Super Frugal Laundry Soap

Today my Mother and I made some laundry soap! We got the amazing recipe from a friend we went to church with. She gave us two recipes for laundry soap. One for a dry soap and one for a liquid soap, along with a recipe for dishwasher soap! As I’ve ventured into the world of essential oils, I’ve become more and more aware of the chemicals and harmful ingredients in just about everything we use in our daily lives. I am trying to slowly make the switch to natural or homemade products in our cleaning, cooking, and personal care. I’m not saying I’m turning into a crazy all organic, all natural junkie but I definitely believe in being more aware of what we are putting into our bodies. Since we are in the middle of moving, starting our laundry out with a homemade detergent seemed like a great place to start. The best part about it is the cost! The liquid recipe makes 10 gallons and when you buy the ingredients, you’ll have enough to make it again several times. AMAZING. So here is what you’ll need for the liquid laundry detergent.

  • Hot water
  • 1 bar of Fels or Zote laundry soap
  • 1 Cup arm&hammer super washing soda
  • 1/2 C. Borax
  • optional: 1 scoop oxyclean
  • optional: 5-15 drops of your favorite Young Living Essential oil per gallon
  • cheese grater
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Glass jugs or jars to store finished soap

STEP ONE: grate the bar of Fels or Zote soap 2016-02-23 11.01.13


STEP TWO: Melt grated soap in 4 Cups of hot water 2016-02-23 11.10.23.jpg

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STEP THREE: Add melted bar soap to a 5 gallon bucket that has been pre-filled halfway full of hot water2016-02-23 11.24.17

STEP FOUR: Add dry ingredients (washing soda, Borax, oxyclean) and stir until dissolved.

STEP FIVE: cover bucket and let it sit over night. It will thicken!

STEP SIX: Don’t be alarmed when you open your bucket the next morning! It literally turns into a jello consistency! It’s pretty cool. You will be adding hot water to this jello and mixing until its smooth again. I found it was easier to shove my hands into the jello before adding water and break it up by grabbing fistfuls and squeezing it through my fingers. Although, I mostly did that cause it was super fun, but it did make mixing it with water a little easier.

STEP SEVEN: At this point you can do this a number of ways. You can separate the concentrate in to 10, single gallon jugs, filling each with half concentrate and half water. Or you can leave it in the bucket and fill your designated laundry soap container when needed with half concentrate and half water. It does solidify some again if you leave it in the bucket so beware of that.  Now is when you can add your essential oils!

PLEASE NOTE: If you are planning to add essential oils, it is important you wait until you are placing your mixture in a glass container. Essential oils have toxin pulling properties and will pull toxins from your jugs and buckets if they are made of plastic. 

I plan to keep mine in the bucket until I am ready to fill my glass dispenser which will be stored on my folding counter. You’ll want to consider the size of your container and how strong you would like your scent to be when adding your essential oils. I’ll be adding about 12 drops per gallon. 8 drops of purification due to its odor killing power and 4 drops of lemon because I love its’ fresh, sweet scent. I may also make a small batch in a separate jar with Lavender and Cedarwood and use that to wash my sheets for a calming, sleep inducing scent.

Let me know your favorite combinations and enjoy saving money and living clean!



Getting Closer

This last week, Tyler and I spent Monday-Thursday working on the house. My mom was sweet enough to watch our little peanut and my goodness, we missed her!  But, we were able to get a lot done!

Our flooring order came in right before we left so we had to haul that up there. The original plan was to hook up our trailer and pull it with the Vue but we hit a deer on our last trip up to Michigan so the car was stuck in the repair shop. Plan B was to pull the trailer up with his parent’s taurus but that wasn’t looking like a very good idea since the roads were  fairly snowy and the weight of the trailer with the load was at it’t maximum/ a little over for the car and for the trailer. So instead, his Dad ended up coming up with us with the pallet of flooring in the back of his work truck, and ended up staying up there and helping out for the day. He was such a help! He helped Tyler fix up his new drywall, leveled some floor and Tyler picked his brain on some other random issues.

