Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Musical Memory

It has always amazed me what a powerful tool music can be in memorizing facts.  Through the years, our kids have memorized their multiplication facts, states and capitals, historical timelines, grammar components, and science taxonomy via music.

Some of our favorite musical memory tools include:



Now, if only there were musical tools to help me remember all of the stuff that I forget each day like the location of my keys, my grocery list, my children's names...



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

If there is one thing that I am well versed in it is laundry.  We do laundry by the truck loads around here.  Well not really, but it feels that way some days.

I used to do multiple loads of laundry every day, until I realized that some people (no names mentioned) were accidentally-on-purpose putting their freshly cleaned clothes back into the hamper just to avoid having to put them putting away.  Oh, the horrors!

We had to simplify this laundry issue, and so I wracked my brain and came up with two possible solutions. We could either stop wearing clothes all together or we could institute a new laundry policy which would include designated laundry days and clothing conservation (i.e, use your bath towel twice, wear your pajamas twice, put clean clothes away.) The second solution was actually legal, so we went with that.

To make life easier and to spur our children on to being more conscious about their clothing consumption, I designated two days a week as laundry days.  And surprisingly, we went from doing 2 - 3 loads of laundry per day or up to 21 loads per week, down to 3 - 4 loads twice a week (6 - 8 loads total).  Hmmm...I guess the concept of supply and demand works in the laundry world too.

Still, 8 loads of laundry per week can be costly.  Especially if you have people in your household with sensitive skin who need to use natural laundry soap.  So, I poked around the internet, turned my kitchen into a chemistry lab, and came up with a liquid laundry soap that is all natural and works well.

Here's the how to and the what for:

 Start with a stock pot full of water.  Bring it to a boil.  Mine is 8 quarts.

Once the water boils add 1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of liquid castile soap, and 10 drops of lavender essential oil (optional).  Reduce the heat to low. Stir, stir, stir and then turn off the heat once the ingredients are throughly mixed together.  Let the mixture cool.  It should look like cloudy water.

Once the detergent is cool, place it in a sealable container and your done (Well, not really because you have mountains of laundry waiting for you now that you took the time to make your own detergent) Sometimes the liquid will get a little clumpy, so just give it a little shake or stir and it's all good.

I use one cup of detergent per large load of laundry (is there any other size load).  I love the way this detergent makes our clothes smell and feel.  I just wish that this stuff could fold our clothes and put them away too.

Here is one of my little laundry makers hard at work.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?  Feel free to leave me a note.



P.S.  My great grandmother used to take in other people's laundry to clean when she lived in Brooklyn just to make ends meet for their family.  I however, would rather sell my spleen.

Coasting Into Sanity

Cluttered kitchen counters are evil.

With eight people living under one roof, there is bound to be a cup cacophony at any moment.

Well, this just will not do.  I refuse to let cups, mugs, or bottles of various proportions take over my corner of the world.  Nope, not having it.

Enter the common coaster.  My sanity saver.  The best invention since chili chocolate (Seriously, have you tried it yet?).  Just slap a name on one of these cup condos indicating who belongs to it, show each member of your posse which coaster is their's, and there you have it - instant sanity.

See, isn't that better?

Now, I'm off to try to organize the shoe pile in our garage before it falls over and kills all of us.  Please call 911 if you do not hear from me in 24 hours.  I might be stuck beneath an avalanche of stinky sandals and large loafers.