Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday

There are a lot of things I am thankful for.  I have felt so loved by many and so full of joy (even though I have complained quite a bit on this dang blog the last few posts).  So:

FaceTime: I had such a good time video chatting with my brother in law and sister in law last week while Harrison made a surprise visit to them in Austin, TX.  Technology is freaking amazing!  It was mucho fantastic and I do believe we will do it more often with each other.  Keeping in touch with family is fun.

Cute Hats: Because I HATE HATE HATE washing and actually "doing" my hair.  I like cute hats to cover up my greasy mop.  I can just put my hair into braided pigtails and throw a hat on and TADA!  It's done.

Having Harrison Home: I missed him while he was gone 5 days.  It actually sucked a lot.

Amy and Mandy: These twins are the friends that I have had the longest.  We have been friends since the 4th grade.  They are awesome.  We tell each other lots of things.  We laugh a lot.  Like A LOT.  We are very different in a lot of ways, but we are very much the same in others.  Some of the best friends people can have.  Seriously.  They are.  We stayed up way too late last weekend while Harrison was gone talking about everything from church to scary movies (which is why we were up late... there was NO way I was driving home by myself after we talked about creepy things).

Sewing: I am learning so much with my sewing machine and I really enjoyed making REAL curtains for my living room (well hemming them really... I didn't really make any of them).  I enjoy making beautiful things by myself.

Take a moment and think about what you are thankful for this week.  Tell me about it in a comment.  It is so fun to hear about what makes other people happy and thankful.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Good and The Bad (there was no ugly)

But I will start with the bad.  It's always good to end with the good, right??  My boss has a lame joke that he tells all of our patients when he tells them about braces.  I love the joke every time... but I hear it like 5 times a day... almost every day.  After he takes a look at the patient and he has his recommendations he says, "OK, do you want the good news or the bad news first?"  He always starts with the bad news.  "The bad news is that you need braces for (x amount of time).  Do you want to know the good news?  You get to have braces for (x amount of time)!"- and then he gives them a high five.  It is hysterical to the patients most days.  I like my boss for those kinds of things.

So- the bad news.  Sometimes people can just be down right mean.  No matter what you do (or don't do) they are just mean and sneaky and just not nice.  There are some people in my life in which this is the case.  I don't have any bad feelings or anything towards these people but for some reason they just don't like me.  I just rub them the wrong way.  I am sad about that.  I am nice to them (at least I THINK I am nice to them) and I always try to be quite cordial and friendly to them.  It doesn't matter.  They just say mean things about me and are just kind of not nice.  I pray for patience and for understanding.  I pray that there will be a way for me to either just not care about what they do to me or find a way to finally connect with these people.  It seems that when I pray for these things... the worse these people get.  WHAT!?  I know that my prayers are heard, but I wonder sometimes if this is just going to be a huge test for me.  To see if I can forgive those that trespass against me.  I am not going to lie though- it's a really hard test.  Any suggestions??

OK- I am done whining.  I seem to do that a lot lately.  Boo.  I will change that.

So the good news.  Today I went to mutual for the first time to meet with the girls that I will be teaching at church.  Mutual is a weekly event when all the teenagers and their church leaders get together and do some sort of activity.  Well we met tonight and did some "getting to know you" type games since all of the leaders are BRAND NEW and there are a few of us (like myself) that don't know any of the teenagers!  Well- it was so much fun!  There were only about 7 girls there (there are usually more) but it was a fun time anyway.
We all put one of our shoes in a basket and then we all took turns pulling out a shoe that was in the basket that "represented" us and we told the group why.  I was kind of lame and picked out my own shoe.  It was one of my Havaianas flip flops that I got when Harrison and I were in Brazil.  Well I told the group why it represented me... so now I will share with you!

It is a flip flop which is what you wear to the beach.  I love the beach.  It is my "sanctuary" kind of.  It makes me very happy.  It has decoration and embellishment on it which represents the fact that I like the idea of being fancy and looking fancy all the time but I most of the time sacrifice fanciness for comfort.  They are from Brazil which I love.  I miss Brazil and I miss the people from Brazil.  My shoe also represented the fact that I am not afraid to get dirty (both in a physical and metaphorical sense) because let's be honest... who can wear a pair of flip flops and the tips of their toes and the bottoms of their feet aren't black by the end of the day?
I am not going to lie.  I was really scared to meet with the girls.  I was afraid that I am now officially "old" to teenagers.  But- I think that they thought I was still cool enough.  I hope :)  I wore flip flops... and I have braces... which makes me seem kind of "young" still, right??

