Friday, November 13, 2009

Lanae Hale in concert TONIGHT

If you know me, by now you have probably heard of Lanae's incredible talent and amazing voice. Come to Lanae's concert TONIGHT,she will be at Eastwood Church @ 4300 Ooltewah Ringold Road, Ooltewah @ 7:00 pm. IT IS FREE!!! Hey, I might even see you there! Here is a link to the concert info

There are some great utube videos of Lanae. Here is her version of Coldplay's "Fix You". I love it! My favorite part is when they kick it up to the faster tempo for the bridge. Lanae, you ROCK!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My New Baby Wrap!

My good friend Sandy K made this baby carrier for Little Dude and me- and it is amazing! She designed it just like the one she purchased when her little boy was a baby (only hers is blue). Unlike with slings and front packs, the wrap is fitted perfect to your body, so no back pain! I think the pretty yellow color is perfect for the summer. And isn't the baby bee in front so cute? I tell ya, I have some creative friends. These are photos she took of us so she can sell her baby wraps on ebay- you may see her wraps on there soon- if you want one, to. not included. Hee, hee.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent- an update

I have been using the liquid recipe for a couple of months now- and my clothes are as clean as ever! I am, however, very excited to try this easier dry version- very similar to what I am using except no melting on the stove or sloshing around wet ingredients. Woohoo!

I found these on a cloth diapering message board-

The first recipe is a gentle, greener version of laundry detergent, and the second recipe especially for cloth diapers!

Use amounts will vary depending on your water and machine! The amounts provided are general estimates.

These are non-sudsing recipes, so they're safe for HE and FL machines!

Super Gentle Homemade Laundry Soap

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 bar Kirks Castile Soap (or other laundry soap)

Slice soap into strips and run through grater on kitchen aid, food processor, or by hand to make soap flakes.

Combine soap beads, borax, and washing soda. Done!

Use 1-2 tablespoon for small loads, 3-4 tablespoons for large loads.
(more or less depending on your water quality)

Homemade Diaper Detergent

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 cup Oxyclean Free

Combine all ingredients. Done!

use 2 tablespoons for a small load, 1/4 cup for a large load.
(again, more or less depending on your water quality).

Tips and Notes:

My personal notes on the detergent....

-I find that I can just throw the powder in a hot wash, but I have to dissolve it in hot water before adding to a warm or cold wash

-be careful not to overload your washer!

-DO NOT use a blender! Slice soap and then use a food processor, or grate the whole bar by hand...a blender is not designed for this kind of chopping!

-washing soda can be hard to find...try calling your local grocery store to see if they carry it, or look for "PH up" where you buy pool supplies (or 100% sodium carbonate which is washing soda!)

-almost any soap can be used, I chose Kirks because it was as close to homemade as I could find locally. The original recipe called for "Fels Naptha" but that is some harsh stuff!

-both recipes are safe for sensitive skin and ezcema!

-there are little or no suds, but your stuff is still getting clean!

-the first time I used the laundry soap the water turned brown from the stuff that was left on my clothes from my previous detergent!

-both recipes are perfume-free, dye-free, enzyme-free, phosphate-free, and biodegradable!

-if you find that the *diaper* detergent isn't working as effectively after a few months, try switching to another brand and then switching back. ....*many* mamas who are switching between homemade & Tide or homemade & Allens every 3-6 months and finding that to be the best washing routine! I haven't heard from anyone who needs to switch with the laundry soap!

