas list this year, and if not – then maybe it helped your husband with some ideas other than a new blender 🙂 Either way, that’s what I’m here for! hehe

Hearts,
Ruby

Pottery Barn Teen – Twin Cities Launch!!!

Yes, it’s true!!! Pottery Barn is one of the BEST stores for filling your home with the most adorable things… Minnesota is blessed with Pottery Barn Kids/Baby, Pottery Barn, and Now, the trio will be complete!

Pottery Barn Teen will be opening it’s first Minnesota store Wednesday, November 7th at The Galleria in Edina, MN!!!!!

But there’s more!!!! They are offering a special gift to the first 250 customers at their Grand Opening, with a chance to win a $250 Pottery Barn Gift Card!!!! Wholly moly! So Exciting!

So mark your calendars, Minnesota Mommas – And get your Christmas list ready!!!! See you at Pottery Barn Teen at The Galleria on Wednesday, November 7th! Doors open at 10:00am.

See more details in their Press Release 🙂

Love, Macy

Halloween Costumes on a Budget – Goodwill Finds for Less

Halloween is quickly approaching – and I am so excited for this fun holiday!!! I love Fall and getting dressed up to parade around the streets at night just sounds like a great time! There is only one problem… Halloween costumes can be SO expensive, especially now that I have a little one. Not to mention, these budget-busting costumes are only worn for a several hours and then stored away until you get the chance to make it to Goodwill to donate them.

*Light in head goes on* Goodwill would be the perfect place to outfit my family for Halloween!!!! Um, brilliant! Since Halloween is only a couple weeks away, there was no time to spare – Off the Goodwill we went!!! Here are some tips to get the most Bang for your Buck…

1. Plan ahead of time: Do some research and find some ideas of what you and your family would like to be for Halloween. I did a quick Google search of DIY costumes. First for my little one, then for me (which I happen to be prego right now, so this needed a specific search), a girl teenager costume, and then for hubby. There are so many great ideas online!

2. Make a list: Be sure to make a list of several options for each person and everything you will need for your costume. This way, if you are unable to find a certain thing, you can quickly switch to a different costume idea (or have a plan B for costume parts!)

3. Let the hunt begin: I don’t know about you, but I love the thrill of the hunt! I love to hunt down everything I am looking for and get it for a great price. Goodwill is absolutely perfect for this!!! Lucky for us, we was able to find EVERYTHING we needed for our top costume choices for the entire family of four!

4. Assemble your costumes: Not sure if you all know this about me but I am so.not.crafty! This little fact contributed to my costume choices and I was able to choose costumes with minimal assembly required.

Some of you may be able to get a little more creative and have a great time with this step 🙂 In that case, oh boy, the options you will have here!

This year’s Halloween costumes are…

LO #1 – Thing 1

Materials:

– Red long sleeve t-shirt ($1.50 on Toddler Thursday)

– Red sweatpants ($1.50 on Toddler Thursday)

– Blue hairspray ($2.99…will use this for baby-bump/my Thing 2 costume)

– Cut-out from white t-shirt ($1.00…will use this same shirt for the other 2 costumes also!)

– Black Sharpie Marker ($0.00 – had this at home)

– Face paint ($3.99 – shared with hubby and me)

Me Pregnant with LO #2 – Thing 2

Materials:

– Red long sleeve t-shirt ($2.99 – extra-large to fit my belly!)

– Black yoga pants ($5.99)

– Blue hairspray ($2.99 – shared with LO#1)

– Cut-out from white t-shirt ($1.00 – shared with LO#1 and hubby)

– Black Sharpie Marker ($0.00 – had this at home)

– Face paint ($3.99 – shared with LO#1 and hubby)

Teenage Girl – Pink Power Ranger

– Pink long sleeve shirt ($6.99 – bonus points for Juicy Couture, can wear again!)

– Pink skirt ($4.99)

– White gloves ($2.99)

– Gold belt ($4.99)

– Pink boot covers ($3.99)

20121101-073832.jpg

Hubby – The Cat in the Hat

– Black zip-up ($5.99)

– Black cotton pants ($3.99)

– Cat in the Hat packaged costume ($6.99 – this is the only packaged costume we got so we could use the hat and the big red bow. Lucky for us it was from last year’s stock and a great price!)

– Cut-out from white t-shirt ($1.00 – shared with LO#1 and me)

– Face paint ($3.99 – shared with LO#1 and me)

All our extras to make the costumes complete!

;

The grand total for all 4 costumes (Including a 6 bags of Halloween candy and a spooky hanging ghost that we couldn’t resist): $79.35!!!! That’s a steal! We managed to spend less than $80 on all these essentials for costumes, and the plus side is that we can use the different pieces again after Halloween on an everyday basis, unlike the packaged items you’ll buy in store.

I hope you all enjoyed our costume choices! We can’t wait to show you the gang when we are all put together and ready for action!

Now, find the nearest Goodwill and get your budget-friendly Halloween costumes!

Haaaappy Halloween!!!

Love,
Macy & Ruby

Disclosure: All opinions here are our own. We were not paid for this post. We were however given an $80 gift card to Goodwill to shop for thrifty Halloween costumes.

Why You Should Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree (and a Yummy Pumpkin Latte)

I love homemade stuff and just about everything else I see on Pinterest.  But I’m incredibly lazy.

So, why do I spend hours carving and scooping my own pumpkin puree when I can drive to the store and buy four cans for about $10 and save time and sanity?

Because it’s way easier than you think.  And the taste is unbeatable.

Before we get to the how-tos, let me add that fresh food is always better—for you, for the planet, and the farmers who grow it.  Plus, pumpkins are super healthy.

