1. Many, many thanks to Suzanne over at Gladdest Hours for introducing me to the joys of label makers! Thanks to her, I am now the proud owner of a Brother PT-1090 label maker! (They are on sale this week at Office Depot for only $15... what are you waiting for?)
Now, I have always been a labeler at heart, as you can clearly see in this picture of my spice pantry....
(Now, before you say "eeewww," let me state that these labels are... oh my... over 13 years old. They've seen a lot of wear! Why is the chili powder upside down? I do that when I run out of something. It makes it easier for me to see it when I'm putting my grocery list together... And yes, it IS bothering me that the cinnamon is a bit askew, and that some of the labels are turned... OK, so I'm a bit odd. Perhaps now others will be a bit more inclined to contribute to the mental health fund my poor husband will need from living with someone like me all these years! *grin*)
However, keeping labels in this house is hard to do, and when I need to label something, sometimes finding the right supplies is difficult (Where's the tape? Don't we have any more labels? Dang it... where are all my calligraphy pens??), and that's where the label maker comes in. You push a few buttons, tell it to print, and voila!
Instant loveliness! (The kids were all clamoring to try, so I wound up labeling things that I wouldn't normally... like grits... and pasta... and brown sugar... but hey! It was all for love of learning, so we did it!)
2. In the DIY category...
About a year or so ago I took the plunge and started making my own laundry detergent. I was tired of buying the stuff, and eager to see -- in that pioneer spirit -- if homemade stuff would really work (see, I blame it all on Martha Stewart. Once I learned from her that it was possible to make homemade pudding, and that it tasted better than boxed mixes, I was sold on the idea of homemade). The hardest part was actually FINDING Fels Naptha soap. For some reason, they don't sell it in this part of South Carolina, so I had to call my mom and ask her to send it to me (thanks, Mom!). The recipe is simple: 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, grated (after I grate it I put it in the food processor to make it extra fine); 1 cup of Borax; 1 cup of washing soda (found in the laundry aisle), and a 1/2 cup of Oxyclean if you are so inclined. Mix it up, stick it in a jar, and use 1 tablespoon per load. It works great and the clothes come out smelling really nice. For extra oomph, I use a bar of Fels Naptha soap and rub it on the stains before washing.
Since I had had success in the laundry area, I was eager to try dishwashing detergent... and tonight was my night to experiment. We ran out of our normal dishwasher soap, so I decided to give it a go. I got the recipe from diy Natural. This recipe makes a ton of detergent! Doing a quick and dirty method of measuring, I calculated that I had about 330 tablespoons of this stuff... which, if I ran 2 loads a day, would come out to 165 DAYS worth of detergent. My total spent on everything was $9.00, which comes out to roughly THREE CENTS a load.
But does it work?
Well, bear in mind that I've only done two loads so far... but the results are promising! I would hate to recommend something based on only two tries, but I am comforted by the fact that the detergent has worked well for the couple at diy Natural. I'm hoping it works as well for us!
3. On a completely different note, I'm reading through CS Lewis' space trilogy again. I think I read it about 15+ years ago the first time, and honestly I remembered very little of it. I am enjoying it much more this time around!
4. This is a wonderful movie.
No, it's not the best movie ever made, but I thought it WAS well-done and I truly enjoyed watching it. In a nutshell, it's an Indian version of the story of Helen Keller, but it's much more than that. It's a beautiful story of how her Teacher opened up her world to her, and how she in turn helped him. It was just a good reminder for me -- again -- that every life has value, every life has beauty, and that even in our brokenness we can be used by God to reach others. If you get a chance to see this movie, let me know what you thought of it!
5. Another Christopher-ism...
As I was explaining the concept of trying to subtract a negative number to Sean, I used the illustration of a double negative in a sentence ("I don't have no pencil.") to show that, in actuality, you have said that you DO have a pencil. I finished by saying, "so just remember, two negatives equal a positive." Just then Christopher shook his head and said, "that shouldn't be, 'cause as we all know, Mommy, two wrongs don't make a right!"
Enjoy your Wednesday!