Alright so now for the house update. If you recall, Tyler had opened up the doorway to the living room and got some wall patching done. I started painting the office right away on Monday and that took me until mid Tuesday to finish completely. Unfortunately even with primer in my paint, it takes more than one coat on the ceilings and trim 😦

Here’s what that looked like after some fresh beautiful paint. We went with the color “riverdale” hand picked by my hubs. IMG_2161.JPG

Pretty right? It’s a very soft blue green.

Anyway, while I was doing that, Tyler started on the flooring! We were planning on carpeting all the bedrooms and doing the laminate in the rest of the house but I calculated off the real estate paper of the house rather than physically measuring and we ended up with quite a bit extra so we decided to put the hard flooring in the master bedroom and office too. He started in the master bedroom and got it done in a day, it looks INCREDIBLE!!IMG_2162.JPG

Seriously it’s perfect. He is waiting to do the office now until he has all of the main part done just to make sure he has enough. He started making his way out the hallway and I moved out to the living room to start painting the ceiling. Holy cow guys…if you’ve ever painted ceilings then maybe you can sympathize, but that SUCKED! My back and neck felt and still feel way out of wack, but it was worth it. The entire house was painted in a dingy yellowish cream color so I gave all the ceilings a fresh coat of pure flat white. You can really see the difference side by side. IMG_2157.JPG

This picture was also taken at night with only a warm colored light bulb for light so its hard to see the freshness but you can still see the contrast. This is it finished. IMG_2164.JPG

This was after 3 coats and by that point I was pretty much just saying good enough. But it really does look good. By Wednesday night I had all the ceilings painted (minus the 2 rooms we won’t be using right away).

By the time I had both the kitchen and living room ceilings painted Tyler had finished up the majority of the hallway flooring.IMG_2158

It is finally starting to look like a home and less like a project. Next we made a trip to home depot to pick up our wall paint and I got started on that while Tyler finished the hallway and closet flooring. We chose a soft warm gray and decided to continue it all throughout the main part of the house. May seem rather boring to some, but I LOVE neutrals and love a calm monotone look and Tyler doesn’t seem to mind. 😉

Before Tyler could lay flooring in the kitchen we had to smooth out the subfloor which was covered in nail, staples, and glued down pieces of flooring from the previous owner. It was rough! We literally had to take a hammer and chisel to get that crap up. We hammered most of the nails down and tried to pull out most of the staples but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just smash down a bunch of staples because pulling them out was no easy task. You can kind of see just how bad it was in this picture. All those little spots are nails or staples. IMG_2168

It was tedious and I had a bunch of wood splinters stuck in my pants when we were done but we did get it mostly leveled out. Not perfect by any means but it’ll do.

By the end of Thursday I was able to get all the of the main living walls (kitchen, living room, and hallway) painted. Minus the ceiling edge in the kitchen and hallway, but the main part of the walls are all coated and I love the color.

Meanwhile, Tyler spent his time finishing the flooring from the hallway and into the kitchen! The only areas he has left to do laminate in is the living room and office! We will wait to carpet the other two until we are living there and can snag a really good deal on some remnants. For now, the office will just be Evelyn’s room until we can finish her’s.  We also purchased our kitchen appliances this week which took up a good half day since we had to do some driving around to compare prices and deals. They aren’t anything fancy but they’re pretty decent still and will look fantastic in the kitchen once its all fixed up and awesome looking. 🙂 IMG_2174

So there you have it. Those are the main things we got done this week. It may not sound like a lot but all of those projects were time consuming and they make the biggest impact on the house so it feels like a huge deal.I am planning to try and spend a day over there sometime this week and finish up the painting, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that ends up working out. It’s already looking so much more fresh and up to date. It will be a truly beautiful home and I can’t wait to get in there and start making happy memories!


UPDATE: Tyler had a good amount of time Today (Monday) and was able to finish the flooring in the living room!! It looks incredible and I absolutely cannot wait to see it in person. He needs to get the flooring in the office done and I need to finish up some painting and then I think we’ll be about ready to move in! Not done fixing it up by any means but the rest will be done while we live there. 🙂 20160222_18293820160222_182957

That’s tape above the trim btw.