Well that is the bad and the good.  The good far outweighed the bad in my mind.  The bad stuff is all just "worldly" things.  Things that will probably work themselves out in time.  It's just that they are at the forefront of my mind right now.  The good stuff was really good.  I feel like I was uplifted on the outside and on the inside.  

Another good thing about today: I ate like half a loaf of 9 grain bread from Great Harvest Bread Co with spinach dip.  It was so delicious.  It was basically my dinner.  I think it was one of the best dinners I have ever had.

Monday, September 26, 2011

First iMovie

Remember when I posted about going to Grand Junction for Labor Day and I posted a bunch of pictures from our trip??  Well- here is an awesome video that Harrison put together with the video we took of our adventures!  It was his first attempt at using iMovie on my new Mac laptop and it was TOTALLY easy to use (watching him I saw that even I could do it when I want to).  So- here is our adventure to GJ:

FUN!  HAPPY!  Enjoy!

I am not forgotten!

I have been talking about this for days.  I am sure the people around me at work and home (meaning Harrison) are tired of me talking about it.  But I felt so wonderful after hearing this that I feel like I need to share it with the world (well the blog world that reads my blog). 

I have felt like I needed a boost in some way in my life.  I have prayed for a change in my attitude toward those around me, the ones I love, and toward myself as well.  I think that the first of many little things the Lord put in my life to help change my attitude was prompting me to type up my journals.  I know that it was no coincidence that I needed some inspiration and I started typing my "personal conversion story".  Such little things that make a big difference.  I also received a new calling in church... a new responsibility.  I have been in with the Nursery since January.  Don't get me wrong- I love working with the 18 month to 3 year olds at church... but I felt like I needed more interaction with people in my ward that had more than a 10 word vocabulary.  I was called to be the Laurel advisor in the Young Women's yesterday.  I now teach the 16-18 year old girls on Sunday.  I am very excited about it.  When I was extended the call, I just felt strongly that the call really did come from my Heavenly Father.  It felt so perfect... how can you argue with something like that??  Well I start my new responsibilities this Wednesday evening.  I really am excited (especially because I feel like I need to have a better attitude toward teenagers).  There have just been a few things that have really just made me feel that I am important in an eternal sense.  It is quite hard to explain, as sometimes testimony related and spiritual things are.  

Backtrack to Saturday night- I received a text from my best good friend, Jane.  She asked me if I was going and she wished that we were going together.  What!?  I had no idea what she was talking about.  OH RIGHT- the General Relief Society Broadcast as part of the LDS General Conference.  I totally forgot about it!  Well after the meeting Jane texted me again and said things like "Oh my gosh!!! Did you go!" and "By the end of Dieter's talk there was not a dry eye. WOW".  

Well, President Uchtdorf of the 1st Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spoke to all of the women of the church (and of the world really).  He spoke women and the love that God has for them.  He used the analogy of the Forget-Me-Not flowers.  It was amazing (I have goose bumps right now just writing about it).  What kind words he spoke.  I truly feel that he was inspired by the Lord to speak the words he did.  If you have not had the pleasure (and even if you have) take 10 minutes and listen to the words he had for women.  They are truly wonderful.

I just want all of you out there to know that I know that God lives.  I know that He loves me and that He loves you.  I know that He knows each and every single one of us by name and he is aware of our struggles and sorrows... our strengths and happiness.  He loves us unconditionally.  

Have a wonderful day.  I wonder if I can keep a small container of forget-me-not's alive in my kitchen??

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Faux Fall

So yesterday was the first day of Autumn.  Autumn is one of my most favorite times of year.  Pumpkins, sweaters, apple cider, boots, blah blah blah... you know all the regular fall season stuff.  Here are some of the beautiful things I love about the Autumn season:

But then I remembered that I live in Las Vegas.  There is no season change.  There are no changing of the leaves.  The temperature was 102 degrees (hardly boot and sweater weather).  THIS is what it actually looks like on the first day of autumn here in Vegas:

Not very pumpkin-y and festive.  Well- Happy Fall to y'all anyway!  I hope wherever you are you have a bit of color change and you have been able to break out the textured tights and and argyle sweaters.  

