Homemade Laundry Detergent & the First Load of Laundry

23 Oct

Just a few days ago I made my own laundry detergent (as seen on Crystal & Co.)! It took us (the hubster helped with the mixing) less than 5 minutes to combine all the ingredients. I used the following recipe:


  • 1 (55 oz) box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1 (4 lb) box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
  • 1 (76 oz) box of Borax
  • 3 bars of Fels Naptha Soap
  • 1 (3 lb) container of OxiClean (I used the unscented one)
  • 1 (13 oz) container of Downy Unstopables (I used Fresh) scent (optional)

This is what my laundry detergent looks like! Love it!

Crystal & Co. claims this recipe makes 271 loads of laundry. I’ll try to keep tract of how many loads of laundry I get out of this batch. The ingredients costed $26.67 which makes it a little less than $0.10 per load (can’t beat that!). I love that it makes a decent quantity of detergent, it’s inexpensive, and it smells great! [The first time I made laundry detergent, it was quite a small batch and felt more like an inconvenience.]

Just now, I moved the first load of laundry (washed using this detergent) to the dryer. It came out smelling fresh and clean from the washer. Way better than commercial laundry detergent which has left my freshly-laundered clothes smelling a little funky lately and in need of a re-wash. I’ll keep you posted about all the laundry happenings around here! 🙂


For the love of Swag bucks!

9 Jan

Swag bucks

I love using Swag bucks! No, they’re not paying me any money (or swag bucks!) to say that. I’ve tried many survey-answering, point-accumulating, etc programs that don’t really give you anything. Swag bucks is one of two programs I use on which my time is rewarded with something I can use. [The other program is Pinecone Research.]

I joined on 2011, but it wasn’t until late last year that I really took advantage of what Swag bucks offers. These are the things I do everyday to earn Swag bucks:

  1. Search – Not every search will give you points, but I’ve earned up to 24 points on just one search. I search for stuff online anyway, so I don’t feel like I’m just using up my time.
  2. Answer the daily poll – Get a point everyday! It takes just a few seconds.
  3. Complete the NOSO everyday for a couple points It takes less than a minute.
  4. Use the toolbar everyday for a point. See #1.
  5. Watch videos on my phone for even more points!
  6. I take some time everyday to complete surveys. Lots of points can be earned this way but it requires a time investment.
  7. Keep an eye out for Swag codes and special offers.

I’m a very proud stay-at-home mom that tries her best to contribute $ anyway she can. Swag bucks has allowed me to redeem my points for useful gift cards (can you say Amazon!)! My goal is to use my Swag bucks to buy gifts (birthdays and special occasions) and board games throughout the year without having to use any “budget money”. Earning swag bucks is not hard and it doesn’t take all day. They’ve won me over. I encourage you to give it a try! It’s free! =D

Revisiting Evernote…

8 Jan

So, I’ll give you a little backstory. I “collect” (or hoard… depends who you ask 😉 ) recipes. I get them from the internet and from the million-and-one magazines I receive (another post completely). I’m starting to see a pattern here. In any case, I do keep the recipes that look interesting to me, but I couldn’t find a good way to organize them. What good are a bazillion recipes if you can’t find what you’re looking for? That’s when my OCD tendencies kick in and I go crazy looking for a solution to organize a huge stack of magazine clippings and links. I’ve tried many methods without any real success… including putting the clippings on binders. That requires a lot of time and shelf space. I live in an apartment and storage is at a premium. Accumulating clippings is not really the way to go. I had tried Evernote before but couldn’t get things to work like I wanted to… and I stopped using it altogether. So, I’ve been trying things… and I think I’ve found my solution.

Scanner Pro

The App Store was offering Scanner Pro (by Readdle) for free (as their App of the Week). You can scan documents using your phone’s camera. I got it without really thinking that I wanted to use it for my recipes… but it hit me when I saw that I can scan recipes and send them to Evernote! That means that I can scan my recipes (keep them forever on digital format) and recycle the clippings!!! I don’t have to save pages from magazines any longer… I can scan directly from the magazine and send to Evernote!


Evernote is also free! So this is what I did. I created a notebook which will become my Recipes: To Try repository. I will send all my scans there making sure that I tag every recipe. Tagging is essential since that’s what I’ll use to search for my recipes on Evernote. Once I try a recipe, it’ll go to my Recipes: Tried and True notebook or trash depending on how I like it. 😀 Recipes found on websites are super easy to send to Evernote using Evernote Web Clipper. Easy-peasy. Even if the website goes offline (or if I don’t have internet access), I’ll still have the recipe. I can access Evernote on my computer, iPad and iPhone. Awesome, right!?

Well, guess what?! It gets awesomer because I found out that Evernote has another product that is super appropriate for this project. Enter Evernote Food! You can use it to keep track of what you’re cooking and eating, restaurants, and, of course, recipes!!! Evernote Food links up to Evernote and finds your notes that contain recipes. So smart! I love that it all works together super smoothly. I have to play with this app some more (it is available for iPod, iPhone, iPad and Android devices). You probably don’t need to have both Evernote and Evernote Food if you just want to organize recipes, but I know that I will use Evernote for other things as well.


I can’t wait to scan my recipes and organize them! This is what my Recipes: To Try notebook looks like right now. The first note is a recipe from a website sent to Evernote using Evernote Web Clipper (an extension on your browser). The second note is a recipe scanned using Scanner Pro on my iPhone and sent over to Evernote. If you click on the Tag icon on the upper right hand side, you can search the tags.