- non-sudsing, so it's safe for FL and HE machines!
- washing soda is available at Kroger, Hannafords, Acme, Biggs, and Publix
- washing soda is "sodium carbonate" and might be with pool supplies
- you can order washing soda at
- Kirks is available at Kroger, Frys, and Cracker Barrel
- you can use Dr Bronners soap instead of Kirks
- Fels Naptha is yucky stuff, and Ivory doesn't work well for laundry
- NO soap on diapers (the soap is in the *laundry* recipe)
- use oxyclean FREE and it's safer for your diapers
- mix this after the kids are in bed, in case you spill!
- don't subsitute baking soda!
- washing soda & borax ARE safe for your diapers used in this small amount!
- you can also use a cheese grater for the soap
- you can add essential oils to the powder and stir with a fork
- vinegar in the rinse can cause stinkies in microfiber
- this has been used with hemp without problems
- lots of bubbles is from your old detergent build up!
- always use a cold rinse first for diapers, so you don't set in stains
- with liquid Dr Bronners instead of soap there is a chance of staining from the oils
- you can use the diaper detergent for your clothes too
- sun oxygen cleaner is a cheaper alternative to oxyclean
- call 1-800-781-7529 to get Oxyclean Free for $6.99 (ask about free ship!)
- *approximate* costs: 3-bar pack Kirks $4, Borax $4, Oxyclean Free: $7, Washing soda $3.50 (all costs will vary by region)
-Canada moms: Borax at Zellers, A&P, Superstore and Walmart...Washing Soda and Oxyclean free at Walmart.

-Originally from the post Green & Thrifty...Making Your Own Detergent!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Review of Bumbo Baby Sitter

One Step Ahead

As soon as baby can hold her head up, she can sit up! This ingenious infant seat supports her back and torso, while the passive restraint prevents slipping. (Watch out for imitations: they're just not as stable or sturdy.) Cushy, non-skid foam; supports 9-22 lbs. Parents rave about this product...

Bumbo Not For Everyone

Shellyluwho GA 7/18/2009


3 5

Gift: No

Pros: Easy to use

Cons: Didn't work for us

Best Uses: Extra hand

Describe Yourself: Parent of 5 children

We used the product when baby was 6 weeks old on through 4 months. It was great for the earlier weeks, but not so much for my very mobile 4 month old, who could arch his back and get out of the seat! I would recommend this to parents, but with a caution of keeping a good eye on baby at all times!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

My new Blog Photo

So, here's the story behind my new photo behind my blog name. A couple of weeks ago I was having a tough morning with Wil. Upon realizing what an unseasonably mild summer morning it was, the kids and I headed to the local walking track to enjoy some exercise without overheating. The kids rode bikes and explored while I pushed Henry and chatted on the cellphone with my sister, Robin. Wil ran up from behind me with a sweet, teensy bouquet of wild flowers and said, "Mommy, look what I picked for you!" In his cute high-pitched voice. My heart just turned to mush. So I took it home and kept this photograph so my mommy bouquet will never wither.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Little Miracles Monday

With the constant response of shock, disapproval, and discouraging comments that I often times receive when some see me out and about with ALL FIVE of my children (yes, we are figuring out how this happens, thank you very much)- I thought it would be fitting to give them my gentle answer in a blog dedicated to all of new baby's in our lives.

This is dedicated to Heather, Tiffany, Stephanie, Ashleigh, Moriah, Katie, Sarah H, and Sarah C, and all of my other dear mommy friends with new little blessings from God (and those due to make their debut soon).

this is a photo of Henry trying to nurse his crib bumper pad :)

my little miracle

Welcome to the world
of smiles and hugs...
when tucked into bed
or cuddled in rugs.
Enjoy warm sunshine
and feel soft rain.
Look for a rainbow
when the sun shines again.
Gaze at the stars
and watch the moon rise.
Each day there are miracles
in front of our eyes.
Dance to the music
and sing like the birds.
Let stories and books
bring the magic of words.
Enjoy friendship and
your whole life through,
and the love that we feel
as we welcome you.

-J. Beck and J. Croydon

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's been one of those Days....

First, while I am getting everyone ready for the morning, baby H, aka little dude, rolls off of My Girl's bed and hits a fan before hitting the wood floor. Bloody nose, upset mom, who upsets kids- you get the picture.

The traumatic event set us back in time, and we were late for little dude and My Girl's well check up.

So we were made to wait almost 2 hours at the pedi, which doesn't ever happen at this doctor. Well, except for today.

And, on top of that, little dude was due for his second round of his delayed vacs. So he was poked in the finger for his iron check and received 4 shots. Poor baby!

Needless to say, I am very thankful that Baby H is okay (other than a small pump on the head and his hurt nose). And that the children were pretty great considering the wait at the pedi office. And I am especially thankful that a scare with our finances is starting to resolve.