I am waiting on pins and needles when it finally gets below 80 degrees during the day!  I have a feeling we still have quite a few weeks before that happens.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Welcome to Pitty City

*** Pitty City is a phrase my friends Amy and Mandy taught me in junior high.  I use it to this  day to describe the following:

So yesterday I forgot mascara and today I forgot deodorant.  Crap!  I think my brain is going crazy because Harrison is leaving to Texas for a MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) conference for a few days and I will miss him.  

This is how I feel about myself right now:

Well the moral of this post is:  I stank today (I was Pitty City).  I get pit stink very easily and so not wearing deodorant made it worse and no amount of Fabreze covered it up the entire day.  I felt bad for the patients I had to be around today.  And- the co worker who hugged me after lunch.  I apologize to those people for my stench.  I promise to be better :).  My friend Stephanie told me today that she carries around deodorant with her for that very reason.  I think she is a smart and I think I am going to take her advise.  Another moral of this post- I hate when I am apart from my husband for more than a day.  It sucks more than stinky arm pits.

Quote of the day:

Whether you think you can or you think you can't... you're right!

Ponder on that :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm tired!

like to the point of not being able to function or concentrate.  I hate that.  Harrison would probably argue that I say that I feel like that all the time.  Not all the time... but it's true this time.  I really am tired.  I have a bladder infection (yeah- like you wanted to know that).  Well when I don't feel great I just get grouchy, and mean, and whiny, and just plain hard to live with.  I feel bad that Harrison has to live with me when I feel like this.  He is a good egg for sticking around sometimes.  I don't mean sticking around like in a forever sense... just in a "man- if you are gonna act like this... I'm going to the library to study... or... I'm going to Dairy Queen to get a Blizzard WITHOUT you.. or something" kind of sense.  
I don't like that I get needy and mean when I don't feel good.  I have been praying for more patience and a better attitude.  Patience and endurance are the virtues I have the least of (is that a correct sentence). 

I have had some really sweet and tender moments the last little while.  I decided to type my journals in a Google Doc so that if the house ever flooded (which floods happen A LOT in Las Vegas just so you know) or if the house ever burned down (which also happens a lot in dry Las Vegas) my journals would be safe and I would remember how I used to be.  Well- I was stupid.  I mean when I was younger.  I really was.  Some of the stuff I wrote was really... well how do I say it... just freakin' retarded.  I am reading/typing my journals from when Harrison and I were dating/engaged.  Don't get me wrong- they are a riot to read but I was in that weird 20 years old age when I wasn't really an adult but I wasn't really a kid anymore either (but I was mostly a kid still).  It rakes on my nerves some of the things that I wrote.
Well- about the tender moments part.  Before I met Harrison I wasn't leading the best life.  I was kind of a sucky person.  What I mean by that is that I wouldn't let my kids hang out with me.  Anyway- I moved to Grand Junction, CO to start "a new life" (and to move close to my mom again who I had lived without for 3 whole months).  I had decided that I wanted to be a better person.  I decided to rededicate myself to my faith and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It has been so wonderful to read some of those entries and in a way relive my "rebirth".  Here is one of the entries that I love:

Yesterday while I was getting job applications I listened to a talk by John Bytheway called “What I wish I’d Known When I Was Single”.  I have really enjoyed it.  I took him up on something he said and prayed to know if dating only Harrison was OK.  John said that if you don’t get a YES answer its OK!  It’s the NO answers to look for.  So- I have prayed and so far... no negative answers!  It is such a good feeling to know that I am doing the things that I should.  I told mom that its so easy to be good here.  I am surrounding myself with other people who are striving to CRT!  I never realized what I was missing.  I don’t ever want to go back to the way I was!  I love this feeling!  I am so very thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me great opportunities to grow spiritually.