7 months

Our beautiful little girl is 7 months old today! How in the world has it already been that long?? It is so crazy to think that 8 months ago, I was pregnant, dreaming about the day our baby girl would be in my arms, wearing all those adorable teeny little clothes, curled up in a little ball sleeping on my chest, rooting the second any skin touches her face. Ugh there is nothing like a newborn baby! I’m gonna give myself baby fever just writing about it. 😀

You know how everyone always says’ “Oh savor those precious moments! It goes by so fast!” Yeah..they aren’t kidding! One minute Evelyn was sleeping 18 hours a day, content being swaddled like a little burrito in our arms, and now she’s squealing, giggling and showing every ounce of personality she’s got while rolling around, getting stuck under couches and what not. Oh I just love it though. I think the stage she’s in might be my favorite..of course, I think I’ve said that at every stage so far. Newborn stage is my favorite because she was just so tiny, precious, sweet and NEW. 2-4 month stage is my favorite because she started smiling, cooing, and interacting more. 5-7 month stage is my favorite because she’s learning all these new fun things like sitting, standing, she’s started eating big girl food, plus she is way more giggly which melts my heart into a freaking puddle every time I hear it. It’s just all been my favorite and I’m sure I’ll keep saying that at every stage she’s in. I try my best to cherish each stage, but I do find myself forever longing for the next one. I can’t wait for her to start really crawling but I know as soon as she does, I’m going to miss the days I could lay her down, run to the kitchen, and come back fully knowing she’d be in the exact same spot and likely in the exact same position I left her in. Of course those days are already long gone, but you get what I’m saying.

It seems like with every stage she’s in, she picks a new crazy noise to make. And then makes that noise ALL THE TIME! As a newborn she made this crazy goat like noise. Honestly that’t the best way I can describe it. It was almost like she was trying to push all the air out of her lungs but then it would kind of catch, sort of like a constipated goat…..yeah that pretty much sums it up. Her newborn noises were nuts, and she would make them while sleeping at night too. She did it so often and made so much noise at night that we actually had to move her to her own room at just 5 weeks! Her next crazy noise was growling. She went from constipated goat to full out angry bear. It is such a low, mean growl set deep in her throat. It very well could be the cause of this random dry cough she started up. It’s almost scary sometimes cause she likes to chew on my fingers, just like any teething baby, but she will occasionally grab my hand, viciously shove it in her mouth, bite hard and GRRRROWL. She’s kind of growing out of that one now but will still do it here and there. She just recently started a new noise that sounds somewhat similar to her goat noise but also very different. It’s similar in that it sounds like she’s pushing all the air out of her lungs, but different because it’s not so constipated sounding. It’s more of a fast wavering. Kind of like Elmer Fudd! So our child went from; constipated goat, to angry bear, to Elmer Fudd. I can’t wait to see what the next stage brings.

This little girl has so much character and bring us so much joy! I don’t think anyone can be fully prepared for parenthood, I think it’s something you just have to dive into head first but I do think God has a perfect timing for everything and I don’t know why Evelyn was supposed to come when she did, but I am SO SO glad it wasn’t even a day later. He knew just what we needed and when. I can’t wait to see what the next 7 months bring!


Bye-bye wall!

You can’t really call a fixer upper a “fixer upper” without removing a wall right? Well that has been done! Sort of. Ok not completely removed, but the doorway is at least doubled in size. If you recall, there was just a tiny doorway on the wall between the kitchen and living room which made the living room feel somewhat cave-like and I just wasn’t digging it.


living room


This is the same wall from both sides. Top is looking at it from the living room perspective and bottom is looking at it from standing by the kitchen cabinets.


Tyler has class this week but only has half days so he had several hours to work on the house today and he got the wall just about done!