Did I mention how nice it was to get home today? Welp, I'm off to get dinner ready and to start the kiddos on their chores.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Money Saving Monday

A Link To The Car Rebate Here is a money saving tip for the day. For any of you in the market for a new car, this may be exciting news for you- the government will pay $4,500 for a trade in of a gas guzzler.

One more money saving tip, for us not in the market for a new car, you can stop junk mail and telemarketers once and for all! Call 1 888 5 OPT OUT to stop the junk mail and go to

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thank You for being You, Aunt Terri!

My Aunt Terri wrote a blog about painting my bedroom when I was growing up. You can read it here. Here is my response to her creativity.

I will never forget how you came up with the idea to paint my room in daisies. That is definatly one of my most favorite childhood memories:) I loved it when you let me help pick the color and design the sponge stamps. I have always been inspired by your creativity- and you always made it easy. From giving me my first journal, to inspiring me to write my first young authors story (which I won first place the year after)to telling me and my little sisters (when we were itty-bitty), or atually dramatically reinacting, famous children's stories, like Goldilocks! Thank you for all your inspiration, Aunt Terri!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Music Monday

On Friday, one of my favorite radio programs, midday connection, had Lanae Hale on as a guest. Lanae is a singer/songwriter. She is so gifted, and you can listen to the podcast online at Anyway, come to find out, she is the daughter-in-law of one of my dear friends from my ladies Bible study! So please, listen to her powerful testimony on midday and go buy her album! You can even listen to her on itunes and youtube :)

A Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

Katie is a friend here on Blogger- she hand sews some great all-in-one design cloth diapers. She is having a giveaway right now on her blog- you should check it out!

Save money and resources by cloth diapering.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nurture Baby

Just had to share- I ran across this super helpful homemade babyfood website that was made by a mama who used to work for Martha Stewart. The site has free and useful recipes, tips, instruction and techniques, plus amazing and high-quality photos that are pleasing to look at. If you are wanting some new babyfood recipes, or might know someone who does, please check it out!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Turtle Bread

My good friend Carey Dupree, who is amazing and super creative, passed on this yummy and fun kids recipe to me. The photos are of our first try at the recipe, 2 weeks ago, and I loved it. We have made it again, but in the shape of a crocodile. Which I forgot to grab the camera before we all started digging in. This bread makes any meal special. The older kids love helping to form the turtle parts and waiting for the turtle to bake in the oven (I wonder what he will look like when he is done?).

Animal Bread From Carey Dupree

1 7/8 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 cups flour
1 Tblsp yeast

egg for wash and kosher salt for sprinkling just before baking.

Carey's Instructions (for Bread Machine):

Load in this oreder in bread machine. Run dough cycle. Punch down and form bread into desired animal shape. Allow to rest at least 10 minutes. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake @ 375 degrees approx. 25 minutes or until golden. She notes that kneading and rising times can be varied and it will still turn out fine.

Modifications for kitchen aid mixer with dough hook:

I let the yeast dissolve in the warmed water and sugar, in the kitchen aid bowl. Then I add all dough ingredients and knead with the kitchen aid mixer for a couple of minutes. I grease the bowl and let the dough rise covered, in a warm place, for an hour. Punch down and form bread into desired animal shape. Allow to rest at least 10 minutes. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake @ 375 degrees approx. 25 minutes or until golden. Again, Carey originally noted that kneading and rising times can be varied and it will still turn out fine.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Win A Bum Genius Cloth diaper

Another generous mommy is giving away a limited edition BumGenius!

(1) bumGenius 3.0 One-Size Reusable Diaper in limited edition color Grasshopper/Ribbit
{ includes regular and newborn size microfiber inserts }

For David

To help celebrate my 11th Anniversary , I thought I should dedicate a post to my hubby, Dave, who I usually call David, ‘cause that is how he introduced himself to me in 1997. Or at least, I think. Things start getting fuzzy in my brain after 12 years.

I learned early on in our marriage that David hates Hamburger Helper (in my frugal attempts, I found a homemade Hamburger Helper mix that I thought would revolutionize my cooking) in all forms, including, but not limited to, chicken, cheeseburger, tuna, and lasagna varieties.