I wish I felt as strongly about things right now as I did then. I haven't lost faith or anything like that, but it seems that I have been just going through the motions so to speak when it comes to religion. Reading about my eagerness and excitement makes me eager and excited again. I feel like I am ready to dive into the teachings of the Lord and "go to work".

This is one of my favorite quotes from President Gordon B. Hinkley.

Well- I think I am going to go to bed. I am grouchy and grumpy. Oh- and I forgot to put mascara on before leaving to work. That kind of ruined my day (EVEN MORE)!! Harrison said the other day that I wear "safe" make up and it always looks kind of the same. He is right. I am safe. I am conservative in my make up (which I don't like about myself). Well this morning I thought to myself, "Self- I am going to be bold today! I am going to wear GREEN eyeliner!" So, I did dramatic (yet quite classy if I do say so myself) green and black smokey eyes. I was so involved in the "drama" of it all... that I forgot the mascara. MAKE UP FAIL!

Well anyway- there is my half whiny/half inspirational post for the day. It's time for me to go take my medicine that makes my pee Gatorade orange (again... I'm sure you didn't care about hearing that... but it's my blog and I can post what I want).


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Project Snail Mail

My mother has sent birthday, get well, anniversary, Christmas, and just because cards to friends and family since I can remember.  I also love sending cards and letters and such.  I love the feeling you get when you open your mailbox and there is a special shaped envelope with your name on it.  This special shaped envelope is different than bills or junk mail (expect AT&T.  They have disguised their junk mail in Hallmark cards now).  You know that envelope is stuffed with a little note from somebody who cares and is thinking about you.

The "art" or "tradition" of SNAIL MAIL is dying and it makes me sad.  It is quite easy and free to write an email or to send an e-card... which is still nice and thoughtful (its better than nothing) but it still doesn't mean as much as a HAND WRITTEN card or note.  There is much more thought and personality put into a snail mail note.  I enjoy writing notes to the people I care about.  There are a couple of ways that I keep the tradition of snail mail alive.  I try my hardest to send my sisters and sister-in-laws a hand written note, card, or postcard every month.

This is my September Snail Mail (I blurred out all the names and addresses... I figure my friends and family would appreciate that)

NOW- I am not perfect at this... I took a break for about 6 months or so... which I TOTALLY regret!  Anyway- another way I keep the art alive is by the fun group I am a part of on Facebook.  It is simply called Project Snail Mail.  We are a small little community of people who have a passion and a belief in sending feel good mail through the tried and true US Postal Service.  Join us!  Make our group larger!  We love new people who are all part of the same cause!  

You may be wonder what the heck to write to somebody... well- here are some helps for you:

1.  Birthday Card
2.  Anniversary Card
3.  Postcard from your recent trip
4.  Sympathy Card (not to make light of sad things... but I sent my dad a sympathy card once because he sold one of his classic muscle cars... it was like losing a child)
5.  Good Luck Cards
6.  Just Because Cards
7.  Thank You cards (thank you for a meal, a great something they said in church, a service in the community)
8.  Valentines Day
9. Christmas
10.  Fan Letter

The list can go on and on and on!

Something else that I do to make my mail extra special is use fun postage.  I hate boring postage.  The postage stamp is the 2nd thing I look for on a piece of hand written mail (after I see who it is from).  I always get fun stamps.  I think the people at the post office get annoyed with me when I ask them for stamps and then I ask them to see ALL the stamps that they have.  I never get the boring Liberty Bell or American Flag stamps.... I always get fun to look at stamps.  So get fun stamps!  Oh- one time I got Star Wars stamps (like 4 years ago or so).  Well I had to send a bill payment off and I wasn't happy about sending this particular bill... so I put the Darth Vadar stamp on it... in my own little way telling them that they were evil!

Well- to sweeten this deal and to thank you for reading this post... I am going to do my FIRST BLOG CONTEST EVER!!!!  That's right!  I am going to give something away to somebody who is reading this blog!  One of my favorite companies EVER for awesome postcards and stationary is Cavallini and Co. Well, the winner of this contest will get a tin of Cavallini and Co. postcards and a book of Forever stamps (with a fun theme of course).  Here are the rules:

1.  You must leave me a comment on this blog telling me what you do to help the tradition
     of hand written cards going
2.  You must become a member of the group Project Snail Mail (click HERE for the link)
3.  If you send a piece of snail mail in the month of September, you will get an additional 
     entry in the contest.  Just tell me in your comment who you sent the mail to and why
     (if you send 10 cards you don't get 10 extra entries... just one.. okie dokie??)