He started by removing the drywall to see what exactly was going on inside and unfortunately, this is a load bearing wall so completely removing it is technically possible but outside of our DIY range so we settled for a bigger opening. I kind of wanted to leave a few feet on the outside wall anyway because I plan to do a play corner for Evelyn there and it defines that space a little better if we leave a little bit so this is what it looked like as he started taking off drywall.20160209_144633

He removed drywall one stud further than the actual wall could go so that he was able to rerun some of the electric. After he had all the drywall removed, this is what it looked like 20160209_152538

So much better already! You can see how much light that sliding door lets into the living room now.  It took him several trips to home depot to get all the wiring done and get it to where he was ready to remove the studs but he did make it that far today. Here is the condition of the wall now.20160209_19511020160209_195047

TA DA!!! It is 10000X’s better! Ideally I would have loved to remove that whole header too but this will certainly do. He will be putting drywall back up to that post you see hanging out there, so really he basically just doubled the doorway. I am so glad I married such a hardworking stud muffin. 🙂 He will continue to finish up some of the bigger projects this weeks so that next week (which he has off again) we can hopefully get some of the finishing things done like paint and flooring and get our little family moved in!! I am so excited and didn’t think things would be moving this quickly but I am NOT complaining. Organizing and having a fresh start in a home has to be one of the best feelings ever. Now off to appliance and furniture shopping! WEE!

My Labor Story

Giving birth. What a crazy, beautiful and exciting experience! I told myself so many times up to the day that I was prepared. When the day came, I suppose I was as prepared as any first time mom can be. I had a birth plan (which I never printed out and clearly didn’t follow), I had read several books and dozens of blogs and articles, I even watched a youtube video.My plan was to go all natural, use walking and a hot shower for the pain but of course, every woman’s experience is different and you can never fully prepare yourself for the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and love the moment they place that slimy, beautiful, tiny human on your chest. 001.JPG

My husband and I moved to Florida when I was 7 months pregnant so I had to be quick in choosing my OB and hospital. I would have loved to an all natural home birth but my husband wasn’t on board with that idea. I planned from the beginning to have my Mom and Husband in the room with me so when I started having really consistent Braxton Hicks a week prior to giving birth, I let my mom know it might be soon and to be prepared. That Thursday I had my 37 week check up and I was 4 cm dilated and she was already slowly making her way down. The OB said he didn’t think it would be long and I sure didn’t think so either so I called my mom and told her she should start heading down. My oldest sister helped her drive so she could make it straight through the night and they got there Friday morning. After they took a nap, we decided to make a trip to the store for last minute items and just so I could get some walking and movement going. It wore me out pretty good so we went back to the apartment and were just relaxing when Tyler got home from work. My sister had a flight back up to Indiana for Saturday late morning and was really hoping Evelyn would be born before then. While we were out, we picked up some castor oil which I had used before I was pregnant and it had done its job then so I figured it would do the trick for labor too. My second oldest sister had used it for labor before too and had luck so I figured it was worth a shot. I took a tablespoon or two in some orange juice (not sure exactly how much since my sister mixed it up) at about 4 or 5 pm. After a couple of hours it started working. Until that point I was just having constant braxton hicks and tons of pressure but at 7, my water broke. I remember leaning on the counter right before getting in the car and saying to my mom, “well labor isn’t that hard yet.” I think I jinxed myself because then pretty much as soon as I got in the car, the real deal started. We had a 25 minute drive to the FL Orlando hospital and it was just one contraction after another. My poor husband kept trying to ask questions and and I couldn’t do anything but breathe. The contractions started out being about 3 minutes apart and kept getting closer and closer.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, the castor oil was doing its original job and I had to stop in a bathroom on the way to the delivery unit. I was in there for probably 10 minutes and thought I was going to give birth on the toilet. I finally was able to get myself together(ish) and we made it down to check-in. It took a while getting in there but as soon as we got to the ckeck-in room where they check you to see if it’s real labor, I had to go to the bathroom again. The nurse came in to check me and I could not get off the toilet. After a long time in the bathroom I made it out to the bed where she checked me and discovered I was still only 4 cm but admitted me because clearly it was the real deal. Everyone kept saying, “Oh it’s your first, it’ll take a while” boy were they wrong! By this time there was only a few seconds between contractions. My face was starting to tingle and go numb and there was no way I was saying to words to anyone. I think that was the point I decided I wanted an epidural. My mom and husband encouraged me to keep going natural just as they recited but I had pretty well made up my mind. I had to be hooked up to an IV anyway for penicillin so my plan was already crap. In the labor room they asked me all the typical questions which Tyler had to answer. Shortly after that the doctor came in and gave me the epidural. Oh. My. Word. It was like night and day! Haha I went from completely froze up in one constant contraction to eating a Popsicle the nurse offered me and laughing about it. All the while having HUGE contractions. About a half hour later (?) I was feeling a lot of pressure and an urge to push. I asked the nurse in the room to check me and she said I was still only about 8 cm and said it would probably take another couple of hours. Well, apparently Evelyn had different plans because about another 20 minutes later I called the head nurse of the team in to check because I was fighting back the urge to push, as in, my body was shaking and super ready. She checked me and sure enough, 10 cm and ready to rock and roll! My epidural was not in full force anymore but I resisted the urge to push the button again.