But after a few years, I learned that Dave loves tacos, pizza and sloppy Joes, which are all just as easy as hamburger helper. So I make these regularly and both of us are happy.

I have also learned that Dave loves me no matter what childbirth and age does to my body. I gained quite a bit of weight during one of my pregnancies, and he said that he didn’t even notice. Thankfully, I lost that baby weight, but I still have lots of stretch marks and irreversible body changes. But David still looks me in the eyes and tells me I am beautiful.

We both continue to change through the years but 2 constants remain in our marriage. Our commitment and love for each other, through all the ups and downs of life, and God's merciful love and grace in our marriage.

Thanks for our first 11 years together, David.

Sleepy Wrap Giveaway!

Hey, mamas! Here is a chance to win a new baby carrier for your new little one. It's a wrap style carrier called The Sleepy Wrap. The Sleepy Wrap has been nominated for one of Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine's Reader's Choice Awards. Here is a link to Katie's contest- you can see this baby carrier at

Aren't freebies and contests fun? I sure think so.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Mama Blog Contest

Here is the chance to enter a contest on another mama's blog.

Just click on this link and follow her instructions- you have to follow a link to a publishers page and post a book name in the "money saving mama's" comments to enter.

Stay At Home Moms Giveaway

I hope someone I know wins something! Have fun :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

As promised, here is my first attempt at making homemade laundry detergent.

Again, here are the ingredients.

Laundry Detergent (from the family

1/3 bar (is about ¾ cup when grated) fels naptha or laundry soap (I found Colgate Octagon Soap at Bi-Lo)
½ cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
2 at least 2 gallon, buckets (I used Ice Cream buckets and an old empty 1 gallon liquid detergent bottle
Essential Oil of Choice, for scent
1 gallon sized drink container, to measure additional water

First, I cut the bar of soap into thirds. Despite the name, it was a rectangle, not an octagon. One-third of a bar made about ¾ cup of grated soap.

Grate Soap and put it in saucepan.

I saved the remaining grated soap for the next 2 times I make the detergent.

Add six cups of water and heat (I did this on medium heat) until the soap melts(this is also when I heated the 4 cups of water needed, in a kettle, while cooking the first three ingredients in the saucepan).

I stirred until all the last bits of soap melted, about 20 minutes on medium heat. It was pretty foamy so I had to look carefully to see if the soap had indeed completely melted.

Add the ½ cup washing soda and the ½ cup Borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Poor 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. This is when I had to separate the mixture by half into 2 different containers- the 1 gallon ice cream bucket and the empty 1 gallon laundry detergent bottle. The smaller ice cream bucket in the picture was too small, it was only ½ gallon size. But I poured it into this first as it would be difficult to stir in the bottle. Next time, I will use a bigger bucket first.

Here, Kelly holds the funnel so I can pour the heavy ice cream bucket without spilling.

Add 1 gallon plus six cups of water and stir. This is also the time to add the essential oil. Let the mixture "gel" for 24 hours before using.

Use ½ cup of the detergent per each load of laundry. I marked the measuring cup lid to the old bottle with a sharpie at the ½ cup line, since it was only marked for concentrate. It took me almost an hour to make this. Now I should be all set!

My lower back was a bit sore, but I am hoping my efforts pay off. The cost of this detergent is only one cent a load! This will save us at least $8 a month, as we usually buy the “clear and free” laundry detergent because we have sensitive skin and exzema. This is naturally “clear and free”.

This makes 2 gallons for 64 loads. I use oxyclean with my whites and extra dirty loads anyway, so I will continue doing that.

I also wrote detergent on the ice cream bucket lid and I am storing that in my laundry room.

So, we have been using the detergent for 4 days, and I really like it. It cleaned ketchup without pre-treating, and even though the low-sudsing formula made me nervous, it cleans great. Even urine on crib bedding. It didn’t gel thickly like I thought it would, but that doesn’t bother me. I would like to try to use the Fels Naptha next time and see if that makes it thicker. I will post more updates as I use the detergent, but so far, I really am satisfied. It was totally worth the effort.