Contest ends on September 30, 2011 at 8pm Pacific Standard Time

Send some snail mail today... and I hope you receive some in return!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Las Vegas StrEATS Festival

Harrison and I went and explored the StrEATS festival last Friday night.  The festival is in it's infancy and I felt like it would be a good thing to go and support.  The festival had a bunch of the food trucks together from around the valley in one place.  There was tons of food, some clothing vendors, and some art displays.  It was quite small but it was fun.  I hope it just gets bigger and bigger from here on out.

The small parking lot where it was held was PACKED!  There was a DJ playing some hip hop music.  We had to talk loud to each other because of all the trucks and generators that were on.  It was pretty loud.

I told Harrison to make a normal face for this picture.  He said, "This is a normal face."

We walked around to all of the trucks to see the cuisine options.  We decided that we were going to eat at a BBQ truck and indulge in pulled pork sandwiches.  I put WAY too much barbecue sauce on my sandwich and it was EVERYWHERE... including my hair... dang it!

It was super fun.  I hope that it gets bigger and better from here.  I think I want to go every month. 

For those of you who live in the Vegas area, check out their website and "like" them on Facebook.  It really was a great time.  I feel that it is important that we Vegas folks support the downtown area as much as possible.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I've found the secret formula

Every time I hear the words "secret formula" I think of this creepy scene from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:

Creepy Slugworth

Anyway- so I made my homemade detergents and cleaners a little while back and finally had a  chance to use the dish washing detergent.  I forgot to add Epsom Salt to the recipe and I found out why it is so important to have that ingredient added!  Our dishes have been coming out SO DIRTY the last few loads.  Like gross dirty... like dirtier than when we put them in the dishwasher in the first place dirty!  EEWW!  There was soap scum and hard water deposits all over the dishes both glass and plastic.  I was at my whits end!  Well the Epsom salt helps to soften the water so that the detergent can work its magic.  BUT- that is NOT the secret formula entirely!  

We took apart the innards of the dishwasher last night to try and figure out what the crap was wrong with it.  NOTHING!  All the filters were clear and on a scale of 1-10... the limescale and soap scum build up was only at about a 4 or so.  Anyway... I poured about 2 cups of regular vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and....


That is the trick!  The "secret formula"... VINEGAR!  The hard water is ridiculous here in Vegas.  The water is really bad... but the vinegar totally helps!  So- we will be using a lot of vinegar from now on in our house!  Harrison thinks we need to buy stock in vinegar.  Is that even possible?  Probably.

So for all you peeps out there not getting squeaky clean dishes from your dishwasher... pour some vinegar in the bottom the next time you take your dirty dishes for a spin!

OK- that is all for now.  I felt like I needed to shout this wonderful bit of information from the rooftops (well in blog-land that is)!  Most of you will read this and go, "DUH! We already knew that vinegar was the miracle product." but thank you for humoring me through the end of this post anyway :)

Have a wonderful day!  PS- I heard this quote and I liked it:

Never look down on somebody unless you are helping them up.  

That made me smile.  I like it a lot.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And now we shall rest from our labors for a season

This weekend was Labor Day weekend.  We were able to take a trip to Junk Town (Grand Junction, CO) for the weekend to spend time with our family.  It really was a great weekend.  We are so thankful to Harrison's mother and grandmother for setting up our arrangements to come and visit.  We love the fact that Alliegant Air has a direct flight to and from Grand Junction.  GJ is such a small place and it was an answer to prayers I think when they set up the flights between our home in Vegas and our family in GJ. 

I took along some airplane reading material. I love Martha Stewart but I love her Halloween special issue even more. I am frustrated that this is NOT part of my annual subscription... but whatever!

We spent a couple of days on "The Mountain" with Harrison's parents and grandmother.  It is fun to spend time together up there.  It is quite beautiful and it is a great break from the Vegas heat and hustle and bustle of the city.  Just trees, cool breezes, conversation around the fire, hikes, naps, and reading with a blanket. 