After a while there was a team of like 100 people in there..ok maybe not 100 but there were probably at least 7 people in the room including my peeps. The doctor delivering did an amazing job ensuring I didn’t tear and after about 10 pushes and some wonderful coaching, Evelyn had arrived into the world! The best words I can use to describe that moment are; relief, accomplishment, and so much love! She came out at 5lbs 11 oz. and had a good loud cry. One of the first things I noticed was her tiny shmooshed over nose. She came out facing sideways so it got a little smashed during her exit. She didn’t want to nurse right away but Tyler and I were content just holding and cuddling our sweet little girl. 007.JPG003.JPG

Bringing a baby into the world, no matter how it is done, is no small feat. Motherhood is such an incredible gift and I am so blessed to be part of that team.

First Glimpse

As I have mentioned, we are once again home owners! When we started looking, we knew we wanted to buy a house that needed some work since fixing things up is something we love to do, and this house certainly fits in that category. We had an inspection done before buying and our inspector found small amounts of mold in the attic and crawlspace as well as minor foundation issues near the garage, a water leak in the crawlspace, and a few smaller issues. Everything he found seemed like easy enough things for us to repair. Obviously we called in professionals for some of the bigger things. So on Thursday we signed the papers and became homeowners again!

This is our house! You thought I was being dramatic when I said it needed work huh?



Tyler started by fixing the leak in the crawlspace which actually turned out to be a completely disconnected sewage pipe. (yes, the large pipe your poo and pee goes through) So basically, for who knows how long, they were flushing their toilets directly into their crawlspace. Anyway, that’s fixed now. While he did that my sister started tearing out the carpet in the master bedroom which was conveniently glued to the floor *cough cough* and she started taking off the base trim so its ready for new carpet. 044This is how it looked after a whole lot of scraping.


While we were tearing up that carpet, I noticed a puddle of water sitting in the closet so I called my hubby in and after tearing into a mushy wall, he discovered the sink pipes for the master bath were corroding and there was a hole where water was just constantly bubbling out. So my Mr. Fix it went to home depot and got some stuff, came back and fixed it up! Now it’s as good as new (minus the giant hole in the wall).046


After getting the floor cleaned up, I moved onto bedroom 3 and started tearing up the carpet, scraping the floor and taking off the base trim. 048.JPG
It took me pretty much all day to get it done. That stuff is brutal!


Meanwhile, Tyler started tearing out the rotting cabinets where years of water dripping behind the sink had rotted out the base cabinets, drywall, and the subfloor.042043
We forgot to take pictures before he removed the drywall but you can imagine it was pretty gross.
These cabinets got done over the course of two days because other random jobs kept coming up and we had to keep making quick trips to the store for materials but once it was all said and done, he had then looking way better than they ever have.


My next project was paint! My goal for the week was to have the master bedroom and Bedroom 3, which will be Evelyn’s bedroom, completely painted by the end of the week and I might have met that goal if my brain had been properly braining. I completely spaced on the whole priming thing when I bought the trim and ceiling paint, and even though the ceiling was a fairly light color, it did not want to cover! I gave it 3 (even 4 in some areas) good coats and I think it still needs another coat or two so clearly I wasted a crap ton of paint and time by not getting a paint+primer to begin with. 😦 I also made that same mistake with the trim which I used a semi-gloss on, and the trim I was painting was not light colored so that took literally about 5-7 coats, but I did finally get all the trim in the master bedroom done. Then I got smart. For the walls I wanted to go with a blue but more of a neutral blue. (I’m currently obsessed with grays and neutrals so don’t be surprised if you see that reoccurring theme throughout the house.) For this paint I finally realized the problem and got a pain+primer, and what do you know, it took one freaking coat of paint! I did have to go back and touch up a few spots but needless to say, I was annoyed with myself for not figuring that one out sooner. So anyway here’s how far I got. 052053