My Evernote

I will come back and show you what it looks like and share updates once I have more recipes on my notebook.

Covered Apples!

21 Oct

On Sunday, we went apple picking! Of course, we picked way more apples than we should have… not a problem! What to do with extra apples, you ask? How about chocolate caramel covered apples? I used granny smiths for this recipe. Follow the caramel recipe exactly, it works perfectly!



I didn’t have any craft sticks, so I used plastic knives leftover from my son’s birthday last week. They were a bit flimsy for the apples but got the job done. Next time, I will use a sturdier handle. With this caramel you have to work fast and stick the apple in the fridge quickly to set.



Once the caramel sets, go ahead and melt the chocolate chips. I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips (I just love it!). I think my apples were a bit to big and ran out of chocolate. I also like the pretty uneven swirl and that uses up a lot more chocolate. Stick them back in the fridge to set.



You can add even more to these delicious treats! I chose some ghost sprinkles (perfect for Halloween). Nuts would be great too.

20131021-071442.jpgGive them a try! They were a bit more work than I anticipated but well worth the effort, because these apples are delicious!!!


So super easy Fro-Yo!

18 Oct

On one of our recent trips, we ended up on an airport with a Pinkberry! Yum! I love me some Pinkberry frozen yogurt… the plain original kind. We don’t have a Pinkberry where we live, so I indulged. It was great! But, I had “the” thought… “You know what!? I can make this at home! And cheaper!”

So, I looked online for a base recipe. There’s a bunch of frozen yogurt recipes but I found one that is a Pinkberry copycat recipe. I’ve made it twice since then. It is a delicious treat and so super easy to make. I really don’t know how the price compares (gotta look into it), but I know for sure that mine is cheaper. 😀

This is what frozen yogurt looks like when you first put it in the ice cream machine. I have a Cuisinart ice cream machine. It takes my machine approximately 25 minutes to bring the yogurt mixture to soft-serve ready-to-eat consistency. Note: If you put it in the freezer overnight, the frozen yogurt will get hard as a rock and pretty impossible to scoop. You’ll have to let it sit on the counter for a while. Ask me how I know!

20131018-085812.jpgI like mine with fresh strawberries and chocolate chips. The possibilities are infinite when you think about toppings. Go crazy!


Note: The first time I made the recipe, I used FAGE greek yogurt and it turned out delicious. Perfectly tart and tangy! The second time I made it, I used store-brand greek yogurt… it was good but not as flavorful as the first time around. So, I guess buying the really good greek yogurt pays off if you really want to taste the greek yogurt on your frozen yogurt treat!

Hope you go ahead and try making something new! If you have kids, this would be a great food/cooking activity to do together. Not a whole lot of involved steps… just some measuring (can you say math!?), mixing and pouring!

Which reminds me! If you want to try more cooking with your children, check out Kids’ Kitchen – 40 Fun and Healthy Recipes to Make and Share*Click on the link or image below so you can see some of the cards included. They are a great size (box: 8.5″x6.5″x2″), perfect for children to manipulate, read and follow.*

Kids' Kitchen

Step into the kitchen for some child-friendly fun with food. The forty recipes in this colorful deck are based around the five main food groups, and offer a healthy and exciting way to learn about cooking.

How about, before getting to the cooking part, you and your kids make chef hats! This is the kind of activity that will become a fond childhood memory. Kids’ Kitchen includes a recipe for vanilla ice cream… can’t wait to try it out with my son while wearing our own chef hats!!! 😀

Barefoot Books Current News and Special Offers

15 Oct

Learn about all special offers and sales Barefoot Books is currently offering! Also, check out all new series added on October! Just click on the pictures below for more information. If you have any questions, you can find me on Facebook!

Lifetime Learner

28 Sep

I sometimes wonder what makes a person be so sure of what they want to do professionally. I don’t have that gene/inspiration/focus or whatever that special thing is. I’m more of I-want-to-experience-it-all kind of person. Growing up I was always into reading (all sorts of books and magazines), math and science. I went to schools “specialized” in Math and Science. I went to college and studied Chemistry as an undergrad. Then moved on to grad school and chose Biochemistry. I was never totally sure of what I wanted to “be”. I still don’t know what career I would like to pursue. But, I still love learning about science. Then, I decided I wanted to do something a bit different… and, I went into school counseling. I worked as a counselor for a few years. I liked learning about people and how different and similar we all are at the same time.

After all this schooling, I learned this about myself. I am a pretty good student and can be successful in school… but the bottom line is that I just love learning new things. I’ve taught myself to knit, crochet, quilt, spin yarn, cross-stitch, and soap-making (love the chemistry that goes into it). I love the variety. I love working on different projects. But, I’m still trying to figure out how to harness that love of learning and turn it into the ultimate most perfect career for myself. For now, my focus is being a stay-at-home-mom… the one career that doesn’t include formal schooling but is mostly learn-as-you-go… and I love it.

I also chose Barefoot Books! I recently received my Starter Kit and I’ve been reading through all the books. You might think that they’re just children’s books and there isn’t a lot to them. Oh, well, let me tell you! I’ve been learning so much… from other cultures and traditions to vocabulary and other languages! Right now (until September 30th, 2013… hey, that’s my birthday… can you say birthday gift!) you can get 20% off sitewide by using the code AUTUMN! Don’t miss out. Click on the picture above, explore my online marketplace, and place your order! Don’t forget the code!!! Just to get you started… the Bear books are a big favorite around here. Go check them out. =D

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