I was so excited to wear long sleeves and shiver when I went to sleep.  I am SO ready for fall to come.  I am officially tired of the hot summer (but mark my words... come January... I will want them back).

We had a lot of good visiting time.  There were lots of memories and feelings shared about the mountain and the gospel.  I am thankful for those.  We ate good camp food... pancakes and eggs for breakfast, taco salad, and hot dogs (with Catalina dressing instead of ketchup... most people liked that variation.  I was too chicken to try it... I am lame). 

We brought dogs with us.  They were fun.  They love it up there.  Tucker and Abby and Little Bits loved taking swims through the yucky lake.  I call it yucky because it is.  It is quite mossy and I would never swim in it myself... especially when we had to check for leeches on the dogs after they got out... eeww.

You can see that the dogs are quite dirty from their swim in this picture.  What you can't smell is the horrid smell that they smell like.  They smell like rotting something.  EEWW!

All three dogs were given baths.  Tucker is all clean now in this picture.  They had to wait inside while they dried off since it was getting quite chilly outside at this point.  I was happy to love on the dogs when they were clean.  The cleanliness was short lived.  They got back into the lake the next morning.  They were of course stinky and brown again.

We spent Saturday evening with my family.  I am sad I didn't take more pictures... but it was fun anyway.  We ate a wonderful BBQ dinner and watched my dad and brother shoot off some big fireworks that my dad got while he was on a business trip in Wyoming.  It was fun.  I love being with my family (especially my sisters)

We get really silly together and have a grand ol' time.  I am thankful for them... even if we end up punching each other by the end of the night (in a sister-ly way though- I promise).

I love visiting GJ because it is a nice break... but like all vacations- it was too short and I was sad to have to come home.  I heard from somebody once that it is the BEST time to come home when you don't want to.  I believe that.  When you wear out your welcome and you are tired of being on vacation... it seems that the burned-out feeling is what sticks... whereas when you leave for home while you are still quite enjoying yourself... there are always better experiences and feelings.

It was nice to sleep in my own bed on Sunday night.  There is nothing as awesome as the feeling of your own bed at night.  It is one of the BEST things about coming home.

Yesterday (actual Labor Day) we did a bit of shopping.  I have been told by quite a few people (who shall remain nameless) that my style is beginning to be frumpy and quite grandma-like.  So- we went and did a little updating.  I was SO happy to find that everywhere was having a great sale!  We didn't buy anything full price!  YAY!  We shopped at places like:

Now I have never shopped and A&F.  But- their denim was 50% off and we couldn't pass up $40 jeans!

I have never purchased anything from H&M either.  I have been inside before, but there is always something just a little "off" with their clothes for me.  Well, Harrison talked me into getting a fall blazer with padded elbows (quite the 80's throw-back).  I was scared but Harrison made me brave.

We didn't find a dang thing at Old Navy.  It doesn't surprise me though.  They did have a pair of cropped pants that I am still thinking about though.  I might go back and get them.
 There aren't many things I can afford in Saks... but I can afford Clinique mascara.  So that is what I got there.  Probably the lowest amount spent EVER at Saks... $14.50.

After our shopping, we went to lunch at Blondies.  They have really good Cobb Salad.  But our service wasn't the best this time.  BOO


I am thankful that Harrison and I were able to spend the weekend together.  We both have busy schedules (especially his grad school schedule) and there aren't many weekends when we have the ENTIRE weekend together.  This was a real treat.  It was also awesome that we were able to spend a lot of our time with family.  I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend.  What did you do?  Tell me about it in a comment!  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Going Green

A couple of weeks ago I went to Target to buy laundry soap.  It seems that about every 6 weeks I run out of laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, bleach, Woolite, blah blah blah.  Well- those things are stinkin' expensive!  It seriously costs me like $60-$70 a trip when I need to buy it all.  Well- I decided that enough is enough.  I decided to go green.  I decided not to throw my money away at the companies that charge me $18 for a product that costs about $1 to make and contains potentially harmful chemicals.  Now- with that said... I am not the type of person that is always watching my carbon footprint and recycling like I should and such... but I am the kind of person who is willing to find little ways to make a difference in the environment and improve my way of life.  In this case, it will also ease the stress on my pocketbook as well.

