Soap Nuts for Laundry

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I had been searching for years, for a  natural and affordable laundry detergent option.  A few years back a friend recommended soap nuts to me.  I had ordered a 1 lb bag from Amazon for $15.  I followed some simple directions that I found online to toss 3-5 soap nuts in a small muslin bag and throw it in with your laundry in lieu of detergent.  After 3-5 washes, you should throw away those few soap nuts and add new ones and repeat.  Simple Enough-right?

Well, I did this method for about 6 months-and ALL of our laundry started to feel a little grimy.  Totally gross.  So I gave up on soap nuts for a LONG time (years!).  I hung on to the soap nuts (I had about half a bag left)  Flash forward until a few months ago.  I was reading a blog that was raving about soap nuts.  They went into the why/how they work and explained that HOT water was needed to release the saponin to make them work like soap/detergent.  So if you didn’t wash your clothes in hot water (which I don’t), then the soapnuts wouldn’t work.  But an alternative is to boil the soap nuts with water and make a liquid.  I tried it, and we have happily been using soap nuts in replacement of our laundry detergent for several months now!

But an alternative to using soap nuts wihtout washing in hot water, is to boil the soap nuts with water and make a liquid.  I tried it, and we have happily been using soap nuts in replacement of our laundry detergent for several months now!

Here is my Recipe/instructions for liquid soap nut detergent
4-6 soap nuts (I order mine from Mountain Rose Herb, but Amazon sells them as well)
16 cups water (total)

  • simmer soap nuts with 8 cups of water, after 15 minutes, add the second 8 cups of water and simmer for another 15-30 minutes.  Strain the soap nut liquid.  Throw away the soap nuts.  Store in a glass container in the fridge. Use about 1/4 cup per load of laundry.

I store mine in glass jars or pint size mason jars.  I refrigerate until a new jar is needed and then just keep one jar at room temperature.

Repair vs replace

repair-vs-replace

 

 

I purchased a new MacBook air back in the summer of 2012.  I can’t remember exactly, but we paid a little over $1,000 for it.  I have had this computer for 4.5 years, which is a pretty good amount of time, in my opinion.  About a year ago, my power cable broke, so we purchased a new one for under $50.  In the past few months, I have noticed a steady decline in my computers battery life.  Now, the battery life is so short the laptop can only run for 5-10 minutes unplugged.  So much for portability!  We researched some battery repair options. The first was to send it away to apple and have a new battery installed- $199

We researched some battery repair options. The first was to send it away to apple and have a new battery installed- $199.  The downside to this option is that I would be without my laptop for quite a while.

The second option for repair was a local (ish) apple certified repair store.  They were willing to replace the battery with a less expensive (but still excellent quality) for $129.  The repair only takes 10 minutes, so they are willing to do it while I wait in the store.  The downside is it’s about 45 minutes away.

A third option, which I seriously considered, was getting a whole new laptop!  This would easily run me over $1,000.  Being unsure of how much “life” was left in my laptop, I wasn’t sure if spending money to repair it would be worth it. In the end, we decided that we would rather spend $129, and a few hours to get (hopefully) a year + of life out of my current laptop.

It’s always a challenge deciding whether to repair or replace.  This time a repair made more sense but that’s not always the case!

 

 

Homemade Bath Salts.

This is a simple gift idea. It was easy for me to make. I love essential oils and had most of the supplies on hand!

Homemade bath salts

2 cups epsom salt (i used this brand)
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
15-20 drops of essential oils
5 4-oz jars (i used these)

mix together in a bowl and then divide into containers

price breakdown for each 
epsom salt – $0.64
sea salt – $0.11
baking soda – $0.05
Jar- $1.00
Total – $1.80 per jar!

**compare with 4oz LemonGrass Spa- $5.

I made a Lavender Mint (15 drops of lavender, 5 drops pepperment) and a Citrus Cedarwood (10 drops of orange, 5 drops lemon and 2-3 drops of Cedarwood)

I used this Avery template to print “labels” for them.  I printed them on thick paper and cut them out and it fit perfectly between the ring and lid of the mason jar.  There are lots of great templates/patterns you can choose from.  The label was a nice touch!  I added the name and ingredients on the label to give it a “professional” look.  I plan on giving them to little birds daycare teachers. I am also including a gift card to their favorite coffee place as well! Hope you enjoy this recipe.

A Journey with Eczema and a DIY cream


So our little bird has eczema, bad eczema.  We have tried oh so many lotions and creams.  We want to try to eliminate the use of steroid creams as much as we can. Because of his eczema is most likely related to allergic causes, based on our allergist’s recommendations we give him allergy meds once a day.  This has helped some, but he still has flare ups.  To help with flares up we use this homemade eczema cream (recipe below).  We also use a method called “wet wraps”.  Once or twice a week right after his bath, we take a wet/damp sleeper (onesie pajama) and put it on right after we lotion him up.  We then put a nice warm fleece pajama over the wet one.  We then snuggle, play, watch a movie–anything to distract him from being wet.  But

We also use a method called “wet wraps”.  Once or twice a week right after his bath, we take a wet/damp sleeper (onesie pajama) and put it on right after we lotion him up.  We then put a nice warm fleece pajama over the wet one.  Then we snuggle, play, watch a movie–anything to distract him from being wet.  But honestly, he isn’t bothered by it.  And then after 1-2 hours we change him out of the pajamas and into regular dry clothes.  This method has been such a game changer for battling his eczema flare ups.

Homemade Eczema Cream

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup raw shea butter (you can order from amazon or mountain rose herbs)
  • ½ cup coconut oil (could substitute almond oil)
  • 30 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 8 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops of geranium essential oil
    **I use young living essential oils and highly recommend them**

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler
  2. Blend the oils then add the lavender, tea tree and geranium oils.
  3. Slightly cool the ingredients so that it will begin to thicken, but keep it soft. You can put the solution in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed up this process but not for long. You do not want it to harden too much.
  4. Using your mixer (either hand-held or a stand mixer), mix for several minutes until it has a frothy appearance, eventually developing the consistency of lotion. You can achieve this by continuing to mix about every 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer to the mason jar or other container.
  6. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It will stay a bit softer at room temperature which may make it easier to apply.