  • They’re loaded with antioxidants like alpha- and beta-carotene (which is what makes it orange).  These antioxidants keep our eyes and immune system healthy and reduce our risk of developing cancer.
  • They’ll keep you fuller longer with fiber (about 3 grams per cup of pumpkin meat) which stabilizes blood sugar, lowers bad cholesterol, and helps you lose weight.
  • It’s low-cal and low-fat.  One cup has just 49 calories.
  • It’s loaded with vitamin A (great for the eyes and skin), vitamin C and E, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Here’s another reason to DIY this stuff: canned food is higher than fresh food in bisphenol-A (BPA) because the metal cans are lined with that chemical.

You may have heard about BPA recently because the FDA has banned it from baby bottles due to overwhelming scientific evidence that it’s a gender-bending chemical that affects the endocrine system, especially that of fetuses, children, and small animals.  Adults, however, should avoid BPA, too, since it’s been linked to diabetes.  (And be wary of so-called BPA-free cans, since they’re loaded with BPS, an equally harmful chemical.)

Saying no to all canned food is not only impractical, but it can get expensive, too.  That’s why it’s so cool that pumpkin puree is so easy to make.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C.  While it’s heating up, wash and dry a pumpkin.
  2. Cut the pumpkin down the middle (doesn’t matter which way).  Remove the seeds and fibers but be sure to keep the seeds!  Just wash away the fibers, throw the seeds on a baking sheet with olive oil and sea salt, throw in the oven and in about twenty minutes you’ll have a snack tastier and healthier than potato chips.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into small pieces about the same size (so that they roast at about the same rate).  Use a brush to gently coat the pieces with olive oil, coconut oil, or real butter.
  4. Place the pieces on a roasting pan upside down.  Pour in enough water so the bottom of the pan is covered in a thin layer of it.  It keeps the tips of the pumpkin from caramelizing.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pieces are tender.  Let cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn yourself when you scoop out the flesh.  The skin should almost fall off if you’ve done it well.
  6. Puree the pumpkin flesh into a paste.  Ta-da!

The trick is to do this while you’re already cooking or cleaning in the kitchen so you just end up double-tasking.  Puree in advance so you can store in glass jars in the refrigerator.  It should keep for about a week.

In the meantime, though, you should treat yourself to a pumpkin latte.  Combine the following into a saucepan over medium-low heat or—if you’re lazy like me—a slow cooker:

  • 1 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • ¼ cup homemade pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (tastes better than sugar and is better for your teeth)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

When the ingredients are warmed up, pour into your favorite mug.  In a separate container, use an immersion blender to froth up 2/3 cup evaporated milk.  You can also use a food processor or blender.  Pour the frothy milk into your mug, sprinkle a pinch of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, and enjoy.

Guest Author Bio:

Kim Willington is a freelance writer and researcher for Helpdesksoftware.org, where she has recently been researching live chat software. In her spare time, she enjoys antiquing and taking long walks with her retriever, Spencer.

Halloween Birthday Party Decoration Ideas

Planning a birthday party in the fall can be a lot of fun! Especially if you’ve decided on a Halloween birthday party theme! So if you’re looking for a few clever ideas for Halloween party decorations, look no further! Here are some fun and unique ideas you can use!

Halloween Party Decorations

What is a birthday party without decorations? You can find all kinds of awesome decorations this time of year when all the stores stores are ramped up for Halloween and you can get pretty much anything you want from flying bats, to string pumpkin lights, to scary life-sized ghosts!

Now that you know you have options, you’re going to have to decide if you want your Halloween birthday party to be a ‘fun’ party or a ‘scary’ party. Who is coming to your party? If it’s for kids, then you don’t want to be too creepy!

For Kids: Go with pumpkins. Get them in all shapes and sizes and place them all over your party area. Don’t carve them just yet! That comes later when you need an activity for all the kids 🙂

Other than pumpkins, you can use plastic spiders and fake spiderwebs around the room. Kids will love this! And if you really want to add a creepy-but-in-good-fun factor to your party, consider renting a smoke machine and put on some eery music when the guests arrive. It’ll be fun but it won’t scare them into nightmares for the next week!

For Adults: Go crazy. We all love the clever aspects of a Halloween party. A mock-haunted-house room. Fun, creepy music, and of course lots of treats displayed out on a table (adults are big on food!)

To make an adults Halloween party ghoulish, use dim lighting to set the scene. From there, you can create live ghosts present in your room. This takes a little creativity but follow along with me and you’ll get it!

What You’ll Need:

  • A mini oscillating fan (optional)
  • Thin colored tissue paper
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors or Xacto Knife
  • Flashlight

1. First, you’ll need to Google silhouettes of ghosts and find one that you can easily cut out of cardboard. Then scale it down to the size that will fit on the cardboard a few times and be sure to leave some extra cardboard on the side of each ghost.

2. Next, cut the ghosts out of the cardboard. What you have left will be what you use to place near the end of the flashlight to shine through.

3. Place a thin piece of colored tissue paper over the front the flashlight to give your ghost some color, use a rubberband to secure. Sometimes if the tissue paper is too thick though, it won’t let the light shine through.

4. If you have a mini oscillating fan, use tape to secure the flashlight on top projecting upwards. This will make the ghost look like it’s moving back and forth. And it’s cheap!

5. Lastly, prop up your cardboard with cut out ghosts in front of the flashlight so that your ghosts are projected on the wall at a size you are happy with. Moving the cardboard closer names for small ghosts, and farther makes for bigger ghosts. Watch as different ghosts get illuminated as the night moves on. Spooky!

Enjoy the season!!

Hearts,
Ruby