So anyway- I decided that I would make my own cleaning products.  I have been reading quite a few blog posts about the subject and I found a few recipes that I thought would be the best suited for me and my life.  I have made and tested the following products: Powdered Laundry Detergent, Surface Cleaner, Mildew Cleaner, and Dishwasher Detergent.  

I have had quite a few inquiries about the recipes and the outcome of my cleaners, so I thought I would blog about them and give you my opinion... and share the recipes as well. So I have discovered that there are a few things that you should have in your cleaning arsenal at all times.  Always have these things on hand.  They are for the most part quite affordable and they will last forever.  One of the great things about them as well... they are non-toxic.  So, if your kids, pets, or brothers decide to lick, step in, or touch the things you clean... they are going to be alright.  There are no fumes either.  SO GREAT.  OK- here is the list of must haves:

-Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer makes one that you can get at Wal Mart)
-Baking Soda (not the same as washing soda)
-Vinegar (just regular white vinegar... and buy the BIG one like in the pic above)
-Borax (you can find this at Target or Wal Mart or the grocery store)
-Essential Oils (tea tree, grapefruit, and lavender are some great ones. These are used to make some of your cleaners smell good.  That is all they are used for)
-Lemon Juice (used as an antibacterial agent and also a scent provider)
-Hydrogen Peroxide
-Liquid Castile Soap (I found Dr Bronner's at Trader Joes for about $10)

OK- First up:

Surface Cleaner
-16oz Spray Bottle
-2 tsp Borax
-1/4 tsp Castile Soap
-Hot water (it needs to be hot so the Borax dissolves)
Mix all ingredients together in spray bottle.  The castile soap I got is scented with peppermint already so I didn't need to use any essential oils or anything to scent this particular cleaner.
I used this on my kitchen today.  It was wonderful.  It cleaned my counters, sink, and stove top great and my kitchen smelled so good.  This can be used on ALL surfaces.  It is quite gentle but effective.  I did have to mix it around a few times during use to make sure the Borax was getting mixed in.

All Purpose Liquid Cleaner (like to clean your floors)
-1 gallon HOT water
-1 tbsp baking soda
-2 tbsp castile soap
I have not used this yet, but I am sure it works great.  Just put it where you need it and clean clean clean.

All Purpose Abrasive Cleaner
-Castile soap
-2 tbsp baking soda
Mix together to make a foamy paste.  
I used this to clean my stove top.  It worked quite well.  It took a little more elbow grease to get the stuck on gunk to come loose but it wasn't that bad.  Again, the peppermint smell was great.

Dishwasher Detergent
-1 cup Borax
-1 cup Washing Soda
-3 packets Lemonade flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid
Mix together in big container.  Use 1 tbsp per load of dishes. 
I used this today.  I thought the dishes would have a lemon scent to them but they didn't.  They did come completely clean but there was soap scum on lots of my glasses.  I don't know if this is the detergent's fault though.  My dishwasher is kind of a piecer.

Mildew Killer
-Spray Bottle
-1 part Hydrogen Peroxide
-2 parts water
5 drops essential oil
Mix together in bottle.  Spray on area.  Let sit one hour. Rinse after one hour.
I haven't used this one yet.  I didn't have an hour to wait for the cleaner to sit.  I am planning on using it after the Labor Day holiday though.  I used grapefruit oil in mine.  It smells divine!

Powdered Laundry Detergent
-1 cup grated Fels Naptha (this is a bar soap you can get at Wal Mart in the laundry section)
-1/2 cup Washing Soda
-1/2 cup Borax
Mix together in big container.  Use 1-2 tbsp per load depending on size.
I have my test load of laundry in the dryer right now so I don't have a definite answer on how this works yet.  I used it on some towels that had been left in the washer for almost 2 days... so they were smelly and mildew-y.  They came out of the washer quite clean smelling though.

So- there you have it.  I am also going to make my own air/fabric freshener (like Fabreze) but I haven't made it yet so I am not going to write it here.

Let me know if you have any questions.  I am planning on making toilet bowl cleaner in the near future.  I will also let you know how that one works out for me.  

Well- I hope this has been informative!  Let me know if you have any questions!