It’s more blue in real life but you get the idea. Still loads better than it was! As you can see, I didn’t have time to finish painting the doors and finish cutting in by the ceiling because the last day we were working, the mold remediation guys came and sprayed the crawlspace and that stuff is POTENT! The house just has sub floor right now and there are small quarter inch holes drilled here and there throughout the house for venting or something but they just let all the chemicals come straight up inside the house where we were working. For a while we tried to tough it out, but my eyes were burning and watering so bad I couldn’t hardly see and then our throats and lungs started feeling scratchy and just not right so we decided to quit.

That was all we got done on the house for the week (which was actually only Monday-Thursday noon) but it was still a pretty big accomplishment. We bought a garbage disposal which will need hooked up soon and Tyler picked up our flooring which will be a beautiful laminate that looks like real hardwood without the upkeep. Tyler is planning on spending a couple hours here and there when he gets a chance after his training this next week and he might have a few more days off soon too. Before moving in, we want to open up the wall in the living room so we have a more open concept between the living room and kitchen. We also want to have 90% of the painting done and all of the flooring done.  We are planning to do a complete remodel on the bathrooms once we’ve moved in so they get to stay ugly for a while. 🙂 We have a bunch of other random plans like adding a corner pantry, an island, shelving in the laundry closet, better shelving systems in the bedroom closets, a “mudroom” in the garage, etc. The projects will never end. My poor husband can’t keep up with my never ending demands! 😉 So anyway, that’s the progress this far. Check in next week for an update!



So if I’m being honest, I’m not much of a writer. My papers in English class were always covered in red pen. Just thought we should get that little fact out in the open right away. 😉

A little back history on my family: My husband and I move a lot. We have been married for just over two years and have moved about 4.5 times in that time frame. We were living in my sister’s basement apartment when we first got married and it was actually really nice because a month after the wedding, my husband went off to basic training and AIT for 5 months so it was great having people around during that time. Did I mention my sister has 4 kids? (well 5 now) So yeah I wasn’t bored very often. Then after he got back from training we started hunting for our first house and settled on a small 2 bed 1 bath home in the town nearby where he worked.

Shortly after we moved, we found out we were going to be parents! At that time he was working in an RV factory which was nice for the sake of income but he went to college to be a pilot so it wasn’t supposed to be a long term thing. Unfortunately the area we are from isn’t exactly exploding with opportunities for pilots so he started researching jobs and out of the blue was like, “What do you think about moving to Florida?” At first I was like, “HA! yeah right!” thinking there was no way I could have my first baby and be 18 hours away from my family, but the more we talked about it, the more I realized maybe this was something we needed to do. The job there was flight instructing and the goal  was to build flight hours since most piloting jobs require more hours than he had at the time. So just 4 months after moving into the house, we moved out and then in with his parents temporarily while we rented the house to some friends. We didn’t really think that one through before making it happen though. Turns out renting is more complicated than we thought so after “renting” the house out for 5 months, we sold it.

By this time it was May, we were living in Florida, and I was 7 months pregnant. Then fast forward to July 10th, our beautiful baby girl made her grand entrance 3 weeks early! (you can read my labor story here).  After just 6 moths of living in Florida, Tyler found a charter company he thought would be a good fit.  It’s three hours from the place we call “home”, it pays better, and frankly, we didn’t like living in Florida.

So now here we are in the present. Tyler has 5 weeks of training for this job and during that time, Evelyn (our daughter) and I have been staying at my parents house. We are only all together on the weekends and it isn’t easy but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Two weeks ago we closed on our house up in Michigan and got immediate possession since it isn’t being lived in. He had this past week off so we were able to go work on it some and left Evelyn with my mom. I haven’t spent that much time away from her before and it was really hard but we were able to get a good amount done. So now onto the fun stuff! Check out my next post to see the before pictures of the house and follow along our projects and